As in good and valid cause for a revolt - by Congress.
"The sweeping change to two decades of tax policy escaped the notice of lawmakers for several days, as they remained consumed with the controversial bailout bill. When they found out, some legislators were furious. Some congressional staff members have privately concluded that the notice was illegal. But they have worried that saying so publicly could unravel several recent bank mergers made possible by the change and send the economy into an even deeper tailspin.
"Did the Treasury Department have the authority to do this? I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no," said George K. Yin, the former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan congressional authority on taxes. "They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed as a back door way of providing aid to banks."
But several aides said they were still torn between their belief that the change is illegal and fear of further destabilizing the economy.
"None of us wants to be blamed for ruining these mergers and creating a new Great Depression," one said. "
So all I have to do in order to steal $150 billion and not get nailed for it is claim that stealing the taxpayer's money is necessary to "prevent a Depression" (never mind that $150 billion is less than 1/20th of what has been blown thus far) and I can rip everyone in America off?
Congress won't exercise its proper oversight role?
Nor does the ripoff stop there:
"The U.S. government reached a deal Sunday night to scrap its original $123 billion bailout of American International Group Inc. and replace it with a new $150 billion package, according to people familiar with the matter."
That doesn't sound so bad, right?
Don't read too much of that article:
"The first such vehicle is to be capitalized with $30 billion from the government and $5 billion from AIG. That money will be used to acquire the underlying securities with a face value of $70 billion that AIG agreed to insure with the credit default swaps. These securities, known as collateralized debt obligations, are thinly traded investments that include pools of loans. The vehicle will seek to acquire the securities from their trading partners on the CDS contracts for about 50 cents on the dollar."
Oh really? 50 cents on the dollar for CDOs eh?
Those, being synthetics (and thus having no actual underlying real estate that has a real value) are likely worth, in fact, zero.
So we have another $30 billion (at least) that is being stolen.
Oh, and by the way, the original price tag was $85 billion; now its $150 billion, and the repayment terms are less onerous than originally. That is, its yet another gift, definitely in the amount of the CDO purchase and likely far more.
(For the purpose of full disclosure I bought some "lottery tickets" on this company a week ago, expecting exactly this sort of stupidity - so I'm arguing against my own financial interest here. How many people will you find out on Wall Street, or anywhere else, that will tell you point blank that what the government should do will cost them money?)
"Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return. "
In other words, they lied, and now Bloomberg has sued:
"Bloomberg News has requested details of the Fed lending under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 7 seeking to force disclosure. "
And how much are we talking about here?
"Total Fed lending topped $2 trillion for the first time last week and has risen by 140 percent, or $1.172 trillion, in the seven weeks since Fed governors relaxed the collateral standards on Sept. 14. The difference includes a $788 billion increase in loans to banks through the Fed and $474 billion in other lending, mostly through the central bank's purchase of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds. "
We have an agency that has a federal charter and operates at the pleasure of Congress, and a branch of the executive, both of which made promises to Congress (and the American People) in the management of near $3 trillion dollars - or 1/5th, roughly, of the US GDP, and equivalent to the size of the entire federal budget ($3 trillion), yet exactly none of this has been fully disclosed, there are gifts being handed out all over the place, and some Congressmen have concluded that at least some of the actions taken thus far have been and are against the law.
Oh Mr. FBI Man! Where are you?
A better question: Mr. and Mrs. America? Where are you?
Why are you going to work? Why are you contributing to America's GDP (and as a consequence paying taxes) when you could choose to sit on your butt and refuse to cooperate with this heist, collecting some of the "handout"?
After all, you're the ones being robbed and Congress, which is supposed to prevent this sort of crap is fully aware of what is going on and yet is willfully refusing to stop it.
It is testament to the sheepish nature of this country that we can have organs of our government literally grab an amount of money equal to the entire federal budget and operate it as a "black program", refusing to comply with Congressional demands for oversight while changing tax law in ways that people in Congress deem unlawful, and yet not only will Congress refuse to act to stop it but The American People will quietly go about their day instead of descending en-masse on Washington DC to insist that the law be enforced and government act in the sunshine.
How long has it been since you have read this document, my fellow Americans?
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Wiser men than I penned that document, but that one could legitimately find sections to turn bold, emphasizing current usurpations, is more than a little alarming.
It is our duty as Americans to prevent a critical mass of the elements behind that document from once again becoming operative, and indeed, each and every member of Congress takes an oath to uphold our Constitution for the explicit purpose of keeping safe our nation from ever again having cause as expressed in The Declaration of Independence from once again having to take the actions that followed publication of The Declaration.
When Congress willingly and knowingly abdicates its responsibility under that Oath of Office, as has now been documented in The Press, we as Americans must demand that their responsibility be discharged, and take whatever actions are legal, necessary and possible to force that Congressional action, lest we find ourselves in the same position that the brave men of 1776 did.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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