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Wall Street Will Be Back for More

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Posted on Jan 10, 2010
AP / Richard Drew

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

“There are always internal conversations about taking credit for certain trades and deals,” Prins said of her time at Goldman Sachs. “It is childish, except there is so much money at stake and so much power within the firm at stake. Power in the firm allows you to make money, but it also provides a certain status that everyone looks up to and covets. There can be a period of a month or two at the end of the year where closed-door conversations occur between managers and people who work for them about compensation. In these conversations they go something like: ‘My group did that trade.’ ‘I did that trade.’ ‘No, that was my money.’ ‘No, that was my profit and loss.’ ‘That’s my client.’ ‘I know the other group said that it was their client but actually I had the relationship first.’ A lot of these petty conversations go back and forth. All of it to attain money and acquire power and influence within the firm.”

Those who advance in these institutions master the art of looking like they are doing more than they are actually doing. It does not matter who does the most. It matters who can take credit for doing the most. And that often means poaching someone else’s work. Friendship becomes a meaningless word. So does compassion. So does honesty. So does truth. By any standard comprehensible within the tradition of Western civilization these people are illiterate. They cannot recognize the vital relationship between power and morality. They have forgotten, or never knew, that moral traditions are the product of civilization. Existence, for them, boils down to one overriding imperative—me, me, me.

“The people who get the higher bonuses are not getting them because they are quietly doing whatever work they are supposed to do,” said Prins, who also ran the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London. “They are getting that money because they are constantly able to promote themselves.”

“The environment is very insular,” Prins said. “It is all about what is happening in the firm. Who said what. Who is doing what. What did they say about you. How does it affect you. How does it affect your group. How does it affect the people above you and below you. It destroys individuality. You learn there is a certain way you are supposed to act to be successful. If you are not doing that, if you are fighting too hard to do something you believe is right, but your managers don’t want to do, you defer. Or you fight and it gets marked as a stripe against you. You don’t discuss interests that are counter to the firm’s interests or the firm’s positions.”

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“You are not thinking whether it is ethical to dump a bunch of loans into the street or repackage them and re-rate them better,” she said. “You are only thinking about getting the deal done. You don’t think about how issuing certain securities or structuring certain deals will impact people [around you].”

“When you are living, competing and winning in an environment where it is all about the money and the power, it creates a dividing line between you and the rest of the world,” Prins said. “You do not bother to look over the dividing line. Your world is on your side of it and the rest of the world is on their side of it. You are not looking at people being kicked out of their homes and being foreclosed. You do not see the crying, the anger and the children in the street because [those in government] decided to give money to bail out Wall Street firms as opposed to renegotiate mortgage principals so people can continue to live their lives. You can be callous about it because it does not impact you. It is not something you notice. You might read about it. But you don’t feel it, watch it or go through it. You are detached.”

Banks are continuing to have hemorrhaging in consumer portfolios including mortgage loans, auto loans, credit card loans and other loans. Bankruptcies are endemic. Toxic assets if properly assessed would mean that many of our largest banks are insolvent. But the profits from the trading revenues and bonuses have climbed back to near-record highs. The sick mentality of the game, the one that created the first worldwide meltdown, dominates the nervous systems of our elite the way cravings overtake heroin addicts. They can’t think of anything else. They do not know how. No one goes to Wall Street to further the common good. People go to make money. And money, like power, is a potent narcotic.

“You don’t think you are doing anything wrong,” Prins said. “You are working. You are making money. You are trying to have your bosses like you and pay you. You run things by legal [the company’s legal department]. You run things by compliance. You don’t believe you are committing a crime. You are just doing what you are doing.”

“We will have another crisis,” she lamented. “I don’t know when, but it is brewing. If you don’t fundamentally change the foundation of the banking system you are piling on capital and time into something that is faulty. This does not result in decades of stability. They are banking on trading. Nothing has changed. The rest of the consumer economy is continuing to deteriorate. These losses go into banks. You gain on trading and lose on more solid practices. The foundation has not changed. The regulations are bullshit. The old assets are still crap. The new assets created off the old assets are still crap. The banks are still levering them and still doing the same practices they did before. We will have another liquidity crunch. Banks will again stop trusting their assets and each other. …  The buying of complex assets will stop, although this time more quickly. People will remember what happened before. You will have a repeat of credit constricting between financial institutions. It is already constricted on the consumer side. The banking system will use up this federal capital and then go back for more.” 

Chris Hedges, a former Middle East bureau chief of The New York Times, shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism. He has written nine books, including “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009). His column appears on Truthdig every Monday.


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By Robert Roth, January 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks for this excellent piece, Chris, as well as many others.  FYI, this particular item was helpful to and is highlighted in my post today at http://www.anewwayforward.org/blogs/.

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By onegaleano, January 24, 2010 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

As this is my first post, I must admit my frustration with “signing in” before I can post.  I reallly don’t need another password to remember…is there no other way to block unproductive comments?
    I loved this article, does capitalism turn on our narcissistic traits?  Look at the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder…it’s like the monopoly game creates this behavior.  People will try to win the game they are given…maybe we can teach them what Prins came to understand, or at least inspire them to play another game they can feel more proud of.

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By ThomasG, January 17, 2010 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

ac,

What we, the American Populace/Back Street America are trying to do is to crawl out from under the pile of trillions of dollars of debt that the U.S. Government has committed the American Populace/Back Street America to pay to clean up Wall Street’s and Main Street’s Mess.

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By ac, January 16, 2010 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Let’s all pile on Wall Street greedster addicts, as if none of this has anything to
do with you and me. We’re just victims.

Ha! You are the perpetrator of the lie in your life. If someone sold it and you
bought it, it’s now yours, even if you were just 3 years old at the time.”

Rgyle: You’re right to an extent. But taking control has another component - it’s not just about ignoring what’s out there in order to “manifest” a better world…it’s dealing with all this info in a responsible manner so that we know what we are “doing wrong” spiritually.

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By ThomasG, January 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

The problem is financialization and the answer to the problem of financialization is to reinitialize the “real economy” of the United States, rather than to have the U.S. Economy be dependent upon financial transactions, instead of Manufacturing and Agriculture.

If financialization of the U.S. Economy is not thought through, why is it that financialization is cyclical?

Financialization brought down the Economy of 14th Century Spain, and after Spain, Holland, then Britain, and now financialization is bringing down the Economy of the United States, and China is the Ascendant Economy.  Financialization has a history of Destruction of Economies of many different countries over hundreds of years and being well known, should be regulated to prevent the devastation and destruction that is the result of financialization for the Populace of the Nation whose Economy is intentionally destroyed by financialization.

To say that financialization is not intentionally thought through, and dismiss regulation of financialization for that reason is irresponsible pandering to Wall Street and Main Street at the expense of Back Street, the American Populace, that has to pay for the result of financialization in the name of Saving the Economy from which they do not share in the benefit.

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By Virginia777, January 14, 2010 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges, you got it right! “These deeply stunted and maladjusted individuals…They are skilled drones, often possessed of a peculiar kind of analytical intelligence and drive, but morally, emotionally and creatively crippled” So true, and by your analysis of their psychology and motives, you are pointing out the true Terrorism, of Wall street.

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By Kaybee, January 13, 2010 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From Time Magazine (January 13, 2010): “In the next
week or so, Goldman and other large financial firms
will hand out an estimated $140 billion in 2009
bonuses. Goldman alone is expected to enrich its
employees by $18 billion.”

These people are back to partying like it’s 1999. 
The government refuses to regulate them and the
banksters even admitted in the financial oversight
hearings Wednesday that they know they can go to
Congress and get bailed out.  These bailouts are
open-ended and permanent, these banking cartels,
according to the people doing’s God’s work, are too
big to fail.

These financial, insurance and real estate cartels
are doing America in and pretty soon perhaps 75% of
Americans will be living in Haiti-like conditions. 
The great heist of 2008 has ruined so many lives, so
many dreams, uprooted people from their homes and has
created so much fear and confusion.

And like was mentioned here, after they fleece and
bankrupt the United States,they move on to their next
(international) victims.  This disaster, predatory
capitalism is spreading all over the world!

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By samosamo, January 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

By Ouroborus, January 13 at 8:26 am

I agree that there are sill tribes left of what were/are the greatest of
civilizations, in my opinion, but I differentiate at a point where
the invading europeans had basically pushed what remaining
native americans to reservations or just out of the way and
pretty much which robbed and/or reduced their culture which
again I find was better than anything the invaders had or have
since produced, most especially in social, governmental and
spiritual matters, but that was a problem because when the
invaders asked to buy some land for their needs the indians,
admittedly so even by the calvary generals, were so honest as
to say the land belongs to no one, it is for everyone.

Now I just can’t help seeing the relation of what that did to
these already extremely hostile and greedy invaders and the
gleam in their eye and the eagerness in the ‘claiming’ of the
land as theirs since it was apparent that the indians did not
claim ownership just as it took reagan’s administration or
someone’s in that time frame to latch on to that little monster
milton freidman’s ‘unfettered economics’ and ‘globalization’
and what that has done for the now occurring crisis.

I know this may seem obtuse but for one, the indians didn’t
have the land or ability to move and use the lands they once
did and another, where they were placed was in probably
most cases on land a lot different and less desirable that what
they had, basically turning their world and cultures into small
islands of refuge, then there came the huge influx of peoples
from all over to get their share and on and on.

Also, your further comments about Tao Walker goes for me
also, I too have followed his (or could that be her?) commentary
as it has much sense that has been lost or that takes the mask
of BS off of what is important and I hope that those ‘last great
civilizations’ bring people around to a sense of decorum of
sound judgement and action.

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By Bilejones, January 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I did this for 20 years until I finally had enough. Hedges sums it up perfectly.

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By Rgyle, January 13, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Let’s all pile on Wall Street greedster addicts, as if none of this has anything to
do with you and me. We’re just victims.

Ha! You are the perpetrator of the lie in your life. If someone sold it and you
bought it, it’s now yours, even if you were just 3 years old at the time.

We have a longstanding tradition of parents, and others, passing on the
ignorance, illusion and delusion to the children, over and over and over. And
the seed of all of is the “me” as a separate person. We are ignorant of our utter
oneness as awareness and being, or is that too “new agey?” If so, you now have
an excuse to scoff what I am saying.

Read Eckhart Tolle, or better yet, Nisargadatta, to locate and eliminate the lie
and the liar in yourself. Or perhaps look into TAO Walker’s Tayoshpaye way.
Even advanced physics breaks it down leaving only a naked subjectivity, where
physical science ends. Then it all collapses except the real, which can’t
collapse. It’s not out there and it’s not next week. It’s right here with us, mostly
ignored.

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By ThomasG, January 13, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

drbhelthi, January 13 at 12:21 pm,

Financialization is a scheme that replaces Agriculture and Manufacturing commodities in a “real economy” with “financial instruments” that are created, then bought and sold in the same manner as Agriculture and Manufacturing commodities in a “real economy”.

To say that financialization is a gambling addiction is a frame that diminishes the real criminality of financialization.

Cheap Labor and Short-Term Profit starts financialization by eliminating the real Agricultural and Manufacturing Base of an Economy in pursuit of Cheap Labor and Short-Term Profit; replacing the “real economy” with a Mercantile Economy; and then, supporting the Mercantile Economy with borrowed money and markets in financial instruments.

The Process of Financialization of an Economy is a process of intent that has purpose; and to dismiss Financialization of an Economy as a gambling addiction is an attempt to diminish the “nature and scope of financialization” as an intended scheme that is an extension of a process implemented with purpose in pursuit of Cheap Labor and Short-Term Profit by Wall Street and Main Street at the expense of Back Street, the American Populace.

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By John Steinsvold, January 13, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

An Alternative to Capitalism (which we desperately need here in the USA)

The following link takes you to an essay titled: “Home of the Brave?” which I wrote and appeared in the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

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By planetax, January 13, 2010 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

I did not have the understanding nor the intellect to see the situation.

Chris Hedges is right on the money, I’ve read Empire of Ilussions and he has enlightened me .

Thanks Chris for telling the truth.

The situation is not even worth a revolution.
If we start a revolution the corporate state will beat us into submission.

Let it all rotten,it is enough for me to know the truth.

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By sharonsj, January 13, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The banksters will be going back for more because the government will be giving it to them.  Unfortunately, there’s not much more to give since most people are going broke. 

The current congressional roasting is just for show. I don’t expect Congress will do anything to help the average American.

I see tons of irate comments at every website I visit.  But complaining will get us nowhere.  I am now convinced that only putting bodies in the streets will get a politician’s attention.

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By drbhelthi, January 13, 2010 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

It is time for folk to understand that the vast majority of “leaders” in the banking industry are obsessive gamblers. They are addicts to gambling. They are gambling addicts.

An addiction to gambling is not corrected by providing the addicted person with a self-replenishing bank account, as has been done by “our” congress.  “Our” congress appears to be the “right wing” and the “left wing” of the US banking industry fuselage. Both the Reprobate Party and the Demagogue Party require the same “therapy” as the gambling addicts of the banking industry.

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By Trailing Begonia, January 13, 2010 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Wall Street has already been back for more, the corporate media has just neglected to inform the sheeple of that fact.  After all, there were more important things to report like exploding Fruit Of The Loom underwear, Simon Cowell leaving American Idol and Paris Hilton’s new line of crotchless panties.

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By Ouroborus, January 13, 2010 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

Addendum;
I think the things TAO Walker says actually scares the
hell out of the people who understand what he says.
He’s talking about new beginnings and all they see are
endings.

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By Ouroborus, January 13, 2010 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

ardee, January 13 at 7:12 am #
Ouroborus, January 13 at 2:35 am #

TAO Walker, January 12 at 11:05 pm #

Re: “cyberspace”
Yeah I know , doestnt seem like it yet.
==================================
Terrorists are using the internet more effectively
than any voter in the U.S.; at least if one goes by
results.
TAO Walker is the only one who really gets it. I’ve
wondered why he keeps posting (I hope he doesn’t
stop); he almost never gets a reply and I don’t think
he really expects to get one.
I will tell you this; if I ever have to return to the
states (the spirits willing, I don’t) I’m going to
hunt him down and join him however I can. I long ago
gave up expecting an actual result. Peace.

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By Ouroborus, January 13, 2010 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

samosamo, January 13 at 12:11 am

While I liked the spirit and content of your post; “the
last of the great civilizations”?

Last I checked the Oglala Sioux, Hopi, Chinook,
Tillamook, Nez Perce, Iroquois and on and on and on;
were still alive AND kicking, so to speak.  wink

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By ardee, January 13, 2010 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus, January 13 at 2:35 am #

TAO Walker, January 12 at 11:05 pm #

Re: “cyberspace”

As we are in the infancy of this medium of expression, and given the fact of the deaths
(murder most foul) of the free press and investigative journalism, I would rise to the defense of at least the potential for this sort of meeting house becoming the new democratic process.

Yeah I know , doestnt seem like it yet.

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By Ouroborus, January 12, 2010 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker, January 12 at 11:05 pm #
Since nothing really happens in cyberspace anyhow, some
Old Savage fiddling around on a laptop shouldn’t even
be a cause for alarm….never-mind divine intervention.
====================================
LOL: Ain’t that the truth! I see it as a substitute so
one is under the illusion one is acting.

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By ThomasG, January 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

”“We will have another crisis,” she lamented. “I don’t know when, but it is brewing. If you don’t fundamentally change the foundation of the banking system you are piling on capital and time into something that is faulty. This does not result in decades of stability. They are banking on trading. Nothing has changed. The rest of the consumer economy is continuing to deteriorate. These losses go into banks. You gain on trading and lose on more solid practices. The foundation has not changed. The regulations are bullshit. The old assets are still crap. The new assets created off the old assets are still crap. The banks are still levering them and still doing the same practices they did before. We will have another liquidity crunch. Banks will again stop trusting their assets and each other. …  The buying of complex assets will stop, although this time more quickly. People will remember what happened before. You will have a repeat of credit constricting between financial institutions. It is already constricted on the consumer side. The banking system will use up this federal capital and then go back for more.””

The answer to the problem of financialization is to reinitialize the “real economy” of the United States, rather than to have the U.S. Economy be dependent upon financial transactions, rather than manufacturing and agriculture, and to regulate financialization.

If financialization is something that is not thought through, why is it that financialization is cyclical?

Financialization brought down the economy of 14th Century Spain and after Spain, Holland, then Britain, and NOW financialization is bringing down the economy of the United States, and China is ascendant.  For something that was not thought through, financialization has a history of destruction of economies of many different countries over hundreds of years, and should be regulated to prevent the devastation and destruction that it results in for the Populace of the Nation, whose economy is intentionally destroyed by financialization.

To say that financialization is not thought through, and dismiss regulation of financialization for that reason is irresponsible pandering to Wall Street and Main Street at the expense of Back Street America/the American Populace that has to pay for the result of financialization in the name of saving the economy from which they, the American Populace/Back Street America, do not share in the benefit.

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By samosamo, January 12, 2010 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

A quote from the last of the great civilizations:

“In the government you called civilized, the happiness of the
people is constantly sacrificed to the splendor of empire.
Hence the origin of your codes of criminal and civil laws;
hence your dungeons and prisons. We have no prisons; we
have no pompous parades of court; we have no written laws;
and yet judges are as highly revered among us as they are
among you, and their decisions are as much regarded.

We have among us no exalted villains above the control of our
laws. Daring wickedness is here never allowed to triumph over
helpless innocence. The estates of widows and orphans are
never devoured by enterprising swindlers.

We have no robbery under the pretext of law.”

Thayendanegea- Joseph Brant (Mohawk)

Here is where the division of the criminally intent veer from
the need and cause to maintain a stable civilization which
though it has destroyed the existing civilization and culture in
the ostensible appearance of creating a brand new strong and
‘righteous’ civil society, it too has been brought down by
those in the government who are now paid to give the
ostensible credibility of the replacement of a representative
government in this republic to the actual aristocracy that
replaces the people’s idea of democracy, so forget anything
about what may still be this republic’s democracy because the ‘elite or aristocracy’ have bought and paid for the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government from the local to the federal levels of our republic by nothing less than the CRIMINAL BRIBERY THAT IT IS!!!

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By TAO Walker, January 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

One thing @CT won’t find this Old Indian doing is capitalizing on god….a catch-all generic term if ever there was one.  Besides, ain’t all children’s gods got names?  Orgies, on the other hand, are best taken how you find ‘em, eh….and whenever you get the chance? 

Since nothing really happens in cyberspace anyhow, some Old Savage fiddling around on a laptop shouldn’t even be a cause for alarm….never-mind divine intervention.

HokaHey!

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By WriterOnTheStorm, January 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

The managerial psychopath and the company drone are the fashionable antagonists and supporting cast of the
emerging “corporate collective” narrative. It remains to be seen if this approach will get any traction in the political
palindrome known as the socialism/capitalism debate.

I remain skeptical. Behaviorally, we appear to be driven to experience a sense of purpose, but if our perpetual violent
struggles for the gods-du-jour, trivial social status and shiny gewgaw are any indication, it scarcely matters what that
purpose actually is. Those denizens of designer offices, drones and psychopaths from the perspective of us passersby,
nonetheless regard themselves as victors in their personal struggle, and are rewarded with a very real sense of
fulfillment and self-satisfaction. And even if, on a deeper more philosophical level, their achievements are as fleeting
as the proverbial sand passing through one’s fingers, their sense of purpose gets flushed out the other side intact.
That is what counts most to them, just like anybody else.

As for Hedges’ “autonomous man”, he has always been an outlier.  The shaman, the artist, the heretic, the innovator,
the morally outraged journalist - these are and have always been the spare parts of the apparatus. There is little point
in pretending that these roles can be mainstreamed, or that a working society could function with the outliers at the
helm.

It’s the banker’s lot to live out his days chasing numbers. Hedges’ lot is to stand apart, the better to see where we are
going. And if we are headed toward the cliffs as Hedges warns, I wouldn’t count on anyone taking their head out of a
ledger long enough to hear.

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By Blackspeare, January 12, 2010 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

For those of you who think things can’t get much worse——just wait awhile——real inflation looms ahead!  Get ready for another round of “Sticker Shock!”

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By Howie Bledsoe, January 12, 2010 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It reminds me of a guy I knew who came from a upper middle class family, and got deeply into gambling. Once he lost everything in the casinos, his car, deed to the house and all his other assets, he would go crawling back to mom, who just couldnt say no, her denial was too great, and she would lend him another 50,000.  He truly always thought he´d make it back, come clean, and somehow manage to get over his addiction. Needless to day, he cleaned his parents out.

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By GW=MCHammered, January 12, 2010 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Narcissistic U.S. culture is the core problem. On the world stage, it’s simply time to grow up:

Learning From Europe
By PAUL KRUGMAN

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/opinion/11krugman.html?em

(snippet)

“The real lesson from Europe is actually the opposite of what conservatives claim: Europe is an economic success, and that success shows that social democracy works.

Actually, Europe’s economic success should be obvious even without statistics. For those Americans who have visited Paris: did it look poor and backward? What about Frankfurt or London? You should always bear in mind that when the question is which to believe — official economic statistics or your own lying eyes — the eyes have it.”


Crazy Like Us:
The Globalization of the American Psyche
By ETHAN WATTERS

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/magazine/10psyche-t.html?

(snippet)

CROSS-CULTURAL psychiatrists have pointed out that the mental-health ideas we export to the world are rarely unadulterated scientific facts and never culturally neutral. “Western mental-health discourse introduces core components of Western culture, including a theory of human nature, a definition of personhood, a sense of time and memory and a source of moral authority. None of this is universal,” Derek Summerfield of the Institute of Psychiatry in London observes. He has also written: “The problem is the overall thrust that comes from being at the heart of the one globalizing culture. It is as if one version of human nature is being presented as definitive, and one set of ideas about pain and suffering. . . . There is no one definitive psychology.”

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By samosamo, January 12, 2010 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

By liecatcher, January 12 at 7:08 am #
TO; bradstyris, January 12 at 5:51 am

There used to be a TV show “LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH &
FAMOUS.

The fascists & Oligarchs controlling & destroying
America are operating world wide & living like kings.
Just look at the Bush Crime Family. These miscreants
are having some much fun exploiting us that their faces
hurt from laughing so much.
********************************************
“”“These miscreants are having some much fun exploiting us
that their faces hurt from laughing so much.”“”
********************************************

The accompanying picture hedges has with this article is the
perfect description of your comment about how easy it is to
have your face hurt from laughter because it is even easier to
dupe the general populace into doing absolutely nothing as
they rob us blind, OR, it is really a perfect picture of your
description of someone’s face hurting from the laughter of
exploiting the people for their greedy wants and needs.

Whatever it is, this big fat boy is literally caught on camera
laughing his big fat fucking ass off at the somnolent public for
doing nothing to stop him from ‘taking food from the baby’s
mouth’.

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By Peetawonkus, January 12, 2010 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

John Ellis-
Wow. Darkness, you say? And fairy tales, fantasy and confusion? My God, I never grasped how wrong so many of us were until your brilliant, um, analysis. You have clearly demonstrated, with chalk and blackboard, that 2 + 2 = donkey. Now if you’ll excuse me, Darkness and I have to plan for the wedding of fairy tale and fantasy, with confusion as best man.

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By Peetawonkus, January 12, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

Socialism is a wonderful thing when it’s bailing out bankers and large corporations. Then it’s the gift that dares not speak its name. Less than 5% of the population owns over 75% of everything. Socialism is only a dirty word when it’s being applied to the other 95% of humanity.

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By elisalouisa, January 12, 2010 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

You are correct bradstyris in your conclusion that the power/elite do not have the
freedom to just go anywhere. But then, that is not their goal. The power/elite
accept the fact that they must be separated from ‘“the masses.” To seek control
and strive for perfection in a material sense are what the power/elite are all
about. “Never enough” is their mantra.

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By liecatcher, January 12, 2010 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

TO; bradstyris, January 12 at 5:51 am

There used to be a TV show “LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH &
FAMOUS.

The fascists & Oligarchs controlling & destroying
America are operating world wide & living like kings.
Just look at the Bush Crime Family. These miscreants
are having some much fun exploiting us that their faces
hurt from laughing so much.

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By Ouroborus, January 12, 2010 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

These people are not stupid, greedy, maybe even crooks;
but definitely not stupid. They’re not about to walk
away from the ever spewing money machine; ask yourself;
would you? Money for nothing and risks for free.

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By liecatcher, January 12, 2010 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

Wall Street Will Be Back for More
TO: ForeignAffairs, January 12 at 1:56 am

Hey ForeignAffairs:

It appears that your help capsule has just entered
our orbit &
you haven’t had time to evaluate the inhabitants who
on the surface
appear to be educated & logical & therefore
responsive to
information from someone with an obviously higher IQ.
Then you
realize that this is not a homogenous group and it
doesn’t function
for the greatest good of the group or even to
protect mother earth.
And finally, it becomes obvious that these
inhabitants no longer
have free will & that you are too late to help, and
that your suggestion
that:  “... It would be helpful if mainstream media
made it standard
practice to analyze and report it as such.”,
referring to the aberrant
behavor of politicians, is untenable.
Some of us are able to identify venomous snakes very
easily
while others have to be bitten repeatedly; some folks
avoid all snakes.

GBY for caring.

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By wildflower, January 12, 2010 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

Re Hedges: “when they lose vast sums they raid the U.S. Treasury so they can go back and do it again.”

Hmmm. . . this might be a good beginning:

“President Obama will try to recoup for taxpayers as much as $120 billion of the money spent to bail out the financial system, most likely through a tax on large banks, administration and Congressional officials said Monday. . .

The general idea is to devise a levy that would help reduce the budget deficit . . .  and would also discourage the kinds of excessive risk-taking among financial institutions that led to a near collapse of Wall Street in 2008, the officials said.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/business/economy/12bailout.html?hp

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By Gramps409, January 12, 2010 at 12:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Rhuen Phreed’s 2 part rant about autonomous and/or independent, and/or the delusion of “independence” or “autonomy” and “organic compulsions etc., etc., etc., whew!

Is this what happens if you read Atlas Shrugged too many times?  To better understand the “human operating system” and what /really/ drives it, may I recommend Ernest Becker’s “Denial of Death.”

Becker:
“For man, maximum excitement is the confrontation of death and the skillful defiance of it by watching others fed to it as he survives transfixed with rapture.”

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By marcus medler, January 11, 2010 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment

This is fine to point out. However, one must
broaden the attack to more corporations than
Wall Street(big banking). I suspect much the
same behavior is in the D.C. government and
military. So how to change it? Change is
demanded given the destructive results of such
breeding grounds. Why not come out and
admit; pure capitalist incentive engines are in
conflict with the needs of a society. It is an
ideology that harbors inherent contradictions.
May I recommend John R. Commons and his
ideas contained in the concepts of Institutional
economics. If that is too tame how about
socialism!

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By samosamo, January 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

By Suits, January 11 at 11:47 pm

““They do what ever suits them and they seem to be doing
well why the rest of people are suffering.”“
*************************************

Exactly, just as the title says, ‘Wall Street Will Be Back For
More’ because of our long suffering somnolent public who are
doing everything in their power to remain chivalrous and kind
to these financial terrorist in the hopes that they will soon
stop this grand larceny, return the money and say they were
sorry, but as having out and out declared war on the people,
the people just don’t understand and thus act as if it will end
one day even if all the people just happen to lose everything
and get killed in the process.

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By msgmi, January 11, 2010 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After Main Street money gave Wall Street a lifeline, the addicted kahunas are back rolling the dice at the profiteering table without any regard for creating an iota of economic valuation outside the confines of their bonusmania boardrooms. The too BIG TO FAIL mentality is pervasive amid the arrogance that pulsates throughout the exchange. There are foxes from Wall Street that enabled the meltdown and now they are in charge of the henhouse. Is national security at risk?

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By ForeignAffairs, January 11, 2010 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Before the concepts of “jihad” and “The War on Terror” became part of our vocabulary, we tended to process acts of terror as random discrete tragic incidents, not necessarily linked to any sort of bigger picture.

That might be a good analogy for the way that many analysts now tend assess what is happening to our government and our economy.  The Media report bad things happening, but often tend to frame them as discrete symptoms of a weak economy. If one focuses on the splash of individual icebergs calving, it’s easy to miss the much bigger but more gradual progress of the entire glacier moving down and carving out an entire valley.

I would suggest that a better approach would be to describe this broad gradual subversion of our democratic government as a corporate takeover of our government, or a corporate junta, or a gradual trend towards corporate dictatorship. 

If this concept of the corporate junta were widely understood, accepted, and reported and analyzed as such, it would be as helpful as the concepts of “jihad” and “War On Terror” in helping people to process what is happening. 

Any proposed policy or any politician’s track record could then be readily analyzed as to how it would aid or diminish the success of the corporate junta. 

For example, a healthcare bill that delivers a very large captive market to the health insurance industry and continues their exemption from anti-trust laws is clearly a very big win for the corporate junta.

Likewise, politicians who acted to repeal the Glass-Steagall act, or politicians who seek to weaken any attempts to regulate derivatives are clearly working diligently on behalf of the corporate junta.  It would be helpful if mainstream media made it standard practice to analyze and report it as such.

So that’s my best suggestion; instead of demonizing the role of corporations in our society, or flinging petty insults at people who work in finance or other corporate environments, better that we should create a context and vocabulary for tracking and describing the progress of the corporate junta and then use that as a tool to make politicians (and everyone else) as careful of aiding and abetting the corporate junta as they are careful not to appear soft on terrorism.

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By Hope, January 11, 2010 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Raining Cats and Dogs:

Deepening night the last day of the decade …
Shadowy NY stock exchange
The aftermath of Banksters Christmas bailout
A spooky ghost town where money dropping out of thin air disappears overnight
This year children’s choir sings Silent Night endlessly
Skipping the Carol of the Bells
Their empty hands begging for change
Darkening night
Into the last phase of a decaying empire …
Lightning on the horizon
Now it’s raining cats and dogs …
The little match girl’s first flame drops into snow
Unleashed hounds whose homes foreclosed
Hopelessly lick raining tears before they turn to ice
As if trying to heal the wounds of a nation
While citizen watchdogs bark echoes off the Wall -
Street crooks Corporate Fat Cats
Sitting on a luxurious buffalo couch
As Dow Jones goes down
From top floor buildings
Come parachutes golden graceful landing

In the back alley
The little match girl is freezing cold
Out in the street still raining cats and dogs
And …the cats are winning.
Escalation of war in Afghanistan,
America’s inconvenient truth
Man made climate change
Release chemical weapons of mass-produced terror
Overseas -no change in the forecast
Not under storms of the Taliban
But thunderclouds of Obamagadon
Rumbling hungry stomachs in the desert sand
The cats are still winning,

No leash, deregulated hidden claws for more bail out
Cash Cow-little match girl in America
Still keeps her hopes up …
As she lights her second flame
Citizens across the globe,
Join a candle light vigil,
Warm hearts melting the border of Egypt
To march into Gaza strip
Bringing peace to a dying world.
The girl smiles at her dream
Where ceasefires stops the surge.
Out there the rain gradually slows
With her shivering hands
The girl lit the last frame,
Awakening fire in the belly
For a moment through that light
A nation found a crack between dark clouds
Making history
So long domesticated dogs gone wild
Fighting mad, barking truth bite the lies
Legendary citizen watchdogs
Forgotten heroes
Called American
Bites the tail of the too big to fail
Tame them,
Take them for a walk
Enroll them in a shape up weight loss program
To work for the next meal …

Raining dogs and cats,
Now dogs are winning
The sky is clearing
Tears dry up
The battle is over
As weather has changed here in America
A story also has changed
The little match girl wake up in the morning
Found dogs and cats fallen on the ground
Curling up with one another
Angels of the Earth
After the rain
Rainbow rises up the sky
Soon gay marriage will be legal …

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By BruceW, January 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges has it right - Wall Street is custom made for psychopaths and if nothing is
done to change the economic system, psychopaths will continue to wreck it at
their whim. 

Eric Fromm saw all this decades ago. Wall Street is populated by Fromm’s five
worst character types: receptive (lack of creativity; does what they’re told),
exploitive (manipulates others to get their way), hoarding (views the world as
possessions), marketing (sees the world as a marketplace), and necrophilous (loves
destruction).

Read The Sane Society (1955) to see how little has changed. It’s pretty pathetic.

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By GoyToy, January 11, 2010 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

Forgive them for they know not what they do—because they are morally bankrupt.

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By @CT, January 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

There are another zillion comments to this piece at commondreams.org—where “Birdbrain Alley” also has raised the question of institutionalized sadism—obvious in “our” military’s treatment of detained “terrorists” in Iraq, Afghanistan and otherwhere—among the civilian corpocracy:

“The minds behind all of this are NOT merely numbed by the narcotic of greed. I agree that the majority of people who actively participate in these schemes are desperate fools, but I very much disagree that this is true of all. There is an ages-old SADISM behind this corruption and it is insatiable.”

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By phreedom, January 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Part 1 of 2
Thank you Chris,

Though I have my reservations, as to your “concrete” use, of the term or goal of “moral autonomy”, I by no means intend to dishonor your good efforts to awaken the public to the possibility that we are better off without Wall Street, since it is obvious that Wall Street’s “evolutionary track”,  indicates it needs us less and less.  I say, lets get rid of them, before they get rid of us. But let me harp on your term, “moral autonomy”, just a bit.

One of the things that comes to my mind is that “moral autonomy” is a natural statement of contradiction, and the “individuality” and/or “independence” it alludes to, or requires, well, are opposing force to the so called freedom of the will that would be necessary to commit to a “moral autonomy. I figure,  in a sense, autonomy & morality are accomplices in creating a sense of failure among people/humans, a failure at being other than what they do to make themselves feel secure. In my view, the “autonomy” of the “moral autonomy”, a term you use quite a bit, well, is terminology that colludes with the delusive-feedback-loop process, that conjures up a belief in an “individually-independent-identity”(potent-lone-secure-person-actor).

The ideal of an “autonomous individual” is only truly an ideal if it is not doable or not sufficiently attainable. It seems to me that “moral autonomy” could only be attained if it were not an ideal. Since “autonomy”, “independence” and/or “individuality” are impossible because they are ideals.  We can have extremely distinguishable lives, some obviously more secure than others, but we can never be independent or autonomous.

I definitely think we cannot avoid, or nor short change, the promotion and encouragement of the innate process of pursuing an independent, or otherwise objective individual identity, since human autonomy or independence are the ultimate and necessary survival ideals. It’s natural to work to personalize the “self-booting” theme/mechanism, of human identity development. 

Well, this “self-booting” phenomena, I’ll call the “HOS”, the “human operating system”, kidding of course, well, I believe, whatever you want to call it, is widely misunderstood in American culture, a gross misunderstanding that is completely encouraged, as evidenced by the successful greed paradigms like Wall Street.  And though the “HOS”, naturally & successfully promotes and/or equates, the illusion of individual-survival with the ideal of an autonomous-self, it is nevertheless, at best, a smoke and mirror process, empty of an objective basis. Though ironically, this delusional pursuit of personal autonomy and/or individual independence are the ideals that human survival is predicated on. And by the way, a process which is probably the most naturally addictive, & a necessary paradox of the human condition. A wet wired, organic addiction, that is a never ending, a genetically induced compelling challenge,,, and one that can never be met or satisfied.

I think any ideal that stems from the innate and natural human desire to be autonomous and/or independent, well, at best,  can only be described as an “impossible but necessary” endeavor, pursuit or activity. It is necessary that we pursue the delusion of “independence” or “autonomy”, since we are organically compelled to do so, but we must balance this compulsion, by forming habits that invest   in compatible knowledge and awareness techniques that help refute that “independence” or “autonomy”  can be actualize.
(part 2 on its way)
Rhuen Phreed, 11 Marlborough Street, # 22, Boston, MA 02116

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By phreedom, January 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

Part 2 pf 2
(continuing with the problem with using the ideal “moral autonomy” as a desired state, defense and/or answer, to the inevitable Wall Street pattern of ripping us off over and over again”)

Human identity is naturally splintered and codependent, and works best in this state. Human identity cannot be a unified and/or be an independent exercise, since those states would leave it vulnerable, devoid of creativity, and prone to submitting to demands of conformity. Without this versatile and reliant state, any morality learned, that would line up with the reality of the human condition and the limited world that gave rise to its’ condition, well, would be suppressed or canceled out by rigid and exclusive danger. Since people with unified minds(one dimensional thinking), and believe themselves to be autonomous, would be less likely to question morality, or the lack thereof, in terms of what is imposed on them. Furthermore, a person fully invested in the idea and discipline of individual and independent action would readily align their autonomy with that of their masters or exploiters, since they would not have successfully adopted the notion of independence or autonomy if their masters did not think(practice) themselves to be so. 

A sustainable and worthwhile moral inclination would need to be a function of the natural(and healthy) splintered & codependent human identity process. It is an organic, sentient apparatus, model, or machine, if you will, based on a delicate “self-booting” nature that attempts to thwart insecurity and fear(stay alive). This human, organically-delusive apparatus, amounting to a natural pathology for an independent state or autonomous state, well, is very vulnerable to sociopathic cultures like Wall Street, and in general, capitalism run amok.

Loyal-ism, unity-ism, patriot-ism, national-ism, state-ism, ethnic-ism, race-ism, firm-ism, business-ism, financial-ism, group-ism, etc..,  well,  encouraged in the name of “personal welfare”, “personal autonomy”, or “personal security”, etc.., exploits the vulnerability of the naturally splintered & codependent nature of human identity to want to operate as if its’ ideal was actualized, in the now. Those “ism’s” conjure up the ideals of the “independent”, “autonomous,  and/or “unified” self as doable and overwhelmingly desirable, in real time. “Autonomy” and/or “independence” are truly two of the first human ideals, and more than most ideals that came after them, they are not meant to be actualized, but yet, pursued with the most vigor, like life depended on it. The idea, that a human being could have a unified identity and act autonomously, have “moral autonomy” must have given birth to the first unsound & dangerously radicalized belief.

It may well be that the term, “moral autonomy” , is simply, well, a politically expedient term, an effective gather-or of disjointed perceptions that have a common sentiment like, “what the frack just happened”, or more horribly painful and desperate like, “where are my legs”.  I think you try to use the term “moral autonomy” as a positive expedience, and if so,  I understand & support its’ use. But, I fear, if it became effective, as to galvanize popular frustration and outrage towards US financial culture, even if it organized the political will to put a stop to Wall Street’s patterns, well, I suspect it would create momentum towards more of the same. Since the remedy and the disease would be of the same cloth, the common cloth being a destructive & delusional reliance on the same myths & misconceptions of human nature. I suppose I am naturally fearful of “morality” that claims to be “autonomously” founded or driven. Though morality that is “market driven” scares me even more.
(finished)

Rhuen Phreed, 11 Marlborough Street, #22, Boston, MA 02116

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By liecatcher, January 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

Wall Street Will Be Back for More

TO: @CT, January 11 at 8:44 pm

Hey @CT:

I’‘m glad you caught that propped them up oversight.
Hidden in plain sight I also missed Hedges begging
the question: WALL STREET WILL BE BACK FOR
MORE.

We know fascist bankster predators & parasites in
general don’t leave a carcass until the bones are
clean.
In the hope that the term bailout won’t be used
anymore,
here a fact I gleaned regarding the 1920s-1930s
DEPRESSION
that the FED banksters orchestrated. At the
beginning, Joe
Kennedy’s net worth was $4million. After it was over,
he was
worth over $100million. They’re long on the way up &
short near
the top. In the current DEPRESSION / FINANCIAL
COLLAPSE,
they not only destroyed their competition, sold
garbage as gold,
but then robbed we the people of $trillions as icing
on their cake.

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By flipspiceland, January 11, 2010 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks for writing the truth. Unfortunate, a tragedy really that it does get prime time, 365/24/7 exposure.

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By @CT, January 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

What liecatcher said. (To which one might add that PaloAlto’s “we propped them up” ain’t quite right: O’Blabla and his craven crew of over-dressed Congressional Republicrats, with Paulson-Bernanke et al. did THAT ... the same ess-heads who don’t see MILLIONS of Americans with no “income” at ALL, other than USDA Food Stamps, as something sufficiently feather-ruffling to occasion speechification.)

Time to storm the palace and trample these d-heads with the hard little hooves of reality. Pick me up on your way.//

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By liecatcher, January 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

TO:PaloAlto, January 11 at 7:36 pm #

Hey PaloAlto:

Regardless of whether one is a hopeless romantic or
blindly optimistic,to have another financial collapse
requires a recovery first. Considering fascist
Oligarchs are controlling the U.S. & connected cabals
managing the rest of the world, & these parasites are
already feeding on our carcass, why should they stop
now? Bush3’s bridge of hope has just led to more
PERPETUAL WARS, the enslavement of America in a
debtor’s abyss, rising unemployment & home
foreclosures, & a deficit so large we can’t even pay
the interest on it. Let’s face it. This is
Obamageddon.

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By rkendall, January 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Initially I thought the bailout was a distasteful but
necessary response that would avert a more prolonged
period of economic devastation ... I’ve since come to
the feeling that it would have been better to allow
many (or all) of them to fail.  It would have been
more unpleasant, for longer than what we’ve gone
through, but much better for the country and the
people in the long term.  Why would it have been
worth it?

First, the obvious - the destruction of those
companies sets an example to others that the same
thing can be done to them. 

Also, a lot of the individuals that engaged in
behavior that directly led to the crisis will be
thrown out, and hopefully suffer.  For many of them,
that may be the only consequence we can ever inflict,
but it’s something.

More importantly though, would destruction of these
companies cause enough pain and anger (or would it
be hope) in the population, and short-to-medium
disruption of the lobbyists, that it would actually
allow for the passage of meaningful legislation?  At
least:

- reinstatement of the wall between investment
banking and deposit-taking institutions.

- lifetime ban from working in the industry, or as
officials of public companies, for those individuals
whose behavior directly led to crisis.  I recognize
this might be difficult to define, but some examples
...

- the arrangement of debt default insurance without
setting aside capital reserves is basically fraud,
anyone involved with this type of transaction can
never work in the industry again.

- approving loans that didn’t have supporting
documentation, or whose documentation makes clear an
inability to pay by reasonable standards, should be a
lifetime ban.

No doubt, there are many other categories.  The
banning needs to be a public process, so others can
see what happens for said behavior.

Would it be easy to identify such individuals?  No,
and mistakes would be made, but it’s worth it for the
greater public good, in order to eliminate certain
kinds of behavior for the long-term.

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By PaloAlto, January 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

This is the problem that exists in the Western world and particularly in the financial bubble in the United States. We did not allow the banking system to finally take responsibility for it’s actions, and, rather than letting them fail and then rebuild, we propped them up. In the next 5 years, I would be thoroughly surprised if we do not have another large breakdown of our system. Unfortunately, a precedent has been set by the current administration that showed the banks that there is a safety net for their faults. Hopefully that precedent will not become a standard when the next meltdown occurs. If we bail them out next economic crisis (that is created by the banks), not only will our currency be next to worthless, but we will continue a vicious cycle of upheavel because of our reluctance to learne and accept responsibility for our mistakes.

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By @CT, January 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

G.Anderson writes:
“make them do volunteer work”

When you “make them”, it’s not “volunteer” ... :^)

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By G.Anderson, January 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

In this country we license everyone. Except CEO’s. We license, Dentists, Psychotherapists, Barbers, Detectives, Teachers, etc.

Just about every profession that requires a certain ammount of education and skill. We do this because as a society we understand that their are deadly consequences for malpractise.

So why don’t we license CEO’s, why don’t we require them to pass an MMPI, like we do social workers?

Whye don’t we require CEO’s, to take classes in ethics, and make them do volunteer work, like we do many professions.

We don’t allow pilots to fly an airplane, while intoxicated, or if they have demonstrated poor judgement. But how many deals go down over a 3 martini lunch at a strip club?

We allow CEO’s, to ransack this entire nation, subject it’s citizenry to economic canabalism, and threaten to undo the lives of millions.

So what happens when they wreck a company, send the jobs overseas, put thousdands of workers out of jobs. Like the CEO of GM did. Nothing, they just move on to another company, taking their million dollar bonuses, and do it all again.

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By @CT, January 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker writes (in an orgy of excess capitalization):
“There is absolutely nothing available to Humanity anywhere in the whole Living Universe, to counter this rabid behemoth’s motives and methods, except the Native Integrity of our Natural Organic Form (which some of us surviving free wild Savages call Tiyoshpaye) ... “

Uh ... “surviving free wild Savages” with internet access. God help us.

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By liecatcher, January 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

Wall Street Will Be Back for More
Posted on Jan 10, 2010 By Chris Hedges

TO:  By @CT, January 11 at 4:40 pm #
Hedges writes:
“Not that any of these people have thought this
through.”

Hey @CT: You said

“Hedges could go farther with THIS, considering that
the European corporatists
of WWII—including uber-Yankees Prescott Bush et al.,
whose subsequent
generations still run the show—HAD “thought it
through” ...”

THANKS ! ! !

Born & bred in the USA.
4 generations of the BUSH CRIME FAMILY speaks volumes
since it spawned
2 Presidents & several BOTHERHOOD OF DEATH / SKULL &
BONES Satanists.

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By mbh, January 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dio you think that this corrupt system is being recklessly pushed solely by those who are drunk with power and greed, or do you think that there is something more going on - something to destroy the dollar so that we, the gullible public, will help them to usher in the AMERO and the North American Currency Union?

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By TAO Walker, January 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges exhibits here even more than usual of the “faith-based” semantic confusion others have noted as endemic to his weekly jeremiads….but then, he’s hardly alone in that.  His suggestion today that a ‘remedy’ for the psycho-sociopathic corporate mind-set will be found in some kind of enhanced “individual”-ism amongst the exploited herds of homo domesticus, for example, has more in it of reflexive blather and desperately wishful thinking than of any competent diagnosis of the actual condition their rapidly deteriorating collective CONdition is in.

“Individuals” are theirselfs mere manufactured artifacts of the same “civilization” process that has, here now in its own terminal phase, vomited-up the “global” corporate/government colossus presently preying so uninhibitedly upon various random collections of the poor things.  Having been CONned into accepting this cheap-imitation-plastic “individual”-ity (as a supposedly risk-and-responsibility-free substitute for the Natural Person-hood which is our birthright/burden as Human Beings), our tame Sisters and Brothers have rendered theirownselfs and each-others’ effectively helpless to resist the ruthless forces so unabashedly hell-bent on using-up what’s left of their dwindling half-lives, and devouring those empty “selfs” just for dessert.

There is absolutely nothing available to Humanity anywhere in the whole Living Universe, to counter this rabid behemoth’s motives and methods, except the Native Integrity of our Natural Organic Form (which some of us surviving free wild Savages call Tiyoshpaye) and Function (as vital active components in the immune system of our Mother Earth).  Our tormentors are, of course, betting what little is left of their own disease-ridden retro-viral existence on their two-legged livestock being, finally, unable to escape the suffocating shrouds of their make-believe “individual” ID-entities, and instead (against formidable odds) coalescing again into the Genuine Living Human Communities that have also a natural immunity to the lethally seductive superficialities of the “civilization” CONtraption.

It’s “crunch-time,” Cousins, and those voracious “jaws” bearing-down on you are not “-of-Life” but of a near infinite number of fates-worse-than-death.  There is a Living Way out of your at-least partly self-inflicted predicament, though, and it is (for Human Beings) found nowhere but in the essential nature of our Humanity and its Living embodiment (ie: “incorporation,” and how’s that for delicious irony?) within the Natural Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth within the endless Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself.

So why are so many of you still sticking around to be fucked-over by the feckless felons in the illusory world of “finance”?

HokaHey!

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By @CT, January 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

drf writes:
“... start the conversation”

Oy ... THERE’s a phrase—popularized by the culturally-constipated O’Blabla cult—to retire, along with “connect the dots”. :^)

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By marirebl, January 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think these observations are sadly accurate, though I think your understanding of individuality is inconsistent and off.  In the beginning of the article, you lament the lack of moral autonomy and individuality in corporations, and toward the end of the article you decry the “me, me, me” individual mentality.  I think the idea that we are atomistic, enclosed individuals, needing to pursue only our “self-interest” is the problem.  More individuality and autonomy is not the answer.  An understanding of the self as interdependent and connected with all of existence would lead to an understanding of “success” as something beneficial to the community.  It seems to me that successful corporate types see themselves as enclosed, autonomous individuals, responsible only to themselves.  Of course, the corporations for which they work colonize their desires so that these already seemingly unrelated individuals become corporate drones.

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By drf, January 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

It’s refreshing to see someone take on our domination by the corporate culture.  Prior to the Civil War there were very few large corporations in America.  In the nearly century and a half since then we have allowed these business giants to engulf us, controlling our economy, our government, our culture and even our individual identities.  Over the course of my 62 years I’ve grown weary of listening to corporate cheerleaders and corporate apologists and of drawing blank looks from friends when I critique the system.  I think most people are simply locked in to the prevailing ethos because they have families to feed, and they feel they need to keep their heads down, make no waves and stay on the treadmill to survive.
Our current economic disaster affords a good opportunity to step back and take a look at the deeply flawed way in which we live.  In order to hope for change we first need to start the conversation

Thank you, Chris.  Keep up the good work.

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By Hammond Eggs, January 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

By C.Curtis.Dillon, January 11 at 3:42 pm #

Actually I think Chris is just trying to light a fire under people who have no inclination to get engaged.  We are so passive that it will take a huge kick in the head to get us moving.  His hysteria may be over the top but he learned has trade as a journalist so a bit of hyperbole is natural.

This Hedges article (unlike some of his others) is most definitely NOT hysteria or hyperbole.  The ruin he accurately describes will take place.

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By @CT, January 11, 2010 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

Hedges writes:
“Not that any of these people have thought this through.”

Hedges could go farther with THIS, considering that the European corporatists of WWII—including uber-Yankees Prescott Bush et al., whose subsequent generations still run the show—HAD “thought it through” ...

Granted that non-U corporate strivers may not have “thought it through”, any more than those who enlist in the US military hoping for financial deliverance and “education” have thought it through.

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By Amon Drool, January 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

for those of u who haven’t checked out the site Naked Capitalism, i very much 2nd ray duray’s suggestion that u do so.  get past the name….it ain’t about in your face gordon gekko greed.  no school girl perverse ayn rand individualism there…just an attempt to integrate individual initiative/enterprise into the common good.  you’ll get criticisms of ‘free’ trade, the FIRE sector and regulatory capture…kinda like a scheer column, but without still playing footsie with the obama administration.

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By @CT, January 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

“these corporate heads ... are no more attuned to the misery, rage and pain they cause than were the courtiers and perfumed fops who populated Versailles on the eve of the French Revolution. They play their games of high finance as if the rest of us do not exist. And it is a game that will kill us.”

How to get their heads into the bucket, that’s the question.

Hedges may be wrong about ONE thing: the likelihood is that the mindset is sadist, i.e., they ARE attuned to, addicted to, sexually gratified by the misery/rage/pain, which—especially for the hereditary corpocracy—may be more delicious than mere $.

Success becomes its own morality. Those who do well in this environment possess the traits often exhibited by psychopaths—superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance, a need for constant stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation, and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. They, like competitors on a reality television program, lie, cheat and betray to climb over those around them and advance.”

CEO’Blabla of the hijacked US, scrabbling after a “win” on “reform”, comes to mind.

You know what was darkly hilarious, kiddies? When Obama ludicrously opined, after the whatever-it-was with the supposed Jockey Jihadist, “We dodged a bullet, but just barely.”—“But just barely”?

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prole's avatar

By prole, January 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

“…these corporate heads, isolated from the mass of Americans by insular corporate structures and vast personal fortunes, are no more attuned to the misery, rage and pain they cause than were the courtiers and perfumed fops who populated Versailles on the eve of the French Revolution. They play their games of high finance as if the rest of us do not exist. And it is a game that will kill us”...if we don’t kill them first.
“These companies exist in a pathological world where identity and personal worth are determined solely by the perverted code of the corporation”…and the perverted code of preemptive self-defense, which has been used so extensively by the Bush-Obama team and their predecessors to serve their corporate masters and wreak destruction on defenseless populations, must be used against them. 
“…by the time these corporate automatons are managing partners or government bureaucrats they cannot distinguish between right and wrong. They are deaf, dumb and blind to the common good”…and the common good must be defended by whatever means necessary.
“…firms like Goldman Sachs are more dangerous to the nation than al-Qaida”…and their “deeply stunted and maladjusted” corporate members must be hunted down more urgently and relentlessly.
“Our problem is that the lunatics have been let out of the asylum. They have been empowered to cannibalize the government on behalf of the corporations that spawned them like mutant carp”…and the cannibals must be stewed in their own pot and left for the vultures. 
“By any standard comprehensible within the tradition of Western civilization these people are illiterate. They cannot recognize the vital relationship between power and morality. They have forgotten, or never knew, that moral traditions are the product of civilization. Existence, for them, boils down to one overriding imperative—me, me, me”…and so their existence must come to an end.
“The sick mentality of the game, the one that created the first worldwide meltdown, dominates the nervous systems of our elite the way cravings overtake heroin addicts. They can’t think of anything else. They do not know how. No one goes to Wall Street to further the common good”…so no one should go to Wall St. any further.
“The foundation has not changed. The regulations are bullshit. The old assets are still crap. The new assets created off the old assets are still crap”...the whole system is crap and it is time for the big flush.

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By diman, January 11, 2010 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

Isn’t it sickening to see these former managing directors of the criminal organizations like Goldman Sachs, coming out of woodwork with their self-righteous books. Hey lady you were up to your neck in this shit as well!!!

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, January 11, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Actually I think Chris is just trying to light a fire under people who have no inclination to get engaged.  We are so passive that it will take a huge kick in the head to get us moving.  His hysteria may be over the top but he learned has trade as a journalist so a bit of hyperbole is natural.  Get past that and understand the essence ... we are in deep trouble and these crooks will keep pushing us over the edge until we either revolt or are a dead carcass.  You guys choose ...

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By Dennis, January 11, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Readers - you may be interested in viewing the CSPAN/After Words program - Sen. Bernie Sanders interviewing Naomi Prins on her book “It Takes a Pillage” - look up at CSPANs Book TV site - it’s in the current scoll list… quite engaging!

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By keepyourheaddown, January 11, 2010 at 10:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

we are doomed, Hedges is right, the whole thing will collapse, America will be
driven to it’s knees.
The sooner the better!

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By jamiedbruce, January 11, 2010 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

Hedges is a good and thoughtful journalist and commentator but his non-stop
doomsday angry dissertations are getting old and becoming ineffective, as they
are soooooo predictable. A shame as I usually agree with him. As I said he is
quickly going to become irrelevant because no one will listen any longer.

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By SoTexGuy, January 11, 2010 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

The ‘mutant carp’ analogy is priceless..

Good job.

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By Bronwen Rowlands, January 11, 2010 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right ON! (to coin a phrase). Now consider for a moment that this vile corporate culture has also infiltrated our universities.

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By jhm, January 11, 2010 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Interesting clinical evidence for the mentality described here:

“Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work” by Paul Babiak,
Robert D. Hare

http://books.google.com/books?
id=J9mvHW1eA14C&lpg=PP1&dq=snakes in suits&pg=PP
1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

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By truedigger3, January 11, 2010 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

Instead of exerting much effort and energy ambushing and chasing rabits, squirrels, birds etc and some times fail and spend a day hungry in the cold, the foxes found a much easier way to get preys which is to guard and control the chicken house and have a free access to the chickens.
So, any hopes that the government will reform Wall St. will be frustrated.
Wall St. is the government. Wall St. is in full control of the public treasury and it will devour the wealth of the nation and leave the wreckage and misery for the common folks.
It cann’t get better than that for Wall St.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 11, 2010 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

What drives me crazy about Hedges is he will intersperse absolutely brilliant insights with totally unfounded assertions based on nothing more than stereotypes.

His first paragraph tersely states what I’ve asserted: that there is a new tendency to a feudal society with a socialism for the “elite” that is no different than medieval society.

But he follows it up with this piece of idiocy:
These companies exist in a pathological world where identity and personal worth are determined solely by the perverted code of the corporation. The corporation decides who has value and who does not, who advances and who is left behind. It rewards the most compliant, craven and manipulative, and discards the losers who can’t play the game, those who do not accumulate wealth or status fast enough, or who fail to fully subsume their individuality into the corporate collective.

He ignores the fundamental goal of corporations: to make more and more profit and rewards those who get it there.  Yes, they don’t care HOW the individual gets them there, and they don’t where it takes them and the world beyond the next quarter, but that doesn’t make Hedges’ description right.  It’s still wrong because his logic is wrong.

Another irony is that the “Corporate Man” that he decries is virtually identical to Lenin’s and Stalin’s “New Soviet Man”—the non-thinking drone who gives his all for the Corporation or the State without question and at great personal cost.

How you make money and how you climb the ladder of the corporate structure are irrelevant. Success becomes its own morality. Those who do well in this environment possess the traits often exhibited by psychopaths—superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance, a need for constant stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation, and the incapacity for remorse or guilt.

And what is the source for these “facts”? His own long-ago stint at the NY Times when he was a cub?

How you make money is critical: you have to make lots of it.  DUH!!!!!

As for remote-control diagnosis as “psychopathic” because they are good politicians who can BS???? Had he used “sociopathic” I’d have been more likely to agree.

Despite the insane and inane abuse by the financial giants, Finance is NECESSARY to a functioning economy.  If not allowed to run wild with mis-placed Reaganism and mis-interpreted Ayn Randism, it’s the necessary grease that lubricates the economy and the necessary fertilizer that helps it grow.  “Money is like manure—It doesn’t do any good unless it’s spread all around.”

Now I’m not going to defend Summers or Geithner, nor the heads of Goldman, Citi, BofA or AIG—they are scum. But they are scum that were made possible by the filleting of the Glass-Steagal Act, by the gutting of Anti-Trust and the all regulations, and by the neo-con ideologues who ruled us from 2001 to 2009 and STILL insist we follow them down the Black Hole.

But Hedges still writes from the heart and the gut, which causes him to make INCREDIBLE mistakes of fact.

Which is why he drives me crazy—he’s got the brains and insight, he’s just too lazy to get the facts straight and makes unfounded and incorrect assertions instead.

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By Ouroborus, January 11, 2010 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

samosamo, January 11 at 3:58 am am

And gold and Swiss francs, no?

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By Ray Duray, January 11, 2010 at 4:27 am Link to this comment

For those who seek some higher quality blogs on finance I can suggest a couple. And if any of you reply, I can keep suggesting more.

I find that Yves Smith’s daily email newsletter of her Naked Capitalism blog is refreshingly eclectic in its scope. And the attitude is one that Nomi Prins, Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges could all endorse. Ms. Smith counsels rationality and honesty in our financial markets. Two elements that clearly Obama, Summers, Geithner and Bernanke don’t really give a damn about.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/

***
Karl Denninger is not someone you’d want to scrap with in a back alley. He’s a take-no-prisoners brawler in his Market Ticker blog where no holds are barred and no cows are sacred:

http://market-ticker.denninger.net/

***
Though not trained in the finance/econ academy, blogger and Rolling Stones reporter Matt Taibbi is gaining a justified body of praise for his brutal honesty about the evil that has befallen us via Wall Street. His description of Goldman Sachs, to wit: “(t)he 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” has certainly struck a nerve both on Wall Street and on Main Street.

Blog: http://trueslant.com/matttaibbi/

Taibbi attack on G-S:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/29127316/the_great_american_bubble_machine/print

Read on, Ray

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By ardee, January 11, 2010 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

My experience with large corporations is rather limited to a stint as West Coast Area Manager of a computer maintenance firm for an eight year in hell period and my current and non managerial blue collar one as a Leadman for a major California utility.

Having noted that proviso I do see the insular and selfish nature of corporate thinking and believe one needs no such experience to understand such. Reading the financial articles alone should suffice to see that these people should never be in a position of leadership in our government but should be tightly controlled to prevent the sort of severe damage they can cause when allowed to run free.

This by Hedges says it all:

These corporations don’t make anything. They don’t produce anything. They gamble and bet and speculate. And when they lose vast sums they raid the U.S. Treasury so they can go back and do it again. Never mind that $50 trillion in global wealth was erased between September 2007 and March 2009, including $7 trillion in the U.S. stock market and $6 trillion in the housing market. Never mind that the total amount of retirement and household wealth trashed was $7.5 trillion or that we saw $2 trillion in 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts evaporate. Never mind the $1.9 trillion in traditional defined-benefit plans and the $2.6 trillion in nonpension assets that went up in smoke. Never mind the job losses, the foreclosures and the 35 percent jump in personal and small-business bankruptcies.

Yet , after such a fiasco we do nto see even a cosmetic attempt to ensure that such as this does not happen again, no, only a “get out of debt free” card that allows the monopoly game to continue.

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By liecatcher, January 11, 2010 at 2:25 am Link to this comment

Wall Street Will Be Back For More
Posted on Jan 10, 2010 By Chris Hedges

Hey Chris Hedges:

If you were a prosecutor & this article was your
summation,
then these miscreants would be jailed. That would be
the
case in a fantasy democracy.
The primary flaw in your article is that you spent
too much
energy on vitriolic venom & lost perspective, as
evidenced
by this paragraph:

“And when these trillions run out they will come back
for more until our currency becomes junk.
Not that any of these people have thought this
through. They are too busy focused on the pathetic,
little monuments they are building to themselves and
the intricacies of court intrigue.”

Firstly, you greatly underestimate the enemy. Not
only have they
thought this through, but are patient long term
planners.  To say
that: “They are too busy focused on the pathetic, 
little monuments
they are building to themselves and the intricacies
of court intrigue.”,
is a great disservice to your readers & should be an
embarrassment
to you. To fill in the void , a classic worth your
time reading is:
“ON THE BELLY OF THE BEAST:THE FEDERAL RESERVE
and the NEW WORLD ORDER”, BY BILL STILL, 1995, or
watch
his DVD: “THE SECRET OF OZ”, just released.

If you don’t upgrade your knowledge base, someone
else will
write the story about how they built our funeral
pyre.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, January 11, 2010 at 1:27 am Link to this comment

It’s pretty much a given that these banks believe there will always be another fresh carcass to be found once America is gone.  They are “international” and can move their corporate identity literally overnight.  I listened to a retired financial executive a few weeks ago talking about how Wall Street has pretty much decided America will become a low-wage country like Indonesia or China and that the real action is in Asia for the near future.  They will follow the money and the carnage they create is of little interest to them.  They are true sociopaths and need to be locked in a high security asylum where they can no longer threaten us.  Or, if the government doesn’t step up and incarcerate them, we need to take action ourselves and remove them from power by whatever means we have.  It is us vs. them now!

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By samosamo, January 10, 2010 at 11:58 pm Link to this comment

Anyone want to bet on how many or how much these financial
terrorists are converting their dollars into euros?

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