Thursday, December 17, 2009

Character: Assassination and Deification

American mainstream media - watching it work the masses is a fascinating process.

The "experts" on every subject, telling you what you should do, how you should invest your money, vote, act, think, what is "hot" this season to wear, taught to hate "islamofascism" (whatever that is), on TV, on radio, in the (dying) newspapers.

But sometimes an extra effort is called for, a special task to accomplish, if you will.

Howard Dean: the Crazy Man
I think we are all familiar with Dr. Howard Dean.

Here is his legacy, according to the ever ubiquitous wikipedia:

In 1991, Dean became governor of Vermont when Richard A. Snelling died in office. Dean was subsequently elected to five two-year terms, serving from 1991 to 2003, making him the second longest-serving governor in Vermont history, after Thomas Chittenden (1778–1789 and 1790–1797). Dean served as chairman of the National Governors Association from 1994 to 1995; during his term, Vermont paid off much of its public debt and had a balanced budget 11 times, lowering income taxes twice. Dean also oversaw the expansion of the "Dr. Dynasaur" program, which ensures universal health care for children and pregnant women in the state.

As chairman of the party, Dean created and employed the "50 State Strategy" that attempted to make Democrats competitive in normally conservative states often dismissed in the past as "solid red." The success of the strategy became apparent after the 2006 midterm elections, where Democrats took back the House and picked up seats in the Senate from normally Republican states such as Missouri and Montana. In the 2008 election, Barack Obama used "The 50 state strategy" as the backbone of his candidacy.

Lets focus on his 2004 run for president.

Yep, wikipedia again:

Dean began his bid for President as a "long shot" candidate. ABC News ranked him eighth out of 12 in a list of potential presidential contenders in May 2002. In March 2003 he gave a speech strongly critical of the Democratic leadership at the California State Democratic Convention that attracted the attention of grassroots party activists and set the tone and the agenda of his candidacy. It began with the line: "What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President's unilateral intervention in Iraq?"

Immediately you see red flags for the establishment elites here.

First, he did not toe the party line, which for republican candidates means supporting fascism and for democrats supporting kleptocracy.

Second, he went against the military-industrial complex, at a time when speaking against the war equaled professional suicide and ridicule in the media.

Third, from the start he was already called a "long shot", a "fringe" candidate, with the TV "experts" always proclaiming the meme that he had no chance, that he would never win, that it was useless voting for him.

Dean began his campaign by emphasizing health care and fiscal responsibility, and championing grassroots fundraising as a way to fight special interests.

At the time of health costs spiraling out of control for ordinary Americans, and watching Obama at this very moment selling out American middle class (what's left of us) to the big pharma and big health insurance lobbies (his healthcare insurance "reform" amounts to forcing everyone to buy 'for profit' insurance and prohibiting government from buying medicines in bulk for the poor - instead our tax money will be used to pay the inflated costs, $20 or $50 / a pill and up), Dr. Dean was prescient.

His use of grassroots energized the base, and struck up people's imaginations.

Here was a guy who was passionate, called a spade a spade and did not mince words.

He had to be stopped.

Here comes the (so called) "infamous" scream:

Watch it.

Watch it again.

Do you see anything wrong with it?

Anything at all?

Here was a presidential candidate, speaking to his supporters.

Here was passion.

Notice the banner: Lets take our country back.

If you lived in America, and owned a TV, you must remember what came next.

Hordes of "experts" slithered into your living rooms, and, snickering and giggling "Mr. Burn's from the Simpsons" style, told you that Howard Dean, the fringe candidate, the long shot, just committed a terrible mistake, a horrendous faux pas.

He said: "We're gonna take the White House, Yeee Haaaaaaw!" (the yee haw is the closest I can transcribe the yell, feel free to make up your own word for it).

I watched as the coverage started on FOX News, then flipped to CNN, then non cable news shows, and everywhere the same meme, the same message: "Howard Dean is a clown".

The yell was replayed endlessly, on EVERY news, on local news, it was looped to run for 30 seconds, while the "experts" chuckled.

I watched the coked out bimbo hags, who got their "TV anchorwoman" job by sleeping with the network owners (this explains the need for coke), join in the general merriment - lots of clapping, laughing and, yes, even yelling by the paid media whores.

On every network.

For days on end.

For weeks.

In my office hell, the mouth breathers snickered to each other, HurrDurr Dean sucks, hurrdurr, Dean is a moron.

Meanwhile 'W' Bush, majestic in his cowboy garb as he collected scrub and brush from his fake ranch, as most manly Americans do, was praised as someone "you want to have a beer with".

Tangent story: I remember one scene in front of a Best Buy in Indiana, one guy was talking rather loudly on his cellphone about yesterday's Kerry-Bush presidential debates. And this pathetic mouth breather said to his speaker: "Well, I know I want to vote for Bush, but what Kerry said actually made sense and...".

He was looking for support of his worldview, of his inane little world, and seeing himself breaking out from a TVsoma induced craze quickly called for support.

Just throwing it out there.

Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich: Fringe Candidates

I wish I could find the political cartoon I have in my mind, ever since I saw it. Another momentous moment in my life - a newspaper cartoon that brought epiphany to my life.

In the cartoon, there was a drawing of John Kerry and 'W' Bush on the podium, a crowd of cameras and microphones and people around them - a presidential debate.

On the side, way in the distance, behind a security team with guns, behind a barrier, there stood Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, waving their 'Anti-War' banners.

The caption of the cartoon read 'fringe candidates'.

That got me thinking, and, yes, the techniques which worked on Dr. Dean were perfected and polished and made to work here.

Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich did not make a loud yell during their political campaigns (not that I think that Dr. Dean's yell was anything to be ashamed of, of course).

They did not have mistresses.

They did not snort coke, kill a party girl in their pool a la Teddy Kennedy.

They were clean.

There was nothing to tie the noose around their necks for the media propaganda experts.

But in the end, nothing like that, a smoking gun if you will, was needed.

From the beginning, just like Dr. Dean, the media "experts" and the assorted coked out bimbos called those two "fringe candidates".

They were, again, "long shots".

They were "marginal" candidates.

In the cable news shows both candidates, besides being called all these demeaning names, the candidates were portrayed as losers, with no chance whatsoever of winning.

For some reason, cable news networks are charged with staging presidential debates (which is mind boggling if you think about it - a private, for profit corporation organizing, staging, and moderating and guiding the tone, and asking the questions of national presidential candidates).

Because it was decided from the start that Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are fringe, long shots and with no chance whatsoever of gaining the presidency, those two were simply not invited to presidential debates.

Think on that for a looooooong moment.

A private corporation declares a presidential candidate (two in fact) as fringe and then refuses them access to nationally televised political debates.


Think on that and tell me that, perhaps, that is not a wee bit fucked up... ?

The "fringe candidate", the "long shot" meme became self fulfilling, as it was meant to be.

After all, they were not even invited to presidential debates - if that doesn't show the typical HurrdurrAmerican mouth breather that they are fringe...

... right ?

Ben Shalom Bernanke: Man of the Year
You should be familiar with this man, whether you are an American, French, from Togo or Pernambuco.

This man changed the world.

How did he do it?

By driving the final nail in the coffin - the slow, agonizing death of the American middle class.

What is the bailout?

Lets look at the official acronym of TARP - and, unofficially, it stands for Tax Relief for Rich People.

And this is basically true.

To rescue Wall Street banks (banks?! these were investment, stock market gambling roulette players, and became banks just for the bailout), he appropriated billions of our tax money.

Everything the previous administration of the boy emperor was doing is being done - even more so - by the 2nd boy emperor, the poster child of hope and change and political cronyism with great public relations face.

Insiders got billions of dollars - our tax dollars.

Accounting rules were changed to allow the banks (hah!) and insurance companies and others to no longer mark to market (what the true price is) but to mark-to-whatever-the-fuck-you-want (which allows companies to inflate their ledgers with fake assets).

Now, this man, named Shalom, was not into all of these - but he was part of the machine, a very important cog.

Seeking Alpha:

To us, the confirmation hearings last week before the Senate Banking Committee only reaffirm in our minds that Benjamin Shalom Bernanke does not deserve a second term as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. (...) we have three reasons for this view:

First is the law. The bailout of American International Group (AIG) was clearly a violation of the Federal Reserve Act, both in terms of the "loans" made to the insolvent insurer and the hideous process whereby the loans were approved, after the fact, by Chairman Bernanke and the Fed Board. The loans were not adequately collateralized. This is publicly evidenced by the fact that the Fed of New York (FRBNY) exchanged debt claims on AIG itself for equity stakes in two insolvent insurance underwriting units. What more need be said?

The second strike against Chairman Bernanke is leadership. In an exchange with SBC Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Bernanke said that he could not force the counterparties of AIG to take a haircuts on their CDS positions because he had "no leverage." Again, this goes back to the issue of why the loan to AIG was made at all.

Taking a haircut means that the investors in AIG should have taken losses.

But of course, the investors here are Wall Street "experts" and hedge funds and pensions and they have much more clout in Washington than Joe Sixpack-taxpayer.

Who needs a third strike?

Well, OK, I can't resist.


Neil M. Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, published his office’s report on the government bailout last year of the American International Group.

Of special note in the report: the Fed failed to develop a workable rescue plan when A.I.G., swamped by demands that it pay off huge insurance contracts that it couldn’t make good on as the economy tanked, began to sink. The report takes the Fed to task as refusing to use its power and prestige to wrestle concessions from A.I.G.

The Fed, under Mr. Geithner’s direction, caved in to A.I.G.’s counterparties, giving them 100 cents on the dollar for positions that would have been worth far less if A.I.G. had defaulted. Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Société Générale and other banks were in the group that got full value for their contracts when many others were accepting fire-sale prices.

Got that?

All the big boys, those with highly paid lobbyists living on "K" street and those with huge bundled contributions to Obama and most key senators, got money.

Even though they were bankrupt, they were given billions of tax payer money (OUR money) and... that was it.

No strings attached, no free market punishment for bad decisions...

How can I put it in simple terms?

Imagine being a young kid, say, 17 years old, and going to a casino (lets call that casino "Wall Street"), and betting most of your money. Then using that money to bribe your parents to look the other way while you bet more and more, not leaving anything in the safe.

Then, poof!, you lose, as the roulette (called "the boom and bust cycle") gives you a crappy (no pun intended) result.

So what do your parents do, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Bernanke?

Why, they give you ALL the money you lost, and tell you to keep on gambling!

That is pretty much what happened, except that Obama and Geithner and Bernanke lowered the interest rates to 0, which allows banks (hah!) to borrow money from the government at, well, 0%, and since the economy is in the shit, and they don't want to lend money to middle class Americans or even multinational businesses, that money had to go somewhere.

Do you see now why the stock market as of today has rallied from the doldrums of last year to recoup ALL its losses?

The institutional investors get free money and that is the only place they put it (yes, it is yet another bubble).

Anyway, I got off on a tangent.

Suffice it to say that Mr. Shalom Bernanke was a very important cog in this thievery.

And so he reaps his "just" reward.

TIME: Person of the Year 2009:

He has none of the look-at-me swagger or listen-to-me charisma so common among men with oversize Washington offices. His arguments aren't partisan or ideological; they're methodical, grounded in data and the latest academic literature.
they're methodical, grounded in data and the latest academic literature. When he doesn't know something, he doesn't bluster or bluff. He's professorial, which makes sense, because he spent most of his career as a professor.

Allow me to barf inside my mouth.

Can the TIME hack writers give a better blowjob to this man's tiny penis?

And his superb opinions are based on the "latest academic literature", oh my!

He didn't just reshape U.S. monetary policy; he led an effort to save the world economy.

I believe the verdict on that is still out, as per my previous article quoting the NYTimes, 1 in 8 Americans is on food stamps.

Forget the jobless recovery bullshit - this is the recoverless recovery (I would smirk but I am crying inside).

He knows that the economy is awful, that 10% unemployment is much too high, that Wall Street bankers are greedy ingrates, that Main Street still hurts. Banks are handing out sweet bonuses again but still aren't doing much lending.

He knows all that.

And he helped make it so.

Especially the sweet bank bonuses paid for by our money.

And please remember the almost 0% lending rate to the banks which is used to pump up the stockmarket - the TIME hacks somehow missed that.

Before George W. Bush brought him to Washington, Bernanke's only political experience was on his local school board. His friends didn't even know he was a Republican. His only leadership experience was chairing Princeton's economics department

Obviously the man is eminently qualified, having been a professor.

The academia in this country are so very much in touch with the common man - just like Wall Street!

Ben Bernanke was the smartest kid in Dillon, S.C., a small farming town on the Little Pee Dee River, which smelled like tobacco.

Great achievement there, Mr. Shalom!

I am sure you were the king of the rednecks.

The first thing any Depression scholar comes to understand is that nothing — not hyperinflation, megadeficits or irked Chinese creditors — is as bad as a full-on Depression. A collapse in the "aggregate demand" for goods and services that makes an economy hum can be irreversible. Businesses fail, so workers lose jobs, so consumer spending declines, so more businesses fail.

Right, thank goodness the bailout has worked so well and the recovery is in full swing.

Wall Street Journal blog:

another more comprehensive gauge of unemployment ticked up even more. The government’s broader measure, known as the “U-6″ for its data classification, hit 16.8% in August, 0.5 percentage points higher than July.

The comprehensive measure of labor underutilization accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs.

This is the real unemployment measure, which doesn't just count the people who receive unemployment checks but also those who no longer do (in American crony capitalism, those people are expected to die off and no longer bother statisticians).

The Fed has become the new Trilateral Commission; no conspiracy theory is too far-fetched. There's a vivid example on YouTube, a video titled "Florida Congressman Alan Grayson Laughs in Ben Bernanke's Face — Priceless!" The rabble-rousing Democrat(...)

OK, enough.

I cannot take this puff piece anymore.

Saintly Bernanke is questioned - the insolence! - by a rabble rousing (that would be us, the suckers who paid all the rich people their highest ever bonuses) Democrat (boo! hiss!).

How... how dare some elected senator question an unelected official who overstepped his boundaries, failed at his regulatory and supervisory job of overlooking the financial system and its components, failed in... well, the FED's main mission.

Federal Reserve official web page: The Mission

Today, the Federal Reserve's duties fall into four general areas:

* conducting the nation's monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates

16% (officially, unofficially is is closer to 20%) unemployment, rampant inflation; do you notice all your foodstuffs' prices going up - also, do you notice how the 0% bank lending rate is making the stock market into the biggest bubble ever seen?

Moderate long term interest rates? Of 0%?

* supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation's banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers


They refused to oversee and regulate banking and other financial institutions - in fact, they actively opposed it, as that would blow the bubble and the elite's profits prematurely.

Any resident of the USA cannot say with a straight face that the FED supervised and regulated banking institutions, even those who have no clue what a credit default swap or a tranche is.

* maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets

Due to the FED's failure of overseeing the banks and other financial institutions (willfully not seeing the rampant abuses once Glass-Steagal was repealed), there is no stability of the stock market. In fact, as I keep harping on it, the 0% lending to banks results in stupendous instability and the mother of all financial bubbles.

* providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation's payments system

The FED succeeded here, as our tax money was used to bail out not just Goldman Sachs (through AIG, which then gave the money to the counterparties), but also foreign banks...


Big foreign banks also received large sums from the rescue, including Société Générale of France and Deutsche Bank of Germany, which each received nearly $12 billion; Barclays of Britain ($8.5 billion); and UBS of Switzerland ($5 billion).

So, America (and the world) - meet your new saint and saviour - Saint Shalom Bernanke.


TGGP said...

Glass Steagall wasn't repealed and had nothing to do with the recession. Even Dean Baker thinks so, though he opposes Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

I personally preferred Gravel to Kucinich and mused about a possible Paul-Gravel ticket of cranky old men. D.C certainly is hateable enough to deserve a Statler and Waldorf pointing out how everything stinks.

Wrothchild said...

Yeah, Time did a similar piece on Blankfein a little while back. It was disgusting.