Thursday, March 26, 2009

Usurious Bastards

by Ed Encho
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.
-Carroll Quigley
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.

Now that it has become apparent that Obama is just more of the same and like Bush has his own legions of cultlike devotees and apologists we can all just take Bobby Knight's advice that if rape is intevitable relax and enjoy it because really what choice do we really have? Before it even really started the revolution has been hijacked, progressives are still getting the shaft, the Employee Free Choice Act is going to be dead on arrival, there is NO antiwar movement if the media refuses to acknowledge that there is a fucking war and even the Ron Paul movement libertarians have been marginalized by the old fool's proclivity to ghettoize himself and keep showing up at Nazi bund meetings like CPAC and regularly appearing on FOX.

The oligarchy has it's shit together, this is their homefield, they own the refs and there is no replay booth. Welcome to chumpland, when a show like HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher features Keith Olbermann as a guest and they both mock the very real detention camps by conflating their existence with the weeping, at the edge of sanity fascist basket case Glenn Beck it's a done deal that the agents have seized control of all phones and the only way out of the matrix will be in a body bag.

Despite the rear guard cover that the corporate media is giving to the ongoing looting spree by laying poison bait for maxed-out marks and rubes to get back into the casino and start spending their money at usurious interest rates by rapacious banks that are fast approaching the same sort of deal that you can score at pay day lenders there are those who really get it, too bad that their observations are drowned out by Dancing With the Stars, American Idol and the rest of the standard bread and circuses that placate the masses of asses. Some very excellent work has been done for those with an inclination for the truth by alternative media types and dissenting with the official state line experts who have been consistently right about this catastrophic clusterfuck from the outset.
The gold standard in calling out the great robbery and financier's coup d'etat has to go to Matt Taibbi whose piece in the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine entitled The Big Takeover is a must read. I excerpt a few pieces of this long but brilliant expose:
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.
And
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.
And
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.
In addition to Taibbi's magnum opus on the greedy pigs who have destroyed the economy I would also recommend Thomas Georghegan's treatise on the legalization of usury in the latest Harper's entitled Infinite Debt: How Unlimited Interest Rates Destroyed the Economy, the same April issue has Daniel Brook's article on the payday lending industry Usury Country, a piece in Washington Monthly by James K. Galbraith that calls bullshit on the 'the worst is over' folderol being foisted upon us by the high-rollers, the looters and the banksters where he speaks the forbidden heresy of No Return to Normal:
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.
But the plumbing metaphor is misleading. Credit is not a flow. It is not something that can be forced downstream by clearing a pipe. Credit is a contract. It requires a borrower as well as a lender, a customer as well as a bank. And the borrower must meet two conditions. One is creditworthiness, meaning a secure income and, usually, a house with equity in it. Asset prices therefore matter. With a chronic oversupply of houses, prices fall, collateral disappears, and even if borrowers are willing they can’t qualify for loans.

The other requirement is a willingness to borrow, motivated by what Keynes called the "animal spirits" of entrepreneurial enthusiasm. In a slump, such optimism is scarce. Even if people have collateral, they want the security of cash. And it is precisely because they want cash that they will not deplete their reserves by plunking down a payment on a new car.
The aforementioned pieces by Taibbi, Geoghegan and Brooks all merited appearances on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now the past three days but perhaps the greatest statement of all was made by former Reagan administration Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts who in his latest column, Is the Bailout Plan Breeding a Bigger Crisis? is coming very close to actually endorsing - GASP - Socialism! Roberts mentions that ugly little story that flew below the radar that our number one creditor China is starting to make noises about dumping the dollar as the world reserve currency:
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.
Roberts has been ahead of the curve since his early realization that the Republican party had been taken over by drooling brownshirts in the early years of the Bush-Cheney nightmare and he consistently serves as a reminder of that bygone era when some conservatives actually had principles, ideas and a respect for intellectualism way back back before Joe the Plumber became the man.
The DOW was up 174 today, it's morning in America again, time to pull yerself up by those good ole star-spangled bootstraps, go shopping... but if you look around you will notice that gas prices are creeping up again too since speculation is back in vogue, it could crack 8000 tomorrow when Barack Obama goes to give a progress report (grovel) to his banker bosses.
But that's not important, hey, didja hear the one about the Michigan dude who just got 90 days for being caught with his dick in a car wash vacuum cleaner?

Move Along, Nothing to See Here...
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20 comments:

Len Hart said...

People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough.

Good point, Ed. However, I am of the opinion that people are not SUFFICIENTLY pissed off! Bluntly --the people of the United States have been bent over, screwed asswise, robbed of wealth, income, education, opportunities and precious Constitutional rights! These MULTITUDINOUS crimes against the people have been PERPED primarily by one party: the GOP on behalf of a base of about ONE PERCENT OF THE ENTIRE POPULATION.

These folk include the Walton family whose fortune FAR OUTSTRIPS that of Gates. These folk are NOT SMARTER but infinitely more ruthless than oridinary, non-psychopathic folk.

The current account balances of the US and China are a snapshot of the process at work. The US has the WORLD'S LARGEST NEGATIVE CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE! China --to which was EXPORTED the fruits of American labor and wealth --is NUMBER ONE with the world's largest POSITIVE current account balance.

The ONLY explanation is that the fruits of US labor was TRANSFERRED, primarily by way of Wal-Mart, to China.

It is NOT coincidental that the RISE of China mirrors PRECISELY the fall of the US.

It is NOT coincidental that the RISE of Wal-Mart paces precisely the FALL of the American industries since the rise of Reagan and Reaganomics.

It is NOT coincidental that as Wal-Mart and China rose, the American middle class CRASHED.

It is NOT coincidental that as just ONE PERCENT OF THE NATION PROSPERED, the wages of this folly would eventually manifest itself in the form of another GREAT DEPRESSION.

I say: EAT THE RICH!

BOYCOTT WAL-MART!

FUCK CHINA!

SEIZE the assets of the top one percent, the banking establishment that conspired to bring all this about...

and PROSECUTE the leadership of the GOP for numerous instances of CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY and collusion with the short sellers and other crooks who DELIBERATELY engineered this debacle.

AdamS said...

"the Republican party had been taken over by drooling brownshirts in the early years of the Bush-Cheney nightmare"

And now Obama is getting his own 'brownshirts' under the Orwellian "compulsory volunteering" plan.

"even the Ron Paul movement libertarians have been marginalized by the old fool's proclivity to ghettoize himself and keep showing up at Nazi bund meetings like CPAC and regularly appearing on FOX."

To be fair, where should he go for publicity? Don't deny FOX viewers the only 10mins of productive programming they get each week :)

Ed Encho said...

RE: Ron Paul

When it comes to principled acts appearing before the CPAC Nazis ain't one of them.

Paul did far better when he was on his own and not sliming around among such facsist thugs. For one who is pretty much a liberal and progressive who has taken my share of fire for throwing in with him it was pretty tough to stomach that CPAC thing.

I'll give you one on Obama though, it is increasingly looking like we have been played again.

Listening to him talk about waging war against al CIAda made me want to vomit and invoked memories of the Bushreich.

And like Bush he has his adoring army of sycophant defenders, the only way that change comes to America is if the entire rotten system comes down.

Starting with the Wall Street whorehouses.

Just my two cents

EE

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

Great polemic as always, Ed. Maintain the rage, senor, and do keep giving the bastards heaps.

And Len, always get a special thrill when you talk like an anarchist, devoid of nuance; bee-lining the jugular:

"I say: EAT THE RICH!

BOYCOTT WAL-MART!

FUCK CHINA!"

More please, sir! :)

Anyway, just popped in to report some great news from the Spanish courts who have previously put the wind up such champions of Human Rights as Mr. Hanky Kissinger and Auggie "Si, si CIA" Pinochet.... may their souls rot, fester and suppurate in a hell that any imaginative atheist could conjure.

Sure it all symbolic at this stage, but sometimes symbols count for a lot for they have the capacity to act as a torch to the blindness of the decent yet disengaged multitudes.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/29/2529109.htm

Anonymous said...

Opps, c'est moi, Fuzzflash!

Len Hart said...

Fuzz, it's always a pleasure to see your comments --ofteen witty, trippy and/or ascerbic. We have not yet gotten the offending elites by the balls. Perhaps, in the crosshairs. They are a moving target to be sure. I am afraid we are all a bit late for the revolution, so howz about a world wide riot?

AdamS said...

@Len: Call me paranoid, but I think the criminals want a riot so they can bring in martial law...the only way they can hold onto power, since the masses are realising who is responsible for this mess.

Omyma said...

Great post &links, especially Taibbi's piece in RS. I have been in denial about Obama, and still hold out hope he might wake up. But there's not much to go on at this point.

Re usury - on the money there. Islamic banks, which prohibit usury, are doing better by far than the others.

As to when people will wake up, the real problem is that they're awake now, but don't know what to think...

Anonymous said...

The insolvency of the big banks is the problem. Geithner and the politicians need to curtail the explosion in Washington spending, expanding the debt and destroying the dollar but the real solution is a gold backed currency free of government manipulation. The Campaign to Cancel the Washington National Debt by 12/21/2012 through constitutional amendment begins. See http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67594690498&ref=ts

We are also planning to have a booth at FreedomFest 2009, the world's largest gathering of free minds! July 9–11 www.freedomfest.com in Las Vegas. Ron

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can move? I want to have fresh fruits and vegetables. Preferably avocados, oranges and also chickens. I would be willing to eat the rich, provided I don't get mad rich disease.I hear the rich tastes like chicken.

Len Hart said...

AdamS said...

@Len: Call me paranoid, but I think the criminals want a riot so they can bring in martial law.

I've often suspected that! Martial Law means that they have lost. But moral victories are not properly enjoyed behind the barbed wire of a FEMA camp. The best way to wage 'this' revolution is by subverting --with every legal means --the ELITE that has purchased our government. That means TAXING these bastards out of existence with the existing political apparatus. It means grassroots organizing and that, in turn, means taking back the media. So --the very first step involves lobbying the Obama administration to

1) BUST UP THE MEDIA MONOPOLIES;

2) RESTORE THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE

3) PUT STRICT LIMITATIONS ON THE NUMBER OF MEDIA OUTLETS THAT MAY BE OWNED BY ANY ENTITY --CORPORATE OR PERSONAL;

4) ABOLISH 'CORPORATE PERSONHOOD'!!!

A 'revolution' in this nation will NOT happen until the people take back control of the media.

Many things will follow from that.

Omyma said...

As to when people will wake up, the real problem is that they're awake now, but don't know what to think...

The American 'sheeple' have been brainwashed and force fed 'revisionists' histories for so long, it is not surprising to find states of confusion, shock and despair. The 'establishment' has been lying to the American people for as long as I can remember.

Anonymous said...

The insolvency of the big banks is the problem.

Respectfully, that is a symptom --not the problem itself. The 'problem' is that the 'big banks' and the government thought that they could create wealth at the top, that wealth trickled down, that 'money' was literally created by 'creating debt'.

Clue: debt is NOT money and no major economist EVER subscribed to that theory. Economists both left (Marx) and right (A. Smith) are in agreement on that point: ONLY labor creates wealth. Not the big banks, not the government, not the fed!

The US is fucked up because it rewarded an 'investor' class by, literally, TRANSFERRING wealth from the laboring class to the increasing tiny elite of just ONE PERCENT of the nation. This was done, primarily, in TWO ways: 1) tax cuts which benefited ONLY the very, very rich; 2) war which benefits ONLY the MIC while impoverishing everyone elsse; 3) with FAUSTIAN bargains with the likes of WAL-MART and China which together destroyed the economic and moral fiber of the nation.

The facts are all there in black and white.

The people were LIED TO, ROBBED and now FUCKED OVER. Despite Obama's best (and worst) efforts, the US government REMAINS as it was under Bush --ILLEGITIMATE!

But --I have promised this blog that I would give Obama his first 100 days.

Anonymous said...

"3) with FAUSTIAN bargains with the likes of WAL-MART and China which together destroyed the economic and moral fiber of the nation" - Len H.


And by doing so, the large international corporations along with their political puppets slowly dis-mantled American labor...making sure a livable wage would be next to impossible to generate in this country.

If I had a nickle for every time I heard either in person through conversation or in the media..."Americans don't want to do those kind of jobs anymore"
No shit, NOT for $8.00 an hour and no fucking benefits...Europe was able to take advantage and segway much smoother into the "global market" because they addressed living wages and health care long ago...either way , it is still the old western oligarchs exploiting the lesser countries for labor, resources and leaving them with overt negative environmental problems and typically repressive governments. How the European leadership screwed their constituency, is by having to be tied to the archaic,corrupt, crumbling American system.

This stuff is not rocket science, yet Americans are DEVOID of any rational conception of what has happened in this country...I will say there have been many voices from several different places warning of this corruption over the years, people do not want to hear the truth.

Freest minds in the world? In Nevada?...Please, give me a break...a state that is run by corporations, corrupt pols and mobsters..."libertarians" in America think the only thing that is important is the 2nd amendment, which of course is a wonderful thing...but is only a very small part of truly understanding and being responsible for real freedom...I find at the end of the day most USA "libertarians" are nothing more then closet right-wingers, American style...of course.

HEY FUZZ...rock on.


benmerc

Ed Encho said...

"But --I have promised this blog that I would give Obama his first 100 days."

Len, you are kinder than I am, my battle axe just came out after GM wasn't afforded the luxury of a real bailout like the Wall St. scum.

This guy is in my opinion just a teflon coated shit salesman who is only in his position now because after the horrors of Bush II it would have been too difficult to sell Clinton II to the masses of moronic asses.

The left needs to mount a vicious, withering and relentless campaign for an intervention NOW.

Just my two cents, I still respect your 100 days but my bombers are on the runway and fully loaded for Arc Light against these oligarchic swine.

EE

Anonymous said...

Obama's just another brick in the wall. It will be hard to watch our children die. But what goes around comes around.

Greg Bacon said...

I have been in denial about Obama, and still hold out hope he might wake up. But there's not much to go on at this point.

There's nothing to go on at this point, except to realize that our government has been taken over by liars, thieves, con artists and murderers who have no problem with sending our kids off to die in foreign lands, fighting wars for "Empire and Israel."

Bill Clinton, "Bloody" Maddy Albright, GW Bush, Cheney, OBOMBA and HRM Hillary are all part of this rapacious gang, aided and abetted by a corrupt Congress that is serving its Masters, the MIC and Wall Street.

They might sound angry and act indignant when holding another of those phony-baloney Congressional hearings, but at the end of the day, they'll run home to their lines of coke, high price whores and 12 yo Scotch, provided to them by Wall Street and the Pentagon.

We have to make a decision and do it now, to either take back our nation or resign ourselves and condemn our children to forever being slaves.

Len Hart said...

Benmerc sez...

No shit, NOT for $8.00 an hour and no fucking benefits...Europe was able to take advantage and segway much smoother into the "global market" because they addressed living wages and health care long ago...either way , it is still the old western oligarchs exploiting the lesser countries for labor, resources and leaving them with overt negative environmental problems and typically repressive governments.

Thanks to the ruling elite, jobs at any waqe have dissapeared. Like you, I discount that bullshit with which the oligarchs have tried to justify or rationalize treason and economic subversion.

There is a REASON, these folk live in gated communities with armed guards and/or private armies.

In Europe, there is nothing like the obscene, 'third world' income disparities that are found in the US. I could cite many examples of 'overt' egalitarianism from my travels from throughout Scotland, England, France, Switzerland, Italy.

When I used to visit Mexico some years back, I was appalled at the overt income and wealth disparities. Recently, I have seen more egregious and overt examples in the US.

Ed Encho said...

This is all so totally sick.

You know I was looking at the pics from the G20 and our American Jesus fit in real well with them didn't he.

What a bunch of elitist pigs.

And the domestic version of the great General Petraeus SURGE is working brilliantly as the DOW is skyrocketing even as 3/4 of a million more Americans (official ha ha figure) lost their jobs last month.

Obama reminds me of a pusher, he is hanging around with his cheap quick fixes for the get rich quick capitalism junkies.

Clinton Redux!

But at least I am seeing a lot of outrage from the left which dare I say may be the best thing to happen in a long time.

RADICALIZE THIS!

Just my two cents

EE

damien said...

Len, just a few links that may interest you. The G-20 summit went nowhere. As F.William Engdahl, points out:

The ‘dirty little secret’ which Geithner is going to great degrees to obscure from the public is very simple. There are only at most perhaps five US banks [JP Morgan, CitiGroup, Bank of America, etc] which are the source of the toxic poison that is causing such dislocation in the world financial system. What Geithner is desperately trying to protect is that reality. The heart of the present problem and the reason ordinary loan losses as in prior bank crises are not the problem, is a variety of exotic financial derivatives, most especially so-called Credit Default Swaps.

Karl Denninger goes further:

As with the phony reinsurance contracts that AIG and other insurers wrote for decades, when AIG wrote hundreds of billions of dollars in CDS contracts, neither AIG nor the counterparties believed that the CDS would ever be paid. Indeed, one source with personal knowledge of the matter suggests that there may be emails and actual side letters between AIG and its counterparties that could prove conclusively that AIG never intended to pay out on any of its CDS contracts.

The Over the Counter (OTC) derivatives market is worth $683.7 trillion dollars of which CDS contracts form a considerable part. Denninger goes on:

If even a couple of percent of those swaps are in fact "private lettered" out in the fashion that AIG is alleged to have done with their CDS.....

Our Congress had better dig into this hornets nest right damn now because if in fact there is any material amount of this crap going on in the OTC derivative market the $170+ billion blown on AIG trying to cover it up will be a mosquito on an elephant's ass in comparison to what's about to happen to the world's economy and banking system.


"Side letters" work this way. Bank A has liabilities of $100 million that causes regulatory headaches. They take out risk insurance in the form of a CDS contract with, say, AIG at a cost of 6% per year. Bingo! The risk is off the books and they can expand their borrowing and lending activities. Meanwhile AIG mentions to Bank A in a "side letter" -- "You know we can't payout on your risk investment if it fails. Our CDS is worthless. We only sold it to you so you could look good on paper. You understand, that's the deal." And Bank A certainly does understand that. It's almost certain from what I'm reading that AIG, and others, have been producing these "side letters" in a market of $683.7 trillion dollars. Now ask yourself what effect a G20 bailout package 0f $1.2 trillion will have on a $683.7 trillion dollar market when SOME CDS trades fail and ALL CDS trades come under a dark cloud? The answer is total financial markets implosion. Meltdown. 30% unemployed. Riots. Military in the streets.

This has disaster written all over it.

PS. We might also mention that homeowner insurers Freddie and Fannie are now paying out only 60% on claims, 40% to be paid as IOUs. Premiums will be the same. This is a tidal wave coming, Len, and it ain't pretty.

SadButTrue said...

A good question sometimes deserves a quick, concise and clear answer. Here's a gem from a Bill Moyers interview of Bill Black, author of "The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One."

" BILL MOYERS: If I wanted to go looking for the parties to this, with a good bird dog, where would you send me?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, that's exactly what hasn't happened. We haven't looked, all right? The Bush Administration essentially got rid of regulation, so if nobody was looking, you were able to do this with impunity and that's exactly what happened. Where would you look? You'd look at the specialty lenders. The lenders that did almost all of their work in the sub-prime and what's called Alt-A, liars' loans.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah. Liars' loans--

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Liars' loans.

BILL MOYERS: Why did they call them liars' loans?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Because they WERE liars' loans.

BILL MOYERS: And they knew it?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: They knew it. They knew that they were frauds.
"

Any questions?

Oh, and I extended the quote a bit so it would include the great line from Moyers about the good bird dog. Love that line!

Len Hart said...

Sad sez....

The Bush Administration essentially got rid of regulation, so if nobody was looking, you were able to do this with impunity and that's exactly what happened.

A couple of years ago, you could go online and --with enough money --create your OWN offshore bank! I am sure there were some who shelled out the bucks and actually opened one. It was all done online. You could accept deposits and make loans. I am betting that a few folk issued some paper and just as promptly discounted it to bigger and bigger banks. Eventually, the whole scheme comes crashing down. Chances are --none of these were good loans. The TRICK was to DUMP that paper onto someone else before the crunch.