July 19, 2009
Cynical observers of the U.S. political scene weren’t surprised when it was revealed in June 2009 that Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina, who is married, had been carrying on a long-term affair. Sanford admitted that the affair had been going on for at least a year and soon resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
|Sanford had resisted accepting stimulus funds for South Carolina from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which he correctly saw as part of the process of bringing the states further under Federal control.|
Matters became worse for Sanford when it was revealed the following month that he had visited and entertained his mistress, an Argentine commodities broker named María Belén Chapur, using public funds. As of this writing, Sanford is clinging to the governorship, but his hold appears to be tenuous.
Here’s the more interesting part. Earlier in 2009, Sanford had resisted accepting stimulus funds for South Carolina from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which he correctly saw as part of the process of bringing the states further under Federal control. His resistance led to a lawsuit heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court, and the state was ultimately forced to accept the money.
The public humiliation of Mark Sanford following his fight against the U.S. Treasury Dept. and the Federal Reserve banks that control it is part of a clear and disturbing pattern:
Governors who speak out against member banks of the New York Federal Reserve and other major Wall Street institutions tend to be publicly humiliated and taken down through the discretionary leaking of compromising information.
Consider the case of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York. Prior to serving as governor, he had been New York Attorney General, a role in which he made a name for himself by taking on organized crime and securities fraud. Among those he charged in lawsuits was Richard Grasso, former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Spitzer also campaigned against stock price inflation by investment houses, predatory practices by mortgage lenders, and mutual fund fraud. He continued to pursue his campaign against corrupt banking practices as governor.
In March 2008, the NewYork Times reported that Spitzer was a client of a prostitution ring then under investigation by the Federal government. Spitzer resigned two days later. Who leaked the information? The New York Times wasn’t saying. Could it have been retaliation for Spitzer’s campaign against Wall Street corruption?
Or consider the case of Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois. He was nabbed by the Feds in December 2008 on a comprehensive catalog of charges, including wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. Many observers thought Blagojevich was simply carrying out business as usual and had simply had the misfortune of being caught.
The public was treated to the entertaining spectacle of politicians across the ideological spectrum—including” Blagojevich’s former allies and supporters—stumbling over one another to express their indignation and moral rectitude. Of course, none of them would do things like solicit bribes and accept kickbacks.
The day prior to his arrest, Blagojevich had declared that the State of Illinois would stop doing business with Bank of America, a member bank of the Federal Reserve. His action came in response to Bank of America’s cutting off a line of credit to a Chicago factory—an incident that had gained wide press coverage in the Chicago area and become a cause célèbre that Blagojevich would have been foolish to ignore.
[efoods] Early on the morning of Dec. 8, 2008, the day following his declaration that Illinois would no longer deal with Bank of America, Blagojevich was taken away from his home in handcuffs by Federal agents. Interestingly, on the same morning but before the arrest had hit the news wires, Bloomberg.com quoted John Douglas, attorney for Bank of America and former general counsel for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as describing Blagojevich’s declaration against Bank of America as “dangerous.”
Dangerous for whom? For the banking industry, or for those who dare to resist it? Perhaps for both?
One former governor who has talked openly about the extortion game played against governors by the Federal government and the banks that own it is Jess Ventura, who served as Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. He ran for and won the governorship as an independent with Libertarian leanings, which placed him outside the political establishment.
Shortly after becoming governor, Ventura says he was summoned to a meeting with numerous people who turned out to be agents of the Central Intelligence Agency. In a television interview, Ventura said:
“I wouldn’t have known a CIA guy if he would’ve came up and bit me. I went to my old friends, my old teammates to try to get advice to pick up why they were questioning me and he was exactly right. He said, ‘They didn’t see you coming.’ They wanted to know if there were more independent governors on the horizon.”
Ventura correctly pointed out to the agents—if indeed that is what they were—that their domestic operation was illegal. He has since concluded that the agents were there to let him know who’s really in charge at the state level, and that it isn’t the state governors and legislatures.
A holder of public office needn’t be a governor to feel the nip of the wringer after criticizing member banks of the Federal Reserve. Just ask Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois.
Never one to conceal what he really thinks, Sen. Durbin appeared on a Chicago radio talk show near the end of April 2009 and said, “And the banks—hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created—are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”
A month and a half later, Durbin was blindsided by accusations that he had sold more than $115,000 worth of stock after being tipped off to the severity of the financial crisis during a closed meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in Sept. 2008.
The Chicago Sun-Times, which broke the “story,” reported that Durbin had bought about $43,000 worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock the same day he had liquidated his mutual funds and eventually invested a total of about $98,000 with the Oracle of Omaha’s fund.
A Durbin spokesman correctly pointed out that “Durbin was doing what a lot of other people were doing, taking a look at their savings” and seeing it “start to tank and trying to preserve some level of wealth by getting out of the market.”
This non-scandal has since gone nowhere, and in fact the original story has disappeared from the Sun-Times’ archives. But perhaps Durbin has gotten the message: If you’re a high-profile holder of public office, you don’t question or resist the banks.
As corrupt or immoral as many of them may be, governors and members of Congress probably deserve more pity than scorn. After all, most private citizens are subjected merely to passive surveillance—our telephone conversations and e-mails are filtered through facilities run by the National Security Agency in partnership with AT&T and other telecommunications companies that search out “hot” keywords. Our communications aren’t examined by a human being unless they’re flagged as containing something “suspicious.”
Governors and members of Congress, on the other hand, are far more likely to be placed under active surveillance—their communications are routinely eavesdropped upon by security personal working for the advancement of the takeover of the Federal government by Federal Reserve and its member banks, both domestic and foreign.
So before becoming too outraged at the next story about a corrupt governor or member of Congress, remember that we’re all living under the same tyranny. High-profile politicians are simply more likely to be humiliated when successfully nailed for refusing to go along with the program. In any story involving the humiliation of one of them, always look for the banking connection. You’ll usually find one.
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