Category Archives: Banker Takeover
– Janwillem van de Wetering
Money doesn’t talk, it swears
As the cancer that is looter capitalism continues to devour America in order to perpetuate it’s necessity to show continuous growth as we now enter the final monopoly stages it would be wise to realize that none of this were to have happened had our society not glorified the rich, condemned the poor and become damned by greed and lack of compassion. The zero sum game that is big time American capitalism (which is not to be confused with free enterprise) the decades of pillage and conquer abroad not nearly enough to feed the insatiable rapacious monster which is fueled by pure greed has come home to roost. I am often reminded of that old Stephen King story Survivor Type where the dude is marooned on a barren and deserted island with nothing but a gargantuan amount of heroin and has to amputate parts of his body to eat in order to survive. This is the late stage of capitalism, the one that those foul devils Karl Marx and Vlad Lenin as well as every influential thinker with any common sense warned about. This is the continuation of the vaunted ownership society….they own your ass!
Forget the mass hallucination that was George W. Bush’s ownership society, the miraculous run up in home prices where the average shmoe could dream of becoming a real live real estate kingpin like the noxious Donald Trump by flipping houses just like the big boys. With the glorious magic of ever increasing property values Americans could just take out huge home equity lines of credit and live beyond their wildest means, filling their McMansions with shit that they couldn’t afford using money that they didn’t have, all of which debt was then being packaged off into derivitives, what the exalted high priest of the temple of American mammon Warren Buffett aka the Oracle of Omaha once himself called financial weapons of mass destruction. The big banks couldn’t lend money fast enough, with shoddier standards or any foresight of what might happen were the party to stop, largely because the loans were being pureed and repackaged into mortgage backed paper (more like toilet paper) that was immediately sold to investors while the con artists who created it were also using credit default swaps to bet against it. The pigs were gorging themselves in an unprecedented orgy of greed, corporations were getting fat while using the relatively new practice of offshoring to divest themselves of jobs for Americans in favor of lower paid workers in India and other locales and manufacturing was being systematically dismantled in favor of using plants in China. All of it was great until the waning days of the Bush administration when the shit hit the fan and the whole thing blew up.
While phony conservative pundits foist off the blame for the economic collapse on the usual bogeyman black people for taking out loans that they couldn’t afford to pay back, a fake narrative that the racist white trash teabaggers gobbled up like frosted bullshit biscuits it was just another big lie. It would be far more accurate to point the finger at the pasty white social climbers who turned into wheeler dealers as they churned housing, taking out risky loans (which the Wall Street temples of avarice pumped out with full knowledge of their toxicity) to plunk down on skyrocketing properties which they briefly held before selling to the next schmuck. It was only a matter of time until the music stopped and a good many of the greedy bitches and bastards were left without chairs, any sane person could see that it wasn’t real. Then there were the TV addled dopes, the Boobus Americanus who actually bought their dream homes, mini-mansions in exurbia with polished marble countertops, more rooms that they needed and had to be furnished by maxing out the plastic and the two and three car garages in which they could park their SUVs. It was of course a massive disaster waiting to happen and when it all came crashing down former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (also former CEO of Goldman Sachs) went on bended knee to Congress to get a one of those nice taxpayer funded bailouts for all of his criminal buddies on Wall Street. Then came TARP (interesting acronym for something used to cover up a massive swindle) which both Bush and Obama signed off on and in layman’s terms dry-fucked millions of Americans in the ass so that the banksters could continue to get their bonuses and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street could keep spinning. Matt Taibbi has done a great job of muckraking journalism on the gross plunder and pillage that Wall Street, especially Goldman Sachs (or as I refer to them, the Great Satan) engaged in for Rolling Stone magazine. Taibbi’s work is must reading for those seeking to understand how viciously the anal rape of America by the big banks has been, see The Great American Bubble Machine or the book Griftopia for his writing on the crime of the century.
For awhile though it actually looked like there could be systemic change, had Obama had any balls he would have ordered the nationalization of the big banks, the liquidation of all derivatives and appointed a Wall Street crime czar with endless resources, subpoena power and a mandate to thoroughly cleanse the system. Back in early 2009 the financial racketeers were on the ropes, AIG executives were besieged by protesters at their homes, CNBC con-artist Jim “Mad Money” Cramer was being publicly pilloried and left-gatekeeper Bill Maher went on HBO and suggested that hanging two randomly picked bankers by the big board at the New York Stock Exchange with their balls in their mouth would set a good example. Then something happened, the tide turned in favor of the big banking racketeers who had bamboozled Americans by the millions to buy their yachts, only in America could something this obscene happen, a land where cunning hatchetman CEO’s are treated as gods and decades of incessant propaganda have effectively brainwashed a population that while incapable of understanding the most basic concepts of incremental losing into actually thinking that one day they too can be rich!
The bankster pushback actually started with CNBC’s greasy little pimp Rick Santelli went off on camera in the much hyped rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that effectively co-opted the former libertarian tea party movement and brought it under Republican/Koch Brothers control. That would have serious implications later on with the mass counterattack by big business as they had in the blink of an eye with a big assist from FOX an army of angry, ignorant, racist fatties to mobilize as brownshirts against any sort of serious reform efforts. It has always amazed me (but not really) how so many could be so easily duped into action against their own economic self-interests, in a historical sense the Tea Party (just a rebranding of the die hard haters of the GOP base post-Bush) is on the side of the British Monarchy although rich in irony it is far beyond their comprehension. The next step of the bankster’s Battle of the Bulge was the ‘leaked’ internal memo by Citi’s Vikram ‘the bandit’ Pandit that things really aren’t that bad after all which put a floor on the stock market plunge. Then came the 60 Minutes appearance of Ben Bernanke, Obama’s re-appointed Bush holdover Fed Chairman that there were marvelous “GREEN SHOOTS” of an economic recovery already popping up, Bernanke’s jacking off of the public was followed by Tim Geithner’s obviously rigged stress tests of the banks. Lost in all of the hype and propaganda was another critical part of the effort to deceive the sheep into lining up for another shearing at the Wall Street casino tables, the Financial Standards Accounting Board (FASB) quietly changed the mark-to-market rules so that the worthless toilet paper mortgage backed securities could now be valued at whatever the pit bosses desired. The hustle had been pulled off, soon the media was focusing on the staged Tea Party bund rallies against Obamacare (really a massive giveaway to the insurance parasites) and Bernanke was crowned as Time’s Man of the Year (now changed to person of the year thanks to the political correctness Nazis).The greedheads got bailed out, the taxpayers got the shaft and the looting spree was back on. To borrow a great analogy from gadfly Webster Tarpley (which I paraphrase) in reference to the bailout – when Dracula is sucking the blood out of a victim the thing to do is to pull him off and drive a stake through his heart but the Obama administration is trying to save the victim by giving Dracula a blood transfusion and hoping that it would flow back into the victim or something along those lines, I don’t have the exact wording.
Now two years after the Santelli dog and pony show, the Citi memo and GREEN SHOOTS the economy is still a disaster, the dollar is in freefall, Bernanke has the printing presses set on ramming speed and there are widespread flareups of unrest largely thanks to food prices sent into the stratosphere by pigs who speculate in commodities. Look for matters to only get worse too, it’s now obvious that the Japanese government has been lying about the massive humanitarian catastrophe thanks to TEPCO’s Fukashima radioactive meltdown which I strongly suspect is motivated by the need to keep the global derivatives casino open for business and there is austerity coming to America along with a failed political system that has neither the will nor the desire to treat the rapidly metastasizing capitalist cancer. Food prices are about to explode her in Der Heimat thanks to gas prices well on the way to 4 bucks a gallon and yet another ruinous and expensive war. As Hunter S. Thompson once wrote: “In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely”.
There will be no help for anybody but the pigs at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase coming from the Obama administration, face it people, the only change that the Pope of Hope really ever stood for was left cover for the gargantuan redistribution of wealth upwards. Obama is quite obviously even worse than Bush as the wars continue and mount in number (under the malarkey guise of humanitarian interventions), the torture never stops, the constitution continues to be disemboweled and the airports are filled with dooling thugs in TSA uniforms with the full blessing of the U.S. government to feel up prepubescent little boys and girls. Hell, Bush never could have gotten away with that one and when it comes to economic relief, Le Enfant Terrible did actually send people checks for $600. I always got a sardonic little kick out of the silly liberals who only made excuses for Obama (and still do) in that he was the chess master, or Michael Jordan just studying the opposing team’s defense and ready to explode at any moment into a whirling dervish of athletic daredeviltry as he broke down the formidable defense of the Bad Boys for the championship hardware. The truth, and it is as dark as the proverbial black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night is that Obama is the chess master, it’s checkmate for the working class and he is just like Michael Jordan, a greedy, amoral, selfish multimillionaire prick who once commented “Republicans buy sneakers too” rather than doing the right thing in using his global celebrity to promote progressive social change.For some reason Jordan’s famous quote conjures up one of Obama’s, the one where he proclaimed that if Americans were being denied their right to collectively bargain that he would put on his own pair of comfortable shoes and join them on the picket lines. This alas like so many other things (wars,closing Gitmo, renegotiating trade pacts etc) was just more of the same bullshit about hope and change marketed by Wall Street’s soon to be new bagman at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American journalist Kin Hubbard “It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.” It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand glued to a lollipop stick and flying fom the cash register.
Americans, like human beings everywhere believe that many things are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and therefore those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleanic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.
When elevating the moneychangers to revered figures Americans have bought the disinformation funded by the plutocrats decades long spending spree on think tank ‘experts’, news manipulation and balls out bribery of public officials to rig the game for the rich. In a decomposing corpse of a once vibrant economy it is only natural that the biggest maggots eat the best. Donald Trump is a shining example, more visible than the rank and file crooks and robbers who don’t happen to be household names like Lloyd Blankfein, Dick Fuld, Ken Lewis and Jamie Dimon the mouthiest multi-millionaire in America is the one who is king. For all of his millions one would figure that a pathologically vain egomaniac like ‘The Donald’ could at least afford a decent rug to put on his head, so much for the beautiful rich. And now Trump is ready to make a presidential bid in 2012, he is already invoking the Birther bullshit to appeal to the peckerwoods and if he has any serious political sense soon will start dropping his g’s to appeal to the dumber than dogshit red state fascists. He will need someone with clout for V.P. though, likely the moonbat Michelle Bachman who can mobilize brigades of the fucked over by the system but too ignorant to blame it on anyone but the niggers and A-rabs of teabaggers. Sarah Palin has for the most part been kicked to the curb like yesterday’s garbage after her idiotic “blood libel” response to the Tuscon shooting where she portrayed herself as the real victim, not Congresswoman Gibson, a federal judge and a handful of others including a nine-year old girl who were murdered. Just imagine President Trump, Vice President Bachmann now that would be something for it would once and forever strip the veil of legitimacy from the gangster fascist state that is America and it’s population of fear-filled, overfed and undereducated nitwits, it would be there for the entire world to see.
I often reference the work of Chris Hedges, a man who I feel is the moral beacon of these heinous times. His latest piece, The Collapse of Globalization truly sums up the hopeless mess that is America in terminal decline and I excerpt the following below::
We are seduced by this childish happy talk. Who wants to hear that we are advancing not toward a paradise of happy consumption and personal prosperity but a disaster? Who wants to confront a future in which the rapacious and greedy appetites of our global elite, who have failed to protect the planet, threaten to produce widespread anarchy, famine, environmental catastrophe, nuclear terrorism and wars for diminishing resources? Who wants to shatter the myth that the human race is evolving morally, that it can continue its giddy plundering of non-renewable resources and its profligate levels of consumption, that capitalist expansion is eternal and will never cease?Dying civilizations often prefer hope, even absurd hope, to truth. It makes life easier to bear. It lets them turn away from the hard choices ahead to bask in a comforting certitude that God or science or the market will be their salvation. This is why these apologists for globalism continue to find a following. And their systems of propaganda have built a vast, global Potemkin village to entertain us. The tens of millions of impoverished Americans, whose lives and struggles rarely make it onto television, are invisible. So are most of the world’s billions of poor, crowded into fetid slums. We do not see those who die from drinking contaminated water or being unable to afford medical care. We do not see those being foreclosed from their homes. We do not see the children who go to bed hungry. We busy ourselves with the absurd. We invest our emotional life in reality shows that celebrate excess, hedonism and wealth. We are tempted by the opulent life enjoyed by the American oligarchy, 1 percent of whom control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined.The celebrities and reality television stars whose foibles we know intimately live indolent, self-centered lives in sprawling mansions or exclusive Manhattan apartments. They parade their sculpted and surgically enhanced bodies before us in designer clothes. They devote their lives to self-promotion and personal advancement, consumption, parties and the making of money. They celebrate the cult of the self. And when they have meltdowns we watch with gruesome fascination. This empty existence is the one we are taught to admire and emulate. This is the life, we are told, we can all have. The perversion of values has created a landscape where corporate management by sleazy figures like Donald Trump is confused with leadership and where the ability to accumulate vast sums of money is confused with intelligence. And when we do glimpse the poor or working class on our screens, they are ridiculed and taunted. They are objects of contempt, whether on “The Jerry Springer Show” or “Jersey Shore.”The incessant chasing after status, personal advancement and wealth has plunged most of the country into unmanageable debt. Families, whose real wages have dropped over the past three decades, live in oversized houses financed by mortgages they often cannot repay. They seek identity through products. They occupy their leisure time in malls buying things they do not need. Those of working age spend their weekdays in little cubicles, if they still have steady jobs, under the heels of corporations that have disempowered American workers and taken control of the state and can lay them off on a whim. It is a desperate scramble. No one wants to be left behind.
Game…Set…Match!! The Pigs Win Again!! Listen though, it’s only the second quarter and they are going to be running up the score, it’s like Warden Rudolph Hazen in The Longest Yard, after he has bullied rebel Paul Crewe into shaving points so that the prison guards can win against the inspired cons when he hisses to Captain Knauer to “inflict as much physical punishment on the prisoners as humanly possible” once there was a 21 point lead. Well here we are in that great big prison known as Murka, Goldman Sachs, The Federal Reserve and the Wall Street Oligarchs are Warden Hazen and we are now getting our asses kicked and kicked brutally.
Isn’t that the way that it always goes in the Land of Fuck You I Got Mine?
I mean what kind of saps were we to think that we could actually change things through the existing and thoroughly corrupted system? We were played for chumps once the Democrats had decided that the nascent Obama change movement had to be brutally put down, smashed into a billion pieces before the oligarchy itself was threatened. But of course that is making the assumption that Obama wasn’t a fraud from the get go, perhaps he was well intentioned but the second that the filthy little weasel Rahm Emanuel was annoited as his gatekeeper the fix was in and the foul-mouthed ballet dancing vermin would make sure that there would be nothing but status quo with him in charge of the keys to the feeding trough. As the Clintonite Emanuel so proudly proclaimed, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” and true to his word he has used the financial cataclysm to feather his nest by building a government protection racked for cheats, scoundrels, money grubbers, schemers, TARP fund welshers, four-flushing paper dealers and the rest of the scum of the earth. Coming next is the betrayal on health care reform, pocket man Harry Reid will ensure that no meaningful change that threatens the money of the powerful is EVER seriously debated by his Senate den of iniquity.
The Republicans are coming back too, emboldened and ready to use their bread and butter play of firing up the white trash and blaming it all on the darkie in the White House but shit, what difference does it really make anymore? Both parties are thoroughly corrupted by money and as much as I hate to admit it I am actually starting to miss George W. Bush – at least then we knew who the enemy is. Anyway, to close this short morning rant I am posting this wonderful little dittie from a piece by Darryl Robert Schoon over at Dollar Collapse called Goldman Sachs: A Vampire on the Jugular of America – check out the entire thing but I found this particularly amusing:
GOLDMAN SACHS -THE KING PIMP OF WALL STREET
Goldman Sachs is today the pre-eminent paper player in today’s paper markets, the king pimp of capitalism, Wall Street’s equivalent of Harlem’s fabled players of the past who lived opulently off the considerable labors of female prostitutes.
But the pimps on Wall Street have done Harlem’s pimps one better. Goldman Sachs and their fellow pimps benefit not just from the labor of women but from the labor of men as well.
The following is dedicated to the hard-working men and women of America:
Goldman Sachs’s your pimp
Who’s put America on the street
You do the bidding of Wall Street
Paying their bonuses and their keep
The bankers get your money
No matter what you say
Then they cut your credit
And charge you more for it each day
What’s a two-bit whore to do?
Complain to the pimp who’s pimping you?
What’s a two-bit whore to do?
Complain to the pimp who’s pimping you?
The bankers print your money
And charge you while they do
But the bankers at the Federal Reserve
Are no more Federal than me ‘n you
You may not like the pay
And the streets are awfully bad
But you’re gonna keep getting worked to death
‘til you know that you’ve been had
What’s a two-bit whore to do?
Complain to the pimp who’s pimping you?
What’s a two-bit whore to do?
Complain to the pimp who’s pimping you?
When Wall Street pimps take their cut of America’s money, they’re not alone. Without the US government, the pimps of Wall Street couldn’t do you like they do. There are two hands in your pockets—and they’re not yours.
With job losses mounting and families still needing to eat keep this in mind when y’all are out there pimping off your wives and children just like they do in the third world.
God Bless Murka!!!
A quick Google search brings up in the neighborhood of 28,000,000 results for the masterfully concocted propaganda term “Green Shoots”. Just when it appeared that looter capitalism was on the ropes with Jim ‘Mad Money’ Cramer being exposed as a preposterous fraud who shilled for the Wall Street casinos and angry mobs were descending on the homes of AIG bankers the oligarchy went to the mattresses to save their spoils system. Helicopter Ben came out and launched the first fusillade of this malarkey on his 60 Minutes interview of March 15th. This on the heels of the now famous leaked internal memo from Citigroup CEO Vikram ‘the Bandit’ Pandit that spoke of wonders of money falling from the sky and the healthy quarterly results of his banking colossus and the pure hit of optimism opium was picked up and run with by the corporate public relations armies and their pocket media. The crack ho economy received the kiss of the sweet, sweet spike and it’s been to the moon Alice ever since. But it’s all a big lie of Hitlerian proportions.
I don’t know just where I’m going
But I’m goin to try for the kingdom if I can
cause it makes me feel like I’m a man
When I put a spike into my vein
Then I tell you things aren’t quite the same
When I’m rushing on my run
And I feel just like Jesus son
And I guess I just don’t know
And I guess that I just don’t know
-Lou Reed (Heroin)
The Surge, Morning in America…how many times have we seen this. The suckers game is on again, just queue up in line to rub the balls of the golden bull. Even better than being duped into believing that the illegal war and occupation in Iraq could indeed be won led by the almighty warrior General David Petraeus this re-inflation of the bubble and the kick ass confidence game that has been run for the past two months would have Joseph Goebbels himself drooling in awe. The markets came roaring back accompanied by the standard bits of hyperbole that appeared in nearly every story as though pumped out of the same mighty Wurlitzer – picking up steam, robust, green shoots surged and Jesus, people bought it. Largely ignored was the relaxing of mark to market accounting rules that artificially juiced the bankster balance sheets by allowing wads of worthless ass wipe derivatives to be valued at whatever the fuck fantasyland number that the plunderers chose. The banks won big time, they took the money and told the pope of hope to go and fuck himself when it came to any serious regulation, as though they don’t own his ass lock, stock and barrel to begin with given the amount that they had funneled into his presidential media campaign. The bought and paid for whores in Congress conducted such grand public hearings that you would think they were hauling Barry Bonds or some other overpaid meathead baseball player out to berate him for using steroids. But as it always is in the land of the fucked, it was all a grand illusion, a farce, a tragicomedy.
And the oligarchs fought back, Cramer mocked Nouriel Roubini who had predicted the big collapse (although he was not the only one) by making the ludicrous claim that ‘Dr. Doom’ had caused a lot of investors to lose money by not trampling each other to get back into the casino for the latest game of pump and dump. The much ballyhooed stress tests were all based on phony premises, the best case scenarios that silly assed, reality denial stricken Americans so love as they skip down their primrose paths to perdition marveling at the plethora of white picket fenced yards and foreclosed homes though their rose colored glasses. Americans are saps, suckers, fish, rubes, marks, schmucks and all too willing victims to the looters. They exist in a rotting capitalist debt slavery gulag in which they trade their lives and souls for the glory of owning bigger and better things for the shackles of escalating credit card balances from which, thanks to a feckless and wholly owned subsidiary of the Wall Street scum that resides in Washington District of Criminals they will never be allowed to shed. The bankruptcy laws were forever altered well in advance of the coming economic doomsday machine which indicates fraud as well as collusion on the part of all involved. But who can you call when even the beat cops are crooks.
Beneath the finely groomed blissful suburban façade of America lurk desperation, denial, hypocrisy, and anger. The kids of suburbia today have an entirely different reality than the suburbs I grew up in during the 1970’s. The Ozzie & Harriet idealized version of suburbia from the 1950’s has degenerated to the Green Day nightmare vision of today. The suburbs have mansion-like homes with spotless interiors, entertainment centers, three car garages, manicured lawns, and no soul. The children of suburbia have been brought up on soda pop and Ritalin. They come home to empty mansions, as both parents must work to pay for the glorious abode. Our homes have gotten bigger and better, while our lives have gotten smaller and less satisfying. One third of all children in the United States are growing up in a single parent household. Many kids feel angry and disconnected from their families, friends and home. Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. The kids feel rage and hopelessness at their existence in a suburban nightmare. There are 2 million children who take Ritalin every day. Is this because they truly have ADHD, or it is the painless way out for overstressed suburban parents?
And as with the fantasyland version of a prosperous and virtuous America (there are no roads out of Pleasantville) it is all an illusion, an illusion that is rapidly becoming unsustainable for even the spinmeisters. While the little flim flam man Timothy Geithner was out lying his ass off once more in saying that the U.S. financial system was beginning to heal the retail results came in below what even the charlatans had predicted. By the way, I absolutely love the way that the economic spin goes whenever results are announced, it’s like we suck but because we suck less than we thought that we’d suck everything is getting better, well this time the numbers really do suck and people just aren’t buying shit because they have no fucking jobs. Also, the banks that the rigged stress tests said were so healthy are waiting for the next tsunami sized wave – credit card defaults, foreclosures hit record highs, GM will soon be exporting to the USA cars that are made in China and some pessimists at Standard and Poor are now predicting that the banking crisis is going to last until 2013. And here is my all time favorite, fresh off of Reuters:
Bear Warning: Stocks still face deflationary collapse – Jim Cramer meet Winston Wolf.
Somebody GASP has the audacity to piss on our nurturing little green shoots, realism you see is lost on the average corporate drone American. Optimism is for schmucks and they are once again all too happy to play their career role as fuckees, some people just aren’t going to really get it until they are standing in a fucking soup line, and even then it would be a miracle. Me, I listen to the guys who got it right from the beginning, Stiglitz, Krugman, Roubini and Gerald Celente of the Trends Research Institute, who in addition to being pretty much spot on in calling this fiasco happens to be as funny as hell. I will close with his latest Green Shoots or Greatest Depression?
The financial fields replete with sprouting “green shoots” should be viewed with suspicion, if not alarm. They are not a mirage, but they are ephemeral.
Field Marshall Ben Bernanke and his Green Shoot Brigade have fertilized the economic landscape with trillions of sweat equity dollars extorted from today’s public and the public of generations to come. Regardless of how depleted the land, heavy doses of dollars spread so thickly over the financial and government territories, will force “green shoots” to grow. But the fundamentals of the economy remain unsound. They will not be corrected by forced fertilizing barren acreage.
“Green shoots” may sprout, but they will not flower. The economy cannot be coerced back into growth with tons of money manure. As the ancient parable puts it:
“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” – Luke 8:4–8
Now hear this: it is inconceivable that the “green shoots” are signs of sustained economic recovery.
No one could have forecast that the government would not only intervene in the markets by pouring unprecedented trillions into bailout schemes, but that they would commandeer the whole free enterprise system.
The 800-pound gorilla has ridden the elephant into the Oval Office, and they are there for all to see. But few will call a spade a spade. Benito Mussolini described Fascism as “The merger of state and corporate power.” He suggested that, more appropriately, it should be called “Corporatism.” By whatever name, Corporatism or Fascism, what it’s not is Free Market Capitalism, much less Democracy.
“Green shoots” can only be brought to harvest through real productivity. Pumping gigantic sums of money into too-big-to-fail financial institutions to jump-start the lending/borrowing cycle is to perpetuate a failed economic model. (See “The Greatest Depression.”)
We can extrapolate creatively from data, but cannot prophesize wild cards, such as acts of God, acts of nature, or acts of man that can only be described as “schemes undreamed of.” While there have been warnings since the founding of the United States, no one, but no one, could have predicted the mega-merger of Wall Street and Washington that is now a fait accompli.
With so much money being dumped into the system, there will be money to be made … and lost. The agile and the knowledgeable may be able to reap “green shoots” while they’re sprouted. But beware!
“The Greatest Depression” – that we forecast would begin to set in by the end of this year – may have been postponed, but it has not been averted. When it does set in, it will do so with enhanced intensity and at a pace accelerated by complex financial finagling … all under the guise of nation-saving action. Rather than let the failing industries fail and the failed banks go bankrupt, the government is deliberately bankrupting the nation.
The lesson to be learned from the financial crisis that began in the summer of 2007, is that nothing succeeds like failure. The greater their failure, the bolder they become. The more they lose, the more they take. The greater the chaos, the more control they exact. The bigger they fail, the harder we fall.
No act is too unthinkable or measure too draconian for the Washington–Wall Street Mob to concoct in order to maintain power, make money and cover their losses. While it is impossible to second-guess what the government will do next, it is absolutely certain that they will stop at nothing.
The “green shoots” will wither and conditions will deteriorate. Those who are prepared for the worst will not have been taken by surprise.
Words of wisdom if there ever were any if there ever were any in this sad era of stupidity, sloth and moral depravity.
The history of the last century shows, as we shall see later, that the advice given to governments by bankers, like the advice they gave to industrialists, was consistently good for bankers, but was often disastrous for governments, businessmen, and the people generally.
As the conventional wisdom goes, the stock market is predicated on trust and as a crusty old uncle of mine once said to a young and impressionable teenager with zero knowledge of the way that the world really worked: “trust me is just another two letter word that means the same as fuck you.” Old Uncle Harvey’s words of wisdom came home to roost on this Monday morning in America when the finance oligarchs were able to use their inside juice to pull off the grandest and most audacious heist yet in this season of sleazy swindles. Obama Treasury Secretary and Wall Street fixer Timothy Geithner delivered the bacon for the bankers, gave the crack ho stock market a wonderful and intoxicating fix that sent the Dow screaming up by nearly 7 percent in a matter of hours and locked in the losses for the great grandchildren of every poor schmuck with the misfortune to be living through this period of plunder and wealth consolidation.
In phase two of the ongoing SPLURGE (any similarity to the con-game called the surge that allowed us to become winners in Iraq is fully intentioned), on Tuesday night, our very own national Teflon coated bullshit salesman, President Barack Obama, the banker’s gofer and shill for the new generation began to sell it to the saps and a marvelous job he is doing. This man my friends is no new Roosevelt, he is the devil in disguise and he (as many progressives had warned) is in the bag for the establishment. What we really have is a by proxy continuation of the Clinton administration, of course Hillary was to have been the one but in the waning days of the ruinous Bush-Cheney neocon war on America it was just too tough to pimp another dynasty so the crooks who run the system found another pitchman. I cannot possibly articulate the sense of disgust and betrayal that I am experiencing as I write this, it is very difficult to restrain my gag reflex and keep from vomiting on my keyboard because once again the scum wins again and Americans have been played for chumps. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman(another Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz decried its “perverse incentives”) and columnist for the damned liberal New York Times put it best in his Monday column Financial Policy Despair:
Over the weekend The Times and other newspapers reported leaked details about the Obama administration’s bank rescue plan, which is to be officially released this week. If the reports are correct, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, has persuaded President Obama to recycle Bush administration policy — specifically, the “cash for trash” plan proposed, then abandoned, six months ago by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair.
But the Geithner scheme would offer a one-way bet: if asset values go up, the investors profit, but if they go down, the investors can walk away from their debt. So this isn’t really about letting markets work. It’s just an indirect, disguised way to subsidize purchases of bad assets.
The likely cost to taxpayers aside, there’s something strange going on here. By my count, this is the third time Obama administration officials have floated a scheme that is essentially a rehash of the Paulson plan, each time adding a new set of bells and whistles and claiming that they’re doing something completely different. This is starting to look obsessive.
But the real problem with this plan is that it won’t work. Yes, troubled assets may be somewhat undervalued. But the fact is that financial executives literally bet their banks on the belief that there was no housing bubble, and the related belief that unprecedented levels of household debt were no problem. They lost that bet. And no amount of financial hocus-pocus — for that is what the Geithner plan amounts to — will change that fact.
You might say, why not try the plan and see what happens? One answer is that time is wasting: every month that we fail to come to grips with the economic crisis another 600,000 jobs are lost.
Even more important, however, is the way Mr. Obama is squandering his credibility. If this plan fails — as it almost surely will — it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to persuade Congress to come up with more funds to do what he should have done in the first place.
This isn’t likely to win Krugman any friends in the Obama White House, especially with a sleazy little political gangster like Rahm Emanuel who I predict will eventually make even the Great Satan Karl Rove look like an amateur running the show and protecting the interests of his investment banker buddies. While Barack Obama may be the friendly Fozzie Bear face of this latest hostile takeover of the White House the real example of how things are really done is in this incredible NYT piece from back in January:
Early this month, Barack Obama was meeting with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and other lawmakers when Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, began nervously cracking a knuckle.
Mr. Obama then turned to complain to Mr. Emanuel about his noisy habit.
At which point, Mr. Emanuel held the offending knuckle up to Mr. Obama’s left ear and, like an annoying little brother, snapped off a few special cracks.
The venomous cobra that is Emanuel is of course Mr. Obama’s minder and handler, note that he was the first announced member of the new administration, the first of a reoccupation of Washington by Clintonistas. The promised change, at least to this point has been strictly cosmetic, the wars still continue, more troops are headed to Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires past, Gitmo is still open, the new administration is engaging in Clintonian language manipulation regarding ‘torture’ that invokes memories of “it depends on what the meaning of is is”, the military is getting ready to be sent to the Mexican border and there has been no serious discussion of reigning in the run amok police state and the Stasi style high tech domestic spying operations. Yep, change has come to America alright, just like “the check’s in the mail”, “this won’t hurt a bit”, “I love you” and “I promise not to come in your mouth”…and it was all wrapped up in a big bundle of stinking dogshit with a $ sign on it and parked on the doorsteps of Americans and set afire by the Geithner-Bernanke-Paulson triad with the unarguable message that you are either cops or little people. Webster Tarpley had a good one that I heard that saving the banks is like trying to save one of Count Dracula’s victims by giving the blood transfusion to the victim through the vampire when the real remedy is to just pull him off and drive a stake through his heart.
It’s over — we’re officially, royally fucked. No empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock, which is what happened as of a few weeks ago, when the buffoons who have been running things in this country finally went one step too far. It happened when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was forced to admit that he was once again going to have to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars into a dying insurance giant called AIG, itself a profound symbol of our national decline — a corporation that got rich insuring the concrete and steel of American industry in the country’s heyday, only to destroy itself chasing phantom fortunes at the Wall Street card tables, like a dissolute nobleman gambling away the family estate in the waning days of the British Empire.
People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they’re not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d’état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.
The crisis was the coup de grâce: Given virtually free rein over the economy, these same insiders first wrecked the financial world, then cunningly granted themselves nearly unlimited emergency powers to clean up their own mess. And so the gambling-addict leaders of companies like AIG end up not penniless and in jail, but with an Alien-style death grip on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve — “our partners in the government,” as Liddy put it with a shockingly casual matter-of-factness after the most recent bailout.
The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.
There are plenty of people who have noticed, in recent years, that when they lost their homes to foreclosure or were forced into bankruptcy because of crippling credit-card debt, no one in the government was there to rescue them. But when Goldman Sachs — a company whose average employee still made more than $350,000 last year, even in the midst of a depression — was suddenly faced with the possibility of losing money on the unregulated insurance deals it bought for its insane housing bets, the government was there in an instant to patch the hole. That’s the essence of the bailout: rich bankers bailing out rich bankers, using the taxpayers’ credit card.
The people who have spent their lives cloistered in this Wall Street community aren’t much for sharing information with the great unwashed. Because all of this shit is complicated, because most of us mortals don’t know what the hell LIBOR is or how a REIT works or how to use the word “zero coupon bond” in a sentence without sounding stupid — well, then, the people who do speak this idiotic language cannot under any circumstances be bothered to explain it to us and instead spend a lot of time rolling their eyes and asking us to trust them.
That roll of the eyes is a key part of the psychology of Paulsonism. The state is now being asked not just to call off its regulators or give tax breaks or funnel a few contracts to connected companies; it is intervening directly in the economy, for the sole purpose of preserving the influence of the megafirms. In essence, Paulson used the bailout to transform the government into a giant bureaucracy of entitled assholedom, one that would socialize “toxic” risks but keep both the profits and the management of the bailed-out firms in private hands. Moreover, this whole process would be done in secret, away from the prying eyes of NASCAR dads, broke-ass liberals who read translations of French novels, subprime mortgage holders and other such financial losers.
The most likely scenario, should the Geithner plan go through, is a combination of looting, fraud, and a renewed speculation in volatile commodity markets such as oil. Ultimately the losses fall on the public anyway, since deposits are largely insured. There is no chance that the banks will simply resume normal long-term lending. To whom would they lend? For what? Against what collateral? And if banks are recapitalized without changing their management, why should we expect them to change the behavior that caused the insolvency in the first place?
The oddest thing about the Geithner program is its failure to act as though the financial crisis is a true crisis—an integrated, long-term economic threat—rather than merely a couple of related but temporary problems, one in banking and the other in jobs. In banking, the dominant metaphor is of plumbing: there is a blockage to be cleared. Take a plunger to the toxic assets, it is said, and credit conditions will return to normal. This, then, will make the recession essentially normal, validating the stimulus package. Solve these two problems, and the crisis will end. That’s the thinking.
Rome eventually understood that its imperial frontiers exceeded its resources and pulled back. This realization has yet to dawn on Washington.
More budget savings could come from a different approach to the financial crisis. The entire question of bailing out private financial institutions needs rethinking. The probability is that the bailouts are not over. The commercial real estate defaults are yet to present themselves.
Would it be cheaper for government to buy the shares of the banks and AIG at the current low prices than to pour trillions of taxpayers’ dollars into them in an effort to drive up private share prices with public money? The Bush/Paulson bailout plan of approximately $800 billion has been followed a few months later by the Obama/Geithner stimulus-bailout plan of another approximately $800 billion. Together it adds to $1.6 trillion in new Treasury debt, much of which might have to be monetized.
Could this massive debt issue be avoided if the government took over the banks and netted out the losses between the constituent parts? A staid socialized financial sector run by civil servants is preferable to the gambling casino of greed-driven, innovative, unregulated capitalism operated by banksters who have caused crisis throughout the world.
Perhaps the Federal Reserve should be socialized as well. The notion of an independent, privately-owned Federal Reserve system was never more than a ruse to get a national bank into place. Once the central bank is part of the state-owned banking system, the government can create money without having to accumulate a massive public debt that saddles taxpayers’ and future budgets with hundreds of billions of dollars in annual interest payments.