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Fiddling While Rome Burns II

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This commentary by Glenn Greenwald today Monday, November 8, 2010, The self-absorption of America’s ruling class seemed appropriate for inclusion in this one-sided discussion on all matter’s important with Eric Kirk et al. It seems that when you traverse some of the ostensibly more important, relevant and timely local blogs ( I offer two examples below) you find the same kinds of (mostly) meaningless dribble as you do in the nation as a whole – certainly in the “Mainstream Media.” Here Greenwald is highlighting what he calls a “perfect exhibit of our self-absorbed political culture.”  This is appropriate to Eric because as he says he made politics “a practice and a study since I was a teenager.”

With a massive unemployment crisis, millions of foreclosures, rampant elite lawlessness and plundering, and pervasive, severe anxiety over America’s decline, this is what the “groups that matter in American politics” are anonymously complaining about:

SoHum Parlance II and Humboldt Herald.

Greenwald concludes by saying:

There, ladies and gentlemen, is the mentality of the “groups that matter in American politics.”  That’s what these people are worried about and focused on.  Some of the anti-Obama grievances cited by Politico are marginally less trivial though still on the level of political process complaints (rhetorical and communication failures on the part of the White House).  But almost all of them are voiced anonymously.  That Wall Street and other financial executives have spent the last year petulantly complaining about how unfairly they are treated — as their wealth continues to boom while the rest of the population suffers — was, in my view, one of the year’s most vivid expressions of the degradation of America’s political culture.  That “the groups that matter” are preoccupied with these sorts of prerogative-denying slights — while Politico gives them front-page anonymity to whine about those grievances — is definitely another.  We have the country we have because of the character of the people who run it. [Emphasis added]

The people who run this country are elected by a voter majority. So, what does that say about the voter?

–Joe

Fiddling While Rome Burns

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My answer to Eric Kirk at SoHum Parlance II:

[UPDATE Below] [UPDATE II] [UPDATE III :: The self-absorption of America’s ruling class – Fiddling While Rome Burns II above]

Ever hear the anachronism “Nero fiddling while Rome burns”? Well, that’s you in a nutshell.

For me, since you, like so many of your contemporaries have limited ability to engage in a meaningful, and honest way – more invested in vociferously expounding your own opinions – shouting down contrarian confronters, I’ll end this foray with the following observation. A rather knowledgeable individual, Michael Hudson puts another nail in this coffin for me. He spoke on Democracy Now this morning. The link for the complete interview is here. Unless you (not necessarily you Eric, but everyone else that reads this posting) read the complete interview you probably won’t understand how printing money to devalue the dollar is waging war with the world and how the world is fighting back, not to mention what that means to all Americans and their phony dollar supporters. Some pertinent excerpts:

New $600B Fed Stimulus Fuels Fears of US Currency War

The Federal Reserve will pump $600 billion more into the US economy and keep interest rates at historical low levels. The short-term impact of the Fed’s move, known as quantitative easing, has been a jump in stock prices across the globe. Many nations, however, have accused the United States of waging a currency war by devaluing the dollar. *** Hudson: “The object of warfare is to take over a country’s land, raw materials and assets, and grab them,” Hudson says. “In the past, that used to be done militarily by invading them. But today you can do it financially simply by creating credit, which is what the Federal Reserve has done.”

AND:

… Brazil’s president-elect Dilma Rousseff said, quote, “The last time there was a series of competitive devaluations, it ended in World War II.”

China has accused the US of uncontrolled money printing. By devaluing the dollar, the Fed is cheapening the price of US exports and making foreign imports more expensive. In addition, the low interest rates are encouraging US corporations to make massive investments overseas, cheaply buying up foreign real estate, natural resources and stock.

From my perspective, the most important part of his interview preceded what he says below. While you intellectualized and analyze the latest vote, the winners, the losers and what that might mean for everyone and our future, you totally miss what’s really happening to this country. Michael Hudson, at least to serious and honest people, brings that reality into sharp focus in one word: “CORRUPTION.” Obama inherited this war and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit that he was handpicked to continue prosecuting it. He then, to bolster his real base, turns around and uses the same tactic used to get him elected. If the Tea Party hadn’t messed things up, by all accounts, they’d control both the House and Senate, Supreme Court and the White House. At that point this country becomes a one-party dictatorship. Is that what most American’s want? To be told how free they are while being ruled by a dictator? In the meantime, all he does is continue to prop up and protect the fraud, the fraudulent, the corrupt and the universal corruption, with the following consequences:

Hudson:

And what they’re pointing out is that in Europe, in Germany and all of Europe, it’s illegal for the central bank to finance government debt. All of Europe is being subjected to austerity now because of the way in which their constitution is written. So they’re saying, “Wait a minute. When we run a deficit, we have to raise interest rates and impose austerity. And in the United States, they are doing just the opposite. They’re lowering interest rates to buy us out.”

And the interview of Professor Stiglitz (economist Joe Stiglitz) here was quite right. America is doing all of this. The Fed is doing this to cover up the huge fraud that he talks about. He’s right. These people should be in jail, and you shouldn’t bail them out. You’re keeping the debt that was run out by the junk mortgages and the fraudulent lending, you’re keeping that in place, pricing American labor out of the market, and making it impossible for America to earn its way out of debt. So, in Europe, they’re saying, “How can America ever repay these dollar debts that they’re running up?” They can’t repay, and that’s why the euro is going up against America. And that’s why they say, “We want to now talk to the BRIC countries, to China, to the third world, and move into a currency area with them and just isolate the dollar, so they can’t do the kind of financial warfare that they’ve been engaging in. [Emphasis added]

What Obama has done to America and how:

AMY GOODMAN: What is—overall, what do you think President Obama should do, and what do you think he did wrong, since people say it’s the economy that took him down in the elections?

MICHAEL HUDSON: He has always represented Wall Street’s interest. The deal he—his protector in the Senate was Joe Lieberman and part of the Democratic Leadership Council. And during the last presidential campaign, he won because he said he was for change. And Dennis Kucinich kept saying, “Here is the change in the law that I’ve recommended.” He said exactly what he would do. Mr. Obama never said what he would do. And it’s obviously the case that he saw that the public wanted change. If you want to get elected, you say that you’re for change.

But what he’s turned into is the third Bush-Cheney administration. He’s reappointed the worst of the Bush people, like Tim Geithner as the Treasury secretary. He’s kept on the most right-wing of the Clinton people as his economic advisers. He is essentially in Wall Street’s pocket. And that’s not changed at all. And that’s why so many people were so disappointed. They believed that he was going to be for change, and he’s a good speaker, but he had no intention of doing the change at all, as we now see.

And he still has not come out and said that America needs anything except more debt, more bailouts for the banks. People were angry because the banks were bailed out. And now the Republicans will say he didn’t give them enough. They’re angry because he didn’t give Wall Street enough and cut taxes enough on the rich. That’s not why people are angry. They’re angry because he gave money to the rich, the exact opposite.

This Elite Class that controls the phony money (Market Street and the Federal Reserve System among others) is at war with the World. They promise their “worldly” counterparts that cooperate with them, those complicit in this war that sell out their countries and their people, a share in this World Rule and all their ill-gotten gains. The problem for us is that they are not only trying to loot the world, they are at war with the American people and fanatically looting them too. That should tell you how insane they are and how far they are willing to go to control everything and everyone.

If there ever was a One World Government trying to exert itself, this is it.

By the way, this whole process, this “War,” to establish this pseudo ruling class under God, got started before the American Civil War. In fact, some believe it was the consequence of “This War” that got President Abraham Lincoln assassinated. The die was cast when President Woodrow Wilson sold out and went along with setting up the Federal Reserve System in 1913. It took another 68 years before President Ronald Regan was able to re-energize the war and the movement that nearly failed, in large part due the the New Deal and other people-empowering actions. The success of the War was questionable until the coup in 2000 and the incident on 9/11/2001.

So Eric, you might want to rethink your so-called “realistic” and “substantive” approach. What is – IS and no one can change that. Vilifying and trying to disparage the messenger is a tool of these war-mongering would-be Elitists. They think the election results has re-energized and legitimized them in this country and in the world. They are already trying to shout down anyone that calls them on their fraudulent, phony bullshit. They know that the REAL “War” has NOT failed or been lost — yet.
[Source]

[UPDATE :: Saturday, November 6, 2010]

I am posting this statement by Glenn Greenwald is his Salon.com column today because it goes right to the heart to previous discussions with Eric Kirk, the one above and his July 9, 2010, posting: Simi Valley comes to Oakland involving his most recent post about the same subject: Two Year Verdict for BART Station Killing. Here, in this article, excerpt below, Greenwald defends himself from people that make documented statements then violently deny what they said by making the same kinds of personal hyperbolic attacks razed against me for similar types of observations.

With that strategy, the Democratic Party now reaps what it has sown.  Its message and identity are profoundly muddled, incoherent, unclear, uninspiring, and self-negating.  Worse, its policies are mishmashes of inept half-measures that, with a handful of exceptions, produce little good for anyone (other than Wall Street, the Pentagon and other corporate interests).  They are perceived as — and are — beholden to Wall Street, special interests, and the corporations they vowed to confront.  They are without any ability to confront the massive unemployment crisis and financial decline the country faces.  And as a result of all of that, they lay in shambles.  Anyone who can survey all of that and cheer for the strategy which Democrats have been pursuing — let’s build our majorities by relying on GOP-replicating corporatist Blue Dogs — or who thinks that this election loss happened because “Democrats are too liberal,” resides in a world that has very little to do with reality.  And that’s true no matter how many times they repeat the simplistic snippets of exit polls to which they’ve obsessively attached themselves.

Link to the complete article: Lawrence O’Donnell vehemently denies his own words.

[UPDATE II :: Saturday, November 6, 2010]

My comment posted to SoHum Parlance II today at: Two Years for BART Station Killing. This is the complete comment.

Eric, I didn’t come back to this thread, Simi Valley Comes To Oakland because the conversation was, frankly, so damned disgusting and offensive. Consequently, I didn’t see what Ernie Branscomb said about me that really emphasized the insults. Apparently he’d been conferring and, above all else, “siding with” Dave Stancliff and decided to try to get personal with me too. Even so, I’d like you two brilliant individuals, in view of the sentence just handed down, to tell everyone now, how I am exposed as “angry and paranoid” for reading something nonexistent into what you said, enough to need “help”? I certainly thought that, you above all others, would know and understand the difference between the “subject” and the “object.” Those that confuse the two, can’t tell themselves one from the other, what they think from who they are, by definition are “paranoid.” So, I’d like to know who is suffering the “fool” is now?

There is more to this comment Eric, but since it deals mostly with Ernie Branscomb and how you handled his personal attack, I posted it at the end of my general comment at this link: “Fiddling While Rome Burns.”

July 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm
Ernie’s Place
Joe Blow

I am absolutely astounded at the things that you can read into the most generic of statements. I normally don’t suffer fools, and I see Eric has stopped rising to your bait, but you are just way too far out there to ignore any longer. If you are really as paranoid and angry as you seem you should seek help. Nobody said anything about siding with anybody… Got it? It’s simply a situation that could have, and should have been avoided. And many people are going to pay the price for losing control, the cop, the deceased, and the friends and family of both.

All Branscomb did was react by making unsubstantiated accusations and call me names and that is apparently okay with you. “Rising to” what “bait”? You guys made you’re statements that set the subject. NOT ME! I’ve known Ernie Branscomb since we were in school together. He was a meaningless mealy-mouthed jerk then and in 60 plus years degenerated into a real blue-ribbon specimen. As an attorney you should know, that if you’re going to say it you’d better be able to back it up. Otherwise none of this, you or your blogs, is about what you say, but rather about who you think you are. Certainly you know how far you get when you try (or if you ever tried) to push that crap on a Judge. Apparently Ernie Branscomb et. al. are unable to distinguish between discussing or commenting on subject issues and NOT getting or being personal. That condition is an affliction, and by definition, is paranoia. Based upon subsequent conversations, you mostly distinguished yourself above this kind of hyperbole. To “bait” someone is to get personal and NOT talk about the subject issue. I don’t talk to Branscomb, because he is essentially irrelevant. I do, occasionally as with you, make observations about some things you say or write.  You, however, if you thought I was getting personal or trying to “bait” you, all you had to do was say so and you wouldn’t have to worry about me gracing your blog with my “far out” comments and observations.


BRIC is defined in Wikipedia as: BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China

 

Sohum Parlance II http://bit.ly/cd9o72

–Joe

‘You Must Hate Your Neighbor As Yourself’

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cagle-piggyHate your neighbor? Only if they’re Republicans.

I just found out that my home, conservatively speaking, depreciated 16.4 percent and the Republican’s are responsible. That’s a lot of money flat gone in one year!

Not only that but the dirty b******’s are fighting the stimulus package that’s preconditioned on more political smoke-blowing double-talk rather than enforce the law. Talk about a pack of mongrel dogs!

Report: $9.7 Trillion Government Tab in Financial Crisis
Bloomberg News estimates the economic stimulus package would raise the government tab in addressing the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion. In addition to the Wall Street bailout and the current stimulus plan, the US government is believed to have lent or spent more than $8 trillion through the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The $9.7 trillion figure would nearly be enough to pay off every mortgage in the nation.

This is what we can look forward to according to this economist and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas:

JAMES GALBRAITH: The stimulus package is a very good bill, and it should pass. It will not, by itself, deal with the economic crisis that we’re in. I think we should be very clear about that. Expectations for an early turnaround should not be—you know, should not be very high. A clear—a major problem that we face is that the stimulus package is sized so that it will work only if the revival of credit, which is part of the plan that the Treasury is announcing today, also works. And the problem is that that plan is still, I think, not well designed and is not likely to succeed. I think it actually, in many ways, misconceives the nature of the credit problem that we have, and therefore is very unlikely to succeed at bringing about an early revival of credit markets, of housing markets, of consumer credit markets, automobile loans, and the rest. Now, we could talk about that, but I think it’s very important to understand that this spending package is really geared to the success of this other piece, and this other piece is much more problematic than the spending package is.

What should happen today, BUT probably won’t:

JAMES GALBRAITH: Well, the crucial question is, on what terms does the Treasury plan to guarantee or to repurchase or to otherwise deal with the bad assets that the banks have? These assets are mortgage-backed securities. They are securities derived from subprime loans that were made in an atmosphere of regulatory laxness and complicity and fraud, basically, during the Bush administration, which came to take over the system of housing finance and to infect it with assets which nobody trusts, which nobody can value. And nobody really knows what’s in the files, what’s on the loan tapes of those—that underlie those securities. So the question that I think we need to ask is, before we issue a public guarantee, does the Treasury of the United States plan to conduct a meticulous audit of the assets that underlie the securities that they’re expecting to take off the banks’ books, so that we, the taxpayer, can have an idea of what, if anything, these securities are worth?

And the problem is that when you—the little bit of checking that has been done appears to reveal that a very large fraction of these securities contain, on the face of it, misrepresentation or fraud in the files. And so, we are looking at an asset which nobody, no outside investor doing due diligence on behalf of a client for whom they have some responsibility, would touch. And that is the issue. That’s the problem.

If that is indeed the case, then I think it’s fair to conclude that the large banks, which the Treasury is trying very hard to protect, cannot in fact be protected, that they are in fact insolvent, and that the proper approach for dealing with them is for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to move in and take the steps that the FDIC normally takes when dealing with insolvent banks.

And the sooner that you get to that and the sooner that you take these steps, which every administration, including the Bush administration, actually took in certain cases—replacing the management, making the risk capital take the first loss, reorganizing the institution, guaranteeing the deposits so that there isn’t a run, reopening the bank under new management so that it can begin to function again as it should have all along as a normal bank—the sooner you get to that, the more quickly you’ll work through the crisis.

The more you delay and the more you try to essentially prop up an institution whose books have already been poisoned, in effect, by this—the practices of the past few years, the longer it will take before the credit markets begin to function again. And as I said before, the functioning of the credit markets is absolutely essential to the success of the larger package, of the stimulus package and everything else, in beginning to revive the economy.

Maybe I can’t do anything about President Obama’s gutless inability to holdhate01 George Bush, his people, and the banks accountable for their crimes, but I certainly can those that I know were responsible for installing and supporting that rogue regime for the past decade. I can show them how the Second Commandment works.


New Class of Ruling Elite To Hate

Not much hope in this “no-plan”:

MICHAEL HUDSON: (Obama recover plan is no good.) Because it’s not leading to recovery at all. It’s now up to $12 trillion. It’s a giveaway to the banks, to the creditors, without a single penny for actual debt reduction. And I had thought that at least half a percentage point, $50 billion, was going to be to write down troubled mortgage debtors, but it turns out that not a penny of mortgage debt is going to be written down. When the banks have lent more money than a mortgage owes, with 38 percent, the government is going to create its own debt to come in and make up the difference, so the debt is going to continue to grow exponentially, and it’s way beyond the ability of the economy to pay. If people have to pay the amount of debt that they have now, there won’t be any money to buy goods and services, companies will not sell as much, they’ll invest less, they’ll hire less, and they’ll continue to downsize.

And what’s happened is that this is the greatest transfer of wealth really in American history. It’s doubled the American debt. The closest parallel I can think of is William the Conqueror’s conquest of England. He came with a military band, conquered the land and imposed taxes over the whole land, basing it all on the Domesday Book, what—the rent could be squeezed out. In this case, the rip-off has been non-military. The bankers have done insider dealing to get the government to give them or guarantee them $12 trillion of bad loans they’ve made, many of them fraudulent.

And then they’re trying to blame the poor for all this, as if the poor are somehow exploiting the rich by taking out more loans than they can pay. Yesterday, Senator McCain said—he warned that all of this debt was going to be paid by the future generation, and we’re exploiting them. But that’s not how to think of it at all. When you have a debt that goes to a future generation, you have taxpayers paying to bondholders, just like in the nineteenth century you had the western states paying to the eastern states. So what you’ve done is given $12 trillion to the richest one percent—or ten percent of the population, and you’ve indebted the economy and the government to them for the next hundred years. You’ve created a new class of ruling families. –Updated February 13, 2009

–Joe

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