Thursday, February 12, 2009

Barney And Judy Put On A Show

Remember those old Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies, when they were just kids hanging out in the neighborhood, and they would decide to get all the kids together to "put on a show" as a fundraiser for something.

Well that's kind of what happened yesterday, with Barney Frank (D) Mass. playing the role of Mickey. Lots of singing from a chorus of multi-millionaires who were there to represent "The Bankers," and "Wall Street." They all looked so serious. VERY CONTRITE. Well, not so contrite that they would give back a penny of the money they have stolen from the public. Not that contrite.

Mr. Mack of Morgan Stanley said they were all sorry about all the financial problems in this country. That's a big help. Mr. Pandit of Citicorp promised he would cut his "salary" to $1.00 per year as an act of contrition. Which was a real slap in the face to the public. Here's the thing: every single politician sitting in that room knows that if Mr. Pandit only takes $1.00 in "income," that only means he is taking all of his probably millions of dollars in compensation in the form of stock options, and when he cashes them in he will pay a maximum of 15% capital gains tax, and will pay no income taxes whatsoever. Every single politician sitting in that room understood that Mr. Pandit was sneering at the public because for the most part they don't know anything about this stock option tax con that the insiders use to avoid paying taxes.

None of the politicians bothered to explain to the public that Mr. Pandit was talking about a special law that the Financial Cartels got put into place so that rich people never pay more than 15% tax on their income. And when a few Democrats tried to change that law, Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senator from New York, worked on behalf of his generous friends in the hedge fund industry to make sure their taxes would remain much lower than the taxes paid by your average cab driver or factory worker. The politicians and Wall Street are in bed together, and they cover up for each other.

The bankers and wall street, what I call the "Financial Cartels," more brutal and murderous than the Drug Cartels, have robbed the country blind, stolen many people's pensions and life savings, thrown thousands into foreclosure and out onto the street or to live in their cars, thrown millions out of work, crushed unions, crushed wages, all while drinking champagne and doing lines of coke while their pole-dancing prostitute girlfriends entertained them. Or so it seems to the public. So Barney Frank decided to put on a show for the folks back home.

Remember last fall the Secretary of Goldman Sachs (formerly the Treasury Department), Hank Paulson, went to Congress with a note from Wall Street that said: "Give us all your money or we'll blow the country up." When the citizens heard this they were outraged, and called, and wrote, and e-mailed their representatives and senators with one message: NO BAILOUT. But congress ignored the citizens and gave Wall Street the bailout, $350 Billion dollars of the citizen's money. Why did Congress give Wall Street the money? Because Wall Street owns Congress. They pay bribes and kick-backs to all the politicians in order to get Congress to do exactly what Wall Street wants. And what they want is all the money. And now they've got it.
The public is in a slowly simmering rage over what has happened. And many are demanding a special prosecutor be appointed to work independently of Congress, to report to a citizen's group, to investigate financial crimes, to prosecute and imprison those found guilty, including anyone on Wall Street, in the Financial Cartels, and in Congress. Wall Street could never have gotten away with looting our country and destroying our economy without the willing and devoted assistance of Congress, and we need Senators and Representatives sitting in Attica. And we need to attach assets and put them into a public fund. For example, Mrs. Madoff withdrew $15 million right before the fit hit the shan: why doesn't the government go and take that money back. And if the Mrs. claims she can't remember where she put it, throw her in jail until her memory is restored.

The public is angry. Not just at Wall Street but also at Congress. They are particularly angry over the $350 Billion Bail-Out last fall. So what does Congress do to try to cover up their own complicity? Well first they have some guy come out earlier this week with a Twilight Zone level story claiming that if Congress had not given the money to Wall Street, the entire world would have been destroyed. That is absurd and completely baseless.

Remember, Wall Street took the $350 Billion Bail-Out money and immediately paid themselves Eighteen Billion Dollars in bonuses, but did not put the money back into our economy. They didn't have to, because Congress did not attach any strings to the money. Congress to Wall Street: Here my friend, take the $350 Billion, use it in good health. Why didn't Barney ask the oh-so-contrite boys in the band to pay that money back immediately to the public? Come on Barney. If you really want to put on a show, why not add some drama by demanding these people pay back the Eighteen Billion Dollar Bonuses?

Every penny paid to every politician in the past 8 years from any bank, investment, hedge fund, private equity, wall street, and the lawyers who work for them, should be paid into a public fund. It's all corrupt money and the politicians should be ordered to disgorge. Which Barney Frank himself recently described as a fancy word for meaning "Give the money back."

So Barney and Judy put on a show yesterday, for the folks, to fool us. And all the big boys from the Financial Cartels showed up. And the politicians said mean things and acted shocked, and the Wall Street Boys acted contrite.

Here's the problem. They didn't mean it. It's just a show intended to divert the public. Don't be fooled.

Barney Frank, populist extraordinaire, he's going to take on these crooks, right?

Problem is, Barney Frank takes money from these Financial Cartel people. In fact, they are his biggest fans, they're the ones who give him the most money so he can keep winning elections. Which makes sense because he's in charge of the House Financial Services Committee. He's supposed to be the cop, but he's taking money.

From, Barney Frank's fundraising 2007-2008, reported December 2008, shows the top 5 industries giving him money are as follows: (1) Securities and Investment $224,000; (2) Real Estate $219,851; (3) Insurance $199,548; (4) Lawyers/Law Firms $185,728; (5) commercial banks $114,700.

The top five donors are Brown Brothers Harriman & Co (a bank); Manulife Financial; Royal Bank of Scotland; Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu; and Bank of America: aka the Financial Cartels.

So Barney and Judy's show was just that: a circus designed to distract the public from their demand for prosecutions, seizure of assets, and prison for the guilty. All we really want, Barney, is a rear view shot of the financial criminals and the politicians who have taken bribes, looking like this:

No more shows. We need an independent special prosecutor appointed who will report only to a special citizens group, not to anyone in Congress because they are implicated in the actions which have bankrupt many of our states and nearly bankrupt our country. We need indictments, prosecutions, and prison for the guilty. We needs assets seized and turned over to a public fund. And we need public televised hearings to expose the crimes and the criminals.

New York Times article on Barney and Judy's Big Show:

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