The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Wells Fargo Scandal Was by Design

American dollar toilet paper roll

American dollar toilet paper roll

Some years ago I worked for a mid-sized financial multinational. Towards the end of my tenure, my employer merged with another company, and the senior executives in my department were replaced with Americans. (It was the smallest department in the division, and they felt they should give the Americans something.)

There had been some… dubious… practices before, stuff that skirted the line, mostly related to moving near future earnings into the current month, quarter, or year end. Because I was involved in both operations and compliance, I had made my concerns known, but what was being done was legal–if marginally so.

When the new senior managers took over, they started to require certain “numbers” of lower management. These numbers were hard to reach, but we tried. One day, the dictum came down to reach a number which simply could not be met.  Fortunately, it wasn’t a number involving money.

Junior and middle management told the senior executives that the number was impossible; could not be done. The seniors insisted, the lower management resisted. The seniors said, “Do it, or else.”

They got their numbers. 100 percent on a specific metric. The reports all said so.

Problem was, getting 100 percent on that metric was legitimately impossible. The reports were now being changed.  Straight up lies were being reported to the executives. And that was only the beginning; having forced lower management to lie about one thing, there was no reason for them not to lie about other things.

To be clear, they did it to save their jobs. “Get these results or lose your jobs” will get you the results you ask for–especially if you dangle bonuses on the other side: “If you do, we’ll reward you.”

So I have no trouble understanding how Wells Fargo got 1.5 million bank accounts and 565,000 credit cards that customers didn’t want. No trouble at all. “If you fail to meet the numbers we’ll get rid of you. If you meet them, we’ll reward you.”

Of course, for this to happen with actual financials, not just operations, the compliance staff and most of management had to be onside. Any decent audit or internal controls will pick that up, any competent junior operations management will figure it out. It can be done by small groups, not by 5,300 employees.

This is confirmed by how the senior executive in charge was treated.

Carrie Tolstedt, the divisional senior vice president for community banking, was the person responsible for Wells’s 6,000 branches where the infractions took place. When she retired, quietly, in July, the bank knew that her operation had been under scrutiny for sales tactics for more than a year. Ms. Tolstedt spent 27 years at Wells Fargo, and was no doubt steeped in the bank’s culture. In the last three years, she was paid a total of $27 million. She remains employed at the bank until the end of the year. When she leaves, she will probably be able to take with her nearly $125 million in stock and options.

The NYTimes and most commenters are obtuse about this. Completely obtuse.

By Wall Street standards, the Wells Fargo fiasco is minor in terms of dollar amounts. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the employees opened something like 1.5 million unauthorized deposit accounts in the name of unsuspecting customers and made 565,000 unauthorized credit card applications, generating $2.6 million in fees and enabling the employees to qualify for bonuses. Wells agreed to pay $185 million to settle

This wasn’t about revenue. It was about being able to say, “We opened so many new accounts and credit cards” to Wall Street. Much of executive compensation is based on stock options and stock prices go up when you “beat expectations” and report good news. New accounts and credit cards aren’t expected to generate a lot of money immediately, but they are leading indicators of future earnings. By beating expectations on these numbers, Wells Fargo would have a higher stock price than if they didn’t, and everyone who was paid in stock options in the company (a.k.a. every executive, likely) would receive more money for those options.

Carrie Tolstedt is being treated well because she did what she was supposed to. The 185 million dollar settlement is worth more than the accounts were to Wells Fargo, BUT the executives running Wells Fargo got a lot of personal money out of it and were not punished. Some of them, those Tolstedt reported to, may well have “earned” promotions from it as well, based on meeting or exceeding sales goals.

Everyone who makes decisions at Wells Fargo, in other words, benefited from the scam. The only people punished were junior employees who, while complicit, I guarantee were doing what management wanted them to do, and who would have been fired before this if they hadn’t been willing to play along.

Financial fraud of this sort always follows this pattern: Executives get rich doing it, the company takes a hit–but not the executives–and the executives have no reason not to go on to their next fraud or even go back to what they were doing (sub-prime loans are a thing again, and we’ll find out many of them were based on fraud, again.)

The only way this sort of thing will stop is if we start charging senior management, the CEO, and their board members with crimes. Use RICO statutes to say it was organized crime (it was), and take their money. Assign them public defenders. Even if they don’t go to jail, they will lose a decade of their life defending the case, and it will serve as a genuine deterrent to other financial fraudsters. (If they do go to jail, it should be to nasty maximum security penitentiaries.)

Fines for the company are NOT a disincentive. In this case, the fine is more than the company made, while in other cases it has been much less, but it doesn’t matter: The executives got their money and they make the decisions. The company is a fictional person, not a real person; it does not make decisions.

This sort of thing will continue until we get serious about stopping it. People will probably only get serious when a financial and economic crisis occurs which is so severe that most everyone in power is swept out of power and not before. Criminal charges did not occur over the last financial crisis because no one in power, most especially Obama and his Justice department, did not want to insist upon them.

Bill Clinton had a hundred million not long after retiring as President. He pushed through massive financial deregulation. A few years after being President, Obama will be worth even more than Clinton. Financial executives may bitch about Frank-Dodd, but they know Obama saved them from long terms in prison and did not get in the way, and indeed abetted, trillions of dollars being funneled to save their companies and keep the game, and the frauds, going.

Those who “win” the capitalist game always immediately try to buy out the system, meaning buy the politicians and regulators, so that they can never truly lose their position of power and wealth.

And that, in the end, is what the Wells Fargo “scandal” (a good name, because scandals usually have no real consequences for anyone who matters) is about.

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  1. Peter*

    When I was closing my account at WF a few years ago the bank manager asked me why I was moving my account to a CU. I replied that it was because of their being corrupt and she looked at her screen for a moment and replied that they didn’t have a box for ‘corruption’ on their closing account form so I replied that they should.

  2. kara

    Thomas Curry, Comptroller of the Currency, goes to great length in his testimony to Senate Banking Committee to call Wells Fargo conduct ”outrageous and unacceptable”. He does not use the word ‘criminal’ which is what unauthorized draining an account amounts to.
    The CEO meanwhile refuses to accept responsibility for widespread abuse of customer trust under his watch, an inversion of the doctrine of respondeat superior.

  3. Of course they are corrupt, how do you think they make money? It is only the little people who want money to be made, the big people want it to be created. Or as JKG once remarked ” the way money is made is entirely simple.”

    ( sorry, I have been working on

  4. Blissex

    Out blogger is channeling Bill Black here and I will give much the same comments that I give to him. I respect both of them greatly, but… 🙂

    «This sort of thing will continue until we get serious about stopping it. That will probably happen when a financial and economic crisis occurs which is so serious that most everyone in power is swept out of power and not before.»

    That’s well reasonable, and is what happened after 1929 and all that. There was a temporary tightening of enforcement because a lot of common folk lost money. But already in 1954 JK Galbraith in “The Great Crash 1929” (which tells nearly everything one needs to know about mass financial fraud) reported on page 25:

    «Just as Republican orators for a generation after Appomattox made use of the bloody shirt, so for a generation Democrats have been warning that to elect Republicans is to invite another disaster like that of 1929. The defeat of the Democratic candidate in 1952 was widely attributed to the unfortunate appearance at the polls of too many youths who knew only by hearsay of the horrors of those days. It would be good to know whether, indeed, we shall some day have another 1929.»

    The Republicans got a congressional majority again in 1994 and then immediately proceeded to loosen all laws about finance, aided and abetted by “triangulating” democrats, and by the thinning of the ranks of the depression generations. Indeed just about all credit/securities market indicator show a marked regime change after 1994.

    «Criminal charges did not occur over the financial crisis because no one in power, most especially Obama and his Justice department, did not want them to happen.»

    The big problem is not that politicians or their enforcement departments are corrupt or even that management or bankers or the system is corrupt.

    The bigger problem is that voters are corrupt, and they endorse or tolerate or at least ignore corruption; what they don’t endorse or tolerate or ignore is blue-collar or underclass “sponging” or crime, but white-collar crime is something they often admired and wish could do on the scale bankers do.
    Just like with PATRIOT acts, torture, murder squads, NSA spying, voters have repeatedly endorsed and re-elected presidents and congressional majorities that pushed through monstrous policies.

    That voters are corrupt is neither new nor unacknowledged, here are three of my usual quotes separated by decades:

    1834, deTocqueville, “Democracy in America”:
    «Consequently, in the United States the law favors those classes that elsewhere are most interested in evading it.
    It may therefore be supposed that an offensive law of which the majority should not see the immediate utility would either not be enacted or not be obeyed.
    In America there is no law against fraudulent bankruptcies, not because they are few, but because they are many. The dread of being prosecuted as a bankrupt is greater in the minds of the majority than the fear of being ruined by the bankruptcy of others; and a sort of guilty tolerance is extended by the public conscience to an offense which everyone condemns in his individual capacity.»

    1954, J. K. Galbraith, “The Great Crash 1929”
    page 32: «One thing in the twenties should have been visible even to Coolidge. It concerned the American people of whose character he had spoken so well. Along with the sterling qualities he praised, they were also displaying an inordinate desire to get rich quickly with a minimum of physical effort.»
    page 195: «The fact was that American enterprise in the twenties had opened its hospitable arms to an exceptional number of promoters, grafters, swindlers, impostors and frauds. This, in the long history of such activities, was a kind of flood tide of corporate larceny.»

    1995, Newt Gingrich “A new look at environmental policy”
    «If you have a society where almost every middle class person routinely fudges the law, that’s telling us something. We have laws that matter – murder, rape, and we have laws that don’t matter. Speed limits are an example. Why would you think that a regulatory, process-oriented bureaucratic model would work?
    The first thing that every good American says each morning is “What’s the angle?” “How can I get around it?” “What does my lawyer think?” “There must be a loophole!” Then he proceeds to work the angle, and the bureaucracy spends its time chasing that and writing new regs to stop him. America is the most incentive-driven society on the planet.»

  5. Pelham

    I particularly like your idea of assigning these executives public defenders. In fact, the entire legal profession should be nationalized, and public defenders should be assigned everyone in every case, plus no more than a week for trial, criminal or civil.

    Anything short of this means we have no equal standing before the law.

  6. Ian Welsh

    Yes, I agree about public defenders and have suggested in the past, though some cases require more than a week.

  7. Hugh

    It is difficult to put a dollar figure on those who may have had their credit rating damaged by the problems arising out of Wells Fargo dumping these accounts and their fees on them.

    The $185 million fine will probably get written off in the bank’s tax returns, meaning that the fine will effectively be paid by other taxpayers.

    I think it was Yves at NC who pointed out that the 5,300 represents all the Wells employees let go between 2011 and 2015 for all reasons. The actual number let go because of this scam is probably some fraction of those let go in 2015 after the shit hit the fan so to speak, or likely no more than several hundred.

    The real question, as Ian points out, is why Tolstedt and Wells CEO are not being charged with fraud. Today we saw the joke apology of the Wells CEO who did one of those typical “I take full responsibility for this” non-apologies where in fact he gives up nothing, Tolstedt either.

    Also today Microsoft announced it would be using $40 billion in a stock buyback which will boost the share price and with it all those stock options of its C-class executives. You might ask why Microsoft isn’t using this money to invest, reward its workers, cut prices, or improve the lamentable quality of its products. But then I suppose if you don’t already know the answer (greed), it’s because you weren’t paying attention.

  8. “..Fines for the company are NOT a disincentive. In this case the fine is more than the company made, while in other cases it has been much less, but it doesn’t matter: the executives got their money and they make the decisions. The company is a fictional person, not a real person, it does not make decisions.”

    You are both right and wrong. The company is it’s shareholders, and it is the shareholders who lose out every time. For the most part that means your pension fund and mine.

    The simple solution is to set up Supervisory Boards for all quoted companies. The supervisory boards would comprise the half-dozen largest shareholders on the register at the time plus a minority of execs and non-execs. The Supervisory Board would have in law the power to veto executive remuneration deals as well as strategic financial decisions, and to order special audits.

  9. V. Arnold

    John Poynton
    September 21, 2016

    While I do not disagree with you in theory; todays realities are quite different.
    Your solution is based on living in a just society; we do not, any longer, live in a society based on the rule of law and justice; but rather a society run and ruled by the ultra-rich, who do not give a shit what you or I think should be done.
    Shoulda, coulda, woulda; we didn’t; and there is no way out of the coming imposition of a feudal existence.
    We’re soft, lazy, and apathetic; we’ll accept whatever we’re given; and nothing given is ever adequate…

  10. That just means you have to get back to a just society – for your children. The gen is done.

  11. Z

    The simple solution is to set up Supervisory Boards for all quoted companies. The supervisory boards would comprise the half-dozen largest shareholders on the register at the time plus a minority of execs and non-execs. The Supervisory Board would have in law the power to veto executive remuneration deals as well as strategic financial decisions, and to order special audits.

    There’s corruption between the largest shareholders, especially when they are mutual funds, and the executive management of these companies because the mutual funds want to be part of the 401K plan options offered to the employees of the company, which indirectly boosts the value of their personal wealth. And hedge fund managers, they of the 20% tax rate, definitely don’t want to make a stand against excessive executive compensation.

    The people at the top of these large capitalistic enterprises have designed a myriad of ways to make these public companies work for them – all while hiding behind the corporate shield. The best way to handle this IMO is a blunt instrument: the tax law – dis-incentivize this behavior by taxing the hell out of any annual compensation over a certain amount. Let there be no fast ways to game the system and walk away so unfathomably rich that the game to them then becomes all about power.

    Wall Street, aided and abetted by their best friend, the Fed, created these incentives – they’ve created this system. For example, Wall Street rewards corporate management for sending jobs overseas – “getting lean’ – by throwing money at their stock. The Fed keeps its money-spigots open when workers’ wages don’t go up. Then Wall Street, the first to get their hands on the Fed’s money, uses it to muscle around the market, often by colluding. End result: workers lose their jobs or indirectly have their bargaining power decreased; the corporate executive class cashes out on their inflated stock prices and Wall Street muscles around the market to their managements’ further enrichment.


  12. Hugh

    Just for general information:
    Major institutional investors of Wells Fargo:

    Berkshire Hathaway, Inc 9.45%
    Vanguard Group, Inc. (The) 5.67%
    State Street Corporation 3.68%
    Wellington Management Company, LLP 2.55%
    BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. 2.42%
    FMR, LLC 2.40%
    JP Morgan Chase & Company 1.97%
    Capital World Investors 1.79%

    Berkshire Hathaway is Warren Buffett who has shown real leadership by saying that he won’t comment on the Wells Fargo frauds until November. Way to go, Warren!

    Under the heading You Can Not Make This Shit Up, this is the John Stumpf quote that greets you on Wells Fargo’s Leadership and Governance page:

    “Integrity is not a commodity. It’s the most rare and precious of personal attributes. It is the core of a person’s — and a company’s — reputation.”

    The Wells Fargo board:

    Board of Directors

    John D. Baker II, Executive Chairman, FRP Holdings, Inc.
    Elaine L. Chao, Former U.S. Secretary of Labor
    John S. Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry Limited
    Lloyd H. Dean, President and CEO, Dignity Health
    Elizabeth A. Duke, Former member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
    Susan E. Engel, Retired CEO, Portero, Inc.
    Enrique Hernandez, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO, Inter-Con Security Systems, Inc.
    Donald M. James, Retired Chairman, Vulcan Materials Company
    Cynthia H. Milligan, Dean Emeritus, College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
    Federico F. Peña, Senior Advisor, Vestar Capital Partners, Former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation
    James H. Quigley, CEO Emeritus and Retired Partner at Deloitte
    Stephen W. Sanger, Retired Chairman, General Mills, Inc.
    John G. Stumpf, Chairman and CEO, Wells Fargo & Company
    Susan G. Swenson, Chair and CEO, Novatel Wireless, Inc.
    Suzanne M. Vautrinot, President, Kilovolt Consulting, Inc. and Major General and Commander, United States Air Force (retired)

    Note the politicos: Federico Peña who served under Bill Clinton and Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a ridiculously in your face FU as Secretary of Labor under Dubya.

    And here is John Stumpf’s bio from the Wells Fargo site:

    Chairman and CEO
    Wells Fargo & Company
    John Stumpf became chairman for Wells Fargo & Company in January 2010. He was named chief executive officer in June 2007, elected to Wells Fargo’s Board of Directors in June 2006, and served as president from August 2005 to November 2015.

    A 34-year veteran of the company, he joined the former Norwest Corporation (predecessor of Wells Fargo) in 1982 in the loan administration department and then became senior vice president and chief credit officer for Norwest Bank, N.A., Minneapolis. He held a number of management positions at Norwest Bank Minneapolis and Norwest Bank Minnesota before assuming responsibility for Norwest Bank Arizona in 1989. He was named regional president for Norwest Banks in Colorado/Arizona in 1991. From 1994 to 1998, he was regional president for Norwest Bank Texas. During his four years in that position, he led Norwest’s acquisition of 30 Texas banks with total assets of more than $13 billion.

    In 1998, with the merger of Norwest Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company, he became head of the Southwestern Banking Group (Arizona, New Mexico and Texas). Two years later he became head of the new Western Banking Group (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming). In 2000, he led the integration of Wells Fargo’s acquisition of the $23 billion First Security Corporation, based in Salt Lake City. In May 2002, he was named Group EVP of Community Banking. In December 2008, he led one of the largest mergers in history with the purchase of Wachovia.

    He serves on the board of directors for The Clearing House, the Financial Services Roundtable, Target Corporation and Chevron Corporation. He also serves on the Federal Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board as the appointed representative of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

    A Minnesota native, he earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota and his MBA with an emphasis in finance from the University of Minnesota.

    Note: from the SF Fed announcement:

    “The Federal Advisory Council, a body created by the Federal Reserve Act, consists of one member—generally from the commercial banking industry—from each of the twelve Reserve Bank Districts. The council ordinarily meets four times a year with the Board of Governors [Yellen et al] in Washington, D.C., to discuss economic and banking matters.”

    Current Membership:

    First District, Boston: Richard E. Holbrook (Chairman/CEO Eastern Bank Corporation)
    Second District, New York: Michael L. Corbat (CEO Citigroup)
    Third District, Philadelphia: Mark A. Turner (President/CEO Wilmington Savings Fund Society)
    Fourth District, Cleveland: Paul G. Greig (Chairman/President/CEO FirstMerit Bank)
    Fifth District, Richmond: Kelly S. King (Chairman/CEO BB&T)
    Sixth District, Atlanta: O.B. Grayson Hall, Jr (Chairman/President/CEO Regions Financial Corporation)
    Seventh District, Chicago: Frederick H. Waddell (Chairman/President/CEO Northern Trust Corporation)
    Eighth District, St. Louis: Ronald J. Kruszewski (Chairman/CEO Stifel Financial)
    Ninth District, Minneapolis: Kenneth J. Karels (President/CEO Great Western Bank)
    Tenth District Kansas City: Leslie R. Andersen (President/CEO Bank of Bennington)
    Eleventh District, Dallas: Ralph W. Babb, Jr. (Ralph W. Babb, Jr Comerica Inc and Comerica Bank)
    Twelfth District, San Francisco: John G. Stumpf (Chairman/CEO Wells Fargo)
    Secretary: Herb Taylor (Vice President Philadelphia Fed)

    Needless to say many of these having been militating for rate increases which would also increase their profit margins.

  13. V. Arnold

    September 21, 2016

    Yep. See my comment above:
    V. Arnold
    September 21, 2016
    It is my opinion, based on decades of observation and experience…

  14. AndrewD

    The simplist way to bring the Banks under control is to set a size limit and then revoke Limited Liability for all banks over the limit. It would be sensible to also make Limited Liability contingent on behaviour.

  15. “Authenticity is the core value, once you can fake that – you have things made.”

  16. realitychecker

    We are controlled from the top by FEAR and FORCE. Why? Because they work.

    But regular folks are too moral, too civilized, too nice, it is said, to ever use the same weapons against those who have been using them against us.


  17. Ian Welsh

    Guy’s kind of clueless about Jacobs, but whatever. She very much does talk about the need for cheap rent buildings, he even acknowledges that, and then doesn’t apply it later in his article (one example.)


  18. Hugh

    With Fed rates hovering near zero and interest rates on customers’ accounts even less, with supposedly no profit margin to speak of, how is it possible for Jamie Dimon recently at JPMorgan to become a billionaire or for Stumpf to have pulled down $200 million in the last few years, or for Tolstedt to walk away with $125 million? The short answer options on outrageously overpriced stock valuations. But except for being part of a bubble and a Ponzi, banking should be structurally a low profit, and low cap industry. So the C-level looting and the stock valuations are really indicators, not of success, but low efficiency in market terms and criminality in social ones.

  19. tsisageya

    Yes. And? I can’t tell if we’re in agreement or disagreement. Too long can’t read; already read Wall Street On Parade.

  20. Z

    If this doesn’t warrant a criminal investigation …

    The Fed is obviously the most essential player in the stock market rigging that has gotten progressively worse throughout the years such that at this point they could etch-a-sketch in the daily indices “fuck you” if they wanted to. And that is exactly what it is: a fuck you to us. It’s a mechanism that allows the rich to multiply their wealth/power for doing absolutely nothing but owning stocks. The Fed’s money on demand allows Wall Street to set up systems that after a while work for themselves … they condition the market. Companies lay people off, send work overseas, Wall Street continually plows money into those stocks to get them to rise. A narrative ensues: “getting leaner” means a higher stock evaluation. Other investors see that companies sending jobs overseas equates to a higher stock price, so they buy in on it and now the market is conditioned to rise on such news. This kind of conditioning of the market is made possible because Wall Street knows the Fed is always there on the sly to pump money into the system … well, Wall Street …. to keep the markets up. Especially when the government’s rigged inflation numbers are kept down due to the resulting depressed gain in workers’ pay.

    As an aside, a huge moment happened in 2002 that I’ve never seen acknowledged. At that time there was a ton of corporate/Wall Street corruption that came to light … Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, Anderson, Wall Street analysts coordinating with the sell-side to pump up stocks so their outfits could dump them on the public at an inflated price, etc., etc., etc.. A lot was being laid bare and the public was ravenous for some revenge after the stock market crash of the early 2000s (by the way too, all this corruption was going on, in fact, most of it started during the Clinton Administration). But then Wall Street/corporate America, working out an outspoken deal with Rove and co., funded the Republicans’ mid-term election win that year which strengthened their control on the House and gave them majority control over the Senate. Then almost all of the investigations went by the wayside and very little of it, if any, was looked into or punished from that point on. Before, corporate America/Wall Street worried about what would happen if they got caught. Now they did, and they bought their way out of it. From that point on, it was all green lights … there was no fear of getting caught as long as you covered your tracks a bit … basically structured the corruption/fraud such that there was deniability, and after all the shit that had been gotten away with, that bar was very low.


  21. tsisageya

    Dear Z, criminality doesn’t mean what we think it means, apparently. This is why I like automatic weapons in the hands of the people. At least we would stand a chance to kill some of these motherfuckers.

  22. tsisageya

    But I guess that’s not supposed to be my Christian way. Ugh.

  23. tsisageya

    Now you’ve gone and hurt my feelings.

  24. tsisageya

    What is happening here? I don’t understand. First you’re here, then you’re gone. I don’t get it.

  25. There is no correlation between killing and being right.

  26. realitychecker

    @ Stirling

    “There is no correlation between killing and being right.”

    What’s the correlation between passively and INEFFECTIVELY accepting all the ills inflicted on regular folks by corporate-driven abuses (including multitudes of deaths by various means), and being “right”?

    Are you feeling particularly wonderfully righteous these days?

    We need to stop thinking according to the rule book written by our oppressors, because when we follow their rules, guess what happens? We stay oppressed, that’s what happens. Period.


  27. Hugh

    I think all of us intuitively understand the following. When criminals write the laws, they can make crime legal, but they cannot make it not crime.

  28. Peter*

    What happened at Wells Fargo was illegal and a crime but what we are seeing now is that the punishment for these types of crime is arbitrary and political depending on what class the criminals belong to. This has always been the case but the PTB used to make examples of some of their class criminals to appease the rubes but that is no longer necessary under near complete Oligarchy.

  29. > What’s the correlation between passively and INEFFECTIVELY accepting all the ills inflicted on regular folks by corporate-driven abuses (including multitudes of deaths by various means), and being “right”?

    That you are angry about people being mashed up and killed is commendable, but there are rules to getting oneself out of it. The rules for violent revolution apply to these sorts of societies as well as all the others. The rules for violent revolution are very specific, and most of the societies do not meet them at all.

    Right now in the UK they have chosen a different method, primarily because the rich have deliberately plundered all of the forces that can stop them. there method is to build up a left coalition – under Corbyn – that will take time to prove itself viable. there are other methods as well – but in Europe they will take a very long time.

    Part of the problem is that people want it to be 1932, when it is not.

  30. realitychecker

    @ Stirling

    You sound like you are a lot more comfortable under the status quo than are most of the people that I care about.

    You also seem not to properly appreciate some of the abstract concepts that are supposed to form the bedrock of our system of governance, things like rule of law, accountability, and equal application of law to all citizens.

  31. Hugh

    It may not be 1932, but it is getting there. Wealth inequality is the greatest it’s been since the 1920’s. People are angry. Look at the Trump phenomenon. Look at Charlotte. They are tips of a much greater iceberg. The end of the American dream. Consider overpopulation and global warming. What is unsustainable cannot endure, and our society is unsustainable.

    As for violence, it is defined by our elites and only refers to or recognizes violence against THEM. The violence that they do, and have done, to us they always call something else: the business cycle, globalization, competitiveness, the war on terror, the natural order of things, the way things are. So sorry, but we don’t have any money for that (because we stole it), etc.

    And revolutions? They are always impossible until they happen. Then they switch to being inevitable.

  32. V. Arnold

    Wow, the whining here is getting so boring.
    Usians are wholly responsible for their own plight. Just look at who you put in office and “elected” office at that.
    There are presidential candidates, leading candidates, not fit for dog catchers; and yet one of them is likely to be the next president.
    You all need to stand in front of a mirror until you fully understand your own bloody responsibility for your own predicament.
    This didn’t happen over night; but rather a long steady process of corruption, greed, and a steady corrosion of the rule of law, allowing criminal behavior as the norm.
    Unfortunately, you have allowed it to come to the point where an election cannot change anything, but rather is a tool for furthering the existing system.
    Usian’s abject failure at critical thinking skills, dooms them to their fate. The solution should be obvious, but you all do not even understand your own responsibility, much less radicalism…

  33. baldski

    Why can’t we have banking become a utility owned by the commons ? I mean, they borrow money from the FED and loan it out to people. What is so hard about that? They borrow at 1% and loan it out at 25% on credit cards. Talk about vigorish!

    Why can’t we have state owned banks with the profits going to education and cut the Wells-Fargos out of the picture? I believe North Dakota already has bank in operation.

    We could then have our own consumer bank in operation helping us instead of CEO’s and Vice Presidents like Stumpf and his cohort looting the bank.

  34. tsisageya

    There is no correlation between killing and being right.

    Oh, there’s not?

  35. tsisageya

    Have I showed you this yet? You don’t know?

    Read away.

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