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This is an answer to Denise VB who directed her ode to bankers to me and others.(sorry, my picture is more rudimentary – but it’s complete)

The pretty painting having a chain of debt over everyone misses one important element: the fat banker yanking this chain and asking its subjects to tighten the belt and pay up. Tis whole debt obsession is a meme planted by the 1%. it’s to them the government is indebted (through the the R mantra of borrow and spend).

The government borrowed from Social security too, but the greedy geezers won’t ever get paid back – just punished for it with cuts. But the banks – we absolutely have to. Or do we?

What would it happen if we would starve ourselves and paid it all? What rewards?

I just happen to have a story to tell:

In the 70s, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to pay off all his country’s debts. All states in the area were in debt and the interests were particularly high. For whatever reason (I think it was to be accepted in the West) he decided his people had to sacrifice all for it. Since it was a state owned economy and he was the state, it all geared up exclusively towards paying the debts.

Drastic cuts were instated – I remember every other street light being off in the city. I remember being cold in winter. Indoors.  All production of basic goods was exported. Not only wasn’t meat available , the cook books featuring recipees with meat were banned.

Decades later, the debt was paid. The bankers were happy, Ceausescu had his account in Switzerland. As for the people? Still cold and starved. A revolution started motivated solely by the hatred of Ceausescu. He was overthrown, summarily tried and executed. The video of his execution played non-stop on Romanian TV. For weeks.

The story doesn’t stop here. After the other countries in East Europe changed their regimes, the banks forgave their debts – in order to do business with the new governments. They got to start fresh and are now in fairly good shape. Romania, which was traditionally one of the richest countries in the area is now one of the poorest. The Ceausescu blow   is still being felt five decades later.

The opposite story: when Clinton was president, he ignored the “pay the debt” calls from the bankers and their fans. He stimulated the economy, grew it and created a surplus in the process.

The moral of the story: when you cry “debt” you advocate for the banks (you know, the ones we bailed out after putting our economy in crisis). Paying your debt at the expense of your life, economy is no virtue. Just a very stupid thing to do. You get no medals for it. Just misery.

P.S. Social security is NOT an entitlement – it’s something we all paid into. We are entitled to it as a consequence of our payments, not some lazy bum notion as your video implies.

So, America is waking up – hopefully the bank memes will be also shed by those of the 99% who are deluded into thinking they are 1%

The word is: Wal Street good, Auto industry – the scapegoats for the economic mess. Where else better to sell this then NYC, the home of Wall Street and far away from Michigan?

So here’s Obama’s trusty cheerleader, Daily News, crediting Obama

And then NY Post joins in too

And while I feel no sympathy for the GM CEO, or any other CEO for that matter, I can’t very well cheer in light of the bankers screwing everyone with impunity. Pretty much the way it was happening during the first Jr.time.

And from South Park, an insight in the workings of the controling the financial crisis system:


And while the tabloids jump for joy that Obama fired a CEO, I womder if the bailout will cover Wagoner’s golden parachute

Rick Wagoner will leave his post as CEO of bailed-out General Motors with a $20 million retirement package, the company’s financial filings show.

As Obama met with his fat cat donors, everyone parted happy

Obama holds “very pleasant” meeting with top US bankers

The private meeting at the White House had the air of a conspiracy against the public, a gathering to discuss carving up state resources in order to hand them over to the banks and major investors.

Among those attending were 13 CEOs and two banking industry lobbyists. The individuals gathered at the White House stand at the helm of companies that together control much of American finance. They played a significant role in driving the speculative orgy on Wall Street that has now collapsed, precipitating the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

A collection of content statements from some of these CEOs is included. And as Obama continues the Bush administration policy towards auto industry, it’s right to conclude that

The policy of the administration is to ensure that this “pain” is born entirely by the working class, while the looting of public assets by the financial elite continues.

And did I mention they’ll hold on to their bonuses?

While some lenders plan to soon return billions of dollars in assistance they accepted since October, potentially undermining the rescue effort, others backed away.

Their friend in the White House made sure it was up to them

4bfb92f65401189a5e1e35295f445596.gif picture by Robbedvoter

On a funnier note, KO, the acerbic Obama propagandists is now at war with…Twitter.

yes, you guessed it! Ko is not afraid to name Twitter is “worst person in the word:

But our winner is Twitter. I told you this was trouble. I find out today that I have 13,900 some odd followers on Twitter. I‘m not on Twitter. I tried to sign up last summer and abandoned the project. I found this out when I got a piece of junk e-mail today, at my address, from some outfit trying to barnacle on to the Twitter process. Though it was my address, it had somebody else‘s name on it, possibly whoever was perpetuating the fraud

The first layer of humor would be the size of his new enemy. Those of you not familiar

Of course, KO being the gift that keeps on giving, he is also, wrong. As usual.

It turns out Olbermann is on Twitter through an account called @countdownmsnbc. The profile is a combined feed of MSNBC show clips, and Olbermann’s blog entries and is operated by Countdown staffers, but not Olbermann.

Oh, but Twitter deserved it anyway! I bet that bird is a girl anyway, that bitch!

The much trumpeted housing rescue

On Wednesday, the Obama administration released guidelines on its plan to stem the collapse of the housing market with its “Making Home Affordable” initiative, or Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP). The plan claims to offer “assistance to as many as 7 to 9 million homeowners.”

But on the way to the forum, a few changed occurred:

The newly-announced guidelines pertaining to private lenders make clear that the program’s primary aim is not to assist homeowners, but to further prop up the banks. The plan does not reduce the grossly overvalued debt homeowners owe banks. It will not affect homeowners “underwater” by more than 5 percent—that is, those who owe more than 5 percent more than their homes’ current market value.

Not surprisingly, the plan immediately won the vocal support of the major banks, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

They got what they lobbied (and campaign contributed) for

An Associated Press article pointed out the financial industry’s power in altering the legislation. “The changes bring the legislation closer in line to what President Barack Obama’s administration has sought and what the banking lobby finds acceptable,” the article notes. The Washington Post added that “the financial services industry, which has lobbied against the bill, fought for all [the new] provisions.”

Besides limiting the number of  people to qualify, the program now imposes hurdles on them to demonstrate financial hardship and makes court redress much more difficult.

In related news, Moody’s Economy Mark Zandy predicts that

It could be a decade before the Dow reaches 12,000 points again, the economy will grow much more slowly than the Obama administration envisions and larger, more controversial bailouts are likely to be coming soon.

And in light of Obama’s ineffectual actions, Krugman appears to agree

But this refusal to face the facts means, in practice, an absence of action. And I share the president’s fears: inaction could result in an economy that sputters along, not for months or years, but for a decade or more.

Which is why Obama is urging us to…buy stock, which is probably worse advice than “fly to fabulous destinations” that W gave us after 9.11. Somehow, I had to link the Alfred E Newman entry here

Such is the diagnosis of the Obama solution from the Nobel prize in Economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz (h/t MakeThemAccountable)

In an interview with Democracy Now he said

the Obama administration has failed to address the structural and regulatory flaws at the heart of the financial crisis that stand in the way of economic recovery. Stiglitz also talks about why he thinks Obama’s strategy on Afghanistan is wrong and that Obama’s plan to keep a “residual force” in Iraq will be “very expensive.” On health care, Stiglitz says a single-payer system is “the only alternative.”

More specifically, the interview took place after that bestest speech and on the banks Stiglitz said

is he holding the banks accountable?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, so far, it hasn’t happened. I think the more fundamental issues are the following. He says what we need is to get lending restarted. If he had taken the $700 billion that we gave, levered it ten-to-one, created some new institution guaranteed—provide partial guarantees going for, that would have generated $7 trillion of new lending. So, if he hadn’t looked at the past, tried to bail out the banks, bail out the shareholders, bail out the other—the bankers’ retirement fund, we would have easily been able to generate the lending that he says we need.

Asked as to why bankers rather than banks are being saved

MY GOODMAN: Why is Obama saving these bankers?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, we could all guess about the politics. We know one of the problems about American politics is the role of campaign contributions, and that’s plagued every one of our major problems.

And he remarked that most other countries in the world are taking more efficient measures than us.

I didn’t get a Nobel prize and still struggle to understand economics, but I figured this one out the moment the financial crisis was in the news

Obama beholden to Wall Street – how can he reform it?

But I admire Stiglitz’s integrity. Unlike some low self-estime bloggers, the fact that he had conversations with Obama during the campaign didn’t melt his brain.

The sad part however is that the conversations with Stiglitz didn’t leave a trace on Obama either.

On the same topic, as a bonus, also via Make them accountable, Fiore’s cartoon – Zombie Bank

Not Your Sweetie

August 2020