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Who Knew Bankers Were This Stupid?

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Posted on Feb 2, 2009
Marie Antoinette
Lie Louis Périn-Salbreux

Marie Antoinette of “let them eat cake” fame.

By Eugene Robinson

    Earth to Wall Street: It’s over, people. You had a terrific run, better than you deserved, but now you’d be wise to pay attention to those citizens outside, the ones with the pitchforks and the torches.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill’s righteous verdict on shameless, clueless, bonus-grubbing executives should be carved on the tombstone of the whole “Masters of the Universe” ethos that brought us to this moment of dire economic peril: “These people are idiots.”

    The Democrat from Missouri was ranting for the nation last week when she took to the floor of the Senate to denounce the reported $18.4 billion in year-end bonuses that Wall Street awarded itself—a pat on the back for such total, abject failure that taxpayers have had to shell out nearly a trillion dollars in emergency bailout funds. So far.

    On the subject of Merrill Lynch, which traditionally pays its bonuses in January, McCaskill was white-hot: “You know what these sneaky guys did? They decided to give their bonuses in December, before the Bank of America took over. [They] paid out three to four billion dollars in bonuses in December, and that quarter Merrill Lynch lost $21 billion. What planet are these people on? What could they be thinking about?”

    Themselves, would be my guess. 

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    McCaskill introduced a bill to limit compensation at any company receiving bailout money to $400,000—the salary of the president of the United States. It’s hard to improve on her words: “We should have done it in the first place. But I don’t think any of us thought these guys were this stupid. I don’t think any of us believed that they would take billions of dollars in bonuses while their institutions were literally days from being wiped out. But they did. And we’ve learned our lesson.”

    To the weasels, I mean executives: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” No, wait, that’s from Thomas Paine, not Claire McCaskill.

    Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa called on President Obama to “pull back” the bonuses paid by firms that received bailout money. I can’t help but imagine a fleet of government tow trucks “pulling back” a bunch of brand-new BMWs to an impoundment lot.

    The offending bonus payments suggest that Wall Street utterly fails to comprehend how its standing in the nation and the world has changed. As long as the Masters of the Universe kept producing wealth with their mumbo jumbo about collateralized debt obligations and credit-default swaps, we mortals were willing to tolerate their preening excesses. But it turned out that they were generating only the illusion of wealth—and that the mumbo jumbo was as nonsensical as it sounded. Ordinary Americans are now paying with their jobs, their homes, their mental and physical health. Respected economists are talking about the worst crisis since the Great Depression. And Wall Street has the gall to break out the champagne?

    Things have changed. No longer does it seem reasonable—if it ever did—that the average CEO makes 344 times as much as the average worker, as estimated last August by the Institute for Policy Studies and the nonprofit group United for a Fair Economy. No longer does it seem acceptable that John Thain, the since-ousted Merrill Lynch chief who ordered those accelerated bonuses that so irked McCaskill, would spend $1.2 million of his fast-sinking firm’s money to redecorate his office—and then, with Merrill’s losses being revealed as even greater than feared, request a bonus of up to $10 million for himself.

    No longer does it make any sense to reward those who work in the financial industry so lavishly, compared to the way we compensate those who, say, build tractors or write software or teach our children. Salaries should be reasonable, and bonuses—much more modest ones—should be reserved for those who actually, you know, make money. If some of Wall Street’s vaunted “talent” balks and flees, terrific. It was “talent” that got us here.

    Maybe some in the industry feel fully entitled to their customary wheelbarrow of cash in a year when the stock market lost about 40 percent of its value. The people with the pitchforks and the torches beg to differ. Idiots is among the milder epithets being tossed around these days. It would be in Wall Street’s interest to get with the new program before the villagers come any closer to the castle.
   
    Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.   

    © 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By WriterOnTheStorm, February 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Probably wishful thinking to assume that the financial vampires will cease feeding on the herd merely because the light is shining on them. True, they are nocturnal by nature, but their hunger knows no bounds.

These creatures are the evolutionary end product of hyper-capitalism, the flowering of those natural forces set in motion by the concepts epitomized in the phrase “dog-eat-dog”.

There is no known method of repelling these vile beasts. Only fools believe they can be legislated away. Legislation is merely the means by which the herd is lulled. They can not be shunned by the herd, because they are not part of the herd, Nor can they be shamed into human-ness, since they regard themselves as uber-human.

It is both instructive and daunting to remember that in nature, parasites perish only when the host, upon which they depend, perishes.

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By Bushfatigue, February 5, 2009 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

The 2008 bonuses are nothing compared to ‘07.  The five largest investment banks, alone, gave their employees $39 BILLION in bonuses—in 2007! (see, blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/last-years-big.html)

This money was mostly dispensed at the end of ‘07, at a time when stock prices were down and assets were being downgraded—these creeps, many of whom at the top knew this house of cards, this giant gambling casino, was about to collapse, gave themselves stupendous bonuses—to me, this was one of the (hopefully)  last great thefts of other people’s money.

I hope these folks get the chance to use some of these ill-gotten gains to defend a lot of criminal and civil lawsuits.

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By M.B.S.S., February 5, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

but we are trying to avoid carbs…atkins you know.

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By C.P.T.L., February 5, 2009 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If they have no bread, let them eat cake.

From: http://www.marcjimenez.com/autores_lengua_alemana/Helge_Hesse/42_Ingles_Castellano_Aleman.htm


Then [an angry crowd] turned on the Bastille, the hated prison of the French monarchy. After several hours’ fighting, the small garrison surrendered. The soldiers were massacred and the head of their commander, skewered on a lance, was paraded around Paris. The French revolution had begun.

In the mean time Marie Antoinette tried to persuade her husband to flee to Metz, where troops still loyal to the King were stationed. He refused. As, over the coming weeks, the King still refused to concede feudal rights to the public, it was suspected that Louis’s wife was behind his resoluteness. [She] became the principal target of hatred.

Embodying the epitome of her perceived hauteur, the following anecdote spread like wildfire throughout France: riding around in her coach, Marie Antoinette was said to have asked why the people looked so unhappy . “Your majesty, they have no bread,” she was allegedly told. It was indeed the case that the failed harvest of 1789 had made bread prices shoot through the roof; starvation loomed. But Marie Antoinette was said to have replied simply: “If they have no bread, let them eat cake.” (S’ils n’ont pas de pain, qui’ls mangent de la brioche.)

She probably never uttered these words. It is more likely that someone took them from the Confessions of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, France’s most acclaimed writer at the time of the revolution. In this book, written between 1766 and 1770, an unnamed princess is heard to say the sentence, talking generally about the hungry. Some believe that it was first said nearly a century earlier by Maria Theresia of Spain (1638 - 1683), wife of Louis XIV. At the time Rousseau wrote the incident down, Marie Antoinette was still a child and living in Austria. Nevertheless in France in 1789 everyone believed that such a cynical suggestion could only have come from Marie Antoinette. Pamphlets and plays denigrated her throughout the land. It was even said that she indulged in incest with her son.

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By N'awlins, February 5, 2009 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They are already prepared for that “pitchfork moment”. For the last few days the night-time skies over New Orleans have been filled with the sounds of helicopters and the detonations of practice “bombs”. As reported on WWL, an “elite” combat force of US troops have been practicing “urban combat” in the streets of New Orleans. The powers that be can’t wait for the masses to resist. They are hoping it will be here in NO and americans at home will get a taste of “shock and awe”.

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By racetoinfinity, February 5, 2009 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

Not just banking and credit but the money supply should be public not private (The Federal Reserve).  I just learned that one of Wilson’s greatest regrets (and this is alongside his huge disappointment in the League of Nations) was in creating the Fed.

Read Ellen Brown’s website/book - http://www.webofdebt.com for enlightenment about the Fed.

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By barbatus, February 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Mark my words: Nothing will change. The thieves will keep stolen money. Americans will not take to pitchforks, axes and torches.

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By nikto, February 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bankers aren’t stupid—-They are just bad people.

Banking attracts Evil like dead flesh attracts flies.

3 things that should be publically-managed rather than submitted to “free-market” chaos and thievery:

1—Medical care
2—Energy
3—Banking & credit


That leaves plenty of stuff for companies of all types to sell or insure.

Social-Democracy is the only answer!!

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By KDelphi, February 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

IF the cowardly Dems would have allowed amendments, by Sanders, Kucinich, Kaptur, DeFazio, Sherman, and others , to at least be voted on—-we would have had SOME protection for “consumers” built into this.

Pres. Obama can call for being “reasonbale’ all he wants, but, if there are not new regulatiosn, and, reinforcement of them, very little will change.

We will not get actual reinforcement of salary caps under Summers, Geithner, or , others of their criminal ilk.

When you are filing bankruptcy, why in hell should you be allowed to get $400,000 a year??

$134,000 is in the upper 95th quintile! The average is near $48,000. Wall St didnt just “make mistakes” anymore than Geithner or Daschle did. They thought that they would get away with it.

And they did. If it were you or me, we would be in jail.

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By konnie, February 4, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

that’s the whole problem.  there is no one, much less a mob, standing
outside the bank with pitchforks and torches.

say what you want about french folk, when they get
their dander up they take to the streets, and scare
their leaders into doing something.

Americans on the other hand, shrug their shoulders,
say what difference would it make, and hunker down
praying for a miracle, getting screwed every which
way for sunday.

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By KDelphi, February 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdr—Dylan “I wish that , for just one hour, you could stand inside my shoes, you’d know what a drag it is to see you…youve got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend…when I was down, you just stood there grinning..”

Chicago, “When its time to function , as a feeling human being, will your Bacheolor of Arts help you get by” “I hope to study furhter , a few more years or so, I also hope to keep a steady high” “Will you try to change things in the city where you live, all the needless hunger all the needles pain” “I havent been there lately, the country is so fine, my neighbors dont seem hungry cause, they haven t got the time” “Thanks you for this talk you know., youve really eased my mind…so worried ‘bout the shape of things to comes” “If you had my outlook . your feelings woudl be numb..youd always think that everything was fine”.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

re: KDelphi

“We’re sitting here stranded, though we are trying are best to deny it”
Bob Dylan, Visions of Johanna

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By KDelphi, February 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

The SEC Hearing is on c-span.org right now. As I listen to them proposing “executive branch privilege” (although they admitted that they had not discussed it with anyone in executive), and, “I see how you feel” and “I dont recall”—I look to the House to hold them accountable.

After some “outrage”—nothing will happen. If I were Rep. Ackerman, I would have hit Paul Vollmer and taken the consequences.

We need to seize assets, lock up the SEC, until they will explain what happened, then, hire NEW people…. They ALL need to be charged with Securities fraud.

I cant even stand to watch this…

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By Lee Aydelotte, February 4, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is why bankruptcy should be required before any ‘bailout’ funds are provided as part of a restructuring.  In bankruptcy, payments such as these which are clearly outrageous and to the detriment of the creditors can be reversed—as these should be.

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By bilejones, February 4, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The insolence of the McCaskill’s of the world knows no bounds. The stupidity of the banksters is as nothing compared to the ruinous corrupt political filth in Washington.

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By remoran, February 4, 2009 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They are not stupid, they are very smart because of how the system is set up. The Fed is the system, it’s a cartel protected by government and because of this, the government has no power. Our money is Fiat, backed by nothing. Money is created from nothing. Profit is tendered to the banks when the money supply is tightened up, (depression 1929) Once these facts are known, the notion of stupid does not apply, the notions of greed, arrogance, thievery and unlawful entitlement do. Because of the Fed, the US Taxpayer has been systematically screwed since 1913, the year the Fed came into existence. Read the history of this entity and learn how money is created. The info will blow you away.

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By KDelphi, February 4, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Leefeller—I posted that at 3:48 PM, 2/3. I also think that it is JUST a start. If Obama and others had listened to SOCIALIST (oh no! socialism! fear!) Sen. Bernie Sanders, before the Wall St Bailouit, instead of Claire McCaskill, it wouldnt have happened in the first place.

Heres’ Sanders on MSNBC, the othere day, with clips from his proposal before:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/29005125#29005009

Most of the problems we are having with the “Bailout"now, would not be inevidence, if , Pelosi and Reid had allowed proposalas from Sanders, Kucinich, Kaptur, DeFazio, etc. to at least , get a vote!!!

NOt to say “I told you so”, but, he had several other proposals, to tax the upper 1% of income earners, to pay for the Bailout. If Congress had DONE WHAT HE SAID THEN—we would not be where we are.

Reverse the Bush tax cuts, nationalize the banks, or admit later that you were wrong and that Socialism has a place wihin a Democaracy. Or, wait until we lose trillions more.

Left wing wackos can be very useful—and correct.

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By Margaret Currey, February 4, 2009 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the fifties and before there was a scare from polio called infitile paralys (bad Spelling) the american gave money to people who were collecting it,today people would not trust people just collecting cash because people have become corrupt.

There was a time that only large department stores hired security now even small supermarkets need security guards.  The latest jobs do not produce much, security guards, people selling you coffee, MacDonalds who has a franchise and would not let a person who has the name Ronald MacDonald use his own name because if these people went into business they could not advertise under their real name.

Same with the name Roy Rogers people who have that name legally are accused of copying the name when Roy Rogers real name was Leonard something.

John Wayne’s real name was Mariam something sounds like a girls name like the name Stacy can be a man or woman.

The banking industry do not call their CEO’s crooks they just thought the housing bubble would never end.

Or maybe that was the bull that was sold to people then repackaged and repackaged again.  Like the old Shell game where is the nut hid.

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By gerald4, February 4, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Current US Banking and Free Trade policies have benefitted only the few, and generallty not the public.  The public did get the things that they consumed at lower prices.  The import of these products have contributed and/or caused the title to as much as 25% of the businesses, forests, real estate, industries, breweries, hotels, factories, casinos, financial institutions and everything else of value that is located in the USA to be transferred to non-US citizen ownership in exchange for the freshly printed dollars that we gave to foreign manufacturers in exchange for the imported products that we consumed.  The US government also buys a lot of paper and cranks up the presses to create more dollars, T-Bills, Government Bonds, etc. and sells them to any one who will purchase these instruments.  They then use these funds to pay for these pork barrel projects, government payrolls, bailouts, entitlements, operations, social schemes, wars, new infrastructure, wealth re-distribution, mental health, and etc. in addition to the negative balance of trade.  The dollar buying power or value is partly about psychology when it is backed by the “full faith and credit of the US government” rather than gold. 

We must act now while we can still buy re-industrialization with the remaining purchasing power of the dollar before we have redeemed title to all of the US assets in exchange for the foreign dollars that foreigners earned, and then there will be no possibility to re-industrialize.  The taxpayer money bailouts to date will not help the long-term economy, since they do not address the negative balance of trade problem that has decimated our Gold reserves and the buying value of the US dollar.  This policy will see the buying power of our dollars diminish until a loaf of bread costs a whole weeks wages to purchase when there is nothing of value left for purchasers of these instruments to purchase with their freshly printed paper dollars. 

When we can no longer buy paper and print more dollars to pay for our imported products and government activities, we are in deep trouble with no quick way out.  It is still going to take decades to re-create the US industrial bases that we destroyed over the past few decades.  This will first require that our students study science instead of other subjects in our colleges, in order to create the technology and other things that support re-industrialization.  We must emulate China, India, Pakistan, etc. and re-industrialize or die economically.  We must act immediately to re-industrialize (with freshly printed paper dollars) before we run out of title to properties that remains the only thing that supports the purchasing value of our currency.

The foreigners know that these US dollars that they earned by manufacturing will buy less and less each day that they do not spend them.  Foreigners also know that these securities are not redeemable for anything except the “full faith and credit of the USA” (aka junk bonds).  There is (probably) a limit to the amount of paper dollars that the foreign country manufacturing people and the foreign country raw material supplying people will continue to accept in payment.  This limit will become apparent as soon as foreigners own title to everything of value in the USA and nothing is left that the foreign dollar holders want to buy with their freshly printed-paper dollars.  This is selling of our children’s legacy to foreign owners, and the US government calls it “Investing in America”.  This is like selling our kidneys, eyes, and other body parts to wealthier people for organ transplant.

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By Gus, February 4, 2009 at 9:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As many people have pointed out it’s not stupid to loot the treasury. It’s greedy, but certainly not stupid. They have made money off snake oil for decades, now they’re taking it from us suckers through the government, and it’s all completely legal. Sounds pretty smart to me.

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By LA, February 4, 2009 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How are these bankers different from Bernie Madoff? And if you are behind on your mortgage payments, or a renter, stay where you are and read Amy Goodman’s article. Also, check out your local credit unions and banks. You might want to move your money to them.

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By Leefeller, February 4, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Well, now it seems Obama has placed an income cap on bailout executives pay, but Citi is still going through with a stadium deal.  Nice to know we provided the arse whipers with box seats and pay for their pet promotions. We know the executive cap will not include perks.

Guess accountability has to start someplace.

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By Michael Shaw, February 4, 2009 at 6:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dare I go against the grain and agree with the author. The greedy speculators on Wall Street along with all of the greedy politicians they own and who bailed them out with card blanch and no oversight or demands on that bailout are stupid because ultimately as the ignored masses grow poorer in numbers so too will they ultimately go for the pitchforks to feed their families and themselves. They are stupid because they believe after placing so much distrust and open greed that they can somehow whether this storm and remain on top of the world without consequence. The author correctly points out that when this kind of extravagance continues it does so at it’s own peril just as it did in France or Russia.

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By RICHARD RALPH ROEHL, February 4, 2009 at 3:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1. WHERE THERE IS NO INSIGHT, THE PEOPLE PERISH!

2. WHOM THE GODS WOULD DESTROY, THEY FIRST MAKE MAD-off!

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By KDelphi, February 4, 2009 at 1:24 am Link to this comment

frank—I would call an alcoholic an idiot for having drink—I have! Everone has…I’m joking. I grew up with one…(alcoholism is not funny, I dont mean that). But, if youve been to an AA mtg., you know that nobody can call an alocholic an idiot like an alcoholic! The “I’m so awful” theory of “treatment”, for a society too poor/selfish to pay for real care…

We will probably not be able to “fix” alcoholics with pills or genetics (at least not soon), nor can we “treat” “greed”. You just take it all away from them, if they cant seem to do it for themselves.

Jail would be a good place to go “cold turkey”. They can sell themselves for cash like they do now, cept it will be for less….maybe cigarettes of a watcher for the shower…maybe liquid soap

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By AN NU NA KI, February 4, 2009 at 12:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stupid? hahaha ... bankers designed it this way. This is supposed to be their smartest plan. You people better start learning and quick or they will take everyone’s homes that isn’t in their club.

Find videos on google or filesharing websites: [watch, learn and pass them on]
Money as debt,
Aaron Russo - America Freedom To Fascism,
Money Masters - How International Bankers Gained Control of America,
Occult World of Commerce - Jordan Maxwell

You will start to see that bankers have played a game on you of divide and conquer. You were sleeping!

Once you comprehend these then you tell everyone you know and you trust. EDUCATE THEM
Then get together and learn how to look for remedies like:
http://www.reddit.com/r/CLVideos/comments/7lfqf/winston_shrout_kelowna/
Pay the guy and ones like him to give you lessons if you need.
If you are not able then use Common law courts and not corporate [maritime] law ones. What’s maritime law doing on land anyway? They own you and your kids with it. Sign out!

http://www.naca.com/
To get your home back and your neighbor’s too

Suggestions:
Create your own societies with your own laws and ways. A society is NOT answerable to other societies like: law society, bar society, government society, etc.

Make small groups all over the country and use internet to chat with secure communications to share info. Use only Highly Encrypted software or you will be put on black list as terrorists.
DO NOT use regular email! Create totally anonymous high encrypted email servers where you have long passwords as long as your arm OR dual password boxes. Use local Wifi or radio for your local groups if need be. Your hacker and coder is your best friend.

For those so inclined visit offices of biggest banks and corporations with massive protests and lock them down with sit ins till you get answers and promises signed on paper in “blue ink” by CEO’s. Keep at it till they move out of USA and their families too.

Hire and pay for your own “peace officers” to keep shills and provocateurs out of your protests and to keep police and security agencies in their place. Vet them carefully. Your “smart” local sheriff is your best friend to keep out federal agents of the bankers.
Take back your lost land by squatting rights. They still exist.
Join a militia and learn how to protect yourself and your family. You should have been in one anyway.

According to God’s law [still active today] you are entitled to 5 to 10 acres of land that can’t be taken away from you PERIOD ... This is to raise your family, for food, well being and create your castle. Your home is your castle, make it such. Choose your land and location well. This goes back to Sumeria; that’s before Rome, Egypt, Babylon, India, China, Maya and other empires.

If the shills like the Cayman Islands and other money havens then send them there. They can start all the wars and cheating they want there.

Hold every polluting or genetically engineering company accountable till they are out of business. Passive power and technology is your best friend. Don’t steel from each other, the corporations already steal way too much from all of you and “Their shills” reach into every part of your society. Help that bum, he/she might become your biggest asset if you teach em your ways by example. Respect rules.

Power comes from bottom up: this means you, all of you. For each conflict choose the most knowledgeable for that situation only. If you ever put a person in position of power make sure they disclose everything at all times. Make a Sovereign America that you can be proud of and one that no one can steal from you ever again. Then and only then will you be welcome among the stars.

Your main purpose on Earth is to respect it, get educated, improve your consciousness, live happily and pass it on to your kids.

Love an Peace,
Annunaki

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By buzrollo, February 3, 2009 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

we have become a nation of mentally challenged sheep.

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By frank1569, February 3, 2009 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, a minor correction: “...taxpayers have had to shell out nearly a trillion dollars in emergency bailout funds. So far.” Bloomberg reports the ‘bailouts’, plural, total an est. $7.3 trillion so far.

Second, just as one wouldn’t call an alcoholic an idiot for having another drink, calling the psychotically greedy money addicts idiots ignores the real problem - namely, that greed is, in fact, an addiction. Like the gambling addict who keeps betting even after he’s lost the car, house, wife, kids and job, these money addicts are unable to see past their own need for more. The solution, for now, is this: a vetting process that identifies the money addicted before they are allowed to work with their favorite drug - no different than the process most employers use to insure they’re not hiring a thief. Maybe medical science can stop inventing crap like a pill to grow long eyelashes and start working on one that tamps down uncontrollable greed.

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By KDelphi, February 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

President Obama has just announced that he may “limit CEO compensation in the future”. Great.

Move on…there’s nothin’ to see here. Your middle class is gone.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

re: Big B

Gene Robinson likes being on MSNBC, so he churned out some fluff using the fraudulent Senator McCaskill and her feigned outrage.
Now run that by me one more time: you want me to believe those bastards were stupid?

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By KDelphi, February 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, but, McCaskill and Co. are the “idiots” for giving them the money! They are amoral, but, brilliant!
I heard her silly rant, and President Obama’s “shame”—for Davos, I guess. He wont do anything about it. Dont say he couldnt. They are red herrings for a much larger issue, in that , our “economy” is based on nothingness.

Judd Gregg. wow

“We should have done it in the first place. But I don’t think any of us thought these guys were this stupid. I don’t think any of us believed that they would take billions of dollars in bonuses while their institutions were literally days from being wiped out. But they did. And we’ve learned our lesson.”

WHO is “stupid”, Claire, who backed (then) Sen Obama, because her daughter found him on the internet, and, told her she would be a “slug” to back Hillary Clinton? (she said it on Bill Maher)

Why NOT impound their BMW’s Robinson, you coward!

“...the mumbo jumbo was as nonsensical as it sounded. Ordinary Americans are now paying with their jobs, their homes, their mental and physical health. Respected economists are talking about the worst crisis since the Great Depression. And Wall Street has the gall to break out the champagne?...”

The gall!! WHO?? is stupid?? skol—-

“It would be in Wall Street’s interest to get with the new program before the villagers come any closer to the castle..”

Oh, never fear! The “villagers” will just watch the castles on lifestyles of the rich and famous!

Bubba—Too late. Unless the USAns have the balls to demand impound and seizure of assets—they would do it to you for not paying your taxes or growing pot…

WHERE did they get the idea that they were entitled??? c’mon., folks..

troublesum NAILS it again!!

For all of you “hating on Nader”—read Outraged’s post. Was he wrong?

thebeerdr—Right again!!

Auugh! You guys always get here and make my points first! No fair! ; )

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By Big B, February 3, 2009 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

So remind me again, just how stupid are people who made billions in an unregulated business by ripping people off, then run their businesses into the ground, go to the same people they ripped off, ask for more money, and get it, with no strings attached?

Jebus! These guys are geniuses!

The old hippies used to have a phrase to describe this situation, “what is a bigger crime, to rob a bank, or to own one?”

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By Rodger Lemonde, February 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How about some bonus tar and feathers? They can even keep the rail we run them out of town on.

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By dihey, February 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Once again Robinson spouts a veritable geyser of nonsense. Will he ever stop? Regrettably he is not the only one. The notion that it is only Wall Street which brought about the economic meltdown is the most awfully primitive economic analysis because the economic rot had already set in well before the so-called housing bubble burst and the Wall Street CEO’s got their huge bonuses. The rot began years ago when Mr. Robinson was still happily snoring in his economic slumber or was too young to understand. To the best of my knowledge it was only the somewhat demagogic Lou Dobbs among the pundits who repeatedly aired the real cause for economic and financial trouble although he does not seem to understand the true mechanism either.

There is a governing principle called “dialectic” which holds that slow “evolutionary” changes can happen in time until a “tipping point” is reached where the existing system crashes.

The changes and the “tipping point” I refer to are the divergence of the increase of median income of the working class* and inflation which has occurred almost unabated for several decades. As median income lags increasingly behind inflation nothing dire will happen until a “tipping point” is reached. I firmly believe that this is what happened in 2008. The now totally inevitable crash was worsened by the bursting of the housing bubble which itself was at least in part brought about by the lagging incomes of the working class.

If the job of one breadwinner could not produce enough income, husband and wife both started working. When that was not enough they began to work at two or even more jobs per day. When that was not enough they began to use credit cards to fill the shortfall. The rot forced them to do that. Mr. President, this is the fundamental disaster, not the irresponsible failure of some super-banks that must be swiftly remedied and not by you, because you are in this regards a powerless giant, but by the working people themselves!

How can this rotting be avoided from happening again? No, not by stimulus packages and not by re-regulation of the banking system alone. Our current President acts like someone who is playing “blind man’s buff” if not “blind man’s bluff”.

The only thing the Federal Government can do to assist is trying to keep inflation low.

What is further needed is much greater solidarity among the working people and their refusal to be hoodwinked again into believing that it is possible to become members of the “propertied/leisure class” via “The American Dream” which right now looks more like a nightmare for millions of Americans. What is also needed is a the re-emergence of a strong and very aggressive labor movement which will fight to keep median income level with inflation or better, surpass inflation. The existing labor unions which have allowed the rot to happen are too compromised to be of any use. As far as I am concerned it would be better if they disappeared and become replaced by unions which stop the shameless “pay-for-play-games” with Presidents and members of Congress.

If the restoration of median income of the working class does not come about soon I can confidently predict that another economic meltdown will happen in the future. Since I doubt that labor will today re-awaken to its responsibility to fight for a decent and anxiety-free standard of living, a responsibility totally different from the shockingly puerile version advocated by Mr. Obama which has been swallowed hook-line-and-sinker by his blind adulators, even the current economic and financial meltdown will not end soon.

Yes, as the Russian proverb states “the rot begins at the head of the fish”. The rotting economic/financial fish of today has many heads and Wall Street is not the only one.

*I recognize only two classes, the working class of people who must work for income or die of hunger and people of the leisure class who do not have to work constantly for their livelihood.

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By Bud Smith, February 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As far as I’m concerned,the bailout money would have served this country better by sending every taxpayer in the country ten thousand dollars and,let us spend our way out of this nightmare!!!

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By thebeerdoctor, February 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Shift’s point about Senator McCaskill is well taken. Here in Ohio, one of our senators, Sherrod Brown supposedly objected to the bank bailout, but then when right ahead and voted for it, like any good two-faced Democrat. Senator McCaskill sheds fraudulent crocodile tears. Their “outrages” mean nothing without actions (which they will not take).

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By Folktruther, February 3, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Troublesum has said it all concisely.  It is the function of media truthers like Robinson to sanitize the political crimes of the powerful by calling them stupid or mistakes.

And so sanitize Obama who lobbied for the bailout swindles.

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By Shift, February 3, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

“We should have done it in the first place. But I don’t think any of us thought these guys were this stupid. I don’t think any of us believed that they would take billions of dollars in bonuses while their institutions were literally days from being wiped out. But they did. And we’ve learned our lesson.”

McCaskill is my State Senator.  She has no right to complain.  Missourian’s overwhelming rejected the idea of a bank bailout and screamed their message at her prior to her vote. She ignored us and voted for the bailout.  She will vote for the next one as well.  Her words mean nothing, her actions mean everything.  McCaskill is a fraud and will surely vote for the next bank bailout bill.  Claire your words will not give you cover.  I ask, what gives you the right to ignore the voice of the people?  Nothing does, but you will !

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By thebeerdoctor, February 3, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

re: Hippy Pam

I was a peasant before I was an internet peasant. Believe me, what the Washington crowd throws around in a day, would take care of this household for several months. I just read that Thomas Daschle threw in the nominating sponge… good riddance, anyone who doesn’t pay taxes on his chauffeured ride and calls it an honest mistake, is not worth trusting.

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By Bryan K., February 3, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I cannot help but asking myself: “How American people tolerate this?”

Clearly, it’s not the bankers who are stupid, but the majority of Americans who let them to get away with it.

Villagers with torches closing to the castle? The castle should have been burned to the ground long time ago.

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By hippy pam, February 3, 2009 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

I just wish I could get a government bailout….just to pay what I owe….I don’t want to go to the spa-vacation-buy a BMW-apartment in New York-private scool for my grandkids-have 14 babies-none of those things….Just start over…like the banks got to do with republican assistance….and not pay anything back….how bout the rest of you all????

lets throw the republicans[and their buddies] OUT OF OFFICE…FIRE THESE GREEDY LEECHES!!!!!!!

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By Outraged, February 3, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

A good summation by Ralph Nader:

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.”

An interesting article.  But there are other suppositions to consider.  Food for thought from Mr. Nader:

“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?”

http://www.counterpunch.org/nader02022009.html

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By troublesum, February 3, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

If I defrauded the government of $18 billion would that be a stupid mistake or a crime?  What would people like Robinson be writing about it?

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By dr wu, February 3, 2009 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

These bankers have one thing on their minds—making more and more money. Stupid doesn’t factor in. They will lie,cheat and steal to make money.

(Remember the housing bubble boondoggle—they offered mortgages to anyone with a pulse,once this toxic chaff was in the door it was sliced,diced leveraged ,cut and pasted until it was turned into (fools) gold and sold all over the world.

Crime scene—Wall streeters eagerly and knowingly took in crap and sold it as gold!

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By troublesum, February 3, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

They’re not stupid Mr Robinson.  They couldn’t have done it if they were stupid.  I understand that it is your job to make this out to be a stupid mistake rather than a crime because that is what your corporate bosses expect from you.

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By don knutsen, February 3, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I question the premise that its the bankers that are so stupid. They are greedy, they have been taught that enriching themselves in the era of Reaganomics where greed is worshipped as a virtue of any god fearing republican. They could reasonably also be called thiefs…but I think the stupid label more aptly belongs on a goverment, corrupted by too many years under republican rule that has steadfastly refused any kind of oversite / regulation for three decades now of the very industries that have caused this dpression we are fast heading into. Now the republican party is balking still at any relief for the middle-class…they are clueless still. The republican party has been disconnected from the real needs of the american people for far too long. Its high time they, at the voting booth, be held to account.

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By felicity, February 3, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Somebody said that the rich are rather more possessed by their riches than possessors.  Obviously under some kind of spell (that’s what possessed means) the Thains among us should be in the loony bin rather than running any financial entities.

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By P. T., February 3, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Fire the Wall Street incompetents!

No to bonuses from taxpayers!

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By Inherit The Wind, February 3, 2009 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Cornerstone:
That’s because I don’t think the Democrats are stupid (mostly—but there are definite exceptions).

I should have added that Congressional Democrats are spineless jellyfish who KNOW what is right but lack the intestinal fortitude to do it.

See, Tom Daschle has just shown he’s stupid.  Harry Reid is spineless.

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By Eric L. Prentis, February 3, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

The idea that the banking system is going to collapse if a few big banks, i.e., Citi & BofA, go bankrupt is a canard spread by the banking industry to scare politicians and the public. This is a grab by bankers for taxpayer money, aided and abetted by the sold-out members of Congress, i.e., Schumer/Dodd/Frank. Let these Wall Street welfare bums go bankrupt, they will not be missed.

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By Leefeller, February 3, 2009 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Accountability would be a nice concept if we were able to see it being practiced and enforced. May be,  conflicts of differences has never been, the bull and bear stampede may need weapons of mass destruction to turn them back.  A wet noodle is not going to stop it.

It will remain to be seen if fixing is really on the agenda?

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By s c mailen, jr., February 3, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Assigning blame is a waste of time unless you’re prepared to see what must to be seen. For those who specialize in pointing fingers at political parties, I submit that most of you are 50 years behind the learning curve.
Our major parties SUCK. They take care of themselves first. They play Americans against each other. They are above the law. Most of them could be replaced by children. The Founding Fathers knew that political parties would be the ruin of America. They were RIGHT!

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By jmndodge, February 3, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

“This sucker’s goin’ down”

And we though the president was using one of his back country Texes expressions.  He was speeking the truth, then he pulled the fast one on us, what he meant to say was,  we don’t want these bankers losing their jobs when the thousands and thousands of layoffs come,  we must bail out their bonus now…  Quickly,  Quickly,  indeed, don’t think about it,  if they lose this years bonus,  it would be like 50 years of earnings for a typical middle class family.  So now we have protected these bonus,  paid them with the job losses of working families, and dumped this on the new administration.  Heck of a job Shrub!

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By Leefeller, February 3, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Bull and Bears? Suckling pigs is more like it.  We all know the long winded story, any government intervention will be called socialism.  Of course the government giving our money to special institutions, is not socialism, it will be touted as socialism only when the blade hits the chopping block, with regulations enforced.

Maybe we should make social security private to help support the suckling pigs. No regulations are needed for they can police themselves and when they buy their private jets, we all become the receivers of the trickle down theory.

Obama seems to be addressing the ripoff problem, lets see if it puts some of the pigs on a stake?

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By GW=MCHammered, February 3, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is this a joke? The responsible always bailout the irresponsible. Stupid-Arrogant is nearly all that’s been promoted the past ten years from the tech industry to medicine to Bush. Paybacks are here. Welcome to hell.

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By RdV, February 3, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Big talk, no action.
  It was a performance for public consumption—just like Obama’s “shameful” charge. Meanwhile he puts all his energy and effort into wooing the discredited and completely bankrupt Republicans.
  I wouldn’t frame them as “stupid, rather we are the ones taken for suckers.

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By Benjamin Tasker, February 3, 2009 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

The equally stupid people are the ones who allowed this to happen. You and me. Bankers have always been bankters. History has shown that. Also - why would we allow resources in the form of material goods go to people whose only contribution to society is the manipulation of numbers. Yet there are no pitch-forks and torches. There is very little picketing. No one talks about it except on liberal threads like this. There is no mass indignation.

This could be good or bad. Ideally, the public is looking inwards and realizing that we’re all at fault for allowing society to become this way (and is therefore capable of productively reforming the stratum) OR people are just being complacent and when reality sets in, they’re’s going to be violence. I’m hoping for the former.

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By ThatDeborahGirl, February 3, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry. I’m too busy starving to death to protest.

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By greatdogs, February 3, 2009 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Mr Robinson, torches and pitchforks? Really? Where? You will know when the game is over when the lead story on the evening news is some guy who is at the end of his rope does a Gallagher on a pigman’s noggin.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 3, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

“If there is gold to be found he’ll strip mine his soul.”

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By Cornerstone, February 3, 2009 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind, the only thing I disagreed with you in your post is that you only point out Republicans as being idiots.

“And it was repeated again and again over the last 8 years.  In that way bankers, AND politicians, especially Republicans ARE idiots, greedy, short-sighted, un-patriotic idiots who kidded themselves that raping America’s economy was good for America.  “Greed is Good!”

It is our entire government system.  During this period of Wall St. excess, you did not see any government representatives, Dems or Repubs, making an honest effort to curb the excesses because they were involved with it.  The only time a democrat or republican brought this issue up was around election times to try and garner votes.  Every year the CEO’s of publicly traded firms have their compensation discosed.  Both democrats and republicans would make a statement of how wrong it was but no one introduced any legislation to address the issue.  Not when you have the likes of Daschle getting $88,000/month in consulting fees.  Our reps know that when they retire or leave the government they will win the “consulting lottery” from these same companies. i.e. Daschle’s $88,000/month fee he recently revealed because he didn’t pay his taxes.
(that’s not a hit directed at democrats, it’s just the most recent example).

I never did understand how company’s board of directors justify authorizing the huge bonuses and salaries for CEO’s who’s companies are losing money.  But it’s the entitlement attitude of these people and it’s always easier to give away some one elses money.  The liberals know that!

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By wanked, February 3, 2009 at 5:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Greed trumps all. I would say the stupid ones were the ones who doled out the’rescue’ money in such a haphazard manner. The govt. knew that the structure was collapsing due to shady practices…..I knew, and Im just a shmoe on the street….

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By Inherit The Wind, February 3, 2009 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Oh,they understood.  The last-ditch, last-minute grab was “let’s get the loot before the ship sinks!”

The REALLY stupid part was the continuous over-extending and basing their investments on money-inflating schemes, called “derivatives”. These weird dice-rolling inventions find ways to double or triple investments similar to buying commodity futures or stock options on margin.

Notice that some banks were lending 30x their reserves—and they were allowed to.  I remember asking my mom (who lived through the Depression) as a little kid what cause the Crash and she explained too many people bought stocks on the margin (ie, borrowed 75-80% of the price) and when the prices of those stocks fell below the level they borrowed at, the banks issued margin calls and people went bankrupt…Of course, I now know that was only part of the story but it was accurate.

And it was repeated again and again over the last 8 years.  In that way bankers, AND politicians, especially Republicans ARE idiots, greedy, short-sighted, un-patriotic idiots who kidded themselves that raping America’s economy was good for America.  “Greed is Good!”

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By John F. Butterfield, February 3, 2009 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

When I started junior college in 1964, my cohorts and I lamented that a few years previous to our arrival all one needed was a degree in underwater basket weaving to be hired directly into the ranks of corporate management. For years now it seems that an MBA has been required. I wonder what was taught to those holders of MBA’s; because, quite frankly, the underwater basket weavers did a much better job.

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By hell-o, February 3, 2009 at 3:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well now, IF an X- million dollar bonus was paid to a big shot year after year, I’d say that about 36% of that X-million would be paid to the IRS yearly, according to our ‘progressive system’ of taxation, isn’t that right? So the US Gov is getting about 36% of X-mill$, and helping us run the government, pay for bail-outs, food stamps, etc. No probably not, and therein lies another scandal I’ll bet. Not only do these megalomaniacs believe they’re entitled to be paid hundreds of times more than regular stiffs, but they also probably feel that they shouldn’t be made to pay taxes like regular people have to do, and they haven’t.

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By Bubba, February 3, 2009 at 2:43 am Link to this comment

It’s been too long coming.  Let the class warfare begin.

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By Steve E, February 2, 2009 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The bankers are stupid? No the taxpayers and politicians that lead them are. The greedy are laughing all the way to the bank.

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By Jay Randal, February 2, 2009 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wall Street banksters never learn anything. Greed is what they live for and will take to their graves as well. Rest in peace you pack of corporate devils.

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