Sunday, July 22, 2012


 He dressed up in full battle gear, painted his hair red, chose a name of an enemy in keeping with the theme of the night and carried four weapons and some tear gas canisters.  All of this in preparation to assault a theater full of patrons waiting to be entertained by the third part of a violent and dark trilogy which has made billions for its producers.

     It is impossible to ignore the similarities, even if just in color scheme, between the shootings in Aurora, Colorado and those at Columbine High School.  Young white males, dressed in black, randomly targeting victims, described as loners or quiet and unassuming who had never been in trouble before, choosing a setting where the victims are sitting ducks.  It is impossible to ignore the similarities, it is also impossible to avoid the questions this new shooting, and the one many years ago, raise about us and the nature of American culture.

     Batman: The Dark Night Rises, will make hundreds of millions of dollars as a big summer blockbuster.  It follows on the heels of Spiderman and the Avengers, which also have been rewarded with huge box office receipts.  These come just after the end of the Twilight Saga and the huge success of the first part of the Hunger Games.  Oh, and don't forget the success and excitement generated by the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Is there a central theme which runs through all of these cultural benchmarks?  Besides being huge vehicles for entertainment, what else do they have in common?

     Michael Moore asked some of these questions after Columbine.  He went a step further and observed something disquieting.  We share a common border, language and culture with our Canadian neighbors.  We are more similar than dissimilar in our two populations.  Yet, the level of gun violence in Canada isn't one-tenth what it is in the United States.  He added Britain, Scotland and Ireland...France, Germany and Belgium...Norway and Sweden and again the statistics are stark.  None of these nations experience violence on the day-to-day level we do in this country.  Why?

     Back to the question about common every one of the tent-pole movies I sighted, violence, in some cases extreme violence, is a key component.  It is taken to new heights in the Hunger Games where human sacrifice is used to entertain the masses and is the key to victory and freedom.  Even the supposed love story of the Twilight series is wrapped in a cloak of violence.  In all of these hugely successful entertainment vehicles, the message is sent and reinforced that victory over evil can only come from the use of violence.

     Moore opined it is more than just our movies.  He concluded we are bombarded with violent images and stories daily.  The very news we watch or listen to is structured so whatever bleeds...leads.  The nightly news is a daily body count on a city, county, state and national scale.  We are a nation saturated and inundated with violence and with the notion it is the way to solve our problems.  Even our games, the most popular being violent war-making devices, signal an acceptance of human carnage as part of living in this environment.

     Violence, by one human to another, as a means of problem solving has been raised to the level of a sacrament in this country.  How else do you explain the proliferation of laws making it legal to carry a concealed weapon?  There are states where proponents of such laws want them to apply on college campuses and in church.  Our national past time is no longer the bucolic and pastoral sport of baseball.  This sport, where the goal is to get "home", has been supplanted in revenue and interest by a sport where terms of war are commonplace.  Football is so popular, and its players lifted to heroic status, that even though they know it can carry an early death sentence, they still play and we watch at unprecedented levels.  (Just recently, Pittsburg Steelers safety Troy Palimalu admitted he lied about concussions he received in order to stay in the game and he is called courageous.  Would Junior Seau agree?)

     The "good guys" of American culture may resist violence at first  (think of Alan Ladd in Shane, Bruce Banner who so desperately tries to stay calm and avoid violence, America, until we just had to invade Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of peace).  However, eventually they turn to violent means to achieve victory.  Even the Zen-like Karate Kid, you know wax on, wax off, culminated in a sea of violence to bring about a satisfying ending for the audience.

     Whoever this person is in Aurora, Colorado, he has grown up in a society which is culturally schizophrenic.  On the one hand we speak of God and Christianity and religion and religious values as the foundation of this nation, while at the same time worshipping at the altar of violence and conflict...inviting it into our homes on a daily basis...having parties around it on Sunday afternoons...losing sleep to be entertained by it at midnight showings and weaving it into the very fabric of our connection to each other.  It's as if we are all standing in a room up to our necks in gasoline and someone keeps handing out matches, which we gladly accept.  When things finally explode in flames, we shake our head and wonder how such a thing could happen?

     Why we are this way is for psychologists, philosophers and clergy to divine.  Why we accept this violent cultural blanket, embrace it, revel in it, even take pride in proposing violent solutions to problems, is something for social scientists to probe. (Think of those who want to arm the Syrians and want us to go to war with wants to be president of the United States and his opponent, the current occupant, thinks unmanned drone strikes, and the collateral damage they cause in human terms, will bring peace or at least stop violence against us.)

     One thing is certain.  Incidents like the one in Colorado recently, and Columbine years ago, will continue to occur and we will continue to wring our hands and gnash our teeth trying to understand the senselessness of it all without addressing the elephant in the room.  What is Einstein's definition of insanity?

Friday, July 20, 2012


    The government hires Ralph Lauren to design and manufacture clothes for the U.S. Olympic team.  At a time when the nation needs every job it can create, Lauren has the clothes made in China.  REALLY?  There wasn't a single American textile company which could have made them?  Lauren loves to project an old-time "American" ethos with clothes that evoke the Wild West and horses and leather etc.  Maybe these were made in western China?

.....While on the subject of Lauren and taste and the Olympic team outfits...  He has them wearing berets...REALLY?  Berets?  Can't you just see children watching the opening ceremonies and turning to their parents begging for a beret of their very own?  A ten-gallon hat maybe; a derby, fedora, or even a top hat (given Lincoln's popularity these days) any of those maybe...but a beret?  It is so wrong and once again shows Lauren not only doesn't have his finger on the nation's pulse, it appears to be up his ........

.....HSBC is a U.S. bank which laundered billions of dollars in Mexican drug cartel money over a period of years.  They now say they are sorry...REALLY?  Their Mexican branch lied about meetings to oversee deposits.  They violated scores of American banking laws.  HSBC has also opened up accounts for the Taliban and for individuals identified as international terrorists.  It also was used to pass through money so Iran could avoid U.S. sanctions.  They laundered billions of dollars in drug money, facilitated banking for an enemy currently killing American soldiers, and helped international terrorists and a nation trying to build an atomic bomb and its penalty?  Wait for it...wait for it...The bank's top anti-money laundering official is stepping down and they say it won't happen again...REALLY?  You can lie about LIBOR affecting hundreds of trillions of dollars, and you can cause the biggest economic meltdown in 80 years by manipulating and selling sub-prime mortgages and then betting against them.  You can illegally launder money, help terrorists, "lose"$1.6 billion of your customer's money, gamble away as much as $9 billion and NO ONE goes to jail?  Grow some marijuana and you are in federal prison for God-knows how long...REALLY?

.....San Francisco has long been known as a progressive haven.  Now news comes out San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee wants to let the S.F. police stop and frisk anyone they wish on the streets of the City...REALLY?  In New York, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to demand the end of "stop and frisk".  The ACLU says over 80% of those stopped are African American and Hispanic.  Philadelphia just settled a huge suit accusing the police of discrimination because of "stop and frisk" and Ed Lee wants to turn the SFPD loose on the City streets stopping anyone they desire?  If this doesn't cause a political earthquake for Lee, progressivism in SF is dead...REALLY!!!!


 Your cell phone company or Internet provider receives a letter from the F.B.I.  It requests all information concerning your account; who you call, who calls you, who you email and who emails you, what sites you visit and all online activity.  The company cannot tell you that you are under investigation.  The company cannot tell anyone, but their lawyer, they even got a letter.  The company can challenge the letter in secret, but the government will file a civil complaint accusing them of violating national security...among other things.

     In 2006 alone, 49,000 of these requests were issued.  The Patriot Act expanded their use.  Almost none of those tens of thousands of requests were opposed by the companies served.  You might be asking about your 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure?  You might ask about the need for a warrant, probable cause and judicial review before a letter can be issued?  You might, but you would be out of luck.  A National Security Letter can be sent as long as the local F.B.I. office says the records would be relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.  No judge, no warrant or probable cause is necessary to secretly investigate any American the F.B.I. desires.  National Security Letters are a fishing license granting the government the right to churn for, and vacuum up, any information they desire with no fear of a constitutional challenge.

     The Justice Department even claims no judge or court has the right to review the constitutionality of the letters.  The F.B.I. claims it is outside the reach of the constitution where these letters are concerned.  The Justice Department says the court would be interfering with the "sovereign immunity" of the United States if it tried to review the legality of the letters.  In other words, when it comes to spying on its own citizen's online activity, or phone use, the checks and balances put in place by the founding fathers no longer apply.  The government is literally claiming it is above the law, any law, when investigating "terrorist" activity.

     One company is fighting back.  The Wall Street Journal speculates the company is "Credo", a subsidiary of S.F. based Working Assets Inc, which uses some of its profits to support progressive causes.

     I can hear some of you arguing once again, "...why do you care if you haven't done anything wrong?  Let them investigate anything they want."  The problem is they, the government, are the ones who determine what is wrong and what to prosecute or ignore.  There are thousands of federal laws, requiring federal prison terms, which can snare you even if you don't know you broke them or did anything wrong.  It's left up to the government to decide whether to go after you or not.

     An excellent definition of a fascist state is one where everything is illegal and the government decides what to enforce and what to ignore.  National Security Letters fit this definition perfectly.  They are issued in secret.  The recipient must keep them secret.  The subject of the investigation cannot defend themselves or demand a judge assess the legal relevance of the request.  There is no oversight to see if these letters are used or abused.

     In 2007, the Inspector General of the F.B.I. was forced to look at the use of these letters and reported the agency illegally abused the use of hundreds of them.  Even worse, telecom company representatives were embedded with the F.B.I. and gave the government access to customer records without even being shown a letter.  (sound familiar?  Remember the telecoms rolling over and playing dead after September 11, 2001 and giving the National Security Agency any customer information it wanted even though it was illegal at the time?)

     If indeed the N.S.L. is aimed at "Credo", this gets even more disturbing.  Credo is engaged in helping to organize progressive political events including one calling for jail for Wall Street crooks, and another calling on the F.C.C. to revoke the broadcast licenses of Rupert Murdoch.  It has fought against the Patriot Act and donates to groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Credo has also started a Super PAC to defeat Tea Party members of Congress.

     There has been a continuous assault on the 1st and 4th amendments ever since the passage of the Patriot Act.  Civil liberties have been weakened and diluted and Americans are more vulnerable to persecution and harassment by the government than anytime in the last 30 years.  National Security Letters did not prevent the shoe bomber, underwear bomber, or Times Square bomber.  N.S.L.'s did not stop the shooting at Ft. Hood or the anthrax attack on members of Congress.  The F.B.I. claims they helped to break up plots in New York and Virginia, but these are plots orchestrated by F.B.I. informants and insiders which never came close to fruition.  They are low hanging fruit at best.   

     This nation is not stronger or safer if the constitution is neutered or the government has free rein to secretly spy on its citizens.  The biggest threat to the security of this country is internal, not external.  If, in order to protect us, our civil liberties have to be eviscerated, I object.  To be honest, I am more scared of "us" than I am of "them".

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Some prominent Republicans are now adding their voices to the chorus demanding former Massachusetts' governor MItt Romney release his tax returns from 1999 to today.  For all his public career, Romney has been able to stonewall or just refuse to let constitutions see where his wealth came from, where he stashes it and whether or not he has been playing fast and loose with tax laws to reduce his tax burden to a level most middle class Americans will never see.

     Romney ran for the Senate in Massachusetts; ran and was elected Governor; ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2008; is the presumed nominee for 2012.  During all this time, Romney refused to show how rich he is and how that wealth is structured.  During the recent primaries, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry forced him to release one year, 2010, and a guess about 2011.  He says he will not release anything else.  Ironically, it was his father, George Romney, who set the precedent of candidates releasing tax returns when he released 12 years of his.  The senior Romney is quoted as saying one or two years are not enough because they could represent a fluke or deception.  Now, his son is under increasing pressure to release more of his returns, because the only year he did release has raised more questions than answers.

     Newt Gingrich says Romney is the first person to run for president with a Swiss bank account.  Romney's 2010 return showed he has millions squirreled away in offshore accounts from Bermuda to the Grand Caymans.  The 2010 return showed Romney taxed at a 13.9% rate.  The reason, allegedly, is because so much of Romney’s income comes from Bain Capital in the form of "carried interest" from investments.  Investments are taxed at 15% instead of a rate over 30%, which is the rate for regular income.  Romney's claim for so much carried interest can't be verified with only one year's return.

     Other questions have been raised about his wealth.  At a time when everyone in America was limited to $2000-$4,000 a year which could be deposited in a traditional I.R.A. account, Romney shows he has over $100 million in his.  How is that possible?

     In an article in Vanity Fair, Romney's use of offshore accounts raises questions about the source of the funding and whether any of these accounts could e used to allow illegal foreign money to be sheltered in this country.  Romney allegedly retired from Bain in 1999.  Yet, his 2010 return says Mitt, and his wife's, I.R.A. is still receiving money from a Bain fund set up in the Caymans.  This is only allowable if he was still performing services for Bain, something he claims he is not doing.  Once again, these questions about legality and the appropriate tax rate cannot be answer by one tax return.

     Romney himself is quoted saying, "...I've paid every tax dollar I'm legally required to pay and not one dollar more."  We don't know if this is true.  Even if it is true, we don't know whether Romney, because of his wealth, is able to avoid paying taxes by using loopholes and grey areas which most American taxpayers would have no access to or ability to take advantage of.  If true, this would add to the narrative that he is out of touch with the needs and wants of every day Americans.  It would also raise serious questions of whether his is getting a tax rate he does not deserve.

     Another question which more tax returns might answer is a criminal one.  Romney voted in the senate race in Massachusetts won by Scott Brown.  In order to vote, Romney had to have a residence in the state.  His tax returns would show where he was taking any property tax deductions and thus where he considered his home.  There is speculation; they would show he voted in Massachusetts while claiming his home in New Hampshire or a number of other states.  If so, he would be guilty of a crime for illegally voting.  We can't determine the answer to this question without more information from his returns.

     The Romney campaign complains questions about his wealth, and tax returns, are intended to be a distraction by the Obama campaign so the American people won't notice the sorry state of the nation's economy.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Romney's tax returns, and what they reveal, are a vital component in the debate about the economy, its strengths and weaknesses and whose vision of the future, Romney's or Obama's, will best represent what average, middle class American's needs are and hopes can be.  A Romney who made his wealth exploiting arcane tax laws, grey areas, ethically questionable strategies...a Romney who believes in less financial regulation and more loopholes for the 1% with his kind of wealth...a Romney who refuses to let the American people judge his actions and decisions...a Romney who creates trusts and shell companies and offshore accounts to benefit his children and grandchildren, is not someone who is going to spend much effort preventing Wall Street banks and corporate America from flimming and flamming working Americans even more than they do now.

     Romney says he paid every tax dollar legally required and not one dollar more.  We don't know if that is true.  More importantly, if he was able to use Swiss accounts, Bermuda post office boxes and Grand Cayman structures to shelter and protect his wealth, and reduce his tax bite, every dollar he didn't support wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and tax breaks for the a dollar you have had to make up for.  It's time for him to open the book to a new chapter and come clean so people can know exactly whom it is they might vote for.


At least 26 states have "stand your ground" laws in place.  Almost as many have laws to reduce the rights of unionized public employees and unionized workers in general.  Others have followed Arizona's lead in passing draconian anti-immigration legislation including the infamous, " us your papers" provision.  Still others routinely pass legislation benefitting insurance and other companies to the detriment of their customers and even more are passing laws to limit or reduce who can vote in national elections, particularly minority voters.  Would it surprise you to discover all these laws and ideas emanate from a singular source?  Would you be shocked to learn one organization, researches, develops and writes model legislation which can then be introduced in states around the nation?  How amazed would you be to find out this organization is a creation of the Koch brothers, and corporate America, to institute their agenda of returning this country to the "Gilded Age" of weak government regulation, low to non-existent taxes for the rich, no labor movement and a dramatic gap between the rich 1% and everyone else?  For over 30 years this shadow organization has existed below the radar.  Most Americans have never heard of it.  Almost no one knew it was bribing lawmakers and facilitating contributions to their campaigns while doling out money to their wives and children.  The American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC), is the name of this corporate shill and it lives to do the bidding of regressives throughout the land.

     Some of you may have heard of ALEC in conjunction with the Treyvon Martin case in Florida.  Police sighted the state's "stand your ground" law as the reason they didn't arrest George Zimmerman for the shooting.  Stories emerged about how the National Rifle Association went to ALEC with an idea about a "castle" law.  ALEC researched and wrote the language and ALEC members, legislators in various states, then introduced the legislation.  Studies now show homicides have increased in states with stand your ground laws.  In some states, gang members use the law to avoid prosecution for killing rivals.  The law Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed, giving him the authority to bust public employee unions, was written by ALEC.  ALEC is supported by dues from the biggest and most well known corporations in this country.  Most of them do not want you to know about ALEC or their involvement.  When a number of grass roots groups revealed which corporations supported ALEC, a number, including Coca Cola and Kraft, cut their ties.  Pressure must increase from you, their customers, to force every corporation to cut off their associations with ALEC completely.  Every piece of legislation ALEC champions is designed to benefit corporate America and dilute the rights and power of middle class Americans.

     Developing, researching and writing anti-regulation, anti-immigrant, pro-gun legislation might be bad enough, but ALEC goes further.  ALEC designed itself as a way for corporate America to secretly contribute millions of dollars in bribes to elected officials.  ALEC has what it calls a "scholarship" fund.  This is used to fly legislators to posh resorts, pay for their lodging and expenses, allow them to bring their wives and children and even pays for the child care while the "conference" is going on.  In Ohio, ALEC provided prime baseball tickets, along with food and beverages, to legislators and organized them to meet lobbyists at the game or in other venues.  Corporations and lobbyists can contribute to the scholarship fund and then submit a list of legislators they wish to meet and contact.  Since ALEC is a non-profit organization, these contributions are tax deductible, and possibly anonymous, so in reality you the taxpayer are subsidizing this regressive, secretive, stealth group's attempts to undermine your rights and make your communities more dangerous.

     ALEC is an acknowledgement by the Koch brothers and others they can't get enough of their agenda through Washington.  It is a designed strategy to buy off regressive legislators in 50 states and pass, piecemeal, what they cannot get enshrined in federal law.  It is an example of Newt Gingrich's "new federalism" where the rich and powerful do an end-run around Washington to push their radical plan on a state-by-state basis.  It's brilliant in its design and execution and for over 30 years it has been able to chip away at the social safety net, water down civil liberties and advance the regressive cause without anyone noticing.  Belonging to ALEC was a no brainer for corporate America.  It has no down side.

     It's time for this to change.  It's time for membership in ALEC to be too costly to corporations.  It's time for you, the consumer, to let them know they will pay a price if they continue to support ALEC.  It is also time for the I.R.S., and individual states, to investigate ALEC and its "scholarship" fund and other ways it passes on corporate contributions to sympathetic legislators.  Calls for investigations are starting in Ohio and other states.  More are necessary to stop op them from gaming the system anymore.

     You can't say you don't know about ALEC now.  You can't ignore them any longer.  They mean to do you harm if you work for a living, care about civil liberties, and believe bribing of public officials is corrupt and wrong.  Google ALEC.  Find out what they are up to.  Fight back and let corporate America know the free lunch is over.  Doing nothing will finally hit you when you get pulled over and told to produce your "papers" or you pay is cut or someone is shot and "stand your ground" is invoked.... by then it will be too late.


  A recent poll of 500 financial workers in the U.S. and Britain revealed 24% said they believed unethical or illegal behavior could help people in their industry to be successful.  16% said they would engage in insider trading if they could get away with it.  We are watching a tsunami of corporate and bank scandals, which suggest both worlds, are lacking in ethical and moral compasses.  These new revelations come at a time when Wall Street, and corporate America, are fighting off more regulation, trying to defeat President Obama, and elect the richest, and most secretive, candidate ever to run for the presidency.

     Two of the biggest scandals were brought to light by Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi.  In the July issue, Taibbi covers a trial in New York City in which it is revealed that banks, lots and lots of banks, gamed municipal bond markets to steal billions of dollars from every city and municipality in the country.  The did it by rigging the bidding between banks for the money communities were setting aside to build schools and other infrastructure projects.  The list of banks involved is a who's who of the biggest and most corrupt.  Bank of America (also found guilty of lying to investors about its financial condition after it bought Merrill Lynch and paying millions in fines), Chase, U.B.S., Wells Fargo (which just agreed to pay millions of dollars in fines for cheating minority customers and charging them higher interest rates and pushing them into sub prime mortgages), along with Goldman Sachs, TransAmerica, A.I.G. and banks in England, Scotland, France, Germany and the Netherlands.  Taibbi notes the kind of bid rigging done in this case was historically the purview of the Mafia for most of the 20th century.  The mob would rig garbage contracts and construction projects and other urban money pots by bribing officials and paying off regulators.  Now, the nation's financial world has stepped in with their version of Goodfellows and the result is billions of tax dollars lost to cities and counties and deposited into the coffers of Wall Street.

     The other scandal Taibbi revealed, and which has since exploded into the national and international scene, is the rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).  This daily interest rate affects as much as $800 Trillion worth of financial instruments.  (Can anyone really mentally picture how much money that is?)  Since at least 2006, 16 major banks colluded and rigged how the LIBOR daily rate would be set.  Much of the conspiracy was designed to cover up the weakened financial condition of many of the banks and rigging the number also enabled them to make allot of profit at the expense of their customers.  (New York and Connecticut are the first American states to open investigations to see how much money they lost due to this scam)  Many of the mortgages, car loans and other banking you do are directly impacted by the LIBOR rate.  Barclays Bank has agreed to pay $450 million in fines and this is only the start.  (If you need further outrage...after Barclays was caught and admitted to what it did, British banking authorities agreed not to reveal the names of the banks top officers who were involved in the scandal...agreed to let them keep their jobs and, in one case, approved a promotion for one of them)  As many as 16 banks are involved, including J.P. Morgan Chase (who recently admitted it lost as much as $9 billion gambling with customer's money), Chase (again), Citigroup, U.B.S. (again) and others.  Adding insult to injury, regulators (you know, the ones banks say there are too many of and the rules they enforce are too strict?) in Britain and the U.S. knew about the unreliability of LIBOR since 2007 and did nothing about it.  (protecting your interests)  The Financial Times, no liberal, left-wing, publication, opined this scandal shines a light on the "rotting heart" of the financial industry.

     All of this comes during an election year where Wall Street banks are pouring money into Mitt Romney's campaign because he promises to roll back the meager regulations increased by the Dodd/Frank Financial Services legislation and while Romney himself faces questions about the ethics of his own fortune and his use of gimmicks and loopholes to pay as few taxes as possible.

     Be very clear...what BofA, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, U.B.S. and the rest are doing is stealing from you...lying to you...conning you...engaging in conspiracies to defraud you to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.  (I am currently living with folks accused of conspiracies and fraud and theft yet we will never see one of these Wall Street denizens as guests here of the federal government...a double standard?)  Theft, deceit, bribery, conspiracy, fraud are just some of the crimes which have been perpetrated, and yet, except for three small fish in the New York trial, not a single major figure in the Wall Street financial world has been charged with a crime.  (BTW, Barclays themselves informed the New York Federal Reserve office, while Timothy Geithner ran it, of problems with LIBOR in 2007, and brought it to the attention of British regulators, and no one did anything.)

     On the heels of the bond bid-rigging and LIBOR collusion, comes news of another scandal in the financial industry.  Peregrine Financial Group, a futures trading company, stole over $200 million of customer funds and the boss, who tried to kill himself, confessed.  This latest revelation comes after the debacle, which is M.F. Global, where that company has lost or stolen over $1.6 billion of customer's funds.  Once again, regulators failed to see the warning signs and to discover the thefts until it was too late.  The fraud at Peregrine was going on for years and there were plenty of red flags for anyone who was truly looking.  How many farmers or small investors have now seen their savings destroyed?  How is it regulators failed to catch these criminals...failed to even see bright red warning signs...yet the financial world, and Romney, continue to claim they are overregulated and these regulations are hampering their ability to do business?

     If all of this isn't enough to convince you corporate America is corrupt from Apple to Zynga, Glaxo, Smith, Klein has agreed to pay a $3 billion fine in the biggest health-care fraud in U.S. history.  It promoted its anti-depressant drugs for inappropriate use, use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, to millions of Americans.  It marketed Wellbutrin as a weight-loss drug and Paxil to children and teens.  (drug dealers marketing to children...I thought this was supposed to outrage average citizens)  No one has been criminally charged despite the fraud and damage done to those who used the drugs inappropriately.  Oh,Glaxo, Smith, Klein sold at least $27 billion worth of the drugs last year.  The fine is just the cost of doing business... I guess.

     All of the above occurs while a debate is on-going in this country.  One side, Republican and regressive, argues for even less regulation...less scrutiny...fewer oversights and a Republican House consistently cuts funds for any government agency engaged in regulation or oversight.  They are pushing for a pure market free of any restraints.  They are pouring resources into Romney's campaign.  The other side, progressives and Democrats, argues for more regulation, (although not enough and Obama has been a captive of Goldman for most of his term), more transparency, and more accountability.  Elections mean something.  The American people have to decide which view best represents their interests.

     The financial and corporate worlds are corrupt beyond redemption.  Young people aspiring to careers in these industries are no different than those who dreamed of being "made-men" with the mob.  There is no moral underpinning to free market capitalism.  Even Pope John Paul II declared it to be immoral without regulation.  Since we know how corrupt and greedy this whole system of capitalism is, we have no one but ourselves to blame if we continue to allow them free reign and do not demand criminal consequences for their actions.  Since we know they will lie, cheat and steal at any opportunity, perhaps we need to insure they are always watched and never left alone with our money.  Which presidential candidate will accomplish this goal?