(Author's note: This article was first posted on October 23, 2008, a few brief weeks after the collapse. These were my thoughts in real time.)
For weeks, I’ve watched it unfold, like an excruciating slow motion train wreck. One that I saw coming from far away, but was helpless to do anything about. I and a handful of others seem to be the only people in the entire country who gave a damn, and worse yet, those who had the power to fix it, who could have saved our country with a wave of a pen, a few written words passed into law, instead facilitated our demise. They sold us down the river, they destroyed the country that I truly believed in my heart could never be destroyed.
Day after day, as the financial system implodes in a spectacular collapse of epic proportions, Congress has been working late into the night in a last ditch effort to deal with rampant corruption within the financial markets. But the real story is this: They’ve known about the impending disaster for almost five years, and along with the SEC, the Corporate Media, and our President stood idly by while all of America was systematically robbed and our economy pushed beyond the brink of ruin just so a handful of sociopathic ultra-wealthy individuals blinded by their own greed could earn more money than their children’s children’s children could ever possibly spend, even if they all lived like kings....which they do.
For nearly five years, a small group of dedicated activists have been educating investors, Congress, the SEC, and even the President about the imminent danger of allowing rampant fraud to continue. In my very first article on The Faulking Truth website entitled “Financial Terrorism in America” I said: “In the end, this practice amounts to financial terrorism against the United States.” The phrase “financial terrorism” has come to epitomize the culture of greed and manipulation that dominates Wall Street. That article was written on March 19, 2004, nearly five years ago.
Since then, I have written over 150 articles on financial fraud, constantly sounding the alarm. And I haven’t been alone, nor was I even the first to speak out. We have grown in strength from a few small voices in the wilderness to a force that we all felt certain couldn’t be long ignored. First hundreds, then thousands, and eventually a million strong, we lobbied Congress and begged the media to hear our cries. For the good of America. For the good of a country that we were convinced we all loved equally. We were wrong.
In 2004, NBC’s Dateline conducted hundreds of hours of interviews for the purpose of airing an expose’ that promised to “blow the lid off of the naked short selling scandal”, and we thought it was “game over”. But again, we were wrong. The Dateline expose’ was repeatedly postponed, then eventually gutted and aired as a 15 minute fluff piece. The media sold us out to greed and money, and to their boards of directors that were controlled by major financial institutions, brokerage firms, and even members of the New York stock Exchange. And their affiliate CNBC was even worse, and along with the other major financial journalists, instead sided with the criminals in attacking anyone who dared to suggest that anything was amiss in what appeared to be on the surface the smoothest flowing river of money the world had ever seen. Unfortunately, they blatantly ignored the fact that against all laws of logic and nature, the money was flowing upstream, from the middle class into the offshore bank accounts of a few obscenely wealthy families and individuals.
In late 2004, all of my articles and information from fellow advocates were sent to every member of Congress, I was contacted by a high-ranking public official to help co-ordinate a Senate Banking Sub-Committee Hearing into naked short selling. I worked behind the scenes for eight months, but finally went public with the story after the hearing was delayed several times and then canceled by then Banking Committee Chairman Senator Richard Shelby. Shelby had every opportunity to be the hero, to do the right thing for America, but instead, he sold his soul to the almighty dollar. And now every single person in America is paying the price....well, everyone except the ones who screwed us. All along, we warned everyone who would listen that if the problems weren’t dealt with, the end result would be economic collapse. In July of 2005, I coined the phrase “Wall Street vs. Main Street”, which is now being repeated by nearly every major publication in America as they cover the story as if it just began to unfold a few short weeks ago. Like the SEC and our elected officials, the Corporate Media sold us down the river of money.
Finally, on July 16, 2008, in an article entitled “Five Years and a Trillion Dollars Short” after hundreds of unheeded warnings of dire consequences to ignoring systemic financial fraud, I sounded one final warning:
Unless Americans speak out by the millions, our nation will be bankrupt. Unless we demand that action be taken now - before it’s too late - America risks falling into a depression triggered by the ruthless greed of the rich and powerful. We are truly at a crossroad in our nation’s history. It is up to us to decide whether we choose the road to prosperity or ruin. Two months later, the SEC held emergency meetings to enact regulations to deal with a problem they had known about for at least five years. That same week, our federal government announced a proposed bailout of a system in financial freefall, after already bailing out several bankrupt financial institutions. As the stock market continued to melt down in a nauseating freefall of lost retirement savings and destroyed wealth, Congress finally negotiated a “bailout”, then promptly renamed it a “rescue package”. The total cost to taxpayers? Over one trillion dollars.
It doesn’t matter. The same people who have pushed our country to the brink of ruin are the ones who will benefit from the bailout...sorry, I mean the rescue package. And they will do what they’ve always done. They’ll take the money and run, and leave the rest of America nothing but table scraps. Trickle-down economics at its finest.
The game is rigged. And everyone who could do anything to save us from ruin instead ignored us. What is now a national emergency could have been a relatively painless fix if they had only acted sooner, if they hadn’t been blinded by their own greed.
It makes me sick to my stomach. I’ve been in New York the past few weeks, working on a project that I hoped might act as the catalyst to finally....FINALLY....wake up enough people to force change on our public officials. But now it feels like I’m writing a eulogy, as if the past five years have been for naught. And there is absolutely no consolation in saying “I told you so."
When I wrote the phrase “Financial Terrorism in America” almost five years ago, I thought it was a hyperbole. Instead, it turned out to be a gross understatement. A couple of weeks ago, I started another article, and typed across the top of the page the words “Financial Armageddon”. Then I stopped, unable to put into words what I didn’t want to admit to myself, that we could easily be headed into one of the worst economic depression our country has ever seen.