Please read this. For the sake of yourself, your children, and their children

It is not too soon — or too late — to become angry.  Evidence continues to pour in that our government needs to be shaken like a dirty rug.  Are we weaker than the people of Iran?  How much evidence do we need to spark outrage?

To jump-start this process, please read this article:   “The Great American Bubble Machine“, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 9-23 July 2009 — Hat tip to Zero Hedge

(1)  Opening

From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression – and they’re about to do it again.

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled-dry American empire, reads like a Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.

By now most of us know the major players. … But then, any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and a free elections, organized greed always defeats unorganized democracy.

(2)  Conclusion

It’s not always easy to accept the reality of what we now routinely allow these people to get away with; there’s a kind of collective denial that kicks in when a country goes through lately, when a people lose as much prestige and status as we have in the past few years. You can’t really register the fact that you’re no longer a citizen of a thriving first-world democracy, that you’re no longer above getting robbed in broad daylight …

But this is it. This is the world we live in now. … It’s a gangster state, running on gangster economics … And maybe we can’t stop it, but we should at least know where it’s all going.

(3)  Further vollies between Goldman and Taibbi (update)

Best part of this exchange:

Goldman’s rep: “we are painfully conscious of the importance of being a force for good.”

Taibbi: “{That} is not quite the same thing as saying that that bank is a force for good, or wants to be.”

(4)  More evidence about this crisis in the American political regime

I strongly recommend reading all these, so you can tell your children that you were awake when America died.  Or perhaps re-discovered itself.  Depends on what we do now.

(1)  The Big Takeover“, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 19 March 2009 — “The global economic crisis isn’t about money – it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution.”

(2)  “Welcome to America, the World’s Scariest Emerging Market“, Desmond Lachman, op-ed in the Washington Post, 29 March 2009.

(3)  “Teabagging Michelle Malkin“, Matt Taibbi, True/Slant, 15 April 2009

(4)  “The Quiet Coup“, Simon Johnson (MIT professor, former IMF chief economist), The Atlantic, May 2009 — Similar thoughts, but more mildly expressed.

(5)  “‘It’s time to enshrine Hank Paulson as national hero’ WTF?“, Matt Taibbi, True/Slant, 8 June 2009

(5)  Articles on the FM site about theft pretending to be solutions

  1. Slowly a few voices are raised about the pending theft of taxpayer money, 21 September 2008
  2. The Paulson Plan will buy assets cheap, just as all good cons offer easy money to the marks, 30 September 2008
  3. A reminder – the TARP program is just theft, 24 November 2008
  4. A solution to our financial problems: steal wealth from other nations, 2 February 2009
  5. Stand by for action – more theft of our money being planned in Washington, 4 February 2009
  6. Update: yes, the Paulson Plan was just theft, 14 February 2009
  7. Now is the time for America to get angry, 24 March 2009
  8. America on its way from superpower to banana republic, 28 March 2009
  9. Bush’s bailout plan is now Obama’s. His quiet eloquence guides the sheep into the pen, 30 March 2009
  10. “The Greatest Swindle Ever Sold”, by Andy Kroll in The Nation, 28 May 2009

(6)  A closing thought

The first step is not knowledge.  Not logic.  But rage, contempt at what we have become.  From that other things can flow, good or bad depending on our character.

“Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.”
— Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, book IV, chapter 5 (lightly paraphrased)

“Telemachus, now is the time to be angry.”
— Odysseus, when the time came to deal with the Suitors. From the movie The Odessey (1997)

For us the time is now.  The reason is the preservation of our nation.  The target is ourselves, how we have become less than we were.  Less than we should be.  Less than we can be.

This is the opposite of most proposals offered today, which suggest blaming some combination of the world, the rich, the poor, terrorists, foreigners, or whatever.  Or our leaders, who don’t kiss our boo-boos and cut the cake unfairly.  Everybody is responsible, except us.  Folks proposing such views suggest that we adopt the attitude of alarmed cattle.  Or mice. 

(7)  Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

For information about this site see the About page, at the top of the right-side menu bar.

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp interest are:

47 thoughts on “Please read this. For the sake of yourself, your children, and their children”

  1. Pingback: Top Posts «

  2. sydelle rothstein

    We stand at a crossroads today! Are we going to gallop after our TROJAN HORSE down the road that leads to socialism or worse? Are we willing to sell ourselves into slavery, to make payments to a bankrupt treasury and accept a debtors future for our children and grandchildren? Are we going to continue to allow the destruction of our financial systems, our businesses, and the wealth of this nation as it is being wasted away? Are we going to stand by and watch the destruction of the greatest Republic in the World? When do we say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?” If we do not rescue ourselves there will be no one left to rescue us! Sadly, we have no leaders. WE, THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION, MUST TAKE MATTERS INTO OUR OWN HANDS IF WE ARE TO SURVIVE.

  3. Drat FM, you beat me to it, I was going to ref it as a ‘must read’ on one of your threads.

    I must recommend several finance/enconomic sites such as “The Automatic Earth”, Yves Smith’s “Naked Capitalism”, Karl Denninger, Zero Hedge, Steve Keen (especially for theoretical background, his ‘Roving Cavaliers of Debt’ is a must read)) and of course Mish Shedlock.

    Each has various postions which you may or may not agree with (e.g. Mish is an unreconstructed Austrian School member) but it is hard to fault their information or analysis.

    Just reading those (plus follow their links) it is hard not to get an overall picture that is, at least, concerning:

    (1) It is a depression with delation.
    (2) The finance industry has a fundemental solvancy issue, that only Govt help (plus accounting fiddles) is covering up. Most, if not all are really bankrupt (inc GS).
    (3) The prospects for inflation (at least in the UK, US, Japan, etc) is unlikely, so no debt relief help from there.
    (4) Debt is the issue, the crushing weight of personal, finance, corporate debt, etc will squeeze living standards for decades.
    (5) The debt was issued by the finance industry (not the Fed), aided by de-regulation, securitisation, etc.
    (6) The US/UK model of ‘light touch’ regulation was disasterous. But the Euros got clobbered as well,by their banks evading tighter regulation at home and accessing’capital’ from the US/UK (which it wasn’t). Only the Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indian banks have any real worth.
    (7) Speculation due to leveraging became insane (the only word I can think of). CDS market 60 trillion, total deritivive market 600+ trillion, on a base of a (roughly) 50 trillion world economy.
    (8) Leveraging of 12:1, 20:1, 40:1, 60:1, 100:1, 100:1 became commonplace. With huge financial speculation based on a small pyramid of real assets.
    (9) ‘Financial innovation’ aided this basically by lying. Take a bunch of mortgages most of which were trash, by the miricle of securitisation most or all of it became AAA rated ‘investments’. Securitisation of securitisation (in the end S of S of S) became commonplace.
    (10) With this sort of money being made, Govt’s were basically bought .. and still are. Captured by these interests.
    (11) The US/UK (and Australia and quite a few other places) had no real growth through 2000-2008 except for consumption or speculation through debt growth. The real economies whithered, starved of capital, outsourced, downsized, etc. During this time the US lost millions of manufacturing jobs.
    (12) A new patrician class grew up, who really think they are entitled to the huge amounts of money they grabbed, by trading money and lying (basically). Even though their contribution to the real economy (and ordinary persons livng standards) was comparible to a vampire who had been locked in a celler for 120 years.

    (13) Democracy died. In this I disagree with FM. Basically it did not matter what party was in power* … the policies were exactly the same. Drive down ordinary people’s wages, tax cuts for the rich, and corporations. De-regulation, one rule for them another for us**, private-public ‘partnerships’ (= looting of tax money), all aided and encouraged by:
    (a) ‘Fellow travellers’ or ‘useful idiots’ in the economics ‘profession’.
    (b) Money: money for campaign contributions, lobbying, direct cash, lucritive jobs or ‘lecture tours***’ after they leave office.
    (c) A media that was itself major corporations.

    Interesting times and they are playing Russian Roulete with social cohesion (but the game plan seems to be the ‘national security state’ with many detention camp ready).

    * Labor (=left) party in power in Australia. With exactly the same, in some cases worse economic policies, such as increased immigration, tax cuts to the rich, bank guarantees, killing alternative energy (to appease the coal companies), and emmisions trading schme that rewards pollution, while hitting ordinary people and public transport .. the list is endless.
    ** Here in Oz organisations can go to the company regulator and ask for ‘exemptions’ from the law. One ‘bank’ here has lots of exemptions, as what it does actually breaks corporate law. I’d love to do that, go to my local police station: “I want an exemption from the law against robbery. Ok, you’re a fine upstanding person we won’t arrest you if you rob the bank this week”.
    *** Who goes to these ‘lecture tours’ that clowns like Bliar hold. They make millions out of them … oh, yes they are sponsered by ‘major corporations’. Here in Oz we have a State premier who retired ‘with no plans’… and turned up in a financial company for a multi million dollar salary.

    This is where FDR’s greatness was (whatever you may think of the New Deal economically) he was a patrician who turned against his own kind and saved social cohesion and democracy and capitalism in the US. Sadly there are no signs of a comparible person (or a Keynes) in the Western world today.

  4. And for further evidence: “June 27 2009: Is that the sound of a baton dropping?“, posted at The Automatic Earth, 27 June 2009.

    Referring to an article from The Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Members of U.S. House Financial Services Committee snapped up or dumped bank stocks as bottom fell out of market“, 25 June 2009:

    “As financial markets tumbled and the government worked to stave off panic by pumping billions of dollars into banks last fall, several members of Congress who oversee the banking industry were grabbing up or dumping bank stocks.

    “Anticipating bargains or profits or just trying to unload before the bottom fell out, these members of the House Financial Services Committee or brokers on their behalf were buying and selling stocks including Bank of America and Citigroup — some of the very corporations their committee would later rap for greed, a Plain Dealer examination of congressional stock market transactions shows ….”

    When you have systemic corruption then correct desion making is impossible, bacause the correct decsion (based on the longer term and the maximum good for the most people) will contradict someone who has power, influence or just information denied to the ‘proles’, thus a short term interest in making as much money as they can.

    They may actually believe that it is over, or unsustainable .. but because of their positions they really think they can make sure they are personally ok (even it means leaving). This is not unusual, how many times have we seen elites who looted their countries, squirrled away money then left when an ‘insurrection’ or coup happened?

    Elites have no patriotism.

    In WW1 the British Hapsburgs (now called Windsor) fought German Hapsburgs. Not that they actually fought of course, but you get the idea. Half of GS (and all the others) staff with the BIG bonusses have probably already bought their foreign properties they intend to run to if things get too bad in the US.

    Note CEO’s of US companies being some of the biggest sellers of their companies stocks recently (many refs to this one).

    Patriotism, like loyalty and tax paying is “for the little people”.

  5. OldSkeptic: I should have done this some time ago. I’m inviting you to blog at an additional site where intelligent commentary is greatly appreciated. If you’re in the mood, please check out: Milpub. Hope to see you there!
    FM Note: ALso posting there are some names frequently seen in these comments — seydlitz89, FDChief, and (rarerly) Publius.

  6. Further vollies between Goldman and Taibbi

    * “Goldman Sachs responds to Taibbi“, Felix Salmon, blog of Reuters, 26 June 2009 — Really weak response from Goldman.
    * “On giving Goldman a chance“, Matt Taibbi, True/Slant, 30 June 2009

    Best part of this exchange:

    Goldman’s rep: “we are painfully conscious of the importance of being a force for good.”
    Taibbi: “{That} is not quite the same thing as saying that that bank is a force for good, or wants to be.”

  7. To Mikyo:

    “Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu’un long discours”. A good sketch is better than a long speech, so they say. Papa Roach video : Getting Away With Murder

    Happy 2010 to ya. & you as well FM, along with the other readers. Let’s pray that these uncertain times work ’emselves out soon for the benefit of all.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: