SORRY. NO BREAD OR CIRCUSES TODAY
January 31, 2015
Graphic shows Citigroup draft wording and then actual wording that ended up mysteriously in the final spending bill. Courtesy David Johnson and SmirkingChimp.
Chronicle News & Opinion
(MONROE, WA.) -- You might have noticed that much if not most of the national and local news media has been hard at work of late feeding you copious amounts of bread and circuses mostly in the form of an infinitely long strand of meaningless trivia having to do with "deflated footballs" and who'll be eating what for snacks during the Super Bowl game.
Seeing this day after day some Americans, perhaps those who possess an IQ slightly above room temperature might be tempted to give in to the ongoing conspiracy theory that this is not an accident; it is a calculated plan of the corporate media elite to keep working class Americans stupid, happy and drooling at high noon on Main Street with that thousand-mile stare in their eyes.
You know. The patented Alfred E. Neumnan look replete with the goofy grin.
"What? Me worry?"
The "elite" in total being comprised mainly (it appears) of large, corporately owned media now firmly in bed with lawmakers who are now virtually (if not outright) owned by huge corporations, the Wall Street investment banks and billionaires -- all the people and entities your lawmaker needs to be reelected.
And, as you well know there is no need more pressing than a lawmaker being reelected.
How else, some ask, other than a grand conspiracy to explain the sheer tonnage of stories about deflated footballs and $7500 Super Bowl tickets when the mass media told you so little of how you and your family were sold down the river last month by your elected leaders in a move that may cost you dearly during the next Wall Street ignited Second Great Recession meltdown?
And there will be another one because your lawmakers unlocked for Wall Street the only door that had been separating the Street from gambling with your money as it did during the wild, crazy days of insane (and ultimately worthless) "derivatives" that sparked the Great Recession and virtually sank the American economy.
Did you enjoy losing your job/and or business and/or home during that time? Still haven't quite recovered you say?
Well, don't get too comfy attempting to crawl back up that ladder of middle class success because the next meltdown may be only a few years away and it may hit even harder and last longer than the first Great Recession.
GOT THAT RIVERBOAT GAMBLER FEVER
The huge banks can now, once again legally gamble with your (taxpayer) money thanks to the government spending bill Congress and the President agreed to last month.
Buried deep within that bill was a Weapon of Mass Economic Destruction: a clause that repeals part of the Dodd-Frank Act.
That clause was the only door protecting you and your family from the insatiable greed and uncontrollable gambling habits of the huge investment banks on Wall Street.
The ultimate hosing of the Great Unwashed has begun.
The act was designed to stop Wall Street from using other peoples’ money to support its gambling addiction, as it displayed quite nicely before the near-full economic meltdown of 2007-2008. Dodd-Frank had stopped the banks from using commercial deposits that belong to you, your aunt Sally and Uncle John (which are insured by the government) to make the kind of risky bets that got the "too big to fail" banks into trouble and forced taxpayers to bail them out so they could survive to do it again another day.
The reason they were too big to fail is because they had access to gambling with your money and then your money again to bail them out once they got into trouble.
And now at a time when those same banks are bigger and far more powerful than before the Great Recession, they have that open door once again to gamble with your money.
HERE'S SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO PUT YOUR FUTURE IN WALL STREET'S CROSSHAIRS
In Washington State, here's the lawmakers that voted yes for the "cromnibus" spending bill - a vote that allowed Wall Street and billionaires to get at your money again - and those who voted no.
Doc Hastings - Washington 4th R YES
Dennis Heck - Washington 10th D NO
Jaime Herrera Beutler - Washington 3rd R YES
Derek Kilmer - Washington 6th D VOTED NO
Rick Larsen - Washington 2nd D VOTED NO
Jim McDermott - Washington 7th D VOTED NO
Cathy McMorris Rodgers - Washington 5th R YES
David G. Reichert - Washington 8th R YES
Adam Smith - Washington 9th D NO
Now you know who to call up and complain to after the next Wall Street ignited meltdown of the economy that just might claim your job and/or your house.
And just where did that clause in the cromnibus bill come from almost word for word?
A Dec. 16, 20914 story by David Johnson over at SmirkingChimp.com put it this way:
"Citibank (the consumer division of Citigroup) literally wrote the provision and paid someone to put it in the bill. This “Citibank” provision undid months of hard work getting the Dodd-Frank bill in place. No one in the House or Senate would admit to putting it in the bill. No one would say they supported the provision. But House/Senate leadership would not take it out of the bill because it was part of a “deal.” And, of course, it was put in at the last minute, making the choice “vote for it or shut down the government.”
Check the graphic at upper right he ran with the story showing the Citigroup draft of the bill and then the final wording.
Any questions now about who owns your lawmakers?
And just who is Citigroup? Only one of the largest "too big to fail" banks in the world.
ONE HUGE FINANCIAL GORILLA. IT GETS WHAT IT WANTS
Citigroup is a massive multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in New York City that was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate Travelers Group in October 1998.
As of January 2015, it is the third largest bank holding company in the US by assets. Its largest shareholders include funds from the Middle East and Singapore. At its height until the global financial crisis of 2008 Citigroup was the largest company and bank in the world by total assets with 357,000 employees.
Citigroup suffered huge losses during the global financial crisis of 2008 and was rescued in November 2008 by you the generous, always giving taxpayers of the United States in a massive stimulus package handed to it by your government.
They gambled and won-won with your money then, and they will do it again now that that the Dodd-Frank protection door is toast.
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it this way in a recent column:
" The new legislation, incorporating language drafted by lobbyists for Wall Street’s biggest bank, Citigroup, does just this. It reopens the casino. This increases the likelihood you and I and other taxpayers will once again be left holding the bag."
Johnson asks this question in his December 2014 piece:
"How could something like this be in a bill if no one put it in the bill and no one indicated support for it? How is it that We the People not get it taken out if no one would say they put it in and no one would say they support it?
How FAR can we go from the principles of democracy, transparency, accountability and everything the country, the Constitution and the Congress are supposed to stand for?
This is one more example of how the economy is rigged against We the People. It is an example of how the government now works for a wealthy few against the interests of the rest of us.
In an honest system this would be a scandal deserving of a full, public, transparent investigation followed by prosecution of those responsible. In our current system what we got was “it must pass or the government will shut down.”
Johnson forgot one thing. In our current system we also get the pleasure of the major news organizations of our day - and almost all the local TV stations and newspapers - giving us a story after story about deflated footballs, 12th man flags above Space Needles and on buildings and football game nachos so those goofy, blank, thousand mile, what-me-worry stares shall never vanish from our faces.
As bread and circuses go, it's pretty effective stuff.