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The Decriminalization of Corporate Crime

Posted on Mar 29, 2008
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AP photo / Reed Saxon

By Stanley Kutler

With our economic and financial crises deepening, government insiders reportedly are debating whether we need to restore some regulation—or not. Given the state of things, we can expect further woes and no regulation.

Why have regulation when JPMorgan can gobble up Bear Stearns for peanuts, with the backstage encouragement and acquiescence of the Federal Reserve Board? The Fed’s concern for the big investors is no surprise, and it needed no cue from John McCain to reject any thoughts of helping the victims of the banks’ sting operations. Meanwhile, JPMorgan has offered bonuses to Bears Stearns’ top brokers to stay on, though many of them are probably responsible for the subprime loans Bear Stearns so aggressively pursued.

George W. Bush and his cohorts have quietly dismantled more than a century of regulatory history—and good history at that. If we truly are to have “change” in Washington, the “changers” must begin by restoring those proven, efficient and protective elements of the regulatory state.

Last week also brought news of a “passport scandal,” and it reflects the other side of the Bush administration’s coin of the realm. Accounts of the incidents consistently say that the perps involved were “contractors.”

Not until later did we learn the names of several District of Columbia-area State Department private contractors in the case, and the information reflects the exponential explosiveness of private contract work in the public sector.

Perhaps the unauthorized scrounging around in the passport files is merely an instance of mischievous political elves and fairies anxiously seeking to expose controversy. Imagine an Ann Coulter acolyte: “Let’s riffle through Obama’s files.” Or a Rush Limbaugh Dittohead: “Let’s find the dirt on Hillary, and don’t forget McCain.” That is the benign view. Just as likely, they were planted political apparatchiks—who probably never heard the word—deliberately deputized to seek out political “intelligence.” Here we have private “contractors” working for the State Department in a sensitive area. Why not? The Bush administration has substituted a vigorous program of “privatization” to both replace and expand government programs. Top-secret security clearances are routinely granted to private companies that now do “analyses,” “reviews” and “critical studies” for the Pentagon or the CIA.

We are now familiar with DynCorp International and Blackwater USA and their operations as a private, free-booting, unaccountable arm of government. We talk of a “surge” to provide security within Iraq, but it is clear that the security will be maintained by Blackwater and others to shore up an undermanned, overworked American military. The last eight years have profoundly altered the nature of government operations. Coincidentally, with the passport news we learn that the State Department’s use of private contractors has grown on an immense scale.

Much of that has been for Iraq operations for which the State Department maintains oversight functions, though not too well as it turns out. The State Department has created the Office of the Procurement Executive. Its Web site, written in advanced bureaucratese, portrays itself as the facilitator, not the auditor, for all dealings with private contractors—without mentioning them, however. Its self-proclaimed mission is “to ensure the timely delivery of quality goods and services that directly results in creating a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community.” Enter the keepers of passport files in this Brave New World.

Privatization is a prevailing creed for this administration. It readily takes credit for “limiting” the growth of government by freezing or depleting the mandated bureaucracy, but at the same time it provides boundless largess to the private sector. Meanwhile, less than sensational stories expose the myth that privatization is a cost-saving venture. A new report of Pentagon auditors found excessive reliance on outside contractors, who often cost more. Last year, the Defense Department spent $158.3 billion on services, a 76 percent increase over the past decade. Buried in that report was the observation that private contractors assume unintended responsibilities.

The dismantling of government programs and regulation with the concurrent growth in privatization goes beyond the present regime. The Bush administration merely has implemented a radical extension of a process long under way. For 30 years, so-called centrist Democrats, anxious to shed any scarlet mark of liberalism, have eagerly sought consensus and accommodation with conservatives, largely by adopting their creed of small, cheap government—government that would fuel the private sector. Thus the seduction of “deregulation” and the accompanying creed of “privatization.” How and why they abandoned a faith that had served them and the nation so well and for so long is a mystery.

The irony is that the failures and crimes of Richard Nixon so discredited, so debilitated the ideology of their opponents. Anyway, the result has been the prominence of the Democratic Leadership Council, the crippling compromises of the Clinton administration, and the spectacle of Good Old Joe Lieberman accompanying John McCain on his foreign tour—as what, vice president in waiting? Secretary of state-designate? Sancho Panza?

We always have recognized the place of the “Fourth Branch” of government—meaning the plethora of alphabet-soup agencies with an admixture of executive, legislative and judicial functions, which exist largely to regulate the economy. Now, it appears, 20th century political science is mostly consigned to the dustbin of history. As always, “reform” and “change” have had their unexpected consequences.

The unwarranted search of private passport files raises important issues for the future of government and our familiar constitutional order.  Juvenal’s timeless conundrum will not go away: Quis custodet ipsos custodes?—Who will guard these self-same guardians? What is the future of all this privatization? Will we insist on the accountability—the checking and the balancing—which has been the hallmark of our constitutional system? Or will we continue the administration’s weapon of choice: a blanket policy of legal immunization, such as is enjoyed by Blackwater?

Stanley Kutler is the author of “The Queendom of Passports,” in his “The American Inquisition: Cold War Political Trials.”

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By Jane, April 8, 2008 at 8:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What happened to Donald Rumsfeld, the glue that held all this together. I guess when you put these operatives (the Republican kind)in the White House and in all branches of the federales, who care about a few sacrificial lambs.

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By Jane, April 5, 2008 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I COULDN’T FIND the unindicted co-conspirator from the watergate mess, Robert Bennett, now the senator from Utah of the Senate Aproppriations committee?

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By jane, April 4, 2008 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you have AT&T;wireless, check your bills and receipts . They may be proofs of corporate fraud. Do we need libertarians at at time like this (Ron Paul the new darling of the far right)

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By Mark, April 3, 2008 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is the fed itself that caused the problems by supporting, even promoting derivatives and other exotic investments. The investment banks, conduits, etc. screamed for more paper, and took anything the mortgage industry could give them. Liar’s loans were not a secret. Everyone knew what was going on.

The Fed needs to be fully renationalized (run from and by Congress). Regardless of whose fault the problem is, the taxpayer is going to foot the bill to fix it. So we may as well go back the the constitutional formula and give the taxpayer (through representation) oversight of the process while it happens, not only after it crashes and he/she must open the wallet.

See a proposal at http://www.TakeBackTheFed.com.

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By cyrena, April 2, 2008 at 3:48 am Link to this comment

^same difference.

This is off-topic, (or maybe not) but I simply couldn’t resist.
Presumably this is the HUD guy..eh?

Check out the very first sentence. I had to laugh out loud.

Top US Housing Official Resigns
  By Rachel L. Swarns
  The New York Tmes
  Monday 31 March 2008

  ” Washington - Housing secretary Alphonso R. Jackson resigned on Monday, saying that he needed to devote more time to his family. The announcement came as federal authorities were investigating whether he had given lucrative housing contracts in the Virgin Islands and New Orleans to friends.

  His resignation, effective April 18, also comes as the Bush administration is increasingly relying on the department’s Federal Housing Administration to help stanch the widening foreclosures.

  In recent weeks, Mr. Jackson had faced mounting pressure to leave his post. The FBI has interviewed several of his employees, and two senior Democratic senators called on him to resign, saying the allegations of wrongdoing had undermined his leadership. Lawmakers have also raised concerns about accusations that Mr. Jackson had threatened to withdraw federal aid from the Philadelphia Housing Authority after its president refused to turn over a $2 million property to a politically connected developer.”

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/033108T.shtml

So does anyone (other than me) presume that this ‘resigned to devote more time to the family’ thing much be a template in the collections of all 21st Century US journalists?

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By cyrena, April 1, 2008 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Margaret

“...An old cree proverb, when you posion the last river, when you have caught your last fish, can you eat money?...”

As usual, the old Cree proverb says it all, and asks the most important questions. Been saying as much myself, if only quoting from the same Elders.

Can we eat the bombs, or the bullets? Can we eat the money that comes from selling destruction?

Nope.

Speaking of which..I just read an article on how (and why) our food supply such decline. (besides the obvious poisoning that you mention).

Unbeknownst to me, (and many Americans I’m sure) a huge portion of our farms and the lands used to grow our food have been taken over to supply ‘bio fuels’. It’s just that these are not ‘fuels’ in the form of what people/humans need to eat to survive.

CORN (for the purposes of feeding PEOPLE) is now becoming more and more inaccessible, -for HUMAN consumption-. Imagine..corn.

Yep, the article suggests that it could very likely be subjected to rationing, since it is being grown and used primarily to provide energy, and as an alternative to gasoline and other petroleum based energy sources.

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By felicity, April 1, 2008 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

How about this for greed.  Wal-Mart recently claimed the lion’s share of a paralyzed, perhaps brain-dead, employee’s one million dollar settlement from an auto accident.  Wal-Mart argued that she was on their health-insurance plan which gave them the right to part of the settlement - legitimate as per/the contract.  By the time the lawyer’s fees were paid, the settlement awarded her was at zero. 

The anecdote epitomizes Gandhi’s ‘business without morality.’

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By JOHN L. OPPERMAN, April 1, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kutler ‘believes’ says the regulatory system was GOOD…but it only tended to save the financial system from itself, never the public from the vultures.
Never.
Capitalism has only continued on its’ logical path, that is to complete and total glutony that quite abruptly bursts its’ guts all over everone.

~old74

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By jackpine savage, April 1, 2008 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

It all gets summed up in two words: limited liability.

Should everyone who owns stock in the shady corporations be punished, or just the executives?

Obviously, the small shareholders of Bears & Stearns, etc. aren’t going to be bailed out with government funds.

This has been coming to a head for a long time, it isn’t just the Bush administration…though they are the worst yet, by a mile.

But i do find it odd that not so many people were nearly so worried when the market was roaring and anyone could get a giant mortgage. (some were, but they were voices from the wilderness)

We thought that we could get rich from doing nothing; we thought that we had escaped from the business cycle; we thought wrong.

75M people will start retiring in three years.  The GAO knows we can’t afford to pay out their entitlements.  The money they invested may, or may not, be there to provide a comfortable retirement.  The home equity they banked probably won’t be there.  And the money they do have won’t go as far as they thought it would.

Who’s going to pick up the pieces?

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By BlueEagle, April 1, 2008 at 2:09 am Link to this comment

The Fed, a private cartel, is in partnership with the US Govt. The IRS are like the foot soldiers for the cartel. Pay your bribe (aka taxes) or suffer the consequences. There is a reason IRS agents carry guns. If you want to learn more I recommend the book: The Creature from Jekyll Island : A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin and Google “An Idea Whose Time Has Come”

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By cyrena, March 31, 2008 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Here’s more. Some of the CORE members of this ‘home grown’ terrorist organization are left over from the Regan and the GHW Bush admins, as well as the Junior Shrub admin. Note the openly advocated policy/ideology….

TOTAL GLOBAL MILITARY DOMINATION.


Project for the New American Century

•  “The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a neo-conservative think tank with strong ties to the American Enterprise Institute. PNAC’s web site says it was “established in the spring of 1997” as “a non-profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership.”

•  “PNAC’s policy document, “Rebuilding America’s Defences,” openly advocates for total global military domination. Many PNAC members hold highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration.”

The Project is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project (501c3).

  1 History
  2 Key Positions
  3 Personnel 3.1 Original 25 signatories were:
  3.2 Leadership
  3.3 Other PNAC members (Updated June 2007) 3.3.1 Non-overlapping signatories to a January 28, 2005, letter to Congress…”

It’s long, (12 pages) but can be accessed here.


http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

Note this latest phase of the “Project” (around for over a decade now) was actually put together in the years of the Clinton Admin, when they’d basically been forced out of the Oval Office, and had to at least ‘appear’ to cool their heels.

Except that they didn’t. (cool their heels that is). Rather, they got their terror organization together under the auspices of the PNAC, and goals for “American Global ‘LEADERSHIP’”. (now there’s a real benign word for global terror.)

And of course Richard B. Cheney ‘acquired’ Halliburton during the same period (now the largest energy services provider in the world, though it wasn’t worth much at the time). KBR and hundreds of others were added to the configuration, (and of course KBR was on the spot for the 2nd Iraq Attack even before the troops got there) so it’s all worked out as they planned. They and their ‘contractors’ have taken over the government, and since they also have them doing the work of the military (Blackwater et al) the GLOBAL MILITARY DOMINATION part is in the works as well.

Yep. Lots of the same characters.

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By cyrena, March 31, 2008 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Villege Elder, there are a few here from pappy’s admin as well.

The chief architect of destruction though, has been around for ALL of them. He’s like the longest running cancer.
—————

The George Herbert Walker Bush administration . . .

The following members of the first Bush administration, according to RightWeb, are also known to be members of the *Project for the New American Century*:[1]

William J. Bennett, Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy

**John R. Bolton, State Dept, Justice, and USAID - various staff positions

*Stephen Cambone, Director, Strategic Defense Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense

***Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense

*Eliot Cohen, Policy Planning Staff for Secretary of Defense

Seth Cropsey, Principal Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict

Paula Dobriansky, Associate Director, Bureau of Policy and Programs, USIA

Francis Fukuyama, Policy Planning Staff for Department of State

*Zalmay Khalilzad, Asst. Deputy Under Secretary of Def. for Policy Planning (under Paul Wolfowitz)

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (85-93); Defense Policy Board (85-93); Chair, Secretary of Defense Commission on Fail Safe and Risk Reduction

*William Kristol, Aide to Vice President

*I. Lewis Libby, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Resources; Coauthor with Wolfowitz of Defense Planning Guidance, 1992

J. Danforth Quayle, Vice President

Peter W. Rodman, Special Asst. to President on National Security Affairs (86-90); National Security Council (87-90)

Henry S. Rowen, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (89-91)

William Schneider, Jr., President’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control & Disarmament, Chairman (87-93)

Henry Sokolski, DoD Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy

*Paul Dundes Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (89-93); Coauthor of Defense Policy Guidance, 1992

R. James Woolsey, Jr., US Rep. to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (83-83)

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By VillageElder, March 31, 2008 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

Folks the neocons feature the players from Iraq Contra without Ollie North (Stan and Ollie where are you?)  the same ship of fools is driving the empire’s economy into the ground.  It worked so well with Reagan why doesn’t it work with the little Bush?

It is class warfare—they started it and they are winning.  Wake Up!

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By VillageElder, March 31, 2008 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

Mercantilism has been gone for a long time.  This IS NOT a free (0laissez-faire) or market economy.  This is a REGULATED economy which benefits the corporation not the consumer/working class.  The free market capitalism story is only for those sucking a crack pipe!

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By VillageElder, March 31, 2008 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment

Damn if you didn’t nail it.

The latest call is to streamline regulation to protect us.  Which means to reward the corporatists with tax money from the working class.  Ain’t fascism wunderful?

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By Margaret Currey, March 31, 2008 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I remember Ragan saying the country needed smaller government, well this is what smaller government has come to.

Get rid of the lobbyiest who seem to make their own laws, I find it amazing that those who invest do not pay taxes on their win, but the honest worker has to pay taxes, its like those who don’t work for their money don’t have to pay taxes when they win and those who work have to pay, it is like civilizations past who look down on the farmers, if it were not for the workers who would eat?

An old cree proverb, when you posion the last river, when you have caught your last fish, can you eat money?

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By Louise, March 31, 2008 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

You know what’s really strange?

People who have no investments in stock, no IRA, no 401K and practically nothing in savings watch the Stock Market report every night like it’s going to help them!

If they would just follow the bouncing ball, and figure out who it is helping. Then maybe they’d understand the ones who get helped, are usually doing so at the expense of the ones who get hurt.
Wal-Mart stands as an excellent example of that kind of help!

I think there’s one other problem these folks who faithfully follow the report every night have.
And that would be their conception of Capitalism.

Seems a lot of confused folks believe Capitalism IS Democracy ... and visa-versa ...

Not!

So it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Bush’s idea of regulation and reform means regulate and reform the consumers ... again. And bail out the corporate criminals ... again. Just like daddy did when he “solved” the S&L;crisis!

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of
state and corporate power.”
Benito Mussolini

“The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure
without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business
without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice:”
Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi

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By msgmi, March 31, 2008 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wall Street rules the market and the thousands of lobbyists have a proxy government in the palm of their hands. The financial sector which enabled and abetted the ENRON scam never were touched by the courts. I venture to bet that the GW sycophants working on the new regs will in their ‘wisdom’ open a new scam highway to enable the dark side of the con-marketeers to prosper.

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By cyrena, March 31, 2008 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the excellent post Jaman.
If you want to take the law back even further, to see how the Constitution first allowed for the economy to be based on this ‘privatization’, have a look at the original Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, and then the response to the weakening of that Act which resulted in the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which of course eventually created a Constitutional crises, (because it WAS based on capitalism/personal property law) and so was eventually overturned with the 14th Amendment.
So in reality, the beginnings of the capitalism go even further back. Like…to the beginning, and the Slave Trade was the original ‘corporation’. Even after the outlawing of the ‘industry’ itself though, the US economy grew only as a result of continued slavery.

The stuff below if from Wikipedia, just because it’s quick. I don’t rely on it for a full source analysis though. You’d have to go to the original documents for that.
———-
“The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slaveholding interests and Northern Free-Soilers. This was one of the most controversial acts of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of a ‘slave power conspiracy’.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was a Federal law which was written with the intention of enforcing a section of the United States Constitution that required the return of runaway slaves. It sought to force the authorities in free states to return fugitive slaves to their masters. In practice, however, the law was rarely enforced because the northern states were against slavery. It was later found to be unconstitutional. The act protected property rights of white slave-owners while violating the rights of the individuals who had been enslaved by an unjust system.

Some Northern states passed “personal liberty laws”, mandating a jury trial before alleged fugitive slaves could be moved. Otherwise, they feared free blacks could be kidnapped into slavery. Other states forbade the use of local jails or the assistance of state officials in the arrest or return of such fugitives. In some cases, juries simply refused to convict individuals who had been indicted under the Federal law. Moreover, locals in some areas actively fought attempts to seize fugitives and return them to the South.

The Missouri Supreme Court routinely held that transportation of slaves into free states automatically made them free. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), that states did not have to proffer aid in the hunting or recapture of slaves, greatly weakening the law of 1793.

New law

In the response to the weakening of the original fugitive slave act, the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made any Federal marshal or other official who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave liable to a fine of $1,000. Law-enforcement officials everywhere now had a duty to arrest anyone suspected of being a runaway slave on no more evidence than a claimant’s sworn testimony of ownership. The suspected slave could not ask for a jury trial or testify on his or her own behalf. In addition, any person aiding a runaway slave by providing food or shelter was subject to six months’ imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Officers who captured a fugitive slave were entitled to a bonus for their work. Slave owners only needed to supply an affidavit to a Federal marshal to capture an escaped slave. Since any suspected slave was not eligible for a trial this led to many free blacks being conscripted into slavery as they had no rights in court and could not defend themselves against accusations.”

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By cyrena, March 31, 2008 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

Louise,

Thanks for this. I never knew this from Congressman McFadden.

Where does the IRS fit in? Are they a contracted bill collector for the FED?

I mean, I know that they ostensibly operate under the Treasury Department, but I also know that they contract out all of the IRS stuff now, to private collection agencies.

That’s why I’m curious.

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By cyrena, March 31, 2008 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

This is exactly the bottom line GW. That’s what they’ve been working at for 8 long years. Having us crawling over each other like rats.

In short formula, they’ve got 90% of us fighting over 10% of the resources, and they’ve got the other 90% of the resources locked up in their own vaults, controlled by less than 10% of them.

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By cyrena, March 31, 2008 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

“...It is always much easier to rearrange the playing field in times of crisis and chaos, especially if you own the bat and ball….”

And even easier when the crisis and chaos has been VERY DELIBERATELY CREATED by the SAME bat and ball.

I know I’ve said it before, and it’s become a mantra, but my continuing education tells us that CHAOS and INSTABILITY is what allows fascits and similar totalitarian regimes to take control to begin with.

And, the instability MUST be maintained in order for them to continue the control. Any sign of stability weakens it.

Here again, Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” is very illustrative of the phenomena as it exists now, but there are all the shades of the same fascism of the former Nazi and Communist regimes. At least that’s what it’s moved to since The Coup of 2000.

Before that, the Privatization with a capital “P” had long begun to do its insidious damage. The corps began that as early as the early 80’s, so it was only a matter of minutes before they were able to ‘contract out’ the Feds as well, as soon as the thugs installed themselves.

I can’t honestly think of any federal agency or other entity that has not been taken over by the privates in the past 8 years.

Contractor workers at the State Department should have been the latest and scariest clue yet, to the hijacking that took place back in 2000.

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By felicity, March 31, 2008 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Most people out here don’t pay much attention to the dealings of Wall Street with their fancy numbers and their hold on policy makers in Washington.

But people out here know when they’re living day to day in fear of not being able to survive a family emergency, a major illness, the loss of a job…

Comparing the minimum wage in the early sixties with the cost of living at the time, today’s minimum wage should be $21/hour.  People are losing ground and they need to know why.

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By amunaor, March 31, 2008 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

These folks will once again demonstrate their sinister ingenuity to rally the masses around a psychological crisis, the Reichstag burning of a monetary collapse. Then, by magic of flowery oratory, provide a sweeping solution that will not so much relieve the pain within the clamoring chaos of the public, but instead flow into the hands of power, a tighter grip, to those who offer the poisoned pill solution.

How do you suppose the public was convinced that it was in need of a centralized banking system, the Federal Reserve?

It is always much easier to rearrange the playing field in times of crisis and chaos, especially if you own the bat and ball.

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By Margaret Curry, March 31, 2008 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As McCain said let the promlem sort itself out.

Diabold’s mock up election has the next president of the United States McCain, I just hope this is not true, the only thing he can talk about is the war, anything else is continuation of the Bush/Chaney Administration.

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By BlueEagle, March 31, 2008 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Louise - you seem to get a lot of things right. I especially liked your post at 12:44. The one jump you haven’t made yet is that Republicans and Democrats are two heads of the same snake. The snake is controlled by the Fed and the Fed is controlled by the banksters - Rockefeller, Rothschild, Morgan, Schiff, Warburg, and others. America hasn’t been a Constitutional Republic since 1913. Ever since we have lived in a oligarchy.

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By omop, March 31, 2008 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Its time for the 300 million American to demand that their financial and banking sectors be subject to the 3 branches of government that makes up the legal foundation of this society.

The Fereal Reserve needs to be disbanded. Its activities should be put within the Department of the Treasury of the USA.

The call by Hillary to bring up Alan Greenspan and have him head commission to fix what he originally contributed in creating is as hysterical as the alleged bevey of bullets that she was greeted with in Serbia.

Postponing the inevitable and judicioulsy needed reforms can only be of benefit to continued criminality in the Corporate community.  An important and glaring deficiency in the present system are the following facts. A cakewalk that was sold by neocons as a pay as you go enterprise is at present a debit on the Government’s books of about an estimated $1.5 to $ 3.0 trillion dollars.

The result as seen in middle America is everyone is pointing at every one else and in that environment the only benefiaries are the criminals.

  As a non expert economist my opinions are based on noting that other nations do not seem to have that high a criminality standing in their corporate community.

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By GW=MCHammered, March 30, 2008 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SOBs want us crawling over each other like rats. But never forget where the blue (blood) cheese is.

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By Guitarsandmore805, March 30, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

John McCain participated in the stupid pyramid scam that became the Savings and Loan scandal (Keating Five) and ruined the lives of many unwary investors.  Don’t look to him to provide any answers to this latest dilemma because he doesn’t have a clue. By his own admission economics is not his strong suit.

We have already seen the problems that have developed because international politics and the military were not Bush’s strong suits.  Come to think of it, Bush doesn’t seem to have a strong suit. Its going to take a Democrat who thinks like FDR to clean up this mess.

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By Guitarsandmore805, March 30, 2008 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment

Corporations want to be treated like private citizens under the law with the same advantages but none of the restrictions. They want it both ways and I think we should stick it to them both ways coming and going. What regulation really means is enforcing the law the way it was written.  No one told the lending institutions they were free to rip off the consumers or to create contracts they knew were destined to failure and foreclosure.

The desire to keep the real estate bubble going was just wishful thinking on all those naïve enough to delude themselves into thinking home purchases were some sort of vehicle to riches and fame. Late night con artists and TV hucksters are always coming on with get rich quick scams but bankers are supposed to know better. Mortgage companies need to be held accountable to the American people for their actions.  I say long prison terms for all corporate executives.

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By Blackspeare, March 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Everybody’s railing against the system——what’s the problem?  In a true free market, aggressive capitalistic economy there is no such thing as “corporate crime.”  Such an economy operates under the principle of “caveat emptor” and that applies to boards of directors, share-holders as well as the rank and file consumers.

True Republicans as Bush and his ilk are laissez-faire market people who strive to create a regulation free environment.  And if some people get hurt too bad you should have known better, that is unless you’re an entity that can cause a negative cash flow chain reaction and then a bail out is needed to stop the bleeding.  The whole idea is to make lots of money very quickly and leave before it’s time to pay the piper.

On paper such an economy should work assuming competition is at play.  However, eventually monopolies and price-fixing alliances are formed that skew the system.  It works for awhile and then the Democrats take over!

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By desertdude, March 30, 2008 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

You bet it is and that is to people that screwed up
their company. In steps uncle Sam to the tune of $200billion. Oh but you can’t have welfare for a single mom. Now we know where the Gov’ts priorities
are in the pockets of the rich.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, March 30, 2008 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Alright, then, “Buffettburg.” “Buffettton.” Buffetapolis.”  “Buffettbend.”

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By Louise, March 30, 2008 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

An educated population is a politician’s
worst nightmare.

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/135.html

One of the last things John F. Kennedy did before he was assassinated was declare his intention to reform the central banking system of the United States.

No connection between these two events?

Congressman Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee from 1927-33, opposed the Federal Reserve System. There were three reported attempts on his life before he finally died of “heart failure.”

Here’s what he said about the Federal Reserve from the floor of Congress:

“Mr. Chairman, we have in this Country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks, hereinafter called the Fed.

The Fed has cheated the Government of these United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the Nation’s debt. The depredations and iniquities of the Fed has cost enough money to pay the National debt several times over.

This evil institution has impoverished and ruined the people of these United States, has bankrupted itself, and has practically bankrupted our Government. It has done this through the defects of the law under which it operates, through the mal-administration of that law by the Fed and through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.”

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By jimmyjam, March 30, 2008 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

It. might work , but Jimmy Buffet has already trademarked the rights to Buffetville,after all he is Warrens cousin

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, March 30, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Come On If a citizens ‘faile to pay their income tax’ All our assests are frozen then Seized. why is this not also the Procedure for Corps. they have no Constitution written for them - they have no Rights- they Are entities with greedy little men at the helm.
this Scam has gone on for nearly a Century- When the Gv’t hired th ePrivate Banking Firm called the ‘Federal Reserve’ and their Muscle the IRS!
There should be no Personl Income Tax on labor (bartered for Wage) Only Profits made during a commodity exchange- Retail Sales!
teh Federral Reserve is as much a Conflict of Interest as leaving a Fox to guard a Hen House. This is last Centuries corruption. both these BS groups need to be outed, and the Damn US Treasury need to start doing it’s JOB!

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By Jaman Jman, March 30, 2008 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1886 arguably set the stage for the full-scale development of the culture of capitalism, by handing to corporations the right to use their economic power in a way they never had before. Relying on the Fourteenth Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1868 to protect the rights of freed slaves, the Court ruled that a private corporation is a natural person under the U.S. Constitution, and consequently has the same rights and protection extended to persons by the Bill of Rights, including the right to free speech. Thus corporations were given the same “rights” to influence the government in their own interests as were extended to individual citizens, paving the way for corporations to use their wealth to dominate public thought and discourse.

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By eljenkins, March 30, 2008 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

I appreciate Mr Kutler’s argument against privatization as inherently corrupt and expensive and not clearly better done than government work.  However he glossed over too quickly the bit about deregulation of our financial sector.  That was also the only part of his piece that did NOT have links or references to exactly which regulations and rules Bush and cohorts dismantled.  Come on, Kutler, back up what you say…

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By Marie Szczach, March 30, 2008 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Now, it appears, 20th century political science is mostly consigned to the dustbin of history. As always, “reform” and “change” have had their unexpected consequences.”

Transferring wealth from the bottom to the top… privatizing profits and but socializing the business risks… these consequences are not unexpected.  They are exactly what the deregulation crowd wanted!

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By Dave Minneapolis, March 30, 2008 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Too much government is RIGHT.  Too much of this government to be exact. 

One point makes me feel better - the fact that one day all the money that has been made/stolen by those in DC wont help them at all as they lay on their deathbed.

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By G.Anderson, March 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

What is happening is just a continuation of the Neo Con politics, under George W. Bush, of robbing America blind.

There is not doubt in my mind, that what ever opportunties are created for reform from the economic disaster they created, will be used to continue that theft.

Of course, the wont’ say that, the bills they introduce will have, comforting humanitarian names, like the Family Home Protection act, but what will be hidden underneath those bills will be more larceny, and more coruption, and most importantly give-away’s to the corporate crooks, there will be more free money to them, and less government oversight.

Why would anyone in their right mind want the same bunch of crooks who created this mess, to be entrusted with the power to reform things?

They’ve spent the last, almost 8 years, getting rid of every government regulation and agency that stood in their way.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, March 29, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

The solution is simple:  Get a hundred billion or so from Buffett, in exchange for which we change the name of Washington, D.C. to Buffettville.

Get another couple hundred billion from Bill Gates and change the name of America to Gatesola.

This government cannot, I repeat, cannot think outside the box.  They’ve got to push the envelope.

Get a few hundred billion from General Motors and Petraeus, in an selfless act of patriotism, changes his name to General Motors and gives the money to the government.

Exxon Mobil?  Few hundred billion and every interstate exit becomes an exxon as in Exxon 49, Pittsburgh.  This government has NO imagination.

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By weather, March 29, 2008 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

State’s evidence over to criminals and little Chucky Schumer get’s a woody.

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By DennisD, March 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are 35,000+ lobbyists in this country bribing public officials on a daily basis to make sure corporate crime remains legal.

Everything is legal when the corporations write the laws. Until the money is removed from politics and government it won’t change.

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By Louise, March 29, 2008 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

So just in case there’s still a handful of republican conservatives out there scratching their heads and trying to figure out how this mess got started. I suggest you think, and re-think the mantra you have all so eagerly gobbled up.

“The problem is too much government.”

We can lay that bit of wisdom on Reagan’s doorstep. But lest we be seen as unfair, a good bit of it can be given to the two Bushes and that guy named Ford. And that other guy named Nixon. And skip over to pre-Great Depression era and pick a name.

Any name.

Safe to say, if it’s a president, and he’s telling you how the problem is too much government, there’s a good chance it’s a republican.

Well, the dummies bought it, hook line and sinker ... again. And they finally had their hearts desire fulfilled. It aint the government anymore. Nope its the governments answer to too much government.

Too many private contracts. Too many fat cats with lots of money and virtually no conscience. Too much greed and muck and TOO MANY REPUBLICANS!

Now lets look at the other side of that coin called too much government. The favorite argument has been shrinking government will reduce taxes, waste and spending.

OK, go ahead and have a good laugh, I’ll wait ...

So here we are. We function on borrowed money, which will have to be paid back. Probably by our grandkids who will be taxed to death. But maybe not. If no-one steps up to stop these madmen who run our government soon, the loans will be recalled. And there’s no money to repay them. Worse yet, those who loan now, will stop. What’s the republicans gonna do then? Borrow from God?

Our treasury has been drained. The republicans cant keep their hands out of, or their minds off of the one untouchable ... Social Security. So it’s just a matter of time before that stops coming. Meanwhile they have decided we all need better TV, forcing us all to buy and spend for something most of us cant afford to buy, even if we had the money to spend.

And our kids die. And our vets sleep on the street. And probably a good hunk of the middle class will soon join them. And who’s going to take care of the handicapped and the vets, and the old folks then?

No doubt we’ll all be on the street together.

But there is strength in numbers. How about we all walk to Washington D.C. I understand they have lots of streets to sleep on. Maybe we could all sleep in the halls of congress. Or on the lawn in front of the White House. After all, it is ours. Or so I’ve been told.

And I apologize for my bad language. I really don’t like to say dirty words, but unfortunately the only way to say that one is just to say it.

Republican! Not to be confused with corruption, greed, duplicity and organized crime. Although they are all synonymous.

Actually, go ahead confuse. Better still remember they are all one in the same!

One more time ... REPUBLICAN ... now I’ll go wash my mouth out with soap.

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