Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Trump restocking the swamp one bankster at a time

President Donald Trump campaigned on a platform to restore power to the people.  He claimed to be a champion of the working people who have been pillaged by the Deep State since 2000.  Trump declared that under his tutelage the rich, including himself would pay their fair share of taxes and that he would extract America from wars that ensure the existence of the Federal Reserve Bank. 

Candidate Trump barnstormed across the country endearing himself to the long suffering every man, promising to drain the swamp of the bottom feeders who have enslaved them.  Now President Trump is restocking the swamp one bankster at a time.  From Mike Adams at Natural News:


$1 trillion budget deal confirms America’s horrifying swamptopian future, hopelessly beyond the zenith of reform or reason

(Natural News) It’s over for America. The “hail Mary” Trump revolution has been suffocated by a hoard of spineless, incompetent corporate prostitutes known as “Congress.”  The $1 trillion spending bill now nearing final approval in Washington D.C. proves beyond any doubt that Washington cannot be fixed by Washington.  It is beyond reform… and beyond the hope of even the most optimistic.

The corruption is so deeply ingrained in the system that even well-meaning individuals like Rand Paul are overrun by the swamp monsters who dominate the establishment. Republican or Democrat, it’s all one big, fat, corrupt party now: THE PARTY OF BIG GOVERNMENT…

No matter who we elect, no matter what the intention of the new people going into the system, the swamp suffocates the good intentions out of them, turning even the most well-meaning individuals into war mongers, statists and betrayers of the American people…. 

We’ve all been conned yet again, which frankly isn’t that surprising. Our election of Donald Trump was primarily an effort to block the coronation of Hillary Clinton, who would have terminated the Republic as we know it today and gutted the Bill of Rights. Most of us strongly suspected Trump was walking into a cesspool of corruption and incompetence, and now we know for sure just how impossible it will ever be to drain the swamp at all…

What Trump’s victory and subsequent swampification has demonstrated beyond all doubt is that it doesn’t matter whom we elect, because the swamp is more powerful than any candidate. Even the most well-meaning individual who dares to enter the swamp becomes subsumed by it, fighting for air while being drowned by the sheer mass of the swamp creatures who inhabit the murky waters…  America’s swamptopian future will be bathed in misery unless the swamp can be defeated…

Notably, I do not place the blame for all this at Trump’s feet…  Now, the swamp monsters themselves are so far beyond recognition that they don’t even appear to be of human origin. They have transformed into wretched creatures of the corporate elite, sucking off the teats of corporate power while thrashing violently at the edges of the swamp, ensnaring well-meaning legislators into their sticky tentacles.

Mike Adams is right the swamp creatures cannot reform themselves they are too far gone.  As Dr. Paul Craig Roberts puts it “AmericanDemocracy is dead man walking.”


American Democracy: A Dead Man Walking

Trump’s “sell-out,” as it is called, coming on top of Obama’s eight-year “sell-out,” is instructive. We have now had a Democratic president who sold out the people who elected him and a Republican president who has done the same thing. This is a very interesting point, the meaning of which most people miss.

But not Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. At the Valdai discussion club, Putin summed up Western democracy, which I paraphrase as follows:

In the West, voters cannot change policies through elections, because the ruling elites control whoever is elected. Elections give the appearance of democracy, but voting does not change the policies that favor war and the elites. Therefore, the will of the people is impotent.

People are experiencing that they and their votes have no influence on the conduct of affairs of the country. This makes them afraid, frustrated, and angry, a combination of emotions that is dangerous to the ruling elite, who in response organize the powers of the state against the people, while urging them with propaganda to support more wars.

Obama promised to get out of Afghanistan or Iraq or perhaps it was both. He promised to reverse the police state created by the George W. Bush regime. He promised to focus American resources on American domestic problems, such as health care.

But what did he do? He expanded the wars and launched new ones, destroyed Libya and attempted to destroy Syria…  Obama overthrew democratic governments in Honduras and Ukraine. He expanded the police state…  He betrayed the American people again by allowing the private insurance industry to write his health care plan known as Obamacare. The private interests wrote a plan that diverts public monies from health care to their profits…

All of this is forgotten when the ruling elites and the presstitutes that serve only them refocused the demonization on Trump. Suddenly, it was the president-elect of the United States who was the main danger to the US and the American people…

Trump succumbed to pressure and sacrificed his National Security Advisor, who was supportive of Trump’s promise to normalize relations with Russia. Trump replaced him with a Russophobic idiot who apparently cannot wait to see mushroom clouds over cities all over the Western world…

Why did two presidents in succession completely sell out the people who voted for them?

The answer is that presidents are not as powerful as the interest groups who make the decisions.

So let’s take a look at the swamp monster banksters who are running the Trump Administration.  Where better to start than with my favorite writer on the subject Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone:


Man Trump Named to Fix Mortgage Markets Figured in Infamous Financial Crisis Episode

Former Morgan Stanley banker once dumped "shitbag" CDOs on clients

In early 2007, a group of Morgan Stanley bankers bundled a group of subprime mortgage instruments into a package they hoped to sell to investors. The only problem was, they couldn't come up with a name for the package of mortgage-backed derivatives, which they all knew were doomed.

The bankers decided to play around with potential names. In a series of emails back and forth, they suggested possibilities. "Jon is voting for 'Hitman,'" wrote one. "How about 'Nuclear Holocaust 2007-1?'" wrote another, adding a few more possible names: Shitbag, Mike Tyson's Punchout and Fludderfish.

Eventually they stopped with the comedy jokes, gave the pile of "nuclear" assets a more respectable name – "Stack" – and sold the $500 million Collateralized Debt Obligation with a straight face to the China Development Industrial Bank. Within three years, the bank was suing a series of parties, including Morgan Stanley, to recover losses from the toxic fund.

The name on the original registration document for Stack? Craig S. Phillips, then president of Morgan Stanley's ABS (Asset-Backed Securities) division…

This is just another detail in the emerging absurd narrative that is Donald Trump naming Phillips, of all people, to head up the effort to reform the Government-Sponsored Entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

As ace investigative reporter Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times noted in a piece back on April 7th, Phillips headed a division that sold billions of dollars of mortgage-backed investments to Fannie and Freddie. Many of those investments were as bad as the ones his unit sold to the Chinese. In fact, as Morgenson noted, Phillips became a named defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), which essentially charged, as the Chinese did, that MORGAN STANLEY KNOWINGLY SOLD FANNIE AND FREDDIE A PILE OF CRAP.

Morgan Stanley ended up having to pay $625 million apiece to Fannie and Freddie to settle securities fraud charges in that case.

Phillips worked in an area of investment banking that was highly lucrative and highly predatory. The basic scam in the subprime world in particular was buying up mortgages from people who couldn't possibly afford them, making those bad mortgages into securities, and then turning around and hawking those same mortgages to unsuspecting institutional dopes like the Chinese and Fannie and Freddie.

Phillips had a critical role in this activity. As Morgan Stanley's ABS chief, he was among other things responsible for liaising with fly-by-night subprime mortgage lenders like New Century, who fanned into low-income neighborhoods and handed out subprime mortgages to anyone with a pulse…

Of those bad actors, there is a subset of still-worse actors, who not only sold these toxic investments to institutional investors like pension funds and Fannie and Freddie, but helped get a generation of home borrowers – often minorities and the poor – into deadly mortgages that ended up wiping out their equity.

Phillips, who helped Fannie and Freddie into substantial losses and worked with predatory firms like New Century, belongs in this second category. As Beavis and Butthead would put it, Phillips comes from the "ass of the ass."

Yes, another bankster swamp monster at the ready to begin the great heist of American Treasury 2.0.  With Phillips, who Matt Taibbi classifies as “in the category of the ass of the ass” in charge of Fanny and Freddie we can expect another mortgage bailout.  Maybe the swamp monsters can learn a lesson from Canada, who is going through a mortgage implosion right now.  From Natural News:


Of Bunkers, Bankers and Black Swans

A calm surface is exactly what Black Swans like to land on, though by definition we will not know they’re out there until our reveries are broken by the sound of wings flapping. Some kind of dirty bird showed up on Canada’s thawing pond last week when that country’s biggest home loan lender suffered a 60 percent pukage of shareholder equity and had to be bailed out — not by the Canadian government directly, but by the Ontario Province’s Health Care Workers Pension Fund, a neat bit of hocus pocus that amounts to a one-year emergency loan at ten percent interest.

If that’s a way for insolvent public employee pension plans to find enough “yield” to meet their obligations, then maybe that could be the magic bullet for the USA’s foundering pension funds. The next time Citibank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and friends get a case of the Vapors, let them be bailed out by the Detroit School Bus Drivers’ Pension Fund at ten percent interest. That ought to work. And let Calpers take care of Wells Fargo.

The situation across Western Civilization is as follows: virtually every major financial institution has become a check-kiting operation or a Ponzi scheme, and we’ve reached the point where they can only pretend to be rescued. Bailout or not, the Toronto-based Home Capital Group is still stuck with shit-loads of non-performing sub-prime mortgage loans — its specialty — and Canada’s spectacular real estate bubble has hardly begun to pop. The collateral is starting to turn, like dead meat in the May sunshine, and the odium will waft across the border.

It doesn’t take much to blow things up, as the world discovered in several other historically recent episodes.

The 1998 banking contagion started with the collapse of Thailand’s currency, called the baht. I doubt you could count on one hand the number of people in Wall Street or the Federal Reserve (with its 300-plus PhD economists) who gave a flying fuck about the Thai baht. Before you knew it, South Korea and Indonesia started whirling around the drain. And then Russia felt the suck.

And then the Nobel Prize winning economists at a Connecticut hedge fund called Long Term Capital Management found out the hard way that their “secret sauce” investment formula which “could not fail in the life of this universe or several like it,” fatally poisoned its balance sheet on a repast of Russian sovereign bonds after only about eighteen months. And it took all the poobahs of American banking to paper over the firm’s death about five minutes before the global banking system would shut down via the greatest daisy chain of cross-collateralized financial booby-traps ever assembled.

And ten years later, there was the fiasco of 2008, starring Lehman Brothers and a demonic host of grifters trafficking in worthless bonded debt around the sub-prime mortgage racket tied into a toxic web of “derivative financial products” — i.e. bad bets between insolvent counter-parties masquerading as “insurance” against unsound investment. Trillions of bailout monies conjured out of thin air fixed that, oh yes it did!

So enjoy the festivities around the Maypole today, and the suddenly calm waters of global affairs, and keep your ears pricked for the sound of wings flapping.

Now the same swamp monsters are crafting another budget busting $1-7 trillion dollar tax cut for their bankster masters.  The money is flowing and the good times are here for the fat cats that is.  From Truthout:


Another GOP Tax Plan for Captains of Industry

As he ran for office, Donald Trump repeatedly reminded audiences that he was "really, really rich," but assured voters that as president he would be a working man's champion, a blue-collar Superman.

He said he would stop corporations from offshoring manufacturing jobs with a border adjustment tax on imports. He would end trade cheating and declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office. He would launch within his first 100 days a $1 trillion infrastructure improvement program to create millions of jobs fixing the nation's airports, bridges and roads.

Trump's record of promise-keeping to America's working men and women in his first 100 days is this: So far, no good…

The tax plan rewards the captains of industry, the captains of Wall Street, the captains of real estate, like, well, like Trump himself. But the middle class, not so fast. The poor, not at all. Someone needs to tell Donald Trump that banksters and real estate tycoons sporting navy golf polos aren't blue-collar workers. The tax scheme, like so many of Trump's other pledges to workers, is a stab in the back of that indigo shirt.

On the campaign trail, Trump said rich people like him should pay more in taxes. Yet, the tax plan he offered last week would cut his taxes -- by tens of millions a year. That's because it would eliminate the alternative minimum tax. This is a levy intended to require billionaires like Trump to pay at least something after subtracting their multitude of special-rich-people deductions.

Trump has refused to release his tax returns -- the first American president to keep them secret since Gerald Ford, who provided summaries. But Trump's 2005 return, uncovered in part by a newspaper, shows that he had to pay $31 million as a result of the alternative minimum tax.

Trump's plan also calls for eliminating the estate tax. That is paid only by people who inherit more than $5.5 million -- as Trump's children will. And it calls for cutting by more than half, to 15 percent, the tax paid by entities called pass-through corporations. Trump's attorneys indicated in his presidential financial disclosures that his approximately 500 businesses are almost all pass-throughs…  A 2015 study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research found that the top 1 percent gets 69 percent of pass-through income.

Right now, a worker can't get in on that low 15 percent tax rate unless reporting income below $37,950. But doctors and lawyers and investment bankers would get that special discount rate, no matter how much they make, as long as they pay a few bucks to establish a pass-through corporation. Trump's plan would allow a lawyer paid $1 million a year to cut his taxes by $180,000 by setting up a pass-through.

Certainly, with all of those perks going to the nation's most wealthy, Trump's tax men would assure workers that they will benefit too.

Not really. When asked on ABC's "Good Morning America" last week whether the middle class would pay more under the plan, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: "I can't make any guarantees."

And the director of Trump's National Economic Council, Gary D. Cohn, could not say how much of a break -- if any­ -- a middle-income American would get under the plan.

Trump's money men, Mnuchin and Cohn, said slashing levies on the wealthy will pay for itself because giving the rich more cash will spur economic growth. So, no need to worry about Trump's tax cuts ballooning the national debt, they assured…

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, put it this way: "It seems the administration is using economic growth like magic beans: the cheap solution to all our problems."

Ronald Reagan, who like Trump was adored by blue-collar workers, promised that benefits from his massive tax cuts for the rich would trickle down to the rest. That never worked. But now Trump is taking advice from the same Svengali and promoting the same flim-flam plan.

Those heartland workers can't tolerate another hit. But it's not just taxes. The health insurance proposal Trump is pushing would cost many low- and middle-income workers thousands of dollars more a year.

It now costs a billion dollars to run a two-year presidential campaign controlled by billionaires.  After the billionaires’ handmaiden presidents leave office their largess awaits them.  From Cal Thomas at USA Today: 


Cal Thomas: Exploiting the presidency

Every president since Nixon has used the office as a stepping stone to great wealth. Ronald Reagan was paid $2 million for two speeches in Japan. George W. Bush has made an estimated 200 speeches since leaving office, some to benefit wounded warriors and others to benefit himself. Bush once told The New York Times, "I don't know how much my dad gets, but it's more than 50, 75 thousand dollars a speech." According to Politico, Bush 43 makes between $100,000 and $175,000 per appearance.

Then there are the Clintons, who took post-presidential moneymaking to new heights (or depths, depending on your perspective).

Now comes former President Barack Obama, who is receiving $400,000 for a one-hour speech at a conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald, a Wall Street firm. Like his Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded soon after he took office with no accomplishments to warrant it, Obama is getting the money primarily for his celebrity, not his deeds.  

As Time magazine noted, "Obama's annual presidential pension is $205,700," which is what the other living ex-presidents get. Like the others, Obama will receive subsidies for travel, office staff and supplies, as well as Secret Service protection. Ex-vice presidents also receive pensions after leaving office, though not protection from the Secret Service.

Since 1958, Congress has generously provided for our ex-presidents, including transition money for office and staff expenses, good for seven months after leaving office, as well as Secret Service protection for life. To Carter's credit, however, of all the modern presidents, he cashes in the least, if he can be said to at all. He rarely accepts speaking fees, and when he does he usually donates the proceeds to his charitable foundation…

Congress should consider reducing payments in direct proportion to how much presidents make in "retirement." With the debt approaching $20 trillion, taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for underwriting lifestyles of former presidents that would have outraged Coolidge and Truman and probably most presidents since George Washington.

Here’s words I never thought I’d write, Cal Thomas is right.  If you are collecting Social Security benefits and you are 65 or younger and you earn more than $$16,920 you will have $1 in benefits withheld for every $2 in earned income over the limit.  Yet if you are a swamp monster  you can make unlimited wealth on top of your presidential pension of $205,700 for life.  Does that seem fair?  President Trump isn’t draining the swamp he’s restocking the swamp one bankster swamp monster at a time. 

By Patricia Baeten

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