Why Does Wall Street Always Win?

By Simon Johnson

After a long summer of high-profile scandals – JPMorgan Chase trading, Barclays rate-fixing, HSBC money-laundering and more – the debate about the financial sector is becoming livelier.

Why has it has become so excessively dominated by relatively few very large companies? What damage can it do to the rest of us? What reasonable policy changes could bring global megabanks more nearly under control? And why is this unlikely to happen?

If any of these questions interest you – or keep you awake at night – you should take another look at the last time we had this debate at the national level, and reflect on the work of Ted Kaufman, the former Democratic senator from Delaware, who was far ahead of almost everyone in recognizing the problem and thinking about what to do.

Senator Kaufman represented Delaware in 2009 and 2010, and Jeff Connaughton – his chief of staff – has a new book that puts you in the room. In “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,” we see Senator Kaufman as chairman of oversight hearings on the Justice Department and the F.B.I.’s pursuit of financial fraud, pushing the Securities and Exchange Commission on the dangerous rise of computerized trading and working with Senator Sherrod Brown, Democratic of Ohio, on the legislative fight to impose a hard cap on the size and debts of our largest banks. (I wrote many pieces supporting the work of Senator Kaufman at the time, including in this space, but I never worked for him.)

Mr. Kaufman was unique in ways that should give us pause. He was appointed to his seat (after Joe Biden became vice president) and immediately said he wouldn’t run in the next election. So he never had to raise any money to reach the Senate or stay there longer. His experience gives us a glimpse of what we would get if we could really remove the money from politics.

Mr. Connaughton is a fascinating witness and raconteur because he’s been through the revolving door several times: in between work in the Senate and the Clinton White House, he spent 12 years in one of Washington’s top lobbying firms. This author has really lived in and understood the Wall Street-Washington corridor. The book is partly about his education – and ultimate disappointment, most of all with the Obama administration but definitely with both parties.

The system is rotten, to be sure, but this president came to office promising change – and that is exactly what we did not get on most crucial dimensions related to the financial sector. The failure depicted on this front is political and ultimately about money – and all the power that Wall Street can buy, one way or another.

The book is also about the details – the legislative and bureaucratic regulatory process through which your future prosperity is sold down the river. If you don’t follow the details, you’ll never really understand what happened to this country. Mr. Connaughton has done us a great service in laying all bare.

But be warned; while fascinating, much of what is in this book will turn your stomach. Mr. Connaughton is now out of politics, and I very much doubt that he will ever return. Hence the complete honesty missing in most political memoirs; no bridge is left unburned.

The Justice Department declines to prosecute financial fraud, the S.E.C. fails to protect average investors, and the Senate refuses to stand up to the Treasury and Federal Reserve technocrats aiming to keep too-big-to-fail in place.

Wall Street is manifestly too powerful and showers too much money on former and future public servants in Washington. Our political system could not respond meaningfully even to a devastating financial crisis that brought the country to its knees. While this book is about the past, the implications for the future are clear.

The apathy on the part of public officials during this administration is pervasive and frequently appalling. As Mr. Connaughton puts it,

“For me, what is deplorable is not the Justice Department’s failure to bring charges, but its failure to be adequately dedicated and organized either to make the cases or reach a fully informed judgment that no case could be made.”

The administration apparently thought that any kind of legal action against major players in the financial sector would slow the recovery; this point of view seems to have come from the very top, in the White House and at the Treasury. As a result, then and now, Mr. Connaughton writes, “Too-big-to-fail banks continue to act lawlessly, teeter on the brink and destabilize the global economy.”

On the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislative debate in early 2010, “the Treasury Department was taking a tougher line in negotiations than the Republican senators whose votes were in play,” the author tells us, meaning that Treasury was more on the side of big banks.

And, in case you previously did not get the memo about how all this really works,

“The Blob (it’s really called that) refers to the government entities that regulate the finance industry – like the banking committee, Treasury Department and S.E.C. – and the army of Wall Street representatives and lobbyists that continuously surrounds and permeates them. The Blob moves together. Its members are in constant contact by e-mail and phone. They dine, drink and take vacations together. Not surprisingly, they frequently intermarry.”

Could we change all of this in the world’s greatest democracy? Mr. Connaughton exhorts us: “Every voter who wants to break Wall Street’s hold on Washington should put congressional and presidential candidates to the test,” demanding that they shun lobbyists’ contributions and asking, “Will you agree not to take campaign contributions from too-big-to-fail banks and non-banks?”

Will it happen? This seems unlikely within our existing party system. It would take a broader citizens’ movement, a groundswell of educated opinion focused on breaking the political power of Wall Street and ending the enormous, nontransparent and dangerous subsidies currently received by very large financial institutions.

Intellectually, the right and the left can unite on this issue. But where are the political leadership and organization needed? We had a huge crisis and elected a president who promised change – and that didn’t make much difference. The biggest Wall Street firms are larger and probably now more powerful than they were in the run-up to 2008.

Read Mr. Connaughton’s account and think about what real change would involve.

An edited version of this post previously appeared on the NYT.com’s Economix blog; it is used here with permission.

40 responses to “Why Does Wall Street Always Win?

  1. markets.aurelius

    The U.S.A. is pre-revolutionary. Stand by.

  2. When a pattern recurs look for underlying reasons.

    This ain’t the first oligarchy!

    Human groups don’t scale easily.

    Issues in Scaling Civilization: The Altruism Dilemma
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2012/02/issues-in-scaling-civilization-altruism.html

    Issues in Scaling Civlization: The Monsters-from-the-Id Dilemma
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2012/06/issues-in-scaling-civlization-monsters.html

    Citizen ongoing participation is essential for good government. Campaign finance reform is part of it.. but not by locking the citizens out… but by bringing them in.

    Sooner of later I’ll get this word out. Its much more important than it seems. I can no longer worry about looking like a fool and sorry to be a nag…

    But really…

    Ya wanna be a citizen? Stop bitching and speak up…

    $320 million to lobbying by banks on Dodd-Frank over two long years.. Big deal

    When you can click a link in an email and give even 25 cents in a lobbying effort.. the game changes. I’m so tired of this capability being ignored. And I’m tired of sleeping in my sister’s living room.

    Any pundits want to actually address this very real capability?
    Fine, argue against it… but why is this ignored?

    Here are some details:

    What does the patent cover?

    The Patent (here) was issued January 11, 2011

    To get specific…

    Claim 1:

    1. A donation method, comprising: establishing a first escrow account for a first donor with a first threshhold on a programmed electronic computer; removing funds from the first escrow account upon instructions from the first donor, the instructions having a transfer designation and the instructions being a contribution; comparing the funds to a second threshold donation level to determine if the funds are great enough for a donation to be made on a programmed electronic computer; aggregating the funds with the same transfer designation with the money from other donors to equal or surpass the threshold donation level; creating a sum of funds; transferring the sum of funds to the transfer designation, said transferring the sum of funds is depositing said sum of funds with a political candidate or cause; and reporting information about the first donor and the other donors upon transferring the sum of funds, said reporting information is done within the confines of jurisdictional requirements.

    If you wade through that it is simply like a cash card… but the user’s information and instructions are separated from the funds which go into Trust Account(s)… and ‘micro’ designations can be made, pooled with designations of others to the same recipient… and reaching a viable threshold (determined by a variety of cost related factors)… transferred to the recipient with any reporting requirements reported and tracked.

    This systems allows transfers of ANY size… but what it can do that others can’t… is the micro-transaction…. and pass through incurred transaction costs.

    SO.. it CAN function, if desired, just like any other gift card or Internet wallet…

    BUT… with a vital added capability… a simple micro-transaction.

    While the utility of this transaction has sometimes been questioned…

    The POLITICAL microtransaction, at least, escapes all those objections as we discussed. I’d also contend that its a fundamental of speech. But I recognize that may not be an issue the marketplace much considers.

    But the marketplace should definitely consider that sooner-or-later this capability will be used at least occasionally by almost everyone…

    And in that lies a vast potential for this Internet Wallet!

    Monetization:

    Its worthwhile noting that the patent says nothing about monetization.

    And, in fact, this could be run exactly like every other gift card or PayPal by a fee on the transaction… (the transfer to a recipient could just have a little added-on beyond recovery of incurred charges like a PayPal and/or have some premium added-on for the donor when funding the account (like when you buy a gift card at the store.)

    However, I believe there’s a potential for at least some… and possibly full… external monetization…

    Finally, its worthwhile noting that, given sufficient penetration… which I believe the political microtransaction’s impact can potentially catalyze… this account… whether funded or not at any given moment… can become a sort of civic hub for a variety of beneficial activities especially at the local level.

    Its for this reason that I believe local banks may from good allies which could be advantaged both in reputation and the bottom line by association with such a vital civic utility…

    Catalyze the Network

    Capability ENABLES Responsibility
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2008/10/capability-enables-responsibility.html

    P.S. This doesn’t mean we don’t need campaign finance reform… in fact this may be the quickest way to get it… and it even play an important role in its implementation.

  3. Simon, thank you for posting.

    I’m currently reading David McCullough’s biography of President Harry Truman. I wonder whether Obama, Bush, Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner, Dodd, et al those who were there at the outset of the financial crisis or are there now have read it? And if they had read it did it prompt them to think about why presidents such as Truman, both Roosevelts, and Ike are remembered the way they are?

    These four politicians weren’t always perfect, but the U.S.A. was very fortunate to have them as they by and large made sound long-term decisions that were in the best interests of the country as a whole.

    Do people like Harry Truman even exist any more? If they do would she or he run for office? And would the country actually elect that person?

  4. Why does Wall St. always win? Duh. They bought off our government a looooooooooooooooooooooooooong time ago.

  5. Certainly, within the Party System we have, there will be no change. This seems the major point to me before I read this.

    We don’t really have any real choice but to abandon both parties and begin anew. It was amazing how fast the Whig Party disappeared, after becoming a Tory Party like the Democrats were from the beginning, when Lincoln entered the scene with the pure Republic idea, “The General Welfare” and all that.

    Of course, lacking a Lincoln, the greatest Poet of the English Language, a gigantic Soul who, if we had any sense, would have elected him Prophet as well. King David? Oh, okay I guess. But, Lincoln was at least as Great as David.

    Anyway, the time for both of our present Parties is over. Now, where is He or, what am I saying? Isn’t it time for a really Great person to run things? Where is SHE?

  6. I believe this country has been run (or owned) by big business since the end of the Civil War. The wealthy classes badly soiled themselves in the early 1930′s, and that created the opening for the New Deal. But they have been fighting back against the New Deal ever since. For example, I can’t remember a year when they weren’t bitching about Social Security. And labor history in our high schools? Nope. I never saw any ( I was in high school in the 1950s) and I’ve never heard of any being taught since.

    If voting in this so-called democracy was so important, why don’t we vote on Sundays? The reason is that under our country’s present management voting by the working classes isn’t at all desirable. So our election days are on Tuesdays when it’s harder for for working people to get to the polls. Well, I could go on and on but you get the idea.

    Perhaps the middle and poorer classes in this country must first be liquidated, and have their faces rubbed deeply in manure, before they stand up and fight for a real democracy. But if a capitalist police state comes into existence, that turnaround is going to take a hundred years.

  7. Excellent article! Nothing will ever change. Too many of the 1% are making out like the two-bit thieves they are.

  8. I disagree Tony, they will eventually be brought to justice along with a great number of others not as involved. As soon as they crossed over the 2000 year 10% usury fee on borrowed money, they became the evil doers they once disciplined. Passing, then mandating laws in which they then step back financially so the lower classes could absorb the cost was all part of the plan. As was the plan for the Bush tax cut extensions. They voted to essentially ruin the economy as a last ditch money making effort for short term profit, then delay pay back time in the name of a coming recession. They are all as evil as their intentions, but the arrogance and hypocrisy balance the scales at night so their comfortable bond holdings can support them during the day. Watch closely as they sign up rookies to do their dirty laundry in each and every election. Don’t be fooled again people, you have to tax the rich in order to reduce the debt to GDP ratio. Which will sky rocket as the unfunded liabilities are place on the books and as mark to market accounting becomes a more reasonable conclusion to reigning in these financial and political fools.

  9. @polycapitalist, “These four politicians weren’t always perfect, but the U.S.A. was very fortunate to have them as they by and large made sound long-term decisions that were in the best interests of the country as a whole.”

    So engineering the economy for perpetual war in the Middle East was in the best interest of the USA?

  10. Excellent Point, Annie. Same with Brian S. Anyway, Capitalism is THE problem. Those four presidents may have just had a little more space to work within it’s confines. Bush and Obama had no inclination (read Balls) to do anything against capital and never looked for any space to do so. In the end times and looking back it will finally be acknowledged that capitalism is a crap system. It will die for a long time and we will suffer for a long time, but it will die. This article and these times help one to see it coming

  11. Didn’t Ike famously warn against the dangers of the military-industrial complex in his departing speech?

  12. labor and health care rant :-)

    guns vs butter

    Abort the Federal Reserve Board and you abort Armageddon.

  13. Weren’t Bear Stearns and Lehman ‘Wall Street’? Don’t look now, but they didn’t ‘win’.

  14. The connection between lobbyists and politicians is a two way flow of money for “considerations” (favors). I would try to sever the link between them by eliminating the flow of money (after which the commensurate favors would dry up). My suggestion is to not allow contributions to candidates, but require Network broadcasters to create channels and make time available at no cost to qualified candidates (similar to public funding for meeting established criteria). Costs to candidates would be minimal – you’re being given an open microphone – use it to make your case. All qualified candidates would be given equal amounts of time, equal access to “prime-time” slots. The networks would be obliged to make this available as part of their civic duty as custodians for the public interest of the public airwaves. They may claim that they would be losing advertising monies, but I don’t see this as the case. Networks can only broadcast so many minutes of advertising per hour – and they never seem to be without advertising. Only the customer won’t be political advertisers. If need be they could be granted a few minutes every hour of the “donated” bandwidth to advertise their own networks fall line-up (or whatever they choose) which is a financial gain for the networks. Most voters have access to network outlets. The contents of the shows could not be copyrighted so that newspapers could pick up any comments or speeches and re-print as much or as little as they’d like. This can be replicated on the state and local level as well. I’m sure there are deficiencies in this approach – but I’m seeking a simple way to end the politician’s “need” for campaign financing and creating a level forum for candidates to be judged on the merits of their position, not on the success of their fundraising.

  15. PBS is a good start, a speedier and kinder network.

  16. John D: “Isn’t it time for a really Great person to run things? Where is SHE?”

    It certainly is! And SHE is the Green Party candidate for President: Jill Stein. She’s on the ballot in most states — write her in otherwise. She is smart as a whip (a physician educated at Harvard) and she’s fighting hard to get into the debates.

    I just love the people who tell me that my vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Romney. B.S. You and I know perfectly well that neither Obama nor Romney is working for us, or ever will work for us. After voting for Obama once, I’ll not make that mistake again.

    My very simple question is: Why on earth would I vote for someone who is NOT WORKING FOR ME? And why would you?

  17. In case you all missed it, the gov’t has always been run by wall street (or it’s capital owners association to be more explicit)… since day one. Who do ou think the “founding fathers” represented fer christ’s sake???

  18. Congrats to Greg C!

    At least you’re looking for practical steps rather than the continual whining about patterns thousands of years old.

    Your point about costs of campaigns is well taken. And, of course, the cost of television plays a central role.

    These ‘costs’ arose out of the original television monetization model which is rooted in advertising…. (as is most of the Internet) and the failure of public interests to sufficiently secure meaningful public access… and that even then was a result of an imbalance of political influence.

    Moreover, the advertising model which has always been a part of politics even in ancient times has become dangerously effective and counter… well, let’s just say… counter-Enlightenment culture.

    I’m not opposed to advertising… but I don’t like it dominating our politics.

    While it may at first seem counter-intuitive…. I’m convinced liberating the micro-transaction will play role in righting this imbalance.

    This is not out of a naive faith is some kumbayah ‘wisdom’ of this or any other electorate… but rather a recognition that the creation of even a minimally capable electorate involves the need for ongoing and meaningful mechanisms of participation and accountability.

    The micro-transaction IS a fundamental of speech… for a scaled social organism. Not a perfect one… messy in fact… but necessary.

    Personal Democracy: Disruption as an Enlightenment Essential
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2010/06/personal-democracy-disruption-as.html

    P.S. I’m not suggesting that advertising has no role… but I wonder if television would have evolved differently if a viable microtransaction had been available at its launch?

    Pleased to now have physicist, author David Brin advising on this project. I suppose it does take futurists to imagine the future in better ways. It seems to be completely beyond politicians and economists.
    .

  19. I’m running for President as a “Common Sense” candidate :-) based on 20 years of experience in what is called “operations” – making all those “ideas” happen. When we had more of a say in which “ideas” we were going to put the elbow grease effort towards accomplishing, the good, sustainable life-maintenance stuff got done.

    1. Man to land ratio to determine a “sustainable” future for humanity.

    2. Limit on profit taking – it’s not an algorithm derived from an infinity big bang singularity. Trust me.

    3.Put the Dogs of War put on a short leash.

    4. Every policy and idea has to support my monolithic vision:

    “Every human being has the right to make their lives less miserable through honest work.”

    If you don’t know what “honest work” is, we’ll be happy to show ya.

    Vote for Planet Annie.

    But seriously, folks. Imagine the insanity if a Catholic Bishop instead of a Mormon Bishop wanted to get his avaricious mittens on the purse strings of the Treasury and be Commander in Chief of the military muscle to rape and pillage and kill (be “President” of Global Criminal Inc., AKA USA 2012) openly admitting to having a secret plan that he’s not going to tell us until he gets elected!

    (2nd grade schoolyard chant, “I know something you don’t know and I’m not gonna tell ya, nay naynay nay nay”).

    But Catholic clergy aren’t allowed to hold public office – go figure.

    We the People have the LEGAL right to hit the re-set button when there is no evidence as proof that We the People have representation in Congress.

    And let’s not be daft – try to run for LOCAL office now and you get shot in the head…THAT is who took the pre-emptive strike….

    So I’m hiding in the open – as Carla mentioned, there’s that space on the ballot for a write in – LOL.

    Thing is, I was recruited into politics – got an interview and the job was mine if I wanted it, which I turned down, to work for Caroline Kennedy’s husband in NYC. Then a position I did accept ended up being the front for a county political don that I wanted no part of. Yup, turned down being a sycophant every time it was presented to me in my “youth”. Would do it all over again the same way. As noted in the Higgens rant, the difference between We the People and the War/Drug/Slave Lords is “ENORMOUS”.

    I can compromise with “men of good will”. I don’t make any deals the iniquitous.

    Tada! Isn’t civic participation without plutocratic permission FUN, kids?

    This Planet Annie rant, and all rants, may be passed along at will.

    My experience is “operational”. Trained to make it happen, not blather about it. I actually know how many angels are dancing on the PinHead of a derivative…

    Abort the FRB and you’ll abort Armageddon.

  20. I’m voting for Planet Annie!

  21. @Bond Man – well that’s 2 votes – yes I am voting for myself…lol

    I’m a geek – here’s teacher’s homework for the day. How many SCIENTIFIC holes can you blow open in this sales pitch to prove that this is NOT the truth about the Armageddon jubilee…?

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec12/iran2_08-24.html

    Shame on PBS.

    @Tom – “When a pattern recurs look for underlying reasons. This ain’t the first oligarchy! Human groups don’t scale easily…”

    Need your talents and thinking to help establish the fixed “scale” – man to land ratio that is SUSTAINABLE for a geographic region – a region being defined by ORIGINAL (rain, rivers, etc) fresh water resources (before distribution measures are built). Modern industrial engineers were too good at scaling up production because there was no fixed sustainable limit applied and things went into “tilt”.

    With your 25 cents and Bond Man’s – I got 50 cents. My monthly e-bill is around 70 dollars :-)) Hey, while you were sleeping on your sister’s couch, did she house train you? LOL. If so, advertise that on MeetUp sites, someone else more fun than your sister might wanna adopt you if they know that you’re house trained.

    Never lose the humor….people are in absurd and inconceivable situations everywhere. Borrow the carping misanthrope’s tactics to rip into the SITUATION instead of the individual who sees it. Hate the sin, not the sinner, so to speak. The Jim Joneses are being “contained” as we speak…

  22. The answer starts with something very simple that already has a bit of weight behind it.It will take a while but it will get done. What started as a legal convenience has mutated into a monstrous fiction. Corporations are not people as will someday be made clear. Put your money and your time were your thoughts are:

    http://movetoamend.org/

  23. Who cares about your experience, her wisdom or my certainties? The slow downward slide has already started and won’t stop because
    1 – people in power will fight teeth and nails to keep control of things at the wheel, reason why they currently buy any physical asset, lands, forestry, precious material, guns, and so on, and 100 % of their brain grey matter is dedicated to this sole purpose.
    2 – the masses are far too emotional and desorganised compared to these vultures to even start thinking about a coherent and efficient way to counterbalance the power the 1% detaining more and more wealth has put into action. Remember also that most of the 99% actually dreams of being part of the 1%… as they are the reference, the model our system has placed at the top of the pyramid.
    that is the first reason nothing will change until real disorder starts.. and only the low and middle classes will suffer from it anyway. The only solution lies in intelligence, compassion and love. Anything else is politics and rubbish, selfishness and path to the explosion evryone seems to guess but it seems no one really want to avoid.
    be prepared.

  24. Depends on how much you “hate” the sin….and when more and more people who “hate” being a sociopathic, hedonistic, selfish prick serving the master SADISTIC psycho realize that intelligence, compassion and love are the PATH TO FREEDOM, it’ll happen….you underestimate the power of TRUTH inside people’s souls people CRAVE freedom from sin and iniquity!

    Plus, for all the NON-emotional types, the science and math is a big huge FAIL, right? It all FAILED. And the 1% aren’t as astonomically rich as they claim to be because their wealth is all a mind con – those derivatives are not real.

    “The Secret of Oz” documentary on YouTube is CLEAR on both the con and the NORMAL minded way to stop it. But the C-suite does not have enough “diversity” or intelligence or MORAL FIBER in their ranks….

    As for the Iran hysteria – BOTH sides are bs-ing – they’re freekin’ playing poker with Armageddon….I’m sorry, but for THINKING people, that’s medically diagnose-able as ABNORMAL MIND behavior. They’re NUTZ and, besides, who the hell ever gave ANYONE permission to play poker with WAR???!!!

    When I become a mechanical and theoretical “abstraction” to someone who has KILLED and RObbed to have some “legal” power over my life, then I have no legal, moral, or social obligation to WORSHIP that kind of stupid animal that has that kind of “mind”.

    As Bugs Bunny used to look into the camera and say, “He don’t know me very well, do he…?”

    It was a FAIL – search the word on your econ sites.,,,how many times does it appear?

    We the People are NOT the “fail”. Instead of being so arrogant as to keep thinking that the small % of people capable of being duped to follow a Jim Jones is gonna keep you safe from the consequences of THE BIG FAIL, you should be exerting some LEADERSHIP qualities, no? All those Poison Ivy League leadership training exercises – mas’ser/slave crap – what are you telling the Middle Class about their new mas’ser – the Global War/Drug/Slave Lords? That we can’t TOUCH the HIGH MORAL GROUND they operate from – the MATH GOD?:

    More misery for others = More $$$$ for ME ME ME

    Trust me, we all have the fire in the belly now because there IS inside everyone, WITH A NORMAL MIND, a line no one crosses without consequence. A BIG ENOUGH FAIL…

  25. I was rather surprised when i thought someone had stolen my integrity. I stayed awake all night one time, and inked my resolution in defiance of such incidents, too no avail, he showed again, and all I could think was that if given another chance, I would not take that path again. For some reason, a power greater than me had made that choice. And now I would have to live with it and see to it that next time perhaps, I would elect to not have offspring in hopes that a greater achievement would be accomplished from it. I wonder who he is? Probably just another angel, workin on something big.

  26. @ryanmcvey – fine let’s go there.

    I had a total stranger – some snarky, hairy, ugly and smelly misanthrope – walk by me on a crowded beach boardwalk back in the early 80s to tell me, “…we’re gonna get you knocked up and then it will be over for you…”.

    Thanks for the heads up, Nimrod. For every move my friends made to put themselves and their kids in a more secure economic position – careful choice of a father, education, jobs, neighborhood, public service/politics – there was a COUNTER move strategically designed, through “economic” policy, to keep them from achieving a stability that they could achieve through HONEST WORK – LOVE was consistently used against them and replaced with gut churning fear. Having this grand finale of success – fraudclosure and OPENLY legalizing “knocking them up to take them out” – is not a surprise, is it? Just War consideration #1 – “…the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain…” HAS BEEN MET. Boot on throat to hold them down while the GLOBAL War/Drug/Slave Lords rise in “power” and “wealth”.

    How can the “polls” have Bishop Romney neck in neck with the current President? Everyone who has a JOB being a merchant of death provider will launch that algorithm to re-engineer HUGE swaths of the population’s vote – if I can figure out how to do it, anyone can!

    Sure, why bother having the big splashy conventions where it is still LEGAL, and, in truth, the REASON for the convention to provide the opportunity to submit other names for nomination? Opportunistic “change”, thanks to the weather, that makes it even MORE clear that a secret shadow gov. of sadists mercenary coup did happen in 2000 and let’s not pretend we have to put out this much of an effort to dupe the stupid….

    Like I said before, I have no regrets. The difference between “Us” and “Them” is “ENORMOUS”. Always was and always will be.

    War ahead….just like ordered.

    Abort the FRB, you abort Armageddon.

    Now who does not want to abort Armageddon?

  27. Touching indeed, I don’t want to knock it but, that sounds just like my family’s approach to me, and they hold the most sinister deeds to many ponzi schemes. I for give them awhile, but when the timers up, I drop um like the hot potato they are, and reverse the odds of evil and begin anew. Stay tuned, you seem to need the amusement.

  28. Yup, Ryan, it’s all about you.

  29. What if it was? Would that be your demise?? Or perhaps it should not be, why clown around??? The end has to show itself eventually, you seem woofully unprepared and completely not ready for such an occurrence. Or are you really a non-believer, in an achievers, believers real world. Only time shall tell, and we have plenty of that.

  30. Simon writes: “The system is rotten, to be sure, but this president came to office promising change – and that is exactly what we did not get on most crucial dimensions related to the financial sector. ”

    And look how the President was repaid by Wall Street, with a stiff middle finger and tons of cash to the opposition candidate. Lessons learned should be moral of this story.

  31. @Anonyomousy – someone should declare you mentally incompetent – delusional and murderous – in managing your own “derivatives”. How did it end for Jim Jones and Jonestown? You people are no different as “believers”.

    @Bond Man – that’s what I keep saying. Wall Streeters are useless addicts. They will always stab you in the back – they’re not “at the top” based on competence. They are MURDERERS. Trillion dollar wars of CHOICE! They look out on boarded, gutted-out Main Streets AND SMILE. It’s a BEAUTIFUL sight to them.

    I have a real problem with a Mormon Bishop scratching and clawing to be at the helm. Just one basic example – so many CIVILIZED cultures and traditions in Western Civilization revolve around joining great families in marriage – it brought peace so many times! There is no way to express how insulting to such experiential-ly earned cultures many of the Mormon practices are – especially in this day and age keeping the bride/husband’s non-Mormon parents/family in a pen outside the church during the wedding ceremony. Who does such a thing?! As Irish Prez Higgens stated – the difference between the magnificent people and the war-mongerers is ENORMOUS.

    They took out the Kennedys, claiming that the “catholics” would be taking orders from the Pope. And here they are – putting in a Bishop from a man-made, monkey brain on imagination “religion” that teaches man is a god because inside his sperm are people! USA NORMAL MINDED citizens should be protesting in droves – not only is their religion largely made up of catering to their schlong’s savage desires, now “religion” is marrying “state” and keeping the citizens of the state locked up in cages outside “the church”. Yup, that sounds like they are in sync with the will of a loving God Creator who provided us all with an atmosphere that provides the PERFECT amount of sunlight to reach the land…

    Not hard to figure out who benefits the most from christians and moslems wiping each other out in an Armageddon, is it?

  32. Of course, and to you, perpetual retirement and generosity for all.

  33. Let me re-iterate my platform – every human being has the right to make their lives less miserable through honest work.

    That philosophy for living has NEVER failed to uplift every individual human being and thus, progress for all was amplified.

    You have never contributed to the progress of humanity, Anonyomousy, with your belief in “isms”, your misanthropic mind, and your violent narcissism. You will meet your end as you lived your life.

  34. Oh yes, me and my troubled mind are in for a doin : > )

  35. @Annie – I’ve been educated and entertained by your posts for a couple years now. Count on me as another vote for Planet Annie. Would you consider an email conversation with me off TBS? If not – no worries. If so – lemme know how to proceed.

  36. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/claire-fontaine/fierce-mothers_b_1821937.html

    You are, Anonyomousy, in for a world of hurt – as markets,aurelius noted, “stay tuned”…guess which one from list of “fierce” is gonna get YOU.

    @Jeff Miller – can you give me an email address on this blog, in this thread? I’ll contact you. As you can see, I’m a lightening rod for greedy “religious” murdering misogynistic psychos…predatory stalkers….

    Progress everyday – up to 3 votes and 75 cents for Planet Annie :-)) Yay!

  37. jeffreymiller03@yahoo.com – I have no fear of the psychos and stalkers.

  38. Money is not the root of evil, but rather the love of money is the root of all evil. It is an evil that purchases and vanquishes theruleoflaw, and that thing we once called justice! It is an evil that works to dominate, enslave, or slaughter those who do not abide it. It is an evil that conjures the fiction and fairytale that those who love money are somehow superior to those that don’t, and it is an evil that has destroyed and devoured all that was once good about America!

    The shaitans and fiends, the den of vipers and thieves who glorify, defend, and advance this twisted evil are an arch enemy of the people – and should be treated accordingly!

    In a world where there are no laws – there are no laws for anyone predatorclass biiiiiiaaaatches!!!

  39. Oh Jeff but I do, I’m scared, aint you boys scared?

  40. It’s a typical example of how money, politics, and lobbyism come to play together. It’s sad to recognize that our government rarely acts for the good of the people but on the behalf of special interest groups. While most of us must play by the rules or risk to face all the consequences of the law, these Wall Street bankers can get away with anything! Our democracy itself is in great danger to become an autocracy run by the rich and for the rich.