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Class War For Idiots / June 12, 2009

elmer-fudd21

If I was an oligarch and I wanted to buy my spoiled little shit of a son a toy that would make him laugh and laugh for hours, I’d buy him a middle-class American. Because Americans are funny the way all dupes and chumps are funny. You can trick today’s Americans time and again, and they always fall for it. And when you trick them, they stomp around dramatically and make a lot of blustery noise about “the people” who allegedly “aren’t going to stand much more of this” because “our founding forefathers bla bla bla” and of course the ol’ “you can fool some of the people some of the time, buttcha can’t fool bla bla bla…” Basically, if you’ve seen your Elmer Fudd, then you’ve seen your American sucker in all of his cartoon comic-foil glory: a sentimental buffoon, a harmless chump whose guns don’t fool anyone but himself.

Every day, Americans play the role of Elmer Fudd to the oligarchy’s Bugs Bunny–if you look at it from the oligarchy’s point of view, at least.

Exhibit A: Multigazllionaire scumbag Angelo Mozilo v. American Suckers.

Tuesday it was reported that Mozilo, the guy who destroyed millions of Americans’ lives and now faces fraud charges, is making American taxpayers-his victims-pay for his legal defense. Yup, Bank of America, which only exists thanks to tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, is using YOUR MONEY to defend Angelo Mozilo against YOU, the victim.

Bank of America paying Mozilo’s legal fees
Tue Jun 9, 2009 3:59pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp said on Tuesday it is covering the legal fees of Angelo Mozilo, the former Countrywide Financial Corp chief executive charged with securities fraud and insider trading.

Lawyers for the former executives last week said they planned to fight the SEC’s claims.

Bank of America has taken $45 billion from the U.S. government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

What makes this really funny is that Mozilo doesn’t even need your money, because he’s already stolen at least half a billion from you suckers… But he’s taking taxpayer dollars to defend himself anyway, for the same reason that dogs lick their balls: BECAUSE IT TICKLES!

Mozilo’s Monster Payday
JANUARY 11, 2008
By Dana Cimilluca

According to the LA Times, Mozilo stands to get a severance package valued at more than $110 million. That would be on top of $140 million of his Countrywide stake that Mozilo sold in 2006 and 2007, as the housing wave crested and then crashed. (In fact, as the Wall Street Journal points out, from 2004 through 2007, he sold a total of about $414 million of Countrywide shares – sales that drew the attention of the SEC.)

In 2006 alone, Mozilo, who built Countrywide into a thriving mortgage institution over nearly 40 years, got paid $48 million, according to the company’s last proxy statement.

Yup, he gets over half a billion dollars, and you, the victim, pay him to defend himself from you. And what makes it so funny is that no American will ever do a thing to harm a hair on Mr. Mozilo’s head. No matter what, even if you’re the guy who’s living in a Sam’s Club tent, you won’t do a thing about it. AHHH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!

A human-like lizard

Mozilo is a prankster on and off the stage–what showbiz comics call “a true professional.” He screwed over everyone he could–not just American homeowners and taxpayers, but even his own employees at Countrywide:

Countrywide Sued by Workers Over Retirement Losses

The employees suffered ”hundreds of millions” in losses when Countrywide’s stock plunged, they said.

”I think the record is crystal clear that the CEO knew this company was highly risky, that it was engaging in risky behavior and that this was no longer a prudent investment,” Steve Berman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an interview. Berman said about 50,000 people are invested in Countrywide’s retirement plan.

This is where the Mozilo as Bugs Bunny metaphor stops working–not that it ever did. Because the suckers, the comic foils, the ones who get bashed in the head with the giant sledge hammer–you don’t really laugh much at their misery:

Plaintiff Marc Cruz, like many Countrywide employees, deferred a portion of his salary and invested in the company 401(k) savings plan, which Countrywide augmented with a 50 percent match, up to six percent, paid entirely in company stock during calendar years 2005 and 2006.

Mozilo wasn’t trying to be funny at all, let’s face it. He was doing everything he could to try to get people to kill him. He stole from their futures, and he stole from their present–he stole years, money, happiness, dignity. He even turned his employees into slaves. Not metaphorical slaves but real slaves:

According to the lawsuit against Countrywide, some sales agents worked at least 10 hours a day, five days a week, without meal breaks “in order to meet production demands and pressures.”

The 400 Countrywide employees who sued claimed that they worked an average of 16 hours of overtime a week, including weekends, from 1998 to 2004 without premium pay.

Craig Strah, a former sales agent in Countrywide’s Rosemead office, wrote in a court declaration that “in order to meet production demands and pressures,” he usually worked “at least 10 hours per day, five days per week without any meal breaks. Approximately three times per month, I worked an additional nine-hour day without any meal breaks.”
Countrywide maintains that its sales agents are exempt from overtime laws because they are management… an increasingly common tactic to give rank-and-file workers fancy titles to lull them into thinking they were executives and thus not entitled to overtime.

Mozilo’s response:

In an August interview with CNBC, Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo complained about the high cost of doing business in California.

“Anything over eight hours a day, you have to pay overtime, even though it’s less than 40 hours a week,” Mozilo said.

If Mozilo were Bugs, he’d snicker and gnaw on his carrot. But he’s not. He’s just a mean, vain old fuck in love with his tanning salon.

The settlement, excluding attorney fees, amounts to an average of about $50,000 per employee.

So Mozilo steals 6 years of their lives, and for all that they eventually “win” a $50,000 settlement-or just over $10,000 per year per employee. Or roughly what Mozilo earned in the time it took him to wax his back.

Anyway it was no skin off of Mozilo’s …back… Countrywide picked up the $30 million lawsuit settlement tab, just like taxpayers are picking up his legal fees for the fraud suit. So who won? Put it this way: he’s worth half a billion, and Countrywide employees are worth nil.

And all these Elmer Fudds do is whine:

Countrywide critics slam board’s pay

By Kathy M. Kristof, Times Staff Writers and E. Scott Reckard, Times Staff Writers November 09, 2007

Countrywide directors had become conflicted by their own “excessive pay” and stock options that had allowed five members of the board to cash out more than $20 million in stock gains over the last two years.

That headline is a knee-slapper. “Critics! No, not the critics, Doc! Please, I beg ya! You gotta do somethin’ about them critics, Doc! Why, they’re bound to critic-size me! It’s moiduh, I tell ya! All I gots is half a billion dollahs, you can’t do this to a half-a-billionaire, Doc!”

At this point, all the blustering, armed-to-the-teeth American suckers lower their guns just like Elmer Fudd would, allowing Mozilo-Bugs to kiss them on the forehead, and then slam them with a giant 100 lb. sledge hammer. Because today’s American chumps never shoot the people who ruin them. Instead, they bluster in anonymous message boards and comments secitons about how they COULD shoot them, and then they quickly turn to their favorite fist-shaking theme: their beloved second amendment… And this is where the comedy routine gets downright tiresome. Because every time these Fudds should focus on shooting the real enemy, the oligarch-thief who ruined their lives and stole their savings and pension and their child’s education, instead of hunting down and shooting this real-life serial murderer, they go a-huntin’ for wiberaws and big govuhment sociawists and gun contwow fweaks. In vaudeville that sort of buffoonery gets the crowd a-hootin and a-holerin. The blustery buffoon always hunting a non-existent threat while the real villain, standing right next to him, robs him blind.

Let me illustrate this point by way of compare & contrast. In this case, emails. First, an email sent by a Countrywide employee to a CNBC reporter in January, 2008, when the company was going under:

“I, like many others, am outraged. We broke our backs keeping this place floating–bailing out the Titanic with thimbles while our executives made off in the life boats. Mozilo could afford to give every one of its remaining employees in the trenches $10k a piece for our efforts. There are no answers coming from anywhere about the merger, and no one even knows if their job is safe once BOA’s bean counters are done looking into CW operations with a microscope. Some great teams disappeared like farts in a hurricane, and dedicated, hard-working employees were discarded and regarded as fat trimmed off of a steak. It is heartbreaking to see…”

A guy like Mozilo would read that email and think, “He said ‘fart.’ How disgusting! I have class!” No, Mozilo never says “fart” when he steals. In fact, he plays the hunted victim, while the real victim above plays the earnest Elmer Fudd with a touch of modern irony. This is an email from Mozilo sent to Countrywide shareholders in October 2006, when they started to complain about Mozilo’s insane $120 million package:

“I appreciate your input but at this stage in my life at Countrywide this process is no longer about money but more about respect and acknowledgement of my accomplishments…. Boards have been placed under enormous pressure by the left wing business press and the envious leaders of unions and other so called ‘CEO Comp Watchers’ and therefore Boards are being forced to protect themselves irrespective of the potential negative long term impact on public companies. I strongly believe that a decade from now there will be a recognition that entrepreneurship has been driven out of the public sector resulting in underperforming companies and a willingness on the part of Boards to pay for performance.”

Nope, it isn’t funny anymore. He’s not a zany prankster, and we’re not loveable dupes. But then again, there always something really depressing about Elmer Fudd.

***

This article first appeared in Counterpunch.org.

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34 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Epicman  |  June 12th, 2009 at 8:50 am

    EPIC! Well America’s #1 at something. Sucking Corporate Balls.

  • 2. wengler  |  June 12th, 2009 at 11:20 am

    The Parthians killed Crassus by pouring molten gold down his throat.

    Just a reminder that sometimes people get their due. We will need these reminders as the US dollar gets pummeled and the plutocratic class that created the mess scoops up the hollowed remains.

  • 3. Plamen Petkov  |  June 12th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Love it. This is awesome. This should be in every newspaper in USA. This should be a required reading for every American schmuck. Im gonna spread this around as wide as I can.

  • 4. rick  |  June 12th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Tallness is the single best predictor of success in corporate America.

    It’s at least a little less vile than universities and socialist bureaucracy, but not by much. Economic growth rates and “competition” were higher and more robust with 90% tax rates on the highest income bracket. The “free market” Limbaugh pap is a fairy tale facilitated by a ruling class not-so-mysteriously willing to believe and propagate it. High tax rates on high earners is a CHECK ON INNATE HUMAN CORRUPTION and group-swinishness, a blindingly obvious danger from history or plain paying attention.

  • 5. Carlito  |  June 12th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    This is stil just scratching the surface. No wonder the Elmer`s are going after non-threats instead of after real villains when even you fail to identify the real villains for him.

    It is not Mozilo who is making American taxpayers pay for his legal defense. Mozilo does not collect taxes. The government does.

    Were it not for the government the Bank of America would be six feet under and in no position to pay for his lawyers.

    There will always be wanna-be oligarchs. But it is only when they get a hand from the state when they can turn into such. It is impossible to steal half a billion dollars without the state as an accomplice.

    Help out poor ole Elmer. Identify his enemy and call it by its name – Goldman Sachs Fascism.

  • 6. wYSe Guy  |  June 12th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    You Fucking Americans will rise up….to blast away at a memorial to poor murdered Jews ! ! !

    You’re pathetic…cant even find an American Oligarch to kill.

    Useless Amreekans.

  • 7. deang  |  June 12th, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    You occasionally hear Americans screwed by people like Mozilo say things like “He’s only trying to protect himself! If I was in his position, I’d do the same thing. We all wanna be rich like Mozilo someday, too, don’t we? Maybe if we try to think like the rich we’ll be more likely to be rich ourselves one day.” They also tend to think it’s always been this way and that it’s this way everywhere else in the world. And their nutty religiosity prevents them from comprehending examples to the contrary – everything’s just a belief or a point of view to them, so there are no facts that can persuade them that it doesn’t have to be this way.

  • 8. cal  |  June 13th, 2009 at 3:10 am

    I suspet they do nothing for the same reason I don’t buy an AR-15 and start knocking off people – they don’t want to end up dead or ass raped in jail for life. I should be a man of action–but instead, like some of you, I’m tempted to just criticize Ames for sticking his neck out by writing this.

  • 9. Epicman  |  June 13th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Carlito – I love how you identify the Government as ebil. Most of the government are just pawns for show. Bush or Obama, same bailout plans, same low taxes on the rich. It’s people behind the lobbyists, like Mozilo that need to be taught a lesson. When Putin took down one oligarch, the rest began quaking in their boots, and “suprisingly” the quality of life for average Russians increased.

    But then again, arresting a thug without a warrant or talking with his attorney is a violation of human rights. Too bad in the US Vampires get human rights. Where’s Vigilante Justice when you need it?

  • 10. tailpipe  |  June 13th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Okay, Mark, we get it. You really hate Americans. Every person living in America is a complete idiot — *yawn* You’re like a one-note Johnny that keeps singing the same tune. In the big karaoke bar of existential angst, can’t you mumble the words to another selection?

  • 11. Chinaman  |  June 13th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Tailpipe you still don’t get it, no matter how many times Ames points it out. Abusing middle-class Americans is easy and a lot of fun! This is why he keeps doing it over and over.

  • 12. Fitz the Hat  |  June 13th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    @Tailpipe

    Mark Ames hates Americans? Nice strawman you got there.

    You are kinda dense when you fail to see that the critisim and satire Ames uses is acually a pledge to whom ever American that’s reading this article to stop being such a gullible bafoon and start to realize whom his real foes are.

    That is not hate, it’s more a sign that you really do care about your fellow people.. If Ames really hated americans he would be working for the Washington Post writing aritcles that the economy is A-O-kay.

  • 13. Carlito  |  June 13th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Epicman – Russia is a case in point of a corporatist state. Hardly something to emulate. Putin did not stare down the oligarchs for real, he only made them work with the domestic military-security complex rather than against it. An arrangement that ultimately benefits both of them, but something that the oligarchs were initialy too stupid to see.

    There has never been a pro-people government anywhere. It can never exist because the interests of the government will never coincide with the interests of the people, instead they will always run against them. Every government exists only by waging a war on its people. Some are just crafty enough to do most of the warfare via psyops rather than via the barrel of the gun.

  • 14. fodder  |  June 13th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Re: tailpipe

    Mark’s articles make sense in the context of his book. They’re meant to support his thesis about the relationship between working people and the rich and powerful. What he thinks about Americans personally, I don’t know, but there’s an overarching point to these stories (which may be easy to miss without knowing the context).

  • 15. aleke  |  June 14th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    @tailpipe

    We get it! You love being screwed! My turn: spread wide

  • 16. aleke  |  June 14th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Poor Americans. But I guess it’s those cowardly baby boomers for the most part. Throughout the 20th century the middle class, the poor, minorities and women alike were pushing for a more just slice of the pie. It’s what finally broke Keynesianism, what launched the war against “inflation” (nowadays it’s simply a codeword for rising wages of uppity non-oligarchs). But then the baby boomers came into their own, really, politically, in the Reagan years and it’s been a steady progress backwards in time. Hah, they would’ve repealed Social Security even if Bush hadn’t been so incompetent at warfighting.

    But maybe a sharp decline would be for the best. That’s what started all those radical and revolutionary movements in Russia, after all. It was right after the Crimean war that the first nihilists surfaced. Maybe something good will come out of it decades on down the road.

    Hopefully it won’t be dictatorship.

  • 17. Robert  |  June 14th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    We seem to forget one of the reasons BoA needed government money was because the government (Helicopter Ben and Paulson) twisted Lewis’ hand into buying Merrill Lynch.

  • 18. fodder  |  June 14th, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    What’s really frustrating about America is the spirit of greed that infects people in my class — and even lower classes — with no means to practice it. Under the current economic practices, people easily get stuck in the same class all their lives, yet they tolerate, defend and worship the most rapacious because — like lottery players blind to the odds against them — they imagine themselves in these few positions of wealth and influence. So rather than at least wanting there to be a fairness about these artificial economic and governmental constructs that would benefit them now — as well as the majority in general — they aim for this hopeless long shot, at their own expense; at everyone’s expense.

  • 19. aleke  |  June 14th, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    @16.

    Shore. Even the capitalist hero, Adam Smith, was against these scumbags. Hell, he was saying the same shit Marx would say decades later. Including this, from the Wealth of Nations:

    “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”

    I’m not necessarily a fan of Noam Chomsky, but he outlined it pretty well here: http://www.chomsky.info/books/warfare02.htm

    And here’s a good brief history of modern economics and just how fucked up we are presently: http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/biology_economics.htm

    That is, if you didn’t already all know this.

  • 20. az  |  June 15th, 2009 at 9:18 am

    It’s kind of sad that I don’t really understand where Ames stands on things. All of his ideas are clear, as far as the immediate circumstances go but in the long term inconclusive and conflicted, just like the War Nerd was when he was an “American nationalist.” Though I guess such inner conflict is interesting to read in its own right.

  • 21. tailpipe  |  June 15th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    So let me get this straight, Fritz the Hat, calling all 300 million Americans idiots really means Ames is showing how much he cares about them. Please forgive me for not seeing that. Tonight I think I’ll show my kid how much I care by beating the shit out of him.

    And aleke, thanks for your offer to screw me, but I think you’re more of a solo act when it comes to that sort of thing. I wouldn’t want to cut into your “me” time.

  • 22. DisappointedReader  |  June 15th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    So what you’re really saying, Fodder, is that lower class people should simply use a different form of power (political) in order to sate their greed. Rather than use influence, money, hard work, networking, or whatever other means executives used to get to the top, the people should instead simply vote themselves more money.

    You’re almost honest about it. At least the executives took their money by their own efforts, rather than employing someone else to go steal it for them.

  • 23. Mark Nuckols  |  June 16th, 2009 at 3:10 am

    I read this blog only because it reminds me of what I find so repellant about a certain class of Americans – the kind who have self-respect and don’t like seeing us turned into slaves. As for me, I’m part of the slave class, which means I focus on this: Mozilo had a contractual clause requiring BofA to cover his expenses. I’ll take the mildy distastful spectacle of this in return for rule of law. Mark, I am a worm who sucks up to anyone rich. Won’t someone put me out of my misery?

  • 24. fodder  |  June 16th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    @DisappointedReader
    Your first paragraph is all strawman. I’m not even sure what the subject of the second one is.

    @tailpipe
    Unless you read Ames’s book, there’s little point to your criticisms. Even if you want to disagree with him, you simply don’t have a grasp of what his stance is. At best, you could argue that his intent isn’t clear from the smattered of articles you’ve read.

  • 25. tailpipe  |  June 16th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Fodder, when Ames makes a blanket statement that all 300 million Americans are idiots, why would I, an idiot myself, try grasping his point? My statement is far more idiotic than any American he is referring to.

    And you say since I haven’t read Ames’ book, I simply can’t understand the point he’s trying to make. I’m ignorant, so what. I like it that way.

    I understand Ames has issues with the American people, and the government. And of course I want Ames and anyone else to freely express their criticisms. Well actually I don’t, but I just like saying that because it makes me sound very moral and upstanding. Actually, I like to suck my cat’s ass every now and then.

  • 26. rick  |  June 16th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    God forbid we call people idiots!

    Maybe Ames doesn’t care about them. Maybe he’s gratifying his sociopathy by laughing at their delusions. Maybe that’s the most intellectually radical, progressive and effective move, for analyzers of the world. Most morons are beholden to an idiotic moral subconscious that prevents articulation of such sentiments. We have to be “constructive!” after all.

    http://bit.ly/dmeEV

  • 27. aleke  |  June 17th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    tailpipe!
    baby!
    you’re having trouble reading here. maybe that’s why you get sex and masturbation so confused. read between the lines, kid.

  • 28. tailpipe  |  June 17th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    aleke, you were the one who asked me to spread wide so you could have your turn. It seems you are confused, and apparently very sexually frustrated. By the way, I’m a straight male, so I’m not really your type. But I do support your right to be the proud gay man that you obviously are. Maybe Exiled could start a dating section and you could be the first profile in the “man seeking a man” section.

  • 29. tailpipe  |  June 17th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Ames’ article missed a very critical point about Bank of America and Mozilo. When B of A acquired Countrywide, they assumed all legal liabilities of the company. This is simple contract law that is part of any acquisition. And they acquired Countrywide before they received any TARP money…long before. But even if this happened after they received the bailout money, they still would be liable for his legal fees. When you buy a company, you get the whole enchilada. If one of the Execs in that company has a legal issue, it then becomes your legal issue.

    And Ames blames common Americans for Mozilo having his legal fees paid for by a bank getting bailout money? How would the average American do anything to change this? Is a housewife in Iowa is a bumbling fool because she allowed this to happen? What’s she supposed to do, write more letters to her House or Senate representative? Maybe she and her other Garden Club gals could organize an armed coup and lay waste to the oligarchs once and for all. Maybe then Ames would be happy.

  • 30. aleke  |  June 18th, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Oh i’ll turn you yet you homophobic shit

  • 31. aleke  |  June 18th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    “Maybe she and her other Garden Club gals could organize an armed coup and lay waste to the oligarchs once and for all. Maybe then Ames would be happy.”

    Uhh… Duh?

  • 32. aPeasant  |  June 18th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    @tailpipe

    Though I suspect your not being sincere, I’ll play along. Ames’ argument is not hard to follow, if you have been reading him. If you have and you still don’t get it, you might consider dissonance or Stockholm Syndrome.

    Failing the above you might try “A Short Introduction to Noam Chomsky.” by Rush Limbaugh.

  • 33. az  |  June 19th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Hey Mark, thanks for posting my comment. I know it was lame, but hell it was the best I could do. Anyway, keep on rockin! (I’m “tailpipe” just in case–maybe we could grab a beer sometime? We should get to know each other…)

  • 34. Louis Severin  |  June 25th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I think You who laugh at American’s expense should take a good look at who Americans are. they are all of us in the world who look for freedom and who fight others war while trying to preserve our own values. It is each individual who makes their own choice either to be honest or corrupt. In the whole of the matter, If you are not fighting for freedom, than you are one who sits on the sidelines not willing to do anything, than you are no greater person for being the pig that you are. Jim Morrison’s “they got the guns, but we got the numbers” says it all. It takes people like us who are in the population where ever we reside to stand up for what we believe in and fight for it. It won’t happen over night but it has a greater possibility for happening if we stand united. And I believe this possibility is what our forefathers wanted most who established America, people who stood by each other to stand the test of time, not allowing corporations, or fashist pricks to take what we the people united for in the first place. All this that is happening is because we have all sold out to being pigs!!


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