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Thievery Under the TARP

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Posted on Apr 22, 2009
TARP hearing
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

From left, at table, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Federal Reserve Bank of New York President and CEO William Dudley prepare to testify last month before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on AIG.

By Robert Scheer

We are being robbed big-time, but you can’t say we haven’t been warned. Not after the release Tuesday of a scathing report by the Treasury Department’s special inspector general, who charged that the aptly named Troubled Asset Relief Program is rife with mismanagement and potential for fraud. The IG’s office already has opened 20 criminal fraud investigations into the $700 billion program, which is now well on its way to a $3 trillion obligation, and the IG predicts many more are coming.

Special Inspector General Neil M. Barofsky charged that the TARP program from its inception was designed to trust the Wall Street recipients of the bailout funds to act responsibly on their own, without accountability to the government that gave them the money. 

He pointed to the example of AIG, which has acted as a conduit of funds to the banks it had insured without being required to tell the government what it is doing: “Failure to impose this requirement with respect to the injection of yet another $30 billion into AIG would not only be a failure of oversight, but could call into question the credibility of the government’s efforts.”

AIG is just one example in a bailout that has left the financial conglomerates unsupervised as they spend taxpayer money in what the report termed a government program of “unprecedented scope, scale and complexity,” putting the public and the Treasury Department in the dark as to how the money is being used by the very tycoons who got us into this mess. “The American people have a right to know how their tax dollars are being used,” Barofsky wrote in the report, which sharply criticized the government for failing to hold financial institutions accountable.

For all of its criticism of the original program, designed by the Bush administration, the report was equally severe in denouncing the Obama administration’s plan to partner with hedge funds and other private capital groups to buy up the “toxic” holdings of the banks. Charging that the plan carries “significant fraud risks,” the inspector general’s report pointed out that almost all of the risk in this new trillion-dollar plan is being borne by the taxpayers. The so-called private investors would be able to put up money they borrowed from the Fed through “nonrecourse” loans, meaning if the toxic assets purchased prove too toxic and the scheme failed, the private investors could just walk away without repaying the Fed for those loans.

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The reason those loans may prove even more toxic than expected and the price paid by this government-underwritten partnership far too high is that the government is purchasing the most suspect of the banks’ mortgage packages. In addition, the plan is to accept at face value the evaluation of those packages by the very same credit-rating firms whose absurdly wrong estimates of the dollar worth of these securities helped create the problem that now haunts the world’s economy. “Arguably, the wholesale failure of the credit rating agencies to rate adequately such securities is at the heart of the securitization market collapse, if not the primary cause of the current credit crisis,” the report found.

As with the entire banking bailout, the new plan of Obama’s treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, is likely to enrich the very folks who impoverished the rest of us, as the report notes: “The significant government-financed leverage presents a great incentive for collusion between the buyer and seller of the asset, or the buyer and other buyers, whereby, once again, the taxpayer takes a significant loss while others profit.”

At the heart of this potentially massive fraud was the original decision of Henry Paulson, President Bush’s treasury secretary and a former Goldman Sachs chairman, to not require the recipients of the bailout, such as his old firm, to account for how the money was spent. Unfortunately, President Obama’s administration continued that practice. 

The only difference is that the amount of public money being put at risk is now far greater, and the hedge funds, which are totally unregulated, have been brought in as the central players. One of the largest of those hedge funds, D.E. Shaw, carried Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, on its payroll to the tune of $5.2 million last year. He may have reason to trust these secretive enterprises that operate beyond the law, but the public does not.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By KDelphi, April 28, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

garth—Some think that that is all I have.lol…but its not.

I saw that on the Powerline website…I just looked past it. LIke you say, good info…

I try to read articles late at night, so I will read it tonight, unless something comes up…

I think that as the “cold war” fades in to memory, the “socialism = stalinism” will fade…also, as the former middle class gets less comfortable..I dont like to see it, but its been a long time coming…

I remember when the GOP (Bush) voted to CUT WIC—I called my rep and said, “are you crazy?? You want to CUT women, infants and kids?? People will say you are heartless?! I’m glad that they got hurt for it..heartless…

I just went back and this was on “preview”—-sorry

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By KDelphi, April 28, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

foggyjones—did you say petitions?? boy are you gonna get it..lol

seriously there are so many of them that Rep Mike Turner and Boner (Boehner) dont even accept emails or petitions online anymore…but I will start posting the ones I get in the mail..

but there has to be more…

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By garth, April 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Bravo to you KDelphi.  It sounds like there’s a lot of fight still left in you.
Around here, the WIC recipients are beoming more common.
I have to say, though, that this (Truthdig) is the only place that I have found to read honest, intelligent, no-holds-barred commentary on what is going on in the public arena.
I like Amy Goodman’s saying, “Go to where the silence is.” If the media glitterati only knew how little they were listended to.
Bravo to Truthdig.
Excuses: On that last link to a Powerline, it ended with a typiocal Republican scare tactic that we are headed towards Socialism.  Well, the description of the Wall St. takeover was so clearly described that I decided to enter it.  In a paraphrase of Webster Tarpley’s refrain, “No matter the source, the truth is invaluable.”
At the very least we should get Socialism out of this ordeal.
If not, we should be thinking about where to hang’em upside down.
Those goddamn bastards.

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By foggyjones, April 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

TUESDAY   213 PM/CST DFW

REF: KDelphi, Garth

Agree with your posts. We need some links and new ideas on how to protest the actions of these politicians, not just agreeing with each other. Once the tribe votes, at least some small action should result, whether is signing a petition or recruiting like minded people or, perhaps, reasoning with some young people suffering from government and mainstream media indoctrination and propaganda.

Like you, I do not like being labeled or taken for granted. I just think lumping people in a category is a proganda technique, a way to group them and revise their personal sense of identity and persuade them to act as a flock of sheeple. Only in outright conflict is it good and necessary to accept such uniformity and assign a temporary general. But that seems to be the way we are headed.

“When the finger points toward the moon, the fool stares at the finger.”

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By KDelphi, April 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

garth—Bravo!

The “personal responsibility” excuse—-“everyone wants ‘choice’”—no they dont—they want health treatment that is good. Its not “very complex”—every civilized country already does it.

“Poeple lived above their means”—-food and medical expenses? Cause thats whats on my credit card.I see peopel supplementing food stamp cards with credit cards everytime I go to the store—and, no theyre not buying “steak” or something… It would be considered a human rights issue in a civilized country.

Pres. Obama’s speech”..time to put away childish things…”...Yes! the audacity of thinking that you have a right to even subsistence living! What crap..

“We all need to tighten our belts”—an excuse to keep billing the poor to bail out the rich…so they will give the politicians campaign money.

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By garth, April 28, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

One of the main phrases used by these people in power is: personal responsibility.  I can remember the first time I became aware of it around the time of Ronald Reagan in his pitch against unions.  If you remember, a worker was supposed to negotiate “his own self” with the company management to declare his own worth to the company.
The latest insult comes from David L. Wray, lobbyist for the 401ks. He said people who took 401ks were supposed to read the fine print and be aware of all the fees.  The problem is that these fund managers never released any information about the fees that they were accruing.
Take a typical worker who might work a minimum 40 hours a week, and lately that seems unlikely even suicidal if his or her goal is to keep a job.  On top of that he or she is supposed to finagle all the bills: health insurance, rent or mortgage, car payments including maintencence, and, if you have children a whole host of other “fine print” type guarantees and disclaimers.
David L. Wray and his ilk are sooooo full of shit.

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By garth, April 28, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

Thank you KDelphi,

Foggyjones, DWIGHTBAKER,

While I appreciate the shared recognition by Edward Barret, my instinctual reaction is one of self-respect and self-preservation.  In this case, the self preservation amounts to maintaining the sincerity and honesty of message.  A tribube of this type might be all it takes to sideline or divert an otherwise meaningful and effective message to thwart the original goal—A restoration of a Constitutional government .
I do believe, at this point, nothing the government says and look askance at what it does.
We are mired in a swamp of self denial, lies, and what looks on the surface to be, the insurmountable and intractable powers of wealth, intelligence, planning and the staus quo. 
Dwightbaker, as you said to Foggyjones, I think, Rave on!

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By foggyjones, April 27, 2009 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

MONDAY   1005   PM/CST DFW

Geithner, Summers, Paulsen and Lloyd Blankfein share a common crucial bond. But they are not alone, they have many friends who share like thinking. No matter what “ism” you choose to call it, just look to the bottom line. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. So, how do you like them now?

Is this what you expected to replace the madcap follies of the WMD false flag and 9-11. Did you realized from the git go when they announced the attack on Saddam, that it would be very expensive. Well, I did. But I never thought they would continue this for years! Wars are expensive but, guess what, mortgage banking bubbles cost even more. No how do you feel? Are proud of these people? Hell, they are not America, we are America. We are The People!

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By garth, April 27, 2009 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

I’ve been wondering how Geithner et al are going to get the rest of the money to pay off this humongous bill they owe for the dredit default swaps.  Now I know.  They are jst going to take it.


On April 21, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009—“SIGTARP”—submitted his quarterly report to Congress on his office’s activities in relation to the TARP program. The report is a disquieting document that should be read by every American—certainly be every taxpayer.

The Inspector General’s report documents the stunning and at least partly illegal expansion of TARP from the $700 billion originally allocated by Congress to what is now a $3 trillion complex of programs. This chart shows the various programs that are now included within SIGTARP’s oversight, and how they have expanded from the initial $700 billion. Note that some of the programs are still incipient; $3 trillion is by no means a final number. Click to enlarge:

To read a report, check out this site:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/04/023420.php

The first paragraphs of the report follow:

The report is valuable for a number of reasons, not least because it provides the most coherent description I’ve seen of the various programs now underway to bail out—or take over, as the case may be—the country’s financial sector. So far, the report’s most commented-upon feature is its description of the many criminal investigations that are now underway, arising out of TARP:

Both from the Hotline and from other leads, SIGTARP has initiated, to date, almost 20 preliminary and full criminal investigations. Although the details of those investigations generally will not be discussed unless and until public action is taken, the cases vary widely in subject matter and include large corporate and securities fraud matters affecting TARP investments, tax matters, insider trading, public corruption, and mortgage-modification fraud.

It is safe to assume, however, that the investigations now in progress represent not even the tip of the iceberg. The most troubling feature of the SIG’s report is its documentation of reluctance on the part of Tim Geithner’s Treasury Department to make even modest efforts to protect the interests of the taxpayers. To take just one glaring example, Treasury has refused to require banks to account for what they do with the billions of dollars they receive in TARP money:

Treasury has indicated, however, that it will not adopt SIGTARP’s recommendation that all TARP recipients be required to do the following:

• account for the use of TARP funds
• set up internal controls to comply with such accounting
• report periodically to Treasury on the results, with appropriate sworn certifications

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By KDelphi, April 27, 2009 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

Excellent post, garth.

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By garth, April 27, 2009 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

“American capitalism, based as it is on exploitation of the poor, with its fundamental motivation in personal greed, simply cannot survive without force - without a secret police force. Now, more than ever, each of us is forced to make a conscious choice whether to support the system of minority comfort and privilege with all its security apparatus and repression, or whether to struggle for real equality of opportunity and fair distribution of benefits for all of society, in the domestic as well as the international order. It’s harder now not to realize that there are two sides, harder not to understand each, and harder not to recognize that like it or not we contribute day in and day out either to the one side or to the other.”—Philip Agee, CIA Diary, p597
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why do the rich on Wall Street keep running to the workers, and the now the poor, to get them out of the trouble of their own making?

We must be more than “important.”  Worth more they are worth.  Are we ants in and army? Drones in beehive?  Do you value yourself as a human being?

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By Edward Barrett, April 26, 2009 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some of the best intellectual minds addressing these current and future problems are right here on TruthDig. 

Their comments are not to be found on CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC or FOX news mediums. Check the ownership of these broadcast conglomerates and it becomes apparent as to the constraints placed on the reporters and the sanitation of the events before they are broadcast to the listening public.
 
I may not always agree with all the comments made by Dwightbaker, garth, truedigger3, or ezio, et al,  but these folks state the facts as they see them from a grass roots level.

It seems that they have done their homework and/or lived through the current and many past perilous times in their lives. They can speak from first hand experience and are not necessarily pontificating based on some theory they learned in an ivy league college or university. These are the front line people who are not afraid to speak the truth as they see it.

With the demise of print investigating journalists, the Internet seems to be one of the best sources for the dissemination of informational reporting that we have at this time.

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By Shift, April 26, 2009 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

It looks like the thieves are doubling down in an all or nothing bet.  What they have done must be mind numbing beyond our understanding.  Theirs is a lost cause.  The rest of us have a fighting chance.  Now is the time to turn up the heat and blast white hot at Washington to stop the thieves.  Let this be the last warning in words.

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By truedigger3, April 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

DWIGHTBAKER,

You are a good fiction writer.

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By truedigger3, April 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

DWIGHTBAKER,

You are the one who got no clue. You are living
in fantasy of your own creation which is similar
to a drugged state.
Good for you,  until you have to cope with the real
world and try to wake up but cann’t, then you have
a real problem which your fairy tales will not be of
any help.

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By truedigger3, April 26, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

DWIGHTBAKER wrote:
“DIVINE INTERVENTION should suffice at a time like this. HIS call for all mankind to rest and be assured that HE would take the swords out of their hands and do for them in ways of divine intervention has prospered many times.”
——————————————————————————-

DWIGHTBAKER,

Where is what you are calling “divine intervention”
in a world in which billions are plagued by abject poverty, disease, hunger and all of its inhabitants are plagued by sickhness , trajedies, untimely death of loved ones, greed, exploitation, injustices and the brutality of their fellow humans.!!
Please don’t tell me they are not REAL believers and
God is punishing them. That will be a very cruel God.
According to your elk, God is the one who created and destined to them to be that way.!!
I said to myself that your drivel and nonsense is not
worth the time to write, but here it is.
Please knock that drivel of yours off.

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By KDelphi, April 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

foggyjones—Excellent post, and, I am looking forward to watching it—I DVRd it…I dont have a DVD writer. The Shock Doctrine, no?

garth—good post, and ranting is justified. I saw “Taxi”—horriifying. Mickey the Dunce. Yes. lol

Im going to go watch the Bill MOyers show I DVRd. Everyone is saying that it was great.

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By Shift, April 25, 2009 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

Although I am not an advocate of violence, it seems clear that the elites and their purchased politicians will pay NO heed to the people until someone big is shot.  They will continue to push the envelope until that happens, then, they will begin to pay attention.  They will continue to rob the people until the people act up.  Words are inadequate.

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By garth, April 25, 2009 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

By ezio, April 24 at 9:16 pm #

Actually, it was Seymour Hersh who rang my bell in an interview with Amy Goodman.  I was paraphrasing him. I was beginning to get caught up in a reaction of being stunned from the right wing’s and their apolgists’ arguments for torture.  They got good inforamtion, etc.

Hersh clarified my thinking.

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By garth, April 25, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

DWIGHTBAKER,

Here’s the link.  It gives a written copy and the video.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04242009/profile.html

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By garth, April 25, 2009 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

On the Bill Moyers show last night, Simon Johnson of MIT said that the invesstment banks have won.  They got all they wanted.  They are carrying on with the same threat.  If you don’t give us more, the economy will collapse.
It seems we’re in a double bind then.  The economy, for all practical purposes, does seem to have collapsed, or it is teetering now at the edge of a cliff. 
A marketing expert on PBS says we must scale back our standard of living, that this bubble was primarily our fault for living so high off the hog for so long.
The financial banks want us to wait till the next payment for these CDSs comes due, and barring any unforeseen external calamity, we can continue to give them anything they want to quiet down, and we’ll have “saved” our status quo for at least the time being.
The economy has crashed and burned.  It’s dead but no one is admitting it.  Millions of baby boomers, those who “lost” the Vietnam War are now being repaid for their “shameful” showing against the third world country in SE Asia.  We didn’t come through for the investors and the foreign policy planners.
The next generation will be indoctrinated with Freedom, Choice and Personal Responsibility and trained in some sort of martial art.  They can cut their eye-teeth on urban crowd control. 
Their knowledge of history will be roiled by conflicting narratives coming from every direction.  In the words of an Army recruiter, “You want a car, don’t you?  You want to have money to go to school, buy a house and live in a nice part of town, don’t you?”  The options will be the Army or Jail.
They’ll learn to look out for numero uno and fuck the rest.
Andrew Bacevich said that we could be in Afghanistan for 40 more years with no resolution.
If the investment banks are going to fail because, in fact, they’ve already failed, then why give all that much more money, whatever is left, to the ones who caused them to fail.  It seems a little like a game of cat and mouse.  We know the outcome already.

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By christian96, April 25, 2009 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

“Trusting Wall Street to act responsibily on their
own without accountability” is either pure ignorance
by our government leaders and/or corruption by our
government leaders.  It is probably both since
corruption is often based on ignorance.  I can’t
express enough the need to understand the thoughts
of our government leaders.  The vast majority, if not
all, attended college where they were taught Darwin’s
“Survival of the fittest” doctrine.  They think they
are more “fit” than we and can thus justify their
behaviors.  They are ignorant.  The “survival of the
fittest” doctrine is applicable to other species
but not to humans.  WE NEED EACH OTHER TO SURVIVE!

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By foggyjones, April 24, 2009 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1028 cst pm

The Rule of Law comment is correct, it is a crucial point. “The Crime of the Century” is known by all but some the children and elderly. Corporate power and their puppet politicians have been protected by complicent mainstream media. Hundreds of people are hiding in plan sight, especial the alumni of “lucky” Goldman Sachs.

The piper must be paid. Or, as Tony Berreta used to say, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

Connect the dots and follow the money, which will likely take you to Goldman Sachs.

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By ezio, April 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

garth

You are so right about the torture! We are such hypocrites. We hung Japanese for waterborning after WWII and prosecuted some of own troops for waterborning during Vietnam. How the hell can it now be legal!

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By garth, April 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi,
Playing “Mickey the Dunce” is when you try to avoid responsibility by acting so stupid as get to the point where no one would believe you even understood what was going on.  If you look at the Republicans positions and behaviors in any of these serious issues, I’d say they’re acting like Mickey the Dunce.  It’s another way of playing to the lowest common denominator.
Examples: Rep Joe Barton (R-TX) asked the Secretary of Energy how the oil got under the ground in Alaska?
The Republicans want to give more tax breaks to the rich to create jobs, despite the fact that that has never worked.
Take any of their so called ideas.
They want to give tax credits to solve the health insurance crisis.
I can’t even get into their positions on the social issues.
The Democrats aren’t much better, though.  They pander to the majority.  Dangle single payer then take it off the table.  Investigate torture, CIA, Bush administration, etc. then decide to toss it around like a hot potato and all agree the The Bobo handled it adroitly.  An aside about Obama is that if everyone agrees to spread the rumor that he’s smart, it doesn’t take long before everyone is echoing the same sentiment, especially when compared to W. Bush.
The torture issue is especially revolting.  Seymour Hersh said it best, “All these arguments about torture are ignoring the morality of it, the fact that these were human beings, most of whom were innocent.  Now they’re dead, maimed or permanently scarred.” 
And we don’t even want to look at it.  As Americans, we’re too genteel.  We wear suits and ties, we’re well fed, we’re educated.
I heard the story of the cab driver in “Taxi to the Dark Side.” It’s horrifying. It makes one stop and consider this poor guy and relate to him because, with the Patriot Act, it could happen to any of us.

Excuse my rant on the wrong thread.

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By ezio, April 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

DWIGHTBAKER

I believe the final word on Obama has yet to be written! I refused to vote for either Obama or McCain!  I believe the fact that these two were the best we could come up with said volumes about the state of our country. The system is so weighted toward the Oligarchs that I don’t think a People’s President could even get nominated let alone be elected.

Obama may be simply a great speech maker and figure head like Regan and like Regan say all the things people want to hear and then very often do the opposite. On the other hand,  he may have a certain sincerity but must pick his battles because he cannot win them all and there are many still to fight?

While I completely disagree with the way he is handling the financial sector, to completely write him off seems a bit hasty? Like it or not he will be our President for the next four years. To condemn his Presidency out of hand after three months into an administration trying to deal with the worst situation in eighty years is premature. Even recognizing my almost complete lack of faith in our Government, it is in all our best interests to wish him the best.

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By KDelphi, April 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

foggyjones—Jeez! I meant nothing personal by it! I would tell you that you are correct, but, since you are so angry..do we really disagree strongly? Why are you so touchy? Do you really want me to have a nice life, or did one disagreement make you so upset that you hope I have a bad life? Jeez…

truedigger3—YOU are correct.

Actually, these people were picked by the neo-liberals a long time ago. They go back to Reqagan, and that is why we are getting Reaganesque policies and military buildup.

Yes, he is a front. When you look at neo-liberals politics over the past 50 yrs, it is a little hard to tell who was picking whom. But, Pres. Obama would still be within his powers to get rid of them. I am not saying that he WILL. He just COULD.

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By truedigger3, April 24, 2009 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi wrote about Obama:
“He chose most of these peopel. He even chose to keep in some of Bush’s people..”
___________________________________________________ .

KDelphi,
It is my turn to beg to differ. It the other way around. “These people” chose him to do their bidding.
All these people have been in the scene for quite a
while and they are connected and representing the
power-that-be. Obama is nothing but a puppet with
tooth-paste smile and good oratory to bull-shit the
masses.

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By KDelphi, April 24, 2009 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

foggyjones—I beg to differ that “Obama is surrounded” by anyone. He had choices in whom to surround himself with. He chose most of these peopel. He even chose to keep in some of Bush’s people..

garth—wtf is Mickey the Dunce?? lol…good video. Scary.

Why would the GOP decide to “fillibuster” Pres. Obama’s nominations, just because the Dems want to pass a corporate, industry backed death care plan?? Think maybe they planned to do it anyway? They should be happy—-they are playing the Dems like a violin.

???

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By garth, April 24, 2009 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

foggyjones,

“Those like Greenspan, Paulson, Blankfein, Geithner, Summers etc., had a huge influence in stampeding their pawns in both the congress and the white house to do their biding. These are the real powerhouses that control our government.”

I think you are absolutely right.

I’ve been harping about martial law lately because the warnings are becoming more frequently and they are getting more authentic.  This link is a radio interview.  It lasts a little more that 6 minutes.  Some of the Q&A are, for lack of a better word, scary.

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/606.html

It talks about FEMA and Homeland Security, mass vaccinations, mass graves, identifying all important sites by map, rebuilding police stations to withstand a hit by a Boeing 707, etc. 
I think the plan includes a sudden collapse of the economy.  (he Bobo said in a speech he wants to avoid a “sliiiiiide” into a depression, elongating the word slide.  An odd pronunciation I thought.)
People are starting to wise up, I think.  The bigger portion of the stimulus $ is for the out-years, meaning that if they have martial law, they won’t have to spend it at all and pocket that too.
The payment for the CDS is coming due.  And they don’t want to make their creditors uncomfortable.  (Words of R.L Wray, the lobbyist for the 401k scam.)
Less money is being spent by the banks and the consumers.  Therefore, the Demand is not anywhere near meeting the Supply and the people have been wrung out—they can’t handle any more debt.
Their well-oiled plan seems to be working as designed. The media’s not telling anyone, the voices of the callers-in in C-SPAN are for most part taken in by all this.  They think we still have a government that is looking out for the best interests of its people. All we have to do is “go green.”
And the Democrats have rolled over and played dead. 

The Republicans are all acting like Mickey the Dunce.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is stirring up the left with the notion that the looney right is going to start mass producing home grown terrorists. 
I have a feeling that if they pull this off, a lot of Americans will shake their heads and in a plaintive voice sigh, “Oh, well.”

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By ezio, April 24, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As I was reading the post by bluelori, my first reaction was that it does not warrant a response. However, after thinking about it, it plays into what I was saying earlier. 

I have seen this kind of absolutism expressed by so many people. In truth, no person or group is right or wrong all the time. The Democrats are not the epitome of dishonesty and evil while the Republicans represent truth and goodness. The opposite position is equally ludicrous! I believe this kind of thinking demonstrates a very narrow minded view of the world and an inability to entertain two opposing points of view in your mind long enough the evaluate either. The corporate media encourages this kind of thinking or lack thereof because it covers up the real issue, keeps us divided and wasting our energy fighting each other!

To make a point, virtually every living president lined up in favor of GAT and NAFTA when both were proposed. In addition, or maybe as a result, under the Clinton and Bush administrations the trade deficit went from around $67 billion to over $700 billion! Neither party will secure our borders or our ports. The deregulation that got us into this mess was started by Regan and continued uninterrupted all the way through G. W. Bush! We vote the Republicans in because the Democrats are bums, then we vote the Democrats back in because the Republicans screwed up!

In truth the American electorate behave a lot like sheep! Remember, the Congress had an approval rating of less that 20% but most of them got reelected. I watched in disbelief when with the country basically going down the drain, the largest national protest was held over the legitimacy of gay marriage. I stay up at night worrying about that one! That’s like, the ship is sinking but lets make sure the anchor chain gets painted.

The election system in this country is completely rigged and yet we continue to go along with it. We argue over who is the best candidate after they are packaged, marketed and sold to us like a bottle of coke! The amount of money required to run for office keeps growing and growing. This assures that anyone who makes it to the finale cut has tied themselves to some corporate purse strings in order to pay their way! The result is that no matter which major party you vote in, you are perpetuating the same power base. It is kind of like, do you want to get hit in the left eye or the right eye! How about neither?

What we need in our elected officials is simple patriotism. By that I mean that they put the good of the United States of America and her people, before their personal agenda, before their reelection, ahead of their party and in spite of what any special interest wants done. How about we simply boycott the elections and refuse to vote until we are offered a real choice. A people’s candidate and not a corporate one. I do believe we would get someone’s attention. An American election with a less that 2% turnout? How politically embarrassing. Each of us may be insignificant alone but united we have a very loud voice and our silence would be quite deafening. I really don’t know what else to try in order to get our country back? Pitch forks and torches maybe?

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By garth, April 24, 2009 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

The completion of Obama’s first 100 days is coming up, and the only parallel that comes to mind, rather than the suggested comparison to Ronald Reagan a la CNN, is the flight of Douglas Corrigan.  He became a legendary aviator in 1938, when he “mistakenly” flew from New York to Ireland—when he was supposed to fly from New York to California—because he ‘seemingly’ misread his compass.
Here, the current-day compass would be the American electorate.  They’ve been screaming about this TARP swindle since last September when 70% opposed it.  In November he climbed into the cockpit, put on his pith helmet, waved to the cameras, gave everyone that shit-eating grin and took off, going in the wrong direction.
In the 30s, Corrigan’s antic provided a great deal of humor, and he became a national folk hero. To this day, Corrigan’s nickname, “‘Wrong Way’ Corrigan” is used to describe anyone who blunders and goes the wrong way.  (Wikipedia)
But I don’t think this is a blunder.  This plan is going along very well. I think the tempo will step up in the coming months. 
These greedy bastards want all the money and according to some financial advisers, there’s another $9 trillion of smart, cautious money waiting on the sidelines. 
Not only that, the stimulus plan was back loaded.  The real investment to bolster the economy won’t be released until 2010-2011.  By that time, another payment to the holders of the CDSs will have come due, and the shit will hit the fan.
“Ronald” Obama also reminds me of the character Peter Sellers played in “The Bobo.”  With his inauthentic, sophomoric affect, he’s the guy painted in blue who steps up to the tapas counter and orders “an espresso with a cheese sandwich of the finest of cheeses.”
I think we’re in for a long night, or as Bette Davis said, “Fasten your seat belts.  We’re in for a bumpy ride.”

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By truedigger3, April 23, 2009 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

ezio,

I agree with you 100%.

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By bluelori, April 23, 2009 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

Banks Lobby To Screw Taxpayers Out Of Billions
http://www.businessinsider.com/banks-lobby-to-screw-taxpayers-out-of-billions-2009-4

and obama is a fascist so no problem letting them and just yesterday of course barney said the investigation if one ever does take place would be slowed of course the filthy democrats have so much dirt to hide in the the looting of fannie/freddy and the takes they got from the banks.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124045153751646097.html

geithner and paulsen should be doing the perp walk why did obama fill his administration with tax cheats and filth to begin with?  He is change all right for the very worse!

http://www.businessinsider.com/andrew-cuomo-send-angry-letter-to-tarp-regulators-2009-4

Cuomo Unveils Paulson, Bernanke, Lewis Conspiracy (BAC)

PAULSON RECANTS: Bernanke Didn’t Make Me Do It

http://www.businessinsider.com/

obama is nothing but a dirty community organizer who was paid and should be impeached!

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By ezio, April 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

There is much discussion here and elsewhere about the current financial situation with plenty of blame to go around! However, there is one scenerio that best explains not only the financial situation but also the current state of energy, health care and the environment along with the lack of government regulation and law enforcement as it pertains to our largest corporations and financial institutions. The United States is turning the corner to becoming a full fledged CORPORATE STATE. I believe our Representative Republic is quite dead. I see all the theatrics on Capitol Hill as a “dog and pony show” to placate the citizenry. The Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin and play “Good Cop Bad Cop” in order to provide the facade of real discussion and a government on the job? As far as our charished right to vote, if you controll who is able to run for an office you control the office. Think about it? Also, most politicians are attorneys and went to law school. How could the Congress really be as stupid and inept as they appear? It is all theatrics? I do not see another explaination that addresses everything that is going on? Recently there was a very informantive interview with former IMF Chief Economists Simon Johnson on Bill Moyer’s Journal. They were discussing the financial bailout. Mr Moyers asked Mr Johnson if he thought that the power of the US financial sector trumped the President of the United States, The US Congress and the US Government? Mr. Johnson said he did not know but that we were about to find out? Mr Johnson went on to say that the solution to the banking problem was technically quite simple if the government could find the political will to it. He refered to our government as an Alegarchy and suggested that if we did not take steps to break the order of power that got us here we would live to regret it! Watch the video. It is very educational.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02132009/watch.html

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By thebeerdoctor, April 23, 2009 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Well it goes something like this: You, yea you, and your folks who are in charge; you are telling me in this big wide, not-so-happy country, that there are no individuals with brains and character that could tackle this economic mess? Yea that means you Barry, you are telling us that the only ones qualified to take the riding crop of this financial horse, are the very same ones who beat the beast into the ground? Come on now, let’s cut the horseshit as the umpires say in baseball. Your faith in Geithner and Summers proves that religion has no place in public reality. Both of those guys and their associated pugs have faith alright… faith that the vast majority of American citizens just fell off the turnip truck this morning, and have idea they are being robbed. Yes Virginia, for the Wall Street mob there really is a Santa Claus. For the Owners and their offspring, there is no down time, just another horseshit name applied to another horseshit job. These financial titans have unlimited mulligans to apply to the course. What’s the problem? You were not aware of this? Perhaps you missed an unannounced meeting… oops, these things happen. You MUST believe that these moneyed oligarchs actually care about you.

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By rverne10, April 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The kleptokracy that runs this country is out to draw blood; in fact the feeding frenzy over Bear Stearns is but a small sampling of what is going on under the surfaces waves of turbulence. We occasionally see a body surface like David Kellerman, acting CFO of Freddie Mac and can only wonder. But rest assured, the Obama supported thieves will continue until the changing of the guard and only pause momentarily even then. Got Palin?

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By garth, April 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

More on Posse Comitatus

Here’s a video filmed somewhere in the Southwest. It’s only 3 and hlaf minutes. A tv reporter and his cameraman stop to film an accident on a highway.  A cop approaches and tells them leave and stop filming.
Watch the cop’s reaction.  At first I wondered why.  Then the cop assaults the cameraman, knocking his camera to the ground still running.  It catches two soldiers in fatigues and their military vehicle.

Back at the tv station, the anchors tried to cover it up by saying these two soldiers were trying to assist in the accident.
Now, consider the country under martial law and think about the cops in your town and ask yourself if you’d like to be shoved around and arrested like this reporter was?

http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=145474

Maybe, what’s still in our favor is that these people are inveterate screwups.  But they’re screwups with deadly weapons.

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By foggyjones, April 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

BofA CEO Lewis Says
The Devil Made Me Do It!

Bank of America Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis told the New York attorney general he believed former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke wanted him to keep quiet about the worsening terms of the bank’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch, according to testimony reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Bernanke and the Goldman Sachs Alumni Paulsen, Summers, Geithner, Blankfein and cohorts have been allowed to deal from the bottom of the deck. Eventually, they will have everybody else clocking in for minimum wage slave jobs or standing in bread lines. The basic plan is create their own aristocracy and ensure continuity. Sound familiar?reate

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By Sue Cook, April 23, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

foggyjones;
You are right on in mentioning the Kellermann suicide.(?)  This story cannot die.  The liberal media will keep it hidden as much as possible, but if someone out there investigating gets lucky and finds one important piece of the puzzle, this whole thing could blow up and become a very big deal!
Dosen’t make much sense why a young vibrant, wealthy executive would just decide to up and end it all?

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By bcc, April 23, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The root of the problem continues to be the entanglement of corporate power in our goverment. When campaign information is bought and paid for by corporations, and when politicians are enriched by corporations, the concept of a democratically elected government that serves the people is a facade.

The response of the government to this debacle suggests that the point of no return has been reached.  It is a Catch-22.  How do you get “elected” officials to enact campaign finance reform laws that remove the very corporate influences that enrich them?  Furthermore, effectively dealing with this debacle requires the government to investigate and clean house on itself.  So unfortunately there is no mechanism to accomplish and no likelyhood that these fundamentals will change.

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By Old Ed Of The Delta, April 23, 2009 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Too Big To Fail = Too Big To Criticize

Disagreeing or criticizing the fiscal programs that are being promulgated by the federal government is indeed a dangerous precedent for those that question or challenge authority. 

Due to the seriousness of these grave economic times leaves no tolerance to question the basis for these programs or those charged with the implementation of same. It may be necessary that the first and the fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution be modified or held in abeyance until such time is appropriate to fully reinstate them when this economic crisis passes or brought under control.

Any disagreement with the federal authorities by individuals or organizations over these issues can be construed as subversive and in violation of past, current, and future Presidential directives and/or law.  Remember that traitors in the past have been harshly dealt with for matters of a lesser nature.

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By KDelphi, April 23, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

“As with the entire banking bailout, the new plan of Obama’s treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, is likely to enrich the very folks who impoverished the rest of us…..”

Pres. Obama needs to GET RID OF Geithner!

“The only difference is that the amount of public money being put at risk is now far greater, and the hedge funds, which are totally unregulated, have been brought in as the central players. One of the largest of those hedge funds, D.E. Shaw, carried Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, on its payroll to the tune of $5.2 million last year. He may have reason to trust these secretive enterprises that operate beyond the law, but the public does not.”

Pres. Obama needs to GET RID OF Summers!

What “reason” does he have to “trust” them? No one does!

Is there a pattern here, buddy? Is there someone, even since the boogeyman of Bush is gone, that keeps appointing people that are pure Wall St?

As Bill Maher said of the death of those miners in W. Va., where Bush had appointed a mining owner to head the mining regulations—-“Yes, knowledge of the business, but , not in the same way that a fox has knowledge of hens!”

Buc-buc-buc..

You know, people will say, “B-b-b-but,. what else could we do?!” Well, plenty! Since there is no more evidence that the “bailout” “saved the financial services industry”,than, that Bush “kept us safe” and, even less that is “saved your life savings”—why do we keep putting more money into it?!

The alterntives were offered by Ralph Nader, Sen Bernie Sanders, Reps. Kucinich, Kaptur, Sherman, Conyers and the Congresional Black Caucus—among others.(whom many are castigating for “talking to Cuba”). The alternatives were there. Hell, even Code Pink had one.

One very solid alternative, that many did not want to hear the time, was to let them accept the consequences of their stupid decisions. (who was saved?? check your 401k statement, your neighborhood for foreclosures, your credit card rates)They sure as hell made certain that the poor of the world accepted the consequenmcse for US Bankers decisions…as long as its capitalism,. the answer is money.

Purple Girl-I agree with what you are saying, and, truly, 401k’s were just an excuse for Wall St to liquify the working and middle classes’ assets into Wall St gambling money. It gave Capts of Industry one more excuse to liquidate pensions….the middle class has no business in such an unregulated slot machine. Never did have. Now, they are going to “reform health insurance” by giving the huge insurance giants a HUGE gift of “everyone in, no one out” of BUYING insurance. There is a pattern here somewhere..

voice of truth—NO worries, mon! The “health care reform” that BaucASS and others are proposing are completely market based, so a CEO, who profits from your misery, will still get to decide for you! Congrats!

Patsy—“We are not being robbed by TARP.  This style of taxpayer’s lament is so “republican.”...  Pleeeeeeze, acknowledge that someone had to do something to save the banks and our entire financial structure. TARP may prove to NOT be the solution, but surely good or bad judgement, no one intended to rob the people.”

This kind of thinking is what keeps the duopoly lining their pockets at our expense. Suggestions for “other things to do”—see above. Nader, Sanders, Kuicincih et al proposals put the burden where it belonged—-on the rich guys on Wall st. Tell the people in Tent City not to get too negative..the guy waiting for the “$300” (keep it and buy us decent health care)

Force the Dems to put some safeguards in place for those that will be hurt most, nationalize the banking industry, and fire all of these Wall St hacks, crooks, thieves and shills.

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By AT, April 23, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Obama chose to disregard the Inspector general, he can always said that he merely follow Bush ‘s precedents. One of the many things Bush chose to toss aside none more flagrant than he thought by equating human trafficking with prostitution, he merely provided a choice. Amen.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 23, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

re: garth

The strange aspect of legislative solutions, is that it sometimes takes year and/or decades to realize the ramifications of what has been passed into law. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act is one example. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is another.
The geniuses who thought it was best to scrap Glass-Steagall, were flushed with money at the time and their avaricious appetite seemed quite appropriate, during the Wall Street Christmas they believed would never end.
Unlike the unquestioning supporters of President Obama, I always knew he was there to protect that status quo, but unfortunately for him, and all the rest of us, that so-called establishment consensus is really the rotten remaining residue of an ideology that never existed, except in their greed driven minds.

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By garth, April 23, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

If you thought I was bullshitting you in the last post, or I was going off the deep end, get a load of this.

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/605.html

I remember reading a quote by Gen. Tommy Franks of Shock and Awe fame that said something to effect that he would not want to be an average American caught up in country after the Continuity of Power gets up and running.

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By garth, April 23, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Louie Armstrong had a valet who travelled with him on tours.  The valet died and at the next show a producer asked Louie where the valet was.  Louie told him and the manager asked, “What was the matter with him?”  Louie came right back with, “Man, when you’re dead everything is the matter with you.”
If you look at what is unfolding now in this country now you’ll see it is capitalism in its death throes.  Everything is going to hell in a handbasket, and everything is the matter with it.
These people in the financial business are like alcoholics who’ve fallen off the wagon.  The story goes that they thought that they could handle it again with their understanding of how the market works and personal responsibility. Now after whittling away at the post Depression regulations we are worse off possibly than we were in 1929-1933.
Watch the next step.  It could be a doozy.  With the Bush family’s takeover of the CIA and the combining of all the Intelligence agencies in the government under one umbrella(thanks to Bush and the Patriot Act), and the takeover of the Justice Department underway, it seems that the next logical step would be a downward spiral or drift into Fascism.
The natural evolution it seems to me would be the development of a saner approach to running the economy.  But they have the media, the microphones and the loudspeakers, in their hands.  The can market whatever they want, but we don’t have to buy it.

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By Let 'Em Spend Big, April 23, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

History tells us that the only way to our rightful freedoms is for government to fail. Safe to say-at this point-that we can be certain no help is on the way and that corruption is way beyond even the most vivid imagination. So, let ‘em spend into a debacle and then we will be free of the despotic imperial entanglements Franklin warned of so many year ago.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 23, 2009 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

re: bluelori

I find it remarkable that someone with access to the Internet and all that Google does get, could fall back on that tired saw about Freddie Mac, a convenient Republican party scapegoat to divert attention away from the fact that the vast majority of corruption in the economic system has very little to do with that “catastrophic” failure, which also conveniently blames the irresponsible homeowners, who, “took out loans they knew they couldn’t pay for”, as the main culprit for all these troubles.
But I wish someone could invent a more original diatribe than “Communist nightly news”. That invective is, as might be said, so 20th century.

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By bluelori, April 23, 2009 at 2:35 am Link to this comment

Rep. Frank Slows Market Regulation Bill
I would want to slow that puppy down too if I were the Banking Queen.  With the alleged Suicide of the Acting Director of Freddie Mac yesterday and the Investigations into all the Fraud at Fannie/Freddie and Barney’s old “Love Connectionn ” at the Agency this does not surprise me.

Just a few days ago Pelosi claimed there would be a big Percora type Investigation I doubted it then seems none of the Democrats who are continuously crying Wolf want the public to really know they were the Wolves!

Can you just imagine how a real investigation into the likes of dirty dodd who even beat out the smelly one in the take from the banks and getting himself one of the dirty special treatment loans from Angelo at Countrywide would look right now or the smelly one himself who also got the stinky special loan and sued banks to force them to give loans to unqualified buyers look?  How would the Communist nightly news ever be able to bring themselves to tell the story of all the times John McCain tried to look into and stop the free for all looting that was taking place by Franklin Raines and the Trillion dollars promised for toxic loans by Johnson (a BO advisor) that chick from CNN would have a breakdown!  I heard she already was off the air doing something like that could drive her to suicide. 

Yes I can see why you do not want the truth to come out even the l’s may start to figure out the stress tests and the transparency are nothing but a show.

Lori

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124045153751646097.html
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/freddie-mac-acting-cfo-dead/story.aspx?guid={3120ECA7-88F0-48EB-9EBF-EF6471936360}&dist=msr_2
http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerkimball/2008/09/29/who-caused-the-biggest-financial-crisis-since-the-great-depression/
http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2008/20080924145932.aspx
http://www.cnsnews.com/public/Content/Article.aspx?rsrcid=36563
http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/
financial_crisis_08_democrat_policy_comes_home_to_roost/page/2/
http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2008/11/obama-crooks-lo.html
http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/
financial_crisis_08_democrat_policy
_comes_home_to_roost/page/2/
http://www.thestreet.com/story/10489370/1/bank-stress-testing-is-for-show-analyst.html

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By truedigger3, April 23, 2009 at 2:35 am Link to this comment

peacecat,

That was exactly my post.  Read it CAREFULLY, ALL OF
It then comment. My opinion was opposite of what you
accused me of. You call me an idiot. Appology is in order, you piece of shit.

“patsy wrote:
“We are not being robbed by TARP.  This style of taxpayer’s lament is so “republican.”  So steeped in malcontent and anger that I give it no credence.  “
____________________________________________________

patsy,

Are you blinded by your infatuation with Obama or
by your partisanship??!!
After all what happened and is happening then you write that nonsense.!!  Did you just wake up from a
long coma or you just landed from another planet?? What will it take for you to see the light.
I am baffled.

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By christian96, April 23, 2009 at 2:25 am Link to this comment

SADLY, MANY OF OUR BUSINESS PEOPLE, POLITICAL LEADERS, AND HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITIES SEEK THE SAME
SELFISH GOAL “FAME AND FORTUNE!”

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By CaptainAldo, April 22, 2009 at 11:18 pm Link to this comment

The Luminous compass on google will send you to an article titled CLOWN ECONOMICS 101 that explains in part our current global lunacy

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By CaptainAldo, April 22, 2009 at 11:07 pm Link to this comment

For the sake of brevity you may find lots of answers on these questions in an article titled: CLOWN ECONOMICS 101: http://aldovidali.com/winds-and-currents/clown-economics-101

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By fogspider, April 22, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This whole bailout of the financial sector is a fraud of huge proportions and Geithner, Summers, Obama, and all the rest are complicit. You’re naive if you think otherwise. If you haven’t seen/heard it already, here’s the link to the transcript of Bill Moyers interview with economist William Black: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/transcript1.html.

Unfortunately the finance industry and the administration can rely on the ignorance of the vast majority of Americans to get away with it.

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By Shift, April 22, 2009 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

My concern is that while the torture issue is exploding and crowding financial news out, additional billions will be approved for the banks by congress and the president.  Washington no longer fears the American People and will surely attempt more give away bailouts without adequate protections because the goal is to rescue the banks at any and all taxpayer costs.

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By Peacecat, April 22, 2009 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

Sorry I meant possibly. Thanks

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By Peacecat, April 22, 2009 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

I am about as far left as you can get, and I am sorry to say, either truedigger3 is an idiot or she is working for Obama or possible AIG.

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By Blackspeare, April 22, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

I wonder who will get the “Heistman” trophy?!

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By foggyjones, April 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kellerman “suicide”
shows the dike is crumbling
around them.

Tim Geithner looks like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, with Summers and Obama right behind him.

If only we had offered Kellerman a reward and immunity to reveal what he knew. Obviously, he knew too much. Whether he actually comitted suicide in his closet or was assisted, we will never know.

Until there is a investigation committee is annouinced and informants are offer large rewards and immunity, there could be many more “suicides” plus those like Tim Geither will struggle to hold back the tide. I predict they will fail at sweeping this Crime of the Century under the rug. Nobody will forget, rather, they grow more and more enraged.

Obama thinks he can pretend to be JFK reincarnated, he is just living just like the one in “The Emporer’s New Clothes.” Only a tiny minority is buying this distraction, the anger is rising. Rahm Emanuel has a tiger by the tail. In the end, he is destined to be gobbled up along with his cohorts in NYC and Hollywood.

WASHINGTON (AP)—The chief financial officer of money-losing mortgage giant Freddie Mac was found dead in his basement early Wednesday morning in what police said was an apparent suicide. David Kellermann, 41, apparently hanged himself, said a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation. He asked not to be identified because the investigation was ongoing.

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By truedigger3, April 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

patsy wrote:
“We are not being robbed by TARP.  This style of taxpayer’s lament is so “republican.”  So steeped in malcontent and anger that I give it no credence.  “
____________________________________________________

patsy,

Are you blinded by your infatuation with Obama or
by your partisanship??!!
After all what happened and is happening then you write that nonsense.!!  Did you just wake up from a
long coma or you just landed from another planet?? What will it take for you to see the light.
I am baffled.

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By truedigger3, April 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

patsy wrote:
“We are not being robbed by TARP.  This style of taxpayer’s lament is so “republican.”  So steeped in malcontent and anger that I give it no credence.  “
____________________________________________________

patsy,

Are you blinded by your infatuation with Obama or
by your partisanship??!!
After all what happened and is happening then you write that nonsense.!!  Did you just wake up from a
long coma or you just landed from another planet?? What will it take for you to see the light.
I am baffled.

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By felicity, April 22, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

boogelsthemind - agreed that nobility of mind and character have never been qualities associated with bankers. In fact, they have been the primary scourges of civilizations for eons, but until someone figures out with whom other than bankers to park money or from whom to get money loaned other than bankers, we’re stuck with them.

As soon as Glass was for all practical purposes thrown out - by Congress I might add - high finance had free reign to work its pernicious magic - and did it in spades.  Most of the ‘players’ have made their zillions and are long gone, and as usual we’re left with their dirty laundry. 

It’s a revolting situation but for me bankers merely acted true to form. Aided and abetted by our elected representatives, that’s a laugh, those are the culprits to whom we should be directing our anger.

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By mlb, April 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

If “self regulation” is such a great idea, it should be applied consistently.  Think of all the money we’d save if we just trusted murderers and other criminals to self-regulate themselves.  There’d be no more court costs, virtually no prison costs.  We wouldn’t even need a police force or a judicial system. 

“Self-regulation” of the finance industry amounts to the implicit claim that Wall St. is morally superior to the rest of us, that they always act in good faith, for the common good, and therefore needn’t be held accountable or subject to laws.

Or how about if we invoke the “look to the future” argument across the board?  That’s another way to eliminate all prosecutions, since all prosecutions happen for crimes committed in the past.

And then there’s the retribution argument.  If the motive of retribution disqualified prosecution, crimes like murder, rape, and robbery would rarely be prosecuted, since victims and their families almost always want revenge.


Increasingly, I see two distinct Obamas.  There’s the real Obama, who is a very sharp guy who makes good points and cogent statements, and shows that he knows what’s right and what’s not.  Then there’s the compromised and corrupted Obama, with an I.Q. 90 points below the real Obama’s, who makes brain-dead disingenuous arguments worthy of George W. Bush.

I don’t believe Geithner, Summers, Obama and Congress are fooling anybody but themselves. If our government doesn’t straighten up and liquidate the failed banks, Americans may eventually start liquidating the bankers.

Lately I’ve noticed many smart people making the same basic point:  Obama can be a good president, but it’ll only happen if we force him into it, through massive determined activism.  His recent shift on prosecuting the torturers is a hopeful sign in that regard.  He can be influenced in a positive way!  We need to apply pressure on him even more relentlessly and with greater determination than the crooks do.

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By Naz, April 22, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the U.S. became the sole super power and the wealthiest country on earth, where did you think the predators were going to roost? A blind man can see how they are plundering the wealth and crushing the middle class and poor, who will eventually end up killing each other over provisions they will lack, providing it becomes that severe. It is how God created nature to function and humans are a part of that nature. Nothing has ever changed it nor ever will change it.

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By foggyjones, April 22, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

David Kellermann’s body was found this morning. He was a key Fannie Mae official, obviously, he knew too much and was ready to crack. No? Just a coincidence?

This is about the crime of the century and this rotting can of worms is spilling over. Connect the dots and follow the money. The mainstream media is helping to keep the lid on this collosal robbery. Heads must roll, many more will hang themselves, but some will roll over and implicate the planners, the king pins. It is the kingpins that must be identified.

Why not offer huge rewards (e.g., $24 million like for bin laden) and immunity. Why not start with the “winners” such as Lloyd Blankfein and the Godman Sachs alumni lodged in the White House? Summers? Geithner? Even check out Paulsen, wherever he is.

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By bogglesthemind, April 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

“TARP was an emergency measure, expediency being its primary focus.”

felicity

We are still in an “emergency” and “expediency” is still necessary, but being ignored. Then, as now, what was being done was conniving by the bankers and Wall Streeters to sweeten the deal so they ‘get’ as much as they can. The Paulson/Bush emergency TARP was a giveaway to thieves and cronies. It’s as simple as that.

Nothing noble here.

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By Old Ed Of The Delta, April 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Drew Voros, the business editor of the Bay Area News Group, in his article Wall Street’s Unregulated Games Play On, really called the shots on this one. Voros wrote the following:

The boys at AIG were not content in making lots of money insuring mortgages and mortgage-backed securities of banks alone. They opened the game to anyone who wanted a piece of the action by selling swaps to parties that did not own underlying dept and would not suffer losses if the dept failed. Just pay the premium and play.


Seeing a real estate bubble about to burst, Wall Street players such as Goldman Sachs did pay the premium, along with the banks holding trillions of dollars in bad debt. As defaults mounted rapidly after 2006 and into 2007, AIG couldn’t keep up with the billions in claims and finally raised a white flag last year. Congress then came to its rescue.


With part of its $182 billion bailout, AIG sent a $12.9 billion check to Goldman to settle one claim to one party that had no underlying debt. Billions more went to banks and other financial institutions who did suffer loan losses, and without an AIG payment, they would have gone under.


Keep in mind, this is just one of the games that led to our great financial meltdown, and it continues today, unregulated and unchecked. Now that taxpayers are paying for these shenanigans, maybe it’s time to change


For the full text of his article click on

http://www.contracostatimes.com/columns/ci_12191928

Don’t you just love the simplicity of it. Just put your money down without any risky investments. Uncle Whiskers is ready to bail you out and forgive you of all your fiscal sins. Remember the Wall Street hymn TO BIG TO FAIL as sung by the United States Government - Treasury Choir.

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By felicity, April 22, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

We’re all a bit late and definitely a dollar short.  We have indebted our country to foreign governments - $500 billion borrowed each year for 30 years, foreinstance.  AIG, an American corporation has sold credit default swaps on mortgaged securities world-wide to the point where if the ‘world’ were to try and collect on defaulted bonds, AIG would be responsible for meeting its obligations to the tune of $550 billion. It could cover about $100 billion.

At this point, our economy survives literally at the, hopefully, continuing mercy of foreign governments and investors.  Should they throw up their hands in disgust which would happen if the US government refused to stand behind the bad debt of its banks, we’d be in deep kaka.  Much of what Treasury is doing now is to prevent the mass exodus of foreign money and/or to assure the safety of any future investment.

TARP was an emergency measure, expediency being its primary focus.  There’s no doubt that we have to go back and ‘repair’ the patient after invasive, life-sustaining measures left him in a mess.  Why it ever got to the point of an emergency is a whole other question because it’s been known for years that it was only a matter of time before this severely ill patient would show up at the emergency room door near death.

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By RdV, April 22, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Patsy brings the old adage to life:
  There is a sucker born every minute.

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By Spiritgirl, April 22, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

I used to believe that tarring and feathers were enough, I have come to the conclusion that that’s too good for the bas—-ds!  I now believe that waterboarding is the answer!  “We the people” have been feeding at the trough of the proverbial bs and now “we the people” must raise up and take action, if only to ensure that this madness comes to an end NOW!!

These people have given us the smoke and mirrors of the “free-market” for far too long, they need to be replaced - and Congress needs to write up mooring lines and give the proper agencies their teeth back to enforce those laws!!  If all else fails - I’ve got a huge outdoor kettle and oil warming up!!!

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By Patsy, April 22, 2009 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer…...I find many of your columns valuable.
However, this one is so plagued with unecessary negataivity that I am disappointed in you.

We are not being robbed by TARP.  This style of taxpayer’s lament is so “republican.”  So steeped in malcontent and anger that I give it no credence.  Pleeeeeeze, acknowledge that someone had to do something to save the banks and our entire financial structure. TARP may prove to NOT be the solution, but surely good or bad judgement, no one intended to rob the people.
Patsy

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By Virginia Hammon, April 22, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

hmm…I’m addressing the valuation of reserve assets in banking and making a point about wishful thinking on a formal financial balance sheet.

It sounds like you are making the point that Obama was elected because he used hope to give people what you consider to be an inaccurate understanding of our country’s assets?

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By voice of truth, April 22, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Virginia “I think if I could choose the value of my assets based on my hopes for the future, I’d be on sounder financial footing, too.”

Isn’t that what people essentially did when they voted for Obama?

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By Virginia Hammon, April 22, 2009 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

RE: valuations…connecting the dots.
At the beginning of April, the Federal Accounting Standards Board changed the “Mark-to-Market” rule, allowing banks and investment firms to subjectively assign a value to their reserves, based on their estimation of what the assets might be worth when and IF the market changes. http://www.fasb.org/action/sbd040209.shtml

Two weeks later Secretary Geitner announces that our banks are essentially sound.

I think if I could choose the value of my assets based on my hopes for the future, I’d be on sounder financial footing, too.

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By EThomasWood, April 22, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Barofsky announces his first prosecution in Nashville:

http://www.nashvillepost.com/news/2009/4/22/grigg_could_face_eight_years_for_ponzi_scheme

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By voice of truth, April 22, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

And we want these same people to take over our health care and run the banks?  Am I the only one who sees the corollary here?  This sort of thing happens in EVERYTHING the government does.  Even when Clinton released oil from the Strategic Reserve, there were people who “created” overnight companies to be able to get some of the oil and then sell it at a huge profit.

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By Blackspeare, April 22, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

The chief financial officer of the mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac, David Kellermann, was found dead Wednesday morning at his home, apparently from suicide by hanging.  Wonder if he knew too much??

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By Ivan hentschel, April 22, 2009 at 8:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First: Jason is correct, Dwightbaker talks too much and is rude and abusive in his reponses. If he wants a bully pulpit, he should stick with is his own web site.

Second,this column: The author has it right, and so do thousands of the rest of us. But Obama and his team sem to be tone deaf and blnd to the corrupt over-control of the big banks (see Krugman, NYT, this morning). They are polluting the whole system. I have been saying (as have many others)that we need a wholesle catharsis to take place to wrench the system into a new form of existence, and no one seems willing to undergo the required short-term pain to get some long term benefits.

It is no secret what’s wrong: we just need to get real about a solution. We should scream as loudly about this as we have been doing about torture.

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By bogglesthemind, April 22, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Geithner reminds me of the pedophile priests that were protected by the church. Same scenario — the fox entrusted to guard the hen house.

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By garth, April 22, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

David L. Wray, the lobbyist for the 4001k scam, pointed out on 60 minutes last Sunday that Americans are born with three inalienable rights, Freedom, Choice and Personal Responisibility. 
The joke was that Pope Pius XII’s last words were, “Get Ness!”
One of the battle cries for the upcoming revolution ought to be, “Get Wray!”

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By garth, April 22, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Looks like this years winner of the Heistman Trophy will be Timothy Geithner.
Maybe it should be Obama as the Beerdoc suggests in his role as the don.

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By Sabagio Mauraeno, April 22, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Robbed? You’re a little late and a dime short, Bob.  Try about nine years ago when the conspiracy began. State governors in collusion with Bushites, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Bank America, ATT, GMAC, GEFinance, HUD approved mortgage flippers, AIG and the Brothers Lehman, et. al. formulated the scheme to raid personal savings accounts via subprime loans and mortgages on overvalued MacMansions. Georgia for example had the second strongest anti predatory lend laws on the books in 2002.  Then along came Sonny Perdue, a backslid Democrat, now Republican governor, who before anything else, had predatory lending laws repealed, promising a new day for Georgians.  The “new day” was one of the highest foreclosure/defaults/personal bankruptcy rates in the country.  So, being “robbed” began for most of us low wage earners what seems to be many eons ago, with no letup in sight. 

Sabagio Mauraeno, home alone in Decatur, Georgia, waiting for the next SS check to come in with its one-time only $300 rebate, just enough to pay ATT for another month.

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By RdV, April 22, 2009 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

‘It would be good to say to Robert Scheer: “Bob, how long is it going to take until you start putting responsibility for this with the man at the top?” ‘

  Have you noticed what a complete failure Obama has been in such a short period of time on a spectrum of issues from foreign to domestic policy? Even as incompetent as Bush was, he was surrounded by forceful characters who propelled an agenda. Obama seems not up to the task of reversing course. I also thought he was playing the role out of central casting—but when the rubber meets the road, he is still playing the candidate rather than the president.

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By RdV, April 22, 2009 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

And yet, while leading indicators are down, with the release of the news, the stock market inflates—same as when layoffs are announced.
What does that tell you?

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By Palehorse, April 22, 2009 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

Americans were robbed a long time ago prior to WW1. Americans were asked to file income tax in order to fund the war. Fort Knox was emptied by the enemy (Read Jekyll Island), and our wealth replaced by green paper backed by nothing but is a bank note which makes us owing the enemy. It is a credit note. We’ve Been Robbed for years.

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By Purple Girl, April 22, 2009 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

“Being Robbed’??
More like WERE Robbed.
As you pointed out the Rating Agencies Failed to accurately and honestly grade various ‘investment’ Co’s and their latest & greatest ‘products’.Essentially opening the ‘secure’ vault of our ‘nest egg’ Funds,Annuities, pensions, 401 Ks.Additionally it opened up access to the Accounts the State & Local Gov’ts had been relying on to boloster revenues, along with various Charities. If Bush had succeeded it would have also encompassed all Social Security revenue.
Are you beginning to suspect this was not a matter of ‘lack of oversight’ on thepart of the Rating Agencies- but a stratedgy to gain access to more Gambling money? Did Wall Street Need more cash flow to feed their insatiable apetite for Huge profits, so they cracked into Granny’s Safe?Who’s $1 do you think lies beneath those $40 of paper and promises?
They needed our ‘safe’ accounts to be that $1, so they could leverage out another $40.
Now consider those Life insurance Premiums you’ve been paying to secure your family should you die. They opened up those Premiums to be used as collateral also. Reason the ‘Insurance’ Corps are seeking TARP money- they can’t pay the claims- current or future.Sound familiar?
Wall Street Stole Granny’s cookie Jar money, went to the bookie and placed a bet 40x’s greater than in his pocket,figuring he’d be able to replace what he stole, pay of the marker and put some more money in his pocket- but the horse came in dead last.Who do you think the Addict fears more- granny, the arresting officer or the Mafia who backs the Bookie?
The Housing bubble was a mere lesion, a symptom, Not the insideous and wide spread disease.
The only way they will be possibly able to regain the money the stole AND Lost is to go back to the Track.
No doubt some would try to take the money and run, hoping to God if cuaght it’s by the Cops and not the ‘mafia’.
Just like the Mafia, China,and the oil royals, control all forms of commerce and necessary resource for the entire ‘community’ (have for decades).What Wall Street did was put the entire community at risk- Demands to ‘pay up’on Legitmate loans or shut down the flow of vital resources for the country economic stablity.We don’t have the money to pay off the previous loans, nor have the resources within our ‘village’ walls to sustain US or the ability to regenerate commerce without further assistance. So who do you think they are trying to Repay this debt to first- Granny or the mafia Bosses?
Some of those being prosecuted for fraud, may be glad to see the cops at the door, be placed under arrest, be held in a more protective custody- the alternative is far more Grave- for Them and US.
So are we falling further in debt -Yes. But is there any real alternative- No. The Repugs and their Dereg’s have dug US into about 30 yrs of gambling debts (just about paid off during Clinton ear, only to lose expotentially during the last 8 yrs).We are forced to pay off the ‘Mafias’ because we need the extension of loan options, the commerce and the Oil to ‘prime the pump’.
what we should be doing is as we ‘arrest’ these Gamblers- send them over to their Creditors and let them get ‘reimbursed’ what ever way they see fit. If China is so quick to lop off the head of an inept Export minister, what do you think they’lldo to someone who outright swindled them and Ruined their international business deals and jepordaized repayment of other outstanding loans?We are stuck playig ball with the ‘mafia’, so we might as well help them….
We should be Extradicting these folks to their Creditors who have the stomach and legal freedom to take revenge.Maybe we’d earn ‘Bounty’ Rewards.

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By Jason!!, April 22, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

DWIGHTBAKER,

Please reduce the size of your posts. I know you have lot to say and need to get it out but no one is going to take the time to read it so your are wasting your time.

Say more with less. Take the beerdoctor as an example.

He is calling out Scheer as a racist, elitist who is unwilling to point the finger at the real person to blame.

Short, simple and elegant.

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By Catherine Schulbaum, April 22, 2009 at 3:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Robert Sheer and Neil Barofsky.  This story should be on every newspaper’s front page and at the top of every news program.  I think it’s pretty obvious why it’s not…

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By grant, April 22, 2009 at 3:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More and more, it looks like Goldman Sachs officers and alumni are the kingpins in this whole debacle. Goldman Sachs and their vest pocket politicians in the U.S. Congress, from Pelosi to Schumer etc. These chosen politicians are all like Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif), their priorities and loyalty does not seem to correspond to ordinary citizens.

Millions of people smell a rat and will remain very, very uneasy until this is investigated and goes before a formal, through and honorable tribunal. The issue here is far worse and deeper than was Water Gate and the resignation of Richard Nixon or the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Only the cooperative mainstream media is holding this back and attempting to sweep it under the rug. Millions of outraged citizens mean to prevent such a miscarriage of justice. Heads must roll. The the truth must see the light of day. Never will this be sweep under the rug and forgotten. Never forget and we must pursue this to the gates of hell. No matter what it takes. Special prosecutor must be named asap. Otherwise, there will be more trouble.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 22, 2009 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

It would be good to say to Robert Scheer: “Bob, how long is it going to take until you start putting responsibility for this with the man at the top?”

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