The week’s reading, straight off the razor wire:
From Global Research:
The Stabilization of the Financial Sector: The Holy Grail of Economic Salvation
Idiocy is usually described as “endlessly repeating the same process, hoping for a different result”.
—Is it? I thought that was insanity. Or life. Or being human. Or just me.
Lawrence Summers, Timothy Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden et al are straining at the leash to get the Bailout Ball rolling once again. The stabilization of the financial sector, as elusive as it has been so far, has become the Holy Grail of Economic salvation… The Knights of the Oval Table are gathered to plan their mission as their beleaguered subjects are trying to batter down the castle gates….
—Oh, I get it, it’s like medieval times, you’re saying, but without the Black Plague and an average life-span of three months. And the country is being run by god-appointed monarchs and their cabal of the privileged, and everyone else is a filthy, illiterate, expendable serf. I don’t know. My credit cards still work, my car still runs, and I can still get a job. If I wanted to buy a cow and get to whatever status is just above peasant, I could, though it would stink up my apartment like crazy, though I could maybe sequester the methane and cook with it.
The question begs to be asked, and this is where the cynic in me dominates, what’s the plan?
—I wasn’t begging. I was waiting. Is it cynical to imply that the Dark Ages are returning? Might be just fuckin’ batshit.
When they [ the recipients of the TARP funds ] do fall will the Government nationalize the last one standing for the good of the country? This would be the coup of the millennium…To have this complete before the economy and society have completely broken down would be a good reason to declare a real National Emergency and declare Martial Law, the legislation, executive orders and infrastructure of which are already in place. How can one not be a cynic when we reflect on what has happened so far?
—You could start by slapping your inner cynic like you might a whimpering child. Sometimes corporal punishment works well. Then you could recall that America has gone through the boom and bust cycle of its economy since the outset, and we’re still here! And that corruption and cronyism and cooking the books have always been a sad but necessary and inevitable part of politics, and that transparency in government is always in part fictional. Or you could just take a xanax and calm the fuck down, and think about how far away from Martial Law the inauguration of this president was.
The numbers are in and the scam stands exposed to those who will look. Which way the story unfolds from here is anyone’s guess. But I am ready to bet that Congress will not include the OCC data in the upcoming debate on the next round of cash for the Banks.
—They probably won’t, but then, you already have the numbers so it would be kind of redundant and boring for you, so you’d have to change channels and watch Law and Order.
And as long as I’m prating:
The only people surprised or disappointed by the sort of thing in this article are the ones who thought that “Change” meant “Large-scale Change”. I think that even those who would never admit to thinking such a foolish thing were, in their heart of hearts, doing just that.
I’m the last one to ask about money related issues, but I can’t see what else the fed can do but what it’s doing. The “usual suspects” phenomenon isn’t avoidable, and abrupt, radical change isn’t desirable or possible. Who else you gonna get to handle the financial element of the society? People with PhDs in Social Work, Fine Art, and Talking to Plants?
For sure, the tracking of the funds so they aren’t just pointlessly thrown at the same folk who got us here to begin with seems to be missing, but, then again, who else are you gonna give the money to? Poor people? Me? We’ve already demonstrated quite amply that we don’t handle our money well, which is why privatizing Social Security is a bad idea, and was a non-starter even for a neo-con dominated gov.
Not that I’ve been paying close attention to things, I’ve been too busy going further into debt, but it seems to me that BO might be smart enough to realize that the New Deal didn’t work all that well, nor did trickle-down, when viewed from this distance, but they both worked a little at their time, and then capitalism gained traction and brought boom times back for a while, sometimes for everyone, always for some, never enough for the little people, and never wisely – with an eye on the future. Then the inevitable crash comes, of varying severity. Some moralizers of the first water went right to the idea that unregulated greed is behind everything. I think that it’s more like insane optimism and a specific brand of stupidity that led these highly-educated thieves to believe that they had come up with ways to avoid crashes by making the financial system so complicated only god himself could wrap his mind around it, though I don’t really see god as a money guy, but maybe he is. Sure, some of them are full-on greedy bastards who are in it for nothing more than to enrich themselves at the expense of poor people, and some of them are free-market true believers – they’re probably worse because they don’t even know they’re doing wrong, but I think most of them are hapless drones caught in a downward voritical swirl of beaurocracy from which it is impossible to extricate yourself once you’re in.
What is needed is a plan tailored for this particular moment, that includes some of the New Deal, some of Trickle Down. Keep taxes low for the majority so they can spend more, and for small businesses so they can stay afloat, keep taxes reasonable for the wealthy minority so they can spend and create jobs meanwhile they retain their admittedly egregiously profligate lives, cuz they ain’t giving them up; the American ethos that anyone can become rich isn’t going anywhere, even though it’s almost never true – people need their pathetic dreams. Come up with a middle-of-the-road healthcare plan that frees companies from having to cover employees so they can stay in business, and frees individuals from having to pay for either insurance, or all of their health needs out of pocket, so a cold doesn’t put them on the street. Consumerism and development and entrepreneurship should remain the drivers of the economy, it’s more a matter of what kind they should be. BO has the right idea: point development at sustainable energy industries. Keep people spending, but change the things they spend their money on. Don’t tell them they have to all switch to hybrids from SUV’s right this instant, sell them hybrid SUV’s, and big stupid trucks they can go four-wheeling in without polluting the planet too much. Don’t tell people they can’t eat steak anymore because of methane, change the way beef is produced so the animals get a better life, people eat less of it, and go back to a form of agriculture that recycles some of their waste, and sequesters or processes the rest of it to cut down on gases. Sure, there’s no such thing as clean coal, and to a point that term was invented to dupe idiots into thinking something environmentally sound was being done, but gullibility isn’t going anywhere either, and at least the idea is out there now. It all may be too little too late, and sheer population growth in the US may make European style socialism an inevitability, or the End of Days, but that’s a long difficult road.
How to do all this? Got me. But BO might be with it enough to realize that he needs an effective propoganda campaign to get people to change the way they live, without which change all is futile and we’re doomed, and having the idea of change in place is better than not. Maybe he’s smart enough to hire the people who came up with the caveman Geico commercials to sell his New New Deal and convince Muslims we don’t want them all dead ( though I kind of do if we could take out the Israelis too) instead of doing what Bush did, like hiring Karen Hughes to win the hearts and minds of Muslims by going over there and telling Muslim women she understood their lives because she had to juggle a career and being a mother, too, doing it in a hail of bullets evidently not being an important distinction.
I don’t have high hopes for BO, but he is at least a smart guy, and not an idealogue. They’re the ones to fear the most, because they’re never wrong. He’s not as liberal and progressive as I want him to be, but neither is anyone else. And he’s not a conservative, which is change enough for me for the moment. John Stuart Mill said it well: “Not all conservatives are stupid, but most stupid people are conservative.”
But I think that BO at least has a shot, and two weeks isn’t quite enough time to judge him…gotta give him at least three…
I wanted BO take the oath of office at BB Kings Blues Club, or Burning Man, to prove he really is different, but I’ve given up hoping that a cool progressive will ever be in charge in a country that’s at least half social and/or political conservatives, not that, in my experience, all the people at BB Kings or Burning Man fit that description. A true progressive will probably never get the Big Chair, we aren’t allowed to kill conservatives even if we could reliably identify them all, and if we did, we would be kind of conservative ourselves. But, maybe it will finally come to that…which would at least be exciting. This depression shit is really boring…
Happy Super Bowl Sunday, probably our last, dammit. Now we’ll have to watch jousting….hey…I like that idea…