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The looting operation (con't)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008, 8:13 PM

At the time, some thought that my characterization of the bailout as a "looting operation" was too strong, and told me so.

I am more certain of that language than ever.

By the time you read this, America will have a new President. I hope he’s better with money than the last resident of the White House. Just look at how the Bush gang is spending the $700 billion bailout package for banks — throwing it at financial institutions with few strings attached.

As a result, many Wall Street institutions are using billions and billions of taxpayer dollars to pay for fat cats’ bonuses.

  • Goldman Sachs, which is getting $10 billion from the bailout plan, is paying out $6.85 billion in bonuses, according to media reports. That’s $210,000 per employee. And that’s despite a 47% drop in its profit and 53% drop in its share price.
  • Morgan Stanley, which is also getting $10 billion from our government, is doling out $6.44 billion in bonuses or $138,700 per employee, even though its profits tumbled 41% and its shares are off by 69%.
  • And even the failures at Lehman Brothers are collectively getting over $1 billion in bonuses.

Some conservatives have been bemoaning the “nationalization” of America’s big banks. Yet we didn’t nationalize anything — we don’t control those banks. They’re free to spend the bailout money as they please.

And we got hosed.

Link

Bonuses for Lehman employees?  More than 65% of the bailout money to GS and MS being spent on bonuses?

I guess I am confused by what the word "bonus" means in the context of business performance.

It's okay if you are, too.

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39 Comments

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

What we need is a bi-partisan effort to level charges against the anyone in the Senate who voted for these payouts.

What they've done here is downright criminal, and if the money weren't valueless - it'd be theft.

srbarbour's picture
srbarbour
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(sarcasm) At least its not socialism!

Yeah, its especially sickening.   It wouldn't bother me so much if it weren't for the fact that these huge bonuses probably endanger the ability for all these institutes to survive.  (earning them a second bailout?)  Which is the greatest risk of any stock purchase.

This is exactly why we needed to have voting shares, and shares that were nasty enough guaranteed that we could still recover all our founds if several of the 'bailout recipients' end up going under.   Pity so many Americans are shepherded by the call socialism! socialism! and don't see these words for what they really are: don't disrupt the looting operation with accountability!

As sick as this is though, I'm far more concerned about the stealth bailouts, such as the guaranteeing of senior debt.  Those have even more potential for abuse, and will be far less obvious about it.

--

Steve 

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srbarbour
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Re: The looting operation (con't)
[quote]What we need is a bi-partisan effort to level charges against the anyone in the Senate who voted for these payouts.

What they've done here is downright criminal, and if the money weren't valueless - it'd be theft[/quote]

That's just silly.  You can't expect the majority of the Senate to pass a bill to arrest itself.   Better to try your luck by pressing them to punish these (corporate) assholes and recover (most) of our money.  Letters that ask for that actually have a possibility of making headway.

Besides, once a Senator takes up a populist role, its almost as good as that Senator being populist.   Such is the world of politics.  Tongue out

--

Steve 

Davos's picture
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Re: The looting operation (con't)
3 wrods:  F&*%$#g Insane Asylum.
cannotaffordit's picture
cannotaffordit
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Re: The looting operation

Now that we've elected a political "head of state" I wish we could elect a qualified financial head of state, and give him/her the legal power to clean up some of this mess by making EVERYBODY involved, in losing our life savings, accountable for their misdeeds, sending each and every one of them to the big house, AFTER we clean out their personal misgotten fortunes.  

Oh, excuse me, I must have been dreamin'   I forgot.  We don't hold folks accountable here.

Ben 

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

Oh, c'mon. What's the big deal? Anytime I take a horrible, boneheaded, and possibly criminal action at work, I always get a taxpayer funded bonus. Doesn't everyone?!

Damnthematrix's picture
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

God I love cynicism...

Mike. 

joe2baba's picture
joe2baba
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

oh so some of the bailout recipients thought you were too hard on them?

 

my congressman john boozman said that we need to indict those responsible for this mess. uh john you voted for this mess, you have been in congress for 5 terms, you were present when the malfeasance was going on.

i think you should surrender yourself immediately.  do not pass go do not collect $200? oh i guess we need to update the monopoly game. it was invented when $200 was worth something

this is pretty funny. wanda sykes rocks

http://jezebel.com/5054144/wanda-sykes-campaigns-for-cabinet-position-on-last-nights-leno?autoplay=true

krogoth's picture
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Re: The looting operation (con't)
Classic- Really funny!
krogoth's picture
krogoth
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What country are you living in?

What country are you living in? Because it's not America. Holy cow, a bi-partisan effort by the Senate to attack the Senate! Is that an oxymoron? It should be, because it's impossible. I think a better way to do this is to have a new branch of the government, kind of like internal affairs, who are untouchables. They do the investigating, and are elected by the people in a national fashion. I would love to see someone with balls lead this up. Kind of like an Elliot Spitzer type, pre-scandal of course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

srbarbour's picture
srbarbour
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Re: What country are you living in?

[quote]I think a better way to do this is to have a new branch of the government, kind of like internal affairs, who are untouchables. They do the investigating, and are elected by the people in a national fashion.[/quote]

Sounds like the plotline of an Evil Empire movie or book. 

We already have the GAO, it just needs some more teeth and a touch more independence.

--

Steve 

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Evil Plot

Damn, it does sound like an evil plot!

 

 

As for the GAO, they are a joke.  

 

 

 

 

machinehead's picture
machinehead
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Putting impeachment on the table

" What we need is a bi-partisan effort to level charges against the anyone in the Senate who voted for these payouts." -- MoyerA

WORD! Oh, wait ... that list would include the president-elect, and the veep too. I agree -- better prosecute them now, because after 20 Jan 2009, they'll have to be impeached first before they can be charged. [No, I'm not a bitter McShame voter -- I don't vote for criminals of either looter party.]

"I think a better way to do this is to have a new branch of the government, kind of like internal affairs, who are untouchables. They do the investigating, and are elected by the people in a national fashion" -- Krogoth

This approach is actually used in Taiwan, which has five constitutional branches of government, in place of the three in the U.S.  One branch is the Control Yuan, a kind of souped-up GAO with constitutional subpeona and investigative powers. They can roll in to any of the other branches of government, any time, to inspect the books and ask questions.

If the US had a constitutional Inspector General (rather than a mere statutory one, with clipped wings), the first place she would go would be the Pentagon. Each and every Financial Report of the US shows that no opinion can be expresssed on the Defense Department's books because trillions have been looted, leaving gaping holes in the books.

This is what kills me -- shoplift a carton of Ding Dongs from the convenience store, and you'll probably spend the night in jail. But steal trillions from the Defense Department, and you'll be rewarded with a lifetime sinecure as a consultant. Moral of the story: small-time crime is for suckers; large-scale looters live large. Welcome to Nigeria, my friends. Surprised

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Re: Putting impeachment on the table

[quote=machinehead]  

This approach is actually used in Taiwan, which has five constitutional branches of government, in place of the three in the U.S.  One branch is the Control Yuan, a kind of souped-up GAO with constitutional subpeona and investigative powers. They can roll in to any of the other branches of government, any time, to inspect the books and ask questions.

[/quote]

 

 

Yea I live and work in Taiwan most of the year. I kinda got this idea from the style of government here.  

 

 

 

mcafeejs's picture
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601110&sid=aRDImphnW84Y

Goldman, Citigroup Said to Tell Cuomo They Can't Detail Bonuses

SteveS's picture
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

And didn't they just use a bunch of the bailout money to pay dividends? I thought divdends were supposed to be shares of profit.Pretty sorry.

A. M.'s picture
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

Hey Srbarbour,

I agree with you that the corporate thieves are just as culpable as the guys who wrote the check, but the difference is we elected the guys writing the blank checks. They were specifically entrusted with our best interest as elected representitives of the citizenry.

My apathy towards politics is only exacerbated by what I'd estimate are probably the two worst candidates in modern history - which is a monumental feat when you take into account the Gore/Kerry v Bush years of recent memory.
What we've got now is a large scale push towards nationalization, over-regulation, and balloning of the exact same type of bureaucratic nonsense and failed oversight that led to the catastrophe.

So now it looks like we're going to create more government and entrust them to look after our assets and interests when they just robbed us blind.

My assessment is that this was a "toe in the water" for our leadership. They tested the waters, and realized "Wow! There is absolutely no adverse effects of stealing taxpayer money!"

That doesn't seem like an intelligent message to send.
These people (Senate) are supposed to be intelligent enough to make descisions - even unpopular ones - in the peoples best interest. It doesn't make sense that I could be criminally negligent for writing a bad check, but they can not only steal your checkbook, but they can overdraft you to the tune of a few trillion dollars.

 

Regards!

Aaron

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

I don't understand all the complaining...

Isn't this the new STIMULUS PACKAGE? Give all the money to the bankers and let then spend it on personal luxury items to keep the economy going.

If you gave it to regular working people they would just do something stupid like saving it - We just can't have that!

T

Doug's picture
Doug
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Re: What country are you living in?
[quote=srbarbour]

[quote]I think a better way to do this is to have a new branch of the government, kind of like internal affairs, who are untouchables. They do the investigating, and are elected by the people in a national fashion.[/quote]

Sounds like the plotline of an Evil Empire movie or book. 

We already have the GAO, it just needs some more teeth and a touch more independence.

--

Steve 

[/quote]

I don't believe GAO can do anything unless Congress orders them to do it.

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

There is some good stuff on the Daily Paul today, The Election in Mouseland is pretty good, enjoy.

http://www.dailypaul.com/

Davos's picture
Davos
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Re: The looting operation (con't)
I'd highly reccomend Soros's new book!!!
rlee's picture
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

They could schedule the vote just before the next pay raise they vote in for themselves.  Oh, forget that, lunch would have to get moved up too to close to the dinner break, and we wouldn't want any of our electorate to suffer indigestion.

If this was a book, nobody would read it because the story is such a BS farce!  Truth is truly stranger than fiction! 

Bob 

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

i can see your confusion steve

but i can clear it all up for you

the bailout was the PROFIT

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

To quote the Matrix Movie..."we need guns...lots of guns" What will these idiots listen to? I cannot imagine that they are getting bonuses when I am struggling to find a job. I cannot find work in my profession so I am working as a painter painting homes that people are trying to sell. I am having to under bid just to ensure I get the work. It is coming down to who will work for the least. I need to eat and pay my bills and these a'holes are lining up waiting to take delivery of their Ferraris? Bring on the socialism or at least another way of doing things. Our greedy nature got us here. I am guilty of this too, I want nice things because I watched my world scurry around to get the best and the newest. I no longer need those things. I need relationships and community. Not shiny suits or fancy watches.

 

I agree with one post...let the things fail that will fail regardless of a bailout. We will struggle but this has to stop. This unmonitored spending of OUR money. I hate to quote the fact that we need guns but what will it come to if our society continues to give the finger to the family struggling to make it while all this unchecked spending goes on. Lets equal the playing field and be "Equal" as beings, not seperate as stockholders.

 

I have been a have not most of my life and make due with what I have and work for. I believe we need to see our system fail. Reset...then figure out how to live with each other and work together for what matters. Being alive.

 

My humble opinion

kemosavvy's picture
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

let them eat cake... 

 

in all honesty the banks are doing exactly what you would expect of them when a windfall falls in their lap, they disburse it among themselves in the form of bonuses. it's actually quite smart if you ask me (to rid themselves of the bailout cash) when you consider the situation, the fed will do all that is possible to keep these banks in business and are even more motivated after having dumped billions in their pockets. and the quicker they blow through the money the faster they can line up for another hand out. profits on loans and investments take too long to come to fruition and in short time the cash window (paulson's purse) may close, don't be the dope who invested wisely.

 

it's not the ethical business behavior you would want of the banks we poured our savings accounts into but it's the behavior i think we should expect. with the handouts and more stimulus packages on the horizon, the risk of failure is removed, so to, it seems is the shame of greed.

 

 

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

bob, i don;t think of this as sci-fi, or science fiction, i think of this as fi-sci, or finance science fiction.

 

heheheheh

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

 Maybe I'm old fashion but what about public hangings right on Wall St. . The networks want higher ratings ,this would do it.

  This has been done to those guilty of crimes against humanity, what do you call this "looting" thing, shoplifting.

 

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Re: The looting operation (con't)
nodebthere for president!
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everybodybutme
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Re: Putting impeachment on the table

That is very interesting about Taiwan's government structure. Certainly the soil is fertile to plant such an idea here but I am not hopeful that it would get very far.  Maybe if we all started putting pressure on our politicians from the outset of Obama's administration something could happen but I hear the "purists" screaming about tinkering with the founding fathers creation. Reality is everyone in government is corrupt to some degree and no one wants a watchdog group with real power. That is why it is exactly what is needed. Remember Napolean's comment about democracy being an excellent system but you need a revolution every couple hundred years to clean out the system. 

 On a positive note regarding the TARP program. Maybe this bonus thing will piss off enough people so that there is pressure not to release the other 450billion.  Maybe the "let them fail" sentiment will pick up energy as people lose their jobs, get awakened from their personal slumbers, and face the cliff on their own. People tend to be more afraid before something happens and not while it is happening. Since our crisis is really accelerating now maybe a little morre collective courage will emerge from the masses and they will move away from this magnetic pull toward "getting things BACK TO NORMAL" as they will realize there is no NORMAL anymore.

 Thanks for listening.

 

Anthony

 

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everybodybutme
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Re: Putting impeachment on the table

That is very interesting about Taiwan's government structure. Certainly the soil is fertile to plant such an idea here but I am not hopeful that it would get very far.  Maybe if we all started putting pressure on our politicians from the outset of Obama's administration something could happen but I hear the "purists" screaming about tinkering with the founding fathers creation. Reality is everyone in government is corrupt to some degree and no one wants a watchdog group with real power. That is why it is exactly what is needed. Remember Napolean's comment about democracy being an excellent system but you need a revolution every couple hundred years to clean out the system. 

 On a positive note regarding the TARP program. Maybe this bonus thing will piss off enough people so that there is pressure not to release the other 450billion.  Maybe the "let them fail" sentiment will pick up energy as people lose their jobs, get awakened from their personal slumbers, and face the cliff on their own. People tend to be more afraid before something happens and not while it is happening. Since our crisis is really accelerating now maybe a little morre collective courage will emerge from the masses and they will move away from this magnetic pull toward "getting things BACK TO NORMAL" as they will realize there is no NORMAL anymore.

 Thanks for listening.

 

Anthony

 

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

I watched, with dismay, as the voters threw away the only tool we have at our end of this game; The right to vote OUT ALL INCUMBENTS. So let's all bend over, and take it in the shorts.

Shame on all of us, the simple, uneducated voter, for going right out and voting those stupid party lines, and giving congress the clear message, "Go ahead and do whatever you feel like, we don't care."

 It really should have been, "Go ahead, make my day." But it is, and will continue to be business as usual. 

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

i hear you bro

it is called the screwing of the average man.

it just may come to guns but they have bigger ones.

just remember they can take everything but your soul.

never let the bastards see you sweat.

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Re: The looting operation (con't)
[quote=jcrawfo]

I watched, with dismay, as the voters threw away the only tool we have at our end of this game; The right to vote OUT ALL INCUMBENTS. So let's all bend over, and take it in the shorts.

[/quote]

You hit the nail squarely on the head.  WE are to blame for putting these people in office and then WE exacerbate the situation by re-electing them.  The politics of greed and money for nothing will take this great country to the brink.

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

I told a woman I worked with that if you don't know anything about economics, politics, and history then you should not vote, how would you know if what you are voting for is good or bad? It seems like this is the case with Obama, I can't think of one issue that I agree with him on, I was actually shocked to see him elected because his idea's are so anti-american. I voted for Bob Barr because his idea's are closer to what america once stood for. I think it's sad that people would elect someone just because of their skin color or gender and somehow think it's good, never mind what the person stands for.

I was watching the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird"  the other day and I felt a strong sense of empathy for the black man accused of raping a white man's daughter in a southern state. He knew he didn't have a chance in hell because it was a black mans word against white peoples word. I was trying to think what it would be like to live in that kind of world, where you know that you will be wrong in any situation of this kind. I think it would that you would be  afraid in any contact with a white person knowing that one wrong move could put your life in danger, what a horrible way to live your life. 

I really can't imagine the euphoria that many black people are feeling right now because I have never had to live the way they have, they finally have someone on their side in the highest office in the land. I just wish it was Thomas Sowell instead.

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

"I was actually shocked to see him elected because his idea's are so anti-american. I voted for Bob Barr because his idea's are closer to what america once stood for."

My response to this should not be taken in any way as partisan and not as a direct attack on the statement since from the context, I don't think it was meant spefically in the manner in which I am addressing it  It just serves as the vehicle to make this point.  T

As I see it, throwing "anti-american" around is highly problematic since all our visions of "what america once stood for" are interpretive.  Yes, we all have subjective rationalizations based upon our individual world views, mostly derived from the information we have absorbed through our lifetime.  There is no one absolute vision of America (the founders had many disagreements) and this experiment has morphed over the years.  So, what previous America do you prefer?  Who is American to you?  You, my friend, move down that road of totaliarism and possibly fascism when terms like un-American or un-patriotic are thrust upon others.

"I told a woman I worked with that if you don't know anything about economics, politics, and history then you should not vote, how would you know if what you are voting for is good or bad?"

I would suggest that this mindset is anti-American.  We all have our own gripes about how we feel others are ignorant to important societal issues that should be known when exercising one of our more important rights.  However, to suggest that someone should not participate in a democracy because the don't live up to your abitrary standard of knowledge is explicitly anti-democratic and anti-American.  Hell lets give poll tests and make it so only those that own property can vote.  It is the pluralist nature of our system that should be celebrated; that people may have very different views, whether by ignorance or by education, on what it is to be American or how this should be carried out AND still have the protected right to participate in the systems is an amazing feature.  One should not assume that their understanding of the world, no matter how definite in their own mind, is absolute.

In the end, society is a CULTURAL construction with political and economic systems that reflect this.  The real foundations of this country is based upon an ACTIVE citizenry and if the greater population becomes passive, then the systems may not represent and be biased towards those that have actively entrenched their own power.

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Fed Defies Transparency Aim in Refusal to Identify Bank Loans

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.US Mortgage Giants Crisis

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn’t require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.

continued:  http://vault.bz/2008/11/fed-defies-transparency-aim-in-refusal-to-identify-bank-loans/

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Re: Fed Defies Transparency Aim...
[quote=john50]

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn’t require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.

continued:  http://vault.bz/2008/11/fed-defies-transparency-aim-in-refusal-to-identify-bank-loans/

[/quote]

We should be in the streets marching on Washington for this.  It's our responsibility as citizens of a democracy.  Obviously the Wall Street cabal is not going to give up power willingly.  Did we actually think they would?

Does the average person really even care?  They're so stuck in the consumer trance and survival game that they neither know what's happening nor believe they can do anything about it.  That has to change.  We need a revolution.

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drochat
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Re: The looting operation (con't)

I'm surprised americans are not in the street lynching bankers.. or have you been so used to be abused by your leaders (I won't give examples)?

We're going through the same banking tragi-comedy here in switzerland (and man are banks important to us!), with a 6 billion swiss franc (approx 5.1 billion us$) bailout of UBS, equivalent to a 10,000 francs per citizen gift (loan they say) to banks..

But at least, top UBS leaders announced in the press today that they were declining this year's bonus on their own initiative (the parliament refused to make bonus banning a condition to the bailout...). It's probably a strategy to reassure the fleeing customers of the bank, but one has to admit it has the minimal decency we can expect after such a rip off.

I hope at least that american bankers will put their bonus in a Swiss bank!

 

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Re: The looting operation (con't)

Hello Switters:

Yes. I saw this and said, finally. Then I read the headline. 

 

Thousands protest gay-marriage ban 

 

Okay, so let me get this straight. Many, many conservative churches felt that this was an issue to get their members to get a propisition on, and in protest of prop 8 many people marched.

The stock market looses, what 5 trillion, and the "Fed" hands over 2 trillion of OUR TAX dollars in exchange for toxic waste - that didn't make money then but will be worth something later, they won't account for the money, Paulson was the assistant to a guy who got locked up for Watergate, corporate bozos who loose billions get millions in bonuses out of our tax dollars..... and no one marches?

Personally, I feel the conservative churches would have been better off protecting their members 401(k)'s. I DON'T believe in gay marriage - but since no one is making mary another man neither me or my wife consider this an issue that is MORE important than something that affects democracy and our kids future. Let me rant here. I think we have many more important issues that precede this, global resources, what we are doing to our planet, democracy vs empires, wars, corruption and so on.

PS I just read  http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/us-taxpayers-are-violated-looting-operation-continues/8568  Chris's new post, this sounds more Biblically relivant and important to Churches than prop 8. 

 

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