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UBS Money Laundering: What Did Phil Gramm Know?

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Posted on Aug 18, 2009
Gramm
AP / Dean Cox

Former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, attends a party at the Anthem Gallery in New York in 2004.

By Robert Scheer

In recent days yet another wealthy private customer of the Swiss-based banking conglomerate UBS admitted to criminal fraud in a growing parade of perp walks that could extend into the thousands. It is a case that threatens to ensnare former Sen. Phil Gramm, the Texas Republican who is vice chairman of UBS’ investment banking business. Given the widespread involvement of UBS in what the Justice Department alleges were systematic efforts to violate U.S. tax laws, it must be asked: Did Gramm as a top executive have no inkling about what was going on? 

Perhaps, but for Gramm this has to be a moment that at the very least tests his ideological commitment to the radical deregulation of banking that he championed during his 24 years in Congress. He joined UBS soon after the bank acquired Enron, a company that had gone bankrupt after jumping through the “Enron loophole” in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which Gramm had pushed though Congress. Gramm’s wife, Wendy, had been an Enron board member and head of its audit committee but failed to sound the alarm before the Houston-based company collapsed. Then UBS itself ran into big trouble because of $37 billion in bad mortgage debt made possible by derivatives market deregulation engineered by then-Sen. Gramm. U.S. taxpayers have had to pony up money to heal UBS’ self-inflicted wound. But the bank’s involvement with tens of thousands of secret accounts tied to allegations of tax evasion raises starker issues—of possible criminal fraud through practices that Gramm as a senator helped keep opaque.

In his last years in the Senate, Gramm succeeded in blocking legislation that, as The New York Times editorialized, would have made it easier “to crack down on offshore tax havens” and “would have expanded rules that require banks to find out more about individuals and foreign jurisdictions they are dealing with.” The Times noted, “The legislation won bipartisan support but was blocked by Senator Gramm of Texas, a foe of government regulation. …”

Following that victory, Gramm stepped into a top position at UBS, stating: “It will provide me with an opportunity to practice what I’ve always preached. … I have a strange combination of experiences that a lot of people don’t have … knowledge of economics, a knowledge of government policy.” Given that knowledge, it is legitimate to ask just how Gramm could have been unaware of the extensive efforts of his new employer, UBS, to thwart the IRS. In court cases involving UBS over the past year, witnesses have provided extensive details of the bank’s alleged practices in abetting tax avoidance. 

As The Wall Street Journal said of the federal government’s campaign against UBS clients evading U.S. tax laws, “plea agreements … are providing a clearer picture of UBS’s sophisticated efforts to help Americans hide income or the existence of foreign bank accounts.”

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In agreeing in a U.S. district court last week to plead guilty, Los Angeles businessman John McCarthy disclosed how UBS facilitated his defrauding of the U.S. government through secret offshore accounts set up by the bank. “While banking with UBS Cayman Islands, the defendant was advised by UBS representatives that a lot of United States’ clients don’t report their income and just take it off the top,” according to the court filing. Now that the Swiss-based bank has agreed to turn over the names of upward of 10,000 secret account holders, the arraignment of those charged with breaking U.S. tax laws could extend very high into the ranks of the affluent. 

As The Wall Street Journal reported, “The U.S. crackdown on clients of UBS AG is widening into a global hunt, with the government detailing in court documents how the Swiss bank and outside advisers helped Americans hide money using enterprises set up in Hong Kong.”

Was Gramm truly unaware of the widespread efforts at UBS to defraud the U.S. Treasury? Did extreme ideologically driven naiveté lead him to believe that the bank would never engage in such chicanery? In the past he was the first to deny any hint of business naiveté and indeed defended his being hired by a bank that benefited from his legislation. Deflecting any suggestion of a conflict of interests, Gramm told a reporter: “You know, there is something to be said for not hiring people who just came in off a turnip truck. I have always believed that when I left the Senate that I would go into financial services as something that I know something about.”

Well, what exactly did he know about those offshore tax shelters that caused a revenue shortfall of at least $100 billion that honest taxpayers have to make up?


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By Gerry Smith, August 31, 2009 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now could it be there’s a link between the following; Phil Gramm, playing the credit derivatives market, UBS tax evasion schemes for the rich and campaign contributions to the Republican Party and their last election effort with John McCain?

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By suziekidder, August 24, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

Poor Mr. Gramm .. and equally guilty wife .... at what point may we consider attaching assets under RICO?  Personally, I’d like my share of that $100B back.

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By Octafish, August 20, 2009 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great article, Mr. Scheer. Perhaps we’d get closer to the big story if Mr. and Mrs. Gramm were to testify before a Grand Jury on their activities as government officials and corporate officers.  Not to brag or nothin’, I touched base on this almost a year ago on DemocraticUnderground.com:

Know your BFEE: Phil Gramm, the Meyer Lansky of the War Party, Set-Up the Biggest Bank Heist Ever.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x4055207

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By Karen, August 20, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a little heartened that the Obama DOJ is going after UBS and actually getting
it to reveal the names of Americans who have not been paying their taxes. 
(Personally, I think those names should be published so we can all see who these
“patriotic” Americans are.)

Gramm and his wife really should be behind bars.  As Louise below pointed out,
they have no conscience—which means they are sociopaths.  Predatory
sociopaths belong in jail where they can do no more harm.

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By Bert, August 20, 2009 at 1:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, how do you like your Friskies? With milk, or without? Tonight, we’ll be serving la specialite du maison, a nice june Ripple.

It sure was nice, when other countries would still trade their currency for dollars….alas…

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By KDelphi, August 19, 2009 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

Gramm is one of the worst.

But I wish the media would stop trying to satisfy the public with the “one bad apple” appraoch.(Esp sincer it will prob work) Madoff, AIG, Gramm, etc. The entire system is the problem and you can bet your ass that many people in both parties have bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, too.

Everyone in DC “
knew about it”—didnt YOU know about"Swiss Bank Accounts”?? Seems like I’ve heard of them somewhere…if AG wont lock people up for war crimes, etc, I dont think he’s going after a guy like Gramm…hell, the Dems wont even regulate, despite uringing from all of our allies..

Lets just keep up the bi-partisanship! He’ll get his in Hell, right?

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2009 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA that was a tour de force explanation of global economics and
the financialization process, and I for one appreciated it.  There is much to
absorb for a neophyte.  You named names and institutions and I also
appreciate that.  Contacting my congressmen would be a useless effort.  The
beliefs of the bulk of their constituency would be counter to my sentiments so
any complaint I would give would be brushed into the circular file.  I would
think there are many in my situation across the USA.  So we are the
disenfranchised.  Within the 70% but with even less a voice than 69%.  However,
I keep looking for ways to make my effort count.  The biggest thing I am doing
is learning about economics, how the financial world works, and how nations
are affected by it.  Nation in this case is not an abstraction, but millions of real
people.  Thank you for this mini exposition.

By the way, BillW Phil Gramm’s name is Gramm, not Graham.  Seems
important to get the name right. Phil Graham died in 1963, was a publisher
and co-owner of the Washington Post and was a Democrat unlike Phil Gramm,
the subject of this article who is still alive and is a Republican.

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By mike112769, August 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

BillW: Beautifully said,sir.

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By MarthaA, August 19, 2009 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

(Part 1 of 2)

What’s being talked about here is the neo-con “Project For The New American Century” and all those involved in that global project relative to the economy and the financialization process that would “Shrink the government down to a small enough size that it could be drowned in the bath tub.”  http://www.newamericancentury.org/

Phil Gramm’s greed, as well as others in the financial class, assisted the process of deindustrialization and financialization of the United States for short-term profit in the name of globalization, and this financialization appears to be cyclical as this type of greed has overtaken other industrialized nations in the past: first Spain, then Holland, then Great Britain and for the past 40 years in the United States, as exorbitant short-term profit has been too much for our government officials to resist.

Was this process inevitable or evitable in Spain, Holland , Britain and now in the United States?  That’s hard to say, because each time it was willful greed that brought about the destruction of their Manufacturing Economies.

Could it be that the United States could reindustrialize from the now Mercantile Economy that depends on cheap foreign labor for short-term profit that has concentrated wealth from the many into the hands of the few—- reindustrialize, reengage our Manufacturing Economy and foreign trade in support of U.S. export, and a Domestic Economy, rather than a Mercantile Economy based upon financialization and mercantile commodities imported from Asia by cheap foreign labor and “borrow and spend” governance that has bankrupted the nation and destroyed the nation’s economy?  Possibly, that’s also hard to say.  The U.S. has now gotten China going full bore as the heir apparent.

The following is an excerpt from a 2008 Nicholas S. Melko TCC Thesis, ‘The Rise and Fall of World Power’:

“The United States is now in the postindustrial phase of its existence.  The postindustrial phase of a nation occurs in the life of a nation as its manufacturing infrastructure ages, as its energy source become depleted or outdated, and as it becomes more convenient and PROFITABLE for the financial class to import products of manufacture from other nations, rather than to invest in the reindustrialization of the nation from which the financial class has been enriched with wealth; this process is called FINANCIALIZATION.”

“According to Kevin Phillips in ‘American Theocracy’, “‘FINANCIALIZATION’ can be defined as a process whereby financial services, broadly construed, take over the dominant economic cultural and political role in a National Economy.”

“Barry Bluestone and Bennett Harrison in “The Deindustrialization of America” chronicle the decline of the industrial base of the United States’ economy and Wal-Mart gives testament to why the deindustrialization of America is occurring.  The deindustrialization of America is occurring because it is more financially profitable to import products of foreign manufacture for U.S. markets, than it is to reindustrialize the manufacturing capacity of the United States and compete as a (cont.)

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By MarthaA, August 19, 2009 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

(Excerpt from a 2008 Nicholas S. Melko TCC Thesis, ‘The Rise and Fall of World Power’(cont.):
(Part 2 of 2)

National Economy with other National Economies throughout the world.  It is more profitable for the financial class of the United States to FINANCIALIZE the U.S. Economy and adopt “borrow and spend” tactics that through both public and private debt suck the equity out of the United States, as the United States descends into postindustrialization, and to use “borrowed money and financial services to fill the dominant economic, cultural and political role in the National Economy of the United States”, because FINANCIALIZATION is more profitable in the short term than reindustrialization of manufacturing capacity together with developing new energy sources, that allow for a strong U.S. Economy with manufacturing capacity that can compete with other National Economies in foreign trade, and provide its own products of manufacture for U.S. domestic markets.

“At the present time, the start of the 21st Century, the United States is well into postindustrial FINANCIALIZATION of the U.S. Economy.  Deindustrialization, together with reliance upon foreign imports and “borrow and spend” support of the U.S. Economy by way of a National Debt that is at present around 9 trillion dollars are all glaring signs of postindustrial FINANCIALIZATION of the U.S. Economy.”

“Easy profits from a “borrow and spend” economy based upon a 9 trillion dollar National Debt will provide profits for the financial class of the United States, but the high profits to the financial class of the United States have been so far, are at present, and will continue to be at the expense of the U.S. Economy and will in the end have the same results as happened with Spain, Holland and Britain; and the United States will cease to be a world power.”

“If FINANCIALIZATION of the U.S. Economy, destruction of the industrial base of the United States by way of supporting the U.S. Economy with a 9 trillion dollar National Debt used as a “borrow and spend” feeding tube to replace manufacturing capacity and both foreign and domestic trade for added value, because there is more profits to be made by the financial class is the goal, the U.S. Economy is well on its way to achieving this goal.  If this is not the goal, something is going to have to be done about the financial class and their history of selling the nations that give them their money down the river for profit.”

“We are well on the way to enabling China to be the next emergent world power and for the United States to be just one more nation on the list with Spain, Holland and Great Britain.”

“I am of the opinion that the United States can make a choice to override the self-serving interests of the U.S. financial class and reindustrialize the U.S. Economy, find new energy sources, redevelop a strong National Economy and reengage in both foreign and domestic trade for added value to our own National Economy of the United States, and that we should press our leaders not to pursue FINANCIALIZATION of the U.S. Economy at the expense of both the integrity of the U.S. Economy with regard to manufacturing capacity that is competitive in world markets and the American people as a whole, for the sole benefit of the minority population of the financial class of the United States.”

“If there are others that agree with me on halting postindustrial FINANCIALIZATION of the U.S. Economy for the short term financial gain of the U.S. financial class, it is time for your voice to be heard by your constituent leaders in the Congress of the United States.  It is time to reindustrialize, rather than to FINANCIALIZE the U.S. Economy and for the United States to reengage with other National Economies of the world as a strong Manufacturing Economy, rather than to rely upon foreign imports and “borrow and spend” tactics of FINANCIALIZATION that enrich the U.S. financial class at the expense of the U.S. Economy.”

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By Palindromedary, August 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Bill W.:
It is good to know that there are people who know about this high tech nano-thermite which has been found in the dust of the WTC collapse.  This is, along with all of the many, many, other pieces of evidence, yet another nail in the coffin of the neocon criminals who engineered and carried out the biggest coup in US history. The scientific paper that shows the nano-thermite evidence can be found at:
http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM

Everyone should read this paper…at least skim over it…read the beginning and end (conclusions,)if you don’t want to read all about the technical tests that were done. We need to continue to keep this alive until the criminals are brought to justice. No one overthrows America and gets away with it!  We won’t let them get away with it!  Those who do are ignorant, gutless, wonders who will not lift a finger to defend themselves against their aggressors. And the really pathetic ones are those useful idiots who defend the aggressors. The aggressors have not only murdered thousands of it’s citizens in a false flag operation but have engineered the financial takeover of this country.

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By PatrickHenry, August 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Phil Gramm = Bush stooge.

Where’s a good prosecutor when you need one?

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2009 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

There is no reason this man ought to be given a free pass.  But short of
prosecution, there is nothing that can be done about his financial peccadilloes. 
Somebody needs to file a lawsuit!  It doesn’t have to be the guvamint. 
Does anyone have the cojonies?  Nobody is a good canididate. He is always a
good one.

During one of the his several Republican assaults on Social Security, the issue
of cutting back benefits for the elderly came up in the Senate. “They are 80-
year-olds,” barked Mr. Gramm. “Most people don’t have the luxury of living to
be 80 years old, so it’s hard for me to feel sorry for them.”

Back in September 2008, Krugman, NYT, Economics critic, was warning what
Gramm was capable of and many any others before that.  Phil Gramm, has been
wrecking the economy for years! Former Senator Phil Gramm was not just
another Texas blow-hard with an abrasive personality. He was John McCain’s
brain on economic matters, and it doesn’t matter that he resigned as co-
chairman of McCain’s presidential campaign in July. Currently (and has been for
some time, I suspect even when he was a senator! is employed by UBS AG as a
Vice Chairman of the Investment Bank division.)

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By Allan Krueger, August 19, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

Hey Phil, are we still in our MENTAL RECESSION? Asshole! I think there is a cell with your name on it!

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By Bill W., August 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

take 3 of 3 begin

  We know that nano-thermite isn’t your ordinary “high energetic” materiel that you can get at Lowes or Wal-Mart; it’s pretty much a sole-source item from our US weapons laboratories (Sandia, Los Alamos, White Sands, Naval weapons labs.  We know that the weaponized anthrax, used as a further terror scare to kind of nail down the 9/11 theatrics, was also a US weapons lab creature, this one from Fort Detrick, MD. Seems like our concern about WMDs is somewhat misplaced, in that they’re more likely to be used, and to have been used, against our own American citizens by our own government. (“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations….” etc.)

  And “the person of interest” in the anthrax case conveniently committed suicide, as did the British chap who noted flaws in the Iraq war propaganda) : 3,000, plus 7 postal workers, plus the supermarket tabloid guy in Florida, plus the anthrax guy—a sizable bit of “collateral damage” to pull off a so-called “terrorist attack” on “the homeland” (as “our” government now is calling “our country”—reminiscent of Heimats Versicherheit-ness-ness of the Third Reich. We should remember that many, many of the US bankers and corporate leaders (Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Browns, Harrimans, Bushes, back in the days of WWI and WWII were very fond of the German government, and helped to support the German war effort (just a little bit of treason among friends, but who’d bother to call anyone on it, right? Our “upper class” is indeed way, way above the law.)

  Or, as Adam Smith, the so-called “father of free trade” (he wasn’t, and that “invisible hand” of the marketplace isn’t, either; it just has good “ear-feel,” like “democracy” and “freedom”), put it in one of his Glasgow lectures:

  “Laws and government may be considered in this and indeed in every case as a combination of the rich to oppress the poor, and preserve to themselves the inequality of the goods which would otherwise be soon destroyed by the attacks of the poor, who if not hindered by the government would soon reduce the others to an equality with themselves by open violence.”

Citation: Adam Smith-1763, Feb. 23, Tuesday, lecture series on Laws & Jurisprudence. Vol. 5, page 208, facsimile (scanned pages in PDF, with full-text search, one of the glories of PDFs). Thanks to Howard Zinn for pointing to that quote. You can also find this one about merchants: hmmm. can’t find it.

    We are, as “they” say, in very, very deep sneakers. Our unemployment (U-6 on the BLS chart) is running up towards 20%; our citizenry are so spooked that they can’t countenance that government can up up to anything good at all. The new presumption about government figures is: Everything they tell us is a lie, until proven otherwise. That’s why Bush got the title of Unitary Liar-In-Chief.

take 3 of 3 end.

[2,805 chars]

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By Bill W., August 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

take 2 of 3

  Guantánamo is not yet closed; The USA PATRIOT Act has not yet been repealed. Nor has Presidential Decision Directive # 51 been rescinded (I’m the president and I can institute Martial Law whenever I want to, and neither Congress nor the courts (nor the people, I suppose) do anything about it. And I can, as president, then arrest anyone in the US or kidnap anyone around the world and hold them prisoner in my dungeons until they die, if I don’t like the look of ‘em or don’t like “the cut of their jib,” as the saying goes). And Obama has increased, rather than disbanded, the “peace-keeping military unit” that can “pacify protesters” and put them in what folks in the field are calling new internment camps.

    Apparently one of the many, many military exercises that took place on 9/11/2001 was the logistics of getting the non-Constitutional “shadow government” (COGS, or Continuity of Governmental Services, or Supremacy—something like that) out of the capital, and perhaps some from the Capitol, though I think congress was probably bypassed) out into their bomb-shelters, or “marauding citizen bunkers,” whatever they call ‘em.

    And has Obama begun prosecuting the criminals who killed 170 prisoners of war when in our prison camps? Has he begun to prosecute Bush et al for the millions of violations of the FISAct? What’s happening with the firing of the nine US Attorneys by Karl Rove and his Maid Marian?

    Is anyone prosecuting our war profiteers, like Halliburton, Kellogg Corn Flakes Root & Brown, the renamed “Blackwater” mercenary outfit?  Are the news media finally filming the arrival of our war dead at Dover AFB, the wounded and maimed at Andrews AFB?

  Oh, and lest I forget: We have yet to have a dispositive investigation of the events before, during and after 9/11/2001. We do know that Phil Zelikow was hired by Condi Rice after he finished his popular novel, “The 9/11 Commission Report.” We’re hearing that Gov Tom Kean has some perhaps questionable dealings with UBS. Lee Hamilton’s a major Washington “insider,” or “party hack,” as we used to say.
We do know that Cheney and some unidentified military aide were going back and forth about some orders that Cheney had issued, which concerned the military guy more and more as some flying thing got closer and closer to Washington. It probably wasn’t an order for a Subway Italian one-footer with everything.) That according to Transportation Secy. Norman Mineta. Who also witnessed Darth Cheney in the bunker about half an hour before Cheney claims to have arrived there. It’s all to fishy for words.

    We know now, thanks to private citizens and their dogged program, CSI-WTC (Crime Scene Investigation-Worried Trade Center) that nano-thermite was used to blow up WTC #1 and #2 and blow down WTC #7 (#7 was “merely” a fairly conventional building demolition job, done late in the afternoon of the day so’s not to attract too much attention. I think of the whole World Trade Center demolition exercise as a freebie for Larry Silverstein, who got his “urban renewal” site cleared without having to get a demolition permit, without having to remove all the asbestos in #7, #2 and #1. (NYCity would not issue demolition permits for the buildings, as I understand it, without first having the asbestos removed—demolition would of necessity blow asbestos fibers all over lower Manhattan, resulting in major lung and other health problems for those who breathed the asbestos-laden air. Which is what has happened, of course. Some government rules are actually fairly sensible.) 
[3,569 chars] take 2 of 3 end

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By Bill W., August 19, 2009 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...Purple Girl… the Federal oath is “support and defend”  the one that the 535 members of the American Incumbent Party swear. And the Veep. And Commissioned ossifers. Ditto non-commissioned ossifers or grunts, who additionally swear to “obey their superior ossifers,” including the Unitary Liar-In-Chief.

  The president get’s his own oath, especially written by The Founding Fozzers, right in the constitution—namely, “preserve, protect and defend” —but, with a big loophole—only “to the best of my ability,” which ability might be non-existent, as we’ve already seen.

  And of course Phil Graham knew what was going on with UBS, just as his little wifie wifey wi-fi can be presumed to have known (or was culpably negligent NOT to have known) what was going on with Enron, in her purtik’ler position.

  But as folks are beginning to notice, nothing’s going to happen very much until We the People start to cramp our leaders’ styles by physically filling up the space they want to travel in.

    I can think of pickets in Phil Graham’s driveway, or on the sidewalk of his condo, weekend home, work-place, ditto for his wifey; ditto for the US Attorney General’s place of business, his home, his weekend getaway(s); ditto the CEO’s personal dwelling units and places of business, etc., etc.

    As someone said once, you gotta get ‘em where they live.

    I have a theory (untested), that one of the powers we the people retained (did not delegate to our government) as per the 10th Amendment, is the power to form citizen grand juries. It kind of goes along with the language in the Declaration of Independence that reads:

” That to secure these rights, [life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness, among others] Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

<snip>

” But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

  I’d venture to say that we’re pretty much at that point now.

  I suggest we all keep a pocket copy of the US Constitution with us at all times. And only use $2 “federal ‘reserve’ notes,” as they have, on the obverse, an inspiring engraving of the presentation of the Declaration of Independence by Thos. Jefferson et al. to the Continental Congress.

  So here we are in August, seven months after the changing of the palace guard in Washington. And our new president hasn’t changed anything much but a little tone.

  The private “federal reserve” banks and the secretive “federal reserve” bankers and Goldman Sachs chiefs are still at the helm of the economy—they just changed names; we’re still at war in the Middle East; single-payer universal health insurance/health care will surely be gutted; the president is insisting he has a “states secrets” privilege, just as Bush claimed; Obama is muttering about “preventive detention” (this from a former lecturer on Constitutional Law with very high marks from Harvard Law School (although we should note that many of our best thieves on Wall Street have Harvard, Yale and Princeton degrees—our most lawless presidents, the Bush boys, have degrees from Yale, so I guess that doesn’t prove much, does it, except that they don’t teach ethics or morality at Yale. Perhaps hypocrisy, though? I’ll have to check the course catalog.)  [3,796 chars]
1 of 3

...more….

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By NorCalNative, August 19, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Caution: Reading about Gramm’s political career can lead to terminal cynicism.

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By bernie, August 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just looking at Gramm makes my skin crawl. The only difference between this character and Madoff is that he finagled himself into elected office which positioned him to generate legislation legalizing his fraudulent schemes. Why isn’t this parasite in jail?

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By Samson, August 19, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

I’d love to know who his source is for the statements in the opening paragraph that this is about to ensnare Gramm.

Actually, this kinda smells like typical Democrat propaganda.  We are at the point where most of the people left of Reagan are figuring out that Obama and the Democrats suck.  The war in Iraq goes on full blast (literally these days), the war in Afghanistan has been escalated by 20,000 more troops, plus signs we’ll send more troops to each.

Even worse and closer to home, Obama and the Democrats ‘health care reform’ has turned into an obvious bill to aid the profits of the HMO’s, insurance companies and big pharma ... with every progressive idea like single-payer or the public option either blocked or jetisoned along the way in order to make sure that the big health corporations get exactly what they want.

So, its the perfect time for the Democrats to publish some un-sourced smear against a known Republican name like Graham.  The only campaign tactic really left to the Democrats is to constantly attack the Republicans and make people think they are even worse.

Yeah, Graham’s awful.  No surprise there for anyone who’s been paying attention for the last 30 years.  Its just interesting timing for a big splashy article that has very little meat behind it.

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By mike112769, August 19, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

LOLOLOLOL! Thank you for the article, but everyone already knows that politicians are thieves! The only difference between us and the late Roman empire is that Americans still have their bread and circuses…for now. When those run out, all bets are off.

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By Taoseno, August 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gosh….I think I’m losing faith in my government!

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By Outraged, August 19, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Gramm makes Capone look like the donut thief I referred to a couple of days ago.

“Capone’s control and interests within organized crime diminished rapidly after his imprisonment, and he was no longer able to run the Outfit after his release. He had lost weight, and his physical and mental health had deteriorated under the effects of neurosyphilis. He often raved on about Communists, foreigners, and George Moran, who he was convinced was still plotting to kill him from his Ohio prison cell.”

Tax evasion…. I’m good with that.  Treason…. I’m good with that too.

“Book ‘em, Dano”

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, August 19, 2009 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

So if everyone knows that Gramm is guilty and everyone knows that he won’t be prosecuted, when will the shooting start?

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By smendler, August 19, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Sen Gramm’s son Marshall is an Econ professor at Rhodes College.  Wonder what he thinks about all this.

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By Spiritgirl, August 19, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

“Did extreme ideologically driven naiveté lead him to believe that the bank would never engage in such chicanery? In the past he was the first to deny any hint of business naiveté and indeed defended his being hired by a bank that benefited from his legislation.”

There is no such thing as naivete involved!  These “public servants” have known exactly what they have been doing.  They have been favoring the corporate interests over the American people’s interests - I think that’s called TREASON!?!?  In this case Phil and Wendy deserve to pay back to the American people for their ill-gotten gains, and some jail-time would go a long way! 

And a note the the American idiots that keep voting for these people - STOP IT!  These people you keep voting for (& listening too) are not trying to help you - pay attention to what they are doing, not what they say, cause you’re condemning this country to Corporate servitude!

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By don knutsen, August 19, 2009 at 10:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How about we confiscate the ill-gotten revenues of these criminals who hid their assets away in Switzerland and start a fund to help those facing foreclosure, that and repealing the tax breaks for the wealthy that thie last miserable administration put in effect. Any office holders found on the list should be imediately removed from office for criminal prosecution. They, including Mr. Deregulation Graham, have crapped all over their oaths to uphold the laws and represent the citizens. All they’ve done is use the laws they have pushed thru to enrich themselves and we are seeing the results. Why is this smiling creep allowed to continue ? Because he had the help of so many other of our elected representitives all along the way. Its rotten from the head down. Until some of these individuals begin paying a price for their crimes it will continue to unravel. This guy was McCain’s finance adviser, anyone else see alittle hypocracy whenever any republican ( or dem ) flaps their face holes on the subject of our economy ? Accountability, in atleast some form, thats whats been missing for so very long. These criminals fear no recrimination, why should they, they’ve got everyone they need in their pocket already. Tp Phil Graham we are just a nation of “Whiners”.

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By Michael Ryan, August 19, 2009 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The system is totally corrupt and all taxpayers do is whine and write comments that sound righteous and esoteric. bush, cheney, rove, rumsfeld, wolkawitz, rice, graham, bush1, regan, they laugh at us and all we do is whine.

Get use to it - all we’re here for is to support their lifestyles.

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By truedigger3, August 19, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

Robert Scheer wrote:
“UBS Money Laundering: What Did Phil Gramm Know?”
_____________________________________________________

Phil Gramm knew everything, and as a matter of fact encouraged it. Nuff said.!!!

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By artie, August 19, 2009 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phil and Wendy- two of the most corrupt of the corrupt . Both should be incarcerated.

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By Louise, August 19, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

“It will provide me with an opportunity to practice what I’ve always preached. … I have a strange combination of experiences that a lot of people don’t have … knowledge of economics, a knowledge of government policy.”
~~~

Should we add to that, “Knowledge of how to best scam the system without fear of being held accountable.” ?

Yes lets.

~~~
“plea agreements … are providing a clearer picture of UBS’s sophisticated efforts to help Americans hide income or the existence of foreign bank accounts ... the arraignment of those charged with breaking U.S. tax laws could extend very high into the ranks of the affluent.”
~~~

Affluent:  Generously supplied with money, property, or possessions; prosperous or rich.

And so we ask, what level of that affluence is directly related to gifts in the form of tax breaks for the wealthy, and/or outright tax fraud? How much money have the prosperous or rich skimmed off the honest tax-payers by virtue of their tax advantage and tax fraud? Now here’s an interesting little tid-bit. When you talk to people who have cheated on their taxes by virtue of off-shore shelters. They don’t think they are cheaters. In fact they think they should be praised for being so clever.

Welfare for the Wealthy in action.

~~~
Revere,

“Graham sold his soul long ago.”
~~~

Perhaps, but I’m more inclined to believe there never was a soul to sell. Gramm, like so many so-called conservatives shares the one common character flaw we see in most of these people and their policies. The complete absence of a sense of wrong, or personal wrong-doing.

In other words, they have no conscience!

They are impervious to finger pointing, let alone charges of dishonesty! They honestly feel no guilt. Which is why the most important thing that can happen is to see Gramm (and his wife) charged, convicted and locked away. Not that it will change them in any way, but it might point out to fledgelings following in their footsteps, you want to cheat? OK, but if you do, be prepared to pay the consequence!

It also points out another valuable lesson, that it’s high time we the people stop accepting just because someone has a “knowledge of economics” and a “knowledge of government policy” doesn’t mean they are the best person to trust with OUR economics and OUR government policy!

In fact, the braggart is probably the LAST person we should trust! We need to remember that everytime we vote!

Braggart: Characterized by arrogant boasting. Recognized by the appearance of conciet, a haughty facial expression and the way one holds his/her head. (where that expression, “looking down their nose,” comes from) John Boehner springs to mind.

~~~
fwdpost,

“twitters by fritterers”
~~~

Good one! Need to pass that around to all the twittering twits I know! smile

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, August 19, 2009 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

Phil can be blamed for many of America’s current woes but he will never be brought to justice through conventional channels.  An angry mob and a hangin’ tree is what we chiefly need.

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By freepressmyass, August 19, 2009 at 9:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phil Gramm is confident that nothing will touch him. There could be video of Gramm loading an armoured truck with sacks of cash from the Federal Reserve and driving it straight to his house, and Obama’s DOJ will find a way to move forward instead of looking back.
All of the human garbage that was and is in charge knew about EVERYTHING going on with Wall St. Last August, before the self serving Paulson got on bended knee to grovel at Pelosi’s feet, Bush quipped that “Wall St. got drunk. He got a hearty laugh with that one. 

That’s why survelliance was being conducted on Spitzer. Spitzer and the FBI had been investigating the sub prime lenders for months. Bush had to silence him. Spitzer was days away from spilling it all, so they were desparate. They humiliated him on a charge that Republicans usually admire in each other. All the Imperialists wanted Spitzer to go away, including banking committee Dems like Frank, Dodd, and the intensely annoying Scmuck Schumer.

On the other hand, if I miss a mortgage payment, the banks immediately tack on insane bullshit fees, or soon after toss me out on my ass.

The Corporatists in charge are successfully crushing the American people. The fact the Obama still has not put a freeze on foreclosures is simply discusting.

Ain’t America beautiful?

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By LostHills, August 19, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

I’d love to see this criminal behind bars, where he belongs. But I ain’t holdin’ my breath. Our new attorney general hasn’t demonstrated any will to go after these sleaze bags, and we know that our new president doesn’t have it….

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Why don’t we make a citizens’ arrest?

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By LostHills, August 19, 2009 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

I’d love to see this criminal behind bars, where he belongs. But I ain’t holdin’ my breath. Our know attorney general hasn’t demonstrated any will to go after these sleaze bags, and we know that our new president doesn’t have it….

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By dihey, August 19, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Whoa!

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By JenniferBedingfield, August 19, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

If a poor person does the whistleblowing, he or she gets persecuted whereas if a wealthy fatcat finally confesses, he or she is deemed “hero” for coming out albeit too late. Such is the norm for unfettered capitalism aka disaster capitalism as Naomo Klein best calls it.

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By Blackspeare, August 19, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

It is interesting in that I saw Gramm give a keynote address when he was a freshman Congressman.  I said to myself, this guy is a sleaze—-little did I know!  The question now is if I could be so perceptive what about his colleagues——wait a min——could they all be sleaze bags??!!

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By smendler, August 19, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

Few things would do my heart more good than seeing Sen. Gramm, that smug, arrogant, porcine, slavering servant of Mammon, getting his thorough and well-deserved comeuppance.

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By Fat Freddy, August 19, 2009 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Revere

Not all banks supported the “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act”.

From 2004:

http://www.icba.org/news/newsreleasedetail.cfm?ItemNumber=594&sn;.itemnumber=1733

http://www.icba.org/publications/NewsletterDetailWWR.cfm?ItemNumber=928&sn;.ItemNumber=13783#1

Gramm-Leach-Bliley was not “deregulation”. It was government interference, into the free market, that was masqueraded as deregulation.

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2009 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Well, We t’Beeble are giving the The Bushonian Cabal the middle finger!  Right?

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By Revere, August 19, 2009 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

Graham sold his soul long ago.  He is but one figure in a mafia best referred to as the Bushonian Cabal whose mission isn’t so much about class warfare, as it is the creation of the ultimate elite.  This full fledged looting really moved into gear during the Bush 1 period and continued full speed during Clinton and Bush 2. 

Now mind you that this is the man who helped push through The Financial Modernization Act of 1999, also known as the “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,” which effectively repealed the Glass-Steagall Act which was passed during the Depression Era as a measure intended to avoid a repeat of the 1929 Stock Market Crash. The Glass-Steagall Act prohibited a bank from offering investment, commercial banking and insurance services, or from consolidating with other companies providing such services. The ill-advised, spurious and egregious repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act is the single most important factor driving the subprime and credit-crunch debacles because it allowed rampant fraud and outrageous conflicts of interest to develop between different financial sectors, resulting in a complete breakdown of confidence and trust in our system of finance which has been destroyed right before your eyes. “Gramm’s Blunder” and “Greenspan’s Folly” together have powered the fraud and deceit that made the subprime debacle possible. The passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, more than any other causal factor, destroyed the due diligence and integrity of the entire financial sector, and paved the way for rampant and outrageous fraud by dismantling the usual system of checks and balances.

So, back to the mafia cabal that decided the USA would no longer be a tenable entity.

    There was an understanding that the Bretton Woods II Agreement would eventually reach the point where it would be unworkable. So what blew it out of the water? There was the deep recession of 1981-82 which had a global impact. That sent a signal that the Bretton Woods II agreement could no longer be sustained and that it was time for Bretton Woods III. It also showed that wealth had to be de-concentrated, if non-debt-financed consumption were going to be maintained.

    The planet’s leadership at that time, led by the Bushonian Cabal and its 300 some members, made the decision that this wasn’t going to happen, and that instead there would be a so-called final push for wealth consolidation, a term used by George Bush Sr. himself. This was done by proffering policies that would increasingly cause money to flow from the hands of the many into the hands of the few, knowing that this policy would cause eventual global economic collapse. However, global economic collapse would have come anyway because Bretton Woods II was no longer sustainable.

    The Bushonian Cabal then was correct. If global economic collapse was inevitable anyway, wasn’t it better to begin in the 1980s with economic policies that would move wealth into the hands of the few to create a powerful educated right wing elite that could then be called upon to control the planet, when all governments begin to fail and when democracy is no more? In other words, at that point, you would need a strong-handed iron-fisted wealthy elite that is experienced in exercising power.

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By fwdpost, August 19, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

Civil rights were allowed because the elite were afraid of an uprising. Ditto, the ending of the Vietnam War.
Our current protest method is twitters by fritterers - no threat to the corporation and the rich. We have to hit the streets.

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By mlb, August 19, 2009 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Although there are surely politicians who unthinkingly support deregulation, I don’t believe that it’s really ideologically based for the most part, certainly not in Mr. Gramm’s case.  The real motivation is greed, unrestrained by moral/ethical considerations.  That motivation cannot be revealed directly of course, so a pretended ideology is created to provide it with cover.  Deregulation is a means to make it easier for its proponents and their cohorts to get away with things that are morally criminal.  It’s written all over Gramm’s laughing face.

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Yahbutt proving he is an idiot is easy.

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By Fat Freddy, August 19, 2009 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

Doesn’t everyone know that Swiss banks have been used to hide assets since the Nazis started doing it in the 1930s? But now, instead of Nazis, there are tax cheats and money launderers.

If Gramm didn’t know, he’s an idiot. But proving what he did know, and when, can be very difficult.

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By Doug Wilson, August 19, 2009 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

DOJ is the IRS Collections Dept. which is the Federal Reserves Collections Dept. who Gramm played ball with and got the deregulation laws passed to create the climate for the “Bubble” that is now paying off in the form of Bank foreclosures…Quite a plan…

Did I miss anything?

http://www.dgswilson.com/Society/Law.html

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By Ouroborus, August 19, 2009 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

Oh, uncle Phil, tell me it ain’t so; go directly to jail, do not pass go and do not collect $200.

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By Purple Girl, August 19, 2009 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

Treason with Forethought and malice.
He took an oathe to Protect and defend the Constitution.The Cosntitution is not a Peice of paper with words, it is the representative symbol of ‘We The People’. He screwed US out of Laws and Regulations to Protect US.Granting Liberties and privildges to Corp Crests over the PeopleOur Declaration of Independent may have been sent to England- but it was directed at Any and All who dared subjegate the masses to their wills and whims.
If our economy and the world economy had not taken such a catastrophic turn for the worse because of these Deregualtions and Theivery- these would be only white collar crimes. But the effects of their crimes is far too vast to warrant such a meager charge.Considering the Scope and Depth of this Global Economic disaster- an International Indictment for Crimes Against Humantiy is Justied.
Phil Gramm is a major player in Cheney’s

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By carlinnyc, August 19, 2009 at 5:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The truth may eventually come out, but it the end, it may be of no consequence.

Mr. Gramm and his wife certainly knew what they were doing.

And while in Congress Mr. Gramm’s actions where in full public view. It was up to other members of Congress to block his crazy ideas, which they didn’t and we have no one to blame but the American people for electing people who do not have our best interests in mind.

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2009 at 4:58 am Link to this comment

The worms keep coming out of the woodwork.  Eventually they will all get squashed.

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By oldog, August 19, 2009 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

It has become business as usual for ‘public servants’ to be rewarded with salaries 10-100 times there congressional paychecks, for long and faithful service to whichever industry owns them.

The only danger to this system is investigative journalism. If people know what is behind the flowery speeches of crooked politicians, most of us will vote them out. Big business is trying hard to close this hole (now that anti-trust laws were quietly disposed of) with ownership of publishing and broadcasting companies who fill mainstream media with trivia.

The world wide web with service from Truthdig and others, provides our only access to real life news. No doubt legislation is on the way to protect ‘Americans’ from this bothersome liberty.

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By ardee, August 19, 2009 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

Defrauding govt., and thus the American people, of needed revenues is just business as usual. It is not even perceived as illegal, though it certainly is, as you would find out if you tried to hide some of your paycheck without subjecting it to US taxes.

One always hears these folks whining that US Corporate taxes are among the highest anywhere, but the actual amounts paid are negligible. I doubt that Gramm will spend any time in jail, but he should, if only for the underhanded way he snuck the deregulation of those damn Credit Default Swaps through Congress.

This nation is run by and for the corporation and not the people, whose interests are always secondary. We see this clearly if we only look. The debacle of health care reform is a perfect example of this, profit trumps the deaths of thousands, the bottom line supersedes the bankruptcies , the foreclosures, the abuses all caused by a rapacious and greedy health care industry.

The simple truth remains, despite the protestations of those Democratic Party loyalists who cannot see outside the box. Real reform of our increasingly fascist govt.,and the definition of fascism is corporate control of the process, lies not with continuing to vote for the same old people from the same old parties.

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