"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We Should Have Seen This Coming (Updated)

A blistering article by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism on the Obama administration's attempts to pressure NY AG Eric Schneiderman to let Bank of America and the other biggies off the hook on the fraud and manipulation of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Read the whole thing, but this struck me, in particular:

Obama’s incentives are to come up with “solutions” that paper over problems, avoid meaningful conflict with the industry, minimize complaints, and restore the old practice of using leverage and investment gains to cover up stagnation in worker incomes. Potemkin reforms dovetail with the financial service industry’s goal of forestalling any measures that would interfere with its looting. So the only problem with this picture was how to fool the now-impoverished public into thinking a program of Mussolini-style corporatism represented progress.

I am suddenly reminded of Obama's refusal to pursue any sort of investigation or inquiry into the abuses of the Bush administration, amid widespread and well documented charges of war crimes (not to mention what the Bushies have done to the Constitution). Obama's response, if you'll remember, was "Let's more forward." I did warn before the election that anyone who expected Obama to roll back Bush's enlargement of executive power was dreaming; instead, he's pushed it a notch or two, particularly with his Congress-free commencement of action in Libya, while claiming that Congress has his hands tied on anything that's going to actually help the citizens of this country. (At least, those citizens who make less than $1 million a year.)

Given that, is this any surprise?

Unfortunately, it's not just Obama. The whole edifice is rotting, from the halls of the Corporate Congress to the chambers of the Corporate Supreme Court. To those who wail that we are heading toward a banana republic, I have news for you: we're there.


How deep into saving the banks is the administration? How deep is the Marianas Trench? Take a look at this article from Emptywheel. Melissa McEwen has a good take on the proposal:

Anyone else got a problem with the Obama administration proposing profit-making opportunities for corporate owners on foreclosed homes while this sort of dodgy land-grabbing by financial institutions is ousting people from their homes?

I sure as shit do.

This weekend, I watched
Inside Job, Charles Ferguson's film, which deservedly won the Oscar for Best Documentary last year, about the causes of the economic crisis. I highly recommend it. The control over the US (and, by extension, global) economy, and the control over people's lives, with which corporations have been empowered is breathtaking.

And the abdication of responsibility of the US government to protect its citizens, in favor of subsidizing the profiteering of international conglomerates which have absolutely no patriotism, no loyalty to this country, no affinity for its people, no allegiance of any sort to anything but for-profit exploitation, is amazing and terrible to see in all its naked grotesquery.

McEwen's post takes off from this story from Tampa. Read both.

What astonishes me is that these jokers are making these proposals with a straight face.

No comments: