Friday, July 6, 2012

Big Banks No Fail, Say Big Banks

No, that's a misleading headline. According to Reuters, the accurate quote is "Top Banks Say They Not Too Big to Fail." Actually, according to FishbowlNY, a Neanderthal headline writer at Reuters misquoted The Big Banks.They never said they not too big to fail. They said that if they do fail, they will not require taxpayer assistance to hasten their own destruction. They can self-immolate all by themselves, thank you very much. Or, if they do decide to live, they can administer their own CPR without government aid. These banksters no longer believe in public-subsidized health care, good little libertarians that they are. Or so they say.

According to an obscure portion of the monstrously defanged and defunded Dodd-Frank Act, bank regulators would supposedly put the failures out of their misery and bill the patient for their services. But if the Jamie Dimon situation is any example, regulators and CEOs are the same animal. There is no murder-suicide pact in Dodd-Frank. (I am of course writing figurately and not suggesting that Jamie should physically harm either of his selves: either the JPMorgan Chase self or the regulator on the New York Fed.)

Here. according to Reuters, is a subtle hint that the banksters' "Living Wills" are not worth the paper they're written on:

But some experts doubt how hard regulators will push the banks for changes or how useful hypothetical resolution plans will be in major financial crisis.

The public portions released on Tuesday and are a few dozen pages per bank summarizing thousands of pages submitted confidentially to regulators.

The banks argued in the public documents that their resolution plans will work, with no cost to taxpayers or great consequence to the financial system. They used technical generalities in their conclusions without specifically addressing the unpredictable and vicious nature of a credit crisis.
Viciously and unspecifically unpredictable. "Big Banks Say They Lie Through Their Predatory Fangs" is the real headline, folks. Just like LIBOR should really be LIE MORE  -- although it's actually a great big bore to the un-outrageable general public.

21 comments:

Denis Neville said...

Add to the misquote by the Neanderthal headline writer at Reuters, evidence that Reuters will publish propaganda as news:

“Evidence suggests anti-foreclosure laws may backfire,”
http://in.mobile.reuters.com/article/idINBRE85Q05520120627?irpc=932

Abigail Caplovitz Field says that this is “pure banking industry and Federal Reserve propaganda.” The goal of the propaganda campaign is to eliminate barriers to the banks’ use of fraudulent documents to seize houses in order to go after judicial foreclosures and efforts to defend private property rights and the rule of law. The claim that helping homeowners, aka judicial process, and efforts to stop banker fraud is causing the problem is completely false.
http://abigailcfield.com/?p=1402

As Karen said, “It's actually a great big bore to the un-outrageable general public.”

“The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.” The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863.

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company

“The banks have the regulation of the safety-valves of our fortunes, and condense and explode them at their will.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1819

Anonymous said...

Okay, Karen, but for the best and funniest LIBOR fiasco coverage you really need to read Bess Levine's Dealbreaker.com and the fin serv hacks who comment therein

Zee said...

@Karen--

I hate to expose my ignorance, but what does "LIBOR" stand for?

And would I be treading on dangerous ground to suggest that I would be more than happy to help to hasten along the destruction of the banksters who threw gasoline on my retirement savings in 2008, and then touched a match to them?

Karen Garcia said...

Zee,
Sorry, I should have explained rather than lazily linked. Libor stands for London Inter-Bank Offered Rate. In other words, this is the interest rate banks use when lending to one another. Turns out it is totally arbitrary and rigged against the common folk. And the reaction here in America is "meh" -- what else is new? We are so used to banks cheating us, we figure it's normal and they get away with it.

James F Traynor said...

They didn't set a match to them (and mine), Zee, they stole them and rightly so - they think. Unfortunately, a large portion of the country agrees with them and feels they didn't take enough. They will go to the polls and vote Republican in droves (many of them with nary a pot to piss in). After reading Joe Nocero's column in the NYT today I've abandoned all hope. For me it's the end, the final realisation of what a pathetic bunch we are. It's not that I didn't know what LIBOR is - I knew all too well. This country is simply not worth saving. Still, I wish it well.

Jay - Ottawa said...

“…it's actually a great big bore to the un-outrageable general public.”

That’s the thing that’s so disturbing, isn’t it? Not the flub by a headline writer who was, after all, trying to distill the impossible summary of a lying document meant to be obscurantist, but the ignorance of most citizens, whether in Europe or the USA, and their numbness to repeated assault, whether on others or themselves.

One is eternally reminded of Plato’s Cave. When a prisoner slips his chains and reaches the realm of understanding about reality, he decides to go back to the cave to inform the others. They want to kill him for the favor. For those who find chains normal and shadows sufficient, the person who says differently is obviously a heretic and a deceiver. That’s how most people – pick your century -- view the critics of big shots in business, government and religion. People WANT those shadows dancing on the wall.

Plato and Socrates came up with some awful solutions to social and political problems. Their real gift to the world was a lasting vocabulary, questions and a reverence for the steps of rational thought. Over time we have come to realize that strictly following the careful steps of reason, the never-ending questioning of one’s self and others, the vocabulary and the metaphors – all of this is too much for the average person to juggle.

As an alternative, humane values and empathy can save a lot of non thinkers from embracing evil, but those qualities are also thinning out across populations. Let others starve, so long as we preserve our supply of bread, etc., etc., until the Sermon on the Mount – whether as gospel or secular golden rule -- is only acceptable when turned inside out. So, we end up with both ignorance of mind and harness of heart.

A third safety net against social madness was the benign ruler. When was the last time we had one of those in charge? The big man in the White House, in view of the latest unemployment statistics, tried to sell us on the long view yesterday. Hang on, little tomatoes. But, as FDR knew in the Thirties, people don’t eat in the long view; they need a few squares every day. People don’t live without a roof for too long; they need shelter all the time, starting now. Dispirited people trying to live from day to day can’t think long either. They can’t hope.
What else must Obama and his backers do to them before Yellow Dogs decide they won’t vote for him? How much wider must the misery spread before the majority wakes up, thinks, feels? Acts?

Anesthesiologists will tell you over a beer that the line between the anesthetized state and death is much more narrow than you supposed. The doctors in charge of our country just keep turning the valves the same direction, tweaking up the gas. Everything’s fine. Things will get better way down the line.

Zee said...

@Karen--

Thanks for explaining “Libor” to me and pointing out the link that you provided, which I somehow overlooked. Apart from looking at Sardonicky and emails while on travel, I didn't look at much news for two weeks and completely missed the Barclay scandal.

Unlike Joe Nocera, to whose column @James Traynor referred above, I am not shocked anew by this latest banking scandal:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/opinion/libors-dirty-laundry.html?hp

It has seemed clear to me for some time now that the banksters are determined once again to try to destroy the global banking system for fun and profit, and that our bought-and-paid-for politicians will let them. Only the precise nature of the “tools” that the banksters will use to work their destruction will be different from 2008. Plug one figurative hole in the financial system and—without comprehensive oversight—a new leak springs up somewhere else by which some creative crook can profit.

I can understand the non-response of the American public to something like the Barclay/Libor scandal. It's pretty esoteric to the poorly educated, and it has not resulted in a meltdown, which is what tends to get the public's attention.

But I still am appalled at the lack of public interest in (1) really understanding the true causes of the 2008 financial crisis and (2) forcing our politicians to prosecute and punish those responsible for it.

Because of this near-total indifference, I am becoming increasingly convinced (just my humble opinion) that nothing will be done to change things until the financial system and our economy collapse to an extent that makes the Great Depression look like a minor recession. That's what gets the public's attention, and I have no doubt but that the banksters are working on it.

I still believe that this country is worth saving, but damned if I see a way forward. The only cure for widespread indifference and ignorance is a catastrophe that affects everyone deeply, and that won't be pretty.

spreadoption said...

http://robertreich.org/post/26708840314

Following the S&L Crisis in the 1980s (the one our friend John McCain profited from), a thousand bankers went to jail. 1,000! [Reference William Black]. This LIBOR scandal will dwarf the last crisis of 2007-09, which in truth is not being resolved, and which dwarfs the S&L crimes. Yet, who among us believes anyone from the Big Banks or from government will go to jail this time? That leaves us either blissfully ignorant or outrage-fatigued or shouting Tea Party rants or parroting Republican propaganda.

The author calls for reinstating Glass-Steagall and breaking up the Big Banks. Yes, exactly! But only our government can do that...and it shows no inclination to doing anything worthwhile. The Republicans actively and covertly created this mess over 30+ years, so this is mission (nearly) accomplished; the Tea Party wants to shut down the government altogether and have us stash our money under our mattresses; the Democrats are totally befuddled and are basically sort of following the Republicans; and Obama assures us that if we don't get upset everything will be fine, someday.

We're totally screwed, aren't we?

Zee said...

@All--

As for how we got to this state, @Neil Gillespie made an interesting post at the tail end of the thread "Linkin Lollapalooza," which you may not have seen, in which he provided this link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/opinion/the-downside-of-liberty.html?_r=1

It is the author's thesis that much of our self-absorption today derives from America's cultural revolution of the late sixties:

' "Do your own thing" is not so different than "every man for himself.” If it feels good, do it, whether that means smoking weed and watching porn and never wearing a necktie, retiring at 50 with a six-figure public pension and refusing modest gun regulation, or moving your factories overseas and letting commercial banks become financial speculators. The self-absorbed “Me” Decade, having expanded during the ’80s and ’90s from personal life to encompass the political economy, will soon be the “Me” Half-Century.

People on the political right have blamed the late ’60s for what they loathe about contemporary life — anything-goes sexuality, cultural coarseness, multiculturalism. And people on the left buy into that, seeing only the ’60s legacies of freedom that they define as progress. But what the left and right respectively love and hate are mostly flip sides of the same libertarian coin minted around 1967. Thanks to the ’60s, we are all shamelessly selfish.'
--Kurt Andersen, New York Times, 7/3/12

I commend the entire article to you, complete with an interesting quote from Thomas Jefferson.

Zee said...

@spreadoption--

I agree with you that we are likely "totally screwed." Where I disagree with you is regarding the notion that the Republicans alone created this mess over the past 30+ years, and now, the poor Democrats, totally flummoxed by the Republicans, have finally decided that their only option is to play along, as in "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

I'm afraid that over the past 30+ years the Democrats have been equal partners with the Republicans in the "selling of America."

I might first remind you that of the "Keating Five," only one, John McCain, was a Republican. The rest were Democrats:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Keating_Five

I might then remind you that Glass-Steagall was repealed under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, also known as the "Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Gramm%E2%80%93Leach%E2%80%93Bliley_Act

Yes, the Act was authored by three Republicans, and Congress was in Republican hands in 1999.

But the final bill was passed with overwhelming bilateral support and was signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton:

"Finally, during the first week of November, S.900, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, was reported out of committee and passed in the Senate 90-8 and in the House 362 – 57. Glass-Steagall was finally repealed and Democrats as well as Republicans celebrated." --selise, Firedoglake

http://my.firedoglake.com/selise/2009/02/22/which-idiot-decided-to-repeal-glass-steagall/

See also:

http://www.senate.gov/legislative
/LIS/roll_call_lists/
roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress
=106&session=1&vote=00354

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/1999/roll570.xml

The list of Democrats who have willingly joined hands with Republicans to sell America out over the past 30+ is endless.

The Keating Five and Gramm-Leach-Bliley are just two quick examples that come to mind.

Please note that I am not trying to defend or excuse Republicans with the "But the Democrats did it too" argument. The Republican party has betrayed the cause of "Conservatism" completely, and I despise it for that reason.

I'm just sick and tired of seeing the poor Democrats portrayed as being so "befuddled" that they have decided that their only course of action is to follow Republicans along down the path of corruption.

It has been a truly bipartisan effort for quite some time now.

James F Traynor said...

The Republicans didn't betray 'conservatism' nor the Democrats 'liberalism'; they betrayed the nation. All 'isms' are a snare and a delusion, smoke and mirrors, three card monte, bait for the sucker.

spreadoption said...

Now I'm starting to laugh. People would say, You gotta watch Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert - they get what's going on and they make fun of it! There are a few blogs that do the same. But the financial crisis is so bad, the fraud and corruption and criminality so widespread, that I could never bring myself to see any humor in it.

Then along comes LIBOR and it makes all the preceding look like the work of sophomores. The breadth and depth of wrong-doing by the Big Banks and by our government (and for 30 years!) is simply breathtaking. Now I've just gotta laugh about it all. Those guys are really good!

@Zee. Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the Democrats are in any way innocent; I agree that they're fully, equally culpable. I hold Clinton responsible for the repeal of Glass-Steagall and Obama for all he has done and not done to screw this country. And as you say, the endless list of other Democrats. And thanks for reminding me that four of the Keating-5 were Democrats. As I noted above, now I'm laughing.

Zee said...

@James F. Traynor--

You're right, of course. Labels are a trap as @Kat has told me repeatedly, and I keep stepping into it.

@spreadoption--

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think what you are saying is that we all should be laughing at ourselves.

As you say, Stewart and Colbert and the rest "get it" all too well, and some have even grown rich telling us in a humorous way what we already know all too well.

http://www.famenetworth.com
2010/06/jon-stewart-net-worth.html

http://www.celebritynetworth.com/
richest-celebrities/richest-comedians/stephen-colbert-net-worth/

But those of us with any heart--such as yourself, and maybe even me--no longer see the humor in it, only the tragedy.

How can we fail to laugh--not at Stewart, Colbert and their TV ilk--but at ourselves?

Methinks the joke is truly on us.

spreadoption said...

@Zee. Why am I laughing now? I'm not altogether sure. I'm not laughing at myself for being a fool, nor any of us. In large part I think it's like when a great mystery finally unravels and you find yourself laughing, in admiration I suppose, at the complexity ... no, the simplicity and the genius of it. What we have now, this enormous mess, carried out right in front of us over several decades and far longer, is as fascinating as it is horrifying, tragic, and unnecessary.

Just now it occurred to me that maybe we're all in the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grieving. Denial: This LIBOR thing isn't such a big deal; it's just the interest rate banks charge each other. Who cares! Obama isn't so bad; look at all he's accomplished against those meany Republicans. Anger: This is another outrage! Throw them all in jail! Now! Bargaining: [Obama] If we just compromise with those Republicans and their special interests, we'll be fine. Simpson-Bowles for everyone! If I don't prosecute them, they won't impeach me (I hope). Look forward, not back. Depression: I give up, we're screwed. Acceptance: Well, this crisis has been brewing for a long time, we can't do much, if anything, to change it or fix it now, but if we're careful we can still have decent lives and, besides, this ain't Somalia. I can laugh now.

And for what are we grieving? Certainly for most of us it's the loss of comfort and security we previously had and assumed. It's the loss of certainty that if we work hard and act as good citizens we'll be rewarded with a measure of that comfort and security. But aren't we also grieving for the loss of our democracy? And for the loss of our faith in government to act always lawfully and with wisdom for the common good? And for our standing around the world?

Me, I'm losing my outrage. It started with Reagan, escalated parabolically with Bush, and has peaked with Obama. But it's simmering down as I come to accept that we're just screwed as a nation and we may never fully recover. As for denial, I lost that even before the inauguration in 2009. And I'll never compromise on a significant issue with someone who is clearly wrong and has no concern for the common good. If I say 2+3=5 but a Republican says 2+3=23, we are all weakened if we settle on 14.

From all points we get analyses of our various problems. It's all interesting, but how meager are the solutions. Robert Reich says reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the Big Banks. Well, of course, and amend the Constitution while we're at it. But, like that's gonna ever happen, right?

Jay brings us Plato's Cave; Karen brings us America's reaction, "meh"; so like me, James is abandoning hope. This is certainly another nice mess we've gotten ourselves into. Yep. Got a beer?

spreadoption said...

Here's a neat explanation of the LIBOR scandal (read, crisis): http://www.forbes.com/sites/shahgilani/2012/07/06/its-not-libor-stupid-central-banks-are-the-problem/

The author likens this to another "tobacco moment" when cause and effect became crystal clear and change was not recommended but demanded.

Ultimately, the author calls for ending the world's central banks (such as our Federal Reserve, headed by Ben Bernanke) so that free markets can truly be free. Perversely, as I see it, this plays into the hands of political simpletons like Ron Paul who have been calling for an end to the Fed for a long time. The game falls right into his lap.

But again, when the corruption is pervasive at the highest levels of government and banking, but when change has to come through our governments and when The People are too “meh” to demand those changes, how do we get from here to a resolution?

Maybe the European people will show us Americans how to do a real protest or a national strike. Or maybe “we don’t do that sort of thing” – it’s too “European” for us. Then again, the Europeans don’t have Obama’s NDAA to worry about.

How do we get real leadership that's separate from and above the problem?

This is getting interesting now.

Zee said...

@spreadoption--

Re: "Why am I laughing now?...And for what are we grieving?"

Beautifully said.

Can I join you in that beer?

Neil Gillespie said...

@Zee

While I am glad you found Kurt Anderson’s piece, The Downside of Liberty, worthwhile, I think you misread my sarcasm as truth: "So did selfish fornication lead to selfish Too Big To Fail Banks?" That was me being sarcastic. In my view Anderson is misguided, and his piece was so over the top that I thought my sarcasm would be evident.

The Robber Barons of the 19th century did not rely on hippies or Woodstock to amass their wealth, or as Anderson wrote, to "indulge their own animal spirits". It was greed and antisocial behavior, just like now.

Jefferson has a lot of chutzpah talking about self-love as "the sole antagonist of virtue leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others." Too bad that did not occur to him when he excluded Africans and their descendants who lived in America from the self-evident right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". I cannot think of any "self-love" worse than Jefferson’s expectation to own another person as a chattel slave. Many times over. Or to fornicate with a chattel slave, Sally Hemings. Funny how Anderson does not see the hypocrisy.

Anderson also glossed over the biggest events of the 1960’s: The assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Anderson hardly mentioned the civil rights movement, which was directly related to Jefferson’s "self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others." And I did not see any mention of the senseless War on Vietnam.

In my view the drug use of the 1960’s was more self-medication than self-gratification, a way for normal people to deal with the horrors of Vietnam, assassination, and Jim Crow.

Anderson might look a bit earlier in history than the 1960’s to find what ails us today.

Zee said...

@Neil--

I fear that we can debate the motives and failings of the Founding Fathers ad nauseum and never come to anything close to agreement. Me, I prefer to see them as flawed—yet great—men who produced a flawed—yet revolutionary—Constitution that defined the most advanced government of its day. The Constitution contained some very bad compromises, indeed, but what were the Founders supposed to do? Fight a Second American Revolution (or, more aptly, a First American Civil War) in order to produce the “perfect” government and expunge slavery from the land? Weary of war and deep in debt, I think not. They produced a compromise, which is what reasonable men and women do in difficult times.

Regarding Thomas Jefferson in particular, yes, he was a flawed individual who, horribly, owned slaves and even failed to free most of them upon his death, as I understand it. (He did free the children of Sally Hemings upon his death.) Still, does this totally erase what I regard as his huge gifts to this country?

The following is taken from an old Reality Chex Off Times Square comment by a Progressive with whom I have sparred in the past. I don't think either Marie Burns or Marvin Schwalb would mind having it reproduced here. Regarding Jefferson,

'At 5, began studying under his cousin's tutor.

At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.

At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.

At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.

At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.

At 23, started his own law practice.

At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.

At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America " and retired from his law practice.

At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.

At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence

At 33, took three years to revise Virginia ’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.

At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.

At 40, served in Congress for two years.

At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.

At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.

At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.

At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Democratic-Republican Party.

At 57, was elected the third president of the United States

At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation’s size.

At 61, was elected to a second term as President.

At 65, retired to Monticello

At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.

At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.

At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams

Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future:

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
--Marvin Schwalb, Reality Chex Off Times Square, 12/16/2011

Slave owner or not, compromiser or not, Thomas Jefferson will always be a great personage in my eyes.

Zee said...

@Neil--

I'm afraid your sarcasm was indeed lost on me, simply because Andersen's op/ed piece resonated so very strongly in my mind. I am of the very generation of which Andersen wrote, the Baby Boomers, and I can testify to the self-absorption of my own generation. Indeed, one or two participants in this forum have intimated that I might be a little too self-absorbed, myself, something which I am trying to take to heart.

Mine is, indeed, the “Me Generation,”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Me_generation

(Not that Wikipedia should be considered the non plus ultra of cultural history and analysis, but I don't have a better source at hand.)

and the first exemplar of our intrinisic selfishness that comes to my mind is the number of marriages amongst my contemporaries that I have seen dissolved because of the complete and utter inability to compromise over trivial, selfish things, or to learn how to grow together.

The reality that marriage is work. seems to have eluded much of my generation.

The damage that such selfishness has wrought on the children my generation—which I have seen at close quarters—is incalculable. I sometimes think that the indifference of parents of my generation to their own children has fostered as a reaction the micro-managing parents (the so-called “supermoms” and “superdads”) of subsequent generations, who expend almost all their energy on trying to make their children happy and successful.

And I suspect, but can't prove, that the marital disasters of the Baby Boomers has contributed to the overall decline of marriage in our society.

My generation gave us books with titles like Winning Through Intimidation and Looking out for Number One, and magazines with titles like Self and Money. Not exactly titles that one would think of as altruistic or outwardly oriented.

The memories of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, the race riots and civil rights movement of the '60s, and even the scars of the Viet Nam war are distant now, traded for outsized homes in the 'burbs, pricey SUVs or conscience-salving Priuses, huge, high-definition flat-screen televisions and home entertainment systems, expensive gyms, yoga and the like..

Mine was the generation that thought it was going to change the world for the better, and it did in some ways. But that sense of purpose quickly gave way to materialism and self-indulgence.

Nor do I regard myself as a virtuous exception to this perversion of purpose. It's amazing how seductive a few dollars in the bank become after years of living in virtual poverty as grad student and post-doc.

To my mind, Andersen has my generation pegged, and I see every reason to believe that—even if greed has always been with us—we Boomers made things worse.

This is just my humble opinion, of course, but Andersen rings entirely true to me.

Neil Gillespie said...

@Zee

I don’t expect to change your mind, but for the benefit of others, consider that Anderson ignores how America obtained the land that became the United States. This is Native American Indian land, mostly taken by force, or on the cheap, under various perverted doctrines of discovery, expansion, and manifest destiny.

http://www.adl.org/education/curriculum_connections/Doctrine_of_Discovery.asp

This link shows the relationship between Kelo v New London and Indian land theft.

http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Commentary/Eminent_Domain.htm

All this is contrary to the ideals espoused by the founders, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, but it is how America has operated all along. It is a confidence scam. The basic premise, that all men are created equal, is nonsense. This is false in terms of family, economics, and physical and mental attributes. However it is very appealing, like all good scams.

The opening of the Declaration of Independence, written by Jefferson, states as follows:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_men_are_created_equal

This is a universal appeal to ego, which sets the stage for the acceptance of governance: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

If this equality is the intrinsic value of a human being, that is not upheld by our justice system. Bankster criminals walk free, but petty crimes are severely punished, as shown in Karen’s link to the story on debtors prisons.

Just look at incarceration in the United States,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States

"The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. At year-end 2009 it was 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population."

and rates of incarceration.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate

"The incarceration rate in the United States of America is the highest in the world. As of 2009, the incarceration rate was 743 per 100,000 of national population (0.743%). In comparison, Russia had the second highest, at 577 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world as 117 per 100,000, and China had 120 per 100,000. While Americans only represent about 5 percent of the world's population, nearly one-quarter of the entire world's inmates have been incarcerated in the United States in recent years. Imprisonment of America's 2.3 million prisoners, costing $24,000 yearly, and $5.1 billion in new prison construction, consumes $60 billion in budget expenditures."

The Declaration and Constitution were written by the one percent for the benefit of the one percent. Our unjust legal system maintains the interests of the one percent. To sell this con game to the public, there is the "American dream", because the reality stinks. The pursuit of this dream has ordinary Americans voting against their self interests. See "What’s The Matter With Kansas?" by Thomas Frank, or "Deer Hunting With Jesus" by Joe Bageant.

Neil Gillespie said...

@ Zee Part 2

In my view Anderson has a short view of history. The financial boom years following WWII were a distortion, not the norm, because America had such a post-war industrial competitive advantage. Those days are long gone, and we are returning to our roots of blatant inequality.

I recommend two bloggers, former Republicans who may appeal to your sensibilities. One is Matt Weidner, a Florida attorney, and the other is Catherine Austin Fitts of the Solari blog, a former Bush 1 official and Wharton MBA.

http://mattweidnerlaw.com/blog/2012/07/the-mortgage-meltdown-the-coup-detatleveraged-buyouthostiletakeover-of-the-usa

http://solari.com/blog/financial-coup-d%E2%80%99etat/

Narco-Dollars for Dummies
http://mercatoliberonews.blogspot.com/2008/09/narco-dollars-for-dummies.html

Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, so I am in that large group too.

"A baby boomer is a person who was born during the demographic Post-World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The term "baby boomer" is sometimes used in a cultural context. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve broad consensus of a precise definition, even within a given territory. Different groups, organizations, individuals, and scholars may have widely varying opinions on what constitutes a baby boomer, both technically and culturally. Ascribing universal attributes to a broad generation is difficult, and some observers believe that it is inherently impossible."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomer

Anderson is generalizing, and actually talking about a relatively small subset of baby boomers, The Golden Boomers, baby boomers who are retired or will retire from an occupation or profession. But the majority of baby boomers are working class people.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomer#Definition

Beyond that boomers are categorized into two cohorts:

Baby Boomer cohort #1 (born from circa 1946 to 1955), the cohort who epitomized the cultural change of the sixties… key characteristics: experimental, individualism, free spirited, social cause oriented.

Baby Boomer cohort #2 or Generation Jones (born from circa 1956–1964), my cohort, key characteristics: less optimistic, distrust of government, general cynicism.

You are welcome to label yourself as you see fit, but Anderson is speaking about a small subset of boomers, Golden Boomers, which may be why he resonates with you.