Schmoz, ....by definition, a Yiddish word signifying low-life, deceitful, criminal, despicable, unscrupulous, abominable, irresponsible, shameful and scum-bag-like behavior ...... a few notches below a schmuck or mashugana......
.......well, not really, I just made up that word 'cause I couldn't think of any word that would rhyme with OZ and would carry all those meanings.
But I just can't think of kinder words to describe the state and the players of our financial institutions.
Every morning I wake up thinking that there can be no more surprises of wrong-doing stemming from the financial world, but every morning I am proved wrong once again.
As Americans, we can deal with a bad economy, we are a resilient and creative bunch, .....we have been through worse.......but what really burns my waffles, is this constant mockery and slaps in the face that we, the taxpayers and consumers, are constantly and relentlessly subjected to by our financial institutions.
Where do I begin?......just in the last 6 weeks, we have witnessed:
- Madoff's $50 billion (stick-it-to-investors) Ponzi scheme.
- We learned that former Merryl Lynch CEO John Thain was re-decorating HIS office to the tune of $1,000,000 (million) and doling-out $4,000,000,000 (billion) in bonuses for his top executives and himself.....all this, mind you, while being at the government's window with his hand out for tax-payers dollars.
- GM's CEO flying into Washington DC in his Leer Jet, with his begging cup in hand, explaining that his company had just lost $24,000,000 (million) dollars. He did however, fessed-up in an interview, that $16,000,000 (million) out of this loss was for his own salary and bonuses, but that he had started correcting this fiscal deficiency by adjusting his workers wages from $28/hour, down to $14/hr.! ....WOW! he took decisive and effective action ....I am impressed!
- $45,000,000,000 (billion) were just handed out to Bank of America, who, after padding their salaries with generous bonuses, they used the rest of the money to buy up more (smaller) banks in trouble....as if they already were not "too big to fail".
- Another $45,000,000,000 (billion) was just handed out to Citicorp, who, without losing a step or wasting time, quickly purchased a $50,000,000 company jet, to make sure they wouldn't be late for their parties (thank God Obama yanked this one out of their hands).
- Then, after their piggy banks were full, and their toys bought, these banking giants got together, and spent the rest of the money in hiring and deploying an army of lobbyists, whose primary function is to promote and look-after the interests of their companies, NOT the public's......and thus, with lightening speed as we speak, an infestation of these cockroaches has descended on our Nation's Capital, to try to overwhelm, buy and conive the weaker of our politicians to their cause.
- Yesterday, we found out that Wall St. financial brokerages lost more than $35,000,000,000 (billion) in 2008. I was starting to feel sorry for them, until I was told that $18,400,000,000 (billion) of that money was for their executive Bonuses!!! ...I feel better now that Obama called that behavior "shameful" and "the height of irresponsibility"....but not enough.
- McCain is out there promoting more, and permanent Tax cuts for the wealthy.
- This morning, I found out that EXXON MOBILE broke their own previous record and made $45,200,000,000 (billion) in PROFIT for 2008.
.......I guess, just to stay up with EXXON, that I can claim that TODAY, I BROKE MY OWN PREVIOUS RECORD FOR THE NUMBER OF CONSECUTIVE DAYS I'VE STAYED ALIVE!!! ....unfortunately this claim to fame did not put a lot of money in my pockets ....
My head is SPINNING!!! ... why, yesterday the News Channels were reporting that the credit card companies are creating and implementing new and improved ways to stick it to the consumers and increase their interest rates without warning ......
....... did you know that now American Express et al, can dramatically lower your credit scores, by shrinking your credit limits and thus justifying interest rate increases, just because (get this) they do not like or approve of where you shop!!!? and this is even if yu have stellar credit , over 700 ......SLAP ME AGAIN, I'M LOSING IT!
......but, how many Billions of Dollars do these individuals need, while Billions of people on the planet go hungry, sick, hopeless and without proper education? .....a person can only eat so much food, a person can only sleep in one bed, a person can only drive one car .....how many billions does it take to achieve this?
.......Why ARE NOT these vultures behind bars? .....now, don't get me wrong, I've never been a big fan of Government ....it just happens that I am a lesser fan of CRIME.
For years we have been conditioned to believe that Banks, like Cathedrals, in their "all-mighty" buildings constructed of impressive and massive marble and stone, somehow housed the Financial Gods.
We have been bamboozled into believing that the bigger and more powerful they got, the better-off we are and that we mere mortals must forever be obliged to do their bidding.
Why,....only yesterday, I was talking to a "Loss Mitigation Officer" for one of the major lenders, about getting a listing agreement for one of their short sales........for a moment there, I thought I was having a spiritual experience.....for a moment, I thought that I was in the presence of one of God's faithful servants!
Tired of getting sales commissions reduced by the lenders on the 11th hour of a sale, I asked her whether they (the seller's lender) would step in as the seller in making all the final decissions for the sale (including sales price, escrow company, COE dates, commissions payable, etc.) ...... "why yes!", she said without hesitation, "we are the bank, and we control the outcome"......
...."no problem", I said, "in that case, as the seller, I need you to be part of the Listing Agreement by signing an Addendum to it, agreeing to the commissions in the front end, so there is no confusion on the back end."
"that is impossible" she rebuked ....."we are the Bank, and we don't sign anything, .....all decissions and negotiations are made verbally".
"somebody pinch me" I thought to myself,......what happenned to everything I learned about contract law? ....didn't we learn to put everything in writing? .....didn't we learn to have beginning and termination dates? .....didn't we learn to name the parties in the transaction? .....didn't we learn to clearly spell out the terms of the agreement? .....didn't we learn to have the principals' signatures?
.....why are these bankers throwing out the window the most basic principles of our financial an legal systems, and telling us that none of that matters, because in the end, they will unilaterally and verbally make all the final decisions ?
"I cannot participate in activities that go against the legal principles that I have learned" I told her...."and therefore I cannot help you" .... and thus ended our conversation.
Maybe this behavior is proof positive of why our Financial System is in shambles....maybe we are coming to the realization that our financial institutions have been infiltrated and taken over by a criminal element ......intoxicated with their own sense of power and addicted to that most seductive drug.....MONEY.
.....it is their ethics (or lack thereof), it is their lack of integrity, it is their snobbish superiority, it is their greed that have squandered trillions of investors' and taxpayers' money .... and we are supposed to trust them? ...we are supposed to do their bidding? ....we are supposed to bail them out?
They are taking our hard-earned taxpayers' dollars, empowering themselves with it and sticking it to us!!! This would be akin to going to Al-Qaida with a begging cup, asking them to give us trillions of dollars, so that we can buy better and more weapons and troops to fight against them....it defies all logic!
For too long now, they have controlled us with fear....."if you don't bail us out and give us your money" they claim, "the financial world as you know it will come down crushing on your heads, and it will be the end of civilization as we know it" .... oooooooooo....I'm scared........this is the financial parallel to the program "Girls Gone Wild" .... do we call it "Banks Gone Wild"?
It's about time the American people stood up to these cretins ....wake up and smell the coffee, America!!....the paradigm is shifting, let's empower ourselves! ....the JIG IS UP!!!!!!!
Now, I am not saying that we don't need banks, ....we just don't need this kind of crap. Big Banks are like dinosaurs, their time has come! ......they need to make room for a better, friendlier and more human financial Universe.
....we should not fight Mother Nature, .....if some kind of force had tried to stop the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, you and I would not be here today. Instead, it made room for small rodents which eventually evolved into our modern world.......once again, man descended from the apes, and the apes descended from the trees....lol
Nature allows for the extinction of the old and "too big", to make room for the new and small....we cannot postpone the inevitable.
Chaos theory states, that we should embrace life's uncertainties rather than resisting them....it teaches us that in the face of seemingly insurmountable and chaotic "events", nature re-invents and self-organizes in ways that are totally positive and unpredictable to human logic.
Let's trust the process,....let's cut the umbilical chord that keeps these vampires alive, let's not postpone the inevitable....tell congress not to give them any more money....hold them accountable to financial and real estate law....
....and like Dorothy, at the end of the Yellow Brick Road, when she finally pulls back the curtains, and instead of a powerful Wizard, she finds a weak, decrepit and scared old man, we will discover, that we do have the brains, that we do have the heart, and we do have the courage to rebuild ourselves and align our lives with the healthy prosperity that is ours to enjoy.
....and just like that, as Bush would say, "at the whim of a hat", those sorry maggots that have brought this country to it's knees, will crawl back to the hole they came out of and leave us alone.