Further Recommendation for What to Do With our Ruling Class

In addition to stripping our elected officials of all financial gain beyond their salaries for their elected office and putting it into a fund for wounded veterans, with a proviso that any protest means immediate induction into the military or prison, I also think that the entire management of Goldman Sachs should immediately have all their personal wealth confiscated and put into that same fund for wounded vets. After all, the vets were doing all the fighting and dying while these vampires were enriching themselves by clever forms of theft from their native land in a time of war.  I think that’s treason.  Once stripped of their stolen wealth, they should then be sentenced to a life helping homeless vets find work.  If they protest, they should be immediately inducted into the Army and sent to Afghanistan to clean toilets and be the last to be allowed to leave, after repeated tours of duty.  If they cavil at cleaning toilets, they should be given the task of scouting ahead of patrols for IEDs and be buried in a landfill if they get killed.  They should also be kept in separate barracks from our honorable troops, since decent people should not have to be forced to socialize with such loathsome parasites.  When they return from Afghanistan or whichever other war of empire our Ruling Class launches next (and they should never return till all our eternal wars are over) homeless vets should be hired to help get them set up with low-income housing and food stamps.  Then they should be taught a useful trade, making things with their hands.

Just some thoughts this Memorial Day as I contrast the valor and self-sacrifice of our troops (indeed, one of our troops sent me  the link) with the disgusting treasonous parasitism of these Human Ticks on Wall Street.

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  • Mary Alice

    Hear, hear. Mark, the article you link to nauseated me. And there will be, sadly, no justice in this world for this evil.

  • Joseph

    The further I read, the greater the crescendo of emotion I felt. By the end, I was ready to raid their multi-million dollar mansions with pitchforks and torches while singing the National Anthem. It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to sing the National Anthem.

  • Clare Krishan

    Perversities of moral hazard at play… and there’s been some rumblings at the Vatican IOR too
    It must be very hard right now, if your vocation is to actually do the job of being God’s banker ( “loathsome parasites” is a little harsh, I know Goldman are to be seen in a bad light but there’s plenty more in their league, look here, some of whom are likely neighbors or family members of someone you know personally, or you or your church or institutions who manage the diocesan financial holdings e.g. accountants lawyers etc know or rely on to do business with:
    Pray for the office holders entrusted with such power. Derivatives, it would appear, are the nuclear weapon arsenal of world finance, we’re all implicated.

    • Dan C

      Kind of like the last summer when every teacher or policemen or fire fighter was considered a parasite on the body politic?

    • Dan C

      Is it moral to invest money just to make more money? Or should one invest in “something” like a product or a company that produces something? Does the exclusive pursuit of wealth adversely affect the individual? Is it morally neutral and does “neutral” have meaning?

      My take: it is not moral to invest in instruments

      that exclusively are built on esoteric mystical gambling arrangements. It is ethical to invest in a company-which is “something” not just “money.”.

      The problem may be that the industry is immoral.

  • John

    Yes, and I think the elites ought to just surrender too. But would you Mark? Would you, if sitting astride Leviathan, a beast of great power and subtlety that your forefathers designed and your grandfather and father built with great care through World War and Cold War booms, just relinquish the keys of the Kingdom because some of the helpless serfs balked or squawked about how unfair it all was? Heck no. You’d laugh at them.

    The system is designed to survive a full nuclear exchange with the USSR, Mark. Think about that. We could lose 100 of our major urban centers and still have a functioning command and control apparatus. The internet would still work. The financial system would still work. The NSA would still have copies of this blog and all our emails (and cell phone conversations). Pron would still exist. Now, untold tens or hundreds of millions of Americans would be dead or dying but the system would be secure and those elites still in charge would still have no motive to hand over the keys to their top secret bunkers and the seat of command and control.

    This being the case (and it is), the ONLY hope we, the serfs, have short of the 2nd coming, is to just so live our lives as to be less and less dependent on the local fief or aristocrat whose power comes from our being dependents of his, paying both rent to live on his land and tax on all our actions.

    Serfs from time immemorial have carved out space of freedom only under the aegis of either Church or some benevolent “ruler” less inclined to be tyrannical than the next guy one county over. The less utterly dependent we are on their benevolence, without actually directly challenging their hegemony (thus giving them an easy excuse to crack down with overwhelming power), the more we build up ‘seed corn’ for our children to one day be more free than we are today.

    Again, this is a call neither to go Galt or run off and play militiaman. We may very well ween ourselves into a semi-“off” grid existence and arm ourselves as befits a ‘free’ people capable of defending our homes from criminals or even small time gangs but it’s doubtful any of us could amass the sorts of materiel and training needing to genuinely threaten the status quo (thus we’d be fools to even try!) Far better then to just keep our eyes on the seed corn and keeping our powder dry. Stay out of their way and bide our time…. to assault the Leviathan directly is suicide.

    • Sean O

      The system is much more fragile than you imagine if it is given a major shock. Look at New Orleans and the collapse after Katrina. Katrina was pretty localized. Any widespread calamity and the system breaks down quickly. The veneer of civilization is just that, a veneer.

      • Making the veneer of civilization thicker is an important task for us all. Civilization is kind of at an awkward age right now. We’ll either blow up and have another round of collapse or we’ll get past this and have resilient, robust structures. It starts with personal action and moves on to holding the ruling class accountable for hardening what systems they are in charge of.

  • Clare Krishan

    And as to risk awareness in general, it would appear those at the top at JP Morgan are a little (intentionally? ie culpable? I’ll let you decide) clueless:
    “The probes began after traders in the London office, which manages the bank’s excess cash, made wrong-way bets on illiquid credit derivatives, some of them so large they distorted market prices.”

    (n.b. those “exotic wagers” are using the “chips” stashed in skyscraper-high piles in the infographic I linked to in my previous comment – they’re playing, not with fire, but with toxic waste… we have the technology to extinguish fires (aka national military force) but none to deal with financial contagion on this kind of scale (U.N. law covers the freedom of the seas, perhaps Kevin Costner’s dystopian Waterworld wasn’t so far fetched after all)

    Prayers to St. Matthew or St Jude are recommended, says UK diocesan website http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/4389300/Workers-worried-in-recession-should-pray-to-patron-saint-of-bankers-says-Catholic-church.html)
    Store up our treasures in heaven, right?

  • Clare Krishan

    And Market Ticker has an idea on how to rein-in abusive naked short-selling, limit ratio of put orders to executions (rendering itunprofitable to gamble on price manipulation)

  • Clare Krishan

    its kinda like a fractional reserve puting rather than banking since they never ‘own’ the paper they’re speculating with. Sane ratios for conventional fiduciary instruments (ie paper money) is 1 in 10 but we’ve seen banks extend that ‘elasticity’ 8-fold (1 in 80 ie for every 80 dollars in debt extended the bank holds 1 dollar in reserve). Bad luck of you’re a creditor – ie depositor – when the loans can no longer be serviced)

    But in the case of equities and stocks its more blatantly like counterfeiting – the more faux shares out there the lower the valuation on the real asset you’ve got stashed away in your pension or mutual fund nest egg. It is a cannabalistic, vampire-ish way of ‘creating’ wealth no doubt about it.

    • Dan C

      It lacks virtue and morality, and therefore, those in it do not perform “morally neutral” behavior. Slogging away for 16 hours a day pursuing this as one’s goal therefore is soul-deadening. I refer also to this field’s attraction as described by David Brooks yesterday.

  • jcb

    I’m just glad that my job is straightforward and low-stakes enough that it would be basically impossible to screw it up as thoroughly and as massively as that lawyer did. It could be done, perhaps, but it would require a lot of conscious effort.

  • Mark, I am astounded that you would want such treatment of these people!

    Why are you going so easy on them? You damn softie!


  • goldman6

    Yes, well done with your lengthy list. But we will still be making millions of dollars while you whine about it, because we have the skills needed to make good investments and actually build wealth instead of being good little sheep consumers. The opinion of others means jack to us. Meanwhile, the entire Catholic church routinely gets stomped by a glorified community organizer, because the opinion of others is very important to your goal of disapproving of gays, etc.

    Oh, and to be fair we haven’t been accused of systematically covering up child rape. So perhaps you should be right ahead of us in the toilet cleaning sweepstakes! It doesn’t matter, we will still be millionaires when your church is nearly extinct in the Western world.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Nope. Nothing here of value or worthy of rebuttal. So nope. Just nope.

    • Cjones

      With respect, much of what you say about your own position is probably true, but your error is to think that the millions of dollars have any lasting value.

    • Peggy Hagen

      Just wanted to be Officially First to call Anderson’s Law. 🙂

    • Ted Seeber

      I thought we were going to call it Cardinal Law :=) Either way, Goldman6 has broken it.

    • Dan C

      Catholics believe in a term known as “life-everlasting.” While there is some “future” component to this, one notes Catherine of Siena’s line: “All the way to heaven is heaven.” The path to heaven is through heaven, such that our burdens and crosses and sacrifices are actually what the Kingdom is all about. Therefore the term “life-everlasting” is not merely a “future” term. It is beginning in the now.

      You sound like your pursuit is exactly as I would expect: egocentric and greed-based. I would hardly recommend your life and habits of thinking to any Catholic, and you are Exhibit A through Z of exactly what happens to folks caught up in the system.

      I do not think you have a full appreciation of “life-everlasting” and such is a tragedy.

    • Clare Krishan

      May I invoke the Cardinal law at this point?
      Having invoked it, the cardinal corollary applies [http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/05/maybe-my-readers-can-help.html] and this line of reasoning has reached its logical conclusion, sorry.

  • fragwagon

    Goldman6 – the Church has survived far worse, the Church has survived herself. Terrible as an army with banners. Read Chesterton, mate.

  • Brian Sullivan

    Based on his previous articles, I wouldn’t say that Taibbi and Rolling Stone are a credible source, not even for music. They might be as right as a broken clock on this one, but….

  • Ted Seeber

    Given the damage done in the housing market, I’d like to see the homeless also get a portion of this fund. Of course, a nice large percentage of the homeless are in fact disabled veterans themselves:

  • dpt

    The recommendation may be a start, though the problems are much more deeper than Wall St.
    My understanding is that Wall St. paid out some $25B to $30B in bonuses last year. Ok, that is a different world than most of us live in, especially those executives who get $20M or more in “bonuses”.

    If that $30B was confiscated it would probably cover just half the shortfall in the CA teacher’s pension fund, so hardly the tip of the iceberg of our financial mess. Our consumerism, materialism, and entitlement mentality runs deep in us individually and through our institutions. We are leaving our children and grandchildren a gloomy inheritance.

    • Ted Seeber

      However, if we spent that $30 Billion on waiving the application fees for every homeless verteran in America to get housing through the VA, we’d still have $28.8 billion left over.

      It only costs $350 to move a chronicly homeless veteran into subsidized housing- but for some reason they have to come up with it themselves; men who struggle to find $20/week to eat on.

      So it’s a matter of how we’d use the money.

      • dpt

        I understand though with trillions of dollars in deficits at all levels of gov’t, there is a bigger squeeze coming, especially for the younger generation.

        Just imagine how better we could respond to a crisis or a need like our veterans if we did not have these deep deficits.

  • A bit father than I’d go, though I understand the sentiment. I’ve always thought we could make a lot of changes happen very fast if we simply stipulated that Congress earn no more than minimum wage, and while in session must live in inner-city Washington and send their children to the local public schools. Let the dogs see the rabbit, as it were. ^_^

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    All this reminds me uneasily of the Pastoreaux and the Armleder of the early 14th century. They too went after the money-grubber parasite cosmopolitan money-lenders, although their language was somewhat more antique. Manor houses burned throughout the Rhineland and Jews were hanged from every tree. I’m sure that when House Peruzzi broke its benches (bank-rupt) and took House Bardi down with it and eventually left the international banking industry in shambles, folks wanted to blame someone in the Peruzzi family. Lombardy, of course, had an army, so the Lombards could not be hanged as readily.

    The collapse of House Peruzzi was of course not due to any wickedness on the part of the famiglia Peruzzi but on the fact that silver was moving east into Turkey due to relative value. Nor were the financial straits of the peasantry due to the wickedness of the nefarious Jew. But middleman lenders always get the heat.

    Back then they did not have operations research and system analysis and did not realize that systems could crash because of their interconnectedness and not because of the actions of anyone in the system.

    • Clare Krishan

      be careful with materialist reductionism (‘the silver was moving’) – that smacks of a convenient utilitarian excuse for failure of policies at home, such as ecclesiastics insisting on the erroneous logic of “just prices” aka la pris fixe, the bane of all peasants creating wealth from the providence of God’s good earth in Roman and medieval economies, against which some brave theologians argued based on the natural law, see Chapter 4. Utilitarian Considerations on the Production of Money
      “Bishop Nicholas Oresme argued that the money supply was irrelevant for monetary exchanges
      per se. Changes of the nominal money supply—the “alteration of names”—did not make money more suitable to be used in indirect exchanges, norless; such changes merely affected the terms of deferred pay-ments (credit contracts), which was also why Oresme opposed them.”
      (his prophetic words contained in footnote on page 59: “The nominal alteration of the coinage, said Oresme, “. . . does not avoid scandal, but begets it . . . and it has many awkward consequences, some of which have already been mentioned, while others will appear later, nor is there any necessity or convenience in doing it, nor can it advantage the commonwealth. (7)
      Oresme, “Treatise,” chap. 18, p. 29. He went on: “A clear sign of this is that such alterations are a modern invention, as it was mentioned in the last chapter. For such a thing was never done in [Christian] cities or kingdoms formerly or now well governed. . . . If the Italians or Romans did in the end make such alterations, as appears from bad ancient money sometimes to be found in the country, this was probably the reason why their noble empire came to nothing. It appears therefore that these changes are so bad that they are essentially impermissible.”

      • Clare Krishan

        bad money = debasement of coinage by ‘clipping’ (ie shaving off portions of the edges and reminting the scraps into “free” extra money, or worse, adulterating the alloys with base metal content, but leaving the face value the same then pocketing the difference — IOW lying and deceit — a temptation many so-called “Christian” monarchs succumbed to, see history of banking, School of Salamanca etc.)

        This is basically amounts to the same thing as Quantitative Easing of paper money – the ones in your nest egg are worth less as soon as the FED gets to print billions of new ones by having the Treasury borrow the balance (money is ‘created’ in double-entry book keeping by ‘credit’ recorded in one column – ie debt in another) as T-notes, the US Treasury bonds investors purchase as “a promise to repay” a kind of lay-a-way scheme, if you like, for annuities to be honored at a later date, by providers of life-insurance or pension funds. But what if after the lay-a-way is over, the promise is not honored (ie what Greece is facing by defaulting?) Well, here’s rub – the big boys insure themselves for such credit default (with instruments called CDS contracts – credit default swap – designed to cover the losses) as long as the law governing their transactions recognizes that a default event has occurred – the bigger institutions operate jointly to determine what counts (me? if you can’t pay back 100% you’ve broken your promise, but in topsy turvy logic of international monetary policy, even Greece’s inability to pay back 50% was not to be counted as ‘default’ by their European colleagues: they got “bailed out” by promising to pay back an ever bigger sum some time in the future – an insanity that is now becoming apparent to many)
        So if the default event never “happened” your CDS coverage doesn’t extend to your losses, and you’re left with a problem if you have no where else to turn… and that’s the brink of the precipice we’re at currently…

  • markn

    I thought your remark about all Goldman bankers, excuse me, “management”, was hyperbole and intended as a an overstatement not to be taken seriously, then I read the comments. What exactly is the difference between your saying every one of the hundreds of people in management at Goldman is a vampire traitor responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and those lunatics in the NY Times comments that insist that all our bishops are pedophiles or their accomplices? I mean morally and logically speaking. Could you refer me to the catechism?

    • Dan C

      I ask you to explain the moral nature of this type of daily work as described. Is this just glorified greed? Just because it is a societally acceptable, if not promoted occupation, is it just?

      I think it needs justification.

  • sbark

    I don’t understand the level of hostility with this post. First, I’m not quite sure which activity that is described in the article you are equating with theft. If your issue is with the concept of short selling, it is far from theft. When a person (or firm) sells a stock short, he is making a promise to buy the stock back in the future. He must also pay any income that the stock would have produced during the time period of the short sale. The short seller is assuming unlimited potential liability in the transaction. Short selling is legal and I’m not aware of any arguments that it is intrinsically immoral. The article suggests without really demonstrating that Golman Sachs might not have strictly followed all the securities laws for some of these transactions. If this is the case, those who were responsible should be subject to the punishment that violation of those laws entails.

    Even if the activity in this article rises to the level of immorality or illegality, I don’t understand your solution. You seem to be arguing that anyone in Goldman Sachs management should lose everything they own whether or not they had anything to do with this activity. Furthermore, those individuals should have their first amendment rights removed with the threat of slavery. I find it difficult to understand how this could be consistent with any Catholic understanding of justice.

    Overall, your entire post strikes me as an expression of envy more than anything else. At least I don’t see any other reason for making such an argument based on the information in the article.

    • Ted Seeber


      Then you haven’t read much philosophy. Short Selling is as immoral as Usury. Of course, that means that we’ve built major financial systems connected to it, because the whole damn idea of making money off of money without any production is immoral.

      • Merkn

        Again, where i n the catechism is the support for this over the top condemnation? Short selling is not usury. The article does not accuse anyone of usury. What section of the catechism says anything remotely like short selling is immoral?

        • Dan C

          It is not just “selling short.” It is so much more than that.

          But let’s talk about “selling short.” “Selling short” is betting on someone’s failure. It may even be promoting someone’s failure. It is investing not in some piece of Creation, nor does this activity assist in job creation (in fact, it works against this) and it does not participate in the Creation of some good or service assisting in promoting the common good.

          Selling short needs some moral support. It is one thing to create or invest in a company that competes with another company; it is another thing entirely to make bets on a company’s failure.

          Derivatives are another area worthy of moral evaluation-in the highly packaged instruments that caused the failures of 2008, one sees a “hot potatoe” type of picture-the one holding the risky investments when they collapse loses. Such highly esoteric derivatives (vs. futures markets of, for example, next year’s corn which work to a benefit of “smoothing out” a roiling market) are exclusively products for financiers to play with. They are “bets,” not ownership of something.

          I think these activities need defense not immediate moral approval.

        • Ted Seeber

          Short selling is usury because it fulfills the philosophical meaning of the term: Using money to harm people.

      • sbark

        I don’t engage in short selling. However, I’m reluctant to judge other people’s behavior without some clear indication by the Church that that behavior is sinful. I’ve never seen anything issued by the Church that suggests that short selling is morally wrong. It’s also not clear to me that short selling is harmful to other people. If someone is selling stock short, someone else is buying that stock. The market is generally too large for one person to set the direction of the movement of the price. If the price of Overstock.com stock dropped, it’s because the market participants generally concluded that it was overpriced.

        If short sales are immoral because it is a method of earning income without production, then the ownership of Overstock.com stock by individuals was also morally wrong. For that matter, saving money in a 401(k) plan for your retirement would be wrong. I don’t believe that these are arguments that the magisterium would make. If I’m wrong then show me the statements by the Church that demonstrates that.

        • Dan C

          I confess not knowing what to do with the assessment of “funds.” I think this is a part of your critique of my assessment of such stock market activities. It is a fair critique. I think I said ownership of a stock in a company is likely moral Due to one’s participation in ownership.

          I agree, a businesses failure is due to many factors and short selling is only a minor feature. As a side point, that people buy something does jot make its sale ethical. Therefore, your sentence noting such is false.

          In all fairness, business ethics is a wide open field. In the 80’s businessmen joked that “business ethics” was an oxymoron (while Novak was out pretending otherwise). In fairness, business ethics is complex, and some conservative Catholics would say that all this activity is not only beyond reproach, but somehow blessed. They would set few limits on it. These are usually individuals too who insist on heavy “Catholic identity” politics, oddly, yet shaping little in Catholic identity in the office except reminding folks that the United Way supports Planned Parenthood.

          This field is wide open.

          Another point is that business failure itself is often due to poor planning, that most business ventures fail, and that such things enormously disrupt lives. Is there a moral assessment to the inadequcies of such failure? Can they be held as morally culpable for the lives and times wasted of their employees and clients? Again, I say these activities and failures are not morally neutral and ethical culpability often should be assigned to such leaders.

          This is the beginning of actually asserting Catholic identity in the public sphere. Let’s here some arch villification of bankrupt corporate leaders, First Things!

        • Dan C

          Thisnis just my deliberations over time. However, laissez-faire is what is being sold by the “orthodox” as acceptable. I am not proposing a Catholic Worker-type solution and still reflect a limited market system tying wealth to God’s Creation and human market activity to Aristotelian goals of human flourishing or the more Catholic common good.

          Short selling is hard to describe as tying wealth to God’s Creation and promoting the common good.

          That is the challenge.

    • Clare Krishan

      “Golman Sachs might not have strictly followed all the securities laws for some of these transactions.” one of those would be that you actually had access to the equity paper being traded in, not some figment of your imagination. Holders of Overstock.com suffered such “predatory lending” if you will, when their stock was shorted by firms claiming to have hypothecated ie borrowed the stock, or ‘put the asset title certificate under-the-bench’ hypo=greek for ‘under’ and theke=greek for ‘bench’ (first money changing “banks” were just wooden benches in the marketplaces) to sell them short (ie the legal part) millions more shares than actually existed (the illegal part) — in other wrods they had double-dipped (lied, deceived) many times over. Rehypothecation lies at the bottom of the MFGlobal disaster also – but there they traded in futures contracts, certificates to sell the produce from the landowners at harvest of crops or slaughter of the livestock currently being seasonally tended. A form of r*pe if you’d excuse the expression: the farmer enters a commitment but the exchange that trades on his valuable asset doesn’t have any means to defend it in London where its being hyped over the theke by international traders. If they’re unlucky enough to have ‘lost’ on a trade with an entity that is technically bankrupt but the event is never acknowledged publically under the law (Bankia in Spain for example…) then sorry poor farmer your cows are our cows but no we aren’t going to pay you for them… pitchforks anyone?

  • Ted Seeber

    What makes me suspect that this post has been invaded by trolls from the financial industry?

    • Dan C

      Not trolls. Likely typical specimens. It is an education.

    • Clare Krishan

      define troll – I’m trying to educate based on personal knowledge – if you can’t be bothered to enter the discussion then woe betide you and yours come the day you’re left penniless and still clueless.

  • Charles E Flynn

    Suggested Google search:

    “Goldman Sachs” aluminum hoarding

  • Lizzie

    What’s with sentencing all these people to the military? Don’t you know that the combined crimes of the military-industrial contractors make the big banks look like ice-cream parlors? They exist to start wars, for without them, they would have no business. Frankly, I would hand over every dime I owned to any bank that wanted them in exchange for an end to the MIC, perhaps they greatest purveyor of evil the world has ever known.

    • Clare Krishan

      Granted, but Dante demands sins are the very means the sinners chose for themselves and thus are to punished by! The beauty of the poetic logic of Sheavism. Bravo!

      Now the issue with how to make a buck in banking (or profit on Wall Street) has gotten very hard for those who discerned God had given them the mathematical cojones for a vocation in the computer-aided wizardry that is required of fractional reserve FIAT currency regimes globally-speaking. And here’s the crux, when the interest rest is set at practically zero, where do you turn to promote growth? There’s practically no where to go, for even if you invest in a firm in the hope they’ll return a dividend, with zero interest funds plentiful, they’re under no incentive to do so – they can borrow to fill any deficit, right? How do the so-called “successful” firms make a ROI (a return on investment) under such wacky rules?
      that’s how – pay your friends in civilian government to favor your form of business over other not as eager to corrupt themselves so blatantly…

  • Naked short selling is, to not put too fine a point on it, lying with very high stakes. It is fraud. You claim that you find a borrowable share but you don’t, so your trade fails but not before it affects the market and puts some of the short trades you did get in into the money.
    These are licensed professionals. They need to lose their licenses and go do something else with their lives after they get out of jail. There are plenty of other firms able and willing to move up the food chain if Goldman can’t handle the loss of personnel.
    The problem with the hyperbolic punishments is somebody might actually believe you meant it. Mark, you made a lot of noise about being against torture. Here you’re nakedly advocating it for revenge. Tell me it’s hyperbole.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Um, where? Mark didn’t even begin to suggest torturing anyone. If I missed something, feel free to elucidate.

      • Ok, let’s see what current laws would have to change to do what Mark is saying if he’s serious, whether they’re a good idea, and whether any of them work up to torture.
        1. stripping all elected officials of every income but their salary: that runs afoul of the civil war amendments, also changes the best of our legislatures which are part time affairs of the civic minded in a town or state to always there time servers. Bad idea in a country that runs on judicial precedent, no torture.
        2. Any protest means induction into military or prison: Goodbye 1st amendment right to protest for a redress of grievances, also since there’s no talk of terms, it’s unclear whether that’s indentured servitude or slavery Mark’s advocating (still hoping he’s just blowing off steam unwisely). Not torture, though if you did that to an enemy I believe it might be a war crime.
        3. entire management of Goldman Sachs has wealth confiscated: Goodbye bar against ex post facto law and the other problems as above.
        4. Altering definition of treason: Really bad and creepy idea there, still not torture but deeply disturbing for a lot of people.
        5. “be the last to be allowed to leave”: really, profoundly unchristian here. The similarity to the story of David and Uriah is pretty clear. First in and last out can be equally dangerous posts. To set that as a judicial punishment is more or less David’s sin. Ok, not torture.
        6. they should be given the task of scouting ahead of patrols for IEDs: Just work through the logistics of actually doing this. Yeah, it sums up to torture like repeated forced russian roulette is torture.
        7. buried in a landfill if they get killed: War crime, and depending on whether they care about the afterlife, being sentenced by the state to be buried on unhallowed ground is also torture. This is why the Church doesn’t toss this one around like candy from a parade.
        After review, I see your point. Of the seven major things that are at best major acts of hyperbole, only 1 and a half are torture (6 and half of 7). If you were chortling with schadenfreude by number 2, you can gloss right over those last two with ease.
        Again, hoping its hyperbole, saying it probably needs a disclaimer.

        • Sal

          Mark posts this on a regular basis *, so most of us have seen a disclaimer (this is a rant, I know we can’t really do this, but I’d like to, etc.) at one time or another.
          But if he were serious, your points would be very telling.
          It’s probably more of a debate starter.

          * He neglected to specify this time that elected officials can keep their homes, businesses, retirement funds, etc.
          They just can’ earn any money while in office except for their salaries.

          • I stop by on an irregular basis and have managed to miss this up to now. I have read Mark rants in the past and it kind of fit the pattern but also kind of didn’t. I wouldn’t want this particular post to be somebody’s intro to Mark Shea.
            I don’t care to hunt down other examples of this rant but I do have a bone to pick with it as rant. I bet you that any income restrictions on outside earnings have either:
            a) been tried and shown not to work
            b) have nasty constitutional side effects or
            c) have fairly obvious ways around them.

            The one and only way you’re going to cut the ruling class nonsense out is to reduce the state as much as you practically can. The thing is irredeemably corrupt. Everybody’s tried to figure a way around that for thousands of years but nobody’s succeeded other than to only have saints run the government and we just don’t have enough saints who are also practical people capable of doing the work.

            • Sal

              I agree. I’m not very financially astute, but the first time I read one of these, even I could figure out several work-arounds for c).

  • Sbark

    When I mentioned the morality of owning stocks, I wasn’t trying to equate that ownersio with short selling. I was responding to Ted’s assertion that earning income without producing anything is immoral. I think that if you used that metric to judge investing for retirement, I don’t see how doing that saving could be moral. I think that the statement that earning income without producing anything is immoral is far too broad a statement to be true.

  • Rich Fader

    We all need to make sacrifices. That’s why I propose building altars in our capitols and major cities and sacrificing our elites until the situation improves.

    • That solution would be quite confusing as most of our capitals already have altars dedicated to moloch.