"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama Watch

Right on schedule Team Obama, right on schedule. Jeremy Scahill has compiled a superb reference list of The One's new team of Clintonistas and other assorted DLC hacks and it's all in accord with an agenda the President-Elect has been signaling since he wrapped up the nomination: to the center-right we go. Change? Silly chumps.

Friday, November 21, 2008

But, but those damn auto CEOs and their private jets...

Gotta love the spectacle of our congress critters and the MSM getting their shorts in a bunch over the auto chieftains having the nerve to use company jets for the purpose in which they were intended, namely to carry executives swiftly and safely to their destinations (presumably having to do with company business). Don't get me wrong, the Big Three need to address some structural issues with their business model but few can deny that they are integral to the real economy. Unlike Wall Street the US auto industry creates something of tangible value and utility as well as providing millions of American workers with living-wage jobs which then enables them to pay their mortgages, send their children to college, or otherwise participate in the economy. Losing the nation's most important domestic manufacturing component in the face of a quarter century of off-shoring that has all but de-industrialized what was once an industrial powerhouse is a systemic threat to our well-being as a nation.

One would be hard pressed to get this impression from MSM coverage of the proposed 25 billion dollar bridge loan to the US auto industry. Instead we get theater about private jets. Did it occur to anyone in Congress or the MSM to ask the same question of the Wall Street banksters who lined up one month ago for 700 billion in taxpayer obligations with no strings attached? I wonder what the odds are that the heads of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, or Bank of New York Mellon fly commercial?

For those of us who are still curious about what Hank Paulson and his merry band of Wall Street thieves have been up to while the MSM performs its primary function of distracting the public from issues of importance, Glen Ford has this gem to help us keep things in perspective:

The rule of law has been cast aside in the mad frenzy to loot the wealth of a nation before George Bush leaves office. "Wall Street has succeeded in establishing a kind of privatized martial law economic regime," in which trillions of dollars are secretly transferred to unnamed corporations.
Lawless Capital, Rushing to Armageddon

The fundamental law of capital - the system's need to extract by any means possible ever increasing returns on investment, or die - brought the world to the current catastrophe. Inevitably, despite all the noise about the need for transparency and tightening of regulations on the behavior of capital, the system's response to its crisis is to descend into even greater depths of lawlessness.

The frenzy of unchecked illegality pulsates outward from the chaotic center of crisis and criminality: Wall Street, which has succeeded in establishing a kind of privatized martial law economic regime in the waning months of the Bush kleptocracy. The $700 billion "bailout" is revealed as a brazen bait-and-switch bamboozlement, in which Goldman Sachs Family Don Hank Paulson, under color-of-law as Treasury Secretary, ignores the terms of congressional legislation to dispense mountains of public wealth to his bankster friends as he sees fit. In return for their cut of the loot, the banking mafia give the public - nothing! No recycling of the billions into loans to small business or college-bound students or any of the intended beneficiaries. Instead, the Lords of Capital hijack the people's money to expand their territory, buying up the turf of smaller banksters in order to make themselves more indispensable, more untouchable, more removed from the elementary rule of law. Paulson attaches no strings of public obligations to his gifts, demands no voting stakeholder position in the banks.

Then, the master criminal, in secrecy and with total contempt for a spineless and utterly compromised Congress, rewrites the laws of the land, to forgive $140 billion in taxes due from the banks' merger deals, accomplished with the public's money. But Congress fails to protest this theft of its core legislative duty: to make the laws that govern society. Paulson and his banksters are above the law - mega-thieves operating with total impunity.

Meanwhile, Paulson's partner in crime at the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has distributed two trillion dollars in "loans" to a list of corporations whose identities are secret, for purposes that are also secret. Even the billionaire Michael Bloomberg's news agency is in the dark, and has sued to find out where the two thousand billion dollars has gone. Few lawmakers on Capitol Hill seem to even want to know, fearing they would be blamed for the panic that might break out if the public were aware of who had pocketed their trillions.

If there is one person who possesses the moral capital to demand an accounting from the conspirators, it is Barack Obama. But the president-elect behaves as if it is none of his business if the Bush gang loots the national wealth on its way out. But then, Obama fought for the bailout, has had the kindest words for Paulson, and gets his economic advice from Robert Rubin, a former Goldman Sachs Godfather and Treasury Secretary, and Larry Summers, another former Treasury chief who teamed with Rubin during the Clinton administration to cast a cloak of silence over questions surrounding derivatives, the exotic financial instruments that finally wrecked the global system. Obama says he wants a "smooth transition." But his silence on the lawlessness at the heart of the transition calls his own motives, competence and integrity into question.

-Glen Ford

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A time for selflessness & sacrifice

Now that President-Elect Barack Obama has done away with Maverick and the Snow Queen, he and his rapidly forming team can go about the important business of tamping down the expectations of his base. Yes, the poor suckers who've been drinking the O'laid for the past 21 months are in for a very rude awakening quite soon. The One hinted as much during his victory speech in Grant Park on Tuesday night, but for those not paying close attention the selection of brass-knuckle Zionist partisan and corporate-centrist Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff should have put them on notice. Sorry folks but given these difficult economic times it's critical that we accept that every promise made during the campaign, no matter how seemingly sincere, cannot possibly be met. It really does come down to addressing the right priorities.