The Tally Stick

U.S. codifies two-tiered justice system with landmark HSBC settlement

Posted in Commentary with tags: , by Tally Stick on December 17, 2012

Like most people, it still is just starting to sink in that we are officially in a two-tiered legal system in the United States of America.  The precedent is now set that law can be arbitrary base d on the economic and political effect that legal prescription would have on different social-economic systems.  Some would argue this has always been the case but it has never been to brazenly admitted in a criminal Investigation.  This company’s (HSBC)  influential and economic place in the global financial system, allowed  it is support terrorism, trade with the enemy (Iran) and give material support to Mexican (likely other) drug cartels that I know the Mexican state sees as domestic terrorists.

We are now officially in a society where the wealthy and powerful can now break some of our most precious laws with almost impunity.  This is not meant to single out HSBC either.   All major U.S. commercial and investment banks have all been given the same treatment by the Justice Department (Justice for who?), by allowing them to settle without any admission of guilt and avoid criminal prosecutions.

Links to Settlements:   Bank of AmericaJP Morgan ChaseGoldman SachsWells FargoCitigroup (This list goes on)

What message does this send to the people?  Following the law is only for the common-folk?  Who is to say that this will not lead to general lawlessness among average citizen who now have perfectly clear evidence that the system is rigged and the deck is stacked against them.  These are not just petty crimes either, the entire U.S. foreign policy for the last 4o+ years has been built against the actions that HSBC committed (War on Drugs & War on Terrorism).

Anyone else would of, if they even committed one of the 17,000 noted infractions in this case, served hard prison time or ended up in a military prison and or court.  Instead an economic calculation was made that ended up saying that this companies position in our financial system was so great (Too Big to Fail), that a tarnish of its reputation would actually bring an economic collapse (not likely).  Even if you take that statement at face value, if our system is built upon this sort of foundation, then maybe it deserves to collapse so we can find our moral center again and learn what the “Rule of Law” & “Precedent” means.

An option would of been to fine “AND” jail the perpetrators.  I believe when history looks backs, this will be looked upon as a watershed moment of this current regimes fall from grace and decency.  To look on the bright side, this likely means we are closer to the end than the beginning.  We have lost our center and direction and now we are rushing faster than ever to prop up failed states, we just haven’t found the courage to admit it.  If it does come to that, please so not throw all the good we have done when finding ways to deal with your anger and frustration.  We still have the capacity to great good and unmentionable acts of evil.

Here is a great writeup about this from The Guardian, please take a hour to read the comments that are over a thousand now.  It really enlighten me on how people can justify these actions.

 

Occupation Wall Street Political Party?

Posted in Commentary with tags: ,, by Tally Stick on October 17, 2011

While looking at this movement and how it is evolving, a political organization was my pick as an eventuality in its natural progression.  They have tapped into a current expression of distrust and disgust with corporate and financial greed, corruption and as facts come to light, likely outright fraud.  Once I heard the media bringing up this subject relentlessly, I knew it was only a matter of time before something would form from the ether.

I have found two websites that seem to fit the bill.  I am not sure if either are official or affiliated and we don’t even know what official means in this movement yet.  With this being such a growing subject and movement.  I thought some people might be interested in the more serious and formal progress of protest.

Here are the two links:

Occupation Party (Has a forum for discussion and discourse)

The Occupation Party (Seems to be more motivational than political orientated at this point but it does have discussion but in a non-forum format)

Renaissance 2.0 – Economic Explanation of the American Economic Empire (Must Watch)

Posted in Commentary with tags: by Tally Stick on October 11, 2010

It has been a minute since I have post on the Tally Stick.  It will be getting much more information.   My work life has been very busy but now my time is freeing.   With such a long hiatus I am coming back with some very hard hitting information.  I implore everyone to watch this and send it to your friends.

This video is the best example I have found that actually explains our monetary system.  It goes over the history of its formations and what happened at each turn that brought us to this financial empire we are living in today.  The first step in any solution is to understand the system and its flaws.  Please add your comments.

Lesson 1 ”

The Rise of Financial Empire

” (6 part series):

Link to all six lessons (Click Here)

American’s : Are we Consumers or Producers?

Posted in Commentary with tags: by Tally Stick on December 13, 2009

We are now in the middle of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.  After much review of the facts, debt and leverage are at the core of the problem that helped lead us to this point.  During this process since the deregulation in the 1980’s the savings rate in the U.S. declined until we as a whole were net borrowers to the rest of the world with most of that new debt going to oil producing countries, Japan and China.

A majority of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is based on consumption.  Our current public debt is officially over $12 trillion dollars with our ratio of debt to GDP over 80%.  In the media we keep hearing American’s referred to “consumers” in every report.

They tout us as a “serviced-based economy” which sounds friendly but in effect it is a cover for the fact that we have let light-manufacturing get incentivized and outsourced to low-wage countries while we let the finished products brought back the the United State to not only provide “cheap” goods but also made native producers uncompetitive unless they did the same.  But these goods were not cheap other than in price.  They actually had a very real cost to the economy and a large reduction in jobs that traditionally provided jobs that we considered “middle class”.

It is illogical to think that we can reduce our production to a few sectors of the economy and a majority everyone else would have “service based” job, but the question is who are they going to serve?  Are we satisfied with an economy with this concentration of wealth were we have people serving a smaller portion of the population that has the wealth to afford all these services from flipping burger to being a real estate agent or attorney?  There is only so many of these jobs a growing and opportunity-driven economy can have and still provide a normal standard of living that this country has provided through its laws that protect our basic rights to liberty and property.

We have seen a rising standard of living in America and that is undeniable with the flood of cheap goods and services we enjoy.  The problem is that all of these goods and services require “income” to support their demand.  But as a country we are allowing our jobs to get outsourced under the guise of “free trade” which is not free in the fact that we have unlimited access to other markets but more all other countries have unlimited access to our market.  I do support free capital flows but some form of protectionism is not all that bad if it is focused on U.S. based multi-national corporations that use “free-trade” to dump good on the U.S. with their focus on the bottom-line and not the national goal of employment.  Our system is eating itself and it will not end good if we do not start being vocal about this issue.

We need to start focusing on producing good in the U.S. that not only the world needs to help us balance our flow of trade but also goods that our own domestic market has a demand for.  We also need a push of education to the American people about the “real cost” of these cheap goods so they understand that the price is not the only factor to base a purchasing decision on.  Supporting companies that are foreign or domestic that produce in America are good for our situation and provide jobs that bring the income we need to support our businesses that deperately need the help.  We can’t rely on the government to take this issue on and provide a solution until we get educated and start engaging them and explaining this “service-based” economy is a front for gross profiteering and we need laws that bring native and foreign producers on a even footing so we go from “free-trade” to “fair-trade” which is good for everyone.

America Needs 100% Public Financing of State and Federal Elections to Bring Back Real Democracy

Posted in Commentary with tags: by Tally Stick on October 10, 2009

It has become quite apparent in America that one of the major reasons we have a creation of policy in our government that is misses the mark clearly from its intended purpose, is the fact that all of our elected representatives owe special treatment to the companies and interests that were campaign donors during their election or re-elections.   This “treatment” comes in form of lobbying or placement of former employees of these companies in positions where they can influence the legislative process.

This is quite opposite of democracy and having our representatives as public servants for the public’s best interest.  In modern elections, unless you have a serious scandal in your past waiting to deride your election campaign, the person who raises the most money will win an election.  One example is the 44th President Barack Obama who rose over $500 million dollars in the 2008 presidential election (Note: I voted for Mr. Obama and no money was not the only reason he won).  Yes he had a policy campaign plank that Senator McCain but raising this kind of money really gave him a major advantage.  We saw this in the fact that he had enough money to run a 30 minute campaign ad to support his election on major networks.

This example is an extreme example but this is to re-enforce the point that money wins elections.  Another example is Mayor Michael Bloomberg who himself is a billionaire as the owner of Bloomberg LP, he used $65 million dollars of his own money for his re-election campaign.  This might not seem like much for a New York City election, but his competitor in a period from July to September was outspent 10-1 in the same period during the election cycle.  I don’t know Mayor Bloomberg is a good or a bad, to be honest I have not look at any of their campaign planks but I am using this to highlight how important money has become in elections and how if you are given major amounts of money, you are going to feel inclined to listen and take care of the people who supported you financially.

As long as these interests are influencing our policy on the state and federal level, we will severely limited in the ability to make the major structural changes we need in the United States to get us on the correct path in this new inter-connect global world.  We need representatives that are being elected on their merit solely if we as a society expect them to make policies that is for the public good and in our interest which is a core tenet of democracy.

One more example is the massive bailout that was given to our banking & financial institutions during the crisis that started to unfold in March of 2007.  In a normal free enterprise capitalist system, you let companies that made decisions to put their firm into insolvency fail and firms that made prudent choices get to prosper.  Instead because of the major influence these financial companies had in all forms of our federal government, not only campaign contributions but actual members of the banking community in high levels office that oversee and make regulate, we bailed almost all of the largest financial interests out except the ones who were not as connected.  In this scenario we set a precedent of moral hazard that invites this to happen again in a much larger fashion on the fact that they now know the probability of them being bailed out by the United State government is actually really high.  If we remember, a majority of the American public was against the the bailout and the first attempt at the TARP bill was defeated and then the large players in the markets made it fall precipitously.  I believe this was done to show the influence the financial players had and to demonstrate what would happen if they did not get what they asked for.

This influence has to be eliminated from our government in a major way or our democracy will continue to be subvert by special interest.

Proposed Solution:

1. Take a portion of our federal tax dollars and fund all our state and federal elections.  We would use previous data complied from all local, state and federal elections to determine the amount of funds needed for each election.  It would calculated on a state by state basis and combine in the presidential elections.  Each election cycle, funding would be adjusted for inflation.

2. Make a number of benchmarks candidates need to meet in the form of signatures of registered & eligible voters so allow them more access to funds and media time up to the full amount once you get to the general election.  This would not be limited to our current two major political parties,  their would be a state and national registration process and requirements for any political party and if that party meets those requirements then they would have the same access to funds and media airtime as long as they meet the requirements and received the verified support need to qualify.

3. Incumbents would automatically get access to the general election funding amounts and media airtime on a certain date once the primaries were complete.  This would give incumbents the same chance to keep their seat and if they had a good track record, an advantage on keeping their seat by the fact of their incumbency.

4. Require Television & Radio Stations to allocated a portion of airtime in equal portions to the candidates broken up in schedules for the primary and general elections.  The broadcasters are using the public airwaves so they should forced to do this public duty during the election seasons.  They would also be compensated for this action from the public election fund.

5. Corporations, Non-profits and Political Action Committees can only give public support for a candidate and would be allowed to only purchase a standardized ad size in local and national newspapers in a fixed set of frequency to voice their opinion on a particular campaign.  There would also be rules on what counts as a qualified political support organizations to stop abuse of this system by opening shell organizations just to get more ads for their supported candidate.

6. Paid advertising online would only be able to be purchased through the public elections funds given the the candidates and incumbents

7. Creation of websites online would also only be allowed from the public election funds

8. An independent oversight agency would be create that would track all spending for elections.  Funding information would not be published online to give the campaign secrecy to create their strategy.  The agency purpose would be for the public to make inquires on different advertising to make sure that it was purchased from the public funds allocated to the candidate or incumbent.  The candidate or incumbent would required to enter every purchase into a database to get them registered and the inquiry requests would be a reply that yes a certain purchase was registered or in the case that is was not then a investigation would be started and if it was found they violated the public election rules then they candidate or incumbent would be automatically disqualified and would lose their bid for the seat they were campaign for.  This creates a huge incentive for them to play by the rules and register all transactions.  Records would be archived after each election but they would be a barrier between the public and the campaigns to allow them the freedom to develop winning strategies.  In cases of lawsuits, federal judges under gag-orders would be the intermediary to evaluate evidence on both sides and make a judgement of their validity in the charge then only the details of the infraction would be make public to give closure on the matter.

In closing, if we truly intend on having our democratic republic restored and have real democracy to focus on the important issues that we are facing today, it is imperative that this type of reform is put in place.