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Class War For Idiots / January 21, 2010

Portrait of Failure

If President Obama wants to really understand why he got his ass handed to him in the Massachusetts Senate race—a defeat as shocking and strange as if Joe Lieberman was elected president of Iran—he might want to read one of the thousands of economic horror stories happening around the country every day, stories that have put most Americans in a very foul, desperate mood. Like this story out of a small town in northern Indiana, where a casket maker was forced to close down operations and lay off its 50 employees because Americans can no longer afford bury their loved ones, and instead they’re cremating their bodies to save money.

Even the dead are suffering in today’s economy.

The casket-maker, Ampcor, had been operating for almost 50 years, specializing in producing casket handles. Now it’s over—and what little business there still is in the casket industry is being outsourced to cheaper casket handle manufacturers in China, according to a local news report:

LA PORTE — When Kimber Cornell clocked out of work on Thursday, she had no idea it would be her last shift.

A punch press operator at American Metal Products Corporation (Ampcor), Cornell thought it was just another day at the factory, which manufactures metal parts for caskets. But just as they were leaving Ampcor for the day, Cornell and her coworkers were ushered into a break room and told that the doors would be closing on the La Porte business indefinitely.

“Everyone sighed in disbelief, and a lot of us cried. We didn’t know what we were going to do,” Cornell, a 12-year Ampcor employee, recalled Monday.

Everyone, including the supervisor, is sharing the pain—including the brutal, callous way that Americans get fired these days:

When the ball dropped Thursday, employees — even supervisors —  were taken by surprise.

“I was dumbfounded I didn’t know what to think,” said Van Vaught, president of Carpenters Union Local 3056, which most Ampcor employees belong to.

Plant manager James Keitz said he was told just five minutes before the entire staff that the operation would be closing and was just as caught off guard.

A couple of years ago, a story like this would either seem fictional or easy late-night comedy material. But now just about everyone outside of Wall Street or Washington DC can relate, and it’s not funny at all. What’s made it worse is that for the past six months or more, Obama’s all-star economic team has been talking up supposed “green shoots” in the economy—if only because their friends on Wall Street have seen nothing but green since the Bush bailouts began in October of 2008.

The shock is setting in, as the casket manufacturer story shows:

“We as workers thought things were looking up,” Cornell recalled.

For some that feeling made the reality even more devastating.

Terry Brennan, a packer at Ampcor for 17 years, compared the feeling to losing a loved one.

“It’s like the world just stopped — that’s how it felt. That’s how it still feels,” Brennan said Monday.

Brennan is a member of the executive board for Local 3056. She said the union is meeting with Ampcor owner, Dave Christian, to hammer out details of the layoff.

“We still don’t know if we’re going to be getting our last paycheck or vacation time,” she said.

Every government in the world understands that in order to function and avoid chaos or overthrow, there has to be some level of accountability, a relationship between ruler and ruled. Even Communist China adheres to the accountability principle by periodically executing some of the more venal businessmen and bureaucrats in its ranks, if only to keep the masses from revolting, and to keep those in power somewhat humbled. The Chinese have been executing so many corrupt officials lately that they’ve even deployed mobile execution busses to deal with the backlog. I’m not saying I’m necessarily for executing our corrupt officials—but you know, death-penalty opponents probably wouldn’t want me to be the deciding member on a blue-ribbon commission to decide the matter, either. And I think a huge number of Americans feel this way too. (In any event, it’s better than what we have here: billionaire-owned human plasma busses that shuttle human feeding cows from the Mexican border to nearby blood-draining centers, to feed obscene Wall Street profits—something I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.)

Since Obama campaigned on accountability, one way he could start reconnecting with the people he rules is by mass-firing the corrupt failures and sociopaths who are currently running America’s economy into the ground. It’s painful to admit, but so far even a loser like George W. Bush made some of his closest officials accountable to their failures when the public revolted—for example, his sacking of the disastrous Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after the 2006 election disaster, and FEMA failure Michael Brown after Hurricane Katrina. They weren’t sacked for being failures—by 2006, Rumsfeld had already screwed up two wars, the single worst record of any Defense Secretary in American history—but because the voters revolted.

So now Americans are in revolt against the government. Obama’s first response should be mass-executions, in the form of pink-slips, to the economic team that’s screwed this country up. So far, Obama seems to have learned exactly the wrong lesson—he told ABC News that the election defeat came not from substance, but from bad style:

“If there’s one thing that I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values.”

A deluded and arrogant line like that could have come straight out of Larry Summers’ mouth, and probably did. Summers, the administration’s economy czar, used to say the same thing in the 1990s, when the emerging-markets economies he oversaw under Clinton collapsed one after another: the policies he’d forced on countries from Southeast Asia to Russia were technically correct, it was just that the people suffering from those policies were too primitive to understand what was good for them.

Summers, the Brain Bug of this administration’s catastrophic enrich-the-rich economic program, is the first official whom Obama should send packing. His entire career has been nothing but a series of disasters and failures that boggle the mind, and the last year has been no exception. In fact the entire economic team, operating together on the same failed assumptions, should get the axe, and anyone whom they’ve opposed should be promoted in their place. Here I’ve compiled a partial list of the biggest failures and crooks that Obama should send to the Government Career Execution Bus:

1). Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council.

Villain equivalent: Brain Bug from Starship Troopers

summersbug

Larry Summers photographed here in pensive repose.

Why: In 1990, he served as economic advisor to Lithuania; two years later, Lithuania’s economy crashed so hard that its suicide rate soared to the world’s highest, and they voted back the Communists to power, the first ex-communist country to do so. During the 1990s, Summers essentially ran Russia’s economy, even drafting presidential decress and faxing them it to Yeltsin for his signature. Result: Russia’s GDP contracted 60%, suffered the worst financial collapse of any country at that time, and democracy was replaced by Putinism. Summers then went on to deregulate the financial industry, leading to the collapse today (Obama just announced that he would propose new banking laws undoing Summers’ disastrous legislation from a decade ago.) He even bankrupted Harvard in his brief tenure there, losing the university a couple billion dollars—Harvard at least was smart enough to fire him. Obama, a Harvard grad, should too.

2). John Dugan. Head of the OCC, which regulates banks.

Villain equivalent: The pneumatic-cow-gun-toting villain in No Country For Old Men

duganjavier2

John Dugan tells Sheila Bair to call heads or tails.

Why: From 1993 through 2005, Dugan, a Republican, was a top lobbyist for Covington and Burling, where he worked with Summers and Geithner to deregulate the finance industry. In the 2000s, as state attorney generals started to do the regulatory job that Washington wouldn’t, Dugan lobbied hard to deny states the ability to do Washington’s work. In 2005, Dugan switched to the law-making side when Bush named him head of the OCC, where he fought to deregulate further and fend off state lawsuits against the banks that were blowing up the bubble. In 2008, Obama inexplicably re-appointed Dugan, and now he’s trying to name himself the top super-regulator for all banking and finance, while at the same time doing his best to undermine and drive out the one regulator who’s doing her job—FDIC chief Sheila Bair. Like Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, Dugan has been ruthlessly offing everyone who’s got in his way in his mad pursuit of ill-begotten riches for the billionaires he’s loyally served.

Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chief

Villain equivalent: Smithers

bernanke-smithers exiledonline.com

Bernanke didn’t see the bubble forming as it formed, kept the easy money flowing until it was too late, secretly funneled trillions of taxpayer dollars to favored banks, and even apologized to free-market crackpot Milton Friedman, whose theories have been completely debunked by the crash. In 2002, while at the Fed, Bernanke officially groveled to Milton Friedman and took all the blame for the free-market-mad crash of 1929:

“I would like to say to Milton and Anna…regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”

Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary

Villain equivalent: Ash, the cyborg in Alien with orders from corporate headquarters to harvest the monster in the guts of his crew members

ash_geithner

Tim Geithner: “I admire Bob Rubin’s purity. Unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality… Got milk?”

Geithner is the perfect failure to advance the corrupt plutocracy’s agenda. Serving under Summers in the 1990s, Geithner forced Indonesia to accept a ruinous economic program in return for IMF aid that caused riots and mass poverty. China was so horrified that they built up a massive 2 trillion in dollar reserves, so as never to be in a position where Tim Geithner dictates their economic program. In the mid-2000s, he ran the New York Fed, which was supposed to regulate Wall Street. Instead, it was a vehicle to funnel trillions to the losers who sponsored Geithner’s career. For that job, and for potentially criminal activity in the AIG collapse, Geithner was rewarded with the Treasury Secretary’s job. Note: he has also colluded with Dugan to destroy Sheila Bair. Why is he Ash? Consider this scene in Alien, when Sigourney Weaver plugs Ash’s head back in to get answers about the alien monster—imagine this is Geithner’s head, milk pouring out of his wheezing mouth, as Sheila Bair questions him:

Ripley: How do we kill it, Ash? There’s got to be a way of killing it.

Ash: You can’t.

Parker: That’s bullshit.

Ash: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.

Lambert: You admire it.

Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor. Unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.

Parker: Look, I am, I’ve heard enough of this, and I’m asking you to pull the plug. [Ripley moves to turn Ash off, but he interrupts]

Ash: Last words.

Ripley: What?

Ash: I can’t lie to you about your chances, but…. you have my sympathies

There are scores more who should be fired (Neil Wolin), but none of this would make much of a difference unless Obama replaces them with competent officials who serve the interests of America and Americans, and not the billionaires who brought all this ruin in the first place. Sheila Bair would be a great choice to replace Bernanke; Elizabeth Warren to replace Geithner; and both Dugan’s OCC and Summers’ NEC should be abolished altogether, the buildings fumigated and salted to ensure they remain permanently barren.

Beyond personnel changes, though, Obama needs to find a vision. The real problem lies in the fallacy of “post-ideological” ideology that his administration runs on. If you believe your own bullshit about being “post-ideological” you’ll naturally fall back on the default ideology, which is the same free-market, deregulation-mad, Wall Street designed ideology that brought so much ruin in the first place. There is no such thing as “post-ideology”—Obama showed this when, last year, he refused to nationalize the banks due primarily to powerful ideological objections to the very idea of nationalization of banks, regardless of its efficacy.

Obama needs to decide, ideologically, whose side he’s on: the billionaire “centrists” whose alleged competence he’s trusted unflinchingly up till now, or the people and the country he rules over, whose sufferings he’s ignored. But Obama was never a radical—he was always a centrist, temperamentally as well as ideologically, he was always with the consensus and with the powerful, just not as savagely as Bush was. His big statement on the election defeat—that his problem has been a matter of substance, of not explaining to the people well enough all the wonderful work he’s done for them—suggests that this November is going to be a painful one for those who still hold on to the Hope.

(Special thanks to Anastasia for the photoshopping.)

***

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

goingpostal_200x300

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42 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. destouches  |  January 21st, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    hasnt yor country crossed the point of no return a long time ago already? it will be an unheard of relieve for the whole world to have this virus of a country sink back to the nothingness it came from. til then, let the lemmings run and follow. and if we are lucky the devastation it has caused on the world so far, the rubbish it has spread in ideas and matters will not have been too much for the precious seeds to blossom once again.

  • 2. Kirk Cooke  |  January 21st, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Good work, Ames. Now pass me some o’ dat “Get High or Die Trying”.

  • 3. tam  |  January 21st, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    You do realise that the fact that Obama’s taking on the banks technically ought to entitle him to some praise around here, given that he’s finally starting to do the kind of stuff you’ve been wanting him to?

    Of course, that’s going to be really tedious for you to write and for us to read so i hope you’ve learnt a valuable lessons and in the future start campaigning for lost causes instead of things with a distinct possibility of success.

  • 4. mikey  |  January 21st, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Obama threatened the banks’ freedom to steal and the market is crashing. Does he have the guts to rule? I’m not hopeful.

  • 5. Fissile  |  January 21st, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    “Everyone, including the supervisor, is sharing the pain—including the brutal, callous way that Americans get fired these days:”

    Callousness has nothing to do with it, it’s fear. The minor apparatchiks and Smithers-like ass-lickers know what’s coming down the road. Eventually even a mouth-breathing Evangelical is going to get tired of the big red, white and blue cock that’s shoved up his ass, and will put his gun collection to use. Unfortunately, most of the fly-over fuck-wits won’t pull the trigger on their true tormentors. The lead catchers will invariably be some low level corporate/government stooge, and that will start the endgame rolling — the pretense that Wall Street needs to declare an “emergency”, and finish off the last bit of freedoms we still have.

  • 6. Homer Erotic  |  January 21st, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    As a member of that dying herd known as the American Left (the decimation of which I blame on way too many of us clinging to veganism, which is very nutritionally unsound, as if it were a revelation from on high), I never had any such “Hope”. I’ve known that we’re fucked and there’s fuck-all we can do about it, for at least two years now.

    Destouches, I can relate to what you’re saying, but keep in mind that the country about which you speak has probably more nuclear weapons mounted on ICBMs than any other country in the world. Though it would be grimly funny if the teabaggers (the American populist Right) took over and just ended up burning down the house in very short order.

  • 7. Eddie  |  January 21st, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    The pillars on which the empire rests are built on failed or outdated assumptions. Firstly you cannot build an economy on speculation and parasitic monolithic companies. They will inevitably overwhelm and corrupt the state in favor of the very few. Second, an army or military is totally useless in the age of nuclear weapons. In fact even without nuclear weapons it is useless in the modern weapons environment that we live. Unless you are willing to kill every man, women and child you cannot coerce a tribe to follow your rules. Fighting them will cost far more then the whole effort is worth. Thus the military game is only useful in deterring agression, once the game is on it becomes a matter of who want’s it more and not who has the most weapons. Ergo the local guys will win. Thirdly, propaganda is only useful if people perceive it to be true. Once people understand that they are being fucked you can tell them any sunshine story you want.

    In summation: The US is fucked. The real question now is how the collapse will happen and what values the US will adopt post collapse. Will it become a failed state unable to cope with the loss of it’s privileges or will it mount a successful war of ideas.

  • 8. Christopher Lasch  |  January 21st, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I’d say, I told you so; but I’m, like, dead…

    P.S.

    I love this eXiled! Where can I donate?

  • 9. Allen  |  January 21st, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Thus far Obama is an abject failure. His promise to take on bank bonuses is interesting but likely to sputter out in storm of market reaction. The United States is a monster — its controlling interest is, as Gore Vidal once argued, the “Bank”. By this he meant the accumulated interests of capital generally and especially Wall Street.

    America has one party — the property party — and it has two wings: Republican and Democrat. Vidal’s words again. (I believe he in turn lifted this from someone else). This is still true. But it shouldn’t be taken to mean “the parties are really the same” or we need to move beyond the “left and right paradigm!” These are just passive aggressive puerile platitudes. The culture war parasites don’t want to be your friends folks.

    What it does mean is that the controlling interests have a way of making whoever is in charge do exactly what is necessary — necessary for them to maintain and expand their wealth and influence that is. Right now Obama is the stooge; he is being set up to do all the nasty “necessary” work the Bank requires — while sheltering the Republican brand from repercussions. After they are done getting back on their feet by robbing America blind, they hope to return to the same reckless pre-economic catastrophe status quo, and they will do it on the wings of a Republican savior after the current administration has been thoroughly discredited.

    Of course nothing is set in stone. We will see how Obama manages at escaping being a dupe. Ames is right though, good luck with a “team” like that.

  • 10. Alex_C  |  January 21st, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Homer – if one is vegan because of PETA type concerns, just eat bugs! Bugs would include crabs, lobster, shrimp, as well as the humble mealworm (probably the most “user friendly” bug to start with of land-living bugs).

    Bugs are not really sentient, they’re basically little robots. Machines. They just happen to be machines you can eat.

  • 11. maninwarren  |  January 21st, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    @Alec_C: but that’s what Galactus thinks about us…!

  • 12. Strahlungsamt  |  January 21st, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Here in Ireland, Goldman Sachs is just waiting for our little NAMA adventure so the taxpayer can bail out the banks and enrich O’Bumbler’s Harvard buddies.

    I’ve tried explaining it to people here but nobody listens. When Ireland becomes the next Lithuania, and the suicide rate soars, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    The Irish make the Americans look like fighting patriots.

  • 13. Wenjo  |  January 21st, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I gave up on Obama. After all of the crap that came with the War on Terror that Obama’s continued, or made worse, I gave up on him. For a while I thought he was just being steamrolled by the corporate big wigs and federal government lifers, but now I think he is in on it.

    I think he picked these sleaze bags precisely because of their sleazy strategies.

  • 14. F. Jardim  |  January 21st, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    You’re being quite the gentleman, Mark, assuming Obama hasn’t decided whose side he is on yet. I wonder how many of us are giving the president the benefit of the doubt just so we can’t fel completely emtpy over our initial jubilation at having Bush removed and his heir apparent beaten.

    If Barack is indeed another petty oligarch-drone taking orders, then it’s really all over but a slow decline into ireelevance, bible-thumping and being more and more patriotic over less and less achievement. As a foreigner, I feel for you guys. The world needs as many succesful nations as guiding lights as it can get.

    I’d currently bet 20 to one that the US won’t be among them within 20 years.

  • 15. carl the druid  |  January 21st, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    extreme leftist liberals have managed to piss off the nation in 1 year then Bush Repubs have in 8 years.

    Gooooo team fagetcrats!

    http://209.197.9.169/e3m9u5m8/cds/s/14/media14/2010/Jan/19/LiveLeak-dot-com-e0fd38a99592-e868a_dewey_defeats_truman1.jpg?epochTTL=1264987766&Token=828a531708cfec195f3473d443de1a64&ri=1200&rs=1000&dopvhost=cdn-hw.liveleak.com&doppl=1ae9851351b084c351e0849314f03cbe51e0b9d3&dopsig=261c632db3ec4c41d4d481205bc6b9c8

  • 16. tom  |  January 21st, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    “I’m not saying I’m necessarily for executing our corrupt officials”

    You getting soft Ames?

  • 17. good 'ol johnny  |  January 21st, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    It’s frustrating to think that I drug my ass down to the primaries to vote for this guy.

  • 18. Manni  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    The left in America? That must be the joke of the week (year). This so-called left is to the right of most right-wing (mainstream) European parties.

  • 19. Gerald  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Great column Mark. And thanks for not assaulting us with pop up ads. I will donate.

  • 20. EW  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    America needs someone with Robin Hood-like panache and media savvy to start assassinating oligarchs. I imagine a slick and deadly blogger and twitterer who the authorities can’t find.
    This hasn’t started yet (and might never) because (a) it would really suck if you got caught, (b) things aren’t THAT bad yet.
    The opiates of the masses are working just fine so far.
    Caprica, anyone?

  • 21. proletariat  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    If you honestly think any of this is a surprise, I don’t know what to say to you. This is what happens in a society where the left is 2 baby steps left of Mussolini and the right is 1.

    If you want any real change, you wouldn’t vote with the ballot, you’d vote with the bullet. Americans failed to do this post WW1, and that’s the reason we’re in our current situation.

  • 22. Jakro  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Just echoing the usual.. WHERE THE HELL IS WAR NERD? Or Dolan for that matter?

    I’ll donate again once War Nerd returns.

    Good article by the way.

  • 23. porkers-at-the-trough  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    that’s obama’s SIGNATURE – his royal, regal, imperial, DEIFIED Highness, aloof, imperious, unmovable on Mt.Olympus, not seeing, much less caring for, the FOUR MILLION Americans who have become UNEMPLOYED in the past dozen months of HIS presidency.
    (Much less the 650,000 ‘health’ insurance policy holders Aetna insurance DROPPED… in the month of December, alone!
    absolutely insane how blatantly corrupt the Columbia U & Harvard law grad has become…
    Well, at least he spur employment in one economic sector: authors dissecting his insane imperiosity.

  • 24. porkers-at-the-trough  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    @15, carl the druid:
    _”extreme leftist liberals have managed to piss off the nation in 1 year then Bush Repubs have in 8 years.
    Gooooo team fagetcrats!”_
    geithner, rubin, summers, wolin, golddamn-sachs, jpmorgan-chase, emanuel… “liberal”?
    What planet are you on, Carl?
    They’re the complete opposite of “liberal” – they’re radical right-wing conservatives. In fact, they’re all Joe Lieberman, Arlen Specter, Norm Coleman clones: start your career as a “liberal Democrat” (because Righty Repubs wouldn’t vote for ‘em back then)… then, after you get some name recognition & corporate funding under your belt, revert to the radical right-wing financial Deregulation Corporatist (and warmongers) they really are.

  • 25. Skeeve  |  January 22nd, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    They failed him. The bastards.

    This is a new plateau for left-wing rationalization of Obama’s failure to deliver the goods. ” He’s just not biding his time and building his political capital for the inevitable liberal swing his administration will be taking *any day now* (And he wouldn’t have LIED about being an agent of progressive change, now, would he?). He’s also a victim of poor performance on the part of his underlings! People he either appointed or had the option of firing the day he was elected!

    Let me help you out of the well of delusion. A real agent of change, newly elected to the presidency in 2009, would have done or would still be doing at least some of the following:

    1) Fired every officer in the military above the rank of bird colonel, and replaced them with Obama-fluffing yes-men.

    2) Ended the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan *immediately* (as in, “get your asses on the planes, boys, we’re going. Now.”).

    3) Replaced Bob Gates with someone not spawned by Satan, and appointed by Bush (this should have been your biggest hint that Obama works for the man).

    4) Unleashed the hounds of legal hell on Wall Street and the SEC, along with every single investment bank, hedge fund, and brokerage house that had a hand in last year’s disaster and the ongoing crisis. Not taken “no” for an answer when transparency was demanded. Had men with guns stalking corridors, sniffing records and securing compliance.

    5) Unleashed special prosecutors on the Bush minions who advocated/papered over that administration’s practice of torture.

    6) Immediately closed Guantanamo and repatriated its residents to their countries of origin. Investigated the recent murder allegations. Seriously investigated with criminal prosecutors, not a “commission.”

    7) Disbanded the “Ops” departments of the CIA, and turned them into a homebound data-collection and analysis outfit.

    You’ll notice he’s done of these things, or even given a hint that he might consider doing them. And yet you’re still expecting “change.” It took Bill Clinton years to sell out his core constituencies, but Mr. Change managed to do it even before he had his foot in the door of the White House.

    What will it take to convince you that he’s not one of us, but rather a complete fucking tool who’s sold out to the powers-that-be for a chance to get his name in the history books?

    Considering your haranguing of ordinary Americans for their ignorance (along with your affected astonishment at the fact that they aren’t risking federal prison for the dubious pleasure of gunning down AIG employees in the streets), would it be too much to ask that you face reality?

  • 26. Plamen Petkov  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Woah! As great Ames’ previous articles have been, this one is a total failure.
    Am I to believe Ames was so taken in with Obama as to not to see him as yet another governement stooge? Am I to believe Ames really believed Obama was going to bring in “the change” he spoke of? I mean really, when was the last time a USA president really did work for the people instead of the big corporate/banks/military industrial complex interests?? And NO, this is NOT a rhetorical question.
    Come now. Ames, you should go back to writing what you know i.e. shootings. This article was an embarrassment.

  • 27. Fischbyne  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 3:13 am

    John Dugan. Shit. If anyone isn’t familiar with the OCC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, click on my name to view an excellent Frontline episode, “The Secret History of the Credit Card.” You’ll wonder how the OCC can even be called a branch of “government.”

    I knew Obama was the “bait and switch” candidate but I still went to the polls like a zombie. The next time I hear a Democratic candidate softly slip the words “I love Wall Street” into their campaign, as both Clinton and Obama did, I’m not going to pretend it’s just a shrewd campaign tactic just to believe for a moment that American elections have any meaning.

  • 28. tim  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Good article. We hear these names- Geithner, et al bandied about and don’t knwo anything about who they really are. It’s just sad to see that the kind of rhetoric you use is the only kind which fits the situation.

  • 29. Mark  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 6:17 am

    @skeeve: Your plan would have made the USA sleek and energetic again, like Jenny Craig and a colonic. I wrongly assumed that Obama would be the clean-up man for the long-term interests of the elites. I’m also shocked that Ames is naive enough to perpetuate the old, “If only the Czar knew!” complaint.

  • 30. Jane  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 7:31 am

    “Let me help you out of the well of delusion. A real agent of change, newly elected to the presidency in 2009, would have done or would still be doing at least some of the following:

    1) Fired every officer in the military above the rank of bird colonel, and replaced them with Obama-fluffing yes-men.

    2) Ended the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan *immediately* (as in, “get your asses on the planes, boys, we’re going. Now.”).

    3) Replaced Bob Gates with someone not spawned by Satan, and appointed by Bush (this should have been your biggest hint that Obama works for the man).

    4) Unleashed the hounds of legal hell on Wall Street and the SEC, along with every single investment bank, hedge fund, and brokerage house that had a hand in last year’s disaster and the ongoing crisis. Not taken “no” for an answer when transparency was demanded. Had men with guns stalking corridors, sniffing records and securing compliance.

    5) Unleashed special prosecutors on the Bush minions who advocated/papered over that administration’s practice of torture.

    6) Immediately closed Guantanamo and repatriated its residents to their countries of origin. Investigated the recent murder allegations. Seriously investigated with criminal prosecutors, not a “commission.”

    7) Disbanded the “Ops” departments of the CIA, and turned them into a homebound data-collection and analysis outfit.”

    RON PAUL! I love this site, but come on people, get with the program.

  • 31. good 'ol johnny  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 9:47 am

    wow … that photoshopping … somebody was really fucking high last night. It’s … uh … out there. Especially the Larry Summers face-vagina. Put that shit on the front page.

  • 32. Realist  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Just short of a hundred years of essentially the British monetary system, what the hell do you expect? Imagine playing Monopoly with a guy who can grab fresh money from under the table whenever he wants to. Who will own the board? Who really owns the land, the industry, the government and the military?

    The financiers are closing in for the kill, just as they have in countless other countries around the world. The credit card is maxed out. Obamas populist notion of “taking on the banks” is a joke and the attempt to sucker the rubes one more time. He is not really in control of the United States. The monetary cartel is. The new pauperism is not the product of corruption, its a design feature. Europeans understand this, Americans dont.

  • 33. Manni  |  January 23rd, 2010 at 10:14 am

    @25 Skeeve

    How right can you get. And no excuses anymore; the fact that there would be no change through & by Obama was seen long before his election by anyone with a head on his shoulder (let me only direct you to Arthur SILBER’s or Chris FLOYD’s blog, among many others).

    If such a thing was possible, this man may turn out even worse than is predecessor

  • 34. Bud Dean  |  January 24th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Wow – I’ve never read such crap in all my years. Not one sane responder in the bunch! You all live in your own delusional world of blame without a clue on how things work. This is still the greatest country on the planet and in spite of everything, still the largest economy in the world, and best of all has the freedoms needed so “you people” can rant and rave without fear!

  • 35. Half-Breed  |  January 25th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Bernanke’s new term is looking grim. What about Obama’s limits on big banks that NYTimes recently wrote about? Any comments?

  • 36. Tommy Jefferson  |  January 26th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I am amused by your childish notion that Obama is anything more than a sock puppet and that the purpose of government is to help people.

    You paid attention in government school.

    Good for you.

  • 37. Frank McG  |  February 1st, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    #25

    Disband the CIA ops department!

    I’m asking this because I don’t know myself, but has there ever been any active op (anything more than intelligence gathering) by the CIA that hasn’t ranged from botched to catastrophically disastrous?

  • 38. Rich  |  February 6th, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Change was Obama’s mantra during the election and I was skeptical because of his running mate, Joe Biden (who represents anything but change.)

    What has pissed off the majority about Obama is his lack of put-your-foot down leadership and lack of will to fight for things that will help the American people. 66 percent of the population want a public option and the health care result: NO CHANCE

    The majority of the population want out of the Afgan and Iraq wars and did the new president get out (which is the sensible thing to do) or continue going down the Bush road to disaster: NO CHANGE

    The majority of Americans are suffering under the heal of big banksters and wall street criminals (listed in Mark’s great article) and want real regulation that will put them in their place (pre-glass steagle bankers) and did Obama fix the problem: NO CHANCE

    Those who say that Obama is disliked for being liberal (to whom the bankers?) are disingenous. He is being disliked for not being liberal enough and making changes that will help people. As it stands I do not know if the trough is half full or half empty for the banksters but whatever the case it is completely empty for the American people (and other nations who adopted IMF, WTO, neoliberal policies.)

    As it stands were screwed.

  • 39. Dark Markets  |  February 20th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    good re-posting, Mark.
    Hate to have to be the one to post this link, so I guess I won’t

  • 40. Dark Markets  |  February 20th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    @ bud dean:
    “This is still the greatest country on the planet and in spite of everything, still the largest economy in the world, and best of all has the freedoms needed so “you people” can rant and rave without fear!”

    hmmm… former Army (and CIA) officer Ray McGovern might disagree with you: as sHillary Clinton (puppet of the Neo-Con war lobby) was LECTURING, g.w. bush style, on “FREEDOM OF PROTEST” at a Washington DC conference, Mr. McGovern stood up, turned his back in silent protest – and was arresed, hand-cuffed, and forcibly dragged out.
    And I remember the BARBED-WIRE mini-CONCENTRATION CAMP “free speech zones” Bush-Cheney Rethuglicans set up outside the GOP con-vention.
    How about the WOLFOWITZ/LIEBERMAN TORTURE GULAG? the Mukasey/Chertoff/Mossad boys finger you – then you’ll find that you have as many ‘rights’ as some African locked in chains in the hold of a middle passage slave ship!

  • 41. Dark Markets  |  February 21st, 2011 at 5:04 am

    @Mark:

    I’m so obsessed with Jews that all I want to do is talk about the Zionist conspiracy. I’m pretty edgy, I know. I wonder if the guys at eXiled have enough urine stains in their underwear to follow me down that Jew-obsessed road that I’ve gone down. It’s pretty awesome here. I feel myself to be really mavericky, cuz no one has ever gone down this road before. Pretty fringy, ain’t I?

  • 42. Dark Markets  |  February 21st, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    @me:
    am i not quite ready for prime-time, mark? i guess that’s what it means to be posting anonymous comments. some day i’ll make it out of this comments section ghetto. some day….


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