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Martens writes: "Wall Street banks have hollowed out our communities with fraudulently sold mortgages and illegal foreclosures and settled the crimes for pennies on the dollar. They've set back property records to the early 1900s, skipping the recording of deeds in county registry offices and using their own front called MERS. "

Thousands of vacant houses in Baltimore's most blighted neighborhoods should be opportunities for job training and employment for hundreds of young adults wanting to change their lives. (photo: Open Door Baltimore)
Thousands of vacant houses in Baltimore's most blighted neighborhoods should be opportunities for job training and employment for hundreds of young adults wanting to change their lives. (photo: Open Door Baltimore)

How Wall Street Gutted Our Schools and Cities

By Pam Martens, AlterNet

21 July 12


The complex machinations that pitted county treasurers against the deceptive wizards of Wall Street.

all Street banks have hollowed out our communities with fraudulently sold mortgages and illegal foreclosures and settled the crimes for pennies on the dollar. They've set back property records to the early 1900s, skipping the recording of deeds in county registry offices and using their own front called MERS. They lobbied to kill fixed pension plans and then shaved a decade of growth off our 401(K)s with exorbitant fees, rigged research and trading for the house.

When much of Wall Street collapsed in 2008 as a direct result of their corrupt business model, their pals in Washington used the public purse to resuscitate the same corrupt financial model - allowing even greater depositor concentration at JPMorgan and Bank of America through acquisitions of crippled firms.

And now, Wall Street may get away with the biggest heist of the public purse in the history of the world. You know it's an unprecedented crime when the conservative Economist magazine sums up the situation with a one word headline: "Banksters."

It has been widely reported that Libor, the interest rate benchmark that was rigged by a banking cartel, impacted $10 trillion in consumer loans. Libor stands for London Interbank Offered Rate and is supposed to be a reliable reflection of the rate at which banks are lending to each other. Based on the average of that rate, after highs and lows are discarded, the Libor index is used as a key index for setting loan rates around the world, including adjustable rate mortgages, credit card payments and student loans here in the U.S.

But what's missing from the debate are the most diabolical parts of the scam: how a rigged Libor rate was used to defraud municipalities across America, inflate bank stock prices, and potentially rig futures markets around the world. All while the top U.S. bank regulator dealt with the problem by fiddling with a memo to the Bank of England.

Libor is also one of the leading interest rate benchmarks used to create payment terms on interest rate swaps. Wall Street has convinced Congress that it needs those derivatives to hedge its balance sheet. But look at these statistics. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, as of March 31, 2012, U.S. banks held $183.7 trillion in interest rate contracts but just four firms represent 93% of total derivative holdings: JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.

As of March 31, 2012, there were 7,307 FDIC insured banks in the U.S. according to the FDIC. All of those banks, including the four above, have a total of $13.4 trillion in assets. Why would four banks need to hedge to the tune of 13 times all assets held in all 7,307 banks in the U.S.?

The answer is that most swaps are not being used as a hedge. They are being used as a money-making racket for Wall Street.

The Libor rate was used to manipulate, not just tens of trillions of consumer loans, buthundreds of trillions in interest rate contracts (swaps) with municipalities across America and around the globe. (Milan prosecutors have charged JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Depfa Bank with derivatives fraud and earning $128 million in hidden fees.)

Rigging Libor also inflated the value of the trash that Wall Street was parking in 2008 and 2009 at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to extract trillions in cash at near zero interest-rate loans from the public purse. When rates rise, bond prices decline. When rates decline, bond prices rise. The Federal Reserve made loans to Wall Street based on a percentage of the face value of their bonds and mortgage backed securities that they presented for collateral. By pushing down interest rates, the banks were getting a lift out of their collateral, allowing them to borrow more.

The banks that cheated on Libor were also perpetrating a public fraud in terms of how the market perceived their risk. The Libor rate they each reported every morning to compile the index was based on the rate they would pay to borrow from other banks, thus the name London Interbank Offered Rate or Libor. So, for example, even though Citibank's credit default swap prices were rising dramatically during the 2008 crisis, suggesting it was in trouble, it was reporting low borrowing costs to the Libor index.

Because interest rates impact the price movement of stocks, the rigged lowering of the Libor rate put a false prop under the stock market as well as inflated individual bank stocks. There is also a very strong suggestion that there was insider trading on futures or swaps markets based on the spread between the one month and three month Libor rates. One trader's email to the Libor submitter reads: "We need a 4.17 fix in 1m (low fix) We need a 4.41 fix in 3m (high fix)."

In simple terms, Wall Street and its colleagues in the global banking cartel have left us clueless as a nation about the validity of our markets, how much hidden debt liability our local and state governments really have, and where the stock market would actually be if interest rates had not been rigged.

Let's explore the almost incomprehensible rip off of our now struggling communities. Here's how the swap deals typically worked, although there were Byzantine variations called constant maturity swaps (CMS), swaptions, and snowballs. These complex machinations pitted the brains of county treasurers or school boards against the deceptive wizards of Wall Street.

Municipalities typically entered into an interest rate swap because Wall Street's fast talking salesmen showed up with incomprehensible power point slides wearing $3,000 suits and assured municipal officials it would lower their overall borrowing costs on their municipal bond issues. A typical deal involved the municipality issuing variable rate municipal bonds and simultaneously signing a contract (interest rate swap) with a Wall Street bank that locked it into paying the bank a fixed rate while it received from the bank a floating interest rate tied to one of two indices. One index, Libor, was operated by an international bankers' trade group, the British Bankers Association. The other index, SIFMA, was operated by a Wall Street trade association. Neither was an independent monitor for the public interest.

When the two sets of cash flows are calculated, the side that generates the larger payments receives the difference between the sums. In many cases, continuing to this day, the municipality ended up receiving a fraction of one percent, while contractually bound to pay Wall Street firms as much as 3 to 6 percent in a fixed rate for twenty years or longer. If the local or state governments or school boards wanted out of the deal, a multi-million dollar penalty fee could be charged based on the rate structure and notional (face amount) of the swap.

We learned late last month that the Libor rate the municipalities were receiving was manipulated downward from at least 2007 to 2010 by a global banking cartel. The U.S. dollar Libor panel included U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase, Citibank (whose parent is the former ward of the taxpayer, Citigroup), and Bank of America. Canadian prosecutors have implicated JPMorgan and Citibank in a criminal probe, as well as other banks. A whistleblower has provided the names of traders that are alleged to have taken part in the scheme and turned over emails, according to affidavits filed with the Ontario Superior Court.

At least 12 global banks are being investigated by U.S., British and European authorities. Barclays admitted in June that its employees rigged Libor rates. It paid $453 million in fines to U.S. and British authorities and turned over emails showing its traders and those at other, as yet unnamed, banks gave instructions on how the rates were to be rigged on specific dates.

No one has accused SIFMA, the other interest rate benchmark used to set variable rates of interest on municipal bonds, of overseeing a rigged index but it is certainly not a comfort to understand just what SIFMA is. On its web site, SIFMA defines itself as follows: "The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) represents the industry which powers the global economy. Born of the merger between the Securities Industry Association and the Bond Market Association, SIFMA is the single powerful voice for strengthening markets and supporting investors -- the world over."

Notice that the words "Wall Street" do not appear in this description and yet, that is precisely what SIFMA is: a Wall Street trade association that viciously lobbies for Wall Street. (As for "supporting investors," it should be sued for false advertising.) In February of this year, it even sued the top regulator of derivatives, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Federal Court to stop it from setting limits on the maximum size of derivative bets that can be taken in the market.

From 2000 through 2011, SIFMA spent $96.4 million lobbying Congress on behalf of Wall Street. In the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, SIFMA spent $865,000 in political donations, giving to both Republicans and Democrats.

In March 2010, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) issued a report indicating that from 2006 through early 2008 banks are estimated to have collected as much as $28 billion in termination fees from state and local governments who were desperate to exit the abusive interest rate swaps. That amount does not include the ongoing outsized interest payments that were and are being paid. Experts believe that billions of abusive swaps may be as yet unacknowledged by embarrassed municipalities.

In 2009, the Auditor General of Pennsylvania, Jack Wagner, found that 626 swaps were done in Pennsylvania between October 2003 and June 2009, covering $14.9 billion in municipal bonds. That encompassed 107 of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts and 86 other local governments. The swaps were sold to the municipalities by Citibank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley.

In one case cited by Wagner, the Bethlehem Area School entered into 13 different swaps, covering $272.9 million in debt for school construction projects. Two swaps which had concluded at the time of Wagner's investigation cost taxpayers $10.2 million more than if the district had issued a standard fixed-rate bond or note and $15.5 million more than if the district had simply paid the interest on the variable-rate note without any swaps at all.

And therein lies the rub. Municipalities never needed these nonsensical weapons of mass deception. Muni bond issuers could have simply done what muni investors have done for a century - laddered their bonds. To hedge risk, an issuer simply has bonds maturing along a short, intermediate and long-term yield curve. If rates rise, they are hedged with the intermediate and long term bonds. If rates fall, the short munis will mature and can be rolled over into the lower interest rate environment. Municipal issuers are further protected by being able to establish call dates of typically 5 years, 7 years, or 10 years when they issue long terms bonds. They pay moms and pops and seniors across America, who buy these muni bonds, a small premium of usually $10 to $20 per thousand face amount and call in the bonds if the interest rate environment becomes more attractive for issuance of new bonds.

According to the June 30, 2011 auditor's report for the City of Oakland, California, the city entered into a swap with Goldman Sachs Mitsui Marine Derivatives Products in connection with $187.5 million of muni bonds for Oakland Joint Powers Financing Authority. Under the swap terms, the city would pay Goldman a fixed rate of 5.6775 percent through 2021 and receive a variable rate based on the Bond Market Association index (that was the predecessor name to the SIFMA index). In 2003, the variable rate was changed from being indexed to the Bond Market Association index to being indexed at 65 percent of the one-month Libor rate.

The city is still paying the high fixed rate but it's receiving a miniscule rate of less than one percent. According to local officials, the city has paid Goldman roughly $32 million more than it has received and could be out another $20 million if it has to hold the swap until 2021. A group called the Oakland Coalition to Stop Goldman Sachs succeeded in getting the City Council to vote on July 3 of this year to stop doing business with Goldman Sachs if it doesn't allow Oakland to terminate the swap without penalty. It called the vote "a huge victory for both the city of Oakland and for the people throughout the world living under the boot of interest rate swaps."

The Mayor of Baltimore, the Baltimore City Council, the City of New Britain Firefighters' and Police Benefit Fund of Connecticut have filed a class action lawsuit in Federal Court in New York over the rigging of Libor. The plaintiffs state that the City of Baltimore purchased hundreds of millions of dollars of derivatives tied to Libor while the New Britain Firefighters and Police Benefit Fund purchased tens of millions. They are suing the banks involved in submitting the Libor rates.

Wall Street's boot on interest rate swaps dates back at least 17 years. In February 1995, Smith Barney (now co-owned by Citigroup and Morgan Stanley) fired Michael Lissack as a managing director in the firm's public finance department after he publicly accused the firm of cheating Dade County, Florida out of millions on an interest rate swap. Lissack went on to become the scourge of Wall Street by expertly detailing how counties and states were being ripped off by Wall Street. He even set up this amusing web site to do battle with the firm. The case became known as the "yield burning case," an esoteric term that the public could hardly fathom, much like the Libor scandal today.

In 2000, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled the yield burning matter with 21 firms and imposed fines of $172 million, a minor slap on the wrist given the profits of the firms. Arthur Levitt was Chairman of the SEC at the time and came from the ranks of Wall Street.

Which brings us full circle. If you've ever wondered where all of those revolving doors between Wall Street and Washington would eventually lead us, we've just found out. It leads to the regulators becoming just as jaded and compromised as Wall Street. While Wall Street banks and their global counterparts were grabbing the loot, their regulator was watching carefully behind the wheel of the getaway car for at least four years.

This past Friday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York turned over emails and documents showing that Timothy Geithner, the sitting U.S. Treasury Secretary of the United States, knew at least as early as 2008 that Libor was being rigged. At the time, Geithner was the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York - the top regulator of Wall Street's largest banks. As far as we know currently, Geithner did nothing more to stop the practice than send an email with recommendations to Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England. Libor rigging continued through at least 2010.

As the U.S. grapples with intractable wealth disparity and the related ills of unemployment and recession, we need to understand that this was not merely a few rascals rigging some esoteric index in London. This was an institutionalized wealth transfer system on an almost unimaginable scale. your social media marketing partner


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+69 # ShaggyCent 2012-07-21 17:16
Anyone who vote Republican or who chooses not to vote is actively supporting this fraud.
+47 # Virginia 2012-07-21 23:29
I totally agree - but don't limit it to Republicans - look at every single politician that took opportunities from the banks whether for preferential mortgages or just extra special treatment. This is a brilliant article and hopefully together we are waking up America.

The securitzation scam was based on fraudulent LIBOR rates which should nullify every single promissory note in America and put homeowners on a level playing field with the banks. Dump the libor interest, apply the payments, down payments and closing costs and let's re-examine the mortgages.

The more we learn and the more we discuss - the better off America will be.
-4 # Johnny 2012-07-22 12:15
Quoting ShaggyCent:
Anyone who vote Republican or who chooses not to vote is actively supporting this fraud.

Only the brain dead could think that the party of Obomber who bailed out the banksters is less the stooge of Bank of England and its subsidiaries (Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, et. al.) than the Republican branch of that same Capitalist Party mafia. Not only have they the money to buy the government and media, but, through the genius of (expensive) public relations to delude the masses into thinking that voting Dem or Republican can make a difference. Insanity, said Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result next time. The banksters, with their total control of mass information and their endless wars and false flag terrorism have produced mass insanity in the American masses.
+5 # JSRaleigh 2012-07-22 15:36
Quoting Johnny:
Quoting ShaggyCent:
Anyone who vote Republican or who chooses not to vote is actively supporting this fraud.

Only the brain dead could think that the party of Obomber who bailed out the banksters is less the stooge of Bank of England and its subsidiaries (Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, et. al.) than the Republican branch of that same Capitalist Party mafia.

Still, there seems to be a small, but significant, chance that the people could actually take back control of the Democratic party.
+2 # dquandle 2012-07-22 15:29
Obama hired Geithner, Bernanke, Summers, Rubin, etc etc. ,
precisely the people who engineered the entire catastrophe from the start, to run his administration' s financial dealings. He accepted and rammed through Paulson's bailout plan. He has gone out of his way not to prosecute the extreme crime on Wall Street, aboutwhich this article speaks so clearly, and is receiving billions in campaign contributions, in return. His administration is absolutely no different from the horrendous Bush administration. He is Bush III, on steroids
+2 # RLF 2012-07-23 06:28
The very fact that this has gone unabated since 2008 with Giethner's knowledge and absolutely no interest by Holder shows that the Obama administration is only interested in keeping it quiet, not prosecuting it. This country is sooo fucked!
+26 # Doubter 2012-07-21 22:32
Who are you going to call? Ghostbusters!?
These leaches and ticks won't stop till they own all the money in the world. I keep wondering what they'll do then. They already own the government or they would be under indictment.
Only by the most extreme effort can we be rid of these bloodsuckers that own almost everything.
We either lick the hand that both feeds and robs us, or ______ (fill in the blank)
+36 # fdawei 2012-07-21 23:02
Why can't we find one prosecutor with the tenacity of a Ken Starr to launch a relentless hit-man style investigation into these heinous crimes perpetrated by the Banksters against society. The prosecutor should be given broad international subpoena powers to call anyone, anytime from either side of the Atlantic. (Geithner should be the perfect first one on the stand). More important, where is the one sane head in government to call for such an investigation? Where are the voices of the governors whose states have been almost bankrupt by these obscene practices?
+29 # Rick Levy 2012-07-21 23:54
It's a lot easier to find lowlifes like Starr to advance the cause of evil than a high-minded individual to pursue justice in the face of such overwhwelming odds.
+5 # Johnny 2012-07-22 12:13
Government officials are not insane. They very effectively accomplish exactly what the banksters have hired them to do. That includes the governors of the states. We can find plenty of prosecutors. We just can't find a way in our bought-and-sold legal system for the prosecutors to prosecute. They are not part of any government.
+4 # RLF 2012-07-23 06:32
It pays better and your career prospects are better when you are a crook in the world than if you bust them...until that changes and the government can't fine and collect revenues for letting rich people get richer...we're going nowhere. I am way poorer now than I ever was in the 1970's...and the American people are so stupid that I expect it to continue until we have a police we better keep the 2nd amendment may be all we have left!
+19 # angelfish 2012-07-21 23:35
Alrighty then, we KNOW all this so, what do we do now? Our SCOTUS is owned by the very ones who are raping us, with impunity, I might add, and STILL nothing is done! The entire ReTHUGlican Congress is so absorbed with Contraception and a woman's right to self-determinat ion that they have NO time for any REAL issues like,um, what would suggest, Banking Regulations? Jobs for Americans? Sane and Reasonable Gun Control? If they don't start to do their jobs, they might find that they have none come November! Vote the lazy Bas*ards OUT and lets get some REAL American Patriots into our Congress who will DO the WORK that NEEDS to, and MUST, be done! Never, EVER vote ReTHUGlican! The People, UNITED, will NEVER be defeated!
+4 # Johnny 2012-07-22 12:10
What about stopping the endless wars to promote the expansion of Israel? Funny how all the media are too totally controlled to touch the real reason the US economy is in the toilet. Instead, the people are distracted by phony issues. That is why they are not united. And that is why, for now, at least, they are utterly defeated.
+4 # RLF 2012-07-23 06:34
Do you have any idea how many of all reps in congress are not millionaires and getting rich from these exact crimes? About three.
+29 # Kona T 2012-07-21 23:42
This isn't a matter of Repiglicans or Demoncrats. It's greedy blood suckers who want to see us all their slaves. It's civil forefeiture. Seizing our homes after they already have seized our title and coverted the promissory note and title into 20 times the amount on the face of the note. We are stupid. It's every man for himself. Judges are saving their pensions. The American Bar Association's trust fund is tied up in securitization schemes. The Court System monies (all that money being paid into the court while decisions are made on foreclosure status) is securitized by JP Morgan Chase! The entire system is a FRAUD. But if it is all a fraud and money laundering, that gives the FEDS the right to civil forfeiture against the property.
+10 # Trueblue Democrat 2012-07-22 03:47
"As far as we know currently, Geithner did nothing more to stop the practice than send an email . . . ."

Two years or so ago when someone questioned Geithner's integrity, he bristled and said: "You don't know me."

No, we didn't, but we are beginning to. A more central question is: Did Obama know Geithner before he inflicted him on us?

I think the answer is "yes", which would explain the tons of money that Wall Street poured and continues to pour into the Obama campaign.
+2 # carolsj 2012-07-23 10:42
Please note that Romney's donations from the super rich far outweigh Obama's, if that is your measure.
+24 # walt 2012-07-22 05:46
The biggest shame of all this is that both political parties are cozy with all of Wall Street. Many of Obama's staff have been from there and we have seen how they've been protected and catered to.

Worse yet, if Romney is elected, the scene would be 100 times worse with a guy whose record of vulture capitalism is now well known.

Maybe the American people just cannot win with these crooks! And maybe it's time for a new party. It's certainly time for serious action on the part of the people!
+9 # MidwestTom 2012-07-22 07:26
In trying to prevent recessions the Fed increases the money supply by putting more money in the banks. This extra money makes it possible for us to have lower interest rates, so almost all businesses and citizens borrow the money, to expand or simply keep up. Everything in our culture say "buy it now, pay later". All of that borrowing puts bankers in charge of our lives. If we cannot repay they foreclose. We would be fine if we simply waited to buy anything until we could pay cash. This is basically the approach to life in Germany, the country with the strongest economy in Europe.
+13 # cordleycoit 2012-07-22 07:58
Yet the crooks are given more money to play with while the bond daddies come round good deals,for them. No one ever goes to prison for stealing a pension fund, they get to run for president.
+10 # Eliza D 2012-07-22 08:28
96 million to lobby Congress on behalf of nefarious banking schemes??? Lobbying should be illegal. If our citizens cannot rouse themselves to write letters, sign petitions or call their representatives , then this is not a functioning country. Ordinary people in France and Greece have called general strikes and practically shut down the country when something they didn't like was being forced upon them. 96 million could buy a lot of solar panels or fund research to combat climate change-rather than line the pockets of the already stinking-rich. And that's just a fraction of what these thieves have stolen.We really need to support a third party and demand that the laws governing banks change, starting with Glass-Stiegel. Get rid of credit default swaps, derivatives and all the fraudulent ways that financiers enrich themselves. Compel bankers to make money be actually creating something, such as home ownership or factories making clothing and other products here in America, rather than toxic China.
+7 # golden.peek.a.pom 2012-07-22 09:25
When the banks are fined, it reduces their capitalization thereby potentially affecting taxpayers if the bank is a depository institution. In addition, it may adversely affect "innocent" shareholders who may have invested through a company managed pension fund, company managed 401k fund, or through an independent mutual fund.

The regulatory agencies need to go after the individuals involved with civil and criminal charges. Until then, nothing will change.

We need campaign finance reform so that legislation can be enacted to separate commercial and investment banking, to increase capital requirements, to regulate derivatives, and to beef up regulatory oversight. We also need more regulation and oversight of the commodities market which has turned into a "racket" that siphons money off even the poorest among us. It's disgusting.

Rating agencies and accounting firms are also responsible for the fiasco and need to be investigated.
+3 # Johnny 2012-07-22 12:03
Nothing will change until banks are nationalized. Don't hold your breath.
+7 # sapereaudeprime 2012-07-22 09:39
These crimes won't stop as long as they can be bought off with money extorted from us, the taxpayers, and a quick mea culpa in a congressional confessional. We need to see several hundred of these malefactors of great wealth either sentenced to many years in the Federal Single-Sex Dating System or simply hanged. If neither of these occur, then eventually there will be a class war, and the perps will be genetically extirpated with a minimal trial, by a coalition of enraged liberals and conservatives.
+4 # Johnny 2012-07-22 12:02
Yep. Only there already is class war. And the people are losing because they don't even know they are under attack.
+4 # DPM 2012-07-22 10:14
If you are afraid not to vote for one of the major political candidates, at the federal and state level, then go ahead and vote for the "lessor of two evils". But, at the local level vote for ANYONE that is not a Democrat or Republican. ANYONE! Start now, voting for truly independent or 3rd party candidates. Each election cycle increase that type of vote. An "incremental" change, slowly moving up the "food chain" over time, may make a difference. Don't vote for anyone accepting money, directly or indirectly, from a PAC. "Fill in the blanks" on all of the questions you have. Short of an actual revolution, this may work.
+9 # Davethinks 2012-07-22 10:18
A little over 40 years ago, I became employed by the phone company, which was then referred to as "Ma Bell." It was determined that Ma Bell was an unacceptable monopoly so it was broken up. It appears that banks and various money managing companies have joined together or colluded to act in unison in a monopolistic manner that burdens all of society. Why do we permit that? They always increase their wealth at horrendous cost to home owners, schools, municipalities and retirement accounts. We know what is wrong, but we let the power brokers manipulate our political entities. Congress has been purchased. The solution is either a quiet revolution of change and control or a very noisy revolution of enormous violence. Which path will we choose?
+4 # Vardoz 2012-07-22 11:08
This is a horrifying situation and if we don't act in big numbers nothing will change. People are protesting in Spain in big numbers and that is waht we need to do in addition to voting out congress. Democrats souls swith to Republican and then vote Democrat so they will be partial to people at the polls.
-2 # Johnny 2012-07-22 11:59
Only the brain dead could think that the party of Obomber who bailed out the banksters is less the stooge of Bank of England and its subsidiaries (Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, et. al.) than the Republican branch of that same Capitalist Party. Not only have they the money to buy the government and media, but, through the genius of (expensive) public relations to delude the masses into thinking that voting Dem or Republican can make a difference. Insanity, said Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result next time. The banksters, with their total control of mass information and their endless wars and false flag terrorism have produced mass insanity in the American masses.
+4 # mmpgreen 2012-07-22 13:24
What's odd is that the attorney general for the US or any states have not made fraud charges against the banksters. And now, these banksters have moved into Utah. Eeeeegaaadds. Utah is one of the top states for fraud. WHY are no charges being leveled against these crooks?? WHy do we trust either Obamer or Romney? Both accept the laundered money from the banksters. I like the idea of NOT voting for either party but going for the INDEPENDENTs. The book: THrow the Bastards Out is worth the read.
..when a strategy goes viral we may have a prayer --otherwise its victimization as usual by these filthy banksters and their ilk.
+6 # wrknight 2012-07-22 15:06
This happens because the crooks in Congress, who make the rules, set it up that way and are getting rewarded with money for their election campaigns. If you want to do anything about it, you have to get rid of the incumbent crooks in the Congress.
+4 # carolsj 2012-07-23 11:12
Reading all these comments, I see that most people are overwhelmed by the situation and many are too conflicted to make a decision. Yes, both parties are flawed, but the Dems, at least, make some effort for the people. The much maligned Obamacare is the best they could do with so much Repub blockage. They stonewalled him on anything good he tried to do so he would look bad. And don't be fooled by the Foxy propaganda; Obamacare is helping a lot of people. Give the Dems a majority in both houses along with the president and I think they will do better for us. They are much more likely to prosecute banksters, tax the rich, clean up energy, etc. than the Repubs ever will. Voting for the smaller parties at this point will just have the Nader effect all over again. So vote for the Dems and if there is a choice among them, vote for the women.
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-07-24 07:30
This is another example of where simply bashing those evil republicans and saying vote democratic just doesn't get to the root of anything.

It was a Democratic President, Bill Clinton that deregulated the financial markets and got rid of Glass-Steagal, that enabled the banks to peddle their exotic 3 card month financial instruments.

the point not raised is that there is an alternative to cities and states going to the Wall Street bond markets in the first place; it's called PUBLICLY OWNED FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ala the State Bank of North Dakota. When North Dakota needs to borrow money (issues a bond) they can borrow from themselves via their state bank. since they consider themselves a good risk they give themselves a good interest rate. North Dakota is the only state in the union not having serious fiscal woes in part beause they have their own bank. this is in part due to the fact that they have their own bank to finance their own state projects.

This also needs to be done on the federal level so that "our money" is not created by private financial institutions as debt -- debt which has become a weapon of social control and in many ways has replaced the old "class system" with a new system based on debtors and creditors.

If we believe that we can simply "regulate" our way out of this such that the banks "behave" we are dillusional.

We need public banking in this country.

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