Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Get M.A.D.! Really M.A.D.!

In my last blog entry, I presented the idea that being happy all year long was a matter of choice. I said, further, that that choice was not at the mercy of adverse conditions, or implacable situations. I told you that each year I resolve to do just that--to be happy, to take everyone's wish for me, and extend it throughout the year. But, being happy all year long, doesn't mean I have to give up mad, that is M.A.D.--the drive to Make A Difference in my world.

Frankly, the madder you get, the better.

So now, I'm inviting you all to become as M.A.D. as I am at the moment, to Make A Difference. You see, just being angry can take you only so far, but M.A.D. can take you a long way toward ameliorating conditions on the ground--the remedying of social and political ills with which you and your fellow citizens may be struggling.

I don't know if you saw this segment on MSNBC yesterday, but even if you did, I'm inviting you to watch it again, and get M.A.D. It describes those forces that conflated to created the financial mess we're in now, and how that mess almost brought the world to its economic knees, dragging us down with it. And we're not out of the woodshed yet. We're still taking quite a financial beating, some folks more than others.

If after watching this, you're not M.A.D. as hell, and not going to take it anymore, then brace yourself: the ride ain't over.

I was aware of much of the information presented here, but not all. The segment structures that information so that laypersons can follow the connecting of the dots, a connecting that demystifies the problem--a problem that charlatans would have us believe is beyond our intellectual capacity to understand, and beyond the government's power to supervise and regulate.

In part, it's about the derivative market, a 750 trillion dollars strong market worldwide, greater than the combined annual GNP (Gross National Product) of the world's nations.

That's scary stuff. After watching and digesting the video clip to follow, let's discuss it.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

We have to remove this Damocles sword, lest we find ourselves in this economic predicament again, made worse by our inaction. Talk to your neighbors about it, have them watch the video, not necessarily here, but on the MSNBC Web site.

The MSNBC video clip that follows is not THE solution for fixing the problem. But it is a beginning. Peter Welch, Congressional Representative from Vermont, is garnering support (sponsors) for a bill that will tax bank bonuses over $50,000.00 at 50% (a windfall profits tax). Write your congressperson, e-mail, snail mail, or fax your support for such a bill.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

You know the problem. Now, I invite you to get M.A.D.

The acronym, M.A.D., has other meanings. It can also mean, Mobilize And Defeat, as well as, Mobilize And Defend. Oftentimes, we're called on to do one or the other, or both simultaneously.

If we're going to Make A Difference in our world on behalf of our neighbors--those who live next door, within our state, our nation, or the entire world--we need to get M.A.D., Mobilize And Defend, and, where necessary, Mobilize And Defeat. Which tactic we use, will depend upon the situation or circumstance we face.

But if we don't get M.A.D. at all, it won't matter. The key to success is to get M.A.D. and stay M.A.D.

If a corporation, or a business, is too big to fail, then it's too big to exist. Our government is as complicit in creating this economic disaster as the rapacious corporations who fought for the passage of laws, and the reduction of governmental oversight, to create it. We must hold our government officials accountable--now, and in the future.

If you decide to get M.A.D., here's a sample letter. E-mail, snail mail, or fax (Revise, augment, or personalize as needed.):


Dear Sir or Madame:

Please support Vermont Congressman Peter Welch's proposal to impose a 50% windfall tax on bank bonuses that exceed $50,000.00. That money can then go toward small business loans so desperately needed in this struggling economy.

Banks could have used Federally provided zero percent interest money in a couple of ways--to lend out, or shore up their balance sheets--but, instead, they chose to line their pockets.

This is an unacceptable use of taxpayer dollars. The money should have been used to revive our economy. The passage of a windfall tax on bank bonuses will send a strong message to those who would use public monies for their own private gain
.

14 comments:

Ernesto said...

"If a corporation, or a business, is too big to fail, then it's too big to exist."

Truth. Thanks for the heads up on the bill. I have emailed my rep asking him to co-sponsor and support the bill.

Black Diaspora said...

"I have emailed my rep asking him to co-sponsor and support the bill." Ernesto.

Thanks, Ernesto. From time to time, I plan to use my blog to highlight causes I feel should be championed.

I want folks to stay M.A.D.

Blinders Off said...

BD,

This is definitely a good cause. I have been feeling frustrated with our political system, Government, and activism in my community, I came to the point I no longer wanted to be involved...which I have done before, but went right back in the battlefield after a little mental rest.

I know not to do nothing will only continue to perpetrate the problems. For some strange reason, I believe PEOPLE are waking up to the deception that has been going on in the USA for many years.

Back to the battlefield, I will write my State representatives tonight requesting they support this bill and pass it on to my troops. I know I will get a reply back from two of them, which is always interesting to read.

Black Diaspora said...

Hi, Blinders Off. The temptation is to surrender, given the magnitude of the problems we face.

With the "zero percent interest" that bankers are enjoying, a massive, unprecedented, transfer of wealth from the people to the wealthy (Wall Street Bankers) is taking place.

Were we so favored, we, too, could become rich in short order, by putting our money in the safety of government T Bills.

It's a travesty.

These mega-banks are so sure that the U.S. government will tolerate their shenanigans--this shifting of the wealth to them--that they're not bothering to hide the fact, but are bragging about their record profits.

I'm in the process of transferring my money to my local credit union.

I will still maintain an account in one of the big banks, because Homebanking is so convenient, but I won't be keeping my money there between bill payments.

Together, we can win. We just need to add to our numbers, and keep adding.

What's needed is to stay M.A.D. The banks can browbeat a few of us, but not all of us, and the power is on our side. Our money.

sisterstation said...

God bless you, Black Diaspora, for being as usual, spot on. It is most helpful to have suggestions as to ways to mobilize.

I read this quote a few days ago in an employment article. "Positive action reduces anxiety".

I can relate to Blinders Off when she talks about feeling almost too frustrated to continue. A colleague of mine coined a word once, "flusterated" which as near as I can define is a feeling of being irritated and disappointed and also confused and uncertain as to the next step to take.

This is an incredibly paralyzing sensation, and once you have slowed to a stop, inertia becomes harder and harder to overcome.

Thank God the pen is mightier than the sword, because that sword gets harder and harder to pick up!

I feel like the people who are participating in this blatant thievery should be neutralized, however that can occur. They are no better than Bernie Madoff, and he's in jail for a hundred years.

There are a lot of people who saw this coming and knew all along that laws were being broken.

One of the reasons I feel the right wing is so complicit in the crafting of this transfer of wealth is the strange case of Elliot Spitzer, former NY governor.

He was investigating Wall Street.

He was gone in sixty seconds, after the revelations of his trysts with "escorts" were made public, and with his personal life in a shambles, he could no longer fight that fight.

Just as an aside, I think it, at the least, very strange that the "madam" who ran the escort service supposedly committed suicide in a shed on her mother's property. They said she hung herself. I give as much creedence to that as the idea of Aristede flying out of Haiti in the middle of the night of his own volition.

One can only wonder what secrets she took to her grave.

If they hadn't shut down Elliot Spitzer when they did, the beans would have been spilled much sooner.

Just a couple of days ago my husband and I started researching banks a little more closely. We are done using the big bank we currently deal with and we are going to transfer what little money we do have into a community based bank.

People and groups have buying power. We need to grab that power and use it in more creative ways if we are ever going to see any change.

c.c.-kathy said...

There is a bill HR 4173, that is supposed to make requirements on banks, lending, and also, derivative markets, I haven't read the bill yet, here is the link.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR04173:@@@L&summ2=m&

It's interesting that the derivative market, during the entire time of Bush's presidency, was not scrutinized, where the heck was the SEC, they are supposed to self-police. Also, credit rating agencies gave some banks and agencies, triple a ratings, and they defaulted.

Thanks for this post, Black Diaspora.

p.s. There is a lot of misinformation out about derivatives, this is probably done on purpose so the banks can keep doing what they do.

Black Diaspora said...

"It's interesting that the derivative market, during the entire time of Bush's presidency, was not scrutinized, where the heck was the SEC, they are supposed to self-police. Also, credit rating agencies gave some banks and agencies, triple a ratings, and they defaulted."

Bankers are complaining about a "perfect storm" that decended upon them without admitting that they're responsible for the conflation of forces that made it all possible.

The rating services were complicit (one level of protection that failed), as well as the SEC for not untilizing proper oversight measures (yet, another level of protection that failed), and lawmakers who repealed certain laws, and passed others to facilitate this fleecing of America (the final level of protection that failed).

Since we can't trust our government to keep us safe, we'll have to do it ourself. That mean, we'll have to know more about the economic system than we've known heretofore, and force them, literally twist arms with the threat of ouster and the ballot box, if they continue to favor special interest over the people's interest.

You know those chain letters that get passed around for years, mostly with erroneous informaiton in them, what if that system was used to circulate information of real benefit to people?

At this point, I'm prepared to try any legal scheme that might work.

c.c.-kathy said...

"Bankers are complaining about a "perfect storm" that decended upon them without admitting that they're responsible for the conflation of forces that made it all possible."

You are right, calling this a "perfect storm" that descended OMG, that is so ridiculous. Fleecing is right, that is what was done.

c.c.-kathy said...

I wanted to add that H.R.4173 - Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, which passed in Dec. 09, is over 1200 pages long. I started to read it, but I can't print it. It would be much easier for me if I could print it, so I am going to have to break it up in sections. I hope you read it too, BD, since it will take me a while to get through it and write up anything on it.

c.c.-kathy said...

Two major issues that I do think this bill addresses are, Compensation to Executives, and Derivatives.
One commenter wrote that compensation to Executives should be tied to a percentage of the lowest paid worker. What do you think?

Black Diaspora said...

"I hope you read it too, BD, since it will take me a while to get through it and write up anything on it."

I definitely will, and thanks for the link.

"One commenter wrote that compensation to Executives should be tied to a percentage of the lowest paid worker. What do you think?"

That still may not work. Worker salaries in many of these institutions average, annually, half a million dollars, but it's a start.

I'm coming back to this issue. I don't think the bill went far enough in correcting the executive salaries/compensations/bonuses excesses, or the derivative debacle. But I'll see.

c.c.-kathy said...

"That still may not work. Worker salaries in many of these institutions average, annually, half a million dollars, but it's a start."

The cashiers and clerks and other back office workers make such a small amount of money at these institutions that it is a disgrace. You can work for such a company, where some of the lowest paid "performers" are making a mere half a million, and still qualify for public assistance.

c.c.-kathy said...

I do agree that the bill didn't go far enough, I am troubled by the time extension for implementation. But I haven't read the bill in it's entirety, so I am going to hold back on my opinion on that:))

Black Diaspora said...

@sisterstation: "Positive action reduces anxiety".

A wonderful quote, and true. I'll have to commit it to memory.

Those who're ripping us off would like nothing better than for us to become "flusterated" and give up. Well, that's not going to happen. I'm prepared to spit in the eye of death, so you know I'm not buckling. I'm working on another blog to address some of that frustration, and to suggest methods of fighting back.

I'm inspired by some of the stories coming out of Haiti. This tragedy will produce many of them, and speak to our strength, our courage, our determination, and our indomitable spirit when facing tragedy and surviving, and emerging stronger than before.

Sisterstaion, we can work miracles. If we establish intent, combine our energies and will, and persist, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

Eliot Spitzer is an outspoken critic of the financial sector, perhaps one of the unseen consequences of attempting to neutralize him. If he doesn't have one, he should think about setting up a blog to keep us abreast of the tactics being used to part us from our money, and to continue the fleecing this country.

I, too, find the Madams death suspicious. It was just a bit too convenient.

The banks, even now, are plotting ways to rip us off. We have to be prepared to meet force with force. We can't sit idly by and give our tacit approval to their machinations, by not putting up a stiff resistance. As you stated: the "people and groups have buying power."

We need to start flexing our considerable muscles.