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Class War For Idiots / March 31, 2009

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(This article was first published last week on Playboy.com)

America is now in a state of bloodlust, following the shocking realization that there are bad people at the top of our economic food chain. We knew there were some bad apples out there, but AIG’s $450 million bonus swindle simply defies everything we assumed about the American character, particularly the character of our best and brightest, our All-Star Success Stories.

It was one thing to bail out their banks and insurance companies—at least our tax dollars weren’t being wired directly to specific people with names and faces, but rather to “institutions,” which makes it a little more palatable. But now, with the AIG scandal, there are real people stuffing their pockets with money looted from us. It suggests that they have no conscience. That they learned nothing. That, in fact, they didn’t give a fuck about our bailout on any emotional grounds, except as it presented a new feeding opportunity. Despite how it works in the movies, we haven’t been brought closer together—we, the common folk taxpayers, and they, the super-wealthy villains we bailed out. And this is what’s so enraging and humiliating: We were denied that cinematic transformation of character that Americans have been brainwashed to expect from our billionaire CEOs with their hardened hearts-of-gold—think Oscar Schindler’s climactic anti-greed speech, or Mister Magoo throwing coins out the window in the cartoon version of A Christmas Carol.

The shock we’re feeling today is like the shock and rage a wife feels after her husband is arrested on 152 counts of child molestation spanning three decades. How could we not know, when it’s been going on every day, every year, right in front of us?

sschindler-crying1

“This watch! (sniff!)…” Why can’t America’s plutocrats be a little more Schindler, and a little less Fiennes?

If we’d cared to look around us at any time since the Reagan Revolution, we’d realize that the CEOs, billionaires and finance stars are behaving no differently today than they have been for nearly three decades. When we look back, what will pain us most is the way we admired the billionaires even as they brought about our ruin, turning them into TV celebrities and magazine-cover heroes, worshipping them like rock stars right up to the end.

A perfect example of the kind of person who benefited from the Reagan Revolution is Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap, a corporate superstar during the peak Clinton years, when Reaganomics accelerated under the guiding hands of Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin. It was during Clinton’s centrist pro-business presidency that innovations like the like mass-layoff (rebranded as “downsizing”) became a regular feature of economicbooms, rather than of economic busts, as they had been in the past. Layoffs expanded right with the economy for the simple reason that each mass firing freed up millions or billions of dollars that had gone to workers, but now could be divided up between executives and major shareholders. The problem was finding people cold-blooded enough to do the job—which is to say, there was no problem whatsoever. As Dunlap himself boasted in a 1998 interview with Fortune magazine, “Mickey Mouse could do the cost cutting.”

By that time, he was already a celebrity with a nine-figure net worth. It all started back in 1994, when Al Dunlap was named CEO of Scott Paper. His first move was to fire nearly one-third of the workforce, or 11,200 workers. This cheered investors, who piled in, driving Scott Paper’s stock up by 225 percent. By reclaiming the sum total of whatever 11,200 workers earned and redistributing it to the shareholders and executives, Dunlap earned himself a $100 million payout for 19 months of “Mickey Mouse” chainsaw duty.

Mutual fund billionaire Michael Price was so impressed that in 1996 he brought Dunlap in to “restructure” one of his portfolio investments, the ailing Sunbeam Enterprises. The mere announcement that Dunlap would take his chainsaw onto Sunbeam’s factory floor and massacre all those payroll-sucking employees caused Sunbeam’s stock to rise 60 percent as portfolio investors rushed to get a chunk of the promised loot. And Chainsaw Al didn’t disappoint: as soon as he had an office, he fired 6,000 Sunbeam employees, or half the work force. Investors roared in approval, driving the stock straight up for four months.

dunlap5

But in a now-familiar plot-twist that has repeated itself over the past 30 years, it turned out that Dunlap wasn’t the great Rand-inspired corporate innovator that he and the media made him out to be. Instead, his “success” looks to have from the oldest trick in town: cooking the books. When the shit hit the fan, he was fired, and sued. According to an SEC lawsuit filed against Dunlap, he led a team that:

“employed a laundry list of fraudulent techniques to falsely give the picture of a successful turnaround, falsely raising results, in an attempt to sell the company at an inflated price.”

Sunbeam filed for bankruptcy and shareholders lost $4.4 billion in value. Even though Dunlap was fired from the company he destroyed, he still walked away with at least $16 million. The SEC looked at all this destruction, and decided to punish him with a $500,000 fine. When you consider that he’d already netted at least $116 million in the span of a few years, a half-million dollar “punishment” for all that destruction wasn’t even so much as a slap on the wrist. Moreover, the settlement allowed Dunlap to avoid having to admit wrongdoing.

This same arc has been repeated all over the American economy—what we once thought were isolated cases turned out to be a pattern, and the pattern repeated so much up down corporate America that it finally became clear: These things are the rule. No wonder the SEC never came down hard on anyone: it would have meant shutting down the entire economy and starting from scratch.     

In the past, when downsizings and payouts happened, they were seen as a necessary evil in the overall march to a free-market utopia. Now we understand that what really happened wasn’t as complicated or theoretical as it was made out to be. It was a straight-forward transfer of wealth out of the pockets of, say, 11,200 employees at Scott Paper into the pockets of Wall Street bankers and their CEO henchmen. No matter how many words like “efficiency” and “restructuring” you gloss it with, it’s still taking money that formerly went into one group’s pocket, and giving to another, much smaller group.

What’s so strange, looking back, isn’t just the blatant, shameless plundering of thousands of American families for a few individual’s excessive profit, but the way we all adored them while they were in mid-plunder. Just look again at Al Dunlap: he didn’t even try to pretend he was likeable or even human, but still we were licking his boots. As Chainsaw Al himself boasted to the New York Daily News back in 1996, when asked about how he could pocket so much money while destroying so many employees’ lives,

  “Did I earn it? Damn right I did!… I’m a superstar in my field, much like Michael Jordan in basketball and Bruce Springsteen . . . “

 

Looking back, the Daily News’ question to Dunlap is absurd. It’s like asking a crocodile how he could possibly eat a baby wildebeest when its mother is right there on the riverbank watching. “I earned it! Damn right!” is exactly what the croc would answer.

And Dunlap was right, too: we made him a superstar. He didn’t just get away with it, he was a hero for doing what none of us had the guts (or conscience) to do. As the Daily News itself noted, “When he fires thousands of workers, he boasts about it.” You might expect someone who caused as much destruction as Al Dunlap would want to keep a low profile, if not out of a guilty conscience then at least out of a fear that a destroyed worker might hunt him down and get some payback. In the old days that’s what they did. What held those workers back from going to a Dunlap book signing and exacting some revenge? Why didn’t a single person ever attack him?

dunlap12Dunlap at one of his book signings, not even pretending to worry that one of his adoring fans might be out to get him.

It just wasn’t considered. Not until two weeks ago, when AIG’s Financial Products division received so many death threats and hate emails that they hired armed security guards to protect them from potential revenge attacks.

And yet, there’s a silver lining: The government is finally being forced to act on the taxpayer’s behalf, and make a serious attempt to recover the millions in bonus money from the AIG looters.

This is a class war, in case you didn’t know. On one side are the reptiles like Dunlap, AIG, and so on; on the other side, the humans, us. We’re at a huge disadvantage because, like in Starship Troopers, we’re saddled with a conscience and with fear, and the reptile-plutocrats aren’t. They’re not afraid of shame or fines; but they want to live, as all life forms do. That’s why death threats are bringing real results: Death threats work when you’re dealing with reptiles like AIG’s financial products division. To see what I mean, let’s go back again to the example of Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap:

In 1967, unions were much stronger, income disparities were much narrower, and Americans didn’t culture-hump their bosses. Back then, Al Dunlap tried to apply his “chainsaw” to a company called Sterling Pulp & Paper. He proposed mass firings of its unionized workforce to bring down costs and boost the owners’ share. But Sterling’s 1967 workers weren’t like Sunbeam’s or Scott Paper’s in the 1990s. They didn’t roll over and accept the downsizing with a sullen grumble. Instead, to quote from Dunlap’s own book, “There were also physical threats of violence. We received anonymous calls and letters from nuts who said they were going to blow up my car or shoot me in the parking lot.” It worked: Dunlap caved in to the “nuts,” the workers weren’t downsized, and Dunlap eventually was forced to retreat. (A biographical note: according to the book Testosterone, Inc., Dunlap’s first wife divorced him on grounds of “extreme cruelty” after he allegedly took a knife to her and said, “I’ve always wondered what human flesh tastes like.”)

But America was a different country back then. We weren’t in awe of the CEO class, and they were kept in check. In 1978, American CEOs made more than 30 times the average salary of their company’s employees; by the early 2000s, CEOs made more than 500 times the average salary of their employees. Workers weren’t losing just a portion of the wealth, but also their pensions, health care, vacation time and job security.

Over the past few months, with the repetition of scandals and villains—whose names are different but whose machinations are all roughly the same—we’re starting to understand that people like Al Dunlap weren’t the aberrations we hoped they were. We see a similar modus operandi at work with Lehman’s Dick Fuld, with Merrill Lynch’s John Thain, with the Countrywide execs (who’ve bounced back recently with a new scheme to profit off the misery of Americans), with Washington Mutual’s ex-CEO Kerry Killinger, with Bernie Madoff, and now with AIG’s derivatives traders. They may not be as crude and boastful as Dunlap, but they were far more successful at plunder than he was. The really scary thing is that pretty much everywhere you see a “success story” in corporate America or Wall Street, you’ll find a variation on the “Chainsaw” Dunlap story: plunder, looting, destruction—the reptiles versus the humanoids.     

A couple of weeks ago, while researching for an article on the shooting spree in southern Alabama that left 11 people dead, I came across a variation of the Dunlap Plunder in an unlikely place: Pilgrim’s Pride chicken, the largest chicken processor in the world. I looked into Pilgrim’s Pride because the company was high on the shooter’s alleged “hit list.” At the top of his grievances: he and his mother had both filed lawsuits against Pilgrim’s Pride in 2006 claiming they’d been cheated out of their wages. They weren’t the only ones: A class-action lawsuit filed by over 10,000 employees charged the Pilgrim’s Pride with denying payment for overtime work, and the U.S. Labor department agreed. In 2007, the US Labor Department slapped a paltry $3 million fine on Pilgrim’s Pride for illegally undercounting work hours.

It gets worse: Pilgrim’s Pride’s founder Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim overleveraged the company in 2006, the year everyone was overleveraging, in order to acquire rivals and overtake Tyson as the world’s number one chicken producer. He achieved his goal, and assured shareholders it was a wise move; but that’s when the company started getting sued for shaving employees’ salaries, which is another way of saying transferring money from the workers to the owners. Last year, shareholders filed suit against Pilgrim’s Pride, charging securities fraud. By December, the company declared bankruptcy, thereby protecting the billionaire Pilgrim family from its creditors and aggrieved workers and shareholders.

In short: wealth transferred from the pockets of local fireman, police, teachers and utilities into the pockets of the Pilgrim family.

But supposedly there’s nothing we can do. Like AIG, Pilgrim’s Pride is holding a proverbial gun to the American government’s head: if it goes into Chapter 7 and collapses, then as bad as things are now, it could get much worse, with its 50,000 employees facing layoffs and dozens of factories facing closure. As a result, the USDA announced that we, the taxpayers, will spend tens of millions to buy Pilgrim’s Pride chicken. Meanwhile, Pilgrim’s Pride responded by shutting down three plants anyway, and the bankruptcy judge has allowed former executives of Pilgrim to be rehired as “consultants” on company retainer.

Amid all of this, the man who went on his shooting rampage a couple weeks ago, Michael McLendon, appears to have been set off by a decision by Pilgrim’s Pride to suspend his 53-year-old mother from her factory job due to a dispute over how she counted her work hours—the same dispute that Pilgrim has been fighting and losing the past few years. You would think they wouldn’t do something as brash as suspend an employee over a work-time related dispute, not during a lawsuit, not during bankruptcy, not now with Obama in power. Right? But they did.

dunlap-student-success-center1

The new Florida State University “Albert Dunlap Student Success Center” was inaugurated last September, when the financial crisis hit. Dunlap put up $5 million, and the state put up the other $8.5 million or so. Dunlap was awarded an honorary degree in human dissection, before slithering back into his swamp-lair in the Everglades.

Which brings me back to the original point of this article, which is to say that we’ve finally learned our bitter Brady Bunch lesson: The economic elite of this country is made up of people whose exterior features look human, but whose brains are reptilian.

That’s why AIG’s behavior, and all the rest of them, makes so much sense—both their bottomless appetite for plunder in the face of no resistance, and the way they have released the loot from their jaws and scrambled away to the muddy river bottom at the first sign of serious threats from the humans they’ve been feeding on. They’ll retreat for awhile, but in the end, a croc’s got to eat, and his idea of eating isn’t our idea of eating.

Things in this country could get very strange and very hardcore. Stay tuned.

Read Mark Ames’ new regular online column “Backstabber” at Playboy.com. (This version is slightly edited from the Playboy version to make it more seditious.) Buy his book Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.
     

Click the cover & buy the book!

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50 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. mechagodzilla  |  March 31st, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Mark, you’re a sweetie-pie. Keep writing. Kisses

  • 2. az  |  March 31st, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Mark, I think we have to understand here that going backward into the days before the crisis of the 1970s will not work as the world economy is simply not in the shape it was back then. It has actively globalized because of the failure of capitalism to stay in a closed territory, not expanding due to the fact that if the same people are making the goods and buying them, you’re shit outta luck trying to make a profit as all revenue comes from wages.

    And even if we were able to somehow transport everyone back to 1967, history would repeat itself right on track. That’s why we have to move forward and realize that we have to build a system where production is based on demand and not profit.

    Of what you bring up what actually worries me is if the American people would be able to do this. The United States has put down every rebellion it has faced left and right, some recent examples being grapeshot in the face of anti-war lefties at Kent State in 1970 and beyond and the Waco siege which effectively put an end to “white militias” (you actually wrote about this in “The 90s Sham”). So the question here is, what kind of movement would we have to build and educate that would not be afraid of the state/corporate institutions of oppression?

    Because what Americans did in the last 30 years was surrender. They simply stopped fighting for their freedom and gave up, like the white kid in a State Pen. that stopped fighting, got gang-raped, and became someone’s bitch. And that is scary, because like prison bitches we have learned to like this situation and now that our hubby is getting cornered by the guards, we don’t know what to expect or who to root for. On one hand, we have Randroids and the like, who are the prison homosexuals in us and on the other, the left, which has failed to deliver what it promised after shakedowns in 1919, the 20s, 1936-38, 1946-58, and the 70s. Enough of the uncomfortable prison references though.

    I guess then the best treatment is to show these wretches who are stealing our money every day as the traitors and crooks that they really are, as you are doing. I doubt that it’s nearly enough as an effort though.

  • 3. Kavuye Toon  |  March 31st, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Yeah Mark, you’re the sweetiest pie and I love your writing

  • 4. aleke  |  March 31st, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Mark, you’re my sweet baby! Keep up the Journo Worko, kisses from denmark..

  • 5. tommy bulletbrains  |  March 31st, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    RACE WAR SWEETIE PIE

  • 6. Sally  |  March 31st, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    you are such a SWEETY!!! keep it up mark :)

  • 7. Anonymous  |  March 31st, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Mark,

    Please provide eXile readers with the time, date, and location of the revolution and specific information about whether or not it will be televised.

    Please keep it up and help make America sane again.

  • 8. Kris  |  March 31st, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Great job Mark: your columns are original for a simple reason. You do journalism instead of copying-pasting agency depeches, which is the reason the mainstream press is in such a bad shape.
    2 elements in your article you are repeating from others though (and represent the weak points of your argument) a) the bailout is not US taxpayer money but rather emerging countries’ taxpayer money; b) the big bad execs have been cooking the books and should be jailed for that; not for collecting the millions in bonuses the shareholders have granted them in their employment contract.

    This latter argument is everywhere to be read but void; the execs can turn it back on you and say ‘well in these crisis time, isn’t it immoral that those greedy workers want their paycheck in full instead of accepting pay cuts/downsizing for the sake of the economy?

  • 9. Hey-soose  |  March 31st, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    @az: The anti-war demonstrators and “white militias” are different from what we’re seeing now. Both of those two movements were ridiculously moral, idealistic, and had their own retarded sub-cultures to go along with it. What we’re seeing now is pure anger on a wide scale.

    As a fast food employee, I’m feelin the vindication thru osmosis here … and you fuckin bet that I’m lovin’ it.

  • 10. Plamen Petkov  |  March 31st, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    “We knew there were some bad apples out there”?
    Where have you been living? The whole USA system has been designed to plunder and loot the population. It’s always been doing that, and way before Reagan. Problem is that before Reagan the “trickle down” effect was still working, meaning some money DID end up in the pockets of the sheeple consumers so they can go out and spend thinking that buying up useless junk equals good life meant.
    With the raise of Japan, USA finally had a real competition and since they couldn’t handle it, the only thing they could think of was to begin outsourcing. That spelled the destruction of USA’s middle class and all the problems that came with it.
    Now that that’s complete, whats USA to do? Keep on creating bubbles like it’s been doing for the last 10 years? I guess a good world war will fix things right up. That’s the ONLY thing left for United Stupids of Amerikka to do. NO wonder USA’s got such a hard on for Iran.

  • 11. zealot  |  April 1st, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Ames, for al that his assesment of the situation is right, has just exposed himself to being sunk by the charge of being a conspiracy nut by his poetic, but sustained, reference to ‘reptilian-ism’. It will get trotted out should he ever get any major traction. Pitty.

  • 12. zip  |  April 1st, 2009 at 2:48 am

    …hhhmmm so many “sweety’s”, got to get me a Che t-shirt and start scoring again.

  • 13. WE  |  April 1st, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Food not bombs got more middle class white kids laid than GHB and frat parties. These kind of people are easily co-opted because at the end of the day they were often doing what an over branded world with a genuine deficit in real cultural identification leads children to do, rebel through an ironically branded image. My real fear is, the only people who have shown any propensity for violence in America are gang members, white nationalists (or the small minority of them who are no simply the other side of the food not bombs coin) and military trained Christian Dispensationalists who have been well indoctrinated by that nexus of social engineering: the rise of neo-conservatism, the rise of Christian fundamentalism, the elimination of the fairness doctrine which provided the propaganda front via right wing talk radio and the Reagan Revolution.

    Our entire nation has been crippled and yet the vast majority of those willing to take up arms would do so against poor minorities, homosexuals and middle-class liberals. Gangs and mexican nationalist will fight back which at best could fragment America into a Christian Fundamentalist Taliban on the one hand, and on the other a mexican controlled southwest with pockets of free states controlled by other ethnic minorities who were able to cut out their own Kurdistans. White liberals will not fight by in large, most of them will gravitate towards white nationalists and the Christian fundamentalists out of fear, they will be trapped in their suburbs, won’t even dare testing out their theories of racial unity but rather cower and side with whoever will assimilate them. All of that being ironic when you think that even with everything being so blatantly clear, they still really believe that a couple of fags, democrats, lazy blacks and illegal immigrants are the real source of all of our downfall.

    Call it stupidity or paradigmatic paralysis, their entire worldview is at stake, the very reason for which they live. You tell someone to take the red pill and shatter the entire foundation of their existence or take the blue pill and keeping living out the hollywood narrative where you are the Godly man in the Godly nation fighting against evil and hopefully bringing about the second coming before you are forced to deal with the reality of death and you’ve got no contest. While being financially bankrupted they are able to believe that God is on their side and the source of their affliction is not the shaper of their worldview but the scapegoats who have been carefully crafted to take the fall for the last 30 years. Oh, Americans might rise up, but it will be in the wrong direction, and what shall remain is a truly scary prospect indeed.

  • 14. Anonymous  |  April 1st, 2009 at 4:14 am

    Mark, I agree with most of what you’re saying, but as a coder, I think technology is accelerating and creating new industries and destroying old ones at an ever more rapid pace. The phone book companies, for example. It is the nature of the economy that some businesses will sometimes go bankrupt, or shrink and need to lay off workers, and I think the government should provide everyone with health care and job security in the form of a full employment program, rather than relying on companies to provide them.

    az, I think the trick is that the 12-22 male demographic are always the only ones crazy and angry enough to lead a real revolution, so to enact any substantive government reform the rest of us need to persuade them to do the dirty work and face down the rubber bullets at least enough to provide a credible threat. (By the way, did you know Obama’s armored limo, The Beast, has a tear gas cannon?) Persuading the kids to pile on would probably take loud, simple ranting, the kind of loud, simple ranting that is currently mostly just provided by rabidly pro-business voices like Fox News or the Ron Paul campaign. I don’t know if the Exile staff can do much, but they’re gaining ground, getting into Playboy and Rolling Stone, and there is also Jon Stewart pushing a bit. I guess I’ll just keep linking friends to it, and see what happens next.

  • 15. Nestor  |  April 1st, 2009 at 4:35 am

    It’s interesting. I’m always fascinated by those uncle Tom republicans, people with no healthcare and minimum wage jobs, who still take the side of the plutocrats. Az’s prison bitches comparison is apt, I suppose.

  • 16. CasinoCaribbean  |  April 1st, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Very good article

  • 17. JFreshInEffect!  |  April 1st, 2009 at 9:04 am

    WE….You are absolutely on fucking point.

    “All of that being ironic when you think that even with everything being so blatantly clear, they still really believe that a couple of fags, democrats, lazy blacks and illegal immigrants are the real source of all of our downfall.”

    Fucking Gospel…

  • 18. Allen  |  April 1st, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Whenever real revolutionary action is brought up the quips about Che-shirts and the Cliche cultural American left come out. Even if such a thing were to happen, these will not be the real revolutionaries. The individuals at Kent state were not revolutionaries, because they didn’t bother to hit back. It might have alienated the general public if they had bombed National Guard offices or assassinated the Governor, but it would have prevented the movement from being demoralized.

    If there had been a real sustained revolutionary movement in the late 60s and early 70s, it probably would have looked a lot more like the Black panthers and Weather Underground on a mass scale, rather than all that peace and love bullshit. Passive resistance only works under select very favorable conditions.

    In any case, it’s probably better that it didn’t happen … because it would have just degenerated into a decade or two of terrorism and “counter terrorism”, and we would be much farther along the dialectical move toward statist absolutism in the name of plutocracy than we are already.

    (Which by the way is what’s funny about the Randian inspired “Capitalism is the new naturalism” people who talk about limited government and reflexively defend Rand’s Nietzschian-Plutocrats as children of the “true system of freedom”. The same hero of industry that never saw a forest he didn’t want to turn into a paper-mill [or a black box accounting scheme he didn’t like, apparently] is the same dude that can’t resist the allure of state-power. It’s the biggest baddest toy out there and no personal fortune could ever compare – so why not?)

    As to our current predicament, I don’t think this is a revolutionary time – at least not yet. As far as the death of the United States goes, I agree that it is far likely to come at the hands of Christian fundamentalists and perhaps some kind of cultural disintegration along racialized lines (thanks to the shallow gene poolers among us) – though I’ll give that one 20 to 30 more years to happen. I say it’s not revolutionary because Americans are not going to uproot the political or economic system they have come to love with religious devotion … without an even more massive catastrophe. It’s also true, as some have pointed out, that the current trend of Global capitalism has had the effect of making Americans more and more dependent on it – what does a services and finance empire do when the ships full of cheap Chinese crap stop coming into harbor? (Rebuild its own factories I guess, but in the meantime people will have to swallow much lower living standards, pun intended).

    One thing is semi-clear; America is never again going to be the world power it once was. That’s definitely going to piss a lot of people off.

    Amazing article by the way.

  • 19. Tommy Jefferson  |  April 1st, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Class warfare is retarded. You fell for it.

    If not for the government’s monopoly on violence, their corporate gang brothers would not be able to rob you.

    Wal-Mart can’t put a gun to your head and force you to buy from them. Only the government can.

    Without a gun in the room, monopolies cannot exist. It’s time to break up the corportate/government monopoly.

    The problem is not class. The problem is that some think they have the right to hold a gun to your head and say “pay me”.

    Fascism is as American as apple pie.

  • 20. Balki Bartalamoose  |  April 1st, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I agree with the basic premise of this, but quality of life (maybe not satisfaction), technology, etc. have improved so much over the past 30 years it’s hard to argue. Middle Class people today have comforts the rich wouldn’t have dream of 30 years ago, and it’s thanks to the system.

  • 21. Allen  |  April 1st, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Jefferson:

    The dominant class in America and its government are not separable.

  • 22. Moo  |  April 1st, 2009 at 10:28 am

    “If not for the government’s monopoly on violence, their corporate gang brothers would not be able to rob you.

    Wal-Mart can’t put a gun to your head and force you to buy from them. Only the government can.”

    —–

    So basically, you’re saying we should eliminate the government’s monopoly on violence – at which point Walmart WILL be able to put a gun to your head and force you to buy from them.

  • 23. Hey-soose  |  April 1st, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Allen, he’s not making any sense to begin with … why bother?

  • 24. WE  |  April 1st, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I sense from Plamen’s comment the typical Russian pride that points far more towards jealousy than actual concern. I agree with your general analysis and Leninist sentiment that imperialism and capitalism go hand in hand. I would also agree that the United States has been subsidized by cheap commodities and ongoing expansion into foreign markets. Just think for a moment, annual growth of 7% is expected in a healthy capitalist economy, nonwithstanding the kinks in the impossibility theorem that see our world and it’s resources as a finite system, if eternal growth is a prerequisite of health, that there is a logical fallacy in our system as a whole. Mercantilism for all of it’s primitivism seems to have pointed towards a more concrete reality, the pie is limited, we eat at the expense of others.

    What I find fault with in your prideful thinking is that what America has done on a global scale, nations like Russia do on a regional scale and most certainly on a national level. Where is the vast majority of Russia’s wealth concentrated? West of the Urals. Where does the vast majority of it’s wealth come from? East of the Urals. For all of your super rich russians who pay $1,500 dollars to park outside of a shitty nightclub or 10,000 dollars for a table, the heros that you parade out on the 9th of May could finance one of those parking spaces in exchange for half a year’s pension. Putin strategically targeted a few oligarchs while transferring 43 billion of your state resources into his own hands. It’s so easy just to blame this on America, but the real symptoms are apparent everywhere. In fact, what has happened in the last 30 years has only brought America closer to Russia in terms of societal organization. I just wish Russians like you would actually give half as much a shit about the affected poor as you do your wounded pride. In a land of infinite schemers who ended up creating the world’s biggest trailer park, I can see the pain in watching those idiot yanks end up plundering the world in ways you could have only dreamed. And calling Americans sheep, Russians will pay 10 dollars for a bag of fucking german potato chips, 10 dollars for a cup of coffee, 300 dollars for a pair of Levi’s and 1000 dollars for a chinese Iphone. Seriously, in a nation that makes a fourth as much as Americans, you willingly pay four times as much for mindless shit, and you think we’re the idiots. Good luck on that one. Thanks for the kind words Jfresh.

  • 25. buzz  |  April 1st, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    i must say at least you fags have the courage to come out and say CLASS WAR in your excess verbiage… however, it’s not encouraging all those video games reviews you publish; do you have a lot of punk readers or something ?

    not to sound like a crapitalist pig, but while you guys were blowing those checks from your parents on drugs and poon-tang, did you learn anything about black marketing and surviving economic decay that you can share with us ?

    i know my government checks are going to stop coming sooner rather than later, and i’m really too old to start a business or hold down a regular job…

    XXX’s

  • 26. az  |  April 1st, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Hey-soose: Good point I guess, “without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement” and all.

  • 27. ben housouer  |  April 1st, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    end this fucking free trade bullshit and put our our low class dumbfuck workers back to work or our entire budget will be all wellfare. i say firebomb any company that outsources jobs to a foreign country and then tries to bring their products back into the states at a huge profit. are you listening unions? boycots and negotiations are for pussies and losers!

  • 28. Allen  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 1:03 am

    On the lighter side of 3am … all this talk of Class war and plutocrats as reptiles … and no one has even brought up “They Live!” yet.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBCgPT1Clgo

  • 29. Nicolai Ceske  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with this garbage going on in the US now. I moved to Central Europe four years ago to escape the looming destruction in the motherland.

    Greed, emptiness, violence…all commonplace in the US regardless of class level.

    What do you expect in a land where personal value is based on material wealth; where kids grow up wanting to become corporate hacks; where the lack of cultural and civic development creates a bunch of boring idiots with nothing to do but work all week and then buy stuff?

    Fortunately I am away from all of that here, living amongst the other refugees from the West who were smart enough to get out and in a formerly Communist country, where people had civility and community indoctrinated into them at a young age.

    All I care about after reading this article is the part at the end where Ames says he writes for Playboy. Does this mean you get to visit the mansion? Whats that like?

  • 30. veracity  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    It’s actually worse than Mark writes….
    for the “new guy” president has selected as his econ/finance leaders, two guys who presided over CATASTROPHE last year, saved ONLY by Hank Paulson’s 700 BILLION dollars taxpayer bailouts. (Actually, THREE TRILLION dollars over past 12 months, but we Americans aren’t allowed to quibble about such things as how our taxpayer dollars are being ripped-off, er, “spent.”)
    Robert Rubin, Obama’s TOP “economics” guy, presided over disaster last year, his company, Citi-group (which paid him $115 for his “expertise” over past 10 years) – WENT BANKRUPT!! Saved ONLY by Paulson’s bailouts.
    Tim Geithner was Rubin’s protege when Rubin was Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, and “Democrat” Rubin’s ties to the GOP were SO strong (thanks to Rubin pushing the uber-Right-Wing Republican PHIL GRAMM’s Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act 1999 & Commodity Futures ‘Modernization’ Act 2000) – that Rubin got _Republican_ President George W. Bush to nominate lil’ Timmy Geithner to be CHAIRMAN, Fed. Reserve Bank of NY, the biggest, most important Fed bank of them all (12).
    Geithner’s REAL job at the Fed’s biggest (PRIVATE!) bank??? – Answer: to do Rubin’s & his other boss’ (Ben Bernake, Chairman of the Fed) REAL business: HAND OUT ONE TRILLION DOLLARS of “fiat” (or “created”) money, money created out of thin air by the Fed Reserve Banks’ monopoly power to… create money. (The Treasury PRINTS BILLS, currency which is only a SMALL portion of overall “money supply” – the Fed Reserve Bank(s) most certainly DO NOT answer to the Treasury!
    http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/7483/Fed-Heads-Back-to-the-Well-Will-It-Run-Dry
    to prop up the big (private) bank’s balance sheets, and thereby allow them to ARTIFICIALLY INFLATE the stock market… and those big bonus millions we hear about all the time.
    THIS was the great “Bull Market” of October 2007… that SUCKED IN _REAL_ money from workin’ stiff Americans (pensions, IRAs, small investors) and also that FAKE (of “FIAT”) money that the allowed REAL ESTATE prices to zoom into stratosphere (at least along prime, coastal cities).
    That is just 2 of the current president’s “Economics” guys. The others are Investment Bankers or lobbyists as well!
    Geithner’s #2 at Trasury, Mark Patterson – a Goldman-Sachs Lobbyists! Obama’s new guy to oversee the Commodities Future Trading Commission (which Goldman-Sachs & other “investment banks” & hedge-funds sought to DEREGULATE these past 15 years) – ANOTHER GS partner, Gary Gensler!
    Same with Marc Wolin – ANOTHER finance industry lobbyist, nominated by Obama to be in his econ team.
    Clearly, the new president doesn’t know how ridiculous he is going to look, when the American public finally comes to the realizations that EVERY ONE of Obama’s “Econ power players” would BE IN BANKRUPTCY themselves… but for PAULSON’s & BERNANKE’s TRILLIONS of dollars of FREE GIFT bailouts!

    Oh – did we mention – Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, most famous (infamous) for PRESIDING OVER THE MELTDOWN of US markets last year, and for propping up that market with those $700 bilion dollars (requested as of September 2008, alone)… was ALSO a Goldman-Sachs Chairman?!!
    This is the easiest “Whodunnit?” in Sherlock Holmes history!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_Futures_Modernization_Act_of_2000
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Rubin
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Paulson

  • 31. Tam  |  April 2nd, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    These people are not your friends. For some reason, this article, (and in particular the last line) reminds me of the following letter which was written years ago by Matt Groening. It’s a parody of the letter Exxon executives published in newspapers everywhere after the sinking of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker:

    AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PUBLIC
    Hi there. On March 24, in the wee hours of the morning, mistakes were made in the waters of Prince William Sound, way up someplace in Alaska. By now you all know that our tanker, the Hexxon Valdez, was hit by a treacherous submerged reef that made us lose 240,00 barrels of valuable oil into the uncooperative waters of the Sound.
    We could sue that reef if we wanted to, but that’s not Hexxon’s style. Instead we are keeping our fingers crossed that this whole thing will blow over in a matter of weeks. Sure, there will be disgusting pictures of filthy birds, fish and other unsavory wildlife. But I hope that you know Hexxon has already committed several hundred people to hose off those stubborn otters that still happen to be alive.
    Finally, and most importantly, I want you to believe how sorry I am that this incident has occurred. We cannot, of course, undo what has been done. Only God can do that, and He caused the whole damn thing in the first place. But I can assure you that since March 24, this little “in the drink” problem has been receiving our full attention, and will continue to do so until you forget about the whole thing.
    Thanks for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you.
    Keep on pumpin’ L.G. Crawl Chairman
    P.S. To those of you who suggested that we Hexxon executives should be forced to go to Alaska and scrub those oily rocks ourselves, not returning until the job is done, no matter how long it takes, we simply say this: You don’t understand. We are rich and powerful beyond your wildest dreams.

  • 32. g0d  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 12:33 am

    …. who ELSE is drafting death threat letters after reading Matt Taibbi’s new Rolling Stone article?

  • 33. veracity  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 5:49 am

    What the heck! I left my computer on (sleep-mode) to this page, so I’ll add some important fill-in details to my above (#30) comment.

    First of all, got to laugh at #29, Nicolai Ceske! Nic… sounds interesting you moving smack into middle of Europe to get away from American conspicuous greed & consumption… & then you express a fascination for the Playboy Mansion… THE ULTIMATE expression of that conspicuous consumption (and lust!) in all of America! lol
    (You do know, of course, that the Playboy mansion in roughly modeled on the Arab/Turkish HAREMS, right? Where the Arab/Mongol/Turk rulers & conquerors had their pick of the thousands of the most beautiful women, girls (& boys) of their latest conquests?
    (Heck, one of the Turkish Sultans was rumored to have blond hair, because his mother had been captured and sold as a Slav child-slave from Serbia.)
    (btw, the word “Slave” comes from “Slav”, because the East European Slavs were fodder for so many conquests & enslavements, from titanic waves of invasions, from Huns to Vikings to Mongols to Arabs to Turks, etc.!)

    Now down to business. The REAL Bailouts have cost American taxpayers THREE TRILLION DOLLAR in past 12 months.
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090331_in_for_a_penny_in_for_298_trillion/
    Actually more, because since Bush-2 gave us those Monster US DEFICITS, the above $3-trillion is _MORE_ DEBT we put on the national credit card… which we must of course pay off with interest.
    (By now EVERYONE knows, that if you are close to your limit on your credit card, and buy a leather jacket on that card for $100, you will actually spend $200 for the credit-purchase before it is all over, right?)
    (If you only make minimum payments, carry your balance for a year or two.)

    Here’s the breakdown of the $3 TRILLION in bailouts thus far:
    #1. OVER one TRILLION dollars, BEFORE MARCH 2008, alone! As I briefly tried to explain previous comment, this was the Fed Reserve Banks (plural!) ability to CREATE MONEY out of thin air, in tens-of-billions-of-dollars chunks. The _Treasury_ does NOT have this “Money Creating” power…. the 12 PRIVATE Fed banks do.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve
    Even the Wiki entry is confusing about the Fed’s ability to CREATE MONEY out of thin air, actually no more than electronic debits or credits in the registers of its 12 member banks. Actually, this is simpler than it sounds… You wake up one morning to find out that your Citi or Chase Visa card suddenly has a $1 million CREDIT on it… Go ahead, spend it as you want! You will never have to pay it back… spend it like “real” money you worked for, but it just appeared out of thin air. Well, the Fed. Reserve is comprised of those “12 member, _private_ banks”, but the relation between the “private” 12 Fed banks, and the BIG private banks that we know of are a even murkier… #1. the Citi-bank, #2. JPMorgan-CHASE-Manhatten bank, #3. the NY Bank Mellon, #4. Bank of America, and… #5. Goldman-Sachs, all clearly have BILLIONS of dollars, and, being the biggest banks & finanical powerhouses, clearly have tremendous influence over the Fed, almost certainly because they OWN a huge portion of those 12 “private” Fed banks.
    Anyways, after the Fed “creates” that ONE TRILLION DOLLARS out of thin air – “money” that American taxpayers now become liable, an INFLATION of the money supply which DEFLATES the dollar, we know that huge chunks of those billions wind up in the bank vaults of the Top 5 US banks listed above.
    This is the FAKE or “FIAT MONEY” that the big banks & brokerage houses used to CREATE THE IMPRESSION that they were MAKING MONEY, sucking in REAL money from (us) greedy American “investors” trying to get a free ride. Would the Stock Market (Dow average of 30 industrial stocks) have flirted with 14,000 in October 2007 without that Fed “INJECTION” of one TRILLION dollars???
    Hell no!

    Oh -forgot to mention another aspect of the Fed’s ability to CREATE MONEY…. all those “LOWER THE FED RATE!” shouts & cries you heard from Wall St. guys over past dozen years. When the Fed lends out LOW rate money to the big banks, and they turn around & lend it to you or your neighbor at a higher interest loan, they have effectively CREATED FREE MONEY; “Here’s some FREE (low interest) money, LOAN it out, KEEP the interest, give back the original sum of money, but we will GIVE IT RIGHT BACK TO YOU, so you can start all over.”
    Clearly, Wall St. got ADDICTED to this FREE (very low interest rate) MONEY from the Fed, which PUMPED UP THE MARKETS for past 6-7 years. But like any addict, the rush soon wore off. Making a little “vig” (“vigorish”) or “commission” on the Fed’s low-interest overnight rate was NOT enough to sustain the artificially pumped & high-flying markets… so the banksters DEMANDED MORE. That’s where the Fed “LIQUIDITY INJECTIONS” started coming in – a more direct jolt of Free Money into the veins of those Wall Street “FREE MONEY NOW!” addicts.
    When first the “rush” of Low-Interest Fed Rates (= free money) wore off, and then, the DIRECT GIFT of FREE MONEY from BILLIONS of Fed Liquidity Injections could NOT BE SUSTAINED, THAT is when we had the markets finally starting to UNWIND, MELTDOWN, and CRASH in 2008.
    That – watching AIG, Fannie-Mae, Freddie-Mac, Bear-Stearns – when all their DEREGULATION allowed DERIVATIVE speculations could no longer be ARTIFICIALLY PUMPED UP by BILLIONS in FREE MONEY from the Fed, they (and real estate) prices CRASHED.

    That is when Bush & Paulson and the Republican/Wall St. “brain-trust” went storming to Nancy Pelosi’s (so-called) “Democratic” 110th Congress, and shouted at Trust Fund Nancy & Hapless Harry (Reid, Dem. Senate Majority Leader), “YOU BETTER GIVE US A $700 BILLION dollar check to prop up our Wall Street, or there will be RIOTS IN THE STREET!”
    It was of course THE STUPIDIST Financial capitulation in recorded history, but Nancy was lusting over the possibility of getting a Dem. in White House in presidential election of 2008, and she wasn’t about to let the Republicans say “Nancy’s refusal to BAIL OUT ‘the markets’ caused THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS” so she went along with it. Besides, the Pelosi-Reid-Schumer-Feinstein-Clinton-ROCKEFELLER “Democrats” (hello? JAY ROCKEFELLER?) are FAR CLOSER to the Wall Street big bankers, than they are to working-stiff blue-collar shmoes laid off from the Dodge plant.
    So instead of getting just “BACK DOOR” Bailouts of Fed “LIQUIDITY INJECTIONS’ we now have former GOLDMAN-SACHS CHAIRMAN, and Bush Treasury Secretary HANK PAULSON, going to the Pelosi Congress saying “JUST GIVE US THE MONEY UP FRONT, NO strings attached, NO audits, oversight, or verification allowed”!!!
    So now we are at $1 Trillion in Fed Liquidity Injections BEFORE Mar. 2008, and Paulson asking for $700 BILLION in Sept. 2008.
    Well, guess what? At same time, IN SAME WEEK, that Paulson is asking of (Pelosi’s) Congress $700 billion from the front-door, he & BEN BERNANKE, Chairman of the Fed, are COOKING UP ANOTHER $630 BILLION Fed “Liquidity Injection” at the BACK door !!!
    Between the pre-March $1-trillion+ “Liquidity Injections”, the September Paulson $700 billion Bailouts, and the Bernanke Sept. 2008 $630 Fed “liquidity injection”, you have nearly $2.5 TRILLION dollars, alone!
    Then when Obama was inaugurated he requested ANOTHER $800 billion in “front-door” BAILOUTS, so even if Paulson only got half ($350 billion) of his requested $700 billion, that still puts the BAILOUTS TOTAL wt well over $3 TRILLION dollars… with MORE to come!
    (or, as the Scheer article linked at top of this comment states, MORE HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of TAXPAYER DOLLARS to be SHOVED DOWN THE BLACK HOLE of the TEN TRILLION PLUS in DERIVATIVE FAILED BETS the Top-5 banks lost this past year, and are now trying to STICK TAXPAYERS with making whole!)

    For all its complexity, and the media’s CONFUSING reporting, the above really is the simple outline of this market meltdown & recession: using FREE MONEY from the Fed, and NO oversight after a dozen years of DEREGULATION, the Big Banksters ARTIFICIALLY INFLATED the markets and values of their “assets”, taking a skim (“earning a profit”) off of EACH fake, fraudulent deal they made between one another, as their DERIVATIVES bets soared off into TEN TRILLION PLUS dollars of FAILED bets.
    Now they, the Big Bankers, WANT TO STICK TAXPAYERS with that ENTIRE $10 Trillion+ in losses (some, like Thom Hartmann, suggest the Derivatives losses are in the SEVENTEEN TRILLION range!)
    They have already SUCKED $3 TRILLION _real_ taxpayer dollars OUT of the budget to make good THEIR losses in past 12 months, alone… and EVERYONE in America intuitively knows, “HEY! GIVE ME a chunk of those $3 TRILLION we have bailed out the Banksters for, and _I_ won’t have a recession this year”!

    However, the media, the Republicans, the Democrats, and now even the “CHANGE” guy in White House, will NOT explain this simple sequence of events! And instead want to put us on the hook for MORE Trillions to come, when the “Geithner Plan” fails, as it will.
    Hell, Economist Paul Krugman doesn’t mince words: he calls the Obama/Giethner plan “The WARMED OVER HANK PAULSON PLAN”,
    http://www.sacbee.com/1190/story/1723268.html
    (Hank Paulson don’t forget, is the FORMER GOLDMAN-SACHS CHAIRMAN who became Bushies’ TREASURY SECRETARY who PRESIDED OVER DISASTER last year, and demanded (and got) those $700 BILLION in NO STRINGS ATTACHED Bailouts from the insanely corrupt Pelosi “Democrat” Congress!!!!)

    Krugman’s FELLOW NOBEL-PRIZE WINNING economist JOE STIGLITZ agrees with Krugman – the Obama/Geithner (warmed-over Paulson) plan is a RIPOFF for American taxpayers: Right there in the title!

    #2. “Stiglitz: The Geithner plan will ROB American Taxpayers” !!! http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE52N1IW20090324

    #3. William Engdahl: Obama’s “PLAN” goes to JUST FIVE big banks, whose TRILLIONS in DEBTS, will NOT be satisfied by even ANOTHER _Three Trillion_ dollars !!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBazTbb5IJc

    #4. Frank Rich – Obama’s AIG BONUS scandal was his SECOND brush with DISASTER!!
    POPULIST OUTRAGE from Tim Geithner & Tom Daschle EVADING TAXES during their confirmations was Obama’s FIRST brush with DISASTER – http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/22/opinion/22rich.html

    Clearly, President Obama does NOT know what the hell he is doing – he clearly feels he is being justified, moral, and proper handing out TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to the Top 5 big banks, who SHOULD be in BANKRUPTCY, but HIS OWN TEAM of Banksters have SCARED Obama with the Lehman “let it fail, then you will bankruptcy leading to market chaos” vision – EVEN THOUGH there ARE alternatives, for example, the WaMu & Merrill-Lynch meltdowns was handled so well, most people never noticed them.
    ==================================

    And don’t forget PHIL GRAMM.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Gramm
    He is literally the guy at the center of BOTH US market meltdowns, late 1980s & 2008-2009. He, Dick Armey, Ken Lay, & other Texas _Right-Wing Republican_ _economics PhDs_ were the most vociferous supporters of DEREGULATING the _Savings & Loan industry_ back in the late 1980s. When those Deregulations (aka “license to steal”) led directly to the BUSH-1 RECESSION, the Right-Wing immediately started… blaming the stupid, hapless, corrupted Democrats, as “Tax & Spend Liberals” and for “REGULATING TOO MUCH” !!

    This INVERSION of the simple facts (the Recession was caused by DEREGULATION allowing VAST FRAUD, which Righties FORCED TAXPAYERS to make up the BILLIONS lost, one TRILLION DOLLARS in 1980s money) led DIRECTLY to TIMMY McVEIGH’s blowing up the US Govt. building in Oklahoma City in 1995… just over 2 years into Clinton’s first term as president, because Clinton ousted BushSr. from the White House after Bush’s single term because of that Bush-1 Recession.
    (At end of Gulf War-1 victory over Saddam in 1991, Bush Sr. had stratospheric, 80%+ approval ratings… but just over a year later, the Bush-1 Recession was so bad, he was ousted from presidency.)
    Of course then, like now (like 1930s) it was a GREAT recession, IF you were rich. Which is exactly why George Bush Jr. thought the American public had done his daddy wrong by handing the White House over to that cad Clinton. (Although of course Clinton wasn’t half as caddish as George Jr., but don’t try telling that to a rich, entitled frat boy.)

    There is a simple reason that Democrats do NOT make PHIL GRAMM the POSTER CHILD for, not one, but TWO US Economy-gutting RECESSIONS (both brought about by DEREGULATION & Republican DEFICIT SPENDING) that he deserves to be:
    __DEMOCRATS are IN BED with the BIG BANKSTERS who LOVE Gramm’s DEREGULATION and LOOT the PEONS agenda!!__
    And the TOP “DEMOCRATS” who SUPPORTED Phil Gramm’s “DEREGULATE THE MARKETS and LOOT the PEONS!” agenda over past 2 decades are EASY TO IDENTIFY: they are all the TOP PEOPLE in OBAMA’s administration!!

    ROBERT RUBIN, LAWRENCE SUMMERS, MARK PATTERSON, Gary Gensler ALL GOLDMAN-SACHS PARTNERS, or LOBBYISTS!
    Mark Wolin ANOTHER big-banking “DEREGULATION NOW!” _lobbyist_ who Obama has placed way-up-high in his admin’s financial offices!

    And Obama’s Chief of Staff, RAHM EMANUEL ??
    He “only” made… THIRTEEN MILLION DOLLARS in just 3 years, LEVERAGING his “Democrat” insider-connections, leaving directly from senior advisor to Clinton White House in 1998 to the Chicago “investment bank” firm of Wasserstein-Perrella, who specialized in “M&A” (mergers & acquisitions), aka LBO (levereged buy-out) TAKEOVERS – the kind of deal where a company is TAKEN OVER by Banksters, who promptly FIRE HALF of that company’s employees, to PAY the Bankers FEES, LOANS, and INTEREST for putting the LBO-Takeover deal together!!!
    http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/rahm-emanuel-former-investment-banker/

    Emanuel used his INSIDER “Democrat” political clout, to CLOSE THE LBO DEALS, that invariably laid off thousands of workers!!

    Hell, with FreeRepublic finally catching up to the buzz – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M-OiXUhZNE&feature=related – it is only a matter of time before all the above FINALLY EXPLODES onto the pages of the “Mainstream Media” – BOTH PARTIES are BLATANTLY OWNED by the BIG FINANCIAL FRAUDSTERS, with PHIL GRAMM, GOLDMAN SACHS, (Goldman chairmen) HANK PAULSON & ROBERT RUBIN at the EPICENTER of this US & world Economic Crisis!

    (with RAHM EMANUEL the Skull-Crusher/Enforcer/Gate-keeper for Big Finance dominating the ENTIRE Obama White House!)

    ————————-
    PS: Bonus: Here’s a video of FORMER GOLDMAN SACHS trader JIM CRAMER (yep, the CNBC “Mad Money” bully & loud-mouth whose “advice” has cost his viewers even worse than the average market losses last year) explaining how big hedge-funds can MANIPULATE markets…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M-OiXUhZNE&feature=related
    Cramer blatantly stating “Fomenting… creating a false impression… This is ILLEGAL, but we do it anyways, because the SEC doesn’t know what is going on.”!!
    The reason the SEC does NOT know what is going on is simple: THAT is how GOLDMAN-SACHS and the other big, fraudulent, artifically inflated Big Banksters want it, and have _BOUGHT CONGRESS and BOTH parties_ with over FIVE BILLION DOLLARS in “donations” over past 10 years!
    What Cramer doesn’t say in the video is where he learned those _illegal_ tricks – in his years as a trader for Goldman-Sachs!
    Indeed, in the video, Cramer says “IF you are NOT in to SQUEEZING and PUMPING clueless investors, you have no business being in a hedge-fund”!

    ==================================

    PPS: Glancing over the FreeRepublic rap on Emanuel while looking for the “traditional” Rahm Emanuel/Wasserstein-Perella story link (above) – I read this link about… EMANUEL’s FLIRTATION WITH OUTRIGHT FRAUDULENT Freddie-Mac accounting, as reported by the Big-Biz friendly CHICAGO TRIBUNE!
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/obama/chi-rahm-emanuel-profit-26-mar26,0,5682373.story
    Wow. Obama’s Rahm Emanuel/Goldman-Sachs ties are going to make his TONY REZKO ties look like a walk in the park !!

  • 34. veracity  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Sorry! forgot to include two VITAL links:

    Congress OWNED by Financial Companies: FIVE BILLION DOLLARS in bribes (er, “Donations”) over past 10 years

    (NOT counting _RELATED_ donations, for example, the close ties if not influence GOLDMAN-SACHS members have with tens of thousands of AIPAC/Israel-lobby donors) http://www.wallstreetwatch.org/soldoutreport.htm
    full 3MB pdf:
    http://www.wallstreetwatch.org/reports/sold_out.pdf
    =================================
    And, Bernanke/Geithner’s Fed “INJECTS” another $630 BILLION into their member Big Banks’ balance sheets…. the SAME WEEK that Paulson was getting $700 Billion from the Pelosi Congress, the last week of September 2008!
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a9MTZEgukPLY&refer=home

    HOW BAD, how AWFUL, is America’s “Mainstream Media” “reporting”???!

    ans.- Not only can we NOT get an accounting of HOW Paulson (and now Giethner) DISH OUT our BILLIONS of taxpayer BAILOUT dollars
    (for example, the AIG “bonuses”, the $200 million in bonues were of course CHUMP CHANGE compared to AIG handing out BILLIONS of taxpayer money to… GOLDMAN SACHS and FOREIGN BANKS!!)
    … but hell, we can’t even get an honest, rough total of just HOW MANY taxpayer BILLIONS have ALREADY BEEN GIVEN OUT !!

  • 35. az  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 8:31 am

    @g0d: Thanks for pointing me to that. At first I thought that the whole thing was just them trying to prolong their system working after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the Dot-Com Bust, and the recession of 2000-2001 that followed, which showed evident cracks of the system but Taibbi’s article showed another important part of the story.

  • 36. homo  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Stop spamming, dude. Leave the reporting to the big boyz.

  • 37. g0d  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 11:29 am

    @az: Anytime.

    Letdowns and comedowns. The truth is never comforting. Death of America II. What will America III be like?

    Guys. I think we’re missing a LINK here … all of this bullshit … it’s all connected in a way that is difficult to understand. There’s an insane encryption tool at work here: years and years of business school lingo and abbreviations that could blow the most bizarre porn freak out of the water. But what’s happening is also difficult to understand in another way … the way that you “don’t understand” how your girlfriend could have been fucking your friends while you were at work.

    Once … excuse me … IF people are given the tools and language to decrypt all this financial shit … put the dots on the board and then draw the lines … they are going to be even more furious. But the masters aren’t kind. They’ll prevent this … change the rules of encryption … hire everyone from the eastern-block-porn-world to devise the most insidious, cryptic, and vile contractions of American-english since the USA PATRIOT Act.

    I’m fucking steaming … and a head full of amphetamines … and I’ve got to be at work at Burger World in a few hours. Remember our masters … they’re still mortal and this frightens them. If Taibbi was right, and they look in the mirror and see Brad Pitt at least haven’t figured out how to change what we see … decaying, blubberous, sacks into youthful, desirable things … fuck, Burger World is calling. What is the proper gauge of ammunition to blow holes in this type of organic matter? Whichever I choose, they’ll have to wait for a day off.

    Wait … I don’t get days off.

    Jesus. This whole situation … sad death of America … has me thinking of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. They fit together so well in this case. Our masters are all in bed together … sucking and slurping at the last bit of our wealth … a bizarre college-fuck-fest-video-shoot but we aren’t getting the right angles. C’mon cameraman, can I at least catch the money shot? Or will this be another unfulfilled desire in a gigantic chain?

    Well, I’ve got one more line left … which will ultimately make room for more letdowns … in Schopenhauer’s words … technically they’re comedowns in my case. Let’s make this line count … and then off to Burger World.

  • 38. aleke  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    @g0d:

    What are you, trying on Dolan’s writing style? Does any one still work at Burger King?

  • 39. vvvci  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    “homo” writes:

    Dude, I just gave you the genesis of Economic Crisis 2008-2009 in two pages or less, with the best links, the best articles available anywhere, supporting ‘em!!

    Where else ya gonna git the Video link of Jim Cramer telling folks “If you ain’t into _illegally manipulating_ a stock, you should NOT be in (or running) a hedge-fund”??

    As far as “Letting the BIG BOYZ REPORT the ‘news’”, if you can find ONE “Big Boyz” reporter to tell you HOW MUCH the REAL BAILOUTS COST so far (not including the Robt. Scheer link in included in my ‘spam’) I’ll ___ ___ ___ !!

  • 40. aleke  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Can you format it without the weird shit you do? I mean, it’s okay to look at that for a paragraph or two but all those paragraphs look unreadable. And the Big Boyz he’s referring to is Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi (and Yasha Levine), because they put it in very readable, precise prose.

  • 41. DavidS  |  April 4th, 2009 at 4:26 am

    veracity@33, 24- Nice post! Far, far away from spam, but I suppose the folks here would like their shit sandwich served on the good china

    Anyone who writes “Boyz” really shouldn’t be throwing stones in a glasshouse.

    gOd- I’d like mine with mustard…

  • 42. fuckyou dumbass  |  April 4th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    dumbass. the manufactured AIG outrage was just a ploy (you so rightously feed) to cover up the government’s own monetary action.

    The US government *intentionally* allowed the AIG bonuses so they would have a witch to point out.

  • 43. captain america  |  April 7th, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    didn’t those companies who hired that dunlap guy ultimately get what they deserved for hiring an incompetent hack to fire employees who were obviously doing productive work? what about the laid-off employees themselves? didn’t most of them find work somewhere else in the next few months, if not weeks? getting laid off is hardly the same thing as having your life “destroyed.” it’s happened to me a few times, and i’m ok.

    damn…such good points…too bad you’ll probably censor them.

  • 44. Antropolog  |  April 8th, 2009 at 6:27 am

    ad 42.

    That apparently makes AIG the true victims here, huh you retard?

    Ames and his comrades put here before us nicely served thesis, unlike you did.

  • 45. pakk  |  April 12th, 2009 at 1:02 am

    The AIG bonuses story is just a tool of mass distraction.

    Last year when Freddie and Fannie already were dead meat, and AFTER they received their astounding bailout disbursements, they paid such bonuses to their management which eclipsed anything that the AIG has done. And nobody was giving a damn.

    One also has to remember that AIG is actually a huge and successful insurance firm, but with a Financial Products division which now looks very much like a mutilated corpse. This is because they were careless and financially irresponsible; however, the same applies to all Americans who were fooled that the deficit financed ‘prosperity’ they had experienced since Reagan years was real prosperity.

    So, as far as I can see the legal part of it, while AIGFP’s assets and liabilities are on the AIG’s balance sheet, the main company itself will live on if the FP division files for bankruptcy.

    But this is not to be allowed because it will wipe out the credit derivative deals underwritten by AIG. This will in turn wipe out JPM, BoA, GS and Citi. But how can you wipe out the people who actually run the US? (Oh, you thought it’s the President who runs the country? Poor, poor naive creature..)

    What’s funny (and why I’m talking of mass distraction) is that at the same time when the American public are being potentially fleeced of TRILLIONS through PPIP, and exposed to UNPRECEDENTED (for America, of course) inflationary risks (Fed has just started monetizing debt, and it looks like this process will take on a life of its own), – the Americans, like a herd of cattle, “rise in indignation” against AIG bonuses which are mere MILLIONS!

    What Mark Ames has been 100% right about for years is that the US government is just as corrupt and irresponsive as the Russian government. The only difference is that the US government is more efficient at fooling people.

    This comparative analysis of ‘crony capitalism’ in the US might also be of help:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice

  • 46. John Skulavik  |  April 17th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    This isn’t new rhetoric I’ve known this since 1955!!!Big business and big government have been looting us for all my life. Reagan told us it was a tug of war between big busniess and big government! Now we know they’re both fucking us. Big business buys president’s and 535 congressional leaders to get their way. Money and power always gets their way. So with a government debt like we have my question is: Are we really free?

    Go on watching TV, sports, eating cheeseburgers, apple pie, drinking beer and having sex because that’s the best it gets.
    You can’t change a fucking thing! Sorry but that’s life…always has been!

  • 47. Tam  |  April 18th, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Pakk: Thanks for that fascinating link. Pretty worrying when even straight-laced IMF lackeys,(the sort of guys who’ve traditionally cravenly sucked up to US interests) think the country is being lead up shit creek by a bunch of oligarchs who’ve managed to brilliantly convince the public they don’t even exist. Keyser Soze would be proud.

    I’ll repeat the link here for the lazy amongst you; everyone should go and read it…

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice

  • 48. CTD  |  April 19th, 2009 at 1:47 am

    @veracity

    Dude, I could fucking care less if you wrote the Great American novel in those three pages. It’s unreadable. Seriously.

    Hell, lets try it again in your formating:

    Dude, I could FUCKING CARE LESS if you wrote the Great American novel in those THREE pages. It’s unreadable. SERIOUSLY.

    Did you feel your brain shutting down while reading my cut and paste? That was what I felt reading your comments.

    Oh, and to cover my ass: No, I don’t care for ‘fill in the blank’ bias anyone cares to label me with. I’m a middle class Canadian who’s mutual fund stock is finally rebounding. I only give a shit about American troubles because it provides cheap entertainment.

  • 49. T J Scott  |  April 20th, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Unfortunately what many do not realise is the depth of depravity of Goldman Sachs in the AIG affair.
    When GS management, who held the balance of whether AIG would sink or swim, realised that they could make more money out of the bailout than by rescuing AIG they tripped it over the cliff and waited until the taxpayers liabilities (don’t call it money) rolled in in the billions.
    GS is a cancer on the planet and its management deserve the chair

  • 50. upchor AZZ  |  October 4th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    forget about that I wanna know what happened to the bodies of the little boys sexually violated and sacrificed to satan by barney frank and freddies wiener and all the shit from THE FRANKLIN INCIDENT FIRST!!!


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