Sherwood on the Lake

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

I know, you have “breaking news” overload.  But I can’t help but see the parallels between the Middle East and what happens here at home.

Wisconsin is waging its own fight for democracy and economic liberty, without the aid of an international coalition.  They are planning to oust leaders who voted for enslavement.  But what should they demand from the new people they elect to the legislature?  How could they permanently break the bonds of economic enslavement?  

I have a few suggestions.

That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.-Scott Walker Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991 Robin Hood Parody: Prince of Thieves


The international community has bombed Libya to rescue it from Gaddafi, but will it also offer to rescue Wisconsin?

That is a bit of hyperbole, I agree.  But consider this, when Pol Pot took over Cambodia, who did he go after first?  Teachers and the educated.  From Stalin to Kim Jong Il, controlling education is one of the first steps dictators take to control the population. Tenure was a way to combat such a take over of the mind by government.  Educators were granted tenure to make it harder for them to be fired if they taught things the government might not agree with.  It was a way of making sure our government never became a totalitarian regime.

It is not an accident that the Sheriff of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, chose to go after the education system first, in his quest for economic enslavement.  And that is not hyperbole.  If you are prevented from banding together to fight against a much more powerful economic force, you are an economic slave as much as the Black man in the Jim Crow era or the coal miner to the company store.  Some would say that we should fight Walker and his ilk vigorously, because they are seeking a dictatorship of the rich.  I would say we should fight vigorously, because they already have it.

Koch Brother Serf

As legal slavery passed, we entered into a permanent period of   unemployment and underemployment from which we have yet to emerge.

Julian Bond

The Tea Party wants to go to a simpler, happier time.  But how far back should we go?  Scott Walker created an economic crisis by giving tax breaks to the very rich.  This obviously created a deficit in the state’s budget, and he asked teachers to make up the difference.  Walker, the Tea Party, Fox and Friends actually tried to convince people that our economic hardships were due to teachers.  Really?  Teachers?  For decades teachers, and the education system in general, have been economically starved compared to the private sector.  Year after year, they watched others get pay raises while their pay remained flat.  The difference was made up in benefits packages, attractive health insurance and retirement.  Now, after they took the flat pay for so many years, now, Walker tells them they shouldn’t get the retirement either.  And all so the rich can benefit.

Obama has been less than lion-hearted  in this drama.

More fundamentally, Walker wants to make the teachers serfs-people with no economic say and nowhere else to turn.  If you are a teacher, most of the jobs are with the g

overnment.  If you have no power to negotiate fair compensation, then you are the state’s serf.  Your only alternative is to move to another state and, if Walker has his way, all the states would behave the same way.  He is seeking enslavement, as much as any other dictator.

But can you blame Walker?  He is only imitating what he sees at the federal level.

As Above, So Below


“the issue is not whether Congress regulates Wall Street, it’s the degree to which Wall Street regulates Congress.”–Bernie Sanders

Remember the economic crisis?  I know, its been a rapid fire news week.  Its hard to remember our entire world economy teetering on the edge just a few years back when nuclear holocaust looms in Japan.  But try.

Insane mortgage practices led to twice as much money being loaned out than the entire world was actually worth.  Then someone noticed, and the whole thing started to unravel.  Banks crashed and the federal government was forced to step in.  Tarp was initiated and the banks were saved, but the automotive industry was allowed to flounder so that their workers had to take cuts, similar to what is being asked of teachers.  Eventually, the Tarp got repaid.  The banks actually recovered with record profits, granting their CEOs ever more extreme bonuses.

But the American middle class does not feel like it has recovered.

What we now know is that there was so much more to this story.  Tarp was like the beautiful girl that an illusionist uses to distract your attention while he performs the real magic unseen.  Due to Bernie Sanders diligent work, we know that the real magic was low interest (0.25%), no strings attached loans  not just to American banks, but foreign banks, and to corporations, both foreign and domestic.  So while there was not enough tax money for our automotive workers, there was enough for Toyota and Mitsubishi.  While there was not enough for American home owners, there was enough for bankers so they could turn around and invest in American Securities at a higher interest rate, essentially taking your tax dollars and reloaning them to your government at a higher interest rate.  While there were scarce dollars to create American jobs, there was plenty to loan to South Korean to their development fund for South Korean jobs.  In fact, there was $4.2 Trillion.  (Remember, a trillion is 1000 billion or 1 million millions.)

No wonder banks and industry are feeling the recover and you aren’t.  No wonder banks are bigger than ever and giving out bigger bonuses to their CEO’s.  No wonder the rich are richer than ever.

The Big Winners

• Goldman Sachs received nearly $600 billion

• Morgan Stanley received nearly $2 trillion

• Citigroup received $1.8 trillion

• Bear Stearns received nearly $1 trillion

• Merrill Lynch received some $1.5 trillion

• Deutsche Bank, a German lender, sold the Fed more than $290 billion worth of mortgage securities

• Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank, sold the Fed more than $287 billion in mortgage bonds

Also receiving secret Fed bailouts

• General Electric

• McDonald’s

• Caterpillar

• Harley Davidson

• Toyota

• Verizon

Bernie Sanders

Here is a brief selection of the secret foreign bailouts that occurred:

  • Toyota and Mitsubishi  – $5 billion

  • Bank of Japan – $380 billion

  • Central Bank of South Korea – $40 billion

  • Development Bank of Korea – $2 billion

  • Bank of Bavaria – $2.2 billion

Arab Banking Corp (Bahrain) – $23 billion —Salon

Robbing from the Rich

As a result of the bailout of Bear Stearns and AIG, the Fed now owns   credit default swaps betting that California, Nevada, and Florida will   default on their debt, so the Federal Reserve stands to make money if   California, Nevada and Florida go bankrupt.  This may make sense to the   Federal Reserve.  It does not make sense to me.  The American people   deserve at the very least to know the facts.  A GAO audit can help   provide them. —Bernie Sanders

Wisconsin knows Robin Hood is not going to come and save them.  So they have taken matters into their own hands.  The merry men have taken up permanent residence in the state legislature and they are planning to recall the people who voted for their economic enslavement.  That seems an obvious step.  As soon as possible they should get rid of the Sheriff of Nottingham, Scott Walker, as well.

But when they have their King Richard, what should he do?  The argument has always been that if you don’t give big business the tax breaks they demand, they will refuse to bring jobs to your state.  The only one lording over the real King Richard was God.  No one forced him to betray his own people to bring jobs to England.

Here is a modest suggestion from Maid Marian.  First, yes, take back the tax breaks from the rich.  They will argue that you can’t because you promised, but you promised the teachers first.  In fact, increase the tax rate on big business.  Even if they flee, it will take a year, or so, for them to do it, and by then Wisconsin will be on its way to breaking the chains of bondage.

Take the money from the higher big business tax rate and create a program to free Wisconsin from big business forever.  Stop chasing jobs.  Jobs are a way for those with money to enslave those without.  Instead, chase security.  Instead of giving huge corporations tax breaks and incentives to bring Walmart greeter jobs to your state, make your state a true ownership society.  Preferentially give tax breaks, low interest loans, commerce deals to small independent business, and cooperatives.  Have you colleges teach how to run cooperatives effectively.  Unlike the 70’s, when that movement was just getting going, we now know so much more about effective cooperative management.  Cooperative workers own their business and are not serfs to some lord.  Perhaps no one gets rich, but people who aren’t already rich weren’t likely to get rich in Scott Walker’s world either. [Note:  By cooperative I do not mean the poorly run local “coop” or the corporation that gives a minuscule share of profits to the workers.  I mean businesses that are actually managed by the people who make things and profits that are split fairly between them.]

Next, when the government comes in to seize yet another failed bank in your area and give it to Bank of America (creating banks that are way to big to fail), tell them thanks, but no thanks.  The great state of Wisconsin will take the assets as their own bank.  After all, Wisconsin could not possibly do a worse job than the Fed.  Assess the assets of the bank, make deals with the people who owe money so that Wisconsin does get repaid.  Don’t worry about moral hazard.  Moral hazard is only important for governing serfs, and you are about to break free from serfdom.  Once Wisconsin has its own bank, it can loan money as it sees fit.  It can decide to loan to small businesses and cooperatives that feed the base of the people and let the money filter up to the rich, not fail to trickle down.  They can take advantage of interest rates as state income so that wealth creation becomes state fund creation as well.  The result would be lower taxes for everyone.

How will this benefit teachers, the ones who started all this?  Unlike corporate serfs, who greet you at the door and restock shelves of mega stores, cooperative owners realize that they need good education.  They see the value in being able to think for themselves and thinking outside the box so they can out wit their corporate competition.  As a group of workers banding together to fight for their own economic freedom, they would not begrudge another group of teachers banded together for the same reason.  They would be willing to pay for good education.

As Below, So Above

But if you want to continue to be slaves of the banks and pay the cost   of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and   control credit.

Josiah Stamp

So what should the rest of us do?  Those not living in Wisconsin?  First, sue the Fed.  I can’t imagine why no one (everyone) is not doing it right now.  For example the automotive industry, who was told there was not enough money for them.  There was enough for their foreign competitors.  The Fed had a fiduciary duty to help the American economy, not foreign economies.  They have actually harmed our economy instead.

Congress and the President took an oath to protect our nation from all enemies both foreign and domestic.  Is the Fed one of those enemies?  Shouldn’t we encourage our leadership to make good on their oath.  Break up the Fed.  It is clear it serves no one but itself.  The government should take over printing money again itself, and the loaning of money as well.  At least in the short term.

We are told that having your government do this is “undesirable”.  Could it possibly be less desirable than what the Fed has done to us?  It loans to the competition, encouraged job flight, encouraged jobs instead of ownership in the first place, and wildly inflated the dollar making every thing you own worth less than it was yesterday.

The federal government should get the same hard line Wisconsin is willing to give its State Legislature.  Do what we demand, or face recall.  Tax the rich and use the proceeds to create real ownership.  Take back the Fed and preferentially loan to cooperatives and small business.  Use tax incentives to increase the numbers in cooperative ownership.  Partially finance the government with these loans, instead of lining the pockets of the already rich with the interest from loans.

It’s a long way out of Sherwood Forrest, but watching Wisconsin and Egypt, for the first time I have hope we can actually do it.  Long live King Richard!  Long live Robin Hood!