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Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street’

U.S. Supreme Court: 6th Biggest Threat

Posted by msrb on January 23, 2010

Previously, in  10 Biggest Threats to the US National Security, the US Supreme Court was listed as the sixth biggest threat to the US national security!

The best Congress money can buy!

Time to Reign in Out-of-Control Corporate Influences on Our Democracy

by Ralph Nader

Yesterday’s 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission shreds the fabric of our already weakened democracy by allowing corporations to more completely dominate our corrupted electoral process. It is outrageous that corporations already attempt to influence or bribe our political candidates through their political action committees (PACs), which solicit employees and shareholders for donations.

With this decision, corporations can now directly pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars. Without approval from their shareholders, corporations can reward or intimidate people running for office at the local, state, and national levels.

Much of this 183 page opinion requires readers to enter into a fantasy world and accept the twisted logic of Justice Kennedy, who delivered the opinion of the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas. Imagine the majority saying the “Government may not suppress political speech based on the speaker’s corporate identity.”

Perhaps Justice Kennedy didn’t hear that the financial sector invested more than $5 billion in political influence purchasing in Washington over the past decade, with as many as 3,000 lobbyists winning deregulation and other policy decisions that led directly to the current financial collapse, according to a 231-page report titled: “Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America” (See:

The Center for Responsive Politics reported that last year the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $144 million to influence Congress and state legislatures.

The Center also reported big lobbying expenditures by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) which spent $26 million in 2009. Drug companies like Pfizer, Amgen and Eli Lilly also poured tens of millions of dollars into federal lobbying in 2009. The health insurance industry trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) also spent several million lobbying Congress. No wonder Single Payer Health insurance – supported by the majority of people, doctors, and nurses – isn’t moving in Congress.

Energy companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron are also big spenders. No wonder we have a national energy policy that is pro-fossil fuel and that does little to advance renewable energy (See: OpenSecrets.Org).

No wonder we have the best Congress money can buy.

I suppose Justice Kennedy thinks corporations that overwhelm members of Congress with campaign contributions need to have still more influence in the electoral arena. Spending millions to lobby Congress and making substantial PAC contributions just isn’t enough for a majority of the Supreme Court. The dictate by the five activist Justices was too much for even Republican Senator John McCain, who commented that he was troubled by their “extreme naivete.”

There is a glimmer of hope and a touch of reality in yesterday’s Supreme Court decision. Unfortunately it is the powerful 90 page dissent in this case by Justice Stevens joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justice Stevens recognizes the power corporations wield in our political economy. Justice Stevens finds it “absurd to think that the First Amendment prohibits legislatures from taking into account the corporate identity of a sponsor of electoral advocacy.” He flatly declares that, “The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation.”

He notes that the, Framers of our Constitution “had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” Right he is, for the words “corporation” or “company” do not exist in our Constitution.

Justice Stevens concludes his dissent as follows:

“At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”

Indeed, this corporatist, anti-voter majority decision is so extreme that it should galvanize a grassroots effort to enact a simple Constitutional amendment to once and for all end corporate personhood and curtail the corrosive impact of big money on politics. It is time to prevent corporate campaign contributions from commercializing our elections and drowning out the voices and values of citizens and voters. It is way overdue to overthrow “King Corporation” and restore the sovereignty of “We the People”! Remember that corporations, chartered by the state, are our servants, not our masters.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Representative John Larson (D-CT) would encourage unlimited small-dollar donations from individuals and provide candidates with public funding in exchange for refusing corporate contributions or private contributions of more than $100.

It is also time for shareholder resolutions, company by company, directing the corporate boards of directors to pledge not to use company money to directly favor or oppose candidates for public office.

If you want to join the efforts to rollback the corporate concessions the Supreme Court made yesterday, visit Citizen.Org and

Related Links:


Posted in Chief Justice Roberts, Federal Election Commission, Justice Alito, Justice Scalia, justice Thomas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Let’s Cut the Middleman Out of the System

Posted by msrb on July 18, 2009

In December 2008 a reader wrote:

Thought for the Day: The Church and Banks

The Church and banks in their role as middlemen work in quite similar ways:

One steals your spiritual enlightenment;
the other swindles you out of material possession!

A scan of the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta commands, “If any one has taken anything, whether much or little, by way of loan from Jews, and if he dies before that debt is paid, the debt shall not carry usury so long as the heir is under age, from whomsoever he may hold. And if that debt falls into our hands, we will take only the principal contained in the note.” Im age and caption: Wikipedia

What if you cut the middleman out of the system? What if you didn’t have to pay any interest on the money you borrow?

Adrian Kuzminski, Resident Scholar in Philosophy at Hartwick College, and the author of Fixing the System: A History of Populism, Ancient & Modern, says:

This time around, with dense populations and a scarcity of natural resources, especially energy, across the globe, and widespread ecological destruction, there is little prospect that economic growth can or even should be re-stimulated.

He says the populists in the United States in the bygone days wanted the money flow to be controlled by Main Street, not Wall Street:

Why, they asked, should credit— for mortgages, home equity, consumer spending, auto loans, education, etc.—be available almost exclusively from private lenders at high rates of interest? Why shouldn’t citizens be able to access credit directly by borrowing at nominal rates of interest from a decentralized public system of lending?

Below is his short essay, also mirrored at Information Clearing House; however, we find it difficult to fathom why (and how) he brands  Sarah Palin as a “populist.” Is he re-branding Palin, who has proven herself to be an abject failure as a parent, politician, human being … , as a “populist” to give her a “good” name, or does he intend to doublespeak himself out of the “populism” argument?

Taking Populism Seriously

By Adrian Kuzminski

July 17, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — Populism persists as an uncomfortable element in American and global political life, neither left nor right, liberal nor conservative. Populists are widely portrayed as economic losers resentful of rich elites. Our bi-partisan political and media establishment routinely downplays this resentment, castigating it as the source of misguided “class warfare,” even though mainstream politicians, when desperate enough, don’t hesitate to arouse just enough populist resentment to gain votes, while artfully evading the substance of populist complaints.

Contemporary populists, like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, appear to the establishment to be “no-nothings” who don’t understand “how the system works.” They, and increasing numbers of Americans, do, however, know something that their critics don’t: that the system is unjust and failing. Should the predictions of blogosphere doomer prognosticators — like Mike Whitney, Paul Craig Roberts, Michael Hudson, and others — come true, the principal victims will be liberals, progressives, and the Democratic party. They will all be identified with attempts to save a failed system, and discredited for propping up Wall Street and “the money power.” Obama will go the way of Gorbachev, if he’s lucky.

After the real crash — which we still await — the populists will inherit political power, if only by default. Are they ready for it? On this score their critics have a point: so far populists display no coherent alternative to the system whose evils they rightly decry. Until they develop one they are more likely to bring chaos and anarchy than stability and justice. Fortunately for the populists such an alternative already exists, and they can find it in their own history if they bother to look.

The populist impulse of today, widespread but fragmented and disorganized, is what’s left of a once proud and impressive mass political movement in this country. In its heyday, in the 1880s and 90s, fifty populists from the People’s party, were elected to the US Congress, with many others winning state and local offices. Such a showing by a third party today would be cataclysmic.

The old populists were out-maneuvered and finally marginlized by what they and earlier Jeffersonians and Jacksonians called “the money power,” the privatized and largely unregulated banking and credit system which reduced many small independent producers — farmers, artisans, shopkeepers — to debt peonage by unnecessary, that is, usurious interest rates. Today that same “money power,” after decades of ascendency, stands insolvent in the wake of the Great Crash of 2008, and the nation faces a second Great Depression. Hundreds of trillions of dollars of outstanding debt far outstrip the productive potential of the nation and the planet ever to be repaid.

This time around, with dense populations and a scarcity of natural resources, especially energy, across the globe, and widespread ecological destruction, there is little prospect that economic growth can or even should be restimulated. Nonetheless, in the face of this crisis, both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and Obama like Bush before him, desperately seek to reinflate the credit bubble, this time on the backs of taxpayers. Insofar as already maxed-out taxpayers cannot carry that burden, the dollar and much of our economy is poised to collapse.

Our fixation with economic growth is largely driven by a usurious financial system. If credit is available only on the condition of onerous rates of interest, then borrowers (individuals and businesses) must put the money they borrow to work, not only to repay the principal and leave some profit for themselves, but to repay as well the interest owed to creditors. It is this, more than anything else, which forces the economy to “grow.”

We’ve gotten gotten away with it for over 200 years of the industrial revolution mostly because we’ve been able to exploit natural resources, especially fossil fuels, to enable this growth. But global population growth and resource depletion, including “peak oil,” appear to have finally caught up with us. The real cause of the depression and the credit crisis is the dawning realization by investors that these resource constraints are contraints on growth, and that the high growth rates enjoyed since the eighteenth century may be a thing of the past.

The populists were the last movement in the United States to offer a viable alternative to the privatized usurious financial system. They wanted Main Street, not Wall Street, to control money. Why, they asked, should credit — for mortgages, home equity, consumer spending, auto loans, education, etc. — be available almost exclusively from private lenders at high rates of interest? Why shouldn’t citizens be able to access credit directly by borrowing at nominal rates of interest from a decentralized public system of lending?

This was actually possible in colonial America, when land banks and paper currencies made credit widely and cheaply available. As historian Terry Bouton makes clear in his account of the American revolution in Pennsylvania in his compelling book, TAMING DEMOCRACY, the suppression of this public credit by Parliament in Britain led to depression and the revolution. The counter-revolution of propertied elites in the 1780s, culminating in the US Constitution, strangled this impulse for cheap credit. The 19th century witnessed a long but losing struggle against privatized usurious financial interest, who finally sealed their control over money and the economy with the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913.

But the idea of cheap public credit was kept alive by Jeffersonians, Jacksonians, and populists. It was developed probably in greatest detail by an early American populist, Edward Kellogg (1790-1858), especially in his postumously published A NEW MONETARY SYSTEM (1861). Kellogg and other populists argued that we ought to have a public not a private financial system. In his plan, citizens would go to local public credit banks and offer collateral for personal loans for any purpose; the money, issued locally but held to a federally enforced standard of a fixed, nominal rate of interest (about 1 percent), would be legal tender, everywhere interchangeable, and so circulate throughout the nation.

Today our money is created top-down as loans from the privately owned Federal Reserve to big banks, who relend to corporations and to the public at rates of interest profitable (when repaid) to themselves. This is a system which demands economic growth and insures that wealth will be concentrated in the hands of creditors. By insisting on a fixed nominal rate of interest Kellogg aimed to forstall tranfers of wealth to creditors. There should be no private charge for money, he reasoned, insofar as money is a public function. And with money issued locally to local borrowers, there would be no need for a central bank.

Now there’s a revolutionary idea, and a liberating one. The opportunity to borrow money without unnecessary interest would be economically and politically transformative. It would also be ecologically responsible. The major engine of economic growth, after all, is the need to pay back debt with interest. By making money available at zero or nominal interest, the incentive for economic growth would be removed.

Moreover, in gaining widespread access to capital, individuals would be able to invest in themselves (in education, housing, consumer goods, starting a business, etc.) without having to transfer their wealth to creditors (consider the interest on a typical credit card or mortgage). Freed of the burden of usurious interest, the pursuit of happiness and genuine liberty would be widely possible. And, not least, the power of the special interests would be broken, restoring the promise of genuinely democratic government.

Related Links:

Posted in Bail Out the People, Carbon Footprint of the Dollar, charging interest, Nationalize the Banks, Toxic Assets | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Great CPA Fraud

Posted by msrb on April 11, 2009


by Ralph Nader

Where were the giant accounting firms, the CPAs, and the rest of the accounting profession while the Wall Street towers of fraud, deception and cover-ups were fracturing our economy, looting and draining trillions of dollars of other peoples’ money?

This is the licensed profession that is paid to exercise independent judgment with independent standards to give investors, pension funds, mutual funds, and the rest of the financial world accurate descriptions of corporate financial realities.

It is now obvious that the accountants collapsed their own skill, integrity and self-respect faster and earlier than the collapse of Wall Street and the corporate barons.  The accountants—both external and internal—could have blown the whistle on what Teddy Roosevelt called the “malefactors of great wealth.”

The Big Four auditors knew what was going on with these complex, abstractly structured finance instruments, these collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other financial products too abstruse to label.  They were on high alert after early warning scandals involving Long Term Capital Management, Enron, and others a decade or so ago.

These corporate casino capitalists used the latest tricks to cook the books with many of the on-balance sheet or off-balance sheet structured investment vehicles that metastasized big time in the first decade of this new century.  These big firms can’t excuse themselves for relying on conflicted rating companies, like Moody’s or Standard & Poor, that gave triple-A ratings to CDO tranches in return for big fees.  Imagine the conflict.  After all, “prestigious” outside auditors were supposed to be on the inside incisively examining the books and their footnotes, on which the rating firms excessively relied.

Let’s be specific with names.  Carl Olson, chairman of the Fund for Stockowners Rights wrote in the letters column of The New York Times Magazine (January 28, 2009) that “PricewaterhouseCoopers O.K.’d AIG and FreddieMac.  Deloitte & Touche certified Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns.  Ernst & Young vouched for Lehman Brothers and IndyMac Bank.  KPMG assured over Countrywide and Wachovia.  These ‘Big Four’ C.P.A. firms apparently felt they could act with impunity.”

“Undoubtedly they knew that the state boards of accountancy,” continued Mr. Olson, “which granted them their licenses to audit, would not consider these transgressions seriously.  And they were right…Not one of them has taken up any serious investigation of the misbehaving auditors of the recent debacle companies.”

“Misbehaving” is too kind a word.  The “Big Four” destroyed their very reason for being by their involvement in these and other boondoggles that have made headlines and dragooned our federal government into bailing them out with disbursements, loans and guarantees totaling trillions of dollars.  “Criminally negligent” is a better phrase for what these big accounting firms got rich doing—which is to look the other way.

Holding accounting firms like these accountable is very difficult.  It got more difficult in 1995 when Congress passed a bill shielding them from investor lawsuits charging that they “aided and abetted” fraudulent or deceptive schemes by their corporate clients.  Clinton vetoed the legislation, but Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) led the fight to over-ride the veto.

Moreover, the under-funded and understaffed state boards of accountancy are dominated by accountants and are beyond inaction.  What can you expect?

As for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “asleep at the switch for years” would be a charitable description of that now embarrassed agency whose mission is to supposedly protect savers and shareholders.  This agency even missed the massive Madoff Ponzi scheme.

The question of accounting probity will not go away.  In the past couple of weeks, the non-profit Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)—assigned to be the professional conscience of accountancy—buckled under overt pressure from Congress and the banks.  It loosened the mark-to-market requirement to value assets at fair market value or what buyers are willing to pay.

This decision by the FASB is enforceable by the SEC and immediately “cheered Wall Street” and pushed big bank stocks upward.  Robert Willens, an accounting analyst, estimated this change could boost earnings at some banks by up to twenty percent.  Voilà, just like that.  Magic!

Overpricing depressed assets may make bank bosses happy, but not investors or a former SEC Chairman, Arthur Levitt, who was “very disappointed” and called the FASB decision “a step toward the kind of opaqueness that created the economic problems that we’re enduring today.”

To show the deterioration in standards, banks tried to get the FASB and the SEC in the 1980s to water down fair-value accounting during the savings and loan failures.  Then-SEC Chairman Richard Breeden refused outright.  Not today.

Former SEC chief accountant, Lynn Turner, presently a reformer of his own profession, supports mark-to-market or fair value accounting as part of bringing all assets and liabilities, including credit derivatives, back on the balance sheets of the financial firms.  He wants regulation of the credit rating agencies, mortgage originators and the perverse incentives that lead to making bad loans.  He even wants the SEC to review these new financial products before they come to market, eliminating “hidden financing.”

Now comes the life insurance industry, buying up some small banks to qualify for their own large federal bailouts for making bad, risky speculations.

The brilliant Joseph M. Belth, writing in his astute newsletter, the Insurance Forum (May 2009), noted that life insurers are lobbying state insurance departments to weaken statutory accounting rules so as to “increase assets and/or decrease liabilities.”  Some states have already caved.  Again, voilà, suddenly there is an increase in capital.  Magic.  Here we go again.

Who among the brainy, head up accountants, in practice or in academia, will join with Lynn Turner and rescue this demeaned, chronically rubber-stamping “profession,” especially the “Big Four,” from its pathetic pretension for which tens of millions of people are paying dearly?

Posted in Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, Moody’s, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Standard & Poor | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bail Out the People: Nationalize the Banks

Posted by msrb on March 30, 2009

April 3 & 4: March on Wall Street

Endorse April 3 & 4 | Become a Local Organizer for April 3 & 4 | Find an Apr 3-4 Organizing Center Near You
Donate | Download BOPM Working Paper

In this email:

  • Bail Out the People Movement Statement on AIG and the Latest Bailout Plan
  • Information about the April 3 March on Wall Street

March on Wall Street & AIG on APRIL 3: Bail Out People, Not Banks!
April 3 March on Wall Street
Main focus of March:

* The need for a real jobs program
* A moratorium on foreclosures and evictions

The April 3 March on Wall Street will begin with an opening rally at 1:00 PM at Wall Street and Broadway, followed by a march to AIG at 70 Pine St. (see details below)

The Bail Out the People Movement Statement on AIG and the Latest Bank Bailout Plan

  • The new plan still bails out banks, not people
  • AIG outrage must fuel a struggle for a real jobs program

On Friday, April 3, the Bail Out the People Movement, a growing coalition of hundreds of organizations and thousands of activists, will march on Wall Street and AIG. Protesters on April 3 will bring demands for a real jobs program, a moratorium on foreclosures, and other necessary programs for bailing out the people, not banks and Wall Street financial institutions.

The growing anger over the AIG bonus bonanza, outrageous as it is, is really about the fact that trillions of dollars are being deployed to rescue the wealthiest on Wall Street, while the unemployment and foreclosure rates continue to head towards depressionApril 3 March on Wall Street levels.

The mass anger at Wall Street will be wasted unless it is used to focus on the real crisis.

At the April 3 March on Wall Street, the Bail Out The People Movement will open a nationwide petition campaign for an emergency jobs program on the scale of the Work Projects Administration of the 1930s. The stimulus legislation is far too little to make even a dent in the estimated 20 million people who are jobless or underemployed. The unemployed need a real jobs program, and they need it now.

The April 3 Wall Street march will also focus attention on the need for an immediate national moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. Such a moratorium should have been put in place two years ago. It is unacceptable and scandalous, considering the historically unprecedented level of government interventions and control of the mortgage industry and the banks, that the government has failed to order an end to evictions

Taxing multimillion dollar bonuses, putting a cap on corporate pay, and new regulations on the banks may be good ideas, but they are no substitute for a jobs program of sufficient scope and size to stop and reverse the unemployment crisis.

Moreover, the measures being proposed in Washington are no substitute for a vitally necessary single-payer health care program for all or the need for the passage and signing into law of the Employee Free Choice Act, so that working people will be better able to organize and defend themselves against the robber barons of Wall Street.

The  new so-called public/private bank bailout plan is a thinly veiled attempt to make it appear as though private investors will share the burden of bailed out banks. With the new plan, 90 percent of bailout funds, or at least one trillion dollars,April 3 March on Wall Street will come from the government.

The new plan is premised on exact same rational as the last bank bail out plan. The government will continue to pump trillions of dollars in to the banks until the banks are declared fixed. In the meantime, the lives of tens of millions more
people are going to slide into life-threatening poverty.

The time has come for this rationale to be rejected. The idea that some banks are too big to fail but untold millions of peoples’ lives can be devastated, or that profits must come before the welfare of the people, are not commandments from heaven but rules made down here on earth to protect the interest of the few against that of the many.

Henceforth, the fight must be about reversing the flow of government money away from the banks and into social needs.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated the last year of his life to trying to open up what he considered the second phase of the civil rights movement: the fight for economic justice. King’s main focus in the few months of 1968, before being gunned down on April 4, was to win public support for the right of all to either a job or an income.

As King planned the poor peoples’ march on Washington in those final weeks, nowhere did he ever mention that the need and the right to a job or an income must be based on the solvency of JP Morgan Chase, Citicorp, Bank Of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, etc. and their power to turn the economy on and off depending on what makes them richer.

The message that thousands of marchers will bring to Wall St. on Friday April 3, the day before the 41st anniversary of King’s death, is that society can no longer allow for jobs, housing, healthcare and all that people need to be held hostage to the arrogance, greed and power of bankers.

In addition to the need for a real jobs program and a moratorium on evictions, some of the other issues that the April 3 march on Wall St. will be drawing attention to include:

* The need for an immediate moratorium on layoffs and cuts in social programs
* Opposition to tuition hikes and public transportation fare hikes
* Single payer health care for ALL

* Support the Employee Free Choice Act
* Support the rights of immigrant workers
* An end to wars and occupations

*** Building a national march requires printing tens of thousands of leaflets, posters, and stickers, as well as preparing placards and banners and providing sound for the rally and march.  Please consider making a contribution to help with organizing expenses at

Information on the April 3 March on Wall Street:

Gather at 1pm on Wall Street at Broadway (map)

Rally on Broadway from Wall Street south to Exchange and block further South to the ‘Bull’.

We will march through the narrow streets of the New York Financial District – Major financial institutions are all along Broadway and within one block of Rally – Chase, Fidelity, American Express, the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve, and more.

We will march east on Pine to the AIG Buildings at 70 Pine and 80 Pine and then to the AIG Building at 125 Water St.
Then, we will march north on Water Street to Foley Square, for an ending rally at 5:15 at Foley Square

Public Transportation: (map)
2, 4,  or 5 to Wall Street
R or W to Rector Street
J, M or Z to Broad Street
M1, M6 or M15 to Broadway-Nassau/Fulton Street
NJ PATH trains to World Trade Center and 5 minute walk.

Bus Drop Off: on Broadway at Wall Street
Bus Pick up: at Foley Square

Bail Out the People Movement
Solidarity Center
55 W. 17th St. #5C
New York, NY 10011

Posted in end wars, life-threatening poverty, National protest, Stop evictions, tuition hikes | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Madoff: A Goldmine of Information!

Posted by msrb on March 8, 2009

submitted by a reader

To the Law Enforcement Agencies:

Don’t let Madoff out of your sight, he is a goldmine of information!

The Wall Street bankster Bernard Madoff reportedly agreed last month to a permanent freeze on his assets without admitting or denying fraud charges in a civil case against him, Reuters reported a U.S. regulator as saying .

Bernard Madoff arrives at District court in New York City. Photograph: Stuart Ramson/AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a court filing that the amount of fines and disgorgement will be decided later against Madoff, the former Nasdaq stock market chairman whose assets were temporarily frozen by court order two months ago.” The report said.

This may be an indication that Madoff is willing to settle the civil case, legal experts say. Madoff’s army of lawyers say that he is cooperating with investigators; however, he has not appeared in court to formally answer the charges. Further, Madoff has not yet yet faced the many investors he has ripped off.

“But on Thursday, he’s expected to enter a guilty plea in the multibillion-dollar fraud, setting up a dramatic and highly unusual confrontation with the people he is accused of cheating.” AP reported.

On Friday, according to a court document filed by US prosecutors, Madoff waived a formal grand jury indictment—a legal procedure that means the defendant is negotiating a plea bargain.

“Late Friday, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin invited victims to address the court after prosecutors submitted papers noting that crime victims have the right to be ‘reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.’ Typically, victims speak at sentencing hearings, not at ones in which a guilty plea is offered.”

Madoff, 70, who is under ‘house arrest’  in his luxury Manhattan penthouse apartment, faces criminal and civil charges in U.S. District Court in Manhattan after he   admitted to running to running a  [Super] Ponzi scheme which costs  the investors some $50 billion in losses.

Ponzi schemes operate by paying early investors from capital new investors bring in until the operator(s) decides to cash in.

[Banks are required to report transactions of $10,000 or more. How many investors gave Madoff less than $10,000 dollars?]

Madoff, Organized Crime and Controlled Demolition of WTC Towers on 9/11

Madoff  couldn’t have pulled off a $50 billion super Ponzi scheme without the help, assistance and cooperation of agents, chief employees, key personnel, heads of sections… at

  • Money management and trading firms in Wall Street
  • International banking cartel
  • Key local and national Politicians
  • The financial regulatory system
  • Various branches of the law enforcement agencies
  • The news and advertising media
  • The US Treasury
  • Federal Reserve System

There is only one international criminal fraternity in the world  which ‘owns’ corrupt law-enforcement agents and politicians and has it lieutenants strategically positioned at all of the above institutions, and is therefore powerful enough to help carry out such an audacious Ponzi scheme: The Zionist mafia.

WTC Building 7 experienced a total collapse in under seven seconds. Source: Unknown. Image may be subject to copyright.

In fact Madoff’s super Ponzi scheme has all the hallmarks of audacity with which the 9/11 terrorist attacks were carried out. Without the help, cooperation and influence of the Zionist mafia the gang that planned and carried out the demolition of the World Trade Center Towers in NYC couldn’t have gotten away with it.

Larry Silverstein, Bernard Maddoff’s counterpart in the controlled demolition of WTC towers, was so confident of his mafia protection, he even admitted to having the WTC Bldg # 7 “pulled.” He knew no one could touch him, and no one so far has!

Both of these major crimes were committed in Manhattan, the capital of Zionist mafia.

In all likelihood, as a senior member of that criminal fraternity, Madoff knows just about everything there is to know concerning who planned the 9/11 attacks, who carried them out, and  which ones of the corrupt politicians, lawmakers, and  senior law enforcement officers in the country helped the perpetrators, or at least knew about the plans. If persuaded skillfully, as a condition of his plea bargain, he could reveal the identity of  the key people who ordered and executed the deadly attacks on the America on 9/11.

So here’s a golden opportunity for the government and law enforcement agencies:

Persuade Madoff to tell you what he knows about the 9/11 perpetrators as a part of his plea bargain!

Related Links:

Posted in Larry Silverstein, madoff, Ponzi scheme, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, Zionist mafia | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Wall Street: The Biggest Threat to the U.S. Economy

Posted by msrb on February 1, 2009

The Moderators and contributors of this blog have identified Wall Street as the No. 1 threat to the U.S. economy and therefore its  national security. Our colleagues at EDRO have argued that the “ten-trillion-dollar bailout-stimulus-Wall-Street-Monopoly-money plan” won’t work unless Wall Street is eliminated and the Federal Reserve system is abolished and replaced with a nationalized central banking system.

In the following essay, Ralph Nader, citing from Why Wall Street Can’t Be Fixed and How to Replace It: Agenda For a New Economy by David C. Korten, asks:

“First, do Wall Street Institutions do anything so vital for the national interest that they justify trillions of dollars to save them from the consequences of their own excess?

“Second is it possible that the whole Wall Street edifice is built on an illusion of phantom wealth that carries deadly economic, social, and environmental consequences for the larger society?

“Third, are there other ways to provide needed financial services with greater results and at lesser cost?”

Wither Wall Street

by Ralph Nader [Received Sat 1/31/2009]

Soon after the passage in 1999 of the Clinton-Rubin-Summers-P. Graham deregulation of the financial industry, I boarded a US Air flight to Boston and discovered none other than then-Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers a few seats away. He was speaking loudly and constantly on his cell phone. When the plane took off he invited me to sit by him and talk.

After reviewing the contents of this Citibank-friendly new law called the Financial Modernization Act—I asked him: “Do you think the big banks have too much power?”

He paused for a few seconds and replied: “Not Yet.” Intrigued by his two word answer, I noted the rejection of modest pro-consumer provisions, adding that now that the banks had had their round, wasn’t it time for the consumers to have their own round soon?

He allowed that such an expectation was not unreasonable and that he was willing to meet with some seasoned consumer advocates and go over such an agenda. We sent him an agenda, and met with Mr. Summers and his staff. Unfortunately, neither his boss, Bill Clinton, nor the Congress were in any mood to revisit this heavily lobbied federal deregulation law and reconsider the blocked consumer rights.

The rest is unfolding, tragic history. The law abolished the Glass-Steagall Act which separated commercial banking from investment banking. This opened the floodgates for unwise mergers, acquisitions and other unregulated risky financial instruments. Laced with limitless greed, casino capitalism ran wild, tanking economies here and abroad.

One champion of this market fundamentalism was Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve. Last October before a House Committee, Greenspan admitted he was mistaken and expressed astonishment at how corporations could not even safeguard their own self-interest from going over steep speculative cliffs.

Greenspan and Summers were deemed “brilliant” by the press and most of Congress. Summers’ predecessor at Treasury—Robert Rubin—was also a charter member of the Oracles—those larger-than-life men who just knew that the unfettered market and giant financial conglomerates would be the one-stop shopping mart consumers were assumed to be craving.

Now the world knows that these men belong to the “oops oligarchy” that bails itself out while it lets the companies collapse into the handcuffed arms of Uncle Sam and bridled taxpayers who have to pay for unconditional megabailouts. Instead of the Wall Street crooks being convicted and imprisoned, they have fled the jurisdiction with their self-determined compensation. Corporate crime pays, while pensions and mutual fund savings evaporate.
Now comes the next stage of the Washington rescue effort in a variety of stimulus packages which every vendor group imaginable wants a piece of these days. When trillions are offered, many come running.

As the public focus is on how much, when and where all this money should be spent, there are very serious consequences to be foreseen and forestalled. First, consider how much more concentrated corporate power is occurring. Forced or willing mergers, acquisitions and panic takeovers of big banks by bigger banks along with bankruptcies of companies further reduce what is left of quality competition for consumer benefit.

Remember the anti-trust laws. Obama needs to be their champion. The fallout from the Wall Street binge is likely to lead to a country run by an even smaller handful of monopolistic global goliaths.

In the stampede for stimulus legislation, there is a foreboding feeling on Capitol Hill that there is no proposal on the table to pay for it other than by the children and grandchildren. Just the opposite is raining down on them. Everybody including the private equity gamblers, Las Vegas casinos and Hollywood studios along with the banks and auto companies are looking for tax breaks.

So with the economy deteriorating and taxes being cut, where is the enormous money coming from? From borrowing and from printing money. So look out for big time inflation and decline in the dollar’s value vis-à-vis other currencies.

In all the hundreds of pages of stimulus bills, there is nothing that would facilitate the banding together of consumers and investors into strong advocacy groups. We have long proposed Financial Consumer Associations, privately and voluntarily funded through inserts in the monthly statements of financial firms.

If this bailout—stimulus—Wall Street funny money waste, fraud and abuse sounds confusing, that is because it is. A brand new paperback “Why Wall Street Can’t Be Fixed and How to Replace It: Agenda For a New Economy” by long-time corporate critic, David C. Korten will explain some of the wheeling and dealing.

You don’t have to agree with all or many of Korten’s nostrums. Just read Part II—The Case For Eliminating Wall Street. He considers three central questions:

First, do Wall Street Institutions do anything so vital for the national interest that they justify trillions of dollars to save them from the consequences of their own excess?

Second, is it possible that the whole Wall Street edifice is built on an illusion of phantom wealth that carries deadly economic, social, and environmental consequences for the larger society?

Third, are there other ways to provide needed financial services with greater results and at lesser cost?  END.

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Posted in bailouts, phantom wealth, stimulus plan, tax breaks, U.S. National Security | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

10 Biggest Threats to the US National Security

Posted by msrb on October 20, 2008

submitted by a reader

List of 10 Biggest Threats to the US National Security in the past 12 months

The following institutions/states/individuals posed the biggest national security threats to the United States in the past 12 months:

The list is presented in the descending order of severity of the threat to the US national security [worst threat first]

1. Wall Street

[Wall Street refers to the bankers, Zionist operatives, Jewish supporters of Israel, Federal Reserve people, centurions of political economy …] Between them, the cabal rob the American public blind as they hold the nation at ransom for the sake of monetary profit.

2. Big Oil

The Big Oil protects the carbon economy frustrating any move toward sustainable energy [and lifestyle] alternatives.  Anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are responsible for rapid climate change with catastrophic consequences.

3. The State of Israel

Israel dictates the US foreign policy. The US foreign policy, paralyzed by the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the unwinnable wars, have cost the country about $3 trillion. The debt has driven America toward bankruptcy and overshadowed her economy and domestic policies – the most egregious example of the Israeli “tail” wagging the American “dog.”

4. George W. Bush

George W Bush and Company’s disastrous and illegal invasion of Iraq, which was based on pure lies, is driving America to bankruptcy. Under Bush, White House has served solely the interest of Big Business and their lobbyists in Washington against the public interest.

5. The Congress

Neglecting its duty, the Congress and its leaders [awa, GOP and Dems backbone members responsible for nominating candidates] are failing [working against the interest] of the American people. A cheerleader and a rubber stamp for the executive branch, Congress has delegated its war-making powers to the Executive. “The passivity and indifference of Congress and its leaders to their independent and assertive role fit perfectly with the Bush administration’s assertive and protective attitude toward executive power and its aversion to sharing information with Congress and the public.”

Why are 306 million people shackled in the name of democracy by a 2-party political system, both of which are operated by the cabal?

6. Judicial Branch: The United States Supreme Court

See explanation in No. 5 above.

7. The US military

“From the moment the United States assumed the permanent military domination of the world, it was on its own–feared, hated, corrupt and corrupting, maintaining ‘order’ through state terrorism and bribery, and given to megalomaniacal rhetoric and sophistries while virtually inviting the rest of the world to combine against it.” See Sorrows of Empire.

8. The Media

The role of the [corporate] media is one of filtering the news [see Google: A Conspiracy Against the People,] suppressing the truth and desensitizing the populace. Aided and abetted by the media, the above elements are free to act against public interest. See also a criticism of Herman and Chomsky’s “propaganda model.”

9. Toxic Pollution

Toxic pollution of the air, water and soil, erosion of topsoil …  caused by excessive human impact on nature (overproduction, overconsumption …) by way of the exponential growth economy, the bedrock of corporate greed, are driving the ecosystems to imminent collapse. Nearly every single one of the 24 ecosystems, as defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report, are now collapsing. As of End March 2008, the MSRB-CASF Index of Human Impact on Nature (HIoN), an index for calculating the full impact of human consumption and activities on the Earth’s life support systems, stood at a terminally high level of 177.43, a rise of about 3.5 percent over the previous year. In other words, the full human impact including the ecological footprint and the damage inflicted on the living environment by his activities in the 12-month period ending March 2008 was 77.43 percent higher than the load which the planet’s ecosystems in their optimum states [let alone their current, degraded states,] can cope with.

10. Food poisoning agents and spread of diseases

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services whose number one responsibility is that of regulating and supervising the safety of foods and dietary supplements [as well as drugs, vaccines, biological medical products, blood products, medical devices, radiation-emitting devices, veterinary products, and cosmetics] in this country. In February 2009, only after 600 consumers had sickened and 8 others died from suspected salmonella outbreak related to infected peanut butter and peanut paste produced in “glaring unsanitary conditions,” did the agency inspect one of the processing plants responsible for the outbreak. The FDA had not inspected the plant since 2001.

Search also for entries on food poisoning on this blog and at FEWW.

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730 words, 3 links

Posted in big oil, George W. Bush, Israel, supreme court, The Congress | Tagged: , , , , | 28 Comments »

Taxpayers Taken to the Cleaners BIG TIME!

Posted by msrb on October 4, 2008

submitted by a reader

Some More of Other People’s Money [OPM]

As expected, the House sells out to Wall Street

The house signed bailout plan, and so did Mr Bush, probably in record time—just in case someone changed their mind!

In scenes reminiscent of selling the Iraqi invasion to find the illusive WMD, the House readily approved the bailout plan to search and destroy the “Weapons of Monetary Discomfort.”  It took less than 90 minutes for Pelosi to sign and enroll the bill, and for Bush to sign it into law!

Hail to Thee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (center) holds aloft the $700 billion financial bailout bill after signing it. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst. Image may be subject to copyright.

Hailing Democratic and Republican leaders alike, President [sic] Bush said: “We have shown the world that the United States of America will stabilize our financial markets and maintain a leading role in the global economy.” As to why the market found itself in a mess in the first place, he had nothing to say.

Speaking on behalf of probably a lot of Reps., Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), who like many voted for the bill after initially opposing it said: “I may lose my race over this, but that’s OK. Because I believe in my heart I’m doing the right thing.”

Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), referring to “blue dog” fiscal conservatives said: “On Monday I cast a blue dog vote. Today I am casting a red, white and blue vote for this country.” Reiterating his approval for the bailout package, Wamp urged colleagues to “hold your vote over the heart and vote yes.” He then quoted Warren Buffet why the bailout was necessary for the nation: “We don’t have any choice [because] small businesses can’t meet their payrolls. Pension funds are upside down.” However, he didn’t say what the lawmakers should do in the next “meltdown.”

Selling Out Americans to Save America

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), scared out of hits wits for selling out his voters,  has already begun a TV ad campaign in his district proclaiming, “I don’t like this rescue plan any more than you do.” He didn’t say why he disliked the plan, of course, was it some minor tremor, or a major fault line?

Traders pause to watch the House vote on television on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange today in New York City. The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $700-billion bailout of the U.S. financial system. Spencer Platt/Getty Images. Image may be subject to copyright.

The general excuse for voting is pretty much the same across the board. The elected Reps are telling the electorate that they, the electorate, have no idea what’s good for them. And although they, the Reps themselves, don’t like the plan either, they have to agree to it. “I’m not going to stand by and let this crisis undermine our economy and damage the financial future of everyone in America.” Marshall declared.

Hold on a moment, Jim Marshall, if we the electorate don’t like the idea because we believe it’s bad for the economy, and you as our Rep agree that it’s a bad idea, too, then why must you act against our wish and vote for it?

Democratic Suicide on Behalf of America

Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), one of the “hero’s” of the day, who also supported the bill after first opposing it, said “the sky may fall tomorrow, but it will fall upon my head. It won’t fall upon anyone else.”

This is truly the politics of self sacrifice, when the Reps become “democracy suiciders,” by destroying both their political future and the voice of their electorate to, in the words of Jim Marshall, save the “financial future of everyone in America [sic.]”

“Do I still have concerns about how this will affect the free market system? Yes, but  we have to act and we have to act now [because] if we don’t solve these problems [then] America will fail.” Said Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.).

Stealing money from Mr. and Mrs. Jones on Main Street and  giving it to Mr and Mrs Smith on Wall Street

Pelosi, hammering the final nail, said, “While the focus has been on Dow Jones and Wall Street, we are addressing the real pain felt by Mr. and Mrs. Jones on Main Street.” [And the only possible way to help Mr. and Mrs. Jones on Main Street, of course, is by stealing their wallet and purse and  giving it to Mr and Mrs Smith on Wall Street.]

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a letter read by Rep. Lofgren (D-San Jose), warned: “The credit market has already frozen up to the point that it chills even the state of California’s ability to meets its short-term cash flow needs.”  [And we need lots of money for the 2009 wildfires, I must tell you in advance!]

The Miracles of Capitalism

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Visalia), a critic of the bailout extravaganza, warned against Paulson having the power to buy toxic mortgages. “If the secretary wants to run a hedge fund, he should go back to Wall Street,” he said.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), referring to the case of Addie Polk, 90, who shot herself Wednesday as deputies tried to evict her, said: “This bill does nothing for the Addie Polks of the world [because it] fails to address the fact that millions of homeowners are facing foreclosure.”

“[The bill] will take care of Wall Street,” Kucinich said, “but democracy is going down here.”

Related News Links:

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Posted in Democracy Suicider, Democratic Suicider, Dennis Kucinich, Federal Reserve, Kucinich, OPM, Other People's Money, WMD | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Fuel and Food Strikes Flare in South Korea

Posted by msrb on June 16, 2008

Fuel and Food Strikes Spreads to South Korea

About 18,000 operators of construction machinery went on strike in South Korea on Monday demanding cheaper fuel and higher pay, joining thousands of truckers who began their strike last week.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Lee may be forced to resign in the coming weeks.

The strikers are also angry over the policies of the new President Lee Myung-bak, who came to office amid a landslide victory in December, but has since become increasingly unpopular because of a decision to resume imports of U.S. beef.

Protesters chant slogans at a candlelight vigil on a street leading to the U.S. embassy and the presidential Blue House in central Seoul June 10, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won.
Image may be subject to copyright. See PRO Fair Use Notice!

There have been waves of street protest in the recent weeks demanding the government to repeal of the U.S. beef deal. The South Koreans are concerned about the threats of mad cow disease associated with the US beef.

Adding to the pressure, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions is expected to call on its 600,000 members to stage a walkout against Lee’s privatization and pension reform plans, Reuters reported.

The strikes have so far cost Korea $3.5 billion, the commerce ministry said.

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Could Food and Fuel Riots Break Out Across the U.S.?

Posted by msrb on June 13, 2008

Update: More Fuel Strikes Flare Across Europe

Europe Fuel Protests Turn Deadly

Two truck drivers were killed in fuel protests in Spain and Portugal, while a third driver received serious burn in a suspected arson attack.

The imapct of haulers’ strike is now being felt throughout the Spanish and Portuguese economies.

In Spain the country’s 18 car factories are running out of parts and fuel. The car industry accounts for about 5 percent of Spain’s GDP.

As the blockade continues in the European nations, consumers rush to stockpile food and fuel causing severe shortages in some areas.

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If you thought your assets were safe, think again!

Posted by msrb on June 12, 2008

One Day Soon, A Tiny Wall Street Black Hole Will Suck In the Rest of Your Assets!

Original Entry: Black Holes Suck!

The Goal of the Cabal is to Strip YOU of Everything You’ve Got. Then Your Hearts and Minds Will Follow!

Posted in Bush, cabal, China, collapse, Earth, ecosystems, Energy, environment, George W. Bush, government, lifestyle, money, politics, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pinheads in the House: Fanning Oil Chaos

Posted by terres on May 22, 2008

Summited by a member

The pinheads in the House of Reps. make even White House look “smart!”

House passes bill to sue OPEC over oil prices

The House of Representatives voted 324-84 to approve legislation allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for not pumping out enough oil. The White House has reportedly threatened to veto the bill.

“This bill guarantees that oil prices will reflect supply and demand economic rules, instead of wildly speculative and perhaps illegal activities,” said Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, who sponsored the legislation.

Just exactly what are the supply and demand economic rules in a political economy, Rep. Kagen of Wisconsin? I bet you don’t have a single clue what you are talking about.

Uncle Sam: I Want You, Your Oil, ‘n Your Money!

Uncle Sam’s Drinking Habits and the OPEC Dimwits

Lo and behold, the good ol’ lynch mob [the House of Representatives] is out to get someone: The bartender [OPEC], no less!

They are desperate to hang the bartender, not because he had Uncle Sam smashed out of his tiny head by giving him too much to drink; they are lynching him because he refused to serve more of “them devil’s brew” to the usual clientèle who would never leave the bar sober: The runaway economy, the corporations from hell and the rest of the morons who are so addicted to their waste-intensive lifestyles they wouldn’t know their sustainable energy sh*t from Shinola.

Weak dollar and inflation are eating out the heart of the system; the cars are getting thirstier than ever before [and a hell of a lot more of them hit the roads each day;] Mrs Rabbit is breeding too many bunnies, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 even 9 bunnies a throw; the bunnies diets are getting more exotic, they’d no longer settle for carrots; four times as many lambs air-cruise today as they did a decade or so ago; Exxon [Valdeez] Mobil and other oil monsters broke all their previous profit records.

But all of those factors put together couldn’t possibly play more than a minor part in the overall picture. They could probably account for 5-10 percent of the price rise. That’s child’s play when compared to the wholesale fleecing of an entire flock of marsupial boneheads by Wall Street speculators. How do they do it?


The oil price is rising rapidly because of the uncertainty created by the US military presence in the Gulf. The continued occupation of Iraq, the threat of war [true or false] against Iran and Syria [fed by the frenzy created by the free media, trusted journalist prima donna and venerable “ex-CIA” political activists] and the implied warning of a US military takeover in Saudi Arabia, in case their ruling regime loses favor with its own people, are the main drivers for the rapid price rise. [The perils of a possible regional war in South America, waged by US-backed Colombia against Venezuela, and fears of supply disruptions in Nigeria also help increase the uncertainty factor.] Who created the chaos in the first place? The Prez and the Congress, of course! And who is responsible for the rapidly rising oil prices? It is the OPEC, stupid!

Gotta strike while the iron is hot!

Who else can we sue, while the proverbial iron is still hot, Rep. Kagen of Wisconsin? I know, let’s sue the pants off the National Corn Growers Association. Just look at the mess they have created. So what they are producing overcapacity? It’s not enough! Look at price of corn, $6 dollars a bushel and there isn’t nearly enough of it going around to feed the poor. [Stay clear of any absurd argument about the obscene amounts of grains wasted to produce ethanol. Why, don’t you drive a car? Start with the ethanol and you’ll end up in a feedlot looking a red heifer in the eye.]

Uncle Sam Supplying the World with Berry Brothers Hard Oil Finish, chromolithographic print c. 1880.

OPEC: Damned if they do; damned if they don’t!

It’s very difficult to sympathize with some of the OPEC members, for example, Saudi Arabia. But to blame OPEC for the inebriated Uncle Sam’s bladder mishaps goes an extra mile and a half beyond the Reps. standard milestone of hypocrisy.

In the first three months of 2008, the five companies Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell Oil, Chevron and BP America earned $36 billion.

Exxon [Valdeez] Mobil made a profit of $1,504 per second in the first quarter of 2008. That’s stealing an additional 43 cents a day [each and every day] from each US citizen [woman, man and child,] thanks to Wall Street speculators. But even Exxon knows that level of corporate racketeering is unsustainable. That’s the stuff riots are made of.

Do the Reps. dare upset their old paymasters, the oil monsters like Exxon? Of course not. Can they afford to point a finger at Wall Street? Not a chance. Or mess with their own future by saying something stupid like healthy economy, renewable energy, or other scary stuff like that? No way!

The ol’ lynch mob have eyed their “nigga,” and are about to unleash the bloodhounds.

With a bunch of remarkable idiots making moronic queen-of-hearts laws for the greatest flock of sheeple on Earth, is it any wonder the world is teetering precariously on the brink of catastrophe?

What Others Say

[ Updated May 24, 2008 ]

JOAN CLAYBROOK, president of Public Citizen, said: “You are paying sky-high prices at the gas pump because the barons of ‘big oil’ have bushwacked the American people. With the help of major league lobbyists and the high-ranking politicians receptive to them, oil companies are earning enormous profits through a combination of anti-competitive practices — including market manipulation — made even easier by the wave of recent oil company mergers and the government’s outrageously weak regulatory oversight.

“Every time you buy gas, you know you are being price-gouged, but did you know that, for every gallon of gas you buy, you are being charged an extra 70 cents — at least — that is related purely to market speculation and not a function of supply-and-demand? The oil barons not only get away with this, they use their considerable influence to prevent the passage of meaningful fuel economy legislation, further squeezing consumers by ensuring automakers will continue to build gas-guzzling cars.”

Steve Kretzmann, Founder, Oil Change International, said: “In their testimony about high gasoline prices, top oil executives repeatedly ducked questions about gas prices, demanded access to more drilling, and could not tell Senators how much they earn. Not a single suggestion came from the oil executives that will lower gas prices. There’s a reason for that, which is that the only answer is one they don’t want to discuss — an urgent transition to renewable energy.

“We could drill every last inch of Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, and our coasts and it would barely make a dent in supply or prices. Congress needs to stop this political theater and get serious about the transition to renewable forms of energy. So far, they’re continuing to lavish the industry with billions in subsidies, while receiving millions from the industry in campaign contributions.”

Nadine Bloch, field director with Oil Change International, said: today: “I was arrested in the Senate hearing room yesterday for demanding a Separation of Oil and State. We can’t drill our way out of this problem. We need to get Big Oil money out of our Congress.” [Source]

Jeroen van der Veer, CEO, Shell, second largest oil monster in the world, said: “What we say and what we see is there are no physical shortages […] There are no tankers waiting in the Middle East, there are no cars waiting at gasoline stations because they are out of stock. This has to do with psychology in the markets and you cannot forecast psychology.” (Source)

[Update: May 28, 2008 ]

Deborah Fineman [via Ralph Nader,] president of Mitchell Supreme Fuel Co. in Orange, New Jersey: “Energy markets have been dictated for too long by hedge funds and speculators, who artificially manipulate the numbers for their own benefit. The current market isn’t based on the sound principles of supply and demand but it is being rigged by companies and speculators who are jacking up prices for their own greed.”

Harry C. Johnson [via Ralph Nader,] former banker and oil executive said, “some industry experts, who profit greatly from the high price of crude, and have stated openly that the worldwide economic price of crude, absent speculators, would be around $50 to $60 per barrel.

Ralph Nader: “Oil was at $50 a barrel in January 2007, then $75 a barrel in August 2007. Now at $130 or so a barrel, it is clear that oil pricing is speculative activity, having very little to do with physical supply and demand. An essential product—petroleum—is set by speculators operating on rumor, greed, and fear of wild predictions. ”

“A sane government would drop all subsidies and tax loopholes for Big Oil’s huge profits and other fossil fuels and promote a national mission to solarize our economy to achieve major savings from energy conservation technology, retrofitting buildings, and upgrading efficiency standards for motor vehicles, home appliances, industrial engines and electric generating plants.

“Those are the permanent ways to achieve energy independence, reduce our trade deficit, create good jobs that can’t be exported and protect the environmental health of people and nature.

“Those are the reforms and advances that a muscular consumer, worker and small business revolt can focus on in the coming weeks.

“What say you, America?”

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