Protect the Investors? Really?

I keep hearing about how the banks have not been held accountable and they are still profiting madly (and maddeningly) from the bailouts and the fact that they are still being propped up by tax payer money now.

Add to this the fact that the same guys who were in charge then are still in charge now. Not only that, but many of them got record bonuses that year because on paper they made record profits… Because of the bailouts.

Now, I tend to agree with most people this far. It sucks that this happened. The bankers involved should be jailed, not given bonuses. This is where it gets a bit messed up, and where many in the mainstream media seem to get confused. I am going to use words that may sound very capitalistic for a few moments, but it is unavoidable since we are talking about banks.

The people in the media, who quite often are relatively intelligent people so I won’t call them idiots, actually feel sorry for and want to protect the investors while finding a way to punish the bankers. They WANT the banks to be held financially liable for what they did, but they DON’T want to hold the investors accountable.

What the fuck do they think investing means? The investors, the shareholders specifically, OWN the banks. It is THEIR investment. The guys that the bleeding heart types want to hold entirely accountable (and they should be held to account. I am not saying they should not), are employees of the bank, and not owners.

Yes, those with fiduciary/fiscal responsibilities and authority should be held accountable when they fuck up. That does not mean however that their bosses should be given expensive parachutes and a padded drop zone to escape the results of allowing the whole thing to crash.

Do we want to protect the economy? Yes.

Do we want to protect the depositors? Yes.

Do we want to protect the people directly responsible, and the ones who hired them to do it? Hell no.

Thousands of small business ventures get started and die every year because someone messed up somewhere along the way.

Thousands of long standing businesses collapse and close up shop every year, because of market pressures or because someone just screwed up.

Millions of people lose their jobs when this happens.

What do they get in the way of protection? Well, if they had their paperwork in order they can file it as a loss on their income taxes. That is it. Nothing else. They can file bankruptcy if they figure out what is going on in time. Beyond that, they and their investors are pretty much screwed.

When the crash came, we (the tax payers) bailed the banks out. THAT was our token gesture to the investors. How do they repay us? They gave record bonuses to the idiots that did it. This is called complicity. This is called approval of behavior. That action effectively absolved me of any pity I might have for them when it came to the issue of who to hold accountable.

If the banks are too big to fail, then one of two things needs to happen. Either they need to divide them up majorly, or they need to take them over. Nationalize the suckers and keep them nationalized until such a time as they can once again be able to operate without being “too big to fail.”

Yes, that means using tax payer dollars to insure the deposits… But we already do that, and the depositors are not at fault.

I will make one caveat to my above comments, and that is this: The first banks to nationalize should be the reserve banks… With no provision to ever privatize them again. Their role in our economy is too important to allow them to follow the same sort of stupid behaviors that banks are expected to make. On top of that, it would bring our current currency more in line with the guidelines provided by the constitution. Our government is supposed to generate money, not privatized banks.

We are Freaking Out Over Nonsense

So… I see a trend, and it is not just on the right.

People are picking up on “scandals” and “outrages” that are being fed to them by their respective “wings” of the media.

People are getting all worked up on little things that are at most slights, and offenses.

People are freaking out over things that are flat out not true and have been debunked a thousand times over, because their favorite pundit is still pushing the issue.

You know what else is happening as a result?

It is a heck of a lot easier for the media to conveniently overlook some pretty heinous stuff. It is a heck of a lot easier for the media to run horse and pony shows while the real news is overlooked, ignored, or worst yet, flat out changed.

Stephen Colbert has a slogan for his show: “When news breaks, we fix it.” There is a reason for this. He is a satirist, and that is how he sees the real “news” media most of the time.

If we are taking the horse and pony show, and seeing it as real news; If we are accepting all the little nit picking details as controversy; then it is a hell of a lot easier for the media outlets to feed us the party line. It is a lot easier for them to make out normal people as criminals and heroes as villains.

We have wars going on that are not legal under international law. These wars are only called wars when it is convenient, such as when they want to invoke the espionage act.

We have secret laws: you know the thing that once sent famous politicians into a frenzy because they were introduced in other countries. These secret laws are being used to clamp down on first, fourth, and fifth amendments.

We have journalists under investigation by the FBI and CIA for… Yeah, journalism. Peaceful activists are on FBI watch lists, and potential whistle blowers dare not speak up without fleeing the country first (or at least preparing to do so).

Let me ask you this: What is a bigger issue, protecting your already existing right to say “Merry Christmas” that no one is trying to take away, or the fact that pretty much all of our online communications and the meta-data on all of our phone calls is being stored away in a massive database out in the desert? Now, which one have you heard more about on the news?

Modern American Slavery: The Prison Industrial Complex

The Private Prison Industry is one of America’s greatest shames. Corporations contract to the states to run prisons. They profit off of every person in their “care” and they generally have minimum occupancy agreements with the states that run as high as 90%.

This means that our governments are not only paying another entity to run our prisons at a profit, but they are promising to keep bodies in the beds. There is no way to make such a promise unless you are also promising (spoken or unspoken) to violate every constitutional principle a person can think of.

These corporations crow proudly that they are “Successfully” keeping their facilities full and that they are “successfully” increasing occupancy every year. Sorry, but by the very nature of a prison system, growth is a failure not a success. It only counts as a success if you are a share holder or a board member who is counting the inmates as units of money and not people.

The rise of the prison industry as a for-profit industry has caused massive damage to us as a society.

“We believe we have been successful in increasing the number of residents in our care and continue to pursue a number of initiatives intended to further increase our occupancy and revenue.” – CCA 2010 Annual Report

This quote basically says it all.

* Their lobbyists push to keep the war on drugs going.
* Their lobbyists push for policies like “Stop and Frisk.”
* Their lobbyists are entirely responsible for the various “Three Strikes” laws.
* Their lobbyists push the agenda to have more police in schools (as opposed to private security firms) resulting in police being involved in the disciplinary process of the schools. More children are in prison as a result.
* They actively push the agenda to increase the number of undocumented immigrants that are locked up while awaiting trial, even though it has been proven that most are otherwise law abiding and will show up for court dates on their own.
* The level of corruption in the courts has sky rocketed, as they work out back room deals with judges to pay them off for tweaking verdicts and sentencing in favor of the prison system.

This is just the beginning of the list. This doesn’t even begin to deal with the fact that in order to guarantee occupancy, someone’s rights have to be ignored.

People talk about potential dystopian futures. Screw that, we are already there. Human beings, American Citizens, are being treated as cattle, and bought and sold for the profit of corporations. I am not going to point fingers at one political party or the other. After all, the country changes hands between them every four to eight years. Even if that were not true, this took cooperation on the part of both political parties to make happen, and to get to the degraded, depraved state that it is in.

And then of course, there is the most recent addition to the whole fucked up mess. Leasing out prisoners to perform labor for corporations at nickels and dimes per hour. Yes, our nation is slowly but surely reinstating full out slavery. This is going on at the state level now, but the federal government has not stepped in to stop it.

And people wonder where the jobs are going.

Here is a link to a HuffPost article on the subject:
30 Ways the Prison Industry Gets Rich