The main difference between the left and the right is that the right believes that government is the problem and that “free enterprise” is the solution while the left understands that multi-national corporations are sociopathic monsters who will unhesitatingly murder your family if there is enough profit in doing so and if they think they can get away with it — and government is the only institution we have that is powerful enough to protect us from them.
The thing that truly excited me about the Occupy Movement was that they correctly identified the true enemy.
The ‘official’ story of the economic collapse is that the Wall Street speculators ‘lost’ [i.e. stole] trillions of dollars of other people’s money. What they actually did was to aggressively market what they knew full well to be worthless trash rated as AAA bonds. This was not only criminal fraud but it was the largest criminal fraud in human history. The victims of the crime were the good honest working people who are actually human, i.e. they love and care and share and all the other things that real humans do. The victims of the crime were the good honest working people who had been working all their lives to make their kid’s life better and to try to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Most of them did absolutely nothing wrong. Most of them followed all the rules. Through no fault of their own many of these good honest working people just lost everything that they had worked for all of their lives. Poof. It just disappeared. Wow. Where did it go? No one will say. No one will say, for instance, that it was stolen. When a ‘common’ person robs a store of some pocket change they will spend many years in prison if caught. The punishment meted out for the greatest grand larceny in all of human history was to take yet more trillions of tax-dollars from the good honest working people and give that to the thieves too. Goldman essentially borrowed a $5 billion salary payout for its executives in the middle of the global economic crisis that Goldman helped cause by using half-baked accounting to reel in investors just months after receiving billions in a taxpayer bailout. They punished not only the victims but also the victim’s grandchildren in order to give more money to the thieves so that they could continue to pay themselves eight-figure bonuses.
So first you need to understand that when we start talking international and governmental finance the numbers literally defy human imagination. A million dollars is a lot of money but a billion dollars is a lot more than a million dollars — a billion dollars is a million dollars one-thousand times over, in fact. A billion dollars is thusly really a lot of money — but a trillion dollars is a lot more than a billion dollars — a trillion dollars is a billion dollars one-thousand times over, in fact!
Perspective: One-million seconds was about two weeks ago.
One-billion seconds was 32 years ago; it was 1980 and Ronald Reagan was elected president.
One-trillion seconds was 32,000 years ago; The Pleistocene Ice Age was wrapping the Earth in its icy embrace and prehistoric people were painting animals on caves in France.
Like the storied magicians of old, shortly after the economic collapse the Federal Reserve just created $10 trillion out of thin air! There was nothing — then there was $10 trillion! Just like that!
Wow! This is like alchemy taken to a cosmic level!
(Note: Ten-trillion seconds is 320,000 years; this was the Yarmouth Interglacial Period; Neanderthals were in the early stages of their development and homo sapiens did not yet exist.)
Then, after creating $10 trillion out of thin air, the Federal Reserve just gave it to Wall Street with the lion’s share going to Goldman Sachs!
Wow, cool! How did they do that? Can I get one of those?
In a word: No. This ‘gift’ was given to Goldman Sachs by the head of the New York Fed, William Dudley. I do not have a relationship with Mr. Dudley. Goldman Sachs does. Before he was head of the New York Fed, William Dudley worked for Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs was Barack Obama’s largest campaign contributor. Goldman Sachs is Mitt Romney’s largest campaign contributor. Goldman Sachs was one of George Bush’s largest campaign contributors. One of Mr. Dudley’s predecessors at the New York Fed was Timothy Geithner. Timothy Geithner is now Obama’s treasury secretary. Bush’s treasury secretary was Henry Paulson. Henry Paulson was the architect and prime motivator of the Great Wall Street Bailout wherein the taxpayers were dunned for almost $2 trillion to pay for Wall Street’s gambling debts. Goldman Sachs was a major recipient of these tax dollars. Before becoming Bush’s treasury secretary Henry Paulson was the CEO of Goldman Sachs. Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary was Robert Rubin. Robert Rubin was the central architect of the bank deregulation that allowed Goldman Sachs to start gambling with our life savings and our pensions. Before he was Clinton’s treasury secretary Robert Rubin spent 26 years at Goldman. After leaving the Clinton Administration Robert Rubin became chairman of Citigroup. While there, Citigroup got a $300 billion taxpayer bailout from Paulson. Then there is Joshua Bolten, Bush’s chief of staff during the bailout, and Mark Patterson, Obama’s Treasury chief of staff, who was a Goldman lobbyist just a year ago. And we mustn’t leave out Ed Liddy, the former Goldman director whom Paulson put in charge of bailed-out insurance giant AIG which subsequently forked over $13 billion to Goldman. The heads of the Canadian and Italian national banks are Goldman alums, as is the head of the World Bank, the head of the New York Stock Exchange, the last two heads of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — which, incidentally, is now in charge of overseeing Goldman and which, incidentally, brings us back to William Dudley and his $10 trillion worth of Fed funny money. Small world, eh?
For purposes of public relations the stated reason for this rather impressive ‘gift’ was to encourage the kindly gentlemen at Goldman Sachs to pretty please with sugar on top maybe provide a few small loans to a few small businesspeople here and there so that maybe they can get going and maybe create a few jobs that a lot of people could sorely use right about now. I am sure that Mr. Bernanke was very stern and wagged his finger at them. In spite of this, though, the kindly gentlemen at Goldman Sachs instead immediately began ‘speculating’ [i.e. gambling with other people’s money] on oil futures (thus causing massive price fluctuations) and on foreign currencies.
Wow. Nice work if you can get it, eh? These people are rad! This scam puts Midas to shame! (Look what happened to him after all!) Rumpelstiltskin was a piker compared to these guys! How long would it have taken him to weave $10 trillion out of straw? And these guys don’t even need any straw!
So basically our economy just collapsed because a bunch of sociopathic paper shufflers looted the whole world and drained it dry.
And here’s the real punch line: After playing an intimate role in four historic bubble catastrophes, after helping $5 trillion in wealth disappear from the NASDAQ, after pawning off thousands of toxic mortgages on pensioners and cities, after helping to drive the price of gas up to $4 a gallon and to push 100 million people around the world into hunger, after securing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars through a series of bailouts overseen by its former CEO, Goldman $achs paid out a grand total of $14 million in taxes in 2008, an effective tax rate of exactly one percent. The bank paid out $10 billion to shareholders in compensation and benefits that same year and made a profit of more than $2 billion — yet it paid the Treasury less than a third of what it forked over to Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein who made $42.9 million last year.
We were lucky to get that much. Companies like Goldman can ship their revenues offshore and defer taxes on those revenues indefinitely, even while they claim deductions upfront on that same untaxed income. This is why any corporation with an accountant with at least a high-school education can usually find a way to zero out its taxes. A GAO report, in fact, found that between 1998 and 2005, roughly two-thirds of all corporations operating in the U.S. paid no taxes at all.
And now the Federal Reserve just gives Wall Street another $10 trillion.
I repeat yet again: Wow! They are rolling in cash, yet they are still stealing everything else too. They are far from done. Let the foreclosures begin…
And the most incredible thing of all: They are getting away with it!
Since corporations have taken over our world it is good to know them. The first and foremost thing that actual humans must understand is that we are human while Corporate Person is a Machine. As far as large corporations go their behaviour and ethics (or serious lack of same) applies to virtually any and all; the handful of exceptions that could probably be found merely proves the rule.
Case in point: The Ford Motor Company — but it could just as easily be GM or Monsanto or Goldman $achs or Dow Chemical or some local gangster — they are all play by the same rules.
Anyway, back in 1971 Ford released the now-infamous Ford Pinto. It was a very popular low-cost car and Ford sold millions of these cars — mostly to families of modest means.
Then it was discovered by Ford that the Pinto was prone to exploding into flames when rear-ended.
Ford broke out their actuary tables: First they figured out how much it would cost to recall the Pinto and replace the defective $11 part. Then they figured out how many families were likely to burn to death and of that number they figured out the number of families of the demographic likely to purchase Pintos that were also likely to have the wherewithal and resources to hire a lawyer who him/ herself had the resources and wherewithal to prove in court that the Ford Pinto was prone to exploding into flames when rear-ended — and doing so in the face of a table-full of the best lawyers in the country throwing up mountainous volumes of obfuscation and bull-pucky.
Then the Ford Motor Company calculated the probable size of the awards and settlements in the small number of cases wherein the plaintiff was likely to prevail and it turned out that it was cheaper to let families burn to death than it was to fix the problem…
…so Ford Motor Company chose to let families burn to death rather than spend $11 to fix their frigging deathtrap.
It was proven that management at the Ford Motor Company knew about the exploding gas tanks for years and not only hid the knowledge but battled fiercely to keep it suppressed.
This is business as usual. This is what Machines do. This is why they can’t just be ignored; unless you constantly stay right on their asses they will steal your home and kill/ poison/ maim your family. Almost always and invariably when a large corporation discovers that it is killing/ poisoning/ maiming people rather than reacting like a human and saying “Oh my God” and immediately stopping doing whatever they are doing they instead react like a Machine; they deny kick scream squirm and sue about their god-given right to make profit as they continue doing whatever they are doing for as long as they can possibly continue getting away with doing it. Always. They have done this over and over and over again. Everyone knows about the tobacco companies covering up evidence of cancer. The Bhopal Disaster was another particularly nasty little case of unaccountable mass-murder for which to this day there has never been proper amends. Another big hit was the Thalidomide scandal; they knew that their drug was deforming babies yet for years they fought tooth and nail to cover it up. Over and over and over again they do these things.
Do you really want such people in charge of your public purse strings your safety your future the quality of your life your fate your government your military your pension fund or your media?
I think not.