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The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Saturday, March 21, 2009, 9:44 AM

On Wednesday of last week, I wrote these words in an Alert:

Given the recent revelations that Goldman Sachs and other well-connected players in the AIG scandal got billions of dollars directly from the US taxpayers for their side-bets with AIG, I will not be at all surprised to find out in a few weeks or months that Goldman Sachs, JPM, and others were magically positioned to make a killing off of this move.

That’s just raw speculation, but it fits with the general pattern of conflicted enrichment that has stalked every move in this grand looting operation so far.

In fact, the constant drip-drip-drip of news about self-dealing by insiders with zero legal consequences for the perpetrators leaves me with the queasy feeling that every attempt at finding a legitimate resolution to this crisis will be thwarted by a crowd of Wall Street insiders who simply cannot resist an opportunity to redirect money into their own pockets. But that’s another story.

Yesterday that story got published in Rolling Stone Magazine.

Matt Taibbi, the author, deserves a standing ovation for the most outstanding explanation of how truly corrupt the situation is, and capturing the hubris and entitlement that infuse our entire power structure.

It is the best I've yet read on the subject. You must read it. The whole thing.

Here's the link to it.

It is maddening, infuriating, accurate, well researched and incisive.

Here's the link again.   Read it.  Please.

It points out why anybody with any hope had better abandon it fast and get busy preparing at their own community level - due to rampant conflicted self-dealing by insiders, there's practically no chance at all that any useful solutions will come out of the Washington DC/Wall Street axis of weevil.

The most likely outcome is the complete destruction of the dollar.

Here are a few snippets:

There are plenty of people who have noticed, in recent years, that when they lost their homes to foreclosure or were forced into bankruptcy because of crippling credit-card debt, no one in the government was there to rescue them. But when Goldman Sachs — a company whose average employee still made more than $350,000 last year, even in the midst of a depression — was suddenly faced with the possibility of losing money on the unregulated insurance deals it bought for its insane housing bets, the government was there in an instant to patch the hole. That's the essence of the bailout: rich bankers bailing out rich bankers, using the taxpayers' credit card.

The people who have spent their lives cloistered in this Wall Street community aren't much for sharing information with the great unwashed. Because all of this [stuff] is complicated, because most of us mortals don't know what the hell LIBOR is or how a REIT works or how to use the word "zero coupon bond" in a sentence without sounding stupid — well, then, the people who do speak this idiotic language cannot under any circumstances be bothered to explain it to us and instead spend a lot of time rolling their eyes and asking us to trust them.

In essence, the game is to make the system just slightly too complicated to understand and then rake in the dough while the good times last knowing that you can stick the bill to the taxpayer later on.  Absolutely nothing done by the past or current administration has indicated even the slightest departure from this model.

This tells me that our entire system is now entirely too intertwined, too full of conflicts of interest to self regulate the outcome.  Like the AIG bonuses (which were 1/1000th the size of the AIG bailout), any notion of "needing better government regulation" is a red herring designed to distract attention away from the fact that the government has never displayed any interest at all in regulating the same people that give massive campaign donations.  Or the fact that nearly every position of regulatory power is filled by someone who came out of a long career in the same industries they are supposed to regulate.

It is just not possible for people to effectively regulate the very same people with whom they worked for the past 20 years.  In theory it is, I suppose, but in practice it never quite works out that way.

When one considers the comparatively extensive system of congressional checks and balances that goes into the spending of every dollar in the budget via the normal appropriations process, what's happening in the Fed amounts to something truly revolutionary — a kind of shadow government with a budget many times the size of the normal federal outlay, administered dictatorially by one man, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. "We spend hours and hours and hours arguing over $10 million amendments on the floor of the Senate, but there has been no discussion about who has been receiving this $3 trillion," says Sen. Bernie Sanders. "It is beyond comprehension."

Count Sanders among those who don't buy the argument that Wall Street firms shouldn't have to face being outed as recipients of public funds, that making this information public might cause investors to panic and dump their holdings in these firms. "I guess if we made that public, they'd go on strike or something," he muses.

And the Fed isn't the only arm of the bailout that has closed ranks. The Treasury, too, has maintained incredible secrecy surrounding its implementation even of the TARP program, which was mandated by Congress. To this date, no one knows exactly what criteria the Treasury Department used to determine which banks received bailout funds and which didn't — particularly the first $350 billion given out under Bush appointee Hank Paulson.

The situation with the first TARP payments grew so absurd that when the Congressional Oversight Panel, charged with monitoring the bailout money, sent a query to Paulson asking how he decided whom to give money to, Treasury responded — and this isn't a joke — by directing the panel to a copy of the TARP application form on its website. Elizabeth Warren, the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, was struck nearly speechless by the response.

"Do you believe that?" she says incredulously.

This is your "must read" article of the weekend.

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31 Comments

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

The Big TakeoverGreat article!!   Did you see the Roling Stone illustration in the original (vs print preview) version of the article at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/26793903/the_big_takeover ?  It's the BEST!  The banker eating Uncle Sam eating the banker sums up the corrupt relationship between the US Gov't and banks about as succinctly as any words ever could!!          

fujisan's picture
fujisan
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Thanks for the article.

Another question: Why Madoff's trial end up with absolutly no questions on who were the initial recipients?

My guess: it could be too much "problems" for the same persons...

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Is anyone else amazed that no one is doing anything about this?

Are our representitives really that incompetant, or are they just "in pocket" of these Banksters?

The French Revolution comes to mind, and I can't get the knot out of my stomach.
Very well written, and extremely poignent. I'm not sure if I could be any more disappointed in the cesspool our nation has become.

How can this be made right?
Even if someone were to step in, take charge, and cast down the parasites infecting our legislative and financial systems, they'd only inherit a corpse that the international interests want to pick at to get something out of the sour deal.

Maybe we deserve a "dark ages".

Aaron

joe2baba's picture
joe2baba
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

YAWN SO WHAT

i have a years supply of food, i have a garden i have some junk silver and some gold. rumor has it there is natural gas under my land but i will get nothing but a dead garden. i have some friends who are doing some of the same stuff. oh yeah guns.

nothing will change 

the people on this site will wring their hands wail and scream while the banksters get as much out of us as they can to invest in real things like commodities and pm's. they are on their way out the door to whatever safe haven they are buying.

and somebody criticised me for suggesting a bullet to the head of the perps hahahahahahahaha

keep your powder dry

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Great article!!!!

I liked this paragraph as well:

Quote:

None other than disgraced senator Ted Stevens was the poor sap
who made the unpleasant discovery that if Congress didn't like the
Fed handing trillions of dollars to banks without any oversight,
Congress could apparently go fuck itself — or so said the
law. When Stevens asked the GAO about what authority Congress has
to monitor the Fed, he got back a letter citing an obscure statute
that nobody had ever heard of before: the Accounting and Auditing
Act of 1950. The relevant section, 31 USC 714(b), dictated that
congressional audits of the Federal Reserve may not include
"deliberations, decisions and actions on monetary policy matters."
The exemption, as Foss notes, "basically includes everything."
According to the law, in other words, the Fed simply cannot be
audited by Congress. Or by anyone else, for that matter.

Thank you for posting this, Chris! 

FireJack's picture
FireJack
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Its nice to finally see what caused this mess without adding Illuminati or NWO etc. Just proof of how greedy and arrogant people can be when you let them run free. Glad I'm not american right now but I don't see canadians fairing much better.

 

Just wonering is AIG has less than a trillions worth of derivatives where are the other 699 trillion dollarsthat ive heard exist?

 

tom.'s picture
tom.
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX
joe2baba wrote:

and somebody criticised me for suggesting a bullet to the head of the perps hahahahahahahaha

lol ... what perps were they joe?

ckessel's picture
ckessel
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Posts: 465
Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Aaron, I am both totally amazed and yet not really surprised (gut feeling) as to what is really going on. As I read the article I was hoping that what is becoming  increasingly obvious would still turn out to be only "a dream".  Well guess what America, as we slowly wake the F*%$ up, you ain't dreamin'.

Still, the scope of the greed and deception is difficult for me to truly comprehend. 

Joe2,  I appreciate your sarcasm but as I read the article I was pissed!  I have been counting on you to be a backer of the militia rather than a consciencious objector! 

Chris, Thanks for the excellent link. Looking forward to meeting you in Lowesville and moving forward.

Now I am going to go out and do some garden prep work. The almond tree is in screaming full bloom as are the daffodils. I may try to do some Bonsai work on the Cherry tree and create a giant "finger" in honor of TPTB ......but then again, I wouldn't want to foul up a perfectly good tree!

Coop

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DrKrbyLuv
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

This is a great article that takes the discussion to another level:

People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about
this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is
that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed
were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They
cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing
for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small
class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections,
buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.

These are very strong word

Wikipedia - A coup d'État is the sudden, unconstitutional deposition of a legitimate government, by a small group of the State Establishment — usually the military — to replace the deposed government, with another government, either civil or military. A coup d’État succeeds when the usurpers establish their legitimacy
if the attacked government fail to thwart them, by allowing their
(strategic, tactical, political) consolidation and then receiving the
deposed government’s surrender; or the acquiescence of the populace and
the non-participant military forces.

The ongoing lies and corruption are pieces that fit together to bring us a clear picture.  I think the writer is absolutely accurate in the strong words used - we are witnessing a coup.

Our nation has subjugated the control and creation of our money to private banks thus relinquishing our national sovereignty; effectively we have become a client state. Neither a Democracy nor a Republic may exist when the greatest power of the nation is held in the hands of private banks.

The cancer started in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act and has been rotting away at our fiber and sovereignty ever since.

Larry

joe2baba's picture
joe2baba
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

tom will you marry me?

but i must correct myself. i decided a bullet to the head was too kind. i suggested what our gov. does to people at abu ghraib and guantanamo. it is called kubark  ATT: MODERATOR it is non violent. it is simply the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. i suggest it for the "head" perp who you so gloriously have depicted. then he could take jim carrey's place and star in the sequel.

now i am back to march madness hahahahahahahahahaha

joe2baba's picture
joe2baba
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

if you  are pissed coop DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

just remember when you do ......................i will be right BEHIND you

the sad truth is no one will do anything.

linxbetter's picture
linxbetter
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Brilliant article.  My only problem with it is that apparent conclusion is that what's needed is more, and more effective, regulation.  Far too little attention is given to the fact that we should have no reason to believe that regulation can ever be effective - given it's record.  Furthermore, if the government would simply stay out of it, follow the constitution, and not bail out these pricks, we wouldn't need regulation because they'd all go out of business.

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Joe2Baba/Coop,

I think that waging a war would be a waste of lives. We're better off letting the beast collapse, die, and rot - and use the lessons learned to educate our communities and children.

It's a natural cycle, and I'd rather use arms defensively to keep out the desperate than hunt the greedy.

They'll get theirs, in this world or the next.

Cheers!

Aaron.

Arthur Vibert's picture
Arthur Vibert
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

I already had a knot in my stomach. This only made it worse. I am hoping that by hunkering down and focusing on community that we can ride this out. My fear is that "the beast" won't stay out there.

Keep your powder dry, indeed.

Arthur

pir8don's picture
pir8don
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

We know how long it took to separate church and state, if we ever did. How long for bank and state? Perhaps separation is not possible as they seem now to be one and the same.

Don

___________________

still ...
here  ...
still here
still here?

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Lemonyellowschwin
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Funny story.  About two nights ago I had to take the bus home (I usually drive).  As I'm sitting there with nothing to do, I gaze over at the reading material of the man next to me.  I cannot see the name of the magazine, but I read a few paragraphs over his shoulder, and I think, "Damn, that's some good writing!"  I thought it was probably the Atlantic or Vanity Fair . . . now I see it was this article.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

"if you  are pissed coop DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT."

You know, there's an EASY way to put an end to all this crap.....  STOP SERVICING YOUR DEBTS!!

With so many of you owning guns stateside, boy am I glad I'm not a corporate CEO...  it's gonna get ugly.  I hope you're all forwarding this to all and sundry, it's a doozy areticle, thank you Chris.

Mike 

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r101958
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Here is something to consider when the pols tell us how concerned they are with the loss of jobs, unemployment and getting the economy going again. Take the 150B (actually more I think) that has already been forked over to AIG. Think of what that 150B equals; let's put it in perspective, 3 million x 50k. Instead of bailing out an insolvent company in order to prevent all the sordid dealings from coming to light the pols could, instead, have given 50k to 3 million people. That sheds a whole different light on 1.5 trillion doesn't it. If you want to spend 1.5 trillion to correct the economy how about 50k for 30 million people.

But, instead we shake our collective heads and wonder where all this money is going? 

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Well said, Don!

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX
Arthur Vibert wrote:

I already had a knot in my stomach. This only made it worse. I am hoping that by hunkering down and focusing on community that we can ride this out. My fear is that "the beast" won't stay out there.

Keep your powder dry, indeed.

Arthur

Arthur,

You took the words right out of my mouth!  I'm still in shock! Surprised

r's picture
r
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

A few comments.

Psychologically it seems we're experiencing more of a depression than a recession. It's the pervasive media and internet coverage spreading the doom and gloom - foreclosure dogs for God's sake was on the news this evening. Yet I naively thought that the government throwing money at the recession could bring about an improvement in the short term for a little while. But if all this money is being spent to make sure wealthy people stay weatlhy then things are going to stay bad.

I don't know if there is anything like an imminent TSHTF but historians may well look back at the events over the past 6 months and say that is when TS began HTF.

All this money owed is a loss of political power because creditors can make demands that the military cannot stop. The US is not going to be a major world power.

Of course there can't be a separation between money and Government -- the Government prints the money -- but I'm also convinced that the it is not right that the Fed is not accountable to Congress. This must be fixed.

 

Thanks,

pir8don's picture
pir8don
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Thanks Pinecarr

redpoe wrote:

Of course there can't be a separation between money and Government -- the Government prints the money -- but I'm also convinced that the it is not right that the Fed is not accountable to Congress. This must be fixed.

Before church separated from state the church controlled the state. This is the same with banks now controlling the state. It is the direction of control and the separation of the institutions that is important. Money does not necessitate banks and certainly not Credit Default Swaps and other instruments of greed. Money could be tied to a gold standard and not controlled to government. A good part of how banks have come to control government is that money is no longer tied to gold or any other commodity.

Don

________________________________________

So few then with so many ways, so many now with so few ways.
 

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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

United States President Barack Obama has reiterated
his support for the embattled treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner,
saying he would not be allowed to resign.

Mr Geithner is the key member of Barack Obama's team dealing with the financial crisis.

There was opposition to his appointment because of questions about his payment of taxes.

Now there are calls for his resignation over his failure to prevent insurance giant AIG paying millions of dollars in bonuses.

In an interview with CBS television, Mr Obama said Mr Geithner's job
was secure, and that he would not accept Mr Geithner's resignation even
if it was offered.

 

BBC

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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

I just joined.  To my surprise, Chris is still accepting dollar-denominated credit cards!  I'm enjoying the posts and comments.  Thanks for a clearly stated resource.

 

McQ

r's picture
r
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX
pir8don wrote:

Before church separated from state the church controlled the state.
This is the same with banks now controlling the state. It is the
direction of control and the separation of the institutions that is
important. Money does not necessitate banks and certainly not Credit
Default Swaps and other instruments of greed. Money could be tied to a
gold standard and not controlled to government. A good part of how
banks have come to control government is that money is no longer tied
to gold or any other commodity.

My view is that it is Congress that should end control of the Fed by Goldman Sachs et. al. by replealing the 1950's legislation and re-writing Fed's charter. End the Fed as a secretive independent agency. The Glass-Steagall
Act eviscerated by Sen. Gramm should be put back -- responsible Senators and Representatives should also be held accountable by being voted out.

If the Democrats or Republicans refuse to listen a 3rd party like the Populist party of the late 1890's could be created with fixing the Fed as part of its platform. It was the Populist party that first came up with the idea of a graduated income tax - so good ideas do eventually get adopted.

I realize this is both idealistic and daunting. 

Ironically while the Populist party called for the abolition of national banks it was also against the Gold standard, from Wikipedia:

"Opposition to the gold standard was especially strong among western farmers, who viewed the inherent scarcity of gold (and its slow movement through the banking system) as an instrument of Eastern banking interests who could force mass bankruptcies among farmers in the west by instigating "credit crunches". Many western farmers rallied around the Populist banner in the belief that greenbacks not backed by a hard mineral standard would allow credit to flow more freely through rural regions. "

Tuchman's Law: The fact of being reported multipliies the apparent extent of any deplorable development by five- to tenfold.

 

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ckessel
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX
Aaron Moyer wrote:

Joe2Baba/Coop,

I think that waging a war would be a waste of lives. We're better off letting the beast collapse, die, and rot - and use the lessons learned to educate our communities and children.

It's a natural cycle, and I'd rather use arms defensively to keep out the desperate than hunt the greedy.

They'll get theirs, in this world or the next.

Cheers!

Aaron.

Aaron,

I agree with your take on the approach. 

Joe,

Just wanted to be sure you were not snoozing under the tree. I thought I heard a buck snort!  And yes, doing something about it is why I am a part of this community. Glad to be here with the likes of you all!

Preparedness and enlightening others as regards the great swindle is the best course of action. The actions of the greedy will shine a bright light on themselves soon enough.

Coop

 

ckessel's picture
ckessel
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX
pir8don wrote:

Thanks Pinecarr

redpoe wrote:

Of course there can't be a separation between money and Government -- the Government prints the money -- but I'm also convinced that the it is not right that the Fed is not accountable to Congress. This must be fixed.

Before church separated from state the church controlled the state. This is the same with banks now controlling the state. It is the direction of control and the separation of the institutions that is important. Money does not necessitate banks and certainly not Credit Default Swaps and other instruments of greed. Money could be tied to a gold standard and not controlled to government. A good part of how banks have come to control government is that money is no longer tied to gold or any other commodity.

Don

________________________________________

So few then with so many ways, so many now with so few ways.

Ellen Hodgson Brown in her book "Web of Debt" has done IMHO an excellent job of not only identifying the problems we have but also in putting forth a solution (chapter 46, "Building a Bridge" ) where she discusses a system that avoids currency speculation and supports a "basket of commodities" approach as a basis of valuation or a "consumer price index" basis.The fundamentals of either approach would keep private interests from control or manipulation of the money supplies.

Too long to post here but it is a good read and speaks to the points you all make in a very illuminating way.

Coop

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Nichoman
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX
Aaron Moyer wrote:

Are our representitives really that incompetant, or are they just "in pocket" of these Banksters?

Maybe we deserve a "dark ages".

Aaron

Aaron:

Numerous experiences with elected officials ranging from Congressional briefings...to campaign trails in Iowa, ignorant and easily ideologically manipulated.  This could be described as incompetent. 

Believe our government has operated in the "Dark Ages" and described it that way for years. It's within our control to stay there...or move forward and fulfill our human potential as described in our Constitution.  Possible example: please consider my VEGA post today.   

 

Nichoman

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Doug
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

I'm not concerned about the next world.  If there is one, there's no way of knowing whether there is a cut and/or who makes it.  And, I'm not particularly interested in revenge.  I just want the SOB's out of power.  There have to be some grownups somewhere in this country.

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Nichoman,

I'm looking over it now - I'll be taking my time with it.

Cheers!

Aaron

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jamesdvetter
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Re: The Big Takeover - Looting Continued, Part CXLIVXX

Coop, Aaron, Joe, et al...I appreciate each and everyone one of your comments, insight, etc.  I believe we, as a country, have lost the ability to bring about change via the political process.  Writing to our politicians is futile at this point, IMHO, and we must ALL band together and show our anger at the beast.  I will be attending the Tea Party Tax Day demonstrations in my community, hopefully interfacing with like-minded people, hopefully meeting people who see the light and are also planning appropriately, a la CM, so we can actually DO something.  It's like sitting on the beach, knowing a class 5 hurricaine is coming.  We can't stop it from hitting us, but we CAN prepare as best as possible, so that once the storm has passed, we will be better prepared to pick ourselves up and carry on.  Again, I truly appreciate everyone on this site and the comments you all bring.  Thanks, Jim

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