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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

April, 2009


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Throw The Money-Changers Out of Their Wall Street Temples
By Edward W. Miller M.D.

And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple and turned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, 'It is written, 'My house show be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers." -Matthew 21: 12

Let us Prohibit in effective fashion all corporations from making contributions for any political purpose, directly or indirectly." -President Theodore Roosevelt


The ongoing failure of millions of "sub-prime" mortgages with 4 million more threatened foreclosures across the country, the increasing lack of "affordable housing", along with a consumer debt of over $2.52 trillion, and a major economic recession stretching across the industrial world, comes as no surprise to those who have watched Congress, over the past half century again and again surrender to Wall Street lobbying.

The first major slide downhill took place on June 23rd, 1947, when a newly elected Republican Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act over president Truman's veto. The results of this assault on American labor appeared gradually over the years. Beginning in 1972, statistics began to show that wages were already falling below the costs of living for the American middle class.

The present huge pyramid of debt, both public and private was made possible by the weakening of labor's political input plus thirty years of Congress' relentless deregulation of our financial markets, culminating, during the Clinton Administration in the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited banks from dealing in high-risk securities.

In effect, Washington 's supposed regulators had become passive enablers to Wall Street's financial binge drinkers. Economist Paul Krugman told the TV audience on the Charlie Rose Show, that "Deregulation started with Reagan."

As columnist Robert Scheer pointed out (March 2008, SF Chronicle): " The Clinton-backed Gramm-Leach-Baily Act of 1999 called the "Financial Services Modernization Act," permitted banks, stock brokers, and insurance companies to merge and was exacerbated by Bush's appointment of rapacious corporate foxes to watch the corporate hen house." They will take care of their own." The Glass-Steagall Act had been a major regulatory achievement of the New Deal.

Alex Cockburn, noted (THE NATION, Oct. 13,2008) that a year after The Clinton-backed Gramm-Leach-Baily Act was signed into law: "Gramm, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, attached a 262-page amendment to an omnibus appropriations bill right before Senate recess. Gramm's amendment became the Commodity Futures Modernization Act which ok'd deregulation of investment banks, exempting most over-the-counter derivatives, credit derivatives and credit default swaps from regulatory scrutiny."

Congress' attempt to rein-in Wall Street's reckless pursuit of sub prime money with the 1994 HOME OWNERSHIP AND EQUITY PROTECTION ACT, supposedly written to police high-interest loans, proved, as critics had warned, to be ineffective.

The willingness of banks to accept sub-prime mortgages had begun over ten years ago as deregulation led to corporate theft in both Republican and Democratic administrations. In the past, mortgage holders who faced problems might go to their banker and negotiate changes in term limits or interest rates. Today their banker, who has bundled that mortgage along with a thousand others and is gambling with it on the international roulette wheel of "derivatives," "hedge funds," and "credit default swaps," may say: "Sorry, I just can't lay my hands on your mortgage papers."

It wasn't jus those millions of mortgage loans, bundled together and sold on the Wall Street roulette wheel as "hedge funds" or "derivatives" but also millions of loans made by those buying cars and even loans made by college students to cover tuition. The sale of these "bundles" was facilitated by complicated usury schemes that included Wall Street traders forming many little rating businesses mimicking STANDARD AND POOR, (two of whose staff had reported on the Bill Moyers Show, that their company had also presented false values to unwary buyers.) Financier Warner Buffett called derivatives "weapons of financial mass destruction."

Corporate corruption has been present at the highest level. On April 1st, 2008 (Reuters) - An internal JP Morgan Chase (JPM) memo titled "Zippy Cheats & Tricks" offered a peek into those dubious lending tactics underpinning the housing market's downward spiral. This J.P. Morgan Chase internal memo titled: "Zippy Cheating Tricks," sneaked to the press by an employee (who has since been fired), says it all: The piece was originally obtained by reporters at the PORTLAND OREGONIAN newspaper, which printed it on March 27th, 2008. The sneaked memo outlined in step-by-step instructions just how to beef up mortgage applicants' statements in order to qualify them for home loans they otherwise could not afford.

The instructions read as follows:
1. Make sure your assets input all income in base income. DO NOT break it down by overtime, commissions or bonus.

2. If your borrower is getting a gift, add it to a bank account along with the rest of the assets. Be sure to remove any mention of gift funds.

3. If you do not get (the desired results), try resubmitting with slightly higher income. Inch it up 500 to see if you can get the findings you want. Do the same for assets."

THE FEDERAL RESERVE, was much in the news, beginning in 2007, as it loaned "bail-out" money to banks. promising some $200 Billion as a "lender of last resort" to 20 major Wall Street firms, was a role it had played since its founding in 1913, but then, only for commercial banks. In 1902 and again in 1909, J.P. Morgan had personally set aside funds to bail out potential failing banks.

"The Federal Reserve System (FRS) is not Federal, but a privately owned and controlled coalition of banks. The Fed has no reserves except the paper money it orders printed. The FRS prints at will with no significant oversight from Congress. The system has always been a scam. The real purpose of the Fed is to transfer wealth, such as real property and other assets into the hands of the Fed's owners with printed-paper. It is the evil product of a conspiracy of bankers and tycoons who secretly met on Jekyl Island on Christmas Eve 1913.

As Globalresearch.ca (25 July, 2008) noted: "To get their bill passed ... the Wall Street faction changed the bull's name to the Federal Reserve Act and brought it up for vote three days before Christmas when Congress was preoccupied with departure for the holidays... The Bill was so obscurely written that no one really understood its provisions... The national money supply would be printed by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing but it would be issued as an obligation or debt of the government to a private central bank.

The Federal Reserve is wholly owned by a consortium of private banks; it is controlled by bankers and protects their interests. It issues Federal Reserve Notes (dollar bills) for the cost of entering numbers on a computer screen.

This privately issued money is then lent to the government and is owed back to the private Federal Reserve with interest. The interest is eventually refunded to the government, but only after the Fed deducts its operating expenses and a 6% guaranteed return for its bank stockholders.

Congress and the President have some input in appointing the Federal Reserve Board, but the Board works behind closed doors with regional bankers, without congressional oversight or control. Bank CEOs actually sit on the Boards of the Fed's twelve branches. The banking lobby is powerful because private bankers, not the government, create our money and control who gets it.

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was a major coup for the international bankers. They had battled for more than a century to establish a private central bank in the United States with the exclusive right to "monetize" the government's debt, i.e. to print their own money and exchange it for government securities or IOUs.

The Federal Reserve Act authorized a private central bank to create money out of nothing, lend it to the government, at interest, and control the national money supply, expanding it or contracting it at will

Representative Charles Lindbergh, Sr. (father of America's flying hero) said: "This Act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President signs the Bill, the invisible government of the Monetary Power will be legalized... The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency Bill."

A collaborating step down in the economic slide has been the onslaught by the Credit-Card industry which began mailing their plastic cards out by the millions to unwary shoppers who, lacking enough cash at the Safeway checkout, found it increasingly easy to run that pretty piece of plastic through the machine. "In 2006 banks sent out 8 billion credit card applications, a 30% increase since 2005. Credit card companies now spend an average of $56 to sign up a new customer, and since 1996 when the Supreme Court struck down limits on credit card fees, the average late penalty has jumped 102% and the average fee for exceeding credit card limits rose 138%. Before long Americans found themselves with billions in credit-card debt (Mother Jones Sept 2007).

Added to American families credit card debt, the temptation to borrow at pay days to cover household expenses, has added another tremendous load of personal indebtedness to many Americans and created a new and usury-supported industry, the Pay Day Loans Companies, which today represent a $40 billion industry in the US with their interest rates sometimes as high as 200%. Household debt was $13.8 Trillion in 2008, up $2 Trillion over 2005. Of the $13.8 trillion, $10.5 trillion was for mortgages and most of the balance for credit purchases. (America Debt Report)

Unlike Franklin D. Roosevelt, who faced the 1930s depression with no wars and a well funded US treasury, and thus was able to put millions of unemployed to work in a vast array of public works projects, Obama inherited a government trillions in debt and losing two wars. Congress, while it (hopefully) redesigns the Federal Reserve to meet America's needs, must halt the hemorrhaging of tax revenue by closing overseas tax shelters, revoke the Bush Jr. tax loopholes for the rich, and take the cap off Social Security contributions, thus forcing the wealthy to shoulder their fair share of our nation's financial support.

A tariff on all goods manufactured abroad, no matter who owns the company, as the EU countries all do, would encourage the return of a much-needed manufacturing base to our shores.

Not one politician campaigning for the 2009 election, except Ralph Nader, mentioned repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act. If our present congress won't repeal Taft-Hartley, lobby your representatives to pass EFCA, the Employee Free Choice Act.

We should also consider limiting political campaigns to six weeks, with taxpayer funding for both incumbent and challengers plus free TV and radio time for each, and thus return control of this country to its long-suffering people.


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