Category Archives: Economics
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.
What do you get for pretending the danger’s not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream.
-Pink Floyd (sheep)
In the ongoing madness of an America in terminal decline, the great Surge II is now underway. This one has nothing to do with mass brainwashing that all is ell in Iraq and that we are indeed winning thanks to our shining medal festooned superstar quarterback otherwise known as General God (aka David Petraeus) to divert the flocks attention away from a doomed imperialist crusade. Nope, this one hits closer to home, it started last Monday with a sly piece of internal propaganda from Citigroup’s CEO Vikram Pandit having its best quarter since 2007 which triggered a sucker rally in the Wall Street casinos that dictate to the inhabitants of chumpland. The pocket media once again did their job, selling this latest call for the sheep to come and be sheared with all the effectiveness that they pimped the murderous lies of George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Things – ARE getting better you see, the gloom-gloomers, the glass is half-empty pessimists, the neurotic nervous nellies and the naysaying Eyores are all wrong, it’s a disease, in their heads, the economy is rocketing its way back to robustitude. The most incredible example of just how thoroughly corrupt that the corporatist media has become is the pernicious cover story of the latest edition of Newsweek magazine that has a picture of good ole Uncle Sam saying that he wants YOU to START SPENDING!… YOU need to INVEST in America – before it’s too late.
The Newsweek story, by Daniel Gross which inside is even more insidious in that it beats the reader over the head with STOP SAVING NOW! – in all caps and taking up the better part of page 27, page 26 is a picture of a squirrel (a cartoon representation of those greedy pigs who dare to save their own money rather than gamble in the Wall Street casinos who holding onto a backload of acorns has caused the branch of the tree to CRAK! Jesus fucking Christ, this is propaganda at its finest, even a cynic like me is astounded by the dastardly nature of this banker swill in one of the nation’s premier ‘news’ magazines.
A more sophisticated version of Mad Money Cramer, Gross goes on to say:
Saving cash and building up reserves is a necessary first step to recovery. But eventually the mountain of cash has to be put to work. Last week’s sharp market rally was certainly a sign—however fleeting it may turn out to be—that investors are putting money to work again. Retail sales in February provided another hint that purse strings may be loosening. But there’s much more work to be done. Ironically, post-bubble periods are frequently great times to start new ventures. The best time to start a dotcom wasn’t in 1999 when the IPO market was raging, it was in 2002, when the price of everything associated with the business—office space, programming talent—had plummeted. When Allied Corp. in the late 1980s didn’t want to pursue the development of consumer products based on global-positioning-satellite technology, Gary Burrell left, raised $4 million and formed Garmin, which today employs about 7,000 people.
Great solution, just trust Wall Street with that money, think long term, be patriotic even if the malefactors of great wealth do not and are more than happy to wallow in international troughs and then come back to shit on America. Gross, a highly-paid, high profile stooge is just playing his part in the ongoing relaunch project to save Wall Street looters and protect their plunder. We have seen this story already, Americans with dollar signs in their eyes and cash register bells going off in their heads like some bizarre real life Uncle Scrooge cartoon, duped into thinking that they can actually become rich and powerful themselves just like The Donald line up to be fleeced by the flim-flam men with the political juice and insider knowledge as they seek to cash out one more time. Perhaps a final time before the country impoldes inward upon itself. All aided and abetted by the media, the Wall Street cadre occupying Barack Obama’s White House, guys like Lawrence Summers and the conniving little twit Tim Geithner whose announcement as the new treasury secretary was greeted by a 6.5 % spike in the DOW, the crack-ho economy got a mainline spike into the arm and knew that the paper pusher inside the administration would ensure them that the game would go on and on. In the end of course, all has been enabled by the bewildered herd of sheeple themselves, brainwashed from birth into the bastardized capitalist system that is already drooling over being able to suck the blood from their grandchildren on account of their greed, stupidity and folly.
As a counter to the mainstream drivel that Gross and Newsweek are peddling as pearls of infinite wisdom I counter with an excerpt from a piece from his month’s Harpers. Infinite Debt by Thomas Georghegan discusses the ruinous and usurious effects of the debt based economy and its victims The same ones that Gross and his fellow pocket media hacks are now trying to swindle out of whatever little they may now have in their piggy banks having been badly burned by the existing system that has beggared them and cast them out of jobs and homes in addition to destroying their pensions and 401k retirement plans. From the Harper’s piece (which I will be addressing at length in my coming post Usurious Bastards):
Which is why the middle class is shrinking. Basically, we’re all waiters now; we’re bowing and scraping and working for the banks. Look closely at any American, and it’s even odds that he or she, directly or indirectly, is somehow employed by the “financial services sector,” which covers insurance and real estate and financial instruments of any kind. As brokers, lawyers, loan collectors, loan consolidators, secretaries at big investment firms, chauffeurs of private limousines, or even the high-tech types who exist solely to service banks — all of us, millions of us, are part of it, living off it in some way, as three generations ago we lived off manufacturers.
The game is rigged people, and the hit job done on America by the rotten fuckers on Wall Street and their institutionalized system of debt slavery is all that is left, and STILL the banksters on the street and the gangsters in D.C. are doint everything that they can to continue to bleed the silly and naive masses of asses by doing all that is possible to get the debt/consumerism bubble reinflated. In a rare piece of sanity that slipped by the censors and minders of the memory hole a Reuters story, More debt: a curious solution to a credit crisis dared to utter the heresy that:
Indeed, a huge part of the Treasury’s economic rescue plan is based on reviving securitization. This is the process by which everything from real estate and auto loans to credit cards and student debt gets repackaged into bonds and is then sold on to investors in a secondary market.
Given this history, Wray, also a senior fellow at the Levy Economics Institute, said asset-backed bonds are the problem, not the solution. “We need to kill off securitization and go back to banking — loan officers and underwriting.”
Wall Street is a con game, it depends on confidence in order for the moneychangers to book their fees and peddle their bad paper, given the Surge II it’s apparent that the entrenched elitists are determined to wage war against any sort of change that Obama may have in mind. Given the first two months of the administration and while being mindful that it’s still early, despite some initial guarded optimism I am becoming more and more certain that nothing is changing except the management of the whorehouse. I now find myself in agreement more or less with those progressives who were wary of Obama from the onset, with his government packed with recycled Clinton era swine, the usual assortment of Wall Street and Federal Reserve grifters running fiscal policy and his still stinging kick in the balls from the Israel lobby over the Freeman resignation it only looks like more of the same shit but in a different package. Helicopter Ben’s announcement that the Fed would now be buying American debt to save their fucking system, the dollar immediately took a shit and with the coming wave of hyperinflationi as a result of this latest idiocy this story should send a cold chill up the spine of all who are onto what has really been going on as America has been gutted: The US is Facing a Weimar Moment. Read it if you dare.
As Orwell once wrote in the literary classic Animal Farm:
“All animals are equal, some are just more equal than others”
Republican ‘free marketers’ are unscrupulous and pathologically greedy, they also delight in the trafficking of human misery for profit. It makes them feel empowered. They are like the S.O.B. sitting at the Monopoly table who is not content in owning Boardwalk and Park Place as well as all of the utilities and railroads but also buys Baltic and Mediterranean and loads them up with houses and hotels then squeals with childlike glee when some poor bastard lands on one of them and is driven into bankruptcy. The game of Monopoly is very relevant to life itself in laissez-faire hell, where the rich are able to accumulate property on a rapidly escalating scale and as wealth rapidly increases the less fortunate are driven into bankruptcy with the winner being the monopolists.
This is Laissez-Faire ‘free market’ Capitalism in its ultimate form, the ‘free market’ is only truly advantageous and ‘free’ to those who have the most cash and assets and they are gathered at the expense of the poor who eventually are the losers but hey, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it in the Wall Street Journal’s perfect world. Now that the rape of the system has nearly been completed how long is it going to take until there is a realization of just how thoroughly the free market fanatics have cannibalized the country in pursuit of profit? And the denial needs to stop immediately, the existing system has already failed and failed miserably.
Capitalism is eating itself. Like a python slowly trying to digest it’s own tail, the economic master plan, the Shock Doctrine has come home now and the sheep are being prepped for yet another shearing, soon they will served up with a side of mint jelly.
It is important to understand that a distinction needs to be made when it comes to capitalism between that which is regulated and the ‘free market’ aka Lassez Faire strain that the road to hell is paved with. The end result of unregulated capitalism is monopoly of the most extreme sort as well as the redistribution of wealth to those at the top of the class system, I wonder why nobody has ever dubbed this as ‘trickle up economics’ which is of course exactly what it is. One of history’s most important and enduring lessons is that hundreds of thousands must toil in the muck in order to allow one rotten, greedy son of a bitch to have his face displayed on a sphinx. The American middle class are the ones who are forced by their Wall Street pharaohs to build the bricks for the monuments to the super wealthy under increasingly hostile conditions in increasingly dangerous work environments with an increasingly smaller amount of straw.
The establishment after all has a vested interest in the existence of a huge and desperate underclass. The accompanying crime and urban rot helps to breed the necessary fear that justifies increased police powers and surveillance so as to keep the interests of the elite safe and sound while they sleep behind the walls of their gated communities each night. We were swindled by the free market pimps and deregulation pushers, all that it all did was create conditions for monopolies and trusts and consumer gouging. Take an honest look at yourself, are you truly better off today than you were yesterday? Or the day before? Or five years ago?
Well understand one thing…..today is as good as you are going to have it for the rest of your life under this existing rotten system.
We Are All Losers: The system itself is designed to make losers of us all except that extreme few with the means to purchase influence and therefore protection.
Under this system we all lose, mainly our losses are incremental.
We lose our lives through an increasing amount of time spent on a job locked in a struggle of diminishing gains to even survive.
We lose our health
We lose time with our children and families, this is the most tragic loss of all in most instances as it perpetuates the cycle of the decline in human relationships and destroys the family. Despite what the establishment propagandists and their phony religious wars with their insipid ‘pro family’ sloganeering it is not the loss of morality in through cultural changes in society that is causing the degradation of the family but the greed of an unfettered and monstrous capitalist system that demands more and more in order to slake its bloodsucking appetite for profits. It is the pursuit of these profits at the expense of our humanity that has laid waste to the family, and our values and every day that we are forced to prostitute ourselves in order for the wealthiest of the greed mongers to further entrench themselves is one more day closer to the day that we will ultimately die in vain for their sins.
And in buying into the legitimacy of this lie of a system we ultimately lose our souls.
In a system that is designed to ultimately make losers out of all but the very few who are able to parlay their inordinate influence into being able to utilize it as a weapon of exclusion I found the following from the late, great Hunter S. Thompson to be words of wisdom, this in reference to the ultimate outsiders The Hells Angels:
Let’s just hope that there are still some outlaws left out there amongst the sheeple, they are all that we have when it comes down to whatever hope there may be left in an increasingly hopeless and hostile world.
There is an important difference between a ‘loser’ and an ‘outlaw’ . One is passive and the other is active and the main reasons that the Angels are such good copy is that they are acting out the daydreams of millions of losers who don’t wear any defiant insignia and who don’t know how to be outlaws.”
The Angels don’t like being called losers but they have learned to live with it. “Yeah, I guess I am” said one “But you’re looking at one loser who’s going to make a hell of a scene on the way out”
This worked wonders during the boom of the past couple of decades, leading to rapid capital formation that underpinned a huge rise in lending. But when the music stopped, many investors were left looking for an empty chair as these products of financial “innovation” proved ruinously difficult to value.
What is history, really, but a turf war between manufacturing, labor and the banks? In the United States, we shrank manufacturing. We got rid of labor. Now it’s just the banks.
The hum of ambient noise in midtown Manhattan is several decibels lower than it was a year ago. Fewer black Town Cars idle outside the investment-bank offices on Park Avenue. The aisles of the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue are so quiet you’d think you were in a library. The restaurants and shops at Rockefeller Center are open as usual, but they seem oddly depopulated. Where are all the tourists and office workers, the hordes of junior analysts lining up in Starbucks?
Something less tangible is also absent: the spirit of caffeinated, heedless risk taking. For a generation, risk has been the adrenaline of the nation’s economy, the substance that made us all—from the denizens of midtown Manhattan to the residents of Manhattan, Kans.—run a little faster and stay up a little later. Now, with the economy in its 16th month of recession and the markets scythed in half, it seems we’ve all either switched to decaf or simply lost the taste for risk.
As consumers hibernate and investors hoard cash, the economy is withering. This new age of thrift is understandable. But for a recovery to take hold, Americans will need to start taking risks again.