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Archive for April, 2010

‘Wall Street’s Allegiance Isn’t to America; Wall Street’s Allegiance Is to Wall Street’

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Who would ever say such a thing? Well, it came from the lips of one who knows Wall Street via public broadcasting before the 2008 crash. I’ve been waiting for someone to voice the tale in print with similar candor.

It finally appeared April 20 in this column by Roger Lowenstein in the The New York Times.

In his column — “Gambling With the Economy” — Lowenstein makes note of the SEC charges against Goldman Sachs, and says those charges “go to the heart of how Wall Street has strayed from its intended mission.”

Lowenstein writes:

“Wall Street’s purpose, you will recall, is to raise money for industry: to finance steel mills and technology companies and, yes, even mortgages. But the collateralized debt obligations involved in the Goldman trades, like billions of dollars of similar trades sponsored by most every Wall Street firm, raised nothing for nobody. In essence, they were simply a side bet — like those in a casino — that allowed speculators to increase society’s mortgage wager without financing a single house.”

Finally, someone stands up to say, ‘These profits are not made by investing in our country and its manufacturing might; no, they come from bets that are made with the knowledge that the game is fixed and the bettor will win.’

The profits come from Wall Street’s churning of our money — ’suckers’ money — that Wall Street uses to make bets that this or that ‘financial instrument’ will fail. And when the instrument fails, they rake in the dough.

There are no ‘industrials’ in the Wall Street Industrial Average. It’s all based simply on churning money that goes back and forth between the big guys, who use their fixed game to rob from people’s retirement funds and savings.

Read Lowenstein and then call your Congress representatives and call your members of the U.S. Senate via the Capitol operator (two-zero-two, two-two-four, three-one, two-one).

Tell them to pass financial reform, because we’re sick of being used, and the country needs investment, not gambling.

The Pope, the Church, the Story

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

The public radio program, This American Life, contains, in it’s April 3, 2010, episode, the story of a priest who was used as a ‘fixer’ to settle down parishes that had just lost their pastor, because the pastor was a pedophile, a fact which no one in the parish — with the exception of the abused child and possibly his/her parents — knew.

[To skip the introductory section of the program -- of which this story is just one of four, separate, 15 minute topics -- click on "Stream Episode" to the right of the picture on the opening page, and move the player's bar to 2 minutes and 34 seconds.]

The interviewed former priest, Patrick Wall, speaks of how he was used by his order to assist bishops in ‘cleaning up,’ after a pedophile priest was discovered at a parish — and moved to another parish — by the local bishop.

Father Wall, as he went about his work with parishes and the bishops, discovered a system of off-the-record ‘archives’ — established in the penal code of Canon Law — in which were kept information about events and reports the Church did not want exposed to the public. Wall notes that this Canon goes back ‘centuries.’

This story is devastating. It goes to the heart of what the Catholic Church — as an institution run by the hierarchy — is, from the very beginning of written Canon Law.

I’m not expressing concern about the faith, Jesus, or God; only the institution. I was raised a Roman Catholic and, for two years, studied to be a priest.

Please listen with an open mind. This interview, in light of what is occurring in Rome, the U.S., Europe, and God knows where else, is extremely difficult to bear. But the story should be heard and reflected upon.

[Five years ago Patrick Wall co-authored a book about the facts and history of the pedophile scandal in the U.S.]