Exclusive: The Big Grab, Part I by The Other Katherine Harris

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The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris
Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Oct 11, 2008

The Big Grab, Part I: First they came for the play money. Now it’s down to life and death.

In another burst of startling candor, Sir Alan “the Iraq war is largely about oil” Greenspan admitted who’s running the world.  Discussing fiscal meltdown with the Financial Times, he stated: “The danger is that some governments, bedeviled by emerging inflationary forces, will endeavor to reassert their grip on economic affairs. If this becomes widespread, globalization could reverse, at awesome cost.”

Sickening viewpoint, isn’t it?  Most of us see mass hardship as “the danger” of financial crisis, but the sociopaths in charge fret only about a backlash by sovereign nations against transnational schemes that harm their citizens.  The “awesome cost” of which Greenspan warned is merely damage to the fortunes of global predators, who scorn democracy, crush real competition and prize only money and power, feeling no bonds of patriotic loyalty or human empathy.  Any doubts?  Greenspan has been on record since 1974, calling capitalism “not only efficient and practical, but also moral,” because those whom he deems “parasites” must “perish as they should.”

Among acolytes sharing the former Fed chairman’s scorn is one who posted this comment to a Huffington Post blog last October, calling himself “Plutotoo”:

“… (W)hat happened to the money supply…from 2003 to 2006 is so self-evident … that I find it shocking that it need be explained at all. Everyone in the investment world is well aware of how this worked (and we all made a huge amount of money directly from the rate-cut rape of Americans’ savings and assets — not to mention pushing the real estate bubble, i.e. flipping new homes).

“Briefly, what happened was that, by 2002, as the economy was failing, we desperately needed all Americans to take the money out of their savings accounts and home equity and spend it … We accomplished this by making them feel rich by slashing interest rates — as Bonddad explains above. It worked great for nearly four years.

“Then, sadly, Americans spent all the money they had … They’ve also maxed out their credit and their FICO scores stink — so they’re worse than useless. They are a drain on the economy.

“When Bush politicians go on TV and mention tax cuts as the reason for the boost in retail spending (aka the economy) those of us down on the trading floor just roll our eyes. Yeah. Right. It doesn’t matter to us, though. We took the American people’s savings and invested it for ourselves — in Halliburton (in Dubai) and in foreign currencies held offshore. AND we hardly had to pay any taxes at all on our enormous profits (thank you. Mr. President!).

“All’s well that ends well — at least for the Plutocrats.”

Just who the real parasites are is becoming clearer to more people daily.  We’re in the present mess, precisely because governments LOST “their grip on economic affairs” to this gang of remorseless predators:  banksters, corporate magnates, buyout pirates, hedge-hogs and their minions, who’ve savaged working people not merely for the past 8 years but for a generation — ultimately recreating a level of economic inequality not seen since 1928 (and previously associated with the Robber Baron 1890s and the eve of the American Revolution).

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Follow Your Ideology off a Cliff, and Then Keep Going by Steven Jonas, MD

by Steven Jonas, MD
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Buzzflash.com
October 9, 2008

Well the stock market is crashing, credit is freezing up, unemployment is rising precipitously. An institution called the “free market” bears a major responsibility for this state of affairs, perhaps the total responsibility. So how did this happen? Isn’t the “free market” supposed to be self-regulatory? Isn’t the “free market” supposed to be the best determinant of the best distribution of goods and services in society? Isn’t the only way that the “free market” can operate successfully is to be left alone by government so that it can just go on its merry way?

Well, if the central goal of the “free market” were really to be the best allocator of goods and services for all of society, perhaps that might be true. But that is not the central goal of the “free market.” Sometimes it is a peripheral one. But if that happens, if there are side benefits for society as a whole, as in successful professional sports teams making money while bringing joy to a certain segment of the members of their home community, that is just by-the-by.

The central goal of the “free market,” which is made absolutely crystal clear every time something like what is going on now happens, and it happens with regularity in “free market” economies going back to the early 19th century, is to make money for those who have enough capital to participate in it. Despite what Milton Friedman and his clones, and their historical predecessors going back to the early 19th century, like to tell us, making money for its participants is really it. Nothing but it. What has happened now is a clear demonstration of that fact.

For example, lots of people made lots of money in the “free market” for something called “securitized mortgage instruments” (a type of security so complex that even a financial writer for Newsweek who I happened to have heard on Air America Radio the other week confessed that he did not fully understand all of its permutations and combinations and certainly could not explain them to his listeners).

The recently former head of the bankrupt Lehman Brothers investment bank, with only mild embarrassment, told a House Committee chaired by Henry Waxman of California that yes indeed he had made somewhere between $300 million and close to $500 million (he seemed not quite sure, although that seems like a rather large range to me) over the past seven years (coincident with Georgite reign, it should be added). He and his boys were collecting their most recent “bonuses” at the same time that Lehman was going down the drain. There were no restraints or constraints. So why the heck not? It’s not a question of “morality.” They were just participating in the “free market” to get what doing so is supposed to get them: more money.

On a broader scale, the “securitized mortgage instruments” were being sold and re-sold at rising prices, not because value was being added at each step but rather, it seems, that because each purchaser was just sure that he (or she) could find someone next in line to pay more for the thing. That is until the bottom dropped out of the housing market and also the mis-sold and wrongly sold subprime mortgages stopped paying off as their monthly payment rates suddenly went sharply up.

As is well known, the other principal causes of the crisis are the rapidly mounting national debt (which causes a decline in the value of the dollar among other things), the rapidly rising cost of oil (which is caused in part by the rapidly declining value of the dollar, in which international oil sales are denominated), the rapidly rising annual Federal deficits caused in part by the massive tax cuts with which Bush rewarded what he has publicly called his [real] “base” (as contrasted with his electoral base, the Christian Right, to whom he has thrown bones now and again), and “globalization,” which in reality has little to do with “free trade” and a great deal to do with the free export of capital from the U.S., that is American jobs going overseas. But there should have been no surprise here. The “free market” was doing exactly what it is designed to do, except of course in the words of its propagandists who dominate the media and have dominated much of the government and the Federal Reserve Board since the election of Ronald Reagan.

And so we come to what should be done to remedy this catastrophe. (Of course, most peoples’ financial nightmare is Grover “Shrink Government to the Size of a Bathtub and then Drown it in the Bathtub” Norquist’s wet dream. If Obama should somehow manage to overcome the extensive plans to fix the election being already implemented by the Republicans and be elected President, he will have precious little leftover money to work with. Grover will be so happy. But that’s another story.) “Our side” very sensibly says: re-regulate the stock and banking markets, get rid of such exotic instruments as securitized mortgages, bring back the Glass-Steagal Act (which was flushed down the toilet by McCain’s principal economic advisor and apparently Treasury Secretary-designate Phil “Nation of Whiners” Gramm), which keeps commercial and investment banking separate, regulate the currently unregulated and unexamined “hedge funds,” which may well be involved in market rigging.

All of these measures and others to be sure would be necessary to fix the mess and prevent it from happening again, that is until the next historical period when the so-called “free marketeers” were able once again to sell their snake oil to an unsuspecting public. And so what do the “free marketeers” and their political “leaders” such as McCain, Palin, Giuliani, Romney, Jeb Bush, and Gingrich, and their mouthpieces such as Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Savage, and Levin (pronounced LeVIN rather than LEvin because presumably most Levins, such as Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, don’t agree with him and pronounce their name the latter way), and Kristol and the whole Weekly Standard/Fox “News” Channel crowd tell us to do?

Why, cut taxes; eliminate regulation and let the “free market function freely;” go after “Wall St. corruption” (except that those folks were simply behaving like any well-respected “free marketeer” would: make money while the making is good); and cut government spending by “eliminating earmarks.” Why do you know that cutting out McCain’s favorite target, the $3,000,000 gene study of buffalo in Montana (designed top help preserve the species) would save the cost of about 10 minutes of the War on Iraq? (You could do the arithmetic like I did.) And oh yes, they would continue the War until “victory” (left thoroughly undefined) is achieved (with more borrowed money, presumably). These people have followed their ideology over the cliff and they just want to keep going, while taking all the rest of us with them.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of 30 books. He has also published numerous articles and reviews in both the academic and the lay literature on health policy, health and wellness, and athletics. On politics Dr. Jonas is a www.TPJmagazine.us Contributing Author; a regular Columnist for the webmagazine Buzz Flash; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC; and a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad.

see

Divide and Conquer by Bruce Gagnon (+ video)

Leo Panitch: It’s time to make banking a public utility

Jim Rogers: They are unleashing an inflationary holocaust

A Solution? By Paul Craig Roberts

Black Friday? By Mike Whitney

The Edge of the Abyss by Danny Schechter

How to Save the U.S. Economy by Richard C. Cook

The Biggest Bank Heist in History (Interview with Richard C. Cook)

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

McCain-John

Obama-Barack

Palin’s Wolf-Killing Program Results in 14 Wolf Pup Deaths

Dandelion Salad

Warning

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund

Watch the Video — Then Tell Others

When you promote a grotesque program like Governor Sarah Palin’s Alaska wolf slaughter, you can expect gruesome results.

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