CORPORATISM WATCH: A LOOK BACK AT GM, A LOOK FORWARD ATFORECLOSURE FRAUD

“I have to teach this Obama something about capitalism” — Hugo Chávez.

This was in the wake of the government takeover of GM, chronicled very well right here by B´Man who used this piece by Greg Palast to make the same point Chávez made.

The latter, of course, is a bright man with a very needling yet accurate sense of humor. He knew that while he calls his government “socialist,” it is hardly that, and he knows his reputation in the American propaganda is as some kind of communist dictator, so he took an opportunity to make a very deeply finessed joke. The essential truth at the heart of the joke is while the “socialist” Republic of Venezuela is, like almost all countries, an economic mix of public and private ownership of productive capacity. They vary as to percentage, but all self-governing nations can be said to be “capitalist” in the main with greater or lesser degrees of “socialist features.”

The United States is not one of those countries because it is neither “capitalist” nor “socialist” nor the common blend of the two. It is a CORPORATIST EMPIRE. The wealth and productive capacity of the USA is largely controlled by a triad of the largest banks and corporations, all branches of government by mostly the executive and legislative, and a PRIVATE CENTRAL BANK the world knows as THE FEDERAL RESERVE.

Thus, the country which claims to be the example of capitalism in action, has no respect for the natural rules of capitalism and I don´t need to discuss the role of regulation and/or oversight either to prove it.

One of those natural, commonsense, laws of capitalism is THE LEVELS OF SENIORITY OF CORPORATE FINANCE. Without the existence of this ladder, capitalism could not function. There would be no incentive to lend money and there would be no incentive for any single person to commit themselves to any job at all. The only logical choice would be, as was in the case of the USSR, for everyone to steal everything that wasn´t bolted down at their place of employment.

Palast lays out the case of the government takeover of GM and concurrent theft of workers´and lenders´money and rights to benefit itself and the banking-cartel, at the expense of the natural order of seniority of corporate finance.

(An aside: Chávez and Argentina´s President Cristina Fernández De Kirchner have bragged about allowing the process of seniority of levels of corporate finance to work itself through failing companies and have created 1000s of millionaires out of normal unionized workforces who were able to use their top rung on the ladder of finance to take over failed companies and make successes of them. 1000 millionaires are better than one billionaire screwup, no?)

So, EXHIBIT A, in exactly how the USA is a corporatist empire, not a democratic republic with a mixed economy. H/T again to B´Man for his post from the Summer of 2009.

Grand Theft Auto: How Stevie the Rat bankrupted GM

It is not just the executive and legislative branches of government of the USA which violate another natural tenet of capitalism, THE ILLEGALITY OF FRAUD.

Another aside, this one with more American relevance!: while I have a great deal of respect for Ron Paul, I certainly don´t agree with his free-market absolutism because it does not appear that he has thought through the endgame of it. All that would happen is, while the government might be severed from the corporations, the result would be overt feudalism in the country with the world´s greatest wealth and income concentration. To be fair to Paul, however, he asserts that the laws against fraud properly enforced are better than a corporatist government whose regulation and oversight are themselves fraudulent. I agree with this part of his explanation, though I find it necessary, but hardly sufficient, because the laws pertaining to fraud are completely disregarded as the Palast piece and the following show.

So, EXHIBIT B in our ongoing case against corporatism.

The judicial branch of government at the behest of the banking cartel and executive branches is participating in a cruel fraud against the American homeowner by creating a quasi-governmental, quasi “private,” agency called MERS to rob homeowners of their rights and to speed up the foreclosure process as a gift to the banking-cartel.

Factbox: The role of MERS in foreclosure furor

Once you´ve read it, and understood why it´s a fraudulent entity, watch this video of Matt Taibbi explaining to Cenk Uyger why this is so.

Now, have a look at a chart which partially shows the slicing and dicing and repackaging and sales and trading of mixed mortgages.

My point here is to emphasize that the dispersion of millions of tiny pieces of millions of mortgages to entities far and wide and completely unaccounted for leave any fraudulent entity like MERS or any special courts meant to speed up the foreclosure of homes are not LEGAL. They violate federal laws against fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, restraint of trade, and are wholly unconstitutional because they violate due process and the so-called “takings clause.”

What Taibbi alludes to and I specify is that the “plaintiffs” in these “judicial foreclosures” are not necessarily entitled to pursue foreclosure because as it seems, THEY ARE NOT THE BENEFICIAL OWNERS OF THE HOME LOAN. Thus, they are not the “aggrieved parties” to any foreclosure court proceeding and have no business trying to force anyone out of their homes. Only if the actual beneficial holders of the loans are able to repackage them into the original loan itself (or some threshold percentage of it) can they bring a claim of foreclosure against a homeowner. A bank which briefly owned an MBS/CDO and no longer has any title to any tiny slice of any mortgage in it is plainly not an aggrieved party and ought by law, normal business practice, and the US Constitution, have no right to try to seize something they don´t own only to make yet more free money and oppress yet more people.

But if you look at these two examples, you see that in the Imperial Corporatist States Of America, THERE IS NO LAW, THERE IS NO NORMAL BUSINESS PRACTICE, AND OBVIOUSLY THERE IS NO CONSTITUTION.

There is only a corporatist empire, a police state and all the oppression, coercion, expropriation, and RULE OF FRAUD that accompanies an empire.

All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuehlahMan’s Revolt or WordPress.com

They are ALL wrong!

http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2010/07/exclusive-new-audio-mel-gibson-admits-hitting-oksana-threatens-kill-her-listen-it

The above is the full 8 minutes

Ya know– I hate ‘sound-bites’ and I sure am wise enough to know when I end up listening to something in pieces, that I do not nor will I ever have the entire history regarding anything that I just heard. Now– I do know the following–

1] This woman was in control of the call and dialoge

2] I do not believe he knew it was being taped

3] She said what she wanted said on the tape

4] If we taped anyone of us during a domestic tyrate it would not be pretty

5] He sounds like every Biker [sorry bikers] I ever knew

6] IF domestic violence did happen, he is wrong– flat out wrong

7] I am not a shrink, so there can be no diagnosis from me while I sit in my armcahir

8] I have used almost every word he used at one time in my life

9] I actually don’t think this tape is any of our business

10] Obviously he is out of control about something way past what we are aware of… in their life together

11]… He should never ever hit nor threated to put her [or anyone] under.

12] Can anyone one of us look back honestly in our own lives and say that we or someone we knew had never ever gotten into a heated screaming match? Would you want it recorded for all to hear out of contents??

AGAIN== Mel is wrong with his rage and violence…  I am just speaking to the ‘taping’.

The media is having a hayday with this…  Mel needs help, counceling…. something. And she needs to just do what she has to do in court, get to court and settle whatever she wants to settle– but ya know, somewhere in the nasty oh-so-wrong shit is a bid for money– and tons of it. I am not saying Mel didn’t do terrible stuff, he most likely sure as hell did– but I am just not excusing her or the media on this one either. The Radar Online folks stated that she personally did not give them the tapes. I am sure she sure as hell had a hand in it– she needed public outrage, or so she thinks. Screw this mess… I want to hear the well is capped and the clean-up is going well, and the troops are coming home [which will add to millions of more unemployed Americans because WHERE ARE OUR TROOPS GONNA WORK?? So there ya have it– this story is not a news worthy story!!! Jobs, Troops, Wars, Unemploymeny, healthcare, enviornment are true stories!!!

All posts are opinions meant to foster comment, reporting, teaching & study under the “fair use doctrine” in Sec. 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made or should be implied. Ads appearing on this blog are solely the product of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BuehlahMan’s Redstate Revolt or WordPress.com

Donated by the Citizens of the United States of America

Camp is empty   report and video link

I watched the report on this on BBC. This camp is empty because AGAIN the haitian Government is elitist and corrupt. The ‘weathly’ folks who used to live in fine Starter-Castles and McMansions said they wouldn’t live there. And AFTER the USA donated these tents, bathrooms, watering stations etc.. the Haitian government built this camp for the RICH folks who will not live there. They demand the government TEAR THEM DOWN and build them their big homes again on that level land!!! Meanwhile, starving poor folks who have nothing are across the road in a slum camp seeing this camp and are not allowed there. I tell you what, I think the poor folk need to revolt!! and march their starved asses over to the new camp… and squat. Ok I know, they would most likely be killed… but damn it this makes me so friggin mad. THIS IS EXACTLY wtf has been wrong in haiti all along. Its not that other countries haven’t helped… but their government keeps the donations and goods for the upper elite [as if they are really classey folk! ]… geeeece.

General… oh General….

Nation building in Afghanistan is not our job— it is theirs.

By Eugene Robinson
Friday, June 25, 2010
Washington Post

The good news? Nobody has to pretend anymore that Gen. Stanley McChrystal knew how to fix Afghanistan within a year. The bad news? No
President Obama was absolutely right to sack the preening McChrystal, whose inner circle, as portrayed in Rolling Stone magazine, had all the seriousness and decorum of a frat house keg party. And it was a brilliant political move to turn to Petraeus, who is made of purest Teflon. Critics who might have been tempted to blast the president for changing horses in midstream can hardly object when he has given the reins to the man who averted a humiliating U.S. defeat in Iraq.
Note that I didn’t credit Petraeus with “winning” in Iraq. He didn’t. What he managed to do was redeem the situation to the point where the United States could begin bringing home its combat troops. If the Obama administration’s aims in Afghanistan are recalibrated to accommodate objective reality, then Petraeus can succeed there, too. But this means that the general’s assignment should be a narrow one: Lay the groundwork for a U.S. withdrawal to begin next summer, as Obama has pledged.
After relieving McChrystal of his command Wednesday, Obama called in his national security team and read the riot act. No more bickering, sniping, backbiting or name-calling, the president ordered. Play nice.
But all the comity in the world doesn’t resolve the essential tension between those who believe our goal in Afghanistan should be defined as “victory” and those who believe it should be defined as “finding the exit.” Two thousand years of history are on the side of the “exit” camp, and the fact is that at some point we’re going to leave. The question is how much time will pass — and how many more young Americans will be killed or wounded — before that inevitable day comes.

McChrystal, who designed the counterinsurgency strategy being attempted in Afghanistan, didn’t disguise his opposition to administration officials such as Vice President Biden, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and special envoy Richard Holbrooke, who questioned whether the strategy could work. Petraeus is far too good a politician to fall into that trap. He won’t allow any daylight between himself and the civilian leadership.
But ultimately, there’s going to be no way to avoid the central question: What kind of Afghanistan will we leave behind?
One answer would be that we have to leave in place a durable, functional central government that has full legitimacy and control within the nation’s borders. This would provide the United States with a reliable ally in a dangerous region and also ensure that Afghanistan would never again be used as a launching pad for attacks by al-Qaeda. But to get the country to that point, given where it is now, could take a decade or more of sustained, concentrated attention. It would mean not just defeating the Taliban but molding the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai into a reasonably honest, effective government. This would be a tall order even if Karzai were a stable, consistent, loyal partner. Does anybody believe that he is?
A better answer would be that it’s enough to leave behind an Afghanistan that no longer poses a serious threat to the United States or its vital interests. Nation-building would be the Afghans’ problem, not ours.
Petraeus was successful in Iraq because he realized that he couldn’t create an Athenian democracy in Baghdad. But the highly imperfect Iraqi government is light-years beyond what the general is likely to be able to achieve in Kabul. Even after the war, Iraq was left with modern infrastructure, a highly educated and sophisticated population, and a sizable percentage of the world’s proven oil reserves. Afghanistan has none of these advantages. The political culture is stubbornly medieval; the populace is poor, uneducated and wary of foreign influences. Afghanistan does have great mineral wealth, apparently, but no mining industry to dig it out and no railroads to get it to the marketplace.
In recent testimony before Congress, Petraeus was less than definitive when asked about Obama’s July 2011 deadline. Because he has such credibility and standing in Washington, his view on when we can begin to leave Afghanistan will be more important than McChrystal’s ever was. I hope that by putting Petraeus in charge of the war, President Obama hasn’t consigned us to a longer stay. His comments Thursday seem to indicate the possibility.

Oh– and I can bet you that Petraeus told the President that he would accept this position with a few conditions– Like ‘Hey I am a Battle Field General.. And I want to WIN, [ like there is such a thing as win] not mandy-pandy around. I am going to make a few changes to your rules of combat– LIKE allow the men to shoot!!!!!” “ Oh and by the way, Rolling Stone Mag, set up McChrystal!”

Oil and Indians Don’t Mix – Greg Palast

by Greg Palast
Friday, June 12, 2009

For Air America Radio’s Ring of Fire

There’s an easy way to find oil.  Go to some remote and gorgeous natural sanctuary, say Alaska or the Amazon, find some Indians, then drill down under them.

If the indigenous folk complain, well, just shoo-them away.  Shoo-ing methods include:  bulldozers, bullets, crooked politicians and fake land sales.

But be aware.  Lately the Natives are shoo-ing back.  Last week, indigenous Peruvians seized an oil pumping station, grabbed the nine policemen guarding it and, say reports, executed them.  This followed the government’s murder of more than a dozen rainforest residents who had protested the seizure of their property for oil drilling.

Again and again I see it in my line of work of investigating fraud.  Here are a few pit-stops on the oily trail of tears:

In the 1980s, Charles Koch was found to have pilfered about $3 worth of crude from Stanlee Ann Mattingly’s oil tank in Oklahoma.  Here’s the weird part.  Koch was (and remains) the 14th richest man on the planet, worth about $14 billion. Stanlee Ann was a dirt-poor Osage Indian.

Stanlee Ann wasn’t Koch’s only victim.  According to secret tape recordings of a former top executive of his company, Koch Industries, the billionaire demanded that oil tanker drivers secretly siphon a few bucks worth of oil from every tank attached to a stripper well on the Osage Reservation where Koch had a contract to retrieve crude.

Koch, according to the tape, would, “giggle” with joy over the records of the theft.  Koch’s own younger brother Bill ratted him out, complaining that, in effect, brothers Charles and David cheated him out of his fair share of the looting which totaled over three-quarters of a billion dollars from the Native lands.

The FBI filmed the siphoning with hidden cameras, but criminal charges were quashed after quiet objections from Republican senators.

Then there are the Chugach Natives of Alaska.  The Port of Valdez, Alaska, is arguably one of the most valuable pieces of real estate on Earth, the only earthquake-safe ice-free port in Alaska that could load oil from the giant North Slope field.  In 1969, Exxon and British Petroleum companies took the land from the Chugach paid them one dollar.  I kid you not.

Wally Hickel, the former Governor of Alaska, dismissed my suggestion that the Chugach deserved a bit more respect (and cash) for their property. “Land ownership comes in two ways, Mr. Palast.” explained the governor and pipeline magnate, “Purchase or conquest.  The fact that your granddaddy chased a caribou across the land doesn’t make it yours.”  The Chugach had lived there for 3,000 years.

No oil company would dream of digging on the Bush family properties in Midland, Texas, without paying a royalty.  Or drilling near Malibu without the latest in environmental protections.  But when Natives are on top of Exxon’s or BP’s glory hole, suddenly, the great defenders of private property rights turn quite Bolshevik:  lands can be seized for The Public’s Need for Oil.

Some Natives are “re-located” through legal flim-flam, some at gunpoint.  The less lucky are left to wallow, literally, in the gunk left by the drilling process.

Take a look at this photo here, taken in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.  It’s from an investigation that I conducted for BBC TV, now in the film “Palast Investigates.”  I’m holding up a stinking, black glop of crude oil residue pulled from an abandoned Chevron-Texaco waste pit.  A pipe runs from the toxic pit right into the water supply of Cofan Indians.

Chief Emergildo Criollo told me how oil company executives helicoptered into his remote village and, speaking in Spanish – which the Cofan didn’t understand – “purchased” drilling rights with trinkets and cheese.  The Natives had never seen cheese.  (“The cheese smelled funny, so we threw it in the jungle.”)

After drilling began, Criollo’s son went swimming in his usual watering hole, came up vomiting blood, and died.

I asked Chevron about the wave of poisonings and deaths.  According to an independent report, 1,401 deaths, mostly of children, mostly from cancers, can be traced to Chevron’s toxic dumping.

Chevron’s lawyer told me, “And it’s the only case of cancer in the world?  How many cases of children with cancer do you have in the States?  … They have to prove that it is our crude,” which, he noted with glee, “is absolutely impossible.”

Big Oil treats indigenous blood like a cheap gasoline additive.   That’s why the Peruvians are up in arms. The Cofan of Ecuador, unlike their brothers in Peru, have taken no hostages. Rather, they have heavily armed themselves with lawyers.

But Chevron and its Big Oil brethren remain dismissive of the law.  This week, Shell Oil, to get rid of a nasty PR problem by paying $15 million to the Ogoni people and the family of Ken Saro-Wiwa for the oil giant’s alleged role in the killing of Wiwa and his associates, activists who had defended these Nigeria Delta people against drilling contamination.  Shell pocketed $31 billion last year in profits and hopes the payoff will clear the way for a drilling partnership with Nigeria’s government.

Congratulations, Shell.  $15 million:  For a license to kill and drill, that’s a quite a bargain.

The Barack Obama Banking Cartel: Taking The American Worker Down To Build The Bankers Up

Grand Theft Auto: How Stevie the Rat bankrupted GM

by Greg Palast
Monday, June 1, 2009

Screw the autoworkers.

They may be crying about General Motors’ bankruptcy today. But dumping 40,000 of the last 60,000 union jobs into a mass grave won’t spoil Jamie Dimon’s day.

Dimon is the CEO of JP Morgan Chase bank. While GM workers are losing their retirement health benefits, their jobs, their life savings; while shareholders are getting zilch and many creditors getting hosed, a few privileged GM lenders – led by Morgan and Citibank – expect to get back 100% of their loans to GM, a stunning $6 billion.

The way these banks are getting their $6 billion bonanza is stone cold illegal.

I smell a rat.

Stevie the Rat, to be precise. Steven Rattner, Barack Obama’s ‘Car Czar’ – the man who essentially ordered GM into bankruptcy this morning.

When a company goes bankrupt, everyone takes a hit: fair or not, workers lose some contract wages, stockholders get wiped out and creditors get fragments of what’s left. That’s the law. What workers don’t lose are their pensions (including old-age health funds) already taken from their wages and held in their name.

But not this time. Stevie the Rat has a different plan for GM: grab the pension funds to pay off Morgan and Citi.

Here’s the scheme: Rattner is demanding the bankruptcy court simply wipe away the money GM owes workers for their retirement health insurance. Cash in the insurance fund would be replace by GM stock. The percentage may be 17% of GM’s stock – or 25%. Whatever, 17% or 25% is worth, well … just try paying for your dialysis with 50 shares of bankrupt auto stock.

Yet Citibank and Morgan, says Rattner, should get their whole enchilada – $6 billion right now and in cash – from a company that can’t pay for auto parts or worker eye exams.

Preventive Detention for Pensions

So what’s wrong with seizing workers’ pension fund money in a bankruptcy? The answer, Mr. Obama, Mr. Law Professor, is that it’s illegal.

In 1974, after a series of scandalous take-downs of pension and retirement funds during the Nixon era, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA says you can’t seize workers’ pension funds (whether monthly payments or health insurance) any more than you can seize their private bank accounts. And that’s because they are the same thing: workers give up wages in return for retirement benefits.

The law is darn explicit that grabbing pension money is a no-no. Company executives must hold these retirement funds as “fiduciaries.” Here’s the law, Professor Obama, as described on the government’s own web site under the heading, “Health Plans and Benefits.”

“The primary responsibility of fiduciaries is to run the plan solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits.”

Every business in America that runs short of cash would love to dip into retirement kitties, but it’s not their money any more than a banker can seize your account when the bank’s a little short. A plan’s assets are for the plan’s members only, not for Mr. Dimon nor Mr. Rubin.

Yet, in effect, the Obama Administration is demanding that money for an elderly auto worker’s spleen should be siphoned off to feed the TARP babies. Workers go without lung transplants so Dimon and Rubin can pimp out their ride. This is another “Guantanamo” moment for the Obama Administration – channeling Nixon to endorse the preventive detention of retiree health insurance.

Filching GM’s pension assets doesn’t become legal because the cash due the fund is replaced with GM stock. Congress saw through that switch-a-roo by requiring that companies, as fiduciaries, must

“…act prudently and must diversify the plan’s investments in order to minimize the risk of large losses.”

By “diversify” for safety, the law does not mean put 100% of worker funds into a single busted company’s stock.

This is dangerous business: The Rattner plan opens the floodgate to every politically-connected or down-on-their-luck company seeking to drain health care retirement funds.

House of Rubin

Pensions are wiped away and two connected banks don’t even get a haircut? How come Citi and Morgan aren’t asked, like workers and other creditors, to take stock in GM?

As Butch said to Sundance, who ARE these guys? You remember Morgan and Citi. These are the corporate Welfare Queens who’ve already sucked up over a third of a trillion dollars in aid from the US Treasury and Federal Reserve. Not coincidentally, Citi, the big winner, has paid over $100 million to Robert Rubin, the former US Treasury Secretary. Rubin was Obama’s point-man in winning banks’ endorsement and campaign donations (by far, his largest source of his corporate funding).

With GM’s last dying dimes about to fall into one pocket, and the Obama Treasury in his other pocket, Morgan’s Jamie Dimon is correct in saying that the last twelve months will prove to be the bank’s “finest year ever.”

Which leaves us to ask the question: is the forced bankruptcy of GM, the elimination of tens of thousands of jobs, just a collection action for favored financiers?

And it’s been a good year for Señor Rattner. While the Obama Administration made a big deal out of Rattner’s youth spent working for the Steelworkers Union, they tried to sweep under the chassis that Rattner was one of the privileged, select group of investors in Cerberus Capital, the owners of Chrysler. “Owning” is a loose term. Cerberus “owned” Chrysler the way a cannibal “hosts” you for dinner. Cerberus paid nothing for Chrysler – indeed, they were paid billions by Germany’s Daimler Corporation to haul it away. Cerberus kept the cash, then dumped Chrysler’s bankrupt corpse on the US taxpayer.

(“Cerberus,” by the way, named itself after the Roman’s mythical three-headed dog guarding the gates Hell. Subtle these guys are not.)

While Stevie the Rat sold his interest in the Dog from Hell when he became Car Czar, he never relinquished his post at the shop of vultures called Quadrangle Hedge Fund. Rattner’s personal net worth stands at roughly half a billion dollars. This is Obama’s working class hero.

If you ran a business and played fast and loose with your workers’ funds, you could land in prison. Stevie the Rat’s plan is nothing less than Grand Theft Auto Pension.

It doesn’t make it any less of a crime if the President drives the getaway car.

******

Economist and journalist Greg Palast, a former trade union contract negotiator, is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse. He is a GM bondholder and card-carrying member of United Automobile Workers Local 1981.

Palast’s latest reports for BBC Television and Democracy Now! are collected on the newly released DVD, “Palast Investigates: from 8-Mile to the Amazon – on the trail of the financial marauders.” Watch the trailer here.

And the rectum said, ‘Now you know why an asshole’s always in charge.’

Greg Palast is funny, but it is my kind of snarky humor, so I really enjoy his writing. It just so happens that Mr Palast has hopped upon a mind glitch that I have had lately… the hypocrisy of Tiny Tim and the real reason behind his appointment. See below to find out what that little itch in your craw is all about. Maybe Greg has the answer…

Why An A**Hole is Always in Charge.

Greg Palast for SuicideGirls.com
Sunday 25, 2009

John Thain is the guy that looks like a Clark Kent doll you saw grinning from page one of your paper Friday morning. Thain was just fired by Bank of America because the square-jawed executive demanded a $30 million bonus after losing $5 billion in just three months at the bank’s Merrill Lynch unit. In addition, Thain spent over a million dollars redecorating his office – including installation of a $35,000 toilet bowl – while the U.S. Treasury was bailing out his company.

There is no justice. Thain shouldn’t have been fired; he should have gotten a $60 million bonus — and Obama should immediately hire him as Secretary of the Treasury in place of that tax-dodging lightweight that’s been nominated, Timothy Geithner.

Here’s the facts, ma’am.

Thain was CEO of Merrill Lynch, the big brokerage firm. On a good day, Merrill is worth zero. A week before it was about to go out of business, Thain sold this busted bag of financial feces to Bank of America for $50 BILLION.

I’d say that’s worth a bonus.

But it gets better. When the bag broke and another $5 billion in losses were discovered at Merrill, Thain went to the U.S. Treasury and got ANOTHER $20 BILLION to cover Bank of America’s bad financial bet — from us, the taxpayers.

Now that certainly deserves a bonus. And let’s face it, a butthole that big needs a $35,000 toilet. Instead, the guy that paid the $50 billion, Bank of America Chairman Kenneth Lewis, is keeping his job. Lewis is the same guy that just spent billions more on buying Countrywide Financial, the sub-prime mortgage loan sharks that have brought America to its knees and put Bank of America into effective bankruptcy. (Note to Mr. Lewis: the only thing worse than getting cancer is PAYING for it.)

But dumber than Lewis is the loser who OK’d paying Bank of America for its losses on Merrill, who traded a pile of turds for a stack of gold — our gold from the U.S. Treasury. That was Tim Geithner, Obama’s pick for Treasury Secretary, who’s now answering questions at Senate confirmation hearings about his funky tax filings. Tiny Tim was head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank during the Bush regime. Along with Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury, Geithner came up with that $700 billion bail-out that loaded banks with loot on their way to insolvency. Bank of America got $25 billion of it to spend on Thain’s company Merrill. That was before the extra $20 billion was weedled by Thain.

So why, President Obama, have you given us Tiny Tim to save our sorry nation’s economic behind? What’s with that?

In another life I was an economist. Really. So here’s the economic facts of life: Our valiant young president is going to have to borrow a trillion dollars to bring our economy back from the grave. He’s got to borrow it, no choice about that. But who in their right minds will lend it to us? I can tell you the number one job of a new Treasury Secretary will be to con Saudi sheiks and Chinese apparatchiks into lending us another trillion (they’ve already lent $2 trillion).

Who in the world can talk them into it?

The answer came to me after I went this afternoon to see my proctologist, a brilliant doctor with one eye and really long fingers. (OK, I made that up.) The good doctor told me that hoary old joke about the heart and brain and rectum getting into a fight about which one was more important. When the higher organs made fun of the butt-end, the rectum went on strike. After a month, the brain and heart couldn’t take it any more — the whole body was about to explode. So they told the rectum, ‘You win.’ And the rectum said, ‘Now you know why an asshole’s always in charge.’

There’s our answer. Instead of an easily duped, incompetent weasel like Geithner for Secretary of the Treasury, what we really need is a lying bucket of evil snot, a flaming red take-no-prisoners asshole. A guy like Thain that can sell a piece of crap like Merrill for billions — twice — is just what we need to shake down the sheiks. “America for Sale! Cheap!”

And Thain comes with his own gold-plated toilet.

*************

Greg Palast is the co-author of Steal Back Your Vote, a comic book co-authored with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Watch Palast’s investigative reports on BBC Television’s Newsnight and in Rolling Stone Magazine. For more info go to GregPalast.com.

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