Pigmen Win Again
By Jim Quinn
“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.” - George Carlin
After the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the needs of the wealthy business interests. Obama, champion of the common folk, signed this putrid example of political corruption and corporate capture of the American political system. For all the believers who voted for the red team in the November mid-terms, this is what you got – a bipartisanship screwing of the American people.
The entire episode has been nothing but Kabuki Theater. Both parties have proven to be puppets marching to the tune of Wall Street moneyed interests, while further entrenching the status quo by voting to allow more corporate influence over the election process. Each side of the aisle allowed just enough dissent to make it appear they might not reach an agreement. But at the end of the day Pelosi, Boehner, Reid and McConnell joined hands and gave it to the American public good and hard. And of course we had the candidates for president in 2016 Warren and Cruz playing to their constituents with speeches and maneuvers designed to make them look like fighters for the common man. It was nothing but a show, as they did nothing substantive to stop the bill from passing.
What this entire debacle has proven is that voting doesn’t matter. Your vote is meaningless. Political parties are nothing more than a front for the vested interests. The corrupt politicians are bought and sold by Wall Street and corporate interests. The bills are written by lobbyists for the vested interests. When a spending bill is over 1,700 pages, the purpose is to obscure, hide and insert provisions that will benefit those with money to influence the process at the expense of average Americans. None of the perpetrators in Congress actually read this bill. The public had no say regarding this bill. If this is what bipartisan cooperation looks like, I’ll take gridlock. The system has been so completely captured by those pulling the wires, they no longer even pretend to care what we think. They keep winning and care not about the consequences of their ruthless despicable pillaging.
Politicians decry money in politics when they are paraded onto the mainstream media talk shows. They profess to be men and women of the people, fighting for our rights. So how do they go about getting money out of politics? They dramatically expand the amount of money wealthy political donors can inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. A wealthy donor who could only give a maximum of $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee can now give ten times as much – a total of $324,000. Do you think these wealthy donors might have ten times more influence over government policies, laws, regulations, and tax codes? Do you think these donors are contributing these funds to fight for the rights of average Americans making $50,000 per year? This change just further entrenches the rich vested interests. Your vote just became even more meaningless.
The most outrageous provision in the spending bill is Wall Street putting the American taxpayer on the hook for when their $250 trillion of derivatives of mass destruction blow up the worldwide financial system again. Elizabeth Warren, playing her part in this farce, feigns outrage, knowing it will pass anyway:
“Mr. President, Democrats don’t like Wall Street bailouts. Republicans don’t like Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street bailouts. And yet here we are five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk that taxpayers will have to bail out the biggest banks once again. You know, there is a lot of talk lately about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. There is a lot of talk coming from CitiGroup about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. So let me say this to anyone listening at Citi —I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces. If this Congress is going to open up Dodd-Frank in the months ahead then let’s open it up to get tougher, not to create more bailout opportunities.”
Senator Warren does hit at the heart of the matter. The Too Big To Fail banks should have been made too small to matter after they created the 2008 worldwide financial collapse. Congress should have reinstated Glass Steagall, the insolvent Wall Street banks should have been liquidated or sold off piece by piece, and the American taxpayer shouldn’t have had to pay one dime. Instead, those banks became bigger, more powerful, more arrogant, and more reckless. And now they are writing the laws supposedly regulating them. Regulatory capture at its finest.
Dodd-Frank was already a behemoth mess of a law, written by bank lobbyists, and so complex it was always destined to fail. The law that set up America’s banking system in 1864 ran to 29 pages; the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 went to 32 pages; the Banking Act that transformed American finance after the Wall Street Crash, commonly known as the Glass-Steagall act, spread out to 37 pages. Dodd-Frank was 848 pages long. One of the few beneficial sections of the law was the provision that required banks to “push out” their derivatives trading into separate entities not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Essentially, this provision prohibited the Too Big To Trust Wall Street Banks from using the deposits of customers to gamble on derivatives, with no capital behind the gambling. Any Wall Street bank that wanted to trade derivatives had to do it in non-insured subsidiaries, and when these trades blew up in their faces, the banks would be solely on the hook. They prefer the they win you lose method.
This spending bill included language written directly by Citigroup and inserted by the politicians in the back pocket of Jamie Dimon and the rest of the Wall Street cabal. Dimon showed no shame as he personally called lawmakers to insist they pass this bill with the gutting of Dodd Frank. Wall Street bankers can now gamble with the deposits of their clients with impunity generating obscene insider profits, and when they inevitably blow up the financial system again the American taxpayer will be on the hook for the losses. In a shocking development, the members who voted for the spending bill had received vastly more political contributions (bribes) than those who voted no. Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, concisely sums up the goal of this provision:
“It is because there is a lot of money at stake. They want to be able to take big risks where they get the upside and the taxpayer gets the potential downside.”
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