Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Family?

That’s right… how far would you go to protect your family from harm and theft?

Pretty much everybody would put locks on all of their windows and doors. Those devices help keep out intruders who might steal your belongings or worse, harm you and your family. Many also install alarms and alarm systems to enhance their security and to alert them if a fire should break out. Some people put bars over their windows to further thwart prowlers and thieves.

Most people carry insurance on their homes, their cars, and their lives. Those who can afford it carry health insurance which extends to their immediate families. A majority of households have at least one fire extinguisher, and some people go so far as to install sprinkler systems. Other people keep weapons where they are handy, ranging from baseball bats to knives and guns.

The majority of families tries to choose the best neighborhoods they can afford, with the best school systems available to them (some even lie about their address to get their kids into better schools). And some families search for homes in neighborhoods free of sexual predators. In some cases, people will take out restraining orders against individuals who might bring them harm, or take their children out of abusive home situations for their protection.

We do these things and more in order to keep our loved ones safe and happy. These acts range from simple tasks to extreme measures. And yet, at least one third of the heads of household in America still keep their money in corporate banks, which pick-pocket them on a monthly basis. They go through all sorts of measures to ensure that their families are protected from a world full of ills, yet they hand their security over to the banks. This makes no earthly sense to me.

You know by now that the banks are run by white collar criminals. You know that they scheme to pilfer money from your account, robbing you of your full earning potential and robbing your family of its future. Think of what you might have done with the money the bank has taken from you in fees in the last year. While it may not have been enough to pay for your child’s education, it might have been enough to buy all of their textbooks for the year. Or a trip to Disneyland. Or a trip anywhere for that matter. A car payment. A new TV. A family meal at a nice restaurant. An emergency room visit. The list can go on, but the point is that these things have been stolen from you and your family by the banks. And you not only let them steal from you, you give them permission to. So much for protecting your family.

One of the main reasons given by people for not moving their money is that it’s ‘too much work’. Really? It’s more work than, say, searching for a home in a safe neighborhood? Or buying a gun? Or enrolling your child in a private school? Really?

The truth is: taking your money away from the bank is easier than replacing window and door locks. And yet I don’t see the point of putting locks on your house, or your car, or your bicycle if you’re going to just hand your money over to thieves anyway. Aren’t you wasting your money buying locks? Might as well just give away everything you own if protecting your family from the theft of your prosperity is so meaningless to you.

Protecting your money is protecting your family. It is protecting their future. It is making the best use of your earned income. Once the bank has pulled its hand from your pocket that money is GONE… never to be seen by you or your family again. And with it go your dreams, desires, and slices of life, to be replaced by longing and loss... and extra work to make up for that loss. And the guy who runs the bank is living large on your loss and the losses of millions of other customers.

If you really want to protect your family, stop giving your money to thieves. Take 30 minutes to move your money away from those corporate banks and deposit it into a community bank or credit union. Put that project on the same level of urgency as installing smoke detectors in your home. And do it soon. You don’t want to be the last in line to close your account, because the bank won't be able to cover everyone’s withdrawals if it comes to that. Do what you need to do to bring security to your home and your loved ones. It’s your money, security and future. Move it, or lose it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Want more info?

Check out my friend's blog: Fighting 4 Democracy One Link at a Time. His is a clearing house of various blogs and assorted info pertinent to the taking back of our country from the villains on Wall Street and in Washington. Great info to be had!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Cards That Really Pay You Back

Nevermind Discover. Forget about "miles." How would you like a credit card that REALLY paid you back?

It’s part of my plan to revitalize Social Security. While the President and the Congress bicker back and forth about cutting education budgets and disemboweling Social Security, I’ve come up with a plan that will not only reinfuse Social Security with funds, but also take away the need for Washington to bicker over it. The plan is simple.

Step 1: Congress will create a new holding account for Social Security. They should name it Social Security 2.0, and write into the provisions of Social Security 2.0 that all monies collected and deposited remain in holding, except to be distributed to Social Security recipients, and ONLY Social Security recipients; all other government agencies or entities will be prohibited from ever having access to that money.

Step 2: Implement a new “operating fee” to be imposed upon the credit card industry, whereby 1% of each credit card company’s quarterly profits are given over to Social Security 2.0

Here’s how it will work:
A) The public will continue to pay into the existing Social Security program, and the Government will continue using that money as it pleases.

B) The credit card companies will then pay their operating fee into the Social Security 2.0 fund, effectively replacing the money the Government has used, and will continue to use, from the original Social Security.

C) All recipients of Social Security benefits will be paid from the SS2.0 fund.

This means the following: Every swipe of a credit card and every single online purchase will benefit the American public. As the Social Security 2.0 fund increases, those who have paid into Social Security will be able to be compensated for the actual amount paid in, not just a percentage. The Government will get to use the money we working people pay into Original Social Security (SS1), and ultimately the credit card companies will be paying us back for the money the Government has “borrowed”.

This, of course, may mean that the credit card companies will want to raise their fees and increase their percentage rates. Consider that the Operating Fee is a percentage taken from their profits - therefore the more money they take in, the more money they have to pay out. There will be no loopholes for them to skate through.

Pretty slick, huh?

With that in mind comes part 2 of the plan… how to ensure the subsidization of Public Education – which as we all know is again on the chopping block in Washington. Simple answer… require the same 1% operating fee of the corporate banks. The Government will charge the banks a 1% fee on their quarterly earnings, which then goes into another protected fund reserved exclusively for Public Education. From this fund, the nation can raise the standard of education, build new schools where needed, outfit classrooms with necessary technologies, implement better and healthier lunch programs, and much more.

The nation’s banks and credit card companies have taken so much from the American people. We've bailed them out without so much as a "thank you" in return. Perhaps that's because they didn't need as much bailing out as they claimed. And they keep inventing new ways to purloin our money. Well, through this plan, they will finally be giving back to America – no doubt begrudgingly – and helping to get this nation back on track as a global leader.

If you are in support of this idea, please sign the petition to get this before Congress. We need a minimum of 50 signatures, so please pass this around to your friends and family!

Here's the link: Save Social Security and Public Education

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Lie Called "Too Big To Fail"

Examining the banks is much like peeling a very rotten onion. Layer after layer gets stripped back only to expose more rot, more fiduciary fungus, more corruption. Common sense tells us that the rot is not limited to the outermost layers of the industry, but it emanates from the core. On the outside, everything looks more or less fine. The evidence of rot gets blacker the further into the onion we go.

As the nation and the world become exposed to the seemingly endless series of lies and corruption that have served as the backbone of the financial industry, the industry has tried to cover its ass with yet another lie... that of "Too Big To Fail." Ladies and gentlemen, there is no such thing as "too big to fail." TBTF is a four-word lie designed to fool you into believing that the banks are impervious to any outside forces. Lie, lie, lie.

Consider this: In 1912 the White Star Line promoted its most massive undertaking, the RMS Titanic, as "unsinkable" (another way to say "too big to fail"), yet sink she did at tremendous cost, not only in money but in human lives and English pride. Empires and regimes all throughout history, believed at the time to be "too big to fail," have toppled. Even our gigantic planet exists in a delicate balance. We know that disrupting the eco-system through deforestation and global warming can cause the planet to fail. And, one good-sized meteor in the right place can wipe out life as we know it simply by striking the earth.

So, that being the case, imagine the level of bombastic pretentiousness that must exist in the banking industry for them to believe that their thieving, their conniving, their lying, and their manipulations, have created an industry that is so gargantuan as to be infallible. Incidentally, "infallible" means "not liable to fail" - another way of saying "TBTF." So considering that the "infallible" banks are run by fallible and deeply flawed individuals, the promise of TBTF is nothing less than a marketing ploy. A lie. False advertising.

The lie is designed to keep you subservient to the banks. If you believe the lie, you will then believe that you are powerless in their presence. But that is far from the case. The power the banks have is the power of YOUR money, which they are more than happy to free you of. The more of YOUR money they have control over, the more they can - and will - push you around with it.

Also consider that the banks sit atop a gigantic tower of air. Not gold. Not fiat money. Air. They have bought, sold, loaned, traded, and gambled your money to the extent that it no longer exists except in promissory form. And this is why they want you to believe that they are too big to fail. Because if each of us came to our senses and demanded our money back they wouldn't have enough cash to satisfy the demand. And it would expose the lie of TBTF.

Well, my friends, that is exactly what I want you to do. I have worked to expose the lie of TBTF through this blog and my Facebook page. Now more people understand the idea that TBTF is a lie. But the lie of TBTF needs to be proved through action. And that's where you come in. If only one corporate bank were made to fail, the lie would be out in the open. It would be irrefutable. Concrete. Nobody would believe it ever again, just as nobody believes a ship, no matter what size, to be unsinkable. All we need to do is concentrate our efforts towards causing ONE bank to fail in the U.S. and we can make that happen by orchestrating a run on that bank.

I submit we make Bank of America our target. It is one of the nation's largest banks and it has earned a reputation for being one of the smarmiest, most corrupt banks in the world. It shouldn't be too tough to bring BofA to ruin. They've already given themselves more black eyes than they have eyes to blacken. By making them unstable, we will not only expose the lie of TBTF... we will also set an example for the other banks that the same could happen to them if they don't mend their ways. And THAT, my dear friends, is how we will enforce bank reform. NOT by waiting for Congress to do it. NOT by waiting for the President to do it. And certainly NOT by hoping the banks will reform themselves. As things stand, the greedy corporate banks won't change because there is no incentive to. As long as they have your money they will continue to do whatever they please, no matter how much verbal protest you wage against them.

I say let's give them the incentive. What have we got to lose?

On Friday, January 21, 2011, I am calling for a run on Bank of America. Between now and then, I need you to help get the word out to every last Bank of America customer you know to withdraw all (or a significant part) of your/their money from BofA and keep it out for a minimum of one month. Thirty days. That's not so bad, is it? To have control of every dollar you make for 30 days? Of course, you may open an account at a different bank, and to that end I encourage you to move your money to a Credit Union or maybe a small community bank rather than support yet another ogre in the banking industry.

I closed my BofA account back in May and I have been living blissfully bank-free since then. You can do it too. It's not only something you CAN do, it's something you SHOULD do. Dare I say it's your moral and civic obligation. By keeping your money in Bank of America you are silently enabling them to continue exploiting you and every other BofA customer. You are supporting them and their wrongful business practices. You are hurting yourself and others.

Do what is right. Join the BofA BankRun on January 21, 2011. Use your money as your voice of protest. Take it away from your abusers. And above all, EXPOSE THE LIE OF "Too Big To Fail!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's Get Back To The Business At Hand

Now that the mid-term elections are over, it’s time we get back to the business of correcting our banking industry. But before we do, I’d like to talk a bit about the recession, and the realities that go with it.

You see, what happened in Congress as a result of the election – with the Republicans gaining control of the House – is a direct reflection of the unrealistic expectations the people of America have developed. I’m not going to say that the Repubs gaining control is necessarily a bad thing even though they have done their damndest to stymie nearly every attempt by the White House to get this nation back on track. But the reason that all of the pundits are giving as to why the Repubs did so well in the election is that America doesn’t think the Obama administration is getting things done quickly enough.

I’d like to remind America that in 1929, due to similar conditions in the financial industries, the stock market crashed and sent this nation and the rest of the industrialized world tailspinning into a depression. Banks failed. Unemployment soared. People became homeless (sound familiar?). And it took over ten years and a World War to claw ourselves out of that mess. The Depression didn’t happen overnight. A decade or more of recklessness led up to the Wall Street crash, and there was a modest rebound during 1930. Yet the economy tanked severely and, four years after the Depression started, America's economy hit bottom. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped. Unemployment reached 25%. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by approximately 60% *. And it took the following 9 years to rebuild this nation’s economy.

President Roosevelt implemented programs across the nation to create jobs. Under acronyms such as WPA (Works Progress Administration), NRA (National Recovery Administration) and more, people went to work building the nation’s infrastructure… bridges, public buildings, roads, tunnels, many of which are still in service. Via the radio, Roosevelt spoke often to the American people and reminded them that the work to be done was not entirely outside the home, but started with the way they thought… that through patience, dedication, sacrifice, and hard work a brighter day lay ahead. Our country hosted two World's Fairs during the Depression to help spur the economy and - especially in 1933 - create much needed jobs. But just as the skies started to look clear again, war broke out in Europe and the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Rationing, conversion of industry to war production, sales of War Bonds, an effective propaganda machine, and a genuine involvement of the American people in the war effort got us through to that brighter day. By 1947 – eighteen years after it began - the effects of the Depression were finally over and we entered into our nation's greatest period of prosperity.

By contrast, the current “repression” (a term coined to describe a severe recession that borders on a depression) has come about as the result of three decades of undoing the financial industry safeguards implemented during the Depression, plus a shift on the part of many stock market investors toward real estate, and our culture’s greed, apathy, and selfishness. Unlike the Great Depression, our Repression commenced with a war waged by us upon the Middle-East – a war of political hubris for which we have not been asked to sacrifice anything but our young. There have been no rationings, no war bonds drives, no overall conversion of industry, and the attempts at propaganda have been tremendously weak. In fact, as you may recall, the Bush Administration handed out tax breaks to encourage the public to buy gas-guzzling SUV’s shortly after we dropped the first bombs on Iraq. Hubris made for weak attempts at national morale building and mobilization of the people toward the war effort. The war quickly used up our nation’s tax reserves and sunk us into massive debt. The Fed dropped the interest rates and banks loaned money for millions of properties they knew to be grossly overpriced in a betting scheme dubbed the “greater fool theory.” These actions set the stage for the tanking of our economy.

Since the beginning of the Repression, the American people have demonstrated a vehement unwillingness to give up the ways of life we had grown accustomed to during the previous thirty years of excesses and recklessness. Prices and profits have not, for the most part, dropped, except in some housing markets. Food costs more on the whole. Taxes keep going up while our state and local governments cut jobs. Businesses close or lay off employees when their intake can no longer support the costs. And we Americans keep cluttering our lives with as much technogarbage as we can afford. There have been no public jobs programs created. And our banks, which had the power to stop this Repression before it raged out of control, continue to flagrantly pay themselves with profits purloined from their customers - yet we haven’t committed ourselves to withdrawing our support from the thieves that rob our meager savings so that they may live ridiculously high on the hog.

We Americans are not invested in our own recovery. Instead we whine and complain, point fingers, and accuse the clean-up crew – the Obama Administration – of not doing enough quickly enough.


Let’s face it… it took 18 years for this nation to dig its way out of the Great Depression which took roughly 10 years to create, and the country (population 122,775,046) was invested in the act of recovery. We are currently NOT invested in our own recovery from this Repression, which took 30 years to create. And we expect the President alone to recover this nation with a population 2.3 times larger (2000 census) than the population at the start of the Great Depression, in the span of time it takes to send a text message. What gives?

Here is the hard truth. We ALL must invest ourselves in recovery. It means we stop passing the blame and start looking in the mirror. Every one of us has had a hand in creating this mess. While the banks were raping our accounts we continued to bend over for them rather than standing up for ourselves and putting our money into more customer-friendly institutions. We let the government remove the safeguards that protected our economy and continued to elect public servants who demonstrated a lack of interest in serving the public. We became selfish, and greedy, and focused on immediate gratification, no matter the cost. We lost sight of the plights of others as we tried to amass everything from wealth to clutter. And many, many people foolishly paid way too much for property instead of exercising the most powerful word in the English language: “NO.” We have sat idly by, passing our decision making powers to others.

The current economic mess may take many, many years – even generations – to fully repair. Especially if we continue on as selfishly as we have. That’s the real, hard truth. And we as a whole need to face that truth.

If we are to see progress, we have to be involved with it. The more we invest ourselves in our recovery, the more quickly it will come about. But it will not happen overnight, no matter how fully we commit ourselves. That’s because we have 30 years of bad behavior to correct. The sort of impatience that was demonstrated at the polls on Tuesday will not speed things up. We have shown that we truly do not understand the breadth and scope of what our current President is dealing with. We have shown a shortness of memory that comes as a result of our own selfishness and impatience. We have shown that we are unwilling to wade through the murky waters with him or lend him a hand in pulling the proverbial car from the ditch. We have shown that we are unwilling to make necessary sacrifices - we still expect we should have it all. And because of these things, our nation rewarded the party that has blocked nearly every reform the President has set out to accomplish by giving them more seats in the House of Representatives. We have bought into partisan spin rather than looking through our own eyes at the nation as it is. And we have opted to recline in armchairs while expecting a handful of people to fix a mess we each had quite a hand in creating.

I suggest we stop putting the burden for our own lack of restraint and our own un-watchfulness onto one man and his cabinet, or the Congress, and start accepting our role in what went wrong. I suggest we acquiesce to the idea of expecting less – less money, less in the way of creature comforts, less of our politicians – and immerse ourselves in the recovery of our economy. I suggest we eliminate greed and apathy from our day to day dealings. Stop trying to screw thy neighbor (or one-up him). The less we expect the more we shall receive. I suggest we extend a helping hand whenever we encounter someone less fortunate. I suggest we mobilize and pull our support from businesses that treat us - and our money - with disrespect.

I suggest we change our world one day at a time.

Insofar as our dealing with our government and the banks, we still must demand severe bank reforms, including the reinstatement of the policies that limited the actions of banks, which came about as a result of the Great Depression. Those policies worked until an overconfident President Reagan began chipping away at them. And above all, we must let the banks know that “business as usual” no longer flies with us. We must take back our power by taking back our money and lending it only to those institutions that have demonstrated respect for their customers and support for our communities. In order to effect change we must first change ourselves.

And let’s now be realistic for once. Let us accept that the recovery from this Repression will take as long as it takes, and not point fingers of blame at the clean-up crew before we first point them at ourselves.

*source: Wikipedia

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let's End Merchant Abuse

Attention Merchants: Did you know that you do NOT have to accept VISA if you accept MasterCard (and vice-versa)? Yep, that’s right. Even though VISA and MasterCard share the same processing systems and they always seem to be in tandem at every store or online business in town, the truth is you DO have the right to pick and choose which company you would like to support. That comes directly from the mouth of a service rep at MasterCard.

I bring this up because the financial health of this nation depends largely on choice. Choosing not to do business with a company that costs your company too much money is one way of reducing your costs and increasing your profits. VISA USA is perhaps the most aggressive, hateful, fee-happy corporation in North America. It should come as good news to some of you to know you are not contractually obliged to accept their “product.”

There is a growing movement afoot to prevent merchants from charging a usage fee for debit cards. It’s being fostered by those politicians who claim to be serving the best interests of the consumer… and as usual, at the cost of the merchant. Here’s the problem. VISA assesses fees to the merchant for each plastic transaction – not just the typical usage fee, but an additional “interchange” fee as well. And VISA says that merchants are not allowed to charge their customers more when they use their VISA branded cards, even though the cost of accepting VISA is higher than the cost of accepting any other credit or debit card. Instead, VISA recommends that merchants raise the cost of their merchandise accordingly to defray the cost of doing business with VISA.

In other words, VISA would rather you penalize your customers for using American Express or Discover or cash than tack on a fee only on VISA purchases. They apparently don’t want consumers to know how deeply they are gouging merchants. They’d rather that merchants take it in the shorts because they’ve chosen to accept VISA.

Some merchants have gotten around this problem by simply adding a fee to all debit card transactions, and this has both consumers and legislators up in arms. Well, let’s be reasonable here, shall we? The money to pay for the increasing fees that VISA charges has to come from somewhere. If a merchant raises his prices to cover his losses, the consumer gets mad and may change where he does business. Because of VISA’s rules, a merchant cannot charge more for the same service that charges him more, so he either suffers the loss - which can be hundreds of thousands – even millions - of dollars each year depending on the size and nature of his business. Or he can charge a bit more to those customers who ELECT to use plastic instead of cash.

I see nothing wrong with adding a surcharge onto an elective service. You pay more to have other elective services with such things as your cell phones and TV signal provider. So why not the same thing at the places you buy gas and milk?

Currently, the merchant industry is all but surviving in an increasingly hostile environment. Municipalities keep raising taxes and licensing costs on businesses. Rents on storefronts are often high. A depressed economy means consumers aren’t spending as much, or are going to places that can offer them bargains. And if that isn’t enough, accepting credit and debit cards to make things easier for the consumer is getting to be a significant cost of doing business. Not only are the fees to accept credit/debit cards going up (VISA has raised its fees over 300 percent in recent years), but then VISA has also dictated that purchases made using VISA cards may be returned, for almost any reason, without penalty to the consumer.

The person who gets hit with all of this is the merchant. And that does not bode well for our economy. Here’s why.

When the cost of doing business becomes too burdensome, merchants are forced to either raise their prices and risk losing customers, or they are forced to cut back on their own internal costs, such as giving pay raises, offering benefits, hiring new people, keeping the employees they already have, shortening their business day (or conversely lengthening it in hopes of attracting night-owl clients). Or, they may simply elect to close up shop – as many have.

Each time a merchant has to lay off employees or closes shop, that increases the unemployment percentages in their community. The landlord who owns the commercial building where the merchant once had his shop loses income because of a vacant storefront. Vacant storefronts depress the communities and can adversely affect the property values of the area. The city, state, and nation lose tax revenue that once came from income and sales, and they then have to cut services and lay off government employees, which again adds to the burden of unemployment. Consumers have to travel to other places to purchase the things the out-of-business merchant used to offer, and those travel expenses add up, which in turn puts limits on the consumer’s spending power.

And all of this can happen simply because VISA wants an ever-larger piece of a pie they aren’t really entitled to. Sure, the folks at MasterCard are no saints either, but they are less aggressive and only do about half as much business as VISA. And that means that VISA doesn’t NEED to gouge its merchants as much. They just do it for the sadistic pleasure and overwhelming profits received.

So I say to the politicians who are up in arms about merchants who are trying to recapture income lost in the whole credit/debit card scheme, “you’re going after the wrong guys!” You NEED merchants in order to collect sales taxes. You NEED merchants to be healthy so they can afford to hire more employees, generate more income tax, and bring down the unemployment levels. You NEED merchants to provide a robust selection of goods and services to the communities they serve. So STOP THE ASSAULT ON THE MERCHANTS AND GO AFTER VISA and the others in the debit/credit industries.

It is admirable to plead the case for the consumer, however you cannot do that at the expense of the merchant class – not at this time. Aim your sights at the credit card industry, which is systematically pillaging your communities in order to line their own pockets. Create limits and caps on fees for their “services”. And for God’s sake, DON’T restrict merchants from charging more for services which cost them more. To do that would only serve to hobble an already crippled industry upon which you and your constituency rely.

*Consumer Tip: Use a pin-pad when making debit purchases. This actually lowers the cost to your merchant, whereas signing your sales slip costs the merchant a much higher percentage.
(You should be advised, however, that using a pin pad will not earn you extra points from VISA. As usual, they only reward you if you end up costing your merchant more dough.)

* Merchant Tip: Ask your service provider to cut VISA out of your account, in favor of accepting MasterCard, Amex, and Discover. Most of your customers have more than one brand of credit card, and will be happy to pay using one of the other brands. Encourage cash sales as much as possible.

* Additional tip for legislators: Pass legislation that requires VISA USA (and all other credit cards) to put a percentage of its ill-gotten profits into the Social Security system, so that each purchase made on plasatic goes to benefit the entire country.

Monday, August 16, 2010

One Flew Over The Bankster's Nest

I love the internet. Whenever I want to know more about something I just have to get online and start Googling. Almost everything I could hope to learn is contained here, in one form or another. Sometimes I need to find technical information, such as how to repair a 50 year old single barrel carburetor, other times I just need to get a detailed definition of a word. It’s all there.

Take for instance the other day… I decided to look up the definition (and symptoms) of the word “sociopath.” I’d been using it to describe the folks who run Wall Street for a while, but I wasn’t sure if I was using the accurate and appropriate term. Thanks to Wikipedia, I found out that I am.

I learned from a number of articles that to be considered a “sociopath” a person has to exhibit three out of seven discernable character disorders. I wasn’t surprised to discover that bank executives (as a group, if not individually) meet the behavioral criteria of the sociopath. Those 3 criteria are:

1) Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;

2) Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;

3) Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

There’s also trait number 4) “Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.” And some items that don’t generally apply to bankers overall, but may exist within the individuals include:

5) Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;
6) Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults; and
7) Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;

Even without the last three criteria it appears that the folks on Wall Street have enough behavioral disorders to qualify them as sociopaths. You won’t find much argument against that on the internet.

God, I love Google!

Let’s take a closer look at the first 3 abovelisted items and see how they apply.

1) Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.

An article here further states that the sociopath repeats antisocial behaviors despite having been previously caught and punished for them. The suggestion the author makes is that sociopaths do not historically ‘recover’ from their mental illness because they lack the necessary brain functions that mitigate antisocial behavior. A disconnect occurs in the brain of the sociopath, and the mitigating function (the thing in our head that says "I really shouldn't do that") gets put on the back burner while the personal reward function (the greed function) goes unchecked.

I should also add that the term “antisocial” means a lot more than not talking to people at a party. Antisocial technically means “against the people” and can refer to intentional acts ranging from distancing one’s self from his peers, to cheating, manipulating, stealing, murder, and anything else that harms the fellow man.

Applying this to the financial industries, the reason that the banks, credit card and loan companies keep trying to find loopholes that they can slither through in order to continue raping the public and stealing its money, is because the slaps on the wrist they receive have no lasting psychological effect on them. The sociopaths who operate these corporations are apparently unable to equate the punishment they receive with any wrongdoing on their part… primarily because they believe that their actions are justified and ‘normal’. They use the terms “ambition” and "talent" to describe their sociopathic behavior.

2) Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;

How many horror stories have we heard regarding people who were sold junk debts after being guaranteed they would pay off handsomely? How many lies were told in order to sell those debts when the sellers knew they were toxic? Plenty! Those guileless bankers knowingly defrauded their customers by lying through their teeth because their brains were focused on their own personal reward – regardless of the collateral damage they created in their wake. To a degree, the banks are STILL deceiving their customers and the Government by trying to pretend that their transaction-reorganizing scam is something we all wanted. Lies upon lies. They will say whatever is necessary to keep the gravy train of your profit pulling into their station instead of taking their lumps as we all know they should.

3) Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

Throughout this whole financial ordeal – the mortgage meltdown, the fee debacle, the fraud charges, the credit card rate scams – the banks have remained aloof and indifferent. They have offered no apology to the people they have harmed through their own avarice and negligence. In fact, they are appealing the recent restrictions imposed by Congress and Judge Alsup because they somehow believe THEY are the injured parties, not their long line of victims.

They use their only weapon in the fee debacle – repeating over and over again that we, the public, want them to reorganize our transactions from highest to lowest regardless of the cost to us – as a smokescreen to hide the issue that they employed this plan when some other sociopath discovered it could generate huge amounts of revenue for almost nothing. And the fees, they argue, are the cost of doing business.

They double the interest rates of credit card users in good standing, and penalize individuals who purchase certain items with their credit cards in order to “justify” charging a higher interest rate. And they callously kick families out of their homes when the loans they planned on seeing fail finally do.

They continue to reward their execs with outrageous bonuses, despite the Government’s insistence that they do not. The reason/excuse they offer? “We have to pay these bonuses to get the talent that will make our stockholders happy.”

Adding insult to injury, they use those same stockholders as their scapegoats in order to try to trickle the responsibility down off of their shoulders and onto to the shoulders of their investors. After all, it’s the STOCKHOLDERS who make them do such dastardly deeds. It’s the STOCKHOLDERS who are the greedy ones. Not them. Not the banksters. The banksters never look in the mirror when blame is being tossed around. They just keep trying to flick it off like a booger on the end of their finger, hoping it will stick to anyone or anything other than themselves.

It’s always someone else’s fault. The banks are the victims, dontcha know. That’s why we had to bail them out. They didn’t know that so many loans were toxic when they slipped them quietly into derivative junk packages. No… they are the innocent ones. And the reason they keep lying to promote that image is because they fail to see their own wrongdoing... forgetting of course that a lie is of itself a wrongdoing. Oh, they know that the public sees their acts as criminal, but the public is wrong. We have to be wrong, because the banks are always right.

Well, they may not be right, but they are truly sick.

Where things are not clear to me – and perhaps many others - is whether this sickness is something innate in all of these people, or whether the sickness is acquired by being exposed to that particular environment. Certainly, those at the top of the industry have suffered the disconnect from their conscience long enough that they will probably require years of institutionalization. But what of the underlings? Is the whole financial industry a magnet to people with Antisocial Personality Disorder? Or does exposure to other sociopaths within the industry rub off on reasonably well-balanced folk and thus imbalance their brain-chemical balance? In other words, is the sociopathy within the financial industry inborn, or is it contagious? Or both? It’s an interesting question, and one whose answers might someday lead to better screening of job applicants on Wall Street. But first we have to get a few long-term studies underway.

Now that we know that our financial bigwigs most likely are sociopaths, the question becomes what do we do with them? Well, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure. I suppose we could demand that the Federal Government mandate the full and complete psychiatric evaluation of all financial corporation leaders, and institutionalize and/or incarcerate those who are deemed psychopathic or sociopathic (both terms fall into the category of Antisocial Personality Disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association). Given the nature of sociopathic disorder, I lean toward institutionalization rather than incarceration. Besides, our jails are already full enough. And if, as I suspect, these banksters are indeed sociopaths, prison is absolutely the wrong place for them to be… along with at the helm of any financial firm.

Your thoughts?