PRESS RELEASE from International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

Machinists GOTV Campaign Underway in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio

Washington, D.C., October 26, 2008 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) began a three-state tour today in Calvert City, KY, to educate union members about the Bush administration’s $700 billion bailout for banks and investment firms.

With a 40-foot-long banner that declared: “Wall Street Got the Gold Mine – We Got the Shaft!” as a backdrop, IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger urged union members to hold elected officials accountable, not only for their vote on the bailout, but for their silence while Wall Street ran wild.

“For the last eight years, the Wizards of Wall Street have operated an international Ponzi scheme,” declared Buffenbarger in a fiery speech to union members in Calvert City. “They created a blizzard of worthless paper and made billions in profits for their firms and millions in bonuses for themselves.”

Local union leaders, elected officials and candidates will join Buffenbarger on the tour. Among those expected to take part in the Calvert City event are Marshall County Judge Mike Miller and Kentucky State Representatives Will Coursey, Fred Nesler, Melvin Henley and Mike Cherry.

The four-day tour will include events in Henderson, KY, Louisville, KY, Cincinnati, OH, Middletown, OH, Toledo, OH, Cleveland, OH and Erie, PA before concluding with a rally in Pittsburgh, PA on October 29, 2008.

A complete schedule of the tour is listed below:

Henderson, KY           October 27, 2008        10:00AM         Audubon Mill Park
101 North Water St., Henderson, KY.

Louisville, KY             October 27, 2008        4:00 PM           IAM Local 681
824 South 2nd St., Louisville, KY.

Cincinnati, OH            October 28, 2008        11:30 AM        IUPAT Local 387
200 Kovach Dr., Cincinnati, OH.

Middletown, OH         October 28, 2008        3:00 PM          
2320 Wederkind Rd., Middletown, OH.

Toledo, OH                 October 29 2008         7:00 AM          UAW Local 12
2300 Ashland Ave., Toledo, OH.

Cleveland, OH            October 29 2008         11:00 AM        North Shore Fed of Labor
3250 Euclid Dr., Cleveland, OH.

Erie, PA                      October 29, 2008        3:00 PM           Perry Square
6th & State St., Erie, PA.

Pittsburgh, PA              October 29, 2008        6:00 PM           IAM Local 1976
228 Moon Clinton Rd., Moon Township, PA.

The IAM is among the nation’s largest and most politically active trade unions, representing more than 700,000 active and retired members in dozens of industries. Visit for more information about the Machinists Union.



IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger
"Shaft ‘Em"
October 26, 2008
[prepared remarks]
Brothers and Sisters, now is not the time
to be confused about who your friends --- and
your foes --- really are.
When things go to hell in a hand basket --
- and they sure have --- who can you rely on?
Who puts your family first?
Who cares about you?
Your friends do.
Your foes don’t. Never have. Never will.
And that’s what we need to remember on
November 4th.
In these times of economic uncertainty –
sell-offs in the stock markets, bankruptcies of
major financial institutions, plant closings and
job losses – you have to protect your own.
Wall Street sure has.
And so must we.
But we also should also know just how we
got to this mess.
For the last eight years, the Wizards of
Wall Street have operated an international
Ponzi scheme.
They created a blizzard of paper assets –
credit swaps, derivatives, collateralized debt
obligations, structured investment vehicles –
that they sold to the Gurus of Global Finance.
The Wizards made a conscious choice to
manufacture paper assets rather than
manufacture consumer goods.
And they loved doing it. It was fun. It was
lucrative. It was easy money.
All they did was staple together five
reams of paper and give it a high-minded name
like the Denali Debt.
They stamped it with their in-house seal
of approval and gave it a AAA+ rating.
Then the Wizard called one of the Gurus
of Global Finance.
And what did that Guru do?
He bought those five reams of worthless
paper at a ten percent discount.
Then the Guru sold one of those reams as
the FIRST Denali Debt to some idiot in
Indonesia who paid full value for that tranche.
The Guru collected his fee, and dialed up
four more idiot savants of the investment world.
In Italy, Iceland, India and Ireland, four
more gurus answered his call. They paid a
premium price for this … priceless … piece of
… mountain high … prosperity.
Then those four gurus began marketing
their products as the SECOND, THIRD,
FOURTH and FIFTH Denali Debt.
And what did those four Gurus do?
They text messaged their clients in
Tanzania, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Timor,
Togo, Tunisia, and Turkey. They offered to sell
them a thousand shares of pure mountain air so
that they, in turn, could sell slices of Denali Debt
to thousands of astute traders.
And those SHARP traders sold those
shares of that imaginary mountain of prosperity
to their equally ASTUTE investors.
Let me pause here to remind you that no
one --- not one single wizard, not one single
guru, not one single trader and not one single
investor --- ever laid eyes on that Denali Debt
They NEVER touched that imaginary
mountain of prosperity with their bare hands.
So what did the Wizards of Wall Street
and the Gurus of Global Finance do next?
They did the same damn thing … every
single … business … day … for the last eight
Because by creating and trading in such
commercial paper – by now about as valuable as
confetti -- they made billions in profits for their
firms and millions in bonuses for themselves.
But like all Ponzi schemes, their get-richfast
machine ground to a halt.
After eight years of hyper-greed that
stretched across the globe, an estimated 47
trillion dollars --- that’s TRILLION with a “T”
--- worth of worthless confetti is clogging the
drains on Wall Street and the stock exchanges
of the world.
The higher that mountain of bad debt
gets, the more frantic becomes the cries of “help
me … rescue me … save me.”
For the last eighteen months, the Federal
Reserve, the U. S. Treasury Department and
their counterparts on five continents have failed
repeatedly to prevent the collapse of this Ponzi
Together, the central bankers increased
liquidity by trillions of dollars. They let nonbank
firms borrow at below prime rates. They
picked winners and losers. And they hid the true
dimensions this crisis from us.
Forty-two trillion dollars in worthless
paper --- reams and reams of that Denali Debt --
- were sold by Wizards of Wall Street to the
Gurus of Global Finance.
In September, public officials said, “let us
handle it. We know what we’re doing.”
In October, those same officials said,
“trust us. We’ll protect the taxpayer.”
And then we find out that AIG – the firm
that “borrowed” over 122 BILLION dollars
from the government – spent over $400,000 to
send their executives to a hoity-toity spa.
That’s just CRIMINAL.
But what’s worse is that AIG had 160 of
those executive junkets planned. AIG’s Wizards
and Gurus were going to be massaged … given
manicures and pedicures … provided a free
pass to golf courses … wined and dined ---
And next month, after this election is
over, what else do you think we will learn?
Next month, I think you’ll see Treasury
Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke hold a press
And in somber, funereal tones, these two
George Bush appointees will tell us, “the gold is
gone; the gold is gone.”
All the gold IS gone. All of it. All $700
billion is gone.
All the gold IS gone – every rock, every
pebble, every speck of it is gone.
All the gold in Fort Knox – it’s gone.
All the gold bricks in the New York
Federal Reserve Bank – they’re gone.
But $700 billion wasn’t enough.
Not for Morgan Stanley.
Not for AIG.
Not for Wachovia.
Not for Country Wide.
Not for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Not for the Wizards of Wall Street.
Not for the Gurus of Global Finance.
So, when Congress voted on the
billionaires’ bailout bill, they added $156 billion
in “sweeteners.”
And soon, we will find out that $856
billion isn’t nearly enough.
After November, we will learn that the
real cost far exceeds 1,000,000,000,000 – ONE
NOW … in the last 100 days of the Bush
Administration … WE, THE PEOPLE of the
United States of America … get stuck that
imaginary mountain of prosperity.
And we get stuck to the tune of over ONE
What’s going on here?
Wall Street got the gold mine.
And what’d we get?
We got the SHAFT!
They want US --- working folks --- to foot
the bill for THEIR fiasco.
Hank Paulson and Ben Bernacke – one a
Wizard of Wall Street, the other a Guru of
Global Finance – are both George Bush
Do you think for a nano-second that they
are protecting you or your family in this crisis?
Not a chance.
They’re protecting their own ASS – ETS.
They stole our national treasure – the
proverbial gold mine – and then they turned it
over to the same folks who robbed us blind.
Let be clear on this.
Bernanke and Paulson are IN CAHOOTS
with those bank robbers.
By pointing a gun at the American people
in September and demanding more than all the
gold in Fort Knox and the New York Federal
Reserve Bank, they abetted the greatest bank
Make no mistake.
This IS the biggest bank heist in world
Nothing more, nothing less.
And it’s not over yet, Sisters and
Yes, it is time to call in the Feds – the
agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Right now, FBI agents should be
swarming over AIG, Morgan Stanley, Fannie
Mae, Wachovia, and the rest of those failed and
failing firms.
Those Wizards of Wall Street should be
arrested, their computers, bank accounts and
records seized, their rights read to them, and
their cases placed on a rocket docket.
As for the politicians who allowed this
criminal conspiracy to run rampant, well, the
voters in Kentucky (use Ohio and Pennsylvania
when appropriate) must decide THEIR fates.
And decide they will.
On November 4th, working men and
women in this state have one last chance to right
this terrible, terrible wrong.
The Wizards of Wall Street and the
Gurus of Global Finance did not act alone.
They had help.
In this historic bank heist, political hacks
abetted these crimes BEFORE the fact --- and
aided these criminals AFTER the fact.
Those hacks put their allegiance to
Mammon before their sworn duty to protect
and defend America.
In return for millions of dollars in
campaign contributions from the bankers,
brokers, investors, insurers and hedge fund
operators, those hacks turned a blind eye to
what was going on right under their noses.
And that is absolutely unforgivable.