Power To The (Very Important) People!

In Reports from Green Lake by Brady Carlson0 Comments

Pro-capitalist folksinger convicted of insider trading, fraud

It took a Green Lake jury only sixteen seconds to find Bumpy Howell guilty on charges of felony fraud, insider trading, attempted bribery and spitting on the sidewalk, but it took much longer for the 73 convictions to sink in for Howell’s supporters.

“It’s like a death sentence for all of us, they want us to die out,” said Daylen Keene, Senior Vice President for Price Hiking and Layoffs at Queasland Petrochemical. “But Bumpy’s message will live on. And so will Bumpy, cause they’re not actually killing him.”

Bumpy Howell’s message is in his music- thousands of songs and more than sixty albums of pro-capitalist folk songs. The 84 year old first made his mark at a 1947 union protest in Appleton, where he silenced strikers’ demands (they wanted to be able to file for workers’ compensation without having to stand underwater) by hitting the union leader in the nose with his banjo. Howell’s song about the incident, “Keep Your Nose Outta My Business,” was released by the Appleton Chamber of Commerce and quickly became a hit single.

Howell’s pro-business ideology was shunned by the left-of-center folk music establishment- Pete Seeger once hit him with a steel chair during an appearance on “The Tonight Show”- but he was embraced by large corporations and the government, who gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his song about the House Un-American Activities Committee “Name Those Names.”

Howell has spent the last few decades the same remained busy as a performer, playing countless trade shows and shareholder meetings, recording new songs every few months and even winning his first Grammy in 1999 for a CD of duets with top CEO’s. His most recent public appearance was several weeks ago at the Tyco trial in New York, where he introduced his newest song, “The Ballad of Dennis Kozlowski”:

Kozlowski, Kozlowski,
He had dreams like you and me.
Givin’ the missus a big party,
Ice sculptures peein’ vodka instead of pee.
If you take him away, it’s a tragedy,
America needs Kozlowski!

Yet prosecutors had secretly been building a case against Howell for years, noting that he’d buy stock in a little-known company and then write a folk song about it, which inflated the price. They indicted Howell in July of last year, saying that he’d made millions off songs like “If I Had A Share In Josephson Hammers” and “Bumpy’s 49th Mercker Trust Dream.”

Howell told the press that each of the 637 songs he’d written about recent stock buys were “coincidences,” but in court, he acted as his own lawyer and refused to present a defense. “Our cause is bigger than Bumpy’s case,” said Gerald Morton, longtime friend and co-owner of Ger and Don’s Wacky Export Groop. “He’s willing to become a martyr for business.” The convictions mean Howell could spend up to 18 years at the State Correctional Facility and Glam Rock Hall of Fame.

Howell showed no emotion as the verdict were read, but turned to the hundreds of weeping supporters who’d come to the trial. “There’s work to do, friends,” he said as he was led away to prison. “Don’t mourn, outsource!”

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