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Contemporary Economics in a Nutshell: Felonious Instincts Rewarded by Reverse Robin-Hoodism

Jeffrey St. Clair, AIG and the System: The Masters of Perfidy :
In a sense, it’s only fitting that the government ended up as the ultimate guarantor for those furious seasons of Wall Street greed. After all, by consciously dismantling the regulatory framework that tended to constrain the felonious instincts that come naturally to the Wall Street player (such as the Glass-Steagall Act), the government played a decisive role in fostering the rampant financial criminality and looting that reached its apogee in 2008, crashing the global economy, draining retirement funds and pension accounts and casting millions from their homes and millions more into the perdition of long-term unemployment. All of this coming down in an era of extreme government austerity, typified by over-burdened and underfunded social welfare programs. As with the defunct regulations to restrain corporate crimes, so too had the economic safety net been sheared away--its tethers sliced by Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton—long before the economy cratered. Now there is nothing to cushion the blow on the long fall to the bottom.

The architects of this economic deregulation achieved a truly fearful bi-partisan symmetry that persists to this day. Even now, amid the rubble of Wall Street’s collapse, the neo-liberals and neo-conservatives remain as uniform as conjoined twins in their devotion to a broadly deregulated market. Any talk of bringing back forceful correctives such as a new and improved Glass-Steagall Act was immediately squelched by Obama, flanked by John McCain and Mitch McConnell, as well. If the crash of AIG—the largest in history—was in the sclerotic parlance of the times a “teachable moment” it is apparent that while much was ventured, nothing was learned.

The problem is that the government bailout, which some accounts now estimate will eventually top $24-cap T-for Trillion—flowed almost entirely in the wrong direction. Instead of helping to mend the lives of Wall Street’s victims—the unemployed, the uninsured, the destitute and homeless—Bush and Obama rewarded the perpetrators. They even gave them bonuses.

...consciously dismantling the regulatory framework that tended to constrain the felonious instincts that come naturally to the Wall Street player...
that is so well said!


An Anthem for our Zeitgeist

Mary Margaret O'Hara
"Don't Be Afraid"
(from Happy End, a 1929 musical by Kurt Weill)
MM's contribution to the 1995 tribute to Kurt Weill "September Songs"


Orwellian Parsing Fun

I was inspired when I read the following passage , a brilliant example of how to parse obfuscatory official language:
In a recent interview with the BBC on June 19, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the foreign policy icon and ultimate insider, exposed Washington’s deep involvement in the Iranian affair.

Dr. Kissinger said, “If it turns out that it is not possible for a government to emerge in Iran that can deal with itself as a nation rather than as a cause, then we have a different situation.” Translation: if our preferred candidate did not emerge a winner after using all our soft power… He continued, “Then we may conclude that we must work for regime change in Iran from the outside,” Translation: then the U.S. (or perhaps Israel) may have to resort to hard power, meaning military strikes.

He then added, “But if I understand the president correctly, he does not want to do this as a visible intervention in the current crisis.” Translation: Whatever President Barack Obama is doing in Iran, he wants to make sure that Washington’s hand is invisible.

I just now came across an article entitled U.S. begins major Afghan offensive.

(First, a parenthetical note. If anybody is surprised that Obama is ramping up the war in Afghanistan then they deliberately ignored Obama's repeated proclamations that this was his intention. Agent of change and hope... Perception Managers earned their pay on that one — but then again it's easy to package a product when people are desperate to buy it. Speaking of Perception Managers, they're working overtime on perhaps the greatest coordinated psyop offensive since WMD in Iraq, getting the public to buy the whole Iran election fraud thing. It's unfortunate (no — it's a fatal flaw) for our species that these Compliance & Perception Professionals succeed in their job so easily.)

If it wasn't so deeply troubling, the following caption, below a picture of a youngster in Murkan army drag, would have been amusing:
Marines surge into Afghanistan
Thousands of U.S. Marines and hundreds of Afghan troops moved into Taliban-infested villages of southern Afghanistan Thursday in the first major operation under President Barack Obama's strategy to stabilize the country. (July 1, 2009)

There's one thing in this caption that stands out like a sucking-chest wound. Can you spot it? Hint: it's the very same metaphor used by the Nazis when describing Jews. Yes, it's the word infested. And what do you do if vermin infest an area? You fumigate it, you eradicate it, you sterilize it. Obviously there's a need to clean out these villages of vermin — they're infested. So they're sending in professional exterminators to wipe them out. And, of course, since they're professionals, they'll make sure no innocents are harmed — after all, the troops are there for their sake, they're on an altruistic mission to stabilize the country. Sending thousands of troops into villages on a killing spree to wipe out locals who have been transmogrified into non-human vermin is not causing chaos, destruction, de-stabilization, no, what it is doing is stabilizing the country. I mean, sometimes you have to destroy a village to save it, right?

This is textbook Orwellian doublespeak psyop propaganda to de-humanize the enemy and make your team of killers look like the good guys, a clever and subtle use of language to mask and justify people killing other people.

(Speaking of Perception Management, did you know that after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, the Taliban eliminated drug production? Can't have that -- eats into Wall Street's addiction to profits from the drug trade. When USA/NATO replaced the Taliban with their own puppets drug production flourished to even higher levels. So when you read about the good guys going in to clamp down on the drug trade I suggest you plug in your Orwellian doublespeak filters and turn the volume up, 'cause what's going on is not just about war profits or protecting the oil pipelines, it's also about protecting the drug pipelines.)

  1. From Wikipedia on dehumanization:
    The empirically-supported propaganda model of Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky shows how corporate media are able to carry out large-scale, successful dehumanization campaigns when that promotes the goals (profit-making) that the corporations are legally obliged to maximise. State media, in either democracies or dictatorships, are also capable of carrying out dehumanization campaigns, to the extent with which the population is unable to counteract the dehumanizing memes.
  2. An insight from G. I. Gurdjieff:
    Nobody ever does anything deliberately in the interests of evil for the sake of evil. Everybody acts in the interests of good, as he understands it. But everybody understands it in a different way. Consequently men drown, slay, and kill one another in the interests of good.