Occupy Your Rights!
Occupy Solidarity

America Quickly Becoming a Category F5 Disaster

November 2012
Hooooray!  Big Bird Wins!

Big Bird

The Oompa Loompas Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan Lose!
Bye, Bye and Get Lost You Habitual Liars!

July 6, 2012

Bill Moyers Exposes the ‘Hoax’ of Citizens United

The Cowardly Lions of ‘Free Speech’
by Bill Moyers

BILL MOYERS: Welcome.  In all the hullabaloo over the Supreme Court's decision on health care, another of its rulings quickly fell off the public radar.  Before deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act, the Court announced it would not reconsider Citizens United.  That's the odious 5-4 decision two years ago that opened our elections to unlimited contributions.  Within minutes of that announcement, right-wing partisans were crowing about the advantage they now own.  An advantage not due to ideas or personalities, but to the sheer force of money.  They were remarkably candid and specific.

Here’s what Fred Barnes wrote in "The Weekly Standard" about the Senate race in Missouri:

"For three weeks in May, Republican super-PACs took turns attacking Democratic senator Claire McCaskill in TV ads.  Republicans hadn’t held their primary—it’s not until August 7—but McCaskill wound up trailing all three of the GOP candidates in polls.  Now McCaskill, unnerved, is struggling to recover.

"That’s what super-PACs can do.  When they emerged in 2010 and worked in tandem, they were a critical force in the Republican landslide in the congressional elections.  This year they’re playing an even bigger role.  The size and reach of their efforts dwarf what they did two years ago."

Attaboy, Fred, for telling it like it is.  For exposing the hoax that the Court’s original decision was about “free” speech.  Free speech, my foot: It’s about carpet bombing elections with all the tonnage your rich paymasters want to buy.  Try not to laugh when you hear one of its perpetrators, the noted lawyer Floyd Abrams, say, as he did not too long ago, “I don’t think we should want as a matter of policy to make decisions which are essentially, people can’t do all the speaking that they can in a political campaign.  I don’t think we can ration speech.”

Excuse me, Floyd: Speech is already rationed in America.  On your playing field, those who have no money have no speech.  And just who do you think is doing this “speaking”?  Hello, poor people, are you there?  It’s your election, too.  All 50 million of you; Hello, we can’t hear you.  Better get a Super Pac and speak up!

Poor people haven’t lost their voice.  They can’t afford a voice.  And every day working people: universal laryngitis, the chronic absence of money.  As for children – children who have a big stake in our elections but no vote – for them to be heard they would need piggy banks the size of Wal-Mart heirs.  Or the Koch brothers for uncles.

And if “free speech” is a right, why all the secrecy?  Why hide from voters where the money is coming from?  Why not openly say you’re downright proud to be exercising your First Amendment rights and that writing checks is your patriotic duty?  Instead, conservatives across the country are fighting to keep their sugar daddies secret.

According to their guardian angel in Congress – the highly leveraged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – the right wing opposes disclosure laws because the super-rich just might be bullied and harassed by the rest of us who want to know who’s buying our elections.  So that the editorial page of "The Wall Street Journal," asks us to have pity on billionaires and those little ol’ corporations and their CEOs who just might have their tender feelings hurt; if they were exposed to boycotts and pickets – were it known which candidates they were buying.

Wait a minute.  Weren’t we taught the First Amendment also guarantees the right of every citizen to assemble and petition, even to boycott and picket?  That’s what a couple of hundred protesters were doing just the other day.  They marched to the DC offices of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.  Those are the right wing money mills run by the mastermind of much of this massive fundraising, Karl Rove.  He’s making a bundle himself buying and selling “Free Speech,” while at the same time deploring the disclosure of big donors’ names as “shameful” intimidation!

Exercising their First Amendment rights, the demonstrators taped a kind of wanted poster on Rove’s office door, indicating they would like to see him wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.  Instead, he could be seen last weekend in casual wear, buzzing around in a golf cart at Mitt Romney’s Utah mountain gathering of high rollers.  No doubt plotting how to raise more millions to pay for more “free speech.”

Let’s see if we’ve got this right: On the one hand, conservatives declare that corporations and the superrich can spend all they want on exercising their First Amendment rights, but on the other, they demand to keep it secret so the rest of us can’t exercise our First Amendment rights to fight back?  Have you ever heard of more cowardly lions?

It’s one big joke.  Big enough to make you cry.  Three things don’t go together: Money.  Secrecy.  Democracy.  And that’s the nub of the matter.  This is all a sham for invalidating democracy in the name of democracy.  It’s the trick authoritarians always use to hide their real intention -- in this case absolute power over our public life and institutions: the privatization of everything.  The Supreme Court is pointing the way.  Instead of mitigating the worst excesses of both the state and the private sector, the Court has taken sides.  Saying to the massed wealth of the one percent: America is yours for the taking, for the buying.

That’s what George III thought, too.  Which brings us back to our celebration of the 4th of July, to the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson, who seems to have thought that a little uprising now and then would be good for what ails us.  This time the overweening power is not the monarchy but plutocracy, the convergence of the political, religious and corporate right that would keep us in the dark about where all that money is coming from, and who it’s buying, until one day we wake up and our country is no longer our own.  Fortunately, those orange jump suits come in one size fits all.  So remember, moneyed lords and ladies, what King George learned the hard way – you can only push your subjects so far.

Occupy Wall Street      Occupy Wall Street      Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street      Occupy Wall Street      Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street      Occupy Wall Street      Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street      Occupy Wall Street      Occupy Wall Street
June 2012
by R. L. L.

Republican and Democratic Parties Don't Represent Silent Majority of Americans

The Republican and Democratic Parties are corrupted beyond repair, and no longer represent the silent majority of American people.  Both parties have sold out to the highest bidder.....the deep, big money pockets of Corporations that have corrupted our American Democracy.  The Congress has been bought and paid for, and they write laws that favor Corporate interests at the expense of American citizens.

The Republican and Democratic Parties do not appeal to the majority of American citizens, and for good reason.  Both parties tend to attract the either far right or far left radical nut jobs. 


There's a high probability that Obama could lose his run for a second term as President.  There are several reasons for this.

1) Many of his original supporters have lost faith and trust in him.  They feel that he betrayed them, and he did.

2) Obama has accepted Super Pac money from Wall Street, and that flies directly in the face of what his supporters expected out of him.  It makes him a hypocrite.  Just another deceptive, lying Politician.

3) He hand picked Larry Summers (played a role in the deregulation of derivatives), Ben Bernakie (allegations of fraud on the part of Bernakie in his role in the aquisition of Merril Lynch by Bank of America), and Tim Geithner (it was revealed that Geithner had not paid $35,000 in self-employment taxes for the years 2001-2004), as his economic advisors....many of  the same people who's hands were dirty in one way or another, and connected to the economic crash of our economy in the first place.

4) Obama signed the NDAA bill into law, which expanded the insanity of the Patriot Act signed by the snot licking, village idiot George W. Bush.

5) Obama has not spoken out as he should have against the Supreme Court for giving Corporations Personhood status.

6) Obama did not close down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp as he promised he would.

Republican Party Circus Tent

The club for Nut Jobs, Religious Fanatics, Idiots who still don't understand the reason for separation between Church and State, Non critical thinkers who think Fox News is a serious source for news, Brainwashed fools who cite the Bible as their favorite book, Creationists, Intelligent Design Idiots, Bible Bangers, Scientifically Challenged Morons, Flat Earthers, Crackpots, Corporate Criminals, War Mongers, Torture Advocates, Rednecks, Global Warming Deniers, Crooks Wearing Suits and Ties, Evolution Deniers, and the whole crazy state of Texas for their politically slanted influence on the text books used in the public schools across the country.  America needs an enema, with the tube inserted into the state of Texas!!

Toooot!  Toooooooot!  Here Comes the Republican Crazy Train!

And Who's the Leader of the Crazy Train?  Mitt Romney!!!

Romney Credo:
America: Land of the Free to Be As Crazy As I Can Possibly Be!

Republican Nicknames:  Conservatards, Republipunks, Republiscum, Republiturds, Republitards, Republijunk, Republipukes, Repblithugs, Republitheives,  Republicrooks, Republicrap, Republicons, Republinuts, Republijunk, Republiscams, Republifarts, Republibums, Republitrash, Republijerks, Republicreeps, Republipigs, Republiwhores, Republiticks, Republifools, Republidopes, Republitricksters, Republiflunkie, Repbulitwits, Republimobsters, Republihoax, Republifreaks, Republipimps.

In the Dictionary, the word "Republican" comes between "Reptilian" and "Repugnant."

June 2012
Editorial by R. L. L.

Bubble Stock Market

The current stock market numbers are nothing more than another unrealistic bubble that will burst at any time, and plunge the American economy into an economic catastrophe that will shake Americans out of their slumber.  Nothing has been done in a legal or regulatory sense to prevent Wall Street or the too big to fail investment banks from stopping the practices they conducted that brought our economy into our current great recession.  You have to ask yourself why?  Then you have to ask yourself if that is acceptable.

The European markets are going under like cast iron anchors to the bottom of the sea and pulling their ships down with them.  These failing economies will follow a path backwards to America.......and rightfully so, because it was American Investment Banks, and Wall Street that sold toxic derivative packages to many European countries.  Those derivative packages helped cause the collapse of many European countries.  So it's all going to come back to roost right where it belongs.......America.

Most Americans are in the dark because they don't understand that the failing economies of Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland, means an epic economic disaster for America.  And American politicians are so corrupt beyond redemption, that America is on course to plunging more American families into lower wages, less benefits, and joining the unemployment lines in the very near future.

A List of Republican Criminals

Rep. Tom Delay (R-Texas) - House Majority Leader
-Money Laundering
-Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering
-Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud

Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-California)
-Conspiracy to Commit Bribery
-Mail Fraud
-Wire Fraud
-Tax Evasion

Thomas Ravenal (R-South Caronina) - State Chairman Giuliani for President
-Felony Possession of Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute

Congressman Mark Foley (R-Florida)
-Investigated for sexually explicit messages he sent to underage boys over the the internet.

Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pennsylvania)
-Sued for attempting to strangle his mistress.

Governor Bob Taft (R-Ohio)
-Four, 1st degree ethics violations

Jack Abramoff - Lobbyist and Republican Activist
-Tax Evasion
-Conspiracy to Bribe Public Officials

Treasurer of the United States - Catalina Vasquez Villalpando (R)
Pled Guilty:
-Obstruction of Justice
-Tax Evasion

Rush Limbaugh - Radio Talk Show Mouthpiece for Republican Party
-Charged with Prescription Drug Fraud

Ann Coulter
-Investigated for Voter Fraud

Bill O'Reilly
-Charged with Sexual Harrassment

Governor George Ryan (R-Illinois)
-Mail Fraud
-Tax Evasion
-Making False Statements

Rep. Bill Janklow (R-South Dakota)
-Second Degree Manslaughter
-Reckless Driving
-Running a Stop Sign

Congressman Bob Ney (R-Ohio)
-Making False Statements

Governor John Rowland (R-Connecticuit)
-Conspiracy to Steal Honest Service

Governor Ernie Fletcher (R-Kentucky)
-Official Misconduct
-Political Discrimination

Lewis "Scooter" Libby - Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff
-Obstruction of Justice
-Making False Statements

Other Republicans that have been under investigation:

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)
Senator Pete Dominici (R-New Mexico)
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois)
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)
Governor Jim Gibbons (R-Nevada)
Tom Feeney (R-Florida)
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Arizona)
Rep. John Doolittle (R-California)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-California)
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania)
Rep. Gary Miller (R-California)

A List of Democrat Criminals

Jim Traficant (D-Ohio)
-10 Felony Counts of Financial Corruption
-Tax Evasion

Frank Ballance (D-NC)
-Money Laundering
-Mail Fraud

Mel Reynolds (D-IL)
-12 Counts of Sexual Assault
-Obstruction of Justice
-Solicitation of Child Pornography
-12 Counts of Bank Fraud

Walter R. Tucker III (D-California)
-Tax Evasion

Barbara-Rose Collins (D-Michigan)
-11 Violations of Law and House Rules...Use of Campaing Funds for Personal Use

Austin Murphy (D-Pennsylvania
-One Count of Voter Fraud

Carl D. Perkins (D-Kentucky)
Pled Guilty:
-Check kiting scheme involving several financial institutions, including the House Bank

Carroll Hubbard (D-Kentucky)
-Illegally funneling money to his wife's 1992 campaign to succeed him in Congress

Walter Fauntroy (D-District of Columbia)
-Filing False Disclosure Forms to Hide Unauthorized Income

Nicholas Mavroules (D-Massachusetts)
-Accepting Illegal Gifts

Albert Bustamante (D-Texas)
-Accepting Bribes

Senator Harrison A. Williams (D-New Jersey)
-9 Counts of Bribery and Conspiracy

Rep. John Jenrette (D-South Carolina)

Mario Biaggi (D-New York)
-Obstruction of Justice
-Accepting Illegal Gratuities

Frederick W. Richmond (D-New York)
-Tax Evasion
-Possession of Marijuana

Federal District Court Judge Alcee Hastings (D-Florida)
-Soliciting a Bribe
*Subsequently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives

Federal District Court Judge Harry Claiborne (D-Nebraska)
-Two Counts of Tax Evasion

Charles Diggs (D-Michigan)
-29 Counts of Mail Fraud
-Filing False Payroll Forms for a Kickback Scheme with his Staff

Frank M. Clark (D-Michigan)
Pled Guilty:
-Mail Fraud
-Tax Evasion

Occupy Wall Street

August 30, 2012
Money in Politics: Where Is the Outrage?
We might wish the uproar from the convention halls of both parties these busy weeks were the wholesome clamor of delegates deliberating serious visions of how we should be governed for the next four years.  It rises instead from scripted TV spectacles — grown-ups doing somersaults of make-believe — that will once again distract the public’s attention from the death rattle of American democracy brought on by an overdose of campaign cash.

No serious proposal to take the money out of politics, or even reduce its tightening grip on the body politic, will emerge from Tampa or Charlotte, so the sounds of celebration and merriment are merely prelude to a funeral cortege for America as a shared experience.  A radical minority of the super-rich has gained ascendency over politics, buying the policies, laws, tax breaks, subsidies, and rules that consolidate a permanent state of vast inequality by which they can further help themselves to America’s wealth and resources.

Their appetite for more is insatiable.  As we write, Mitt Romney, after two fundraisers in which he raised nearly $10 million from the oil and gas industry, and having duly consulted with the Oklahoma billionaire energy executive who chairs the campaign’s energy advisory committee, has announced that if elected President, he will end a century of federal control over oil and gas drilling on public lands, leaving such matters to local officials more attuned to industry desires.  Theodore Roosevelt, the first great advocate for public lands in the White House, would be rolling in his grave, if Dick Cheney hadn’t already dumped his bones in a Wyoming mining shaft during the first hours of the Bush-Halliburton administration.

We are nearing the culmination of a cunning and fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that were slowly and painstakingly built over decades to protect everyday cit
izens from the excesses of private power.  The “city on the hill” has become a fortress of privilege, guarded by a hired political class and safely separated from the economic pressures that are upending the household stability, family dynamics, social mobility, and civic life of everyday Americans.

Socrates said to understand a thing, you must first name it.  As in Athens then, so in America now:  The name for what’s happening to our political system is corruption — a deep, systemic corruption.

How did we get here?

Let’s begin with the judicial legerdemain of nine black-robed magicians on the Supreme Court back in the l880s breathing life into an artificial creation called “the corporation.”  An entity with no body, soul, sense, or mortality was endowed with all the rights of a living, breathing “person” under the Constitution. Closer to our own time, the Supreme Court of 1976 in Buckley vs. Valeo gutted a fair elections law passed by a Congress that could no longer ignore the stench of Watergate.  The Court ruled that wealthy individuals could spend unlimited amounts of their own fortunes to get themselves elected to office, and that anyone could pour dollars by the hundreds of thousands into the war chests of political action committees to pay for “issue ads,” clearly favoring one side in a political race, so long as a specific candidate or party was not named.

Money, the justices declared in another burst of invention, was simply a form of speech.

Then, just two years ago, the Roberts Court, in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission, removed any lingering doubts that the marvelous “persons” that corporations had become could reach into their golden troughs to support their candidates and causes through such supposedly “educational” devices as a movie trashing Hillary Clinton.

Meaningful oversight of campaign expenditure, necessary if representative government is to have a fair chance against rapacious wealth, was swept away.  Hail to a new era in which a modestly-financed candidate is at the mercy of nuclear strikes from television ads paid for by a rich or corporate-backed opponent with an “equal right” to “free speech.”  As one hard pressed Connecticut Republican, lagging behind in a primary race against a billionaire opponent outspending him twelve to one, put it: “I’m fighting someone with a machine gun and I’ve got a pistol.”  When the votes were counted, even the pistol turned out to be a peashooter.

A generation ago, the veteran Washington reporter Elizabeth Drew warned against the rising tide of campaign money that would flood over the gunwales of our ship of state and sink the entire vessel.  Noah’s Flood was a mere drop in the bucket compared to the tidal wave that has fulfilled Drew’s prophecy.  The re-election of every member of Congress today is now at the mercy of corporate barons and private princes who can make or destroy a candidacy by giving to those who vote “right,” or lavishing funds on opponents of those who don’t.

Writing the majority opinion for Citizens United, Justice Anthony Kennedy would have us believe corruption only happens if cash passes from one hand to another. But surely as he arrives at his chambers across from Capitol Hill every morning, he must inhale the fetid air rising from the cesspool that stretches from Congress to K Street — and know there’s something rotten, beyond the naked eye, in how Washington works.

Senator John McCain knows.  Having been implicated in the Keating Five scandal during the savings and loan debacle 30 years ago, he repented and tried to clean up the game.  To no avail.  And now he describes our elections as nothing less than “an influence-peddling scheme in which both parties compete to stay in office by selling the country to the highest bidder.”

For the ultimate absurdity of money’s role, we must look to another group of happy billionaires, the corporate owners of the television stations which reap handsome profits for selling the public’s airwaves to undisclosed buyers (also known as campaign contributors) who pollute the political atmosphere with millions of dollars spent on toxic ads designed to keep voters angry, dumb, or both.  Every proposal is shot down or undermined that would make it a duty for those stations to devote free air time for public purposes in order to earn the licenses that they treat as permits to get rich.  In one of the great perversions of the Constitution foisted on its subjects by their overlords, the public airwaves where free speech should reign have become private enclosures to which access must be bought. Free? It’s about as free as Tiffany pearls.

Money rules.  And in the foul air democracy chokes and gasps, the middle class falls behind, and the poor sink from sight as political donations determine the course and speech of policies that could make the difference in the lives of ordinary people struggling in a dog-eat-dog world.

The Devil must grin at such a sorry state of affairs and at the wicked catch-22 at its core.  To fight the power of private money, it is first necessary to get elected.  To get elected it is necessary to raise astronomical amounts of private money from people who expect obedience in return.  “That’s some catch,” says Yossarian to Doc Daneeka, and Doc agrees: “It’s the best there is.”

Where is the outrage at this corruption?  Partly smoothed away with the violence, banality, and tawdry fare served up by a corporate media with every regard for the public’s thirst for distractions and none for its need to know. Sacrificed to the ethos of entertainment, political news — instead of getting us as close as possible to the verifiable truth — has been reduced to a pablum of so-called objective analysis which gives equal time to polemicists spouting their party’s talking points.

As ProPublica recently reported: “Someone who gives up to $2,500 to the campaign of President Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney will have his or her name, address and profession listed on the FEC website for all to see.  But that same person can give $1 million or more to a social welfare group that buys ads supporting or attacking those same candidates and stay anonymous.”  But when is the last time you heard one of the millionaire anchors of the Sunday talk shows aggressively pursue a beltway poobah demanding to learn about the perfidious sources of the secret money that is poisoning our politics?

At our combined ages we’ve seen it all; hope no longer springs eternal.  We know the odds against reversing the hardening grip of the monied interests are disheartening.  Those interests are playing to win the ferocious class war they launched 40 years ago with a strategy devised by the corporate lawyer Lewis Powell (later a Supreme Court justice) and a call to arms from the Wall Street wheeler-dealer William Simon, who had been Richard Nixon’s treasury secretary.  Simon argued that “funds generated by business” would have to “rush by multimillions” into conservative causes in order to uproot the institutions and the “heretical” morality of the New Deal.  He called for an “alliance” between right-wing ideologues and “men of action in the capitalist world” to mount a “veritable crusade” against everything brought forth by the long struggle for a progressive America.  Business Week noted at the time “that some people will obviously have to do with less… It will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more.”

This was not meant to be.  America was not intended to be a winner-take-all country.  Our system of checks and balances — read The Federalist Papers — was to keep an equilibrium in how power works and for whom.  Because of the vast sums of money buying up our politics, those checks and balances are fast disappearing and time is against us.

We are losing ground, but that’s the time when, more than ever, we need to glance back at the progressive crusades of a century ago to take note of what has been forgotten, or rather what braying blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have been distorting or attempting to flush down the memory hole.  Robbing a nation of its historical memory is the most devastating of all larcenies because it opens the door to far worse crimes.

We have been here before.  The two of us have collaborated in studying the example of the populists and progressives who over a century ago took on the financial and political corruptors.  They faced heavy odds, too — a Supreme Court that exalted wealth as practically a sacred right, the distortion by intellectual and religious leaders of the theory of evolution to “prove” that the richest were the fittest to rule, the crony capitalism of businessmen and politicians.

With government in the grip of such exploiters, child labor was a fact of life, men and women were paid pittances for long hours of work and left unprotected from industrial diseases and accidents, and workers too old to be useful to employers any longer were abandoned to starvation or the poorhouse.  No model laws existed to protect them.

But these pioneers of progressivism were tough citizens, their political courage fueled by moral conviction.  They sensed, as the Kansas editor William Allen White wrote, that their country had fallen into the hands of self-seekers, their civilization needed recasting, and a new relationship must be forged between haves and have-nots.  When the two major parties failed them they gave full throat to their discontent by fighting from outside, and when Theodore Roosevelt’s breakaway Progressive Party held its organizing convention in l912 — exactly one hundred years ago — they shook the rafters with “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  Oh, for such defiance today!

From the fighters of that era came a renewal of the social contract first set forth in the preamble of the Constitution — the moral and political notion of “We, the People.”  Equitable access to public resources was its core, so that when the aristocrat De Tocqueville came here from France in the l830s he marveled at the egalitarian spirit he found in the new country.  Public institutions, laws and regulation, as well as the ideas, norms, and beliefs embedded in the American mythos pointed to a future of prosperity open to all.  That ideal survived the fires of the civil war and then the hard, cold cruelties of the industrial era and the First Gilded Age because people believed in and fought for it.  They neither scorned nor worshipped wealth but were determined it would not rule.

It was on these foundations that the New Deal built the structure now under attack, with the support of a Depression-stricken nation which realized that we were all in it together — as we were in the war against fascism that followed.

But in the succeeding fat years the nation forgot something — the words of the great progressive senator Robert LaFollette from Wisconsin: “Democracy is a life and demands constant struggle.”  Constant struggle.  No victory can be taken for granted, no vigilance relaxed. Like the Bourbon kings of France, the lords of unrestrained, amoral capitalism never forgot anything.  They learned from their defeat how to organize new strategies and messages, furnish the money to back them, and recapture control of the nation’s life.  And in the absence of genuine, fight-to-the-finish resistance, they are winning big-time.

Think of where we are now.  One party is scary and the other is scared.  The Tea Party, the religious right, and a host of billionaires dominate the Republican Party.  Secret money fills its coffers.  And in the primaries this year almost every Republican inclined to compromise to make government work, went down before radical and well-funded opponents with a fundamental “anti-government” mindset.

Yet even now President Obama says he is sure the Republicans will be willing to negotiate if he is re-elected.  Sure, and the wolves will sit down with the lamb.
Nor is that all.  In Wisconsin, salvo after salvo of campaign cash for union-busting Governor Scott Walker defeated the effort to recall him.  In Pennsylvania a hardline judge has given his approval to a voter ID law specifically targeted to making it harder for low-income would-be voters to register.  And such laws are proliferating like runaway cancer cells in state after state.  The Tea Party and right-wing Christians furnish the shock troops of these assaults, but those who could be counted on for sturdy defense are not immune to the grinding pressures of nonstop fundraising.  Democratic incumbents and challengers, in national and state canvasses likewise garner corporate contributions — including President Obama, whose fundraising advantage is about to be overtaken by Mitt Romney and the Deep Pockets to whom he is beholden.  And at both conventions, the prime time show is merely window-dressing; the real action occurs at countless private invitation-only parties where CEOs, lobbyists, trade associations and donors literally cash in their chips.  Writing in the New York Times, for example, Nicholas Confessore reports how The American Petroleum Institute will entertain with a concert and panels, all the while promoting an agenda that includes approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, opposition to new transparency rules for American energy companies operating abroad, and the expansion of oil production on those public lands Mitt Romney is preparing to turn over to them.

Does this money really matter?  Do owls and bats fly by night?  Needed reforms are dead on arrival on the floor of Senate and House.  Banking regulations with teeth? Mortgage relief?  Non-starters when the banks’ lobbyists virtually own Washington and the President of the United States tells Wall Street financiers he is all that stands between them and the pitchforks of an angry mob.  Action on global warming?  Not while the fossil fuel industries and corporate-back climate deniers have their powerful say in the matter.  Cutting bloated military expenditures?  Uh-uh, when it means facing a barrage of scare stories about weakening our defenses against terrorism.  Spend money on modernizing our rail system or creating more public transportation in our auto-choked city streets?  What heavy artillery the auto, gasoline and highway construction lobbies would rain down on any such proposal.

All of which would make a Progressive Rip Van Winkle shake his head in disbelief and grind his teeth in fury.  “Where is the passion we shared for driving money from politics?”  he would ask.  Where indeed?  Not on the floor of either of these conventions.  You are unlikely to hear the name of Theodore Roosevelt praised by Republicans or of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by the Democrats, except in perfunctory terms (It was FDR, after all, who said he feared government by money as much as government by the mob.)

Each party will sing the obligatory hosannas to the middle class, give the silent treatment to the working poor, and bellow forth the platitudes of America’s “spirit of enterprise and innovation” that will restore our robust economy and world leadership.  If the stagnant recovery and sufferings of the unemployed and underemployed get any mention, it will be to blame them on the other party.  As for taking on the predatory rich, forget it.

Our advice: Learn something from the emptiness of what you see and hear — and if it doesn’t make you mad as hell and ready to fight back against the Money Power, we are all in real trouble.

Bill Moyers and historian Bernard A. Weisberger have collaborated on several television series, including A Walk Through the 20th Century and Report from Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention.  They are now working on The Fighting Spirit: The People vs. The Gilded Age.

Short List of the Big, Bad, Banksters

September 2012
Compiled by R.L.L
Wells Fargo Bank
October 2012
Wells Fargo Bank in the News Again!

Wells Fargo Bank
Violating the Fair Lending Laws in 36 States
Wells Fargo Bank
'Reprehensible' Handling of One Mortgage
Wells Fargo Bank
Illegal Practices in the Municipal Bond Market
Wells Fargo Bank
Improperly Foreclosing on Homeowners
Bank of America
Bank of America
Overbilling 95,000 Customer Accounts
Bank of America
Predatory Lending Practices
Bank of America
Improperly Foreclosing on Homeowners
Bank of America
Illegal Practices in the Municipal Bond Market
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase
Trading with Enemies
JPMorgan Chase
Illegal Practices in the Municipal Bond Market
JPMorgan Chase
Improperly Foreclosing on Homeowners

October 2012
U.S. Government Sues Wells Fargo Bank for Fraud

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York said: "yet another major bank has engaged in a long-standing and reckless trifecta of deficient training, deficient underwriting, and deficient disclosure, all while relying on the convenient backstop of government insurance."

The law suit seeks hundreds of millions of dollars against Wells Fargo for a decade of fraudulent behavior, because Wells Fargo wrongfully certified more than 100,000 mortgages as being eligible for Federal Mortgage Insurance.  Wells Fargo willfully cheated the FHA and HUD by mass-approving loans without any regard for whether they were defective or not.  The action alleges more than 10 years of misconduct.

Bharara's office said in a statement: "The extremely poor quality of Wells Fargo's loans was a function of management's nearly singular focus on increasing the volume of FHA origination's - and the bank's profits - rather than on the quality of the loans being originated."

Warren Buffet's Connection to Big Bad Banks

Another interesting thing people don't realize is that the Billionaire Warren Buffet is heavily invested in Wells Fargo.  He sits back and just collects the money from his bailed out investments!  Wells Fargo received as much as $36 Billion Dollars in Federal aid after the crash, and then even received a helpful push from the government to help them purchase the cash sick megabank Wachovia for $12.7 Billion Dollars, which created the second largest bank in America.  Don't forget that Wells Fargo received $25 Billion Dollars in TARP funds just before they bought Wachovia, and they even received a special tax break from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, which was worth as much as $25 Billion Dollars to Wells Fargo at that time.

It's all so disgusting when you realize that this lawsuit comes just two months after Wells Fargo agreed to pay a settlement of $175 Million Dollars for discriminating against African-American and Latino borrowers!  (Refer to the next article below).

Warren Buffet needs to consider the following statement:

"Sustain yourself by the life you live, not by exchanging your life for money and living off that."
-Henry David Thoreau

July 12, 2012
Wells Fargo Bank Fined $175 Million Dollars
Violated Fair Lending Laws Against African Americans and Hispanic Borrowers in 36 States

Wells Fargo Bank - the nation's largest residential home mortgage originator

Wells Fargo's discriminatory lending practices resulted in more than 34,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers paying higher rates for loans solely because of the color of their skin or national origin, rather than because of differences in credit-worthiness, from 2004 through 2009.

Wells Fargo deliberately steered them into high-risk subprime mortgages.

Wells Fargo has no moral compass.

April 9, 2012
Wells Fargo Bank Fined $3.1 Million Dollars
'Reprehensible' Handling of One Mortgage

Eastern District of Louisiana

"Wells Fargo has taken advantage of borrowers who rely on it to accurately apply payments and calculate the amounts owed," Judge Magner writes. "But perhaps more disturbing is Wells Fargo's refusal to voluntarily correct its errors.  It prefers to rely on the ignorance of borrowers or their inability to fund a challenge to its demands, rather than voluntarily relinquish gains obtained through improper accounting methods."

Judge Magner said that she analyzed the loan files of more than 20 borrowers in her court and found mistakes in every instance.  "These are loans of working-class people who bought homes they could afford and whose loans were not administered correctly from an accounting perspective," she said.  "I think that these types of problems occur in almost every [defaulted] loan in the country."

After Jones fell into default, Judge Magner ruled, the bank improperly applied his mortgage payments to interest and fees that had accrued instead of to principal, as required by his servicing contract.  This triggered a waterfall of additional fees and interest that consumer lawyers call "rolling default."  Later, after Jones applied for bankruptcy, the bank continued to misapply payments, according to Magner's opinion.

In the most recent opinion, Judge Magner describes Wells Fargo's litigation tactics, which involved filing dozens of briefs, motions and other filings that slowed down the proceedings to a snail's pace, as "particularly vexing."  The tactics suggest that any other borrower who might wish to contest a fee or charge would find a legal challenge to the bank simply too burdensome.

"Only through litigation was this practice discovered," Judge Magner writes.  "Wells Fargo admitted to the same practices for all other loans in bankruptcy or default.  As a result, it is unlikely that most debtors will be able to discern problems with their accounts without extensive discovery."

Judge Magner wrote that the bank still refuses to come clean with homeowners about mistakes it made in the accounting of home loans.  This is particularly troublesome in her district, where more than 80 percent of the borrowers who file for bankruptcy have incomes of less than $40,000, and consequently are often unable to hire the kind of legal firepower necessary to counter Wells Fargo's army of lawyers.

January 6, 2012
Wells Fargo Bank Fined $148 Million Dollars
Bid Rigging in Municipal Bond Market

Wells Fargo Bank purchased Wachovia Securities in 2008.  Wachovia engaged in bid rigging and other illegal practices in the municipal bond market.

Wachovia fraudulently rigged at least 58 municipal bond reinvestment transactions in 25 states and Puerto Rico over an eight year period from 1997 through 2005.

Additional Banks Fined for Corruption in the Municipal Bond Industry

UBS Bank Fined $160 Million Dollars

Bank of America Fined $137 Million Dollars

JPMorgan Chase Fined $228 Million Dollars

March 19, 2012

$25 Billion Dollars in Fines Leveled by State and Government Agencies
Improperly Foreclosing on Homeowners by the Following Banks:


Wells Fargo

Ally Financial

Bank of America

JPMorgan Chase

Additional Financial Firms Involved in Foreclosure Abuses
Fines are Pending



OneWest Bank

U.S. Bankcorp

SunTrust Banks

HSBC Holdings PLC

Goldman Sachs Group

PNC Financial Services Group

June 2012
Bank of America Fined $2.8 Million Dollars
Overbilling of 95,000 Customer Accounts

Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch wealth-mangagement unit was fined for overbilling customers by $32.2 million dollars over an eight year period from April 2003 to December 2011.  They also failed to send 10.6 million trade confirmations to 230,000 customers over a four year period.

December 2011
Bank of America Fined $335 Million Dollars
Predatory Lending Against African American & Latino Borrowers

Over 200,000 qualified African Americans and Latino borrowers were purposely steered toward riskier sub-prime loans, even when they qualified for prime loans, or they were simply charge higher rates.  They paid tens of thousands of dollars more than should have, including up front costs and throughout their mortgage from 2004 to 2008.

Spouses were also illegally required to surrender their claim to a mortgage as condition of approval.  So, in order for a man to qualify for a mortgage, his wife would have to sign away her right to that mortgage.

April 2012
JPMorgan Chase Fined $20 Million Dollars
Mishandling Lehman Brothers Customer Deposits

Federal regulations dictate that customer money can't be used as a basis for loans extended to anyone but that customer.  JPMorgan had overextended credit to Lehman Brother for two years before it's bankruptcy, the largest Chapter 11 filing in U.S. history.

September 2011
JPMorgan Chase Fined $88 Million Dollars
Trading with Enemies

JPMorgan broke U.S. embargo laws and trade sanctions, including Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, and Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions, in three separate incidents.  They occurred between 2005 and 2911, involving Cuba, Iran, and Sudan.

The Louisiana Municipal Employees Retirement System filed suit against CEO Jamie Dimon and ten other members of the JPMorgan board of directors demanding that they personally repay the bank to cover the fines.

November 2012
by R.L.L.
I'm Only One Person - What Can I Possibly Do?

Don't you just hate it when you hear people ask that question?  What a complete cop-out!  But there are people who are serious, and they truly want to know what they can do to make a difference against unjust actions taking place in their society.  So this article is for them.  It's for the people not asking that question as a way of shoving their civic responsibility onto other people.  It's for people who are willing to do their share of the lifting for the advancement of humanity and the society they live in.

I'm Being Patriotic by Voting - Even if I'm Just Voting for Someone Who's the Less of Two Evils

When you have two corrupt political parties, how can any intelligent person possibly think it's okay to say they will vote for whoever they think is the less of two evils?  And then believe they have somehow exercised their civic duty and pat themselves on the back?  This type of thinking, and this type of person is truly disgusting, and an insult to the advancement of justice and equality.

That kind of thinking is harmful, stupid, passive, and a cop-out.  Here's why......

People who just passively wait for an opportunity to vote for justice, where it does not exist, is as ineffective as wishing for justice; what you need to do is actually be just.  This doesn't mean that you must devote your whole life to fighting for justice, but it does mean that you have an absolute obligation not to commit injustice, and make certain that your not giving injustice your practical support by voting for someone who is the less of two evils.  Evil is evil.  Injustice is injustice.  Wrong is wrong.

Absolute noncooperation with evil is just as strong of a moral and ethical obligation of a citizen, as is cooperation with good.

How to View Unjust Laws

The United States is a constitutional republic.  Citizens commonly think that the correct way to react to an unjust law is to try to use the political system to change the law, and until it is changed you must obey and have respect for that law.

When a law is unjust, and the political lawmaking process is too slow to promptly strike out and eliminate any unjust laws, then a moral and ethical person recognizes that an unjust law deserves no respect and it should be broken.

I would prefer to ignore an unjust law and incur the penalty of being disobedient to the State, because it costs me less in every sense of my being, than what it would cost me if I were to obey an unjust law.  If I obeyed an unjust law I would be worth less as a human being and citizen.  That is the cost I'm not willing to pay, no matter what the State threatens to do to me to force me to conform to it.

The Concept and Practice of Civil Disobedience

People should never allow their governments to over-rule, over-ride, or deteriorate their own consciences.  It's the duty of human beings to never become apathetic in their thinking about right and wrong, and through inaction, allow the government to turn them into passive agents of injustice due to apathy.

A definition of civil disobedience is required here.  There are two general types of definitions.  The one we are holding true to is the meaning given by *Henry David Thoreau
The word civil has several definitions, and the one that Thoreau intended is "relating to citizens and their interrelations with one another or with the state", and so civil disobedience means "disobedience to the state."

People frequently confuse civil, in this case, to mean "observing accepted social forms; polite" which would make civil disobedience something like polite, orderly disobedience.  This is an acceptable dictionary definition of the word civil, but that is not what is intended here or by Thoreau.  This misinterpretation explains why so many people mistakenly interpret civil disobedience to stand for pacifism or for exclusively nonviolent resistance.  It's a common mistake.

Democracy and Majority Rule

Just because you may have a democratic type of government does not guarantee that all of it's laws will be just.  Majorities generally rule by simply being the majority.  Being a majority is no absolute assurance that the virtues of wisdom and justice are an automatic outcome.  During the times of slavery the majority of people defended and supported the ownership of slaves and used them to promote commercial interests to increase their own personal wealth.  So this proves that just because a majority rules, it doesn't automatically follow that the majority is right and just.  Nor does it follow that a majority, simply by virtue of being majorities, also gain the virtues of wisdom and justice.

Just because an individual's judgment and conscience is the opposite of a majority opinion or contrary to the dictates of a political body, it is not any type of valid proof that the differing or protesting individual's thoughts and ideas are somehow inferior to the majority rule because it's not in lockstep with the majority rule.

Law itself never made humans a bit more just, and an unquestioning respect for the law has in fact succeeded in manipulating well intentioned citizens into following, obeying, enforcing, and becoming agents of injustice on a daily basis.  When a law goes against the conscience of an individual it isn't wise to try to cultivate a respect for an unjust law.  The only true obligation I have is to do what I think is right...not what everyone else is doing when it goes against my conscience, and I know that it's wrong.

One must watch government with an ever vigilant eye.  It is too often that the government is not just a little corrupt or unjust in carrying out it's otherwise important work, but in fact governments are frequently the primary agent of corruption and injustice.  When this is the case it is never too soon for honest people to rebel and revolutionize.

Political arm-chair philosophers are quick to offer up caution about revolution because they believe the upheaval of revolutions commonly cause lots of expense and suffering.  What they neglect to take into account with their cost/benefit analysis is that it is inappropriate when the government is fully and actively facilitating an injustice......like they did during the days of slavery.  That was a fundamental immorality that justified any difficulty, expense, and suffering in order to bring it to an end.  It was the absolute duty and obligation of moral people to abolish slavery, even if it cost them their existence as a people.  Proper blame is often times easily found by simply observing the people who are more interested in commerce and profit making, than they are in humanity.

What would you have done?  Simply sit on your ass waiting for an opportunity to vote for justice?  If that's when you'd have been moved to do something, that's not enough.  You'd have been giving slavery your support because of your passivity!  How would that make you feel inside?  All warm and good?  Think it through.

Mean What You Say, and Say What You Mean.....Talk is Cheap

When the government imprisons anyone unjustly, it is obviously appropriate for moral and ethical people to be out in public places protesting against the State whenever and wherever the State imprisons people who are not with her, but against her and her unjust laws.  This is a way of truly casting your whole vote, not just a mark on ballot, but your whole influence.  Even when a minority is right and just, they are powerless whenever they passively conform to the majority.  When you conform to the majority, in reality you don't even count as a minority.....you don't exist. 

When a minority continues to protest by it's whole weight against the unjust laws of the State, that's how and when they begin to clog up the illegitimate actions of the State.  If the alternative is to keep all just people in prison,...or to give up unjust wars, continued inequality, or writing into legislation laws that favor the economically advantaged over the poor, the State will not hesitate in who she favors.  If thousands of people poured out to protest in the streets and over the public air waves, then at minimum that would not be a violent or bloody act....not in any comparison to how the government is allowed to commit violence and shed innocent blood in illegitimate wars.  This is in fact the very definition of a peaceable revolution....if any such thing is truly possible.

It's a good metaphor to compare the government to a machine, and when that machine produces any injustice (such as Citizens United), then it is the duty of conscientious citizens to act as a counter friction, a resistance to stop that machine from the production of inequality and practices that are against the better interests of it's citizens and humanity.

Examples of How People Support Injustice Everyday
It's Called a Boycott Stupid!

Obtaining a Car Loan From One of the Big, Bad Banksters List

It's obvious that your just an insensitive, greedy show off pig!

Obtaining a Home Mortgage From One of the Big, Bad Banksters List to purchase a home

Your a low-life bottom feeding scum bag!

Purchasing a Foreclosed Home From a Bank That's on the Big, Bad Banksters List

You are the lowest of the parasites that feed on others who've been taken advantage of.

Earning Your Paycheck as an Employee in any Capacity From One of the Big, Bad Banksters List

Your a sell out!  Everyone with a moral and ethical compass despises you!

Having or Opening a New Checking or Savings Account with Anyone on the Big, Bad Banksters List

Your the laziest of the lazy!  Your the ones who rationalize everything you do!

Having a 401k Account Through any Institution On the Big, Bad Banksters List

You probably innocently overlooked this one.

*Mahatma Gandhi described Henry David Thoreau as, "...a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in himself.  He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced."

*Some notable people who suggested that the idea of civil disobedience by Thoreau had a strong, positive impact on them are: Author Leo Tolstoy, President John F. Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, and writers such as Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, and William Butler Yeats.

September 2012

Scotts Miracle-Gro Fined $12.5 Million Dollars For Knowingly Selling Poisoned Bird Seed!

For six months Scotts employees warned Scotts management of the dangers of its illegally treated bird seed with pesticides.  Scotts marketed and sold its illegally treated bird food for two years.  Scotts sold more than 70 million units of bird food illegally treated with pesticide that is toxic to birds.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has now been sentenced and fined for eleven criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Roenticide Act, for knowingly selling toxic bird seed to consumers that was contaminated with deadly pesticides.

Among Scotts Miracle-Gro's Crimes are:

Illegal Application of Insecticides to Wild Bird Food Products that are Toxic to Birds
Falsification of Pesticide Registration Documents
Distribution of Pesticides With Misleading and Unapproved Labels
Distribution of Unregistered Pesticides

“The misuse or mislabeling of pesticide products can cause serious illness in humans and be toxic to wildlife,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  “Today’s sentence and unprecedented civil settlement hold Scotts accountable for widespread company noncompliance with pesticide laws, which put products into the hands of consumers without the proper authorization or warning labels.”

August 31, 2012
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

Ralph Reed in the Marianas Trenches

As the sun slowly sets over the Republican National Convention in Tampa, we settle back in the chairs that nice Mr. Eastwood just gave us and ponder some of the other oddities of the week.  Like this item in the official GOP platform pointed out by Brad Plumer of The Washington Post:

No minimum wage for the Mariana Islands.  “The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector.”

This caught our attention (and thanks to colleague Theresa Riley for sending) because it once again reminds us of the sordid past of evangelical and political entrepreneur Ralph Reed who, as this week’s edition of Moyers & Company reports in detail, has emerged from the ashes of epic career fail to reestablish himself as a powerful figure in Republican politics.

As head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Reed boasts he’s building a political dynamo of five million members with a massive database, an annual budget of $100 million and full-time lobbyists in all fifty state capitals, a colossal effort aimed at putting in place a right-wing social agenda and identifying and establishing contact with what it estimates as 27 million conservative voters in America.  As you can imagine, with clout like that, Reed and his coalition were in high cotton at the Tampa convention.

Which brings us to that curious Mariana Islands minimum wage plank in the Republican platform.  Some years ago, our government made an effort to clean up sweatshops on the islands — including Saipan — that have been under the control of the United States since the end of World War II.

Chinese women were brought over to the islands to work under awful conditions — subject to forced abortions and prostitution and paid pennies for producing garments labeled “Made in the USA.”

Corrupt local officials hired the firm of infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff — for more than four million dollars — to try to stop the reforms proposed back in Washington. Abramoff, in turn, hired Ralph Reed and his political direct mail company, Millennium Marketing, to conduct a phony grass roots campaign urging Alabama Christians to write their local congressman to oppose the reforms.

(Ralph Reed Continued)

Of course, Reed didn’t tell those Christians he was being paid to help keep running sweatshops that exploited women.  Instead, he told them the reforms were a trick orchestrated by the left and organized labor.  Limits on Chinese workers would keep them from being “exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.”  His company explained it was just trying to encourage “grass roots citizens to promote the propagation of the Gospel” and that many of the workers were “converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand.”

With the explosion of the Jack Abramoff scandals and exposes by Ms. Magazine and other publications, the spotlight on the Marianas sweatshops finally did lead to congressional action, including a raise of the minimum wage and a law to federalize labor and immigration rules in the Marianas.  The minimum wage now is $5.05 an hour, increasing to $5.55 on September 30, but many in the Marianas business sector continue to oppose the amount – hence the platform plank.

Meanwhile, increasingly vocal calls have come for the impeachment of the islands’ longtime governor, Benigno Fitial, an old Abramoff pal.  Nonetheless, there Fitial was in Tampa, unrepentant and front and center, head of the islands’ official Republican delegation.

As for Reed, once exposed, his shameful ruse came back to haunt him when he tried to run for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Georgia in 2006 — his opponent told the Marianas story in a devastating attack ad.

Reed’s was a monstrous lie by one of the monumental hypocrites of our time.  Yet he marches on, Christian soldier to the end, turning the temple of faith into one big ATM.  There’s a word for this in the Bible: Abomination.

Please note: a previous version of this piece referenced a twitter account allegedly belonging to Marianas governor Fitial. Fitial’s press secretary says the governor has never had such an account.

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