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All The Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power

Tyler Durden's picture




 

The following is an excerpt from ALL THE PRESIDENTS’ BANKERS: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins (on sale April 8, 2014).  Reprinted with permission from Nation Books. Nomi Prins is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs.


NIXON’S BANKERS: When What Was Good for Wall Street Was Good for the President

Wall Street’s War

While the protests against the Vietnam War intensified in the first years of the Nixon administration, the financial elite was fighting its own war—over the future of banking and against Glass-Steagall regulations. National City Bank chairman Walter Wriston was a steadfast warrior in related battles, as he fought with Chase chairman David Rockefeller for supremacy over the US banker community and for dominance over global finance.

Rockefeller’s sights were set on a grander prize, one with worldwide implications: ending the financial cold war. He made his mark in that regard by opening the first US bank in Moscow since the 1920s, and the first in Beijing since the 1949 revolution.

Augmenting their domestic and international expansion plans, both men and their banks prospered from the emerging and extremely lucrative business of recycling petrodollars from the Middle East into third world countries. By acting as the middlemen—capturing oil revenues and transforming them into high-interest-rate loans, to Latin America in particular—bankers accentuated disparities in global wealth. They dumped loans into developing countries and made huge amounts of money in the process. By funneling profits into debts, they caused extreme pain in the debtor nations, especially when the oil-producing nations began to raise their prices. This raised the cost of energy and provoked a wave of inflation that further oppressed these third world nations, the US population, and other economies throughout the world.

Bank Holding Company Battles

When Eisenhower signed the 1956 Bank Holding Company Act banning interstate banking, he left a large loophole as a conciliatory gambit: a gray area as to what big banks could consider “financially-related business,” which fell under their jurisdiction. In practice, that meant that they could find ways to expand their breadth of services while they figured out ways to grow their domestic grab for depositors. On May 26, 1970, the “Big Three” bankers— Wriston and Rockefeller, along with Alden “Tom” Clausen, chairman of Bank America Corporation—appeared before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee to press their case for widening the loophole.

During the proceedings, Wriston led the charge on behalf of his brethren in the crusade. Tall, slim, elegantly dressed, and the most articulate of the three, he dramatically called on Congress to “throw off some of the shackles on banking which inhibit competition in the financial markets.”

The global financial landscape was evolving. Ever since World War II, US bankers hadn’t worried too much about their supremacy being challenged by other international banks, which were still playing catch-up in terms of deposits, loans, and global customers. But by now the international banks had moved beyond postwar reconstructive pain and gained significant ground by trading with Cold War enemies of the United States. They were, in short, cutting into the global market that the US bankers had dominated by extending themselves into areas in which the US bankers were absent for US policy reasons. There was no such thing as “enough” of a market share in this game. As a result, US bankers had to take a longer, harder look at the “shackles” hampering their growth. To remain globally competitive, among other things, bankers sought to shatter post-Depression legislative barriers like Glass-Steagall.

They wielded fear coated in shades of nationalism as a weapon: if US bankers became less competitive, then by extension the United States would become less powerful. The competition argument would remain dominant on Wall Street and in Washington for nearly three decades, until the separation of speculative and commercial banking that had been invoked by the Glass-Steagall Act would be no more.

Wriston deftly equated the expansion of US banking with general US global progress and power. It wasn’t so much that this connection hadn’t occurred to presidents or bankers since World War II; indeed, that was how the political-financial alliances had been operating. But from that point on, the notion was formally and publicly verbalized, and placed on the congressional record. The idea that commercial banks served the country and perpetuated its global identity and strength, rather than the other way around, became a key argument for domestic deregulation—even if, in practice, it was the country that would serve the banks.

The Penn Central Debacle

There was, however, a fly in the ointment. To increase their size, bankers wanted to be able to accumulate more services or branches beneath the holding company umbrella. But a crisis in another industry would give some legislators pause. The Penn Central meltdown, the first financial crisis of Nixon’s presidency, temporarily dampened the ardency of deregulation enthusiasts. The collapse of the largest, most diverse railroad holding company in America was blamed on overzealous bank lending to a plethora of non-railroad-oriented entities under one holding company umbrella. The debacle renewed debate about a stricter bank holding company bill.

Under Wriston’s guidance, National City had spearheaded a fifty-three-bank syndicate to lend $500 million in revolving credit to Penn Central, even when it showed obvious signs of imminent implosion.

Penn Central had been one of the leading US corporations in the 1960s. President Johnson had supported the merger that spawned the conglomerate on behalf of a friend, railroad merger specialist Stuart Saunders, who became chairman. He had done this over the warnings of the Justice Department and despite allegations of antitrust violations called by its competitors. With nary a regulator paying attention, Penn Central had morphed into more than a railroad holding company, encompassing real estate, hotels, pipelines, and theme parks. Meanwhile, highways, cars, and commercial airlines had chipped away at Penn Central’s dominant market position. To try to compensate,
Penn Central had delved into a host of speculative expansions and deals. That strategy was failing fast. By May 1970, Penn Central was feverishly drawing on its credit lines just to scrounge up enough cash to keep going.

The conglomerate demonstrated that holding companies could be mere shell constructions under which other unrelated businesses could exist, much as the 1920s holding companies housed reckless financial ventures under utility firm banners.

Allegations circulated that Rockefeller had launched a five-day selling strategy of Penn Central stock, culminating with the dumping of 134,400 shares on the fifth day, based on insider information he received as one of the firm’s key lenders. He denied the charges.

In a joint effort with the bankers to hide the Penn Central debacle behind a shield of federal bailout loans, the Pentagon stepped in, claiming that assisting Penn Central was a matter of national defense.5 Under the auspices of national security, Washington utilized the Defense Production Act of 1950, a convenient bill passed at the start of the Korean War that enabled the president to force businesses to prioritize national security–related endeavors.

On June 21, 1970, Penn Central filed for bankruptcy, becoming the first major US corporation to go bust since the Depression. Its failure was not an isolated incident by any means. Instead, it was one of a number of major defaults that shook the commercial paper market to its core. (“Commercial paper” is a term for the short-term promissory notes sold by large corporations to raise quick money, backed only by their promise to pay the amount of the note at the end of its term, not by any collateral.) But the agile bankers knew how to capitalize on that turmoil. When companies stopped borrowing in the flailing commercial paper market, they had to turn to major banks like Chase for loans instead. As a result, the worldwide loans of Chase, First National City Bank, and Bank of America surged to $27.7 billion by the end of 1971, more than double the 1969 total of $13 billion.

A year later, the largest US defense company, Lockheed, was facing bankruptcy, as well. Again bankers found a way to come out ahead on the people’s dime. Lockheed’s bankers at Bank of America and Bankers Trust led a syndicate that petitioned the Defense Department for a bailout on similar national security grounds. The CEO, Daniel Haughton, even agreed to step down if an appropriate government loan was provided.

In response, the Nixon administration offered $250 million in emergency loans to Lockheed—in effect, bailing out the banks and the corporation. To explain the bailout at a time when the general economy was struggling, Nixon introduced the Lockheed Emergency Loan Act by stating, “It will have a major impact on the economy of California, and will contribute greatly to the economic strength of the country as a whole.” After the bill was passed, not a single Lockheed executive stepped down.

It would take several years of political-financial debate and more bailouts to sustain Penn Central. One 1975 article labeled the entire episode “The Penn-C Fairy Tale” and condemned the subsequent federal bailout: “While the country is in the worst recession since the depression and unemployment lines grow longer every day, Congress is dumping another third of a billion dollars of your tax payer dollars down the railroad rat hole.” (The incident was prologue: Congress would lavish hundreds of billions of dollars to sustain the biggest banks after the 2008 financial crisis, topped up by trillions of dollars from the Fed and the Treasury Department in the form of loans, bond purchases, and other subsidies.)

More Bank Holding Company Politics

Despite the Penn Central crisis, the revised Bank Holding Company Act decisively passed the Senate on September 16, 1970, by a bipartisan vote of seventy-seven to one. The final version was far more lenient than the one that Texas Democrat John William Wright Patman, chair of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, or even the Nixon administration had originally envisioned. The revised act allowed big banks to retain nonbank units acquired before June 1968. It also gave the Fed greater regulatory authority over bank holding companies, including the power to determine what constituted one. Language was added to enable banks to be considered one-bank holding companies if they, or any of their subsidiaries, held any deposits or extended any commercial loans, thus broadening their scope.

President Nixon signed the bill into law without fanfare on New Year’s Eve 1970. In fact, his inner circle decided against making a splash about it. They didn’t think the public would understand or care. Plus, they realized that there was a prevailing attitude that the Nixon administration had favored the big banks, and though it had, this was not something they wanted to draw attention to.

The End of the Gold Standard

The top six banks controlled 20 percent of the nation’s deposits through one-bank holding companies, but second place in that group wasn’t good enough for Wriston, who noted to the Nixon administration that his bank was really the “caretaker of the aspirations of millions of people” whose money it held. Wriston flooded the New York Fed with proposals for expansion. His applications “were said to represent as many as half of the total of all of the banks.” The Fed was so overwhelmed, it had to enlist First National City Bank to interpret the new law on its behalf.

By mid-1971, the Fed had approved thirteen and rejected seven of Wriston’s applications. His biggest disappointment was the insurance underwriting rejection. The possibility of converting depositors for insurance business had been tantalizing. It would continue to be a hard-fought, ultimately successful battle.

Around the same time, New York governor Nelson Rockefeller (David Rockefeller’s brother) approved legislation permitting banks to set up subsidiaries in each of the state’s nine banking districts. This was a gift for Wriston and David Rockefeller, because it meant their banks could expand within the state. Each subsidiary could open branches through June 1976, when the districts would be eliminated and banks could merge and branch freely.

Several months later, First National City Bank was paying generous prices to purchase the tiniest upstate banks, from which it began extending loans to the riskiest companies and getting hosed in the process; a minor David vs. Goliath revenge of local banks against Wall Street muscle.

By that time, the stock market had turned bearish, and foreign countries were increasingly demanding their paper dollars be converted into gold as they shifted funds out of dollar reserves. Bankers, meanwhile, postured for a dollar devaluation, which would make their cost of funds cheaper and enable them to expand their lending businesses.

They knew that the fastest way to further devalue the dollar was to sever it from gold, and they made their opinions clear to Nixon, taking care to blame the devaluation on external foreign speculation, not their own movement of capital and lending abroad.

The strategy worked. On August 15, 1971, Nixon bashed the “international money speculators” in a televised speech, stating, “Because they thrive on crises they help to create them.”16 He noted that “in recent weeks the speculators have been waging an all-out war on the American dollar.” His words were true in essence, yet they were chosen to exclude the actions of the major US banks, which were also selling the dollar. Foreign central banks had access to US gold through the Bretton Woods rules, and they exercised this access. Exchanging dollars for gold had the effect of decreasing the value of the US dollar relative to that gold. Between January and August 1971, European banks (aided by US banks with European branches) catalyzed a $20 billion gold outflow.

As John Butler wrote in The Golden Revolution, “By July 1971, the US gold reserves had fallen sharply, to under $10 billion, and at the rate things were going, would be exhausted in weeks. [Treasury Secretary John] Connally was tasked with organizing an emergency weekend meeting of Nixon’s various economic and domestic policy advisers. At 2:30 p.m. on August 13, they gathered, in secret, at Camp David to decide how to respond to the incipient run on the dollar.”

Nixon’s solution, pressed by the banking community, was to abandon the gold standard. In his speech the president informed Americans that he had directed Connally to “suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold or other reserve assets.” He promised this would “defend the dollar against the speculators.” Because Bretton Woods didn’t allow for dollar devaluation, Nixon effectively ended the accord that had set international currency parameters since World War II, signaling the beginning of the end of the gold standard.

Once the dollar was no longer backed by gold, questions surfaced as to what truly backed it (besides the US military). According to Butler, “The Bretton Woods regime was doomed to fail as it was not compatible with domestic US economic policy objectives which, from the mid-1960s onwards, were increasingly inflationary.”

It wasn’t simply policy that was inflationary. The expansion of debt via the joint efforts of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve was greatly augmented by the bankers’ drive to loan more funds against their capital base. That established a debt inflation policy, which took off after the dissolution of Bretton Woods. Without the constraint of keeping gold in reserve to back the dollar, bankers could increase their leverage and speculate more freely, while getting money more easily from the Federal Reserve’s discount window. Abandoning the gold standard and “floating” the dollar was like navigating the waters of global finance without an anchor to slow down the dispersion of money and loans. For the bankers, this made expansion much easier.

Indeed, on September 24, 1971, Chase board director and former Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon (chairman of the Brookings Institution and, from 1972 to 1975, the Rockefeller Foundation) told Connally that “under no circumstances should we ever go back to assuming limited convertibility into gold.” Chase Board chairman David Rockefeller wrote National Security Adviser (and later Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger to recommend “a reevaluation of foreign currencies, a devaluation of the dollar, removal of the U.S. import surcharge and ‘buy America’ credits, and a new international monetary system with greater flexibility . . . and less reliance on gold.”

With the dollar devalued, investors poured money into stocks, fueling a rally from November 1971 led by the “Nifty Fifty,” a group of “respectable” big-cap growth stocks. These were being bought “like greyhounds chasing a mechanical rabbit” by pension funds, insurance companies, and trust funds. The Chicago Board of Trade began trading options on individual stocks in 1973 to increase the avenues for betting; speculators could soon thereafter trade futures on currencies and bonds.

The National Association of Securities Dealers rendered all this trading easier on February 8, 1971, when it launched the NASDAQ. The first computerized quote system enabled market makers to post and transact over-the-counter prices quickly. With the stock market booming again, NASDAQ became a more convenient avenue for Wall Street firms to raise money. Many abandoned their former partnership models whereby the firm’s partners risked their own capital for the firm, in favor of raising capital by selling the public shares. That way, the upside—and the growing risk—would also be diffused and transferred to shareholders. Merrill Lynch was one of the first major investment bank partnerships to go “public” in 1971. Other classic industry leaders quickly followed suit.

Meanwhile, corporations were finding prevailing lower interest rates more attractive. Instead of getting loans from banks, they could fund themselves more cheaply by issuing bonds in the capital markets. This took business away from commercial banks, which were restricted by domestic regulation from acting as issuing agents. But bankers had positioned themselves on both sides of the Atlantic to get around this problem, so they were covered by the shift in their major customers’ financing preferences. While their ability to service corporate demand was dampened at home, overseas it roared. Currency market turmoil also led many countries to the Eurodollar market for credit, where US banks were waiting. Thus, the credit extended through international branches of major US banks tripled to $4.5 billion from 1969 to 1972.

The market rally, cheered on by the media, was enough to bolster Nixon’s fortunes. In the fall of 1972, Nixon was reelected in a landslide on promises to end the Vietnam War with “peace and honor.” Wall Street reaped the benefits of a bull market, and more citizens and companies were sucked into new debt products. The Dow hit a 1970s peak of 1,052 points in January 1973, as Nixon began his second term.

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Sat, 04/05/2014 - 21:09 | 4629103 Ban KKiller
Ban KKiller's picture

Does the book have home addresses? Looks like a great read. 

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 21:12 | 4629108 Arrowflinger
Arrowflinger's picture

Hail to the Thief.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 21:18 | 4629125 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

I C 4 pscs of scum.

 

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 21:23 | 4629132 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

That really isn't fair to scum everywhere.

These fuckers think they are gods, look at the smirk on Lloyd's face.  That cum slurper thinks he owns the world.

A little shitgum would fix him up right.

 

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 22:28 | 4629215 Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day's picture

thats the smirk i want on his face as the guillotine comes down....fuckin scumbags

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:06 | 4629253 MontgomeryScott
MontgomeryScott's picture

Back some centuries ago (all right, about 10 years or so), I understood that this woman's first name was NAOMI, not 'NOMI'.

Put seven people on an island, all stranded. Each one is assigned a job. One hunts, and one fishes. One cooks, and one washes up. One builds shelters, and one fashions tools to do all these things.

The SEVENTH one (a banker) is given a job as well (as he is unable to perform any other function).

HIS job is to EAT.

How many weeks will pass before the other six realize that the banker is consuming everything that they do, and conspire together to rid themselves of this parasite?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjxHgBRWMhY

 

 

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:22 | 4629277 Keyser
Keyser's picture

If I were Nomi Prins, I would be heading somewhere remote, avoid tall buildings and nail guns. Not necessarily in that order.

 

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:59 | 4629313 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

Glass-Steagall act..., seventeen lousy pages, is all that stood in their way.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 01:28 | 4629345 macholatte
macholatte's picture

 

I started here......

 

John Mack, the former CEO of Morgan Stanley and one of the more irritatingly unrepentant dickheads of the crisis era,

 

Ex-Morgan Stanley Chief Jams Foot in Mouth, Complains of CEO Abuse

 

By Matt Taibbi

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/ex-morgan-stanley-chief-jams-foot-in-mouth-complains-of-ceo-abuse-20140213

 

 

...... but after scrolling o the bottome of Tabbi's article I ended up here .....

 

Sports Illustrated’s 50 Greatest Swimsuit Models

http://swimdaily.si.com/2013/06/28/sports-illustrateds-50-greatest-swimsuit-models-10-1/

 

 

I got confused

 

 

 

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 09:26 | 4629678 markmotive
markmotive's picture

Not just American power. Global power.

The Money Trap - BBC Documentary on how banks control the world via debt

http://www.planbeconomics.com/2014/04/the-money-trap-bbc-documentary-on-...

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 14:56 | 4630205 angel_of_joy
angel_of_joy's picture

Best news of the day is to hear that another one of them just decided to "nail" himself... or something like that.

For better effect, they should get together and pull a Jim Jones...

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 06:12 | 4629509 mc225
mc225's picture

glass-steagall was no panacea. banking should be wholly unregulated. anyone should be able to start a bank; float their own currency; backed by anything or nothing at all. why allow only a small number of people to do this?

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 10:45 | 4629743 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Have you actually thought things through, or are you being sarcastic?

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 14:47 | 4630181 hot sauce technician
hot sauce technician's picture

Sir, I gave you that down arrow. Your comment itself would seem to justify the shenanigans of the central banking leviathan. The above poster was simply demonstrating, and correctly, using an apriori argument, the duplicity and dishonesty of today's bankers.

You and I, or any shmoe ftm, have a natural right to distribute legal tender currency without any one party enjoying advantages over the other stemming from a possession of a "monopoly on violence" (as that dingbat Weber put it).

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 11:33 | 4629789 centerline
centerline's picture

And right there is part of the paradox.

It is not the "what" is regarding money.  It never has been.  Even gold is just a token.

It is the "who" that controls it.

Without control, any system is doomed to failure.  But, that sort of control is way too much power and will always corrupt.  At the same time, even the notion of control is flawed in the sense that it has to accept inequality.  That there is no utopia.  And thus we have inescapable moral hazard.  There is no good solution.  Only optimal solutions - and they themselves are only valid for brief periods of time.

 

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 12:29 | 4629893 RiverRoad
RiverRoad's picture

And we have Sandy Weil to thank for smashing Glass-Steagall.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:15 | 4629546 Jerome Lester H...
Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

Number seven also sounds comparable to lifelong welfare recipients.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:04 | 4629255 Tabarnaque
Tabarnaque's picture

Great article. On the positive side, 10 years ago, very few people knew and understood these facts. I graduated as an economist and like all my peers, knew absolutely nothing about what money is. Now we are quickly growing in number. The word is spreading quickly, thanks to web sites like Zero Hedge, KWN, Jim Sinclair and so many others. Not to forget excellent videos such as; The Money Masters, Money as Debt and Wake Up Call. Those scum bags are finally being revealed for what they are.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:21 | 4629550 Jerome Lester H...
Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

As an economist it is imperative to read Pieces Of Eight: The Monetary Powers And Disabilities Of The United States Constitution by Edwin Vieira. It is an expensive book but well worth the cost.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 10:09 | 4629697 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

You can get the books from Edwin Vieira. Warning: 1600+ pages in legal language- an overview of our money and banking system as defined by the Constitution and the Supreme Court. $155 dollars well spent.

I would suggest all people need to understand these concepts in America, though not necessarly in this depth of meaning. Great comment.

The two-volume set will cost $149.95 plus $6.50 (shipping & handling), for a total of $156.45 (Virginia residents should add $7.50 for sales tax).

2. By no later than 31 August 2009, each potential subscriber must send
(i) a personal check for $156.45, made payable to “Edwin Vieira, Jr.”, with the notation “book subscription”, and dated 31 August 2009; and
(ii) a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Edwin Vieira, Jr., 52 Stonegate Court, Front Royal, Virginia 22630. 

It is sold on Amazon as well, but for $199.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 14:55 | 4630201 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

I work construction. I'm talking dirt, lift, nail and pour. At least half the population knows of the Fed Reserve, fiat and feel the union of gov and fiance is corrupt, fundamentally.

(By the way, Hitachi makes the best framing spikegun.)

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 10:28 | 4632104 prains
prains's picture

paslodes new 3-1/2 inch has more power so will penetrate the skull so as to not to be removed easily, has to many plastic parts now trying to be lighter to work with but will travel well in a back pack. needs a good source of compressed air

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 11:39 | 4629806 ImGumbydmmt
ImGumbydmmt's picture

up arrow for s-gum reference to the typo in the ABN amro article!

I think we have a new code word for such events.

"another banker dealt a nasty case of "shitgum"

kinda reminds me of Bernie Bots every flavor beans, ..."Alas, earwax"

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 21:27 | 4629138 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"I C 4 pscs of scum."

I hope they all eat their own shitgum.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 22:07 | 4629180 Drifter
Drifter's picture

Adolescent name-calling like this is too prevalent on ZH, but is the only response the adolescent-minded majority of Americans seem able to make.

Ditto for empty threats of revolt guillotines lampposts etc. Typical adolescent behavior.

No wonder Blankfein is smirking. No wonder bankers think they're gods. They have a nation of children to loot and plunder.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 22:08 | 4629187 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Let's roll!

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 00:02 | 4629322 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

" They have a nation of children to loot and plunder."

New around here, are you?

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 00:59 | 4629377 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Let the guillotines roll!

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 22:17 | 4629201 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

children grow up.  sheep are always sheep.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 22:23 | 4629211 nmewn
nmewn's picture

So Drifter, how many bankers have you killed today? ;-)

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:04 | 4629256 acetinker
acetinker's picture

nme, maybe yer bein' a bit harsh with the drifter?  Sometimes I wanna take up my AK and kill everyone that seems like a stupid fuck, but then I wonder- what if I'm the stupid fuck?

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:39 | 4629298 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Blankfein went to his shrink, said "doc, everyone hates me."  Shrink said, "don't be ridiculous.  A lot of people haven't even met you yet."

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 00:00 | 4629318 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Blankfein's shrink would have to be a saint to refrain from puttin' a bullet in his head.  That said, I reckon Lloyd doesn't visit a shrink---- he thinks he's 'normal'.  A normal psychopath, that is.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 10:05 | 4629709 CH1
CH1's picture

Sometimes I wanna take up my AK and kill everyone that seems like a stupid fuck, but then I wonder- what if I'm the stupid fuck?

Sounds like an old Mencken quote. :)

The solution is simple: Stop obeying and feeding the parasites. Until we do that, why should anything change?

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 21:53 | 4637801 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Some of us are more conflicted than others.  The banksters and their minions feed on that, and there are a shitload of people dependent on the status-quo that steadfastly believe that they are productive, but are not.

From Etienne de la Boetie-

 

  • Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives. All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves? You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows — to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check. From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.
Sat, 04/05/2014 - 22:47 | 4629246 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

The gov't, IRS, CIA, and Justice Dept are all complicit in the fraud Drifter.  I don't see any name calling, other than outright disgust by the average working American.  Banks are the scum that runs the earth right now.  They are satanic cults where white collar crime, narcotics trading, money laundering, and account theft happen every fucking day.  The fact that you cry that you see people pissed but not at the fact that we're all being systematically stolen from every hour of every day is just plain ignorance on your part.

 

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:24 | 4629280 MontgomeryScott
MontgomeryScott's picture

Hey, nope,

Don't even bother.

This one is too far gone to understand. It is probably 'controlled opposition' from D.C. or NYC or Haifa.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:12 | 4629260 acetinker
acetinker's picture

I didn't vote you one way or the other, but I'm pretty fkn sure you can't reform a system as ingrained as ours.  The only thing you can do is to resolve yourself to withdraw support from the parasite.  When, not if, this happens (it's inevitable, and utterly chaotic), we can have a beautiful world, again.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:22 | 4629267 MontgomeryScott
MontgomeryScott's picture

The sleeper IS awakening, 'Drifter'.

If I was YOU, I'd be getting scared shitless about now. Your shit talking, and bullshit psychoanalizing lies don't have any effect, any more.

Keep trying, though. PUT the target on your head. KEEP ON your course.

WE do not forget. WE have seen, and remember who states what; about WHAT. WE are watching the game, and are armed to the fucking TEETH.

YOU pre-suppose thet WE do not have self-control. YOU are sadly mistaken. YOU, in fact, are the adolescent. YOUR fits of whining and puling are akin to nappy-wearing infants who cry out in fear and trembling when mommy State isn't showing her teat to you, as you shit your diaper and whine louder; realizing that you wholly STINK of the FECES that your corporate body produces.

TELL YOUR HANDLER of this. IT is a simpleton with a 'rank' within the machine that you serve, as well, and IT isn't any smarter than YOU.

Was THIS 'too adolescent' for you, boi?

 

 

 

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 08:18 | 4629335 Drifter
Drifter's picture

"WE are watching the game, and are armed to the fucking TEETH."

And that's far as you'll ever go, just armed.

Amazing isn't it. So many weapons, so many (empty) threats, and that's all.

America will be the first communist nation with 400 million privately owned guns.

We're almost there now.

Btw thanks for the downvotes, confirmation I'm touching some nerves out there.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 09:30 | 4629680 XitSam
XitSam's picture

They're going to be sad when they find out.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 09:32 | 4629683 Keyser
Keyser's picture

Don't pat yourself on the back too soon, counter-intuitive posts usually receive down votes around here. It is evident that you are one that will not be prepared if the SHTF, whereas others around here know and fear the future because there is only one outcome to our current path. So keep on, keeping on with you grande low-fat mochachino, kids soccer practice and racking up debt on the old CC. It's the American way after all. 

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 11:45 | 4629814 centerline
centerline's picture

I like how you are shaking it up here.

Let me counter differently though.

Your suggestions here assume a level of control that simply is not going to be possible.  What is more likely is a Soviet-style break up of the United States along with disintegration of the EU.  Straight from our faux-democracy (that was supposed to be a republic anyhow) to a disaster with who knows what in terms of governance and border controls  (YMMV depending on location).

The temporary alternative is war of course - but still leads to the same outcome anyhow since so much of the promises that have been made cannot be met anyhow and the free shit army will burn the place down in most areas when the support fails (or fails to be enough).

What will happen along the way is some sort of battle between the banker class, political class, MIC and NSA/CIA/etc.  We may already be witnessing this with the string the banker deaths.  Perhaps got a little whiff with the whole Pelosi "don't spy on me, spy on them" comedy.  Etc.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:56 | 4629585 WhiteWolf
WhiteWolf's picture

The only handle we need is on a carbine with a scope.  FU

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 15:59 | 4630346 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Begin locally:  look in LinkedIn for anyone self-described as a BPO or Offshore Specialist (BPO stands for Business Process Offshore, same as jobs offshoring specialist) then let the hunt begin.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:48 | 4629281 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Drifter -- I'll bet you're a lot of fun at parties.  

The people are waking up.  ZH is catching on and even gets an occasional Drudge link.  Books like this one are starting to be widely read.  Former insider guys like Paul Craig Roberts and David Stockman are starting to go balls deep talking about the corruption and intellectual dishonesty of both Teams.  Most importantly, some high level banker scum are starting to off themselves.   These guys only do that when they think something really bad is going to happen to them.   It's a party.  Let your hair down and stay a while.  

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 11:48 | 4629818 centerline
centerline's picture

LTER, see my post above.  I just wonder if we what we are seeing is some heat coming externally instead of internally regarding the recent string of banker deaths.  Something just stinks here.

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 23:40 | 4629300 acetinker
acetinker's picture

Whoa!  So the banksters are laughing at us?  They should.  Lots of 'traders' here on ZH.  They decry the system they daily support, but don't have the common sense to realize that they are the very ones who habitually populate, and support it.

Cog Dis is aware of this, I'm sure.  He could articulate this much better than me.

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 04:55 | 4629480 Philalethian
Philalethian's picture

Ding...ding...ding!

Another point blank winner here, folks!

The crew is cooking on this thread.

As a historian of the rise and fall of the American dream, it is heartening to be a witness to so many finely tuned in commenteers. You all rock, and we must all remember the Law of One. We are afterall, all One. One in the fact that the human body is made up of the four basic elements of this planet, and two, the spiritual beings we all are is the fifth element that animates that pile of air, water, fire, and earth.

All energy is one energy. All souls are energy. The karmic-swan is around the corner and when these clown farts of hell fire the first shots, the games will begin. Nothing will matter anymoar. Mere survival and something to eat will be the mainstays of the new post war days if this is not all stopped RIGHT NOW. Who wants to live carelessly and have only one desire to find those responsible for the mayhem, and then to dig them out of their holes to burn and tar.

No moar Polly wanna cracker clown shows, or warmongers pulling off False Flag Events for moar woar and profits to gain from. No mas, period!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DimyR3beolM

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 07:52 | 4629578 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Yep, you had a handful of ex-hippies protesting Bush's war in Iraq. This time you will have tens of millions of solid, upright citizens pissed as hell if Obama (or Hillary or whoever comes next) tries any shit like that say in Syria, Ukraine, or Iran. When the air leaves the sails of this fragile economy and a leg gets kicked out from under this bullshit propped up market, TPTB better hunker down, run for cover, or take their private jets to their private islands.

Millions know we are being ass fucked now and tens of millions of our slower counterparts will soon when the SHTF.

Banks and the MIC are taking turns humping our collective asses, while the good old NSA is keeping a lookout and helping to hold us down. Politicians are complicit. I think the biggest mistake TPTB made was to put someone in office who is so foreign and offensive to the rank and file American. Someone we cannot relate to and consequently cannot trust. Mr. Hope and Change who wanted to get all hostile with Syria. That left a lot of young people who either voted for him or were sympathetic to him shaking their heads, They could start to see behind the curtain.

The Executive branch is currently a bunch of power drunk thugs that have no respect for the country, citizens or laws.

Have a good day!

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