Thursday, June 2, 2011


Dear Judicial Watch Supporters,

The United States Supreme Court just handed the American people and the rule of law a tremendous victory in to war to enforce our nation’s laws against illegal immigration…
And thanks to your support, your Judicial Watch was in the middle of this historic battle!
By a 5-3 vote, the High Court has upheld the constitutionality of the “Legal Arizona Workers Act” – a groundbreaking piece of legislation crafted by Judicial Watch client, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce.
Senator Pearce’s legislation does two things: It penalizes businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens; and it requires all Arizona employers to use the federal E-Verify system to confirm the eligibility of new employees (a system that determines if the individual is in the country legally).
It is a tough law aimed directly at the root cause of the illegal immigration scourge affecting our nation…the lure of jobs offered to illegal immigrants by unscrupulous employers who put profits ahead of respect for the law!
This is a huge victory for Judicial Watch supporters and the rule of law, and a huge setback for the Obama administrations’ efforts to gut enforcement of our immigration laws.
This decision will have an enormously positive impact on states across the country seeking to ease the burdens caused by rampant illegal immigration.
State Senate President Pearce carefully crafted this legislation to be entirely consistent with federal law. Sen. Pearce had this to say about this Supreme Court ruling: “My legislation is based on a simple but powerful solution to the illegal immigration crisis – enforce the law. It would be ideal if the federal government would do its job and secure the border. However, in the absence of leadership from Washington, states like Arizona have a responsibility to protect their citizens and uphold the law.”
In ruling for Arizona, the High Court decisively rejected the arguments by the open-borders U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its radical allies (backed by the open-borders Obama administration) that the State of Arizona has no authority to legislate on immigration-related matters which, they had unsuccessfully argued, is the exclusive right of the federal government.
The majority opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts echoed the “friend of the court” brief that Judicial Watch filed on behalf of Senator Pearce when he wrote:
“Arizona has taken the route least likely to cause tension with federal law. It relies solely on the federal government’s own determination of who is an unauthorized alien, and it requires Arizona employers to use the federal government’s own system for checking employee status.”
I cannot overstate the importance of this victory – nor can I understate the importance your past and continued support!
Most importantly, this ruling gives a major “green light” to states across the country to enact similar measures aimed at cracking down on the illegal hiring of illegal immigrants.
We are very pleased that the Supreme Court recognized once again the critical role states must play in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. The Obama administration’s lax enforcement, sanctuary policies and amnesty only serve to worse the problem.
And the now the U.S. Supreme Court agrees!
Long-time Judicial Watch supporters will remember one of our first major battles back in 2005 when we went to court to block the use of taxpayer funds to support an illegal immigrant “day laborer” site in Virginia.
We took on that case because we believed, and still do, that it is morally and legally wrong to use taxpayer funds to support an activity that violates federal law…the hiring of illegal immigrants.
Ever since we won that battle we have been fighting to overturn “sanctuary” programs at the state and local levels all across the country.
Secondly, the Court’s reasoning in this new E-verify ruling case gives us real hope that down the road it will find that Senator Pearce’s “flagship” illegal immigration enforcement legislation (SB 1070) passes constitutional muster as well.
As you know, Judicial Watch is also representing the entire Arizona State Legislature, as well as Senator Pearce, against Obama administration attacks on SB 1070 (the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act”).
This legislation enacts a series of law enforcement provisions to protect its citizens from serious public safety concerns driven by illegal immigration. And just like the “Legal Arizona Workers Act,” it is written to complement, not challenge or exceed existing federal immigration law.
The Legislature and the people of Arizona are being opposed in court by the Obama Justice Department, which is arguing that the state can do nothing to help in the enforcement of federal laws against illegal immigration.
They’re trying to tell Arizona: It’s a federal matter, so butt out!
Of course, since the Obama gang is gutting existing federal immigration programs, refusing to deport illegal aliens, pushing back-door “stealth amnesty” measures, and currying favor in advance of 2012 with its radical open-borders allies, what they’re really telling Arizona is “drop dead”!
But the Obama gang is up against Judicial Watch and 240,000 plus supporters now…and we are committed to helping Arizona and other states do everything they can under the Constitution to protect their citizens and help enforce laws against illegal immigration.
Will you help?
Will you continue to stand with Judicial Watch at this all-important tipping point in our effort to get our country back? Can you make a gift now to help us continue to battle in the courts against the taxpayer-funded Obama Justice Department lawyers?
Whatever you can do at this time, please know that you have my deepest gratitude for everything you’ve done to get us this far. Thank you!

Tom Fitton


Why All the Posts On Illegal Immigration Disappear/FLAGGED From CRAIGSLIST - The CL FLAGGER, RICHARD HILARY GIBSON


Re: La Raza (Schmaza...)

Date: 2011-06-02, 10:52AM EDT
Reply to:
[Errors when replying to ads?]

God you are a waste of time, bigoted asshole.

Take your "la raza" bullshit and shove it up your dirty fat ass, loser.

No one's paying any attention to you, douchebag.

Pathetic child.
·         Location: Schmaza...
·         it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 2416550881



this is why the albuquerque r&r is dead (BE WARNED HE IS HERE TOO)

Date: 2008-07-28, 5:23PM PDT
it's D-E-A-D, wanna know why? Because that ass-hole HUGE/tiny/krusty/vato/UTBT/LA-ABQ-LA and 50 more fake names)killed it and now he's on your board - (I recognize the writing style and the same old stupid pics). Watch out for "Dude". He starts out benign but then metastasizes into a vile worm that will strangle your board and bring it to a halt. He'll post under many different names and will cross-talk with himself. He's inflammatory, a troll and a professional spammer (if there even is such a thing). He's infactuated with fat women, mercilessly making fun of retarded people and he posts pictures of feces. He gets on an "illegals" kick. Be warned. He's a pseudo-intellect, is homophobic, a woman hater and some have accused him of being a pedophile. Once he takes over, he'll flag every post but his own. He killed Santa Fe's board too. Step on this cockroach before he ruins your board.

Richard Gibson
21800 Oxnard Street, Suite 310
Woodland HIlls, California 91367
Telephone:  818-716-7950
Facsimile:    818-716-7995
Facebook:  RichardGibsonLA

To our flagging friend

Date: 2011-03-21, 5:02PM MDT
Top of Form
Reply To This Post
Bottom of Form

Please, everyone. Flag the holy shit (or not holy shit if you are atheist or agnostic) out of the little boy who continually posts his suck puppet!!!!! He answers EACH and EVERY post with the same sperm burping drivel. This legcast blah blah blah must be his imaginary friend (notice the white stains in the suck puppet's mouth). Lets rid this place of this basement dwelling rodent!!!!


Whatever you say there, prissylittleatheist/legcast/hitlerboy/17yearoldwhizzdebator/oldfuck/keithwhiner/cuntcomplainer/138socpuppetsandcounting ol' sport!
·         it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 2278618730

ICE Has Released More Than 8,000 Criminal Illegal Aliens Into U.S. Since 2009 |

ICE Has Released More Than 8,000 Criminal Illegal Aliens Into U.S. Since 2009


8 Out of 10 Illegals Apprehended in 2010 Never Prosecuted

ICE Has Released More Than 8,000 Criminal Illegal Aliens Into U.S. Since 2009

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has introduced a bill that he said is needed to protect Americans from criminal illegal immigrants who are being released into U.S. communities based on a Supreme Court decision that said they can't be incarcerated for more than six months. ( Starr)
( – The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is responsible for enforcing U.S. immigration laws inside the country, has released more than 8,000 illegal aliens convicted of crimes onto the streets of the United States since fiscal 2009, according to ICE data released by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R.-Texas).
Citing these statistics, Smith has introduced legislation that would allow Homeland Security’s ICE to keep criminal illegal aliens in custody longer than the current six-month period established by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The “Keep Our Communities Safe Act [2]”  is “desperately needed,” Smith said at a hearing about the bill on May 24 because of two high court rulings that said immigrants--and later illegal immigrants--could not be detained for more than six months, if efforts to return the immigrant to his or her home country failed.
The result, Smith said, [3] are thousands of criminal illegal immigrants being released in the United States.
“In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General reported [4]that thousands of criminal immigrants with final orders of removal were being released into our streets because some countries frustrate the removal process,” Smith stated in his prepared remarks at the hearing.
Smith said the IG found that nearly 134,000 immigrants with final orders of removal instead had been released into U.S. communities from 2001 to 2004. The IG report also found that these illegal immigrants were unlikely to ever be repatriated because of the unwillingness of their home country to provide necessary travel documents.
“As of June 2004, more than 133,662 illegal aliens with or pending final orders of removal had been apprehended and released into the U.S. and who are unlikely to ever be repatriated if ordered removed because of the unwillingness of their country of origin to provide the documents necessary for repatriation,” the report states.
The 2006 report also says:  “Currently, (Detention and Removal Operations) is unable to ensure the departure from the U.S. of all removable aliens. Of the 774,112 illegal aliens apprehended during the past three years, 280,987 (36%) were released largely due to a lack of personnel, bed space, and funding needed to detain illegal aliens while their immigration status is being adjudicated. This presents significant risks due to the inability of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and ICE to verify the identity, country-of-origin, and terrorist or criminal affiliation of many of the aliens being released.”
Although the 2006 IG report detailed the release of both criminal and non-criminal illegal immigrants, it did not break down those numbers. At the hearing, Smith distributed a spreadsheet on more recently released aliens that ICE had provided to his office.
This spreadsheet lists the number of “non-criminal” and “convicted criminal” illegal immigrants released by ICE in fiscals years 2009, 2010, and year-to-date 2011 under the rules of the Zadvydas v. Davis [5] Supreme Court decision.
The ICE statistics show that the agency released 3,847 convicted criminal aliens in 2009; 3,882 in 2010; and 1,012 so far in 2011.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The data also show the citizenship country of the convicted criminal and non-criminal illegal immigrant. For example, in FY2009, 74 convicted criminal illegal immigrants from Somalia were released in the United States. Somalia is one of the 10 countries the U.S. government has designated “countries of interest” because of believed ties to terrorism.
Another 79 convicted criminal illegal immigrants from Somalia were released in 2010, according to the data.
According to the ICE spreadsheet, 36 convicted criminal illegal immigrants from the Sudan were released. Sudan is one of four countries the U.S. State Department considers a state sponsor of terror.
Smith cited cases in which a released immigrant shot a New York trooper, and another in which a released immigrant shot and killed Ft. Meyer police officer Andrew Widman, who left behind a wife and three children.
Gary Mead, executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations at ICE, told a House Judiciary subcommittee in testimony that illegal immigrants have been released who had committed crimes, “including, but not limited to, arson, assault, property damage, extortion, forgery or fraud, homicide, kidnapping, weapons offenses, embezzlement, controlled substance offenses, and sexual offenses.”
But, Mead said, part of ICE’s mission is “assuring that aliens released on orders of supervision comply with the conditions of their release.”
Mead also said that procedures are in place that allow for a longer detention by order of an immigration judge, if the individual is deemed “especially dangerous” based on a “mental condition or personality disorder and behavior associated with the disorder” to “ensure the safety of the public.”
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the subcommittee, spoke out against Smith's bill.
“The Supreme Court has twice warned of the serious constitutional concerns that would be presented if our immigration laws authorized the indefinite and possibly permanent detention of civil immigrant detainees,” Lofgren said at the hearing. “In Zadvydas v. Davis [the first Supreme Court case that did not include consideration for illegal immigrants], the court said that ‘freedom from imprisonment--from government custody, detention or other forms of physical restraint--lies at the heart of the liberty that [the due process] clause protects.’”
Ahilan T. Arulanantham, deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said Smith’s bill would cause the incarceration of immigrants who would otherwise help the economy.
“Creating a vast new federal detention authority, as the legislation under consideration is guaranteed to do, would result in the unnecessary detention of thousands more individuals who would otherwise contribute to the economy, serve their communities and support their families, which often include U.S. citizen children and spouses,” Arulanantham said in a statement.
“This legislation is desperately needed,” Smith said. “There is no excuse for needlessly placing American lives at risk.”
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has stated [7] numerous times over the course of her tenure that removing criminal aliens was a priority of the Obama administration, including in November 2009 when she introduced the Secure Communities initiative.
“Secure Communities provides our local partners with an effective tool to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety,” Napolitano said. “We will continue to expand these partnerships to provide a force multiplier for ICE's immigration enforcement efforts across the country.


Chief Who Supports Sanctuary Policies Gets Top ICE Job
Last Updated: Fri, 06/25/2010 - 1:30pm
In a laughable move, the Obama Administration has appointed a police chief who supports illegal alien sanctuary policies to oversee an immigration enforcement program that requires a partnership between federal and local authorities.
The new director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of State and Local Coordination is Harold Hurtt, an outspoken critic of immigration enforcement on the local level. As police chief in two different cities with huge illegal alien populations—Phoenix and Houston—Hurtt enforced don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration measures that prevented officers from inquiring about a suspects’ legal status in the U.S.
In his new post, Hurtt will get $180,000 a year to supervise outreach and communication between federal immigration officials and local law enforcement agencies. In essence, he is charged with strengthening the collaboration between local police and federal immigration officials in an effort to combat a crisis that has rocked practically every major U.S. city and many small municipalities.
Homeland Security officials are promoting Hurtt as “a respected member of the law enforcement community” who will be an “invaluable asset to ICE’s outreach and coordination efforts.” The reality is that he opposes immigration enforcement and as police chief protected the most violent of criminals. Hurtt has even testified before Congress that local police should not assist with immigration enforcement.
His pro-immigration policies enabled illegal immigrants with extensive criminal histories to murder two police officers and seriously injure another while he was chief in Phoenix and later in Houston. Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Hurtt on behalf of the deceased Houston officer’s wife for implementing the sanctuary policies that led to her husband’s death.
In the 2007 incident, Officer Rodney Johnson was brutally shot by a previously deported illegal immigrant during a traffic stop. The illegal alien, Juan Quintero, had an extensive criminal record and had been deported three years earlier for molesting a child. The Mexican national had also been in trouble for driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license and for failing to stop and provide information after an automobile accident. When Johnson arrested him, Quintero shot him four times in the back of the head with a 9 millimeter handgun concealed in the waistband of his pants.

Eight Out of Ten Illegal Aliens Apprehended in 2010 Never Prosecuted, Says Border Congressman

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Edwin Mora

Washington ( – An illegal alien apprehended by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency during the last fiscal year had an estimated 84 percent chance of never being prosecuted, according to figures compiled by the office of Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).
Culberson submitted the figures for the record during a hearing Wednesday of the House Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security.

Of 447,731 illegal aliens apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol during fiscal year 2010 (which ended last September), only 73,263 (16.4 percent) were prosecuted, according to the submitted data. That means that 374,468 illegal aliens that were taken into custody (83.6 percent) were never prosecuted


WHEN OBAMA MOVED INTO THE WHITE HOUSE ON THE LA RAZA TICKET, he immediately surrounded himself with the most corrupt of the bankster owned politicians like FEINSTEIN, FRANK and CHRIS DODD. Then he brought in Bush’s architect for banksters’ no-strings bailouts, and NO REAL REGULATION... then Obama went to work to make his “registered voters”, i.e., illegals happy with one push after another for amnesty.



January 8, 2011

Center for Media and Democracy

With a $4.7 trillion bailout under their belts and no harm done to their billion-dollar bonuses, don't expect Wall Street bankers to be chastened by the 2008 financial crisis. Below we list eight things to watch out for in 2011 that threaten to rock the financial system and undermine any recovery.
1) The Demise of Bank of America WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is promising to unleash a cache of secret documents from the troubled Bank of America (BofA). BofA is already under the gun, defending itself from multiple lawsuits demanding that the bank buy back billions worth of toxic mortgages it peddled to investors. The firm is also at the heart of the robo-signing scandal, having wrongfully kicked many American families to the curb. If Assange has emails showing that Countrywide or BofA knew they were recklessly abandoning underwriting standards and/or peddling toxic dreck to investors, the damage to the firm could be irreparable.
2) Robo-signers Wreaking Havoc With lawsuits abounding, new types of fraud in the foreclosure process are being uncovered daily, including accounting fraud, fake attorneys, destroyed promissory notes and false notarization. The crisis not only calls into question the legality of untold foreclosures, it also calls into question the value of trillions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities held by banks, pension funds, federal, state and local governments. The only government report on the topic by the feisty Congressional Oversight Panel for the TARP acknowledges that "it is possible that 'robo-signing' may have concealed deeper problems in the mortgage market that could potentially threaten financial stability."
3) MERS Madness
In addition to outright fraud, numerous state Supreme Courts have questioned the legal standing of the Mortgage Electronic Registration or "MERS" system. MERS is listed as the mortgagee for 60% of U.S. mortgages. It is an electronic clearinghouse created by industry to bypass the property registration system developed in precolonial days to ensure that the King could not easily rob the subjects of their land. Wall Street turned to MERS to speed securitizations (and now foreclosures), but its legal standing is now in doubt and its shoddy processing of documents has major ramifications for the securitization process as well. Look for a rotten "MERS fix" in the new Congress. Let's hope it gives consumer advocates some leverage to demand justice for Americans being robbed by the new Kings on Wall Street.
4) Flash Crash Calamity The "flash crash" of May 2010 rattled the markets and caused a stunning 700 point drop in the Dow within minutes. Regulators think they know what occurred, but they are moving too slowly to put the brakes on hair-trigger trading. Seventy percent of Wall Street trades take place in milliseconds, so it is no surprise that mini-flash crashes are becoming a constant. With traders now gearing up to trade on raw news feeds and Twitter, we can anticipate even more volatility. A small financial transaction tax targeting high-volume, high-speed trades is long overdue. It would throw sand in the roulette wheel and raise much needed revenue for the federal government.
5) Bigger Behemoth Banks The Federal Reserve is planning to "stress test" the big banks again. The same 19 banks that underwent the first stress tests in 2009 will be tested again, but this time the Fed says it won't release the results. Why not? Banks with toxic mortgages and mortgage-backed securities on their books and concomitant legal exposure to "put back" law suits are being kept afloat by accounting tricks, TARP and Fed loans. Honest stress tests of still weak financial institutions may well result in sales and buyouts that will further consolidate the already concentrated banking industry and create larger and more unwieldy "too big to fail" behemoths -- backed by the guarantee of the American taxpayer.
6) Foreclosure Tsunami Housing foreclosures may top nine million in 2011 and [[Goldman Sachs]] predicts the number will reach 12 million in the next few years. The result will be another significant drop in home prices in 2011 and even more families underwater. Civilized nations see the forcible migration of a city the size of New York as an economic and humanitarian catastrophe, but not the United States. The Obama administration and Congress have callously refused to take meaningful action to aid families facing foreclosure even in the face of widespread predatory lending and rampant foreclosure fraud. The only hope now for millions of American families is aggressive action by the 50 state Attorneys General who are actively investigating foreclosure fraud. Whether they have the guts to wrestle a settlement out of the big banks that slows the foreclosure machine and offers families meaningful options has yet to be seen.
7) Bankrupt Cities and States Meredith Whitney, a research analyst who correctly predicted the credit crunch, is now warning that over 100 American cities could go bust next year. She anticipates billions worth of municipal bond defaults and warns: "next to housing this is the single most important issue in the U.S. and certainly the biggest threat to the U.S. economy." States are also in dire straits. The economic shock of mass unemployment on top of years of population decline, deindustrialization and the like have left cities unable to meet their obligations to taxpayers and retirees. With the austerity nuts in charge of the House, it may take a bankruptcy of a major player to prod an appropriate federal response to this looming disaster.
8) Gas Prices above $4.00 The price of energy and other commodities shifted into high gear in late August when the Federal Reserve Chairman decided to stimulate the economy with quantitative easing. Speculators quickly began bidding up the value of asset classes like crude oil, metals and food commodities. In December, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission failed to apply position limits to these commodities, delaying rules that would crack down on speculators and aid consumers who are already seeing big price hikes at the pump. Without swift action, skyrocketing gas prices will further tank an already stalled economy.
As we hope for the best in 2011, let's prepare for the worst. The big banks are sure to deliver.


Les Leopold is the author of The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and What We Can Do About It Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2009.

These guys profited from puffing up the housing bubble, then got bailed out when the going got tough. (Please see The Looting of America for all the gory details.) Without taxpayer largess, these hedge fund honchos would be flat broke. Instead, they're back to hauling in obscene profits.
These billionaires don't even have to worry about serious financial reforms. The paltry legislation that squeaked through Congress did nothing to end too big and too interconnected to fail. In fact, the biggest firms got even bigger as they gobbled up troubled banks, with the generous support of the federal government. No bank or hedge fund was broken up. Nobody was forced to pay a financial transaction tax. None of the big boys had a cap placed on their astronomical wealth. No one's paying reparations for wrecking the US economy. The big bankers are still free to create and trade the very derivatives that catapulted us into this global crisis. You'd think the billionaires would be praying on the altar of government and erecting statues on Capital Hill in honor of St. Bailout.

While 43.6 million Americans live in poverty, the richest men of finance sure are getting pissy. First Steve Schwartzman, head of the Blackrock private equity company, compares the Obama administration's effort to close billionaires' tax loopholes to "the Nazi invasion of Poland." Then hedge fund mogul David Loeb announces that he's abandoning the Democrats because they're violating "this country's core founding principles" -- including "non-punitive taxation, Constitutionally-guaranteed protections against persecution of the minority, and an inexorable right of self-determination." Instead of showing their outrage about the spread of poverty in the richest nation on Earth, the super-rich want us to pity them?
Why are Wall Street's billionaires so whiny? Is it really possible to make $900,000 an hour (not a typo -- that's what the top ten hedge fund managers take in), and still feel aggrieved about the way government is treating you? After you've been bailed out by the federal government to the tune of $10 trillion (also not a typo) in loans, asset swaps, liquidity and other guarantees, can you really still feel like an oppressed minority?
You'd think the Wall Street moguls would be thankful. Not just thankful -- down on their knees kissing the ground taxpayers walk on and hollering hallelujah at the top of their lungs! These guys profited from puffing up the housing bubble, then got bailed out when the going got tough. (Please see The Looting of America for all the gory details.) Without taxpayer largess, these hedge fund honchos would be flat broke. Instead, they're back to hauling in obscene profits.
These billionaires don't even have to worry about serious financial reforms. The paltry legislation that squeaked through Congress did nothing to end too big and too interconnected to fail. In fact, the biggest firms got even bigger as they gobbled up troubled banks, with the generous support of the federal government. No bank or hedge fund was broken up. Nobody was forced to pay a financial transaction tax. None of the big boys had a cap placed on their astronomical wealth. No one's paying reparations for wrecking the US economy. The big bankers are still free to create and trade the very derivatives that catapulted us into this global crisis. You'd think the billionaires would be praying on the altar of government and erecting statues on Capital Hill in honor of St. Bailout.
Instead, standing before us are these troubled souls, haunted by visions of persecution. Why?
The world changed. Before the bubble burst, these people walked on water. Their billions proved that they were the best and the brightest -- not just captains of the financial universe, but global elites who had earned a place in history. They donated serious money to worthy causes -- and political campaigns. No one wanted to mess with them.
But then came the crash. And the things changed for the big guys -- not so much financially as spiritually. Plebeians, including me, are asking pointed questions and sometimes even being heard, both on the Internet and in the mainstream media. For the first time in a generation, the public wants to know more about these emperors and their new clothes. For instance:
• What do these guys actually do that earns them such wealth?
• Is what they do productive and useful for society? Is there any connection between what they earn and what they produce for society?
• Did they help cause the crash?
• Did these billionaires benefit from the bailouts? If so, how much?
• Are they exacerbating the current unemployment and poverty crisis with their shenanigans?
• Why shouldn't we eliminate their tax loopholes (like carried interest)?
• Should their sky-high incomes be taxed at the same levels as during the Eisenhower years?
• Can we create the millions of jobs we need if the billionaires continue to skim off so much of our nation's wealth??
• Should we curb their wealth and political influence?
How dare we ask such questions! How dare we consider targeting them for special taxes? How dare we even think about redistributing THEIR incomes... even if at the moment much of their money comes directly from our bailouts and tax breaks?
It's true that the billionaires live in a hermetically sealed world. But that doesn't mean they don't notice the riffraff nipping at their heels. And they don't like it much. So they've gotten busy doing what billionaires do best: using their money to shield themselves. They're digging into their bottomless war chests, tapping their vast connections and using their considerable influence to shift the debate away from them and towards the rest of us.
We borrowed too much, not them. We get too much health care, not them. We retire too soon, not them. We need to tighten our belts while they pull in another $900,000 an hour. And if we want to cure poverty, we need to get the government to leave Wall Street alone. Sadly, their counter-offensive is starting to take hold.
How can this happen? Many Americans want to relate to billionaires. They believe that all of us are entitled to make as much as we can, pretty much by any means necessary. After all, maybe someday you or I will strike it rich. And when we do, we sure don't want government regulators or the taxman coming around!
Billionaires are symbols of American individual prowess and virility. And if we try to hold them back or slow them down, we're on the road to tyranny. Okay, the game is rigged in their favor. Okay, they got bailed out while the rest of us didn't -- especially the 29 million people who are jobless or forced into part-time work. But what matters most is that in America, nothing can interfere with individual money-making. That only a few of us actually make it into the big-time isn't a bad thing: It's what makes being rich so special. So beware: If we enact even the mildest of measures to rein in Wall Street billionaires, we're on the path to becoming North Korea.
Unfortunately, if we don't adjust our attitudes, we can expect continued high levels of unemployment and more people pushed below the poverty line. It's not clear that our economy will ever recover as long as the Wall Street billionaires keep siphoning off so much of our wealth. How can we create jobs for the many while the few are walking off with $900,000 an hour with almost no new jobs to show for it? In the old days, even robber barons built industries that employed people -- steel, oil, railroads. Now the robber barons build palaces out of fantasy finance. We can keep coddling our financial billionaires and let our economy spiral down, or we can make them pay their fair share so we can create real jobs. These guys crashed the economy, they killed billions of jobs, and now they're cashing in on our bailout. They owe us. They owe the unemployed. They owe the poor.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was no radical, but he accepted the reality: If America was going to prosper -- and pay for its costly Cold War -- the super-rich would have to pony up. It was common knowledge that when the rich grew too wealthy, they used their excess incomes to speculate. In the 1950s, memories of the Great Depression loomed large, and people knew that a skewed distribution of income only fueled speculative booms and disastrous busts. On Ike's watch, the effective marginal tax rate for those earning over $3 million (in today's dollars) was over 70 percent. The super-rich paid. As a nation we respected that other important American value: advancing the common good.
For the last thirty years we've been told that making as much as you can is just another way of advancing the common good. But the Great Recession erased that equation: The Wall Streeters who made as much as they could undermined the common good. It's time to balance the scales. This isn't just redistribution of income in pursuit of some egalitarian utopia. It's a way to use public policy to reattach billionaires to the common good.
It's time to take Eisenhower's cue and redeploy the excessive wealth Wall Street's high rollers have accumulated. If we leave it in their hands, they'll keep using it to construct speculative financial casinos. Instead, we could use that money to build a stronger, more prosperous nation. We could provide our people with free higher education at all our public colleges and universities -- just like we did for WWII vets under the GI Bill of Rights (a program that returned seven dollars in GDP for every dollar invested). We could fund a green energy Manhattan Project to wean us from fossil fuels. An added bonus: If we siphon some of the money off Wall Street, some of our brightest college graduates might even be attracted not to high finance but to jobs in science, education and healthcare, where we need them.
Of course, this pursuit of the common good won't be easy for the billionaires (and those who indentify with them.). But there's just no alternative for this oppressed minority: They're going to have to learn to live on less than $900,000 an hour.
Les Leopold is the author of The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and What We Can Do About It Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2009.


Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses


Editorial Reviews
Obama Is Making You Poorer—But Who’s Getting Rich?
Goldman Sachs, GE, Pfizer, the United Auto Workers—the same “special interests” Barack Obama was supposed to chase from the temple—are profiting handsomely from Obama’s Big Government policies that crush taxpayers, small businesses, and consumers. In Obamanomics, investigative reporter Timothy P. Carney digs up the dirt the mainstream media ignores and the White House wishes you wouldn’t see. Rather than Hope and Change, Obama is delivering corporate socialism to America, all while claiming he’s battling corporate America. It’s corporate welfare and regulatory robbery—it’s Obamanomics.
Congressman Ron Paul says, “Every libertarian and free-market conservative needs to read Obamanomics.” And Johan Goldberg, columnist and bestselling author says, “Obamanomics is conservative muckraking at its best and an indispensable field guide to the Obama years.”
If you’ve wondered what’s happening to America, as the federal government swallows up the financial sector, the auto industry, and healthcare, and enacts deficit exploding “stimulus packages,” this book makes it all clear—it’s a big scam. Ultimately, Obamanomics boils down to this: every time government gets bigger, somebody’s getting rich, and those somebodies are friends of Barack. This book names the names—and it will make your blood boil.

Obama Is Making You Poorer—But Who’s Getting Rich?
Goldman Sachs, GE, Pfizer, the United Auto Workers—the same “special interests” Barack Obama was supposed to chase from the temple—are profiting handsomely from Obama’s Big Government policies that crush taxpayers, small businesses, and consumers.
Investigative reporter Timothy P. Carney digs up the dirt the mainstream media ignores and the White House wishes you wouldn’t see. Rather than Hope and Change, Obama is delivering corporate socialism to America, all while claiming he’s battling corporate America. It’s corporate welfare and regulatory robbery—it’s Obamanomics. In this explosive book, Carney reveals:
* The Great Health Care Scam—Obama’s backroom deals with drug companies spell corporate profits and more government control
* The Global Warming Hoax—Obama has bought off industries with a pork-filled bill that will drain your wallet for Al Gore’s agenda
* Obama and Wall Street—“Change” means more bailouts and a heavy Goldman Sachs presence in the West Wing (including Rahm Emanuel)
* Stimulating K Street—The largest spending bill in history gave pork to the well-connected and created a feeding frenzy for lobbyists
* How the GOP needs to change its tune—drastically—to battle Obamanomics
If you’ve wondered what’s happening to our country, as the federal government swallows up the financial sector, the auto industry, and healthcare, and enacts deficit exploding “stimulus packages” that create make-work government jobs, this book makes it all clear—it’s a big scam. Ultimately, Obamanomics boils down to this: every time government gets bigger, somebody’s getting rich, and those somebodies are friends of Barack. This book names the names—and it will make your blood boil.
Praise for Obamanomics
“The notion that ‘big business’ is on the side of the free market is one of progressivism’s most valuable myths. It allows them to demonize corporations by day and get in bed with them by night. Obamanomics is conservative muckraking at its best. It reveals how President Obama is exploiting the big business mythology to undermine the free market and stick it to entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and consumers. It’s an indispensable field guide to the Obama years.”
—Jonha Goldberg, LA Times columnist and best-selling author
“‘Every time government gets bigger, somebody’s getting rich.’ With this astute observation, Tim Carney begins his task of laying bare the Obama administration’s corporatist governing strategy, hidden behind the president’s populist veneer. This meticulously researched book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Washington really works.”
—David Freddoso, best-selling author of The Case Against Barack Obama
“Every libertarian and free-market conservative who still believes that large corporations are trusted allies in the battle for economic liberty needs to read this book, as does every well-meaning liberal who believes that expansions of the welfare-regulatory state are done to benefit the common people.”
—Congressman Ron Paul
“It’s understandable for critics to condemn President Obama for his ‘socialism.’ But as Tim Carney shows, the real situation is at once more subtle and more sinister. Obamanomics favors big business while disproportionately punishing everyone else. So-called progressives are too clueless to notice, as usual, which is why we have Tim Carney and this book.”
—Thomas E. Woods, Jr., best-selling author of Meltdown and The Politically Incorrect Guideto American History
·         Hardcover: 256 pages
·         Publisher: Regnery Press (November 30, 2009)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1596986123
·         ISBN-13: 978-1596986121

Simon Johnson reviews Too Big to Fail by Andrew Sorkin and other books on the financial crisis
Sunday, December 27, 2009; B01
The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System -- and Themselves
By Andrew Ross Sorkin
Viking. 600 pp. $32.95
The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase
By Duff McDonald
Simon & Schuster. 340 pp. $28
The End of Easy Money And the Renewal of the American Economy
By Peter S. Goodman
Times. 336 pp. $25
At 6:30 a.m. on June 6, 1944, U.S. forces began their assault on Omaha Beach as part of the Normandy landings. Casualties among the first wave were horrendous as infantry struggled out of their landing crafts, known as Higgins boats, under intense fire. Incredible acts of individual heroism and great leadership on the spur of the moment eventually saved the day, but not before chaos and death swept the sand. Combat historian S.L.A Marshall described Omaha Beach as "an epic human tragedy which in the early hours bordered on total disaster."
At 11 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2008, Lloyd Blankfein pulled up in front of a Manhattan office building to continue working on a way to save his firm, Goldman Sachs. "I don't think I can take another day of this," one of his employees remarked. Blankfein shot back, "You're getting out of a Mercedes to go to the New York Federal Reserve. You're not getting out of a Higgins boat on Omaha Beach."
Blankfein was right: Being a Wall Street banker in 2008 was nothing like being a soldier during the Normandy invasion. The financial crisis may have been a once-in-a-lifetime struggle for a group of very well-paid banking executives, but the hardships they endured were long hours, uncomfortable phone calls, and mediocre takeout food. The only thing that JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs had in common with the U.S. forces was that, ultimately, they won: The Wall Street executives kept their jobs, their bonuses and their pensions; they benefited from unprecedented rule changes and unlimited monetary and fiscal support; and their firms became even bigger and more dangerous to the economic health of society.
Stephen Ambrose retold the human dimensions of World War II in convincing and excruciating detail. Andrew Ross Sorkin is the Stephen Ambrose for our financial crisis, with the blow-by-blow story of how rich bankers fought to save the Wall Street they knew and loved. The details in "Too Big To Fail" will turn your stomach. The arrogance, lack of self-awareness, and overweening pride are astonishing.
Sorkin puts you there -- you see events unfold moment by moment, you hear the conversations, you can sense the hubris. The executives of our largest banks ran their firms into the ground, taking excessive risks that even now they fail to understand fully. But, as these individuals saw it, unless they personally were saved on incredibly generous terms, the world's economy would grind to a halt. This is as compelling as it is appalling.
Jamie Dimon, the astute, well-connected and ultimately victorious head of JPMorgan Chase -- a character whose development is revealed meticulously in Duff McDonald's "Last Man Standing" -- told his shareholders' meeting earlier this year that 2008 was probably the company's "finest year ever." He was talking about what you and I call the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Sorkin in his general narrative and McDonald in his biography are sympathetic to their protagonists, but the portraits that emerge are not encouraging. Perhaps for this reason, both shy away somewhat from a key point: You can blame the bankers all you want, but it is the government's job to prevent the financial sector (and anyone else) from holding or exercising this kind of power over us. Where was the government?
By 2008, our executive and legislative branches had long been deep in bipartisan slumber, allowing vulnerabilities to build up in the form of overspending, rising consumer debt levels and lax (or nonexistent) protection for consumers against outrageous practices by the financial sector. This bigger picture is missing from Sorkin's and McDonald's blow-by-blow accounts, but it is a recurrent theme in "Past Due," by journalist Peter S. Goodman.
We can quibble about the relative importance of some details -- such as the role of China's high savings rate in lowering global interest rates and feeding the American credit boom -- in Goodman's highly informative account. But there is no question that politicians either believed that crazy "financial engineering" created a sound basis for sustainable growth or just loved what the financial system could do for them at election time.
And, as Sorkin relates, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the rhetoric regarding our supposedly free markets without government intervention just masks the reality -- that there is a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, and powerful people bend the rules to help each other out. In an illustration of Wall Street clubbiness, Sorkin documents a meeting in Moscow between Hank Paulson, secretary of the treasury (and former head of Goldman Sachs), and the board of Goldman Sachs. As the storm clouds gathered at the end of June 2008, Paulson spent an evening talking substance with the board -- while agreeing not to record this "social" meeting in his official calendar. We do not know the content of the conversation, but the appearance of this kind of exclusive interaction shows how little our top officials care about public perceptions of favoritism.
In saner times, this would constitute a major scandal. At moments of deep crisis, understanding what influences policymakers and having access to them can help a firm survive on advantageous terms. Goldman Sachs was saved, in large part, by suddenly being allowed to become a bank holding company on Sept. 21, 2008. Our most senior government officials determined that the United States must allow Goldman to keep its risky portfolio of assets, while offering it essentially unfettered access to cheap credit from the Federal Reserve. In rescuing a crippled investment bank, the Treasury created the world's largest government-backed hedge fund.
In the face of these developments, Andrew Haldane, head of financial stability at the Bank of England, has become blunt about the way our banking system interacts with (and rips off) taxpayers. In a recent paper that represents the straightest talk heard from the official sector in a long while, Haldane puts it this way: The government may say "never again" to bailouts, but when faced with the choice to either "rescue big banks or allow the world economy to collapse," it will reasonably choose the route of rescue. But, knowing this, the people running our biggest banks have an incentive to take more risk -- if things go well, bank executives get the upside, and if there's a problem, the taxpayer will pick up the check. If a financial sector boss wants greater assurance of a bailout, he or she should make bigger and potentially more dangerous bets -- so the government simply cannot afford to let that bank fail.
This, Haldane argues, is our "doom loop" -- big banks know they can get away with the same behavior (and more) again, and we are doomed to repeat the same boom-bust-bailout cycle. A long time ago, President Andrew Jackson's private secretary, Nicholas Trist, described the Second Bank of the United States, the last financial institution to seriously challenge the power of the president, thus: "Independently of its misdeeds, the mere power, -- the bare existence of such a power -- is a thing irreconcilable with the nature and spirit of our institutions." Unless and until we break the political power of our largest banks, the middle class will be hammered down. Whose taxes do you think will be raised to reflect the costs of repeated financial shenanigans? The financial sector will become even richer and more powerful. If you didn't like where inequality in the United States was already heading, wait until you see the effects of this recession.
The most significant result of the financial crisis is the emergence of six large banks that are undoubtedly too big to fail and therefore enjoy a strengthened government guarantee; Goldman, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley are the beneficiaries of the doom loop. The most significant non-result is the fact that no comprehensive legislation has yet been passed to reform the financial sector. Without really serious reform, we have every reason to start counting down to the next financial crisis, and to the next fleet of Mercedes lining up before the New York Fed.
Simon Johnson is co-founder of the blog BaselineScenario, co-author of "13 Bankers," to be published in April, and a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management.