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  1. #1
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    A Nation of Village Idiots

    who knew? the guys on Wall Street were actually socialists?



    A Nation of Village Idiots by James Moore

    Don't let them tell you this economic meltdown is a complicated mess. It's not. Our national financial crisis is readily understood by anyone who has seen greed and hypocrisy. But we are now witnessing them on a profound, monumental scale.

    Conservative Republicans always want the government to stay out of business and avoid regulation as long as they are making lots of money. When their greed, however, gets them into a fix, they are the first to cry out for rules and laws and taxpayer money to bail out their businesses. Obviously, Republicans are socialists. The Bush administration has decided to socialize the debt of the big Wall Street Firms. Taxpayers didn't get to enjoy any of the big money profits on the phony financial instruments like derivatives or bundled sub-prime paper, but we get the privilege of paying for their debt and failures.

    Let's just consider the money. The public bailout of insurance giant (becoming a dwarf) AIG is estimated at $85 billion. According to one report, that's more than the Bush administration spent on Aid to Families with Dependent Children during his entire time in office. That amount of money would also pay for health care for every man, woman, and child in America for at least six months.

    How did we get here?

    That's pretty easy to answer, too. His name is Phil Gramm. A few days after the Supreme Court made George W. Bush president in 2000, Gramm stuck something called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act into the budget bill. Nobody knew that the Texas senator was slipping America a 262 page poison pill. The Gramm Guts America Act was designed to keep regulators from controlling new financial tools described as credit "swaps." These are instruments like sub-prime mortgages bundled up and sold as securities. Under the Gramm law, neither the SEC nor the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) were able to examine financial institutions like hedge funds or investment banks to guarantee they had the assets necessary to cover losses they were guaranteeing.

    This isn't small beer we are talking about here. The market for these fancy financial instruments they don't expect us little people to understand is estimated at $60 trillion annually, which amounts to almost four times the entire US stock market.

    And Senator Phil Gramm wanted it completely unregulated. So did Alan Greenspan, who supported the legislation and is now running around to the talk shows jabbering about the horror of it all. Before the highly paid lobbyists were done slinging their gold card guts about the halls of congress, every one from hedge funds to banks were playing with fire for fun and profit.

    Gramm didn't just make a fairy tale world for Wall Street, though. He included in his bill a provision that prevented the regulation of energy trading markets, which led us to the Enron collapse. There was no collapse of the house of Gramm, however, because his wife Wendy, who once headed up the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, took a job on the Enron board that provided almost $2 million to their household kitty. And why not? Wendy got a CFTC rule passed that kept the federal government from regulating energy futures contracts at Enron.

    If John McCain gets elected and chooses Phil Gramm as his Treasury Secretary, which many politico types see as likely, they will be able to talk about the good old days when Gramm was in congress and McCain was in the senate and they were in the midst of the Savings and Loan crisis.

    The S and L scandal, which may look precious when compared to our present cascade of problems, isn't hard to understand, either. But it is impossible to take John McCain seriously on our current financial Armageddon since he was dabbling in the historic collapse of 747 S&Ls that occurred during Ronald Reagan's era. In the early 80s under the Republican president, congress deregulated the savings and loan industry in much the same way that Gramm made sure there were no laws hindering our current financial malefactors on Wall Street. S&Ls simply lobbied until they had less regulation and then began making rampant, unsound investments.

    The guy who was going the wildest with financial freedom was Charles Keating, who headed up Lincoln Savings and Loan of California. Because the S&L industry had managed to get congress to increase FDIC insurance from $40,000 to $100,000 on deposits, the irresponsible investing of people like Keating began to put taxpayer insurance funds at great risk of loss. Keating placed money in junk bonds and questionable real estate projects and because so many other S&Ls started acting the same way the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) began to push for a regulation that limited these dangerous speculative "direct" investments to 10% of an S&L's assets.

    And Keating didn't like it; he called on a private economist named Alan Greenspan, who promptly produced a study saying that there was no danger in "direct" investments.
    But that didn't convince the FHLBB and as further scrutiny showed Lincoln Savings and Loan was making even more historically bad investment decisions, a federal investigation was launched.

    So Keating called his home state senator John McCain.

    McCain and four other US senators (known to history as the Keating Five) met with Edwin Gray, then chairman of the FHLBB. McCain had been hesitant to attend but had reportedly been called a "wimp" behind his back by Keating. The message to the FHLBB and Gray from the Keating Five was to lay off Lincoln and cool the investigation. Gray and the FHLBB did not relent but Lincoln stayed in business until 1989 when it collapsed with the rest of the S&L industry. The life savings of more than 20,000 elderly investors disappeared with the failure of Lincoln. Keating went to prison for five years.

    Charles Keating was John McCain's pal. They met in 1981 and Keating dumped $112,000 in the McCain campaign bank accounts between '82 and '87. A year before McCain met with the FHLBB regulators, his wife Cindy and her father, according to newspaper reports at the time, invested about $360,000 in one of Keating's shopping centers. The Arizona Republic reported McCain and his wife and their babysitter took nine trips on Keating's private jet to the Bahamas to stay at the S&L liar's decadent Cat Cay resort. The senator didn't pay Keating back for the plane rides until years later when he was under investigation.

    McCain wasn't found guilty of anything but bad judgment, which is an historic understatement. Republicans, who led deregulation of the S&L industry, delayed the bailout until after the 1988 election to make sure George H. W. won the White House. The cost to taxpayers for helping these 747 bad actors in the S&L industry was finally estimated at $1.4 trillion. If the bailout had begun in 1986 instead of after the presidential election, the cost would have been contained at $20 billion.

    And now the Republicans who engineered our present crisis and got us into the S&L debacle of the 80s are before us saying the markets need regulation. No, actually, they don't need regulation. Why don't you Republican capitalists who believe in the free markets get out of the damned way and let them work and allow these various financial nuthouses be crushed by the weight of their own stupidity? When it is all over, we'll have sane and sober people create laws to make sure it doesn't happen again, assuming we survive this chaos.

    Also, while you are handing out our tax money to idiots on Wall Street, save a little of the long green for the unemployed auto and construction workers and all of the other people who have lost their jobs because you were too stupid to notice what Phil Gramm was doing and you were convinced everything was going to be just fine because the markets work.

    These, then, are the people -- the Republicans -- who want to run our government for four more years. John McCain isn't just one of them. He rides their jets. He takes their campaign donations. He makes them his campaign advisors. And he tells us to trust him.

    He must think we are a nation of village idiots.

    Hell, maybe we are.

  2. #2
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    I'm having difficulties verifying all the 'facts' of this piece. Perhaps if you included a link to the source? Thanks.
    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  3. #3
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    This diatribe was apparently written by a schizophrenic... it argues insufficient regulation caused our financial crisis, and then argues we need less market regulation to punish the bad boys...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by batdude View Post
    A few days after the Supreme Court made George W. Bush president in 2000
    The author lost any semblance of credibility with this tripe, I just stopped reading.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  5. #5
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by mark beiser View Post
    The author lost any semblance of credibility with this tripe, I just stopped reading.
    if you think the Supreme Court gave the election to Gore, apparently you stopped reading long before then.

    Hey Andy, how 'bout them Tigers?
    Did they offer reading comprehension classes where you went to school?
    By the way, where was that, Penn State or the State Pen?

  6. #6
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    And even after all the media recounted and found that the rightful man is in office???

    You may blame Republicans for this alleged behavior. They will in turn blame your (pardon the assumption) welfare state for never solving anything except maybe getting Dems reelected.

    The Fed is the problem. So are you going to vote for an outright socialist or for a capitalist, that is the question?
    It's great to be alive and pumping oxygen!

  7. #7
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    outright CROOK may be more appropriate, in the case of McChicanery,
    although OBAMA hasnt opposed it, to my knowledge, yet
    and recent events have firmed my support of Ron Paul and his championing of honest Constitutional money.

    now comes another little factoid for those still wondering if they on Wall St. are really crooks
    from market oracle.co.uk

    "Hidden inside the AIG bailout funding package, surely hastily cobbled together, but carefully enough to include a totally corrupt clause, was a handy dandy clause that permits raids. The conglomerate financial firms are permitted at this point to use private individual brokerage account funds to relieve their own liquidity pressures. This represents unauthorized loans of your stock account assets. So next, if the conglomerate fails, your stock account is part of the bankruptcy process. Finally the corrupt USGovt and corrupt Wall Street houses are desperate enough to put into policy, stated by the US Federal Reserve, outlining the authorized raid of your money."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by batdude View Post
    outright CROOK may be more appropriate, in the case of McChicanery,
    although OBAMA hasnt opposed it, to my knowledge, yet
    and recent events have firmed my support of Ron Paul and his championing of honest Constitutional money.

    now comes another little factoid for those still wondering if they on Wall St. are really crooks
    from market oracle.co.uk

    "Hidden inside the AIG bailout funding package, surely hastily cobbled together, but carefully enough to include a totally corrupt clause, was a handy dandy clause that permits raids. The conglomerate financial firms are permitted at this point to use private individual brokerage account funds to relieve their own liquidity pressures. This represents unauthorized loans of your stock account assets. So next, if the conglomerate fails, your stock account is part of the bankruptcy process. Finally the corrupt USGovt and corrupt Wall Street houses are desperate enough to put into policy, stated by the US Federal Reserve, outlining the authorized raid of your money."
    I think you and I may agree on Ron Paul, but there is much to reconcile in light of global reliance on fiat money. I mean, who uses actual commodity money anymore?
    At this point it would take a collapse that I wouldn't wish for just to get people to consider making such an "isolationist and protectionist" move. It's not a bad idea, and I hesitate to utter the sounds that I also hear constantly from the modern day Republican--"blue blood" types, that Ron Paul this and Ron Paul that. Funny, but he was predicting these events long ago.

    Makes me want to take a second look at where he's come from (similar studies of economics.
    The Austrian economics aren't "regulate commerce" enough for the socialist mentality in this country. Most folks just won't go for it.
    You and I got a better shot of getting pregnant.

    It will be business as usual and we will still have to vote our conscience. This is a hill I'm ready to die on, so to speak.
    As I've tried to say from the beginning ( of my tenure at Hvac-talk), I hope that the Republicans get it right. Just losing my optimism about it happening without first enduring major disruptions...
    It's great to be alive and pumping oxygen!

  9. #9
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    I could fix this mess in less than a week, with little harm to taxpayersover 50.

    Put a $ .01 per day fee on wireless phones and wireless internet accounts. Call it the Wireless Banking Act. 30 cents a month extra would be a small pill to swallow and it would be paid by the younger generationwho covets new technology.''

    A 1 cent fee added to video games would cover a lot of ground also.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrs reb77 View Post
    I'm having difficulties verifying all the 'facts' of this piece. Perhaps if you included a link to the source? Thanks.
    It's a cut and paste http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-mo..._b_127340.html from Arianna's publication.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, that's the only place I found it as an original too Andy. It's always nice when people include a source (especially long pieces) so you can decide to read it or not

    Also, I couldn't tell if the o.p. was presenting a piece of satire (so we could make fun of it) or if he believed it (so we could make fun of him). I guess we see now, huh?
    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  12. #12
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    so why not join in the fun instead of sitting on the fence and flip-floping.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrs reb77 View Post
    Yeah, that's the only place I found it as an original too Andy. It's always nice when people include a source (especially long pieces) so you can decide to read it or not

    Also, I couldn't tell if the o.p. was presenting a piece of satire (so we could make fun of it) or if he believed it (so we could make fun of him). I guess we see now, huh?


    So are we to assume you doubt the post's veracity automatically on account of its source? A little specificity would be helpful. Further, do you defend Gramm's recent insistence that "this is a recession of whiners" before McInsane fired him as chief economic adviser? And which candidate do you support, the one on Monday who claimed, "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" or the one channeling Karl Marx on Tuesday, " it's the workers, the workers, I meant the workers, dammit."

    You can always make fun of those who deserve it, including yourself. Men are endowed by the Republican Party with certain inalienable rights, among them incredulity, gullibility, and stupidity. If the majority are the voters once again can be duped into voting against their own self interest, once more Honest Abe will be proved correct in that you absolutely can fool some of the people all the time.

    My thinking goes along the lines of a feller up in your neck of the woods who once said, I love my country; and its government, occasionally, when it deserves it."

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