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Tightening the Screws

By       Message David Glenn Cox     Permalink
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The waves have become muted in an oil-soaked tide, moving in slow motion. They wash over us and leave us polluted and muted as well. The oil spill in the Gulf is a metaphor for our American society. We shake our fists and shout with fervent, moral outrage that a Phoenix police officer can askfor an IDat a traffic stop, from someone who speaks no English, while at the same time we take little notice that the President of these here United States has claimed the unilateral power to declare American citizens enemies of the state and have them executed.

It's taking on absurdist and surrealist proportions, thick and oily, dark and filthy, choking us and killing our political environment. The President plans to appoint James Cole to be the number two man at the Justice Department. Cole was a Justice Department official for 13 years before heading into private practice. He was a member of the Clinton transition team; he then served as deputy chief of the public integrity section of the Justice Department.

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Then he left government service and went into private practice where he counseled Enron and their accountants, Arthur Andersen among others. He defended McDonnell-Douglas when they were indicted for criminal export violations. He represented individuals and entities in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters and individuals and entities accused in money laundering investigations.

He also defended individuals and companies in the health care field in disputes concerning billing fraud and abuse and FDA regulatory issues. When you get in trouble with the government it's always best to have an insider defending you, someone who knows not only the prosecutors by their first names but their kids' first names as well.

In 2004 Cole was hired as part of a government settlement to monitor AIG's regulatory compliance, financial reporting, whistle-blower protection and employee retention policies. His job was as a watchdog, submitting confidential reports to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2008 when AIG blew up and had to be bailed out to the tune of $182 billion, it was explained by the Wall Street Journal that "Cole's assignment didn't include probing the issues that led to the company's near collapse, including credit-default swaps."

A partner in a Washington corporate practice that makes its bread and butter by defending the lowest, slimiest corporate creatures ever to wash up on the beach. A man whose career is a procession of insider politics and corporate money, a man whose most recent assignment was as a watchdog and who claimed it wasn't his department just got promoted to the number two position at the Justice Department. Yes, indeed, we're going to change the way Washington does business.

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The Federal Trade Commission yesterday unanimously approved Google's $750 million purchase of AdMob. AdMob is a leader in advertising for handheld devices and Google is the leader in Internet advertising overall. The FTC said in a statement that the deal, "is unlikely to harm competition in the emerging market for mobile advertising networks." Right, you create a megalith, a giant corporation with a majority share of all Internet advertising revenue and then claim it won't affect competition? Well, if you look at from the standpoint that there won't be any competition, I guess they're right. Imagine what it would cost to go into direct competition with McDonalds nationwide.

The purpose of the Federal Trade Commission is consumer protection by preventing "anti-competitive" business practices. Swing and a miss, not my department, we thought the blow out protector would work. It worked forty percent of the time when we tested it.

Meanwhile, America's largest employer, Wal-Mart, wants to take over the transportation of its suppliers' goods. The Bentonville billionaires claim that this will cut costs and help their suppliers to sell more goods by lowering costs. It is an interesting theory, much like Vito Corleone walking into a speakeasy and saying, "I'm going to make you an offer that you can't refuse." Wal-Mart has no intention of providing this service for free. It is a strong-arm tactic to supersede the suppliers' transportation channels with their own. It is not capitalism it is gangsterism. It is Wal-Mart using their dominant market position to strong-arm their suppliers.

"The plan allows Wal-Mart's fleet of 6,500 trucks and 55,000 trailers to carry more per truck and improve on-time delivery rates," said Leon Nicholas, a director at consulting firm Kantar Retail. They are admitting that this plan is about helping Wal-Mart, not the suppliers or customers. There is a cancerous slime covering the surface of the free market, choking out competition like turtles, dolphins and sea birds. Where is our market blow out protector? It doesn't work, it was approved by the agencies that claim it's not their job and litigated by the attorneys that work both sides of the street.

It makes you wonder; it makes you look inside yourself and ask, "What the hell is going on here?" Just how many barrels of black filth can be dumped on our society before we can no longer swim or breathe? Are we to become just more floating dead refuse in a corporate Uber Alles land. They insist that the well is only, "only" leaking 5,000 barrels a day; then they explain that the four inch pipe inside the twenty-one inch pipe is collecting forty percent of the oil but are hard pressed to explain how it collected 5,000 barrels yesterday.

The US Senate just passed its version of financial reform legislation. The Capitol had been swamped with lobbyists and bankers advocating that the powers of the Federal Reserve not be curtailed. So successful was their effort that amendments calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve and ending their control over banks with $50 billion in assets were voted down by 89 Senators.

The Senate voted for a mechanism to liquidate failing institutions nice and quiet-like, instead of all those glaring headlines and claims from government watchdogs that it wasn't their department. Kind of like Luca Brasi, two minutes with a piano wire and it's all over, nice and quiet, and the banks cast lots for the leavings and canoles.

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Bloomberg- "The Fed's authorities seemed to be under serious threat," said David Nason, a former assistant U.S. Treasury secretary who's now a managing director at Promontory Financial Group LLC, a Washington-based consulting firm. Instead, the Fed "appears to have regained its footing and now appears to be emerging with at least as much authority and likely more."

Oh, they did more than regain their footing. They regained their footing on your throat. The Senate voted for a consumer protection agency to be run from inside the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve isn't a government agency; it is no more Federal than Federal Express. It is a private corporation made up of a group of banks that have a monopoly over the money supply.

"The Fed didn't get everything it wanted. The bill would make the New York Fed president a political appointee and put the consumer-protection agency inside the central bank without giving it a direct role in running the new bureau."

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)
 

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