Dec 14, 2012: A day of infamy for the gun lobby…20 children and 8 educators gunned down in cold blood

Maybe it’s time to address the gun culture in this country. My position on the subject has certainly changed after Aurora…after Tucson…after Virginia Tech…after Columbine…after the Oregon mall…after Newtown…after so many other senseless shootings that occur daily across this broad land of ours. The Second Amendment to the Constitution was adopted on December 15, 1791, when this was a rural country of farmers and frontiersmen, without the social pressures and crime that exists in 21st century America. It was an 18th century expedient to provide for a ready militia to stand against foreign invasion. We did not have a standing army in 1791; we were not the number one military power in the world on December 15, 1791. The original rational for the Second Amendment has not been a factor in our national security for almost a century, yet there is a vocal segment of our population that rabidly clings to that outdated scripture, and has the rest of us living in constant fear, not of some foreign invader, but of our neighbors, family members, friends, and strangers, many of whom have guns, and in some irrational moment of anger or despair, will do the unthinkable…just because a gun was at hand. Will deaths still occur by other means? Of course, but frame this appeal in terms of all the lives that would be saved; don’t frame it in terms of the far fewer that will still die at the hands of others, as the argument for keeping this insanity going for another century. It’s time for the rest of us to band together and do something about it…enough is enough! If you agree, please get engaged and share this widely.

Lots of love to all this Holiday Season,


Mayors Against Illegal Guns

 “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action
to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

–President Obama

Hours after the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that claimed 28 lives, including 20 children, President Obama promised the nation he would take action.
The harsh truth is that we’ve heard this promise before. After Aurora. After Tucson. After Virginia Tech. After Columbine.

Promises are not enough. We need action — and we need your help to make sure that this time the president follows through. Forward this email and ask your friends and family to join more than 300,000 in signing our petition to Demand A Plan:
Click here to share the Demand A Plan petition on Facebook.
Click here to ask your friends to join you in tweeting at the President.

34 Americans are murdered with guns every day in America. That means more than 48,000 Americans will be murdered with guns in the President Obama’s second term — and he has no plan to address gun violence.

Now is the time to talk about guns. Now is the time to prevent more pointless deaths. Now is the time to Demand A Plan to end gun violence.

Thank you for spreading the word,

Mark Glaze
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

A few words about the current primary season:

Our two party political system isn’t relevant any more…both parties are controlled by the same Wall Street PAC money and Wall Street also owns the press which keeps public attention focused on all the wrong issues…fighting each other instead of taking the real villains to task…435 congressmen, 100 senators, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices, all dependent on the same Wall Street PAC money to get and keep their jobs…545 human beings out of the 300 million that have turned the world economy into a feeding trough for Wall Street greed. No matter who wins the next election, we’re looking at four more years that will be ever worse than the previous four years, regardless of winning party. When do we all wake up and unite to turn things around and save our way of life?

Decline In The Moral Fiber On Wall Street Threatens Long-term Survival Of Capitalism

Greg Smith recently resigned as a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.This NY Times op-ed on the reasons for his resignation tells it all–what every Wall Street firm has become since deregulation–predatory! (click to view article)

Just One Irrational Or False Statement After Another

At one point or another I’ve heard all the Republican candidates (except Ron Paul) attack efforts to trim defense spending, making emotional appeals that we’d be putting our freedoms at risk. I can’t figure out what world they’re living in. A recent Forbes study showed that even with budget cuts, the USA will spend $700 billion on defense in 2012…5% of GDP. Defense spending in the USA makes up 46.5% of total defense spending world-wide, with China now in second place at only 6.6%, and France trailing in third at 4.2%…and we’ve been spending at that rate, with that global differential—for more than six decades now! So…by whose math are we putting our freedoms at risk? Go to section i) Faulty Logic and Irrational Appeals to learn more about what to watch out for in political rhetoric.


John Reed On Big Bank’s Power and Influence

In addition to the David Stockman interview, here’s another ‘must watch’ video on the Bill Moyers site John Reed On Big Bank’s Power and Influence.  It took courage for John to be this candid, doing so probably puts himself at some personal risk–Wall Street bankers will eventually have to pay for the mess they created. John was an inspirational leader, and always very approachable…definitely one of the good guys in an otherwise dirty industry.

Here’s some personal back story about John and what he covers in the interview; he walked a fine line with what he said about the Traveler’s merger. It was accurate in a Citibank context (which is what he said), but not accurate within a Citigroup holding company context (which is what he doesn’t say).

I went to work as an executive for Citigroup, the holding company that owned Citibank and over 6000 other corporate entities, in January 1996 when John Reed was our Chairman and CEO. My immediate boss, Hubertus Rukavina, was a direct report to John, so I was only once removed in terms of reporting structure. I’d been brought into Citigroup to help converge all the business operations and technologies in their ‘non-bank’ holdings, which were substantial well prior to the Travelers merger three years later. Here’s just what my group alone had in our portfolio to manage: thirteen insurance companies, more than twenty global asset management businesses, around three hundred and fifty mutual funds, six off-shore mutual fund processing utilities, and numerous stock brokerage units–Citibank Investment Services and Newbridge Securities being two of the largest. How can that be, you ask? This was years before GlassSteagall was repealed and what I’ve just described would have been a clear violation of the Banking Act of 1933!

Here’s how it happened. The run up to the eventual repeal of Glass-Steagall had many fits and starts. Sometime prior to the 1990s, in response to heavy bank lobbying, regulators reinterpreted the meaning of the words from the Act–“principally engaged”, and although it was still illegal for Citibank as a bank to engage in these activities (as John says in the interview), the bank’s holding company could. Within months regulators realized they’d made a mistake and closed that window of opportunity. But Citigroup and one other bank holding company (I don’t remember who it was) had moved quickly and already acquired those prohibited business activities before the rules changed back to where they’d been previously. Those two bank holding companies should have been required to divest themselves of those activities, but instead, they were “grandfathered”. No other banks would be allowed to acquire those activities, but Citigroup could keep what they’d already acquired. The stage was set for disaster way before the Traveler’s merger.

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism

David Stockman was President Reagan’s budget director, who went on to a thirty year  career as an investment banker…a fiscally conservative Republican and Wall Street insider. His interview with Bill Moyers on Crony Capitalism  should be a real eye opener for most Americans. Seldom has anyone articulated our current political and financial situation as well as he has…but no one who has the power to do anything about it is listening! Please watch the video and share your thoughts. Thanks for your engagement!

Conversation With A European About Our Current Primary-01

A friend in Paris made the following observation: “If you really listen to the current Republican candidates outside of the debates, I mean really listen, they all make some good points. But at the same time, each one is so fatally flawed that none will ever be electable in a broader general election.”

She then posed this question: “Out of the 55 million registered Republics, how is it that this is the best they could come up with?” That question consumed the remainder of the dinner conversation. It may or may not have any foundation in fact, but here’s one theory that was discussed:

Wall Street PAC money now dwarfs all other PACs combined. That gives them the power to manipulate and control both political parties at the same time. Wall Street doesn’t really care which party wins, so long as the incumbent will best serve Wall Street profits. It was her belief that Obama had been hand-picked by Wall Street from the grimy machine of Chicago politics and brought forward to give the Democrats a round in the White House. Obama’s done a good job for Wall Street profits, so he’ll get another term…the weak field of Republican candidates is just part of the plan! Regardless of which party wins, unless something changes radically, Wall Street is in complete control of our political system and we can look forward to four more years of obscene profiteering.

The Approaching Storm: Wall Street’s Ticking Time Bombs

Cycles of deregulation and government complicity in dodgy financial schemes, follow by wide spread economic collapse, then reactive re-regulation, have occurred throughout modern history. Human nature is human nature—every time controls over speculative behavior are loosened, greed takes over, and a few profit obscenely at the expense of many. I have just added two new sections: q) Derivatives: The Immense Black Hole In The World Economy, and r) Program Trading: Sucking Vast Amounts Of Cash Daily Out Of The Capital Pool. Please have a look at both and share your comments.