Thursday, October 01, 2009

We the people…We the people…WE THE PEOPLE … run this country through a$$holes…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 9:23 AM Permalink

…we voted into office to act for the good of the country, care for all of us, establish a better union where all men are free and endowed by THEIR creator, not the most commonly mistaken quote of endowed by OUR creator, with certain unalienable rights, among those rights the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Ever since corporations were deemed 'people' the unalienable right of the REAL people have been further diminished each year until we find ourselves in our present situation: real people serving at the whim of and in servitude to nonexistent 'people' who command all power, own all the wealth, that are protected by legislation passed by people with their heads so far up the collective arses of these fictitious 'people', so indebted to their corporate masters that they have no choice to obey or be destroyed; their careers shattered, relegated to the unemployment lines, no longer employable in their former capacity for having committed the near fatal error of failing to kneel in subservience, failing to kiss the bejeweled hands of their corporate masters, and licking the dog crap off their shoes while telling those masters how much they LIKE the taste of crap, so you will always be available to lick their arses after they defecate, and tell them how honored you are to be so privileged and with what joy you will accept the smallest compensation for having had such an honor bestowed upon yourself.

On a household level, simple triage is relatively obvious and painless. Eating out is, well, out. The closure of 600 Starbucks, the closure of entire restaurant chains, the closure of various fast-food and restaurant outlets--these are already in the news every week.

Having your nails done weekly, after-school tutoring and classes for the kids, seasons tickets to sporting events--all are easy decisions: gone. Ditto overseas vacations, spa treatments, or vacations which require large amounts of gasoline or costly stays in resorts or hotels. Remodeling, new furniture, lavish back-to-school shopping, having the dog shampooed, music lessons, hiring house cleaners, car washes, texting, unlimited Netflix, the big office space--the list of easy triage items is nearly endless in the consumer-mad, service-economy U.S.

But that's the easy stuff. That's the financial equivialent of getting the lightly injured away from the scene. Once the household loses one income, or the sole income is slashed (bonus disappears, hours cut, benefits slashed, etc.) then the easy cuts won't be enough.

At the other end of the spectrum, the financially mortally wounded are also easy to spot and deal with. If a household's mortgage re-sets to $3,000/month and their income is $2,000/month, then they have to walk away from their house. Painful but obvious: the old "living large on borrowed money" spending $90K/year lifestyle has passed from this life. Mourn it and move on to a more positive and financially healthy way of life.

Unfortunately, at the Congressional level, this sort of obvious financial triage is political suicide. So we as a nation are wasting hundreds of billions trying to save the already-dead. This includes Lehman Brothers and hundreds of insolvent banks, and millions of under-water insolvent households.

It's political suicide because we voters continue to reward the biggest panderers with re-election. Denial is much more fun than reality, and if we elect panderers then they will gladly spend borrowed money to win our "please don't make me leave Fantasyland" vote.

Pundits such as Bill Gross are gamely suggesting the Federal deficit will have to run from a "mere" $500 billion a year up to $1 trillion. That's borrowed money, folks, which will require interest payments for the rest of our lives and our grandchildren's lives, too. How cavalierly Mr. Gross suggests funding a third of our Federal government's insanely wasteful expenditures by borrowing another trillion dollars from the Chinese and Gulf Oil exporters.
Or see this:
SEC Announces Enforcement Actions

During the week of August 3, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the following enforcement actions.
On August 4, the SEC charged a large public bank holding company (“BHC”) for misleading investors about bonus payments that were being paid to investment bank executives at the time of that firm’s acquisition by the BHC. The BHC agreed to settle the SEC's charges and pay a penalty of $33 million. The settlement is subject to court approval.

The SEC alleges that in proxy materials soliciting the votes of shareholders on the proposed acquisition of the investment bank, the BHC stated that investment bank had agreed that it would not pay year-end performance bonuses or other discretionary compensation to its executives prior to the closing of the merger without the BHC’s consent. In fact, the BHC had already contractually authorized the investment bank to pay up to $5.8 billion in discretionary bonuses to its executives for 2008. According to the SEC's complaint, the disclosures in the proxy statement were rendered materially false and misleading by the existence of the prior undisclosed agreement allowing the investment bank to pay billions of dollars in bonuses for 2008.

On August 4, the SEC filed civil fraud and other charges against a large public corporation, alleging that it misled investors by reporting materially false and misleading results in its financial statements. The firm has agreed to pay a $50 million penalty to settle the SEC's charges.

The SEC alleges that the firm used improper accounting methods to increase its reported earnings or revenues and avoid reporting negative financial results. The accounting violations were identified in a risk-based investigation of the firm‘s accounting practices. They included:

• An improper application of theaccounting standards to its commercial paper funding program to avoid unfavorable disclosures and a pre-tax charge to earnings.
• A failure to correct a misapplication of financial accounting standards to certain interest-rate swaps.
• Reporting end-of-year sales that had not yet occurred in order to accelerate revenue.
• An improper change to accounting for sales of certain products that increased net earnings.
How 'bout this?:
Citigroup Inc., one of the biggest recipients of government bailout money, gave employees $5.33 billion in bonuses for 2008, New York's attorney general said Thursday in a report detailing the payouts by nine big banks.

The report from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office focused on 2008 bonuses paid to the initial nine banks that received loans under the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program last fall. Cuomo has joined other government officials in criticizing the banks for paying out big bonuses while accepting taxpayer money.

Comparisons to historical payouts weren't available, as the banks are not required to disclose the information publicly. They provided 2008 details to Cuomo's office under subpoena.

Cuomo's office found that the companies, which also included Bank of America Corp., Merrill Lynch & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., awarded nearly 4,800 million-dollar-plus bonuses, with much of the money going to Wall Street investment bankers.

Citigroup, which is now one-third owned by the government as a result of the bailout, gave 738 of its employees bonuses of at least $1 million, even after it lost $18.7 billion during the year, Cuomo's office said. The bank's top four recipients received a combined $43.7 million.

The New York-based bank received $45 billion in government money and guarantees to protect it against hundreds of billions of dollars on potential losses from risky investments.

"There is no clear rhyme or reason to the way banks compensate and reward their employees," Cuomo said in the report, noting banks have not in recent years actually tied pay to performance as they claim when describing their compensation programs. Cuomo added that when banks' performance deteriorated significantly, "they were bailed out by taxpayers and their employees were still paid well."

Bank of America, which also received $45 billion in TARP money, paid $3.3 billion in bonuses, with 172 employees receiving at least $1 million and the top four recipients receiving a combined $64 million. Merrill Lynch, which Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America acquired during the credit crisis, paid out $3.6 billion, including a combined $121 million to four top employees.

Bank of America earned $2.56 billion in 2008, while Merrill lost $30.48 billion. Cuomo's office said Merrill Lynch doled out 696 bonuses of at least $1 million for 2008.

Bank of America has been sharply criticized for its acquisition of Merrill Lynch because of mounting losses at the Wall Street bank and the size of bonuses Merrill paid its employees. Of the $45 billion in bailout funds Bank of America received, $20 billion was to support the acquisition of Merrill. Neither Bank of America nor Citigroup have repaid their TARP loans.

A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment on the report. A spokesman for Citigroup did not return repeated calls for comment.

Banks have said they needed to pay their top performing employees to prevent them from defecting to competitors. Companies that accepted TARP money have faced intense government scrutiny and must now comply with restrictions on compensation, including bonuses.
Aw, c'mon people, this represents less than ten minutes research with the Google and the internets pipes, but I think it more than amply illustrates that corporate non-corporeal 'people', carefully protected by the sycophants in both parties, but especially the republican party, who are finding ever more creative and destructive means to serve their corporate masters while totally ignoring the least among us as they destroy America by allowing the unhindered theft all that we USED to hold dear.

Holy, god-fearing, Sunday-in-church-for-show-worshippers, and the ultimate liars that have engineered and now effect a new Dark Ages in America that will dwarf the Dark Ages of Europe, laughing all the way as they destroy the world.

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