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Wolf writes: "The notion that the entire global financial system is riddled with systemic fraud is one that would have only recently seemed like the frenzied hypothesis of tinhat-wearers, but this week's headlines make such a conclusion, sadly, inevitable."

Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11. (photo: Guardian UK)
Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11. (photo: Guardian UK)

This Global Financial Fraud and Its Gatekeepers

By Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK

15 July 12


The media's 'bad apple' thesis no longer works. We're seeing systemic corruption in banking - and systemic collusion.

ast fall, I argued that the violent reaction to Occupy and other protests around the world had to do with the 1%ers' fear of the rank and file exposing massive fraud if they ever managed get their hands on the books. At that time, I had no evidence of this motivation beyond the fact that financial system reform and increased transparency were at the top of many protesters' list of demands.

But this week presents a sick-making trove of new data that abundantly fills in this hypothesis and confirms this picture. The notion that the entire global financial system is riddled with systemic fraud - and that key players in the gatekeeper roles, both in finance and in government, including regulatory bodies, know it and choose to quietly sustain this reality - is one that would have only recently seemed like the frenzied hypothesis of tinhat-wearers, but this week's headlines make such a conclusion, sadly, inevitable.

The New York Times business section on 12 July shows multiple exposes of systemic fraud throughout banks: banks colluding with other banks in manipulation of interest rates, regulators aware of systemic fraud, and key government officials (at least one banker who became the most key government official) aware of it and colluding as well. Fraud in banks has been understood conventionally and, I would say, messaged as a glitch. As in London Mayor Boris Johnson's full-throated defense of Barclay's leadership last week, bank fraud is portrayed as a case, when it surfaces, of a few "bad apples" gone astray.

In the New York Times business section, we read that the HSBC banking group is being fined up to $1bn, for not preventing money-laundering (a highly profitable activity not to prevent) between 2004 and 2010 - a six years' long "oops". In another article that day, Republican Senator Charles Grassley says of the financial group Peregrine capital: "This is a company that is on top of things." The article goes onto explain that at Peregrine Financial, "regulators discovered about $215m in customer money was missing." Its founder now faces criminal charges. Later, the article mentions that this revelation comes a few months after MF Global "lost" more than $1bn in clients' money.

What is weird is how these reports so consistently describe the activity that led to all this vanishing cash as simple bumbling: "regulators missed the red flag for years." They note that a Peregrine client alerted the firm's primary regulator in 2004 and another raised issues with the regulator five years later - yet "signs of trouble seemingly missed for years", muses the Times headline.

A page later, "Wells Fargo will Settle Mortgage Bias Charges" as that bank agrees to pay $175m in fines resulting from its having - again, very lucratively - charged African-American and Hispanic mortgagees costlier rates on their subprime mortgages than their counterparts who were white and had the same credit scores. Remember, this was a time when "Wall Street firms developed a huge demand for subprime loans that they purchased and bundled into securities for investors, creating financial incentives for lenders to make such loans." So, Wells Fargo was profiting from overcharging minority clients and profiting from products based on the higher-than-average bad loan rate expected. The piece discreetly ends mentioning that a Bank of America lawsuit of $335m and a Sun Trust mortgage settlement of $21m for having engaged is similar kinds of discrimination.

Are all these examples of oversight failure and banking fraud just big ol' mistakes? Are the regulators simply distracted?

The top headline of the day's news sums up why it is not that simple: "Geithner Tried to Curb Bank's Rate Rigging in 2008". The story reports that when Timothy Geithner, at the time he ran the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, learned of "problems" with how interest rates were fixed in London, the financial center at the heart of the Libor Barclays scandal. He let "top British authorities" know of the issues and wrote an email to his counterparts suggesting reforms. Were his actions ethical, or prudent? A possible interpretation of Geithner's action is that he was "covering his ass", without serious expectation of effecting reform of what he knew to be systemic abuse.

And what, in fact, happened? Barclays kept reporting false rates, seeking to boost its profit. Last month, the bank agreed to pay $450m to US and UK authorities for manipulating the Libor and other key benchmarks, upon which great swaths of the economy depended. This manipulation is alleged in numerous lawsuits to have defrauded thousands of bank clients. So Geithner's "warnings came too late, and his efforts did not stop the illegal activity".

And then what happened? Did Geithner, presumably frustrated that his warnings had gone unheeded, call a press conference? No. He stayed silent, as a practice that now looks as if several major banks also perpetrated, continued.

And then what happened? Tim Geithner became Treasury Secretary. At which point, he still did nothing.

It is very hard, looking at the elaborate edifices of fraud that are emerging across the financial system, to ignore the possibility that this kind of silence - "the willingness to not rock the boat" - is simply rewarded by promotion to ever higher positions, ever greater authority. If you learn that rate-rigging and regulatory failures are systemic, but stay quiet, well, perhaps you have shown that you are genuinely reliable and deserve membership of the club.

Whatever motivated Geithner's silence, or that of the "government official" in the emails to Barclays, this much is obvious: the mainstream media need to drop their narratives of "Gosh, another oversight". The financial sector's corruption must be recognized as systemic.

Meanwhile, Britain is sleepwalking in a march toward total email surveillance, even as the US brings forward new proposals to punish whistleblowers by extending the Espionage Act. In an electronic world, evidence of these crimes lasts forever - if people get their hands on the books. In the Libor case, notably, a major crime has not been greeted by much demand at the top for criminal prosecutions. That asymmetry is one of the insurance policies of power. Another is to crack down on citizens' protest. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+73 # gaga1996 2012-07-15 11:47
Excellent article. When will the world wake up?
+57 # maddave 2012-07-15 14:04
A parallel, related question, gaga:
When will we begin throwing these crooked bastards in jail alongside Big LeRoy --- doing hard labor for for extended periods of time?

As long as the only consequences for crooked and unethical bankers sins are seven-and-eight figure incomes, nothing will change for the better --- the rich 1% will continue to get richer at our expense!.
0 # Firefox11 2012-07-18 19:20
Quoting maddave:
A parallel, related question, gaga:
When will we begin throwing these crooked bastards in jail alongside Big LeRoy --- doing hard labor for for extended periods of time?

As long as the only consequences for crooked and unethical bankers sins are seven-and-eight figure incomes, nothing will change for the better --- the rich 1% will continue to get richer at our expense!.

AMEN to that!!!!
+38 # Virginia 2012-07-15 15:51
Scranton, PA, San Bernadino & Stockton, CA, Hollywood, FL are just beginning to see the pain of overwhelming debt caused by the greed of bad politicians and their piss-poor management of public trust funds. Cities and towns are bankrupting left and right because they gambled away their pension funds in the world's largest securitization Ponzi scheme.

Pretty soon - those "responsible" homeowners who had government checks will now be left will significantly less $$$ and they too will be faced with the trauma and stress of either buying groceries, paying the electric bill or paying their fraudulent mortgage - even after they had it so-called "modified"... What a sad, pathetic joke!

Shine the light on the pension fund managers and their agents and they'll sing like canaries - or go to jail for mismanagement of public trust funds. Who told them to buy these securities, when and why? And why did they not do their due diligence because by the end of 2006 the global investor market had dried up... All but for the idiots that were providing favors for the politicians and the banks.
+7 # RLF 2012-07-16 06:57
Hear! Hear! Good post Virginia!
+62 # Adoregon 2012-07-15 11:57
Jeez, Naomi, I thought you understood capitalism is a con that never gives a sucker an even break. I'm so pleased you have been disillusioned.

The American Dream
is a pyramid scheme
That'll make you smile
If you're a pig on top of the pile.
-I said that

"Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."
- John Maynard Keynes

"If you want to get along, go along."
- Sam Rayburn

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
- Upton Sinclair

"For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still."
- John Maynard Keynes
+47 # paulrevere 2012-07-15 12:13
Thanks for the 'insight' update Naomi...

I am often taken with our righteous indignation at fraud in the marbled halls of the money industry...then I calm down and remember all the angst I felt in the 80's and 90's about deregulation, free market philosophies becoming the des rigeur and THEN I remember how prolific greed is amongst my fellow men...

How often at the dinner table a common someone grabs the prime pieces of meat, how frequently do we each suspect we have been somehow flimm-flammed, but can't prove it, or how universal is a $35 late fee being slapped on one for a $5 account shortfall?

Greed, taking advantage, what the market will bear vs fair market value, sucker born every minute, insider gain, political and social tips for the few to get the best tickets or the prime land in a future expansion, using eminent domain by 'insiders' (bushco/basebal l stadium)...

One would figure that at some point 'institutional knowledge' would be codified, kinda like the Christian Big Ten on those stone tablets, so that WETHEPEOPLE now obviously sheeple, would have consistent rule of law fall back...

But...Noooooo, 'they' keep figuring out ways to milk the masses, fleece the sheeple, starve the eaters, animate the muppets etc...all in the name of...


This was brought to you courtesy the Department of Redundancy Department.
+4 # SG691 2012-07-16 16:50
Here's a thought on slowing the rate of corruption: Remove the corporate shield. Make it perfectly clear and enforced that individuals who violate the law be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This should require enforcement from the bottom to the very top. JPMorgan Chase execs who misvalue assets & transactions may have to return bonuses (as they're facing, now) but also must be prosecuted. And their bosses and bosses' bosses need to be investigated, too.
+3 # ConcernedConserv 2012-07-17 14:43
This goes beyond greed. Money laundering is a crime. In the case of HSBC particularly, why can't perpetrators be prosecuted under RICO? Crocodile-tear apologies and multi-million dollar fines for multi-billion dollar transgressions are not nearly enough atonement.
+30 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-07-15 12:19
The bankers own the government. Betcha they got it at a sub prime price. Our 'honored members of Congress' sold our democracy on the cheap. That is where we are. Our democracy is gone and so is the living standards of the working people and any enforceable regulations to protect the eco systems of our mother the Earth. So, now what? Are you going to vote for the lesser evil so the evil can continue? Or are you finally going to stop voting for either of the two corporate political parties? Damn! I sure hope so. I so long for democracy in our nation where the members of Congress heed their constituents and not the folks that give them bribes. We have to vote out the corrupt to begin the healing of our nation.
+12 # DPM 2012-07-15 17:29
Quoting wantrealdemocracy:
The bankers own the government. Betcha they got it at a sub prime price. Our 'honored members of Congress' sold our democracy on the cheap. That is where we are. Our democracy is gone and so is the living standards of the working people and any enforceable regulations to protect the eco systems of our mother the Earth. So, now what? Are you going to vote for the lesser evil so the evil can continue? Or are you finally going to stop voting for either of the two corporate political parties? Damn! I sure hope so. I so long for democracy in our nation where the members of Congress heed their constituents and not the folks that give them bribes. We have to vote out the corrupt to begin the healing of our nation.

I know all of the "vote for the lesser of two evils" arguments. I will vote for ANYONE, right now, who is not a Republican or Democrat. The current two parties must be brought down and the big banks as well as Wall Street corporate power. Heads need to be placed on poles, metaphorically speaking, of course.
+5 # acorus 2012-07-15 23:01
ok, what was a wild paranoid phantasy say five years ago became a glaring working hypothesis, and now apparently the worst possible case scenario is fully in our faces...that when madoff was popped, more than several 'cynical bastards' mumbled mostly to at the ponzi scheme is in fact the single most accurate template for the investment world at large, esp when the only way to make 'good' money at this late date of the decrepting capitalist era is by fraud, gargantuan fraud formerly successfully perpetrated, but now as things worsen, you would think regulation would be a no-brainer, esp given the fragilty and vulnerability of the global markets, but no my friends, don't be naieve because the entire rancid system is geared to perpetuate the ponzi, the politicans are paid handsomely, geithner, the sec, it's sanctioned by congress,both parties playing the same tune
+4 # carolsj 2012-07-16 13:38
Not voting is just getting out of their way and letting them do what they will. How do you propose we vote out the corrupt? Start on a local level electing honest representatives . Establish laws to end the corruption. Doing nothing does nothing.
+29 # PGreen 2012-07-15 12:33
There is widespread political support for the structure of massive inequality, fraud, and excess within the financial system, extending to even the liberals in the establishment. (And Geithner is far from liberal.) The Republicans have dropped the pretense of stewardship and move openly to what Chris Hedges calls "a form of neo-feudalism." Democrats keep up what is mostly a pretense of democracy with regulatory oversight. (Grist recently ran a piece on the differences between the parties titled, "Asymmetrical polarization in action," which is worth reading.) At this stage it is almost pointless to argue whether the support is motivated by enthusiastic selfishness or reluctant acquiescence to what they consider both inevitable and realistic: in both cases, political support for the oligarchical structure of society is undeniable.
Couple this support for fraud and inequality with the bipartisan assault on civil liberties, and we are entering bad time indeed-- regardless of what we name it.
The question is whether grassroots social change movements can unite effectively, and in time, to present (a) true alternative(s) to this obscenity.
+14 # cordleycoit 2012-07-15 12:42
We are still waiting to hear some plan for reclaiming and restructuring the finanacial system. It is not hard to do like growing corn is. You could be an organizer of the usual suspects who are equipped to build out the rubble of Wall Street and Threadneedle Street an exchange system using attainable goals that raise the human standard rather than the current tooth and claw Darwinian system currently being manipulated by the one percenters and their corrupt governmental allies.
+39 # HerbR 2012-07-15 12:47
"Fire Geithner", would seem to be one of President Obama's priorities now; for one thing the mega-scandal may rub off on him if he does not act. There are lots of talented replacements available with clean hands.
+21 # James Marcus 2012-07-15 13:04
It's 'Rule of Law'....Mafia style!
Squealers die. Silence is rewarded with promotion and Party Support . (in Hawaii, Dan Inouye vernacular, coined 'a Wink and a Nod')
It is now so blatant, world-wide, as to be the 'Open Rule Of Politics'.
'Voting' is now a Joke, like it or not.
+29 # Virginia 2012-07-15 13:07
It's more systematic than most people realize. Every segment of the operation was patented in the USTPO and shared, sold, traded and licensed among the entire bank cartel and their affiliates, subsidiaries, successors and assigns. The banks are linked and controlled by criminal elements. Money laundering and drug cartels are just the tip of the iceberg.

Geithner is no Elliott Ness. For that matter neither are Holder or any President or Presidential candidate or his AG in the last 50 years. Kennedy came pretty close and look what happened.

We've focused our efforts on the wrong wars. We should have cleaned house first.

The public actually has the ability to take down the banks by withdrawing their money. As long as we feed them deposits they will continue to thrive and participate in the world of crime and corruption.

If you think new money rich is safe at this point - think again. Only about .015% of the 1% will survive the forth coming worldwide crash. Take your money and invest in tangibles before the dollar totally collapses... And if you want a safer, stronger America - take your money out of the banks.
+16 # Adoregon 2012-07-15 14:21
Oh, yes, Virginia, yes. Your final paragraphs bear repeating.

The public actually has the ability to take down the banks by withdrawing their money. As long as we feed them deposits they will continue to thrive and participate in the world of crime and corruption.

If you think new money rich is safe at this point - think again. Only about .015% of the 1% will survive the forth coming worldwide crash. Take your money and invest in tangibles before the dollar totally collapses... And if you want a safer, stronger America - take your money out of the banks.

The big scam scum are able to exist only if people [willingly]part icipate in their cons. People participate because of the seductive power of desire. Desire often blinds one to perfidy. Undisciplined, desire is never sated; it constantly seeks MORE.
Ergo, do not let one's desires lead one to consort with the wicked and greedy.
Their modus operandi is [calculated] exploitation.

Play nice.
+31 # stoher9 2012-07-15 13:07
If I rob a gas station of $5000.00 & later give back $50.00, does that mean I won't be prosecuted criminally because I paid a fine? Not in this world! Rampant fraud & theft has been going on in the financial markets & banks for decades & still no one gets to play "bitch" in prison. Until we send large numbers of these "Masters of the Universe" off to prison, they'll just keep robbing us because these miniscule fines are just the cost of doing business. Costs which are born by stockholders & taxpayers.
+33 # LonnyEachus 2012-07-15 13:34
There are TWO big problems here that I don't believed were mentioned:

(1) The fines levied by the regulatory agencies are supposed to be punitive. In other words, severe enough to motivate the bad actors to cease their bad actions. But in fact the fines levied -- here and abroad -- have typically been only a fraction of the profits gained by the fraudulent schemes. Therefore there is no motivation for them to stop doing it.

(2) When fines are levied, the money typically goes to the regulators (government), NOT to the people who were actually defrauded. This motivates the regulators themselves to remain in bed with the fraudsters.

When fraud like this becomes apparent, the perpetrators should be forced to turn over whatever evidence they have of WHO was defrauded, and by how much. Only after recompense to the victims where possible (preferably with interest), should the regulators be considering additional punitive measures.

Make the punishment fit the crime... and be a DETERRENT to crime. Until then, it probably won't stop.
-1 # Gnome de Pluehm 2012-07-15 13:36
But you see, they know instinctively that any regulation that protects the general public from the predatory actions of those at the top is at heart an expression of SOCIALISM, just as democracy is.

We must return to the law of the jungle, natural law, God's law, social and financial Darwinism. Instead of behaving like herd animals, we should become snapping turtles. Then all will be right with the world.
+15 # Terrapin 2012-07-15 13:41
"Whatever motivated Geithner's silence ... ???"
The same thing that motivated the Penn State silence.
Al Davis Oakland Raiders) said it best ... "JUST WIN BABY!"
+15 # Bigmike6 2012-07-15 13:44
Nothing is going to be changed, it is were the Money and 1%ers live and play. It will only get worse if the GOP and TEA parties take control in November. We the 99%ers must not let it happen, we need to get rid of the ones that are there now and not add any more. But this may not be acheveable because of Rove and the Koch brothers they are set to BUY this Election like they did in 2010. Which means that the Banks and Money people will have a free ride futher into are pockets.
+26 # Phlippinout 2012-07-15 13:50
I love whistle blowers!
+14 # mdhome 2012-07-15 14:00
Way too scarey, maybe the 12-21-12 end of the worlders are right? There needs to be jail time handed out bigtime!
+8 # mgwmgw 2012-07-15 14:03
To use a medical analogy, the diagnosis seems accurate, but what is the prescription?

The Tea Party, which was originally inspired in part by the fact that no Banksters went to jail, has been co-opted by the religious right and corporatists and anarcho-capital ists. The Occupy movement has been successfully intimidated. You only have to seriously injure a few people without punishment to do that. As far as I can tell, none of the presidential candidates offer a credible promise of improving the situation.

Is the problem that the banksters' actions were legal? Is the problem that the laws against them were not effectively enforced or that the revolving door between corporate executive suites and government offices preclude effective enforcement? Is the problem that the enforcement consists of fines that are so small as to be symbolic and no jail time or felony conviction for the responsible parties? Who should do what about any of this?

My best guess is that it would be hard to prevent crimes in the past, but maybe less hard to make the rules clearer and be able to enforce them in the future. Thoughts?
+1 # MendoChuck 2012-07-15 14:15
So . . . . What else is new????
+16 # Lolanne 2012-07-15 14:16
The s*!(*t is floating to the top so fast lately that it threatens to become an avalanche! It's so overwhelming that it's hard to keep up with all of it.

Naomi's excellent article raises so many questions to be answered: who knew what when? what happens to the money collected from those fines that have been levied? And above all, when are prosecutions of the crooks going to start???

I suspect if ALL of this story eventually comes out the entire world will go into utter shock at the pervasiveness of the corruption at the top, in the banks and governments alike. Enough has already been made public about the big banks here in America to sicken even those with the strongest stomachs.

Given that, I simply cannot understand why more people have not moved their money out of the big banks and found local ones, or credit unions. The big banks' sleazy operations are still continuing only because WE ALLOW THEM TO by supporting them with our use of their credit cards and by allowing them to use our money -- OUR money! There is nothing about that that makes sense.

It's a crazy, nightmarish world these days.
+13 # seeuingoa 2012-07-15 14:16
Excellent article!

As long as the gene of greed is more
dominant than the gene of compassion
we will be doomed.
+11 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-07-15 14:16
Thank you, Naomi, for, per usual, telling it so well and truthfully. As I read your 'tragic and egregious it is' article, my dear Brit friend, John Lawrenson, (so sad, now he and his precious wife, Caroline, are departed), came to mind.

John and Caroline educated me and my ex as we cruised together, during the early 2000's, regarding how crippling and global the terrible greed and power takeover was. We and the Lawrenson's borrowed a marina car, and drove in upstate New York to see St. Michael Moore's (Mike, like me, is an 'Irish devil') newly released documentary, "9/11". With all of us cringing at fully scripted 'W's' ploy, John, who had opened Reuters offices across the world, commented that all across the globe we should be thanking Michael for his truthouting.

A couple of years later, in their 'Old Rectory' in Sudbury, Suffolk, John advised us re. all the bank/politician defrauding, hidden well, that was going on. How upsetting it was to hear, especially for my ex, a pioneer in the software industry, had been for years a consultant to Citigroup, JPMorgan, etc., and got noxious regularly at the banker CEO's totally unethical greed that he'd seen.

How hopeful we folks, including the Lawrensons, were in 2008, that finally, with Obama, we would see the evil bastards outed and punished, and real change begin. Ha, ha, ha,not at all funny joke's on us.

+10 # motamanx 2012-07-15 14:23
How come the heads of the perps haven't rolled yet??
+5 # Bigfella 2012-07-15 19:31
Too many old boy networks from the top down same with Western War Criminals your current USA President pardoned the last mob of all wrong doing same same old craap!
+14 # Majikman 2012-07-15 14:49
Does anyone on this list still think capitalism(as opposed to free enterprise) is good for democracy? We're watching it destroy the free world and we're in the crosshairs.
When every spouse, parent, child, relative, friend and neighbor of every cop and military person in every jurisdiction gets out front of OWS, we'll have the revolution without bloodshed.
+16 # erogers 2012-07-15 14:49
Thank you for a great piece of informed journalism. What the 1% is doing in trying to break the Occupy movement is similar to the early attempts by corrupt corporations to break the start of the labor movements. I would expect to see even worse violence against Occupy or any organized movement to lift the veil on the corruption within Wall Street and the banking industry. That violence will be condoned by our government and the members of these movements will be labeled terrorists. Our freedoms are being sacrificed at the temples of greed.
+12 # Bigfella 2012-07-15 19:27
Occupy is world wide and only last week 10,000+ Occupy Tokyo surrounded their leaders house demanding they keep the Nuke power stations off line....Bet you that never got on FOX!
+14 # Wolfchen 2012-07-15 15:05
One thing should be perfectly clear:
Without a constitutional amendment to enact public financing of state and federal elections, meaningful reform to bring about a routing out of institutionaliz e and pervasive corruption will not become reality.

All of our observations and complaining will accomplish nothing without demanding such reform now, for it's the cornerstone for all other reforms. At every occasion, we must sound off loudly in our demands for such reform, and vote out those who will not actively support such an amendment. Undoing Citizens United is not sufficient, since it still keeps mechanisms for corruption in place.

Such an amendment should be demanded by members of all political parties, since we are all adversely impacted by corruption and fiscal crimes. Only a simpleton would fail to realize this self-evident truth.

On this issue, progressives and conservatives have a common cause and duty. So let's not just complain...let' s tighten the garrote on corruption.
+3 # Bigfella 2012-07-15 19:25
A good start would be to force people to vote! Only 30% of you vote in Federal elections!
+1 # Peacedragon 2012-07-16 06:52
No, someone forced to vote would just pull levers at random.
+5 # ruttaro 2012-07-15 20:15
Wolfchen, your point is indeed the solution. We that people can put into our Constitution anything we like as long as it does not privilege one class of people over others. If we have a Constitutional Amendment making all public elections publicly funded we will have our democracy back, with healthy, vibrant institutions acting in the interests of the people. Regulations would be enacted that would ensure that the less than virtuous tendencies of human begs would not do massive harm as we have experienced. Lobbyists will still be allowed to lobby but without the ability to finance campaigns the playing field would be level. They could not even buy a Congressperson lunch or suggest one of their insiders be "appointed" to the Congressional staff in return for a campaign gift. With that amendment, the marketplace of ideas takes over and the coin of the realm will be votes not cash. With that amendment we the people would commit an act of revolution, changing the power structures forever. But to do this, we need to elect state representatives who will vote for the amendment as well as follow your suggestion and vote out of office anyone who will not support, introduce, co-sign the amendment, even if we personally like them. If we are serious - and we better be - we can start this year. Put the question to the candidates for Congress asking for a pledge to do so. if they say "no". sidestep or hedge, vote against them. If we don't, prepare for serfdom.
0 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-07-16 06:23
Sorry, Wolfchen, but logic is a bit short re. what's the 'cornerstone'. We must take off the blinders globally, and recognize and force out of existence the power addicted election fraud that is accomplished in great part by 'fixing' of vote and count software, massive wrongful disinfranchisem ent, etc., and attaching heavy penalties, i.e. mandatory sentencing for such treason. Treason? Yes. Let's call a spade a spade.

Then, yes, when ability to vote and have the vote honestly counted, public financing (never to be exceeded), and official, multi-universit y created histories/votin g records, etc. of each candidate shall be made available to voters via internet.

Bye bye karlroving MSD (manipulation, spin, distraction), say it often enough (via villainaires silly but expensive ads on the corp. owned/controlle d 'mess media'), and the dumbed down sheeple will buy into anything, m.o.. But, first and foremost, make certain all who are able can vote, and the vote is honestly counted. No more 'non'election electing of fully scripted, dumber than dumb puppet whore like George 'W' Bush.
+13 # brux 2012-07-15 15:48
Something I think that those of us with no motivation to delude ourselves realize very early in life is that what is out of our control is hidden from us, and the system that apportions information is the ultimate power center, meaning without citizen access to the secrets of the government we have no way to make an judgement about anything.

The current weird right-wing streak in America would probably dissolve in a week if real information were accessible to all.

Money is the power transformer that takes the low volage high current people movements and turns it into a high voltage low current government, but since the money has been so exponentially concentrated - it does not behave democratically anymore, in more and more militant control centers money is being used to control the population like animals. This is as inhuman as Al-Qaeda if you think about it or where it will be in 20 more years.
+4 # Bigfella 2012-07-15 19:23
Al-Qaeda LOL the some times friend of the USA nking isnt the only fraud going on ....
+7 # grindermonkey 2012-07-15 16:19
Jail is the only answer to fraud and embezzlement.
+8 # massager2002 2012-07-15 16:35
These banks are all members of a huge cartel of banking whose express goal has been to make money anyway they can. Profit motives color all their undertakings. Since the development of the Federal Reserve bank in the early days of 1900s under woodrow Wilson, we have been mishandled and manipulated by the banking cartel which has roots in the oldest familes of Europe and America...we are the trusting sheep who have been consistently fleeced and cheated by so-called honest bankers! Individual heads may be chopped off for small infractions, but the body of the cartel will just produce a new patsy to con Americans into believing they have us small people's interests at heart!! Liars all and we continue to be SHEEPLE who allow ourselves to be defrauded of our hard earned dollars and homes and retirement funds by these scheisters, the real power of the behind-the-scen es bankers! Read book called "And The Truth Shall Set You Free" for an enlightening expose on the worlds high placed manipulators!
+6 # Joe Bob 2012-07-15 16:58
Have you committed fraud lately ? and if so how many minutes did it take for you to get tossed in jail ?
Hmmmmm, something is rotten in Bankmark.
+7 # bluemoonwoman 2012-07-15 17:50
Yes, we are in deep trouble in this country, and what are we going to do about it? Hardly anyone is telling us the truth. We have deified money, status and power in this country to the exclusion of everything else. We are the ones to blame for this corruption. If we had a morality that honored people for contributing to their communities in ways that truly uplifted humanity, instead of the pretense of it, what a different picture we would be looking at today. What we are looking at is the carcass of Ego in the death throes. Like the proverbial fairy tale that begs us to eat the golden apple.... we did and found that it is truly rotten. This is a time of great discernment, and we should be very cautious.
+7 # Bigfella 2012-07-15 19:21
WHY IS IT THAT USA CITZENS THINK THEY LIVE IN A BUBBLE? No wonder the world shakes it colective heads and sigh.
0 # Firefox11 2012-07-18 20:01
Quoting Bigfella:
WHY IS IT THAT USA CITZENS THINK THEY LIVE IN A BUBBLE? No wonder the world shakes it colective heads and sigh.

Good question. Answers (select your favorites): religious intoxication, lack of free press, outdated educational system, fear mongering in the press, provincial attitude passed off as patriotism, riding on the coat tails of WWII veterans, most citizens do not travel outside the continental US, no interest in the rest of the world, demonizing dissent, no civics in high schools, a dearth of intellectual commentary in the country, no national purpose, a nation of addicts untreated due to antiquated legal system.
+7 # anarchteacher 2012-07-15 18:45
Excellent article.

The immediate major reform all of us should get behind is massive support for the bill coming up in the House of Representatives that will audit the Federal Reserve. Then work for its passage by the Senate.

The United States is a corrupt bankocracy preying on all of us.

The Fed is the great enabler of this corporatist welfare-warfare state, of its hegemonic imperial empire overseas and its domestic surveillance tyranny at home.

The Fed's fractional-rese rve banking cartel was created one hundred years ago in 1913. Since that time it has only benefited the plutocratic power elite based in Washington, D.C. and Wall Street at the expense of all of us.

Each of us must personally contact and lobby Congress to first audit the Fed and to later revoke the Fed’s charter when it comes up next year for renewal.

Vampires cannot survive without blood.

Cut off the Fed’s blood supply and drive a stake through its diseased and putrefying heart.

We can then begin the massive prosecution and conviction of the thieving bankers who have plundered our country.

There is no "too big to fail" safety net for these predators.
+5 # Bigfella 2012-07-15 19:19
LOL Well folks Ronny Raygun took off the regulations that started all this and the worlds banker seem to think the book 1929 (A book about the lead up to the "Great depression" and how banks and the market was let run wild.) is a training manual. WE HAVE WOKEN UP WE OCCUPY!
+4 # tomtom 2012-07-15 22:14
Put up the wanted posters, alive and squirming. Americans need to see the faces with the crimes. Then the inevitable; The People's Court! I'm tired of waiting for them to voluntarily walk into prison.
+4 # Rick Levy 2012-07-15 23:55
Predatory capitalism is not a case of a few bad apples but a whole rotten orchard.
0 # kelvynjkr 2012-07-16 13:46
Having watched the interviews of Bob Diamond,
Marcus Agius of Barclays, and Paul Tucker of the Bank of England, by the Treasury Select Committee in the UK, it is perfectly clear that they all live in a parallel universe. As highly paid managers, they did not seem to think that they had any responsibility for the work of Desk traders and submitters. In fact as long as the corporation was making as much money as possible, bankers and traders can do as they like. An implication of this irresponsibilit y is that they do not have any sense of guilt. If someone has behaved badly, then they are responsible and have to be punished. The senior managers work in the interests of the Board. They have no responsibility for upholding codes of conduct!
Supervision and regulation are essential in a parallel universe where hundreds of trillions of dollars are being handled every day!
go to
-1 # carolsj 2012-07-16 14:13
Everyone is familiar with the Mayan calendar date of 12/21/12 but do you know what it actually predicts? Not the end of the world, but a new, higher vibration cycle. One of the effects of the change is that the truth will be revealed, lies exposed. It is obviously happening as the scandals in the church, sports, politics, banking, pharma, Monsanto, are being exposed. As we begin the new cycle, the energies are in favor of a new paradigm, new and better ways of doing everything, cleaner, healthier, more prosperous, more honest, and better for everyone. The old, corrupt ways are doomed and they are fighting it tooth and nail, but take heart. They cannot prevail. It will be messy and difficult, but it is inevitable. As it says in Revelation, there will be a great battle, followed by a thousand years of peace and prosperity.
+3 # The Voice of Reason 2012-07-16 15:25
Does anyone remember the Asian Contagion -- the turn of the century deliberate bank fraud first developed and waged in the Orient? Everyone said that billion dollar fiasco was going to bankrupt the world, but when the governments fiddled everything, they decided to run it again in Europe and US.

Then the stock market crash of the same time led people (the investors who didn't get ripped off in the crash) to invest in property, which eventually led to the mortgage bankruptcy crash of blah blah blah.

Don't these idiots ever get tired of stealing our hard earned money with such ease? Wait, that means we're the idiots who keep getting ripped off by such obvious means.

Oh well, it is difficult to expect politicians and business leaders to have any morals when none of us do either. Keep on drinking and debauching. It's bound to work out one day.
0 # eldoryder 2012-07-18 06:37
Under the current system, we lack politicians with enough courage to call for a Constitutional Amendment to clean up the corruption in the banks and in the election money scandal.

There is no one out there who could possibly manage to get a bill passed by as many states necessary to adopt such a law (remember the ERA, anyone?).

Therefore, there is only one place left for us to depend on...the Supreme Court. With "lifetime tenure", they have no one they have to please to keep their jobs, but are unfortunately comprised of a 5-4 majority of RW ideologues.

This is why we must re-elect President Obama. His choices so far have shown that he is more likely to appoint "centrist/liber als" than conservatives, and the chances are good that the next four years will give him at least two chances to do so.

This action may very well be the most important of his Presidency, and might be the way forward on cleaning up the banks and moving to a fair "Clean Election" system of elections that will finally give us representatives that have no one to answer to other than "We the People".

If that is all that President Obama would be able to accomplish in a second term, I would consider that to be a successful Presidency, as the SC justices appointed by him would have a far-lasting effect on our lives vastly exceeding that of the next four or five Presidents combined.

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