Wall Street WARZONE
Lobbyists Rule, Reform a Joke, Democracy Dead: “Washington’s Biggest Business” is Delivering Mega-Billion Payoffs to Wall Street, CEOs & Forbes 400
by Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD
| Discuss | | 5/21/2010

Wall Street is single largest lobbyist and donor to politicians and their election campaigns. Lobbyists operate in the shadows, yet are arguably the most powerful force in America’s pseudo-democracy today, far more powerful than our elected officials and certainly more powerful than the voting public. They work behind the scenes as conduits for big money seeking big favors, what are often called “bag men” peddling money for influence through campaign donations to Senators, Congressmen and presidential candidates, to secure favorable legislative, regulatory policies, and most of all, huge tax benefits and grants of cash from the federal budget now dispensing about $3 trillion annually to the favored elite.

Lobbyists are hired guns, influence peddlers. Their allegiance is to whomever’s paying their fees—a foreign dictator, an Indian casino, farm conglomerate, oil giant, even a small town in Middle America. And yes, lobbyists often push the agenda of one or the other political party. But in every case, lobbyists are paid to get specific government favors, money or tax benefits for a specific “client.” Their focus is narrow, their goals selfish. They are not voters, not patriots and they’re definitely not acting for the common good, in “best interests of the country.” In fact, the “special interests” of a lobbyist’s clients are usually not in best interests of America. (More)

Fat-Cat Wall Street Lobbyists Spending $400 Million to Undermine Financial Reforms, Capitalism, Democracy & Obama. Warning, They’re Winning The War!
by Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD
| Discuss | | 5/12/2010

Yes, Wall Street wins, again. Wall Street’s control America is a drama right out of a Scorsese film about the mafia and crime in New York. They bought off Chris Dodd, who’s capitulated to the darkside while “interviewing” for a million dollar job as a lobbyist. They bought off, President Obama. Turns out he’s no Luke Skywalker, no ”game-changer,” not even much of a Chicago politican. They spent $400 million to kill financial reforms in Congress, to make absolutely sure the American public gets screwed, again … and in the process, they are setting up the next collapse. The big one. The dotcom crash didn’t do it. The subprime credit meltdown didn’t do it. What will? Another, bigger event … a combo of the “Collapse of the American Empire,” plus the “Great Depression II.”

If financial reform ain’t dead, it’ll end up watered down to nothing. That was obvious in a recent Charlie Rose interview with financial reformer Elizabeth Warren in Bloomberg/BusinessWeek: Outrage and Financial Reform. Warren’s a Harvard Law School Professor chairing of the Congressional Oversight Panel. The panel was ”created in 2008 to monitor the Treasury’s bank bailout and to review the regulation of financial markets.” Wall Street hates any reform that would expose their insatiable greed fighting all financial reforms in America, especially the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). So Wall Street doesn’t like Warren much. Here are a few clips summarizing why she’s an Eliot Ness character they’d like to eliminate:

There are seven bureaucracies in Washington right now that each own a piece of consumer financial protection. Bloated, inefficient, and either ignored and ineffective or captured by the large financial institutions. [This is] the regulatory system we’ve got now. It works very well for the large financial institutions because it means no effective regulation. What I want is to take this agency out of those seven agencies, shrink it down, and make it effective. You’ve got to have an agency that’s ultimately independent, whether it’s located within the Fed, within Treasury, within the Department of Agriculture, or whether it sits in its own separate place. The key is whether or not it is functionally independent. Does it write its own rules? Does it enforce those rules and does it have access to a budget that’s independent of the folks who want to smother it? (More)

America has “Lost Its Moral Compass:” Lawmakers, Lobbyists, Bankers … and Main Street Investors Too?
by Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD
| Discuss | | 5/8/2010

The “blame game” grows: Nothing’s getting done … Congress is dysfunctional … no, it’s President Obama … or the GOP’s “Tea Party of No-No” … gridlock and filibuster threats frightening wussy Democrats … Goldman Sachs is a favorite target … and of course, the new villian, lobbyists. Matt Bai writing in a NYTimes, Laws For Sale, adds some interesting perspective, first noting how bad the lobbyists are, then shifting the blame to Congress. However, Bai may be missing the gigger picture, how American government has morphed from a democracy to ”corporate  anarchy” where it’s “every man-for-himself,” each special interest and their lobbyists are forced to fight in for their slice of the $1.5 trillion federal budget pie. But I get ahead of myself. Here’s Matt Bai’s insightful comments:

Plaintiffs’ lawyers must be holding their heads a little higher when they walk into P.T.A. meetings and neighborhood parties these days, knowing that corporate lobbyists have overtaken them as the most despised professionals in America. Lobbyists have never been especially popular … As a candidate, Barack Obama made a point of vowing to banish them from the White House. (This proved considerably harder to do than it was to say … In the past year, though, antilobbyist fervor has grown even more intense, as hope for a new governing era has given way to frustration with a divided capital and a dysfunctional Congress. (More)

USAToday: ‘Political Non-Profits Ramp Up Their Rhetoric.’ But Why Trust a ‘Committee for Truth in Politics’ That Refuses to Disclose ‘The Truth’ About Who’s Secretly Bankrolling $5 Million of Their Political Propaganda?
by Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD
| Discuss | | 4/28/2010

Read Fredreka Schouten’s article in USAToday: Political Non-Profits Ramp Up Rhetoric Ahead of Elections. No, this is not about any infringement of First Amendment rights that bothers people. It’s the lack of transparency, whether in Washington, on Wall Street or Main Street … you can’t see the source of the rhetoric nor their biases … so you can’t gauge how much these so-called “non-profits” will “profit” by successfully selling their message and manipulating the public, when, for example, you’re trying to figure out whose behind a “storefront” organization that has a deceptive name like “Committee  for Truth in Politics” but refuses to tell the “real truth” about who’s behind their $5 million political propaganda machine. Here’s the story in USAToday:

A little-known group, the Committee for Truth in Politics, recently made a big splash: It spent $5 million on television ads denouncing Democratic efforts in Congress to impose new regulations on the financial industry. The public can’t find out who’s behind the ads, because the group doesn’t have to disclose its donors under federal law. The group’s lawyer Jim Bopp, a Republican activist from Terre Haute, Ind., won’t reveal details about donors or organizers, saying they must be protected from lawmakers who will “attack and punish people who are willing to step forward and tell the truth about politicians.” (More)