giovedì 20 maggio 2010

Movimiento por la Segunda República

Movimiento por la Segunda República Argentina (MSRA)

Argentine Second Republic Movement
Boletín de Prensa Press Bulletin 20 de mayo de 2010 / 20th May 2010

The Global Power Elite is Not That Strong!

La Elite Mundial No es tan poderosa…!

ENGLISH

Please watch the latest video we have just uploaded on YouTube, explaining why the Global Power Elite is NOT as strong as they would have you believe, and why our SECOND REPUBLIC PROJECT represents a viable option for all countries.

SECOND REPUBLIC is, without, doubt, An Idea whose Time has Come…

Link: The Global Power Elite is NOT that Strong! (in one part)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1_5UfSJQaA

___________________________________________________

CASTELLANO

Favor ver el último video que hemos subido en YouTube, en el que se explica por qué la Elite Mundial NO es tan poderosA como nos quieren hacer creer, y porqué nuestro PROYECTO POR LA SEGUNDA REPUBLICA representa una opción viable para todos los pueblos de la Región y del mundo.

Sin duda, el hito fundacional de la SEGUNDA REPUBLICA es Una Idea cuyo momento ha llegado…

Link: La Elite Mundial NO es tan poderosa como parece… - 18 de mayo de 2010

Parte 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVTnkGhBgik

Parte 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQCiPUc4r-I

Adhesiones a: arsalbuchi@gmail.com

Adrian Salbuchi

www.asalbuchi.com.ar

Presi per il PIL

Presi per il PIL
di Lorenzo Fioramonti* - 19/05/2010

Fonte: Movimento per la Decrescita Felice

La crisi finanziaria sta accartocciando le nostre economie. Esportazioni in caduta libera, licenziamenti selvaggi, investimenti in picchiata, sfratti esecutivi per milioni di famiglie e deficit pubblici impazziti (che pompano verso l’alto il debito pubblico) sono solo alcuni degli effetti disastrosi dell’attuale crisi economica mondiale.

Sebbene l’attenzione dei media sia tutta concentrata sulla strada molto accidentata che dovrebbe portarci al “risanamento”, le montagne russe dell’economia mondiale hanno finalmente innescato un dibattito che mette in discussione la sostenibilità del nostro attuale modello di sviluppo fondato sulla crescita economica infinita. Tale critica non è soltanto basata sull’instabilità endemica delle dinamiche di mercato (di cui ormai vediamo gli effetti in tutti i settori), ma anche e soprattutto sull’impatto che questo modello economico ha sulle risorse limitate del pianeta e sul nostro benessere reale. Ma la nostra qualità della vita migliora davvero quando l’economia cresce del 2 o 3%? Possiamo davvero sacrificare il nostro ecosistema (con l’inevitabile conseguenza di distruggere noi stessi) per mantenere intatto un modello caratterizzato da squilibri e contraddizioni?

Per la prima volta da quando è stato inventato negli anni ‘40, il prodotto interno lordo (PIL) - ovvero l’icona popolare della crescita economica - è sotto accusa da parte di organismi internazionali e studiosi. Non sono più soltanto ONG come Sbilanciamoci, New Economics Foundation o il Movimento per la Decrescita Felice a sferrare l’attacco, ma anche tradizionali bastioni di ispirazione liberale. Persino l’Economist, un difensore del libero mercato, recentemente ha ospitato un dibattito sull’utilità del PIL concludendo che “si tratta di un pessimo indicatore per la misurazione del benessere” (http://www.economist.com/debate/days/view/503#mod_module). Anche l’OCSE, un altro colosso del tradizionalismo economico, ha cominciato a gettare dubbi sul dogma della crescita economica. Sul sito web dell’organizzazione intergovernativa, che raccoglie le economie più “sviluppate” del pianeta, si legge: “Per una buona parte del ventesimo secolo si è dato per scontato che la crescita economica fosse sinonimo di progresso, cioè, che un aumento del PIL significasse una vita migliore per tutti. Ma ora il mondo comincia a riconoscere che non è così semplice. Nonostante livelli sostenuti di crescita economica, non siamo più soddisfatti della nostra vita (e tanto meno più felici) di cinquant’anni fa” (http://www.oecd.org/pages/0,3417,en_40033426_40033828_1_1_1_1_1,00.html).

Questo dibattito ha cominciato (finalmente) a fare breccia nell’arena politica europea. Nel novembre 2007, l’Unione europea ha promosso una conferenza dal titolo ‘Al di là del PIL’ e, due anni più tardi, la Commissione ha emesso una direttiva su “Oltre il PIL: misurare il progresso in un mondo in cambiamento”, dove si sostiene che il PIL è stato scorrettamente utilizzato come un indicatore “generale dello sviluppo sociale e del progresso”, ma siccome non misura la sostenibilità ambientale e l’inclusione sociale, “occorre tenere conto di questi limiti quando se ne fa uso nelle analisi o nei dibattiti politici”. Secondo la Commissione Ue “il PIL non può costituire la chiave di lettura di tutte le questioni oggetto di dibattito pubblico”.

Alla fine dell’anno scorso, la Commissione sul progresso sociale creata dal presidente francese Nicholas Sarkozy e guidata dai premi Nobel Joseph Stiglitz e Amartya Sen ha sottolineato con forza l’inadeguatezza del PIL come misura del benessere sociale. Nel rapporto finale, la Commissione ricorda che il “PIL è una mera misura della produttività di un mercato, sebbene sia stata utilizzata come una misura di benessere economico. Questo ha comportato una confusione enorme nell’analisi di come vivono davvero le persone ed ha portato all’adozione di politiche sbagliate” (http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/innovations/data/000144/_res/id=sa_File1/economicperformancecommissionreport.pdf).

Pochi giorni fa, il New York Times ha pubblicato sul suo magazine un lungo articolo dal titolo “L’ascesa e la caduta del PIL”, in cui si passano in rassegna i progetti di revisione dei sistemi statistici nazionali per introdurre misure correttive o sostitutive del prodotto interno lordo (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/magazine/16GDP-t.html?th&emc=th).

Questi sviluppi recenti traggono la loro origine da una branca importante della ricerca economica che ha ormai dimostrato come la qualità della vita e il progresso sociale siano indipendenti dalla crescita economica. In molti casi, proprio i paesi che vantano una crescita economica sostenuta sono quelli in cui il benessere dei cittadini è più a rischio. Eppure, immancabilmente a ogni tornata elettorale, i nostri politici continuano a riempirsi la bocca di promesse su come far crescere il paese. La crescita economica è parte integrante dei programmi di tutti i partiti politici e, nei dibattiti televisivi, non c’è candidato che faccia un discorso alternativo: un discorso informato sui fatti, in grado almeno di recepire il dibattito in corso a livello globale. Per quanto tempo ancora continueremo a farci prendere per il PIL?

* Lorenzo Fioramonti è visiting professor all’Università di Heidelberg (Germania) e capo ricercatore della società di consulenza Beyond Development-Dopo lo Sviluppo Srl (http://www.be-dev.com/). Una versione sintetica di quest’ articolo è stata pubblicata sull’edizione internazionale del New York Times il 12 Maggio 2010 (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/12/opinion/12iht-edlet.html?scp=1&sq=fioramonti&st=cse).

JASON: BASIC RESEARCH IS "BROKEN"

JASON: BASIC RESEARCH AT THE PENTAGON IS "BROKEN"

by S. Aftergood, Secrecy News

Basic scientific research sponsored by the Department of Defense has suffered a precipitous decline in recent years, according to
a newly disclosed 2009 report (pdf) from the JASON defense advisory panel.

"Basic research" refers to the investigation of fundamental phenomena, and contrasts with "applied research" that aims to meet a specific mission requirement or to solve a specified problem.

"Over the past decade, there has been an exodus of scientific and technical expertise from the U.S. government and, in particular, from the DoD [basic] research enterprise," the JASONs said.

"Gone are many of the technically literate program officers who plied the streets of the scientific community to find those remarkable people who could help shape the future. Gone too are many of the scientists and engineers in the academic community [who were supported by DoD basic research contracts] and who contributed to revolutionary advances that changed the landscape of modern war fighting. And most importantly, lost is the opportunity to develop the next generation of scientific talent who would otherwise have been trained and capable of carrying the research enterprise forward."

“Despite the importance of DoD Basic Research, we believe that important aspects of the DoD basic research programs are ‘broken’ to an extent that neither throwing more money at these problems nor simple changes in procedures and definitions will fix them,” the report said.

The JASONs nevertheless offer a series of recommendations concerning program organization and personnel recruitment to strengthen basic research. Among other things, they say that DoD should reject the "peer review" model for evaluating funding decisions, since that tends to reinforce the status quo, and should instead provide funding to exceptional individuals. They favorably cite Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez saying: "In my considered opinion the peer review system, in which proposals rather than proposers are reviewed, is the greatest disaster to be visited upon the scientific community this century...."

The JASON report was originally marked "for official use only." When the Federation of American Scientists requested it last year under the Freedom of Information Act, most of the document was withheld as "deliberative." But upon appeal, DoD agreed this month to release the entire report. To accompany the release, Alan R. Shaffer, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, issued a cover memorandum stating that the JASON report was "one perspective" among several and that it was not based on a comprehensive data set.

See "S & T for National Security," JASON Summer Study, completed May 2009, released May 2010.

Sabato 22 Maggio, ore 17 , biblioteca di Rubano

Sabato 22 Maggio, ore 17 , biblioteca di Rubano - Viale Po 16 - zona Sarmeola
Signoraggio e sovranità monetaria alla 41a Fiera delle Verità Stampa
Pubblicato da Redazione web
20-05-2010
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ImageL'Associazione Primit ( programma per la riforma monetaria italiana) organizza un incontro nell'ambito della 41a Fiera delle Verità. L'incontro, gratuito e libero, avrà come temi portanti la discussione del problema del signoraggio, della moneta-debito, della sovranità monetaria.
La fiera delle verità consiste in una conferenza gratuita ed aperta al pubblico, con dibattito e domande finali.

L'intento è quello di diffondere conoscenza e consapevolezza sulla moneta-debito e sul signoraggio, e sui motivi della crisi attuale alla luce di quanto sopra esposto.

Il dibattito e le domande hanno come fine quello di coinvolgere i cittadini nel processo decisionale, per arrivare a creare nuovi strumenti monetari di proprietà del popolo sovrano.

Primit - Associazione di Promozione Sociale

Lawyer Recounts Harrowing Escape From Bangkok

As Big Firms Shutter Offices, Lawyer Recounts Harrowing Escape From Bangkok

The American Lawyer

May 20, 2010

Robert Amsterdam is no stranger to dangerous assignments, so the client he's recently gone to work for puts Amsterdam back in familiar territory.

The Bronx-born international defense lawyer, best known for representing jailed Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was retained earlier this month by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra via supporters of the telecom billionaire. The assignment put Amsterdam in the middle of Bangkok for three days just as Thai troops were stepping up their crackdown on Thaksin's Red Shirt supporters, creating some anxious moments for him.

"I just got out of Bangkok where I was in the Red Shirt compound," Amsterdam says by phone from Hong Kong. "I did not know if I would get out. The whole fucking thing is just a terrible tragedy." (See below for an interview Amsterdam gave Al Jazeera's English channel on the tenuous political situation in Thailand.)

Amsterdam says Thaksin is being unfairly vilified.

"These people are risking their lives and the government is trying to portray Thaksin as some kind of terrorist that they should go arrest, because he's the most popular man in Thailand," he says. "Thaksin was popularly elected on a number of occasions, unlike some of the individuals currently in power."

Thaksin was deposed in a bloodless military coup in September 2006. The four years that followed have seen political paralysis seize Thailand -- Time has a breakdown of the various factions vying for power in the country -- with protests beginning to gain new momentum last month.

Thaksin's foes accuse him of being the most corrupt politician in Thailand, and efforts to go after his assets originally led him to retain Baker Botts to fight the seizures. The firm is no longer representing Thaksin, who remains in exile. (Michael Goldberg, chair of the firm's international arbitration and dispute resolution practice, handled the assignment for Baker Botts but didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Meanwhile, the civil unrest currently roiling central Bangkok led current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to declare a government holiday between May 17 and May 21. That in turn forced the temporary closures of the offices of several Am Law 100 and international firms.

Out-of-office e-mail responses from several partners at firms with offices in Bangkok indicated that Baker & McKenzie, Herbert Smith, Linklaters, and Mayer Brown have all closed their doors until the situation calms down. None of the partners contacted immediately responded to the messages.

A spokeswoman for Linklaters told The Am Law Daily that limited transportation in Bangkok, coupled with the closure of certain main roads and the increasingly unstable political situation, required the firm to shutter its Bangkok base of operations last Friday to ensure the safety of employees.

"We've been assured that our Bangkok team and their families remain safe and they continue to provide seamless service to clients and the rest of the Linklaters network using mobile and remote working solutions," Genevieve Javellana said in an e-mail.

As for Amsterdam, he's trying to muster international support for the Red Shirt cause after the group's leaders turned themselves in to avoid more casualties. Amsterdam says he was with the leaders in their compound drafting a platform that contains pledges to avoid violence and to negotiate unconditionally. (Amsterdam's personal blog chronicles some of his other experiences on the ground in Bangkok, as does this op-ed he wrote about the Red Shirts for The Australian.)

Amsterdam says he flew to Hong Kong early Wednesday (EST) with several of Thaksin's Thai lawyers because "we could no longer function in Bangkok."

"The [Thai] government is going to use these protests as a pretext to try to go after my client, because they are just deathly afraid of him," Amsterdam says. "Now we are going to investigate and document the absolutely extra-legal behavior of the Thai government and military."

Amsterdam says the Obama administration has been "incredibly quiet" about what is unfolding in Thailand.

"The writing is on the wall that this [Thai] government is not long for this earth," Amsterdam adds. "Abhisit has to resign and they have to call for elections."

A Message from Argentina: Our Sympathies to the People of Greece!

A Message from Argentina: Our Sympathies to the People of Greece!

There are disconcerting parallels between Argentina’s catastrophic decade, 1991-2001, which ended in massive default, and Greece’s recent and impending difficulties. In both cases, international credit organisations were to blame and both countries were beset by widespread protests and riots over austerity measures imposed by the IMF. Argentinian economist Adrián Salbuchi offers a hard-hitting analysis of this engineered crisis which knows no boundaries.

When Argentinians watch the news today and see the terrible things that are happening in Greece, we cannot but say, “Hey!! This is EXACTLY like Argentina in December 2001 and beginning of 2002…!”. Then too, Argentina underwent its worst systemic banking, public debt and monetary collapse which led to social turmoil, mad violence, rioting, and social war. The turmoil was so bad, that it forced then president Fernando de la Rúa’s government to resign, especially because of his notorious pro-banker cartel economy minister, Domingo Cavallo, generating a political vacuum that led to Argentina having 5 (five!!) presidents in that terrible last week of December 2001.

What triggered social chaos in Argentina was the attempt by president De la Rúa to implement the grossly unjust austerity measures imposed by the IMF that required, as usual, utmost sacrifice from the people – more taxes, less social spending, “balanced budgets”, zero deficit spending, amongst other anti-social measures – which led to a fall of almost 40% in Argentina’s GDP.

Half of all Argentinians fell below the poverty line (most were never to make it back to the traditional Argentina middle class), private banks were allowed to legally retain everybody’s savings, US dollar deposits were arbitrarily changed into Pesos at whatever rate of exchange the government and bankers decided (the dollar was devalued 300% from one peso to the dollar, to 4 pesos the dollar in just weeks) and yet…. Not one bank fell!!! Indeed, since then they’re all back in “business as usual”, however the poor and impoverished are today totally out of business…

Throughout 25 years of successive caretaker governments in Argentina, the IMF-led Global Banking Cartel artificially generated a basically illegal – or at best, illegitimate – Sovereign Debt that grew so huge, that it ended up collapsing the entire financial and economic system. That was no coincidence. It was part of a highly complex model, engineered to control entire countries, through a cycle having sequential stages and identifiable parts that has one basic overriding goal: when the finance economy is fueled to run in an artificial “growth mode”, the bulk of all profits are privatized into the hands of their “friends”, managers and operators. However, when the whole scheme – like all Ponzi schemes - reaches its climax and total collapse is at hand, they revert the process and then socialize all losses.

That’s what Mr. Cavallo - a Rockefeller protégé - achieved, ensuring that the Argentine people bore all the losses, whilst the international banksters took all the profits. The mainstream media – both global and local – willingly obliged; The New York Times went so far as to suggest that the entire Patagonian region (i.e., the 5 southern provinces of Argentina accounting for 35% of Argentina’s territory and having immeasurable energy, mining, foodstuff, water resource wealth), should secede from the rest of the country as a way of “resolving our foreign debt woes…”

Now, that was Argentina 2001/2002 but, isn’t that also the case when today’s US taxpayer bails out Goldman Sachs, AIG, CitiCorp and GM whilst losing his house, pension and job? Isn’t that what is happening to Greece today? And Iceland? And the UK? And Ireland? And – anytime soon – Spain? Portugal? Italy…?

In Argentina, our people ended up getting used to being much poorer, so when “normal” times returned, the Goldman Sachs and Citicorp controlled local media were able to ensure that a new puppet regime subservient to the money interests should come to power: i.e., the husband and wife pro-banking mafia team of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner… And the merry-go-round keeps turning and turning, whilst the Argentine people keep paying and paying…

Today, we look at Greece and see the same tell-tale signs: the IMF imposing strict austerity measures as a condition for the banks to lend more money to them (as if a country collapsing under the burden of debt can overcome that by getting into even more debt!!), the mainstream media speaking vociferously on the need for “Greece to do things correctly and responsibly” (as if the US FED, the Bank of England, Goldman Sachs and the US Treasury, Greenspan, Bernanke, Paulson, Brown, Geithner, Blankfein, Greenberg were examples of responsible accountability), local caretaker governments doing all they can on behalf of banking interests (George Papandreou is a regular at the Bilderberg and Trilateral Commission meetings, as was Fernando de la Rúa, a founding member of the local chapter of the Council on Foreign Relations in Argentina called CARI), major banks such as Goldman Sachs trying to collect their pound of flesh in the midst of all the turmoil and hardship; all of this against a backdrop of desperate citizens taking to the streets to express what is obvious to all: that international bankers and local caretaker government form a complex association of thieves and robbers.

The inevitable then occurs: the Government sends the police out to the streets to protect the bankers, themselves and New World Order power elite interests... Then violence flares up, people get hurt and die…. The poor (police) battle against the poor (population), whilst the rich look on from a safe distance with a chuckle…

Make no mistake: this is a Global Model.

Make no mistake: there is NO democracy, not even in Athens, its birthplace.

What we people suffer the world over – be it in Greece, or Argentina, or Brazil, or Indonesia, or Spain, or Iceland, or the US or the UK - is a mechanical mass vote-counting system, that is totally dependent on huge quantities of money, necessary to finance costly political campaigns, purchase radio, TV and press coverage, pay for grotesque political party structures, journalists, analysts, and of course to pay for the well-marketed candidates themselves: that vast array of decrepit stooges we read about in the papers every day: Bush, Blair, Papandreou, Obama, Clinton, Menem, Kirchner, Lula, Uribe, Sarkozy, Rodriguez Zapatero, Merkel...

What we have is a “democracy” that is totally subservient to money, however we need to understand that money is NOT democratic (nor should it be). Money is controlled by the mega-Banking structure that uses the IMF, World Bank, FED, BIS, ECB as its global regulating entities, and pays to run the whole “Democracy Show”. Ergo, we end up having “the best democracy that money can buy”... which is no Democracy at all...

The results of this could be tragically seen in Argentina, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, yesterday; in Greece, Iceland, the US and the UK, today...

So, who’s next? Spain?, Italy? Portugal? Will the European Monetary System just blow up to pieces? A 750 Billion Euro Bail-out will send the recently born (still in diapers) Euro into a tailspin… Will the European Monetary Mechanism fall apart? Will Germany be the first to revert to the gold old Deutsch-Mark?

Will the collapsing Euro and the technically hyper-inflated US Dollar (Shhh! Don’t say that aloud!!) pave the way for a new, essentially private Global Currency to be managed on a planetary scale by the private money cartel of the Goldman Sach’s, HSBC’s, CitCorp’s, Deutsche Bank’s of this world?

Stay tuned… There is much, much more to come…

Adrian Salbuchi is an author, economist, and expert on globalization, founder of the Argentine Second Republic Movement. The photograph shows a woman giving the Victory sign as she holds a banner reading ’Greece is not for sale, Long Live Greece, Long Live Theodorakis’, during a demonstration next to the Greek embassy in Buenos Aires on May 12, 2010, in support of Greek trade unions, which called for a general strike against government budget cuts. This article first appeared on Voltaire.net

A Straight-Jacket to Impose Austerity

A Straight-Jacket to Impose Austerity on the European Peoples


By demanding the right to veto its member countries’ budgets, the European Commission is challenging the peoples’ sovereignty and appears set to take a new step towards the authoritarian and ruinous super-austerity policy demanded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and supported by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In several European countries the governments’ tougher austerity plans were leaked to the press. Several Italian papers revealed that a one-year wage freeze for public workers was under study. The Spanish press itself commented on the austerity measures announced by the government: cuts in public workers’ salaries, cancellation of increases that had been announced for some pensions and the scrapping of planned investments… In Portugal the morning dailies announced measures presented by the government only in the afternoon, which provide for tax increases.

Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have it their way

The same determination to harden public policies is at the heart of the European Commission’s demand to vet the member states’ budgetary plans. The idea is to make it compulsory for governments to submit their finance bills to the Commission, prior to their being examined and commented on by the Council of the eurozone Finance and Economy ministers, and before they are eventually submitted to national parliaments. The German chancellor said last Wednesday that this proposal constitutes “a big step in the right direction”. French finance minister Christine Lagarde herself declared that France was willing to discuss the proposal.

These moves have been cloaked with hypocrisy.

Indeed, the Commission’s request does not come out of the blue. It formalizes a request made by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy in their joint letter dated May 6th to the European Council’s president and to the Commission’s president on the day before the EU countries’ last summit. In that text, the two leaders demanded “a tighter budgetary control in the euro area with more efficient sanctions against excessive budgetary deficit procedures and a stronger coherence between the states’ budgetary procedures and the stability and growth pact.” Euro zone leaders specified in addition in their statement after last Friday’s EU council that they expressly asked the European Commission and the Council of Finance and Economy Ministers to make sure “the recommendations addressed to member states within the framework of the stability pact were rigorously implemented,” which implied “accelerating budgetary consolidation”.

So it is clear that the Commission has just been orchestrating demands that have been previously addressed to it, demands that seriously jeopardize the peoples’ sovereignty.

Why is the European commission forging ahead with its authoritarian and anti-social policy?

The setting up of an economic, financial and political union around a single currency destined to boost capital and financial markets has resulted in an economic and social disaster. The European treaties have proved unable to address the crisis that is rocking Europe. But rather than draw the consequences, European, and especially German and French leaders want to go one better, to pile up austerity measures on austerity measures, tighten the anti-popular, bureaucratic institutional straight-jacket that has contributed to the crisis and set Europe on fire. In so doing, they are hoping to make the European peoples pay for the crisis and the speculation of banks and finance, and to ensure high profit rates again for banks and funds. Fear of popular resistance to this policy explains the authoritarian drift.

The European social model under threat

The Commission and the governments’ relentlessness jeopardizes the European social model. It is dangerous for democracy and the European peoples' living conditions. As economic figures for the first term of 2010 show, it hampers economic recovery, stifles growth, fuels unemployment, jeopardizes public services, keeps wages down. And yet it is necessary to set about re-orienting the construction of the European union, which entails the denunciation of European treaties and the laying of new foundations. A social stimulus package and the democratization of the Union are prerequisites to ward off Europe’s implosion. This means changing the role of the euro and of the European Central Bank. The future of this new economic, social, and political triptych will depend on the peoples’ struggles.

This article was originally published in French as 'Une camisole pour imposer l’austérité aux peuples' in the daily newspaper L'Humanité. A selection of articles from L'Humanité is available on line in English. This article was translated by Isabelle Metral.

'Serious manipulation' of gold, silver markets

WND Exclusive
WND MONEY

'Serious manipulation' of gold, silver markets

Price of precious metals allegedly forced down for profit


Posted: May 16, 2010
10:18 pm Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

JP Morgan Chase Post Quarterly Profit of 3.6 Billion

NEW YORK – A London-based commodities trader claims a major New York bank is conducting serious manipulation of the silver and gold futures markets.

The practice has continued even after federal regulators have been warned of the impropriety, Andrew Maguire, a metals trader at the London Bullion Market Association, told WND.

Last November, Maguire brought allegations before the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, in Washington that gold and silver traders at JPMorgan Chase have conspired to manipulate global precious metals markets. He charged the manipulation amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, in institutional trading profit for the bank and personal profit for the traders.

"It's like robbing a bank," Maguire told WND.

Maguire charged that JPMorgan Chase gold and silver traders have coordinated massive purchases of "short contracts" betting that the price of gold or silver will go down. The purchases, he said, are part of a strategy aimed at forcing the price of gold and silver to drop dramatically at the expense of holders of "long positions" owning gold or silver.

"This is a very small community that engages in metals trading – only a handful of traders at major institutions like JPMorgan Chase," Maguire said.

"The traders involved in market manipulation trigger their signals in advance so that local traders like me can jump on board to create a major market movement," he said.

WND has obtained a series of e-mails Maguire exchanged with Eliud Ramirez, the head of CFTC's enforcement unit. A copy was sent to CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton. Maguire specified his allegations in the e-mail and predicted major market moves he believed would occur as a result of trader manipulations instigated at JPMorgan Chase.

In a Feb. 3 e-mail, Maguire predicted to the CFTC that traders were ready to initiate "a wave of short selling" designed to reduce dramatically the price of gold and of silver.

An examination of the price charts for gold and silver show both metals suffered price declines after Maquire's Feb. 3 e-mail, exactly as he predicted.


As the market manipulation was in progress, Maguire sent additional e-mails to Ramirez at the CFTC.

"It is undoubtedly the concentrated short who has 'walked silver down' since Wednesday, putting large blocks in the way of bids," Maguire e-mailed Ramirez Feb. 5. "This is clear manipulation as the long holders who have been liquidated are matched by new short selling as open interest is rising during the decline."


Then, again later that day, Maguire e-mailed Ramirez: "A final e-mail to confirm that the silver manipulation was a great success and played out EXACTLY to plan as predicted yesterday. How would this be possible if the silver market was not in full control of the parties we discussed in our phone interview?"

In the e-mail, Maguire rebuked the CFTC: "It is common knowledge here in London among the metals traders that it is JPM's (JPMorgan Chase's) intent to flush out and cover as many shorts as possible prior to any discussion in March about position limits. I feel sorry for all those not in this loop. A serious amount of money was made and lost today and in my opinion as a result of the CFTC's allowing by your own definition an illegal concentrated and manipulative position to occur."

Bill Murphy, chairman of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, published Maguire's e-mails on his organization's website, charging, "It would not be possible to predict such a market move unless the market was manipulated."

WND asked JPMorgan Chase to reply to Maguire's charges.

"We have no knowledge of who Andrew Maguire is," Brian Marchiony, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase told WND. "We have no comment on Maguire's charges."

A CFTC spokesman told WND, "We do not comment on investigations."

Signal to 'get on board'

How does Macguire allege the insider market manipulation in the metals futures markets can be recognized?

"When suddenly, in relatively thin trading on gold or silver, you see out of the blue several hundreds, if not 1,500 contracts suddenly pop up on the sell-side, then you know that is a very concentrated position holder, not an amalgamation of orders," he explained.

Banking CEO's Testify Before House On Use Of TARP Funds

"It's a signal to everybody to get on board on the sell-side because this is not moving a cent further on the long-side," he said.

Maguire insisted the coordinated placement of a large number of sell-side orders could only be designed to move the price of gold or silver down. The traders coordinating the market movement would benefit from having shorted the metal at the expense of its owners, who held long positions or were purchasing futures contracts betting the price of the metal would go up.

"All the traders then had better jump on board because you'd be crazy to go against a major coordinated market move like this," he said. "It's like playing a fish as the traders manipulating the market push the price of gold or silver down and down and down."

Maguire said he explained to the CFTC that "the footprints of the coordinated trading were easy to read." He sent to the CFTC computer "screen shots" he believe proved JPMorgan was a concentrated market manipulator engaging in illegal activity designed to depress the price of gold or silver for profit.

If Maguire has shared the information with the CFTC, why did he decide to go public explaining his accusations to WND and to Murphy at GATA for publication?

"I want the CFTC to catch these guys in the act," Maguire answered, "and I called the CFTC to alert them to market manipulations as they were happening. But now I'm concerned that the CFTC is just sitting on the information and doing nothing to investigate my allegations or bring charges."

Maguire charged the profit made by metals market manipulators was "in the hundreds of millions, if not billions" and that the end result was the money was "being stolen from private investors who have no idea whatsoever what is going on behind the scenes."

On March 25, Murphy disclosed Maguire's charges in a public hearing before the CFTC, a clip of which can be viewed on YouTube.

Attempted murder?

Maguire and his wife were involved in a bizarre car accident in London, the New York Post reported March 29.

Maguire told WND he reluctantly has come to believe the car accident was an attempt on his life.

"We got hit in the side at full acceleration and tried to corral the cars in a gas station, including the guy who hit us with a commercial vehicle," Maguire explained.

The assailant then got in his car and accelerated, hitting a number of cars as he escaped from the gas station, making the event into a hit-and-run situation.

"The police told us the assailant was known to them and even that they arrested him," Maguire said. "But recently the police won't say anything, and I haven't been able to learn anything about the assailant."

mercoledì 19 maggio 2010

ROTHCHILD'S BREAKING EURO/JAPAN FRUIT & VEG MARKETS/FARMERS

Part of the grand plan is to herd everyone into cities where it is easier to control them. This will move Europe closer to that objective.
Don Stacey

Begin forwarded message:
From: Ruth Date: May 17, 2010 6:25:53 PM PDT (CA)To don.stacey@comcast. netSubject: ROTHCHILD'S BREAKING EURO/JAPAN FRUIT & VEG MARKETS/FARMERS.

The Rothschild family is pushing Indian produce onto the global market Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Monday, 17-May-2010 15:14:18 (snip)

In a recent interview* with Lyn Forester de Rothschild we learn that she and her husband Evelyn de Rothschild are investing hundreds of millions to become the queen and the king of India`s fruits and vegetables. India is already the first world producer of fruits, and the second of vegetables and until today its production was essentially consumed by the over one billion Indian population. Full article:
http://www.rense. com/general78/ rothw.htm Lyn and Evelyn de Rothschild have recently decided to make big money in exporting the Indian fruits and vegetables to the European and Japanese markets. The diverse agro-climatic zones of India make it possible to grow almost all varieties of fruits and vegetables while the labor cost is a tiny fraction of the European or Japanese: Lady de Rothschild is looking forward to pay the Indian workers $2 a day. Even with the transportation and duty costs, the Indian fruit and vegetables are likely to bankrupt the European and Japanese farmers. In Europe, most of these farmers are heavily indebted as the EU paranoid sanitary norms as well as the packaging requirements of the supermarkets have forced them to invest in expensive machinery and infrastructures. When the Indian fruits and vegetables arrive in Europe, most of these indebted farmer families will have to say goodby to their farms which will be confiscated by the banks. Many of the still remaining independent European farmers are producing fruit and vegetables since the independent livestock and wheat farmers have already been decimated by the "market economy" making profitable only the giant exploitations in these sectors. The foreseable bankruptcy of the European fruit and vegetables` farmers will fatally result in that entire agricultural communities will have to leave the rural areas in order to survive. In his recently published book, "The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook", David de Rothschild (son of Evelyn de Rothschild) is promoting urban living in order to economise energy and thus stop the "man-made climate warming". rumormillnews. com

To Greece: Nut Up Or Shut Up

Wednesday, May 19. 2010

To Greece: Nut Up Or Shut Up

Time to call the bluff:

The euro fell from the session high against the dollar and Swiss franc on Wednesday after Greece categorically denied market rumors which said it was considering leaving the European Union or the euro zone.

Of course that didn't take long to be "officially denied":

"We categorically deny any thought of leaving the European Union, or the euro zone," said government spokesman George Petalotis.

Then you have no chance.

Let's be clear: The only way to do this is by surprise. Unilaterally, without any discussion with anyone else. Just like Germany did.

And Greece should do it right here, right now, today.

Nail those European Banks that played "too cute by half" and bought Greek debt expecting an intervention and "sticksave", then effectively extorted the Eurozone nations into providing it, exactly as happened here in the US with Fannie and Freddie paper.

Note that Spain was unable to make its debt auction yesterday; they are thus going to be unable to fund the alleged bailout. As such the promises Greece was made are in fact empty, and intended to screw the Greek people and their government.

It is time for someone to stand up and say in return "screw you!" to such tactics. Germany has laid the groundwork, now Greece needs to deliver the "coup de grace" to Sarcozy and his butt-buddies in Brussels.

Depart the Euro and at the same time declare by fiat all Euro-denominated Greek debt held by anyone who is not a Greek national (or a Greek-chartered bank holding said debt entirely within Greece) worthless.

Such a unilateral action would instantaneously detonate a lot of banks in Europe and would put the ECB into an untenable position, as they have been accepting "repos" against Greek debt (along with direct purchases) without regard to actual credit quality.

It would also free Greece from a debt it cannot pay, totaling some €300 billion.

With that wiped off the table Greece would of course have to live within its taxing resources immediately and permanently.

So what?

That has to happen anyway, and is the entire premise of the purported austerity measures. Do it now and get it over with, while at the same time refusing to pay one penny of interest nor one dime of principal on the debt outstanding at this point.

If the Greek people are going to bear the costs they should get all the benefits, not the international banking cartel.

There's not a thing that the world could do about a move like this, but it would put a spike into the bankster concept of looting both citizen and sovereign alike without regard to the consequences.

IT IS TIME FOR A NATION TO STAND UP AND DO IT, AND GREECE IS IDEALLY POSITIONED TO DO SO.

ALL The Banks Ripped Off Taxpayers?

The Market Ticker, May 18. 2010

ALL The Banks Ripped Off Taxpayers?

CFTC whistleblower believes crash was attempted murder

CFTC whistleblower believes crash was attempted murder

Section:

11:30a ET Monday, May 17, 2010

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold (and Silver):

World Net Daily reports that silver market manipulation whistleblower Andrew Maguire has "reluctantly come to believe" that the hit-and-run traffic crash in which he was involved shortly after his communications with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission were disclosed was an attempt on his life.

"The police told us the assailant was known to them and even that they arrested him," World Net Daily reporter Jerome R. Corsi quotes Maguire as saying. "But recently the police won't say anything, and I haven't been able to learn anything about the assailant."

The World Net Daily report is headlined "'Serious Manipulation' of Gold, Silver Markets" and you can find it a World Net Daily here:

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=153953

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

The Final Time of Testing is Here

The Final Time of Testing is Here
by Richard C. Cook, May 18, 2010

While skeptics point out that the “end of the world” has been prophesized over and over again for centuries with nothing happening—the latest being Y2K, they say, and another likely bust coming up when the calendar hits 2012—it is obvious that mankind faces an increasingly unsustainable future.

The world’s economic, technological, agricultural, and political systems are increasingly unstable and untenable. After the last 100 years of history with two world wars and a state of low-grade warfare going on almost continuously since then, it seems impossible for human beings to live together in a state of harmony among themselves or even on this planet.

In fact we seem to be at the end of an age. The overriding social characteristic is the increasing division in the world between the haves and the have-nots, the masters and the slaves, the controllers and the controlled. The power of the rich has never been so great. The weapons of mass destruction they monopolize have the power to destroy the earth many times over.

Teachings of peace, tolerance, charity, while always receiving lip service, lack efficacy and increasingly count for nothing. Organized religion is collapsing as a force capable of mitigating violence and exploitation.

The ones who rule are those who control banking, investment, and credit. The world is run by an international financial Mafia, one that has plunged billions of people and whole nations into unsustainable debt. They live off the fat of the land, skimming the cream of science and industry through usury on money they create out of thin air, using powers granted them by the politicians whose strings they pull. Among these are the political classes of all Western nations, most particularly the United States.

The controllers realize how tenuous stability has become. So they have embarked on a worldwide consolidation of power, using every tool available from the fields of electronic surveillance and social engineering to enhance their control. They know the current world population of almost seven billion cannot be allowed to continue. A large portion of the human herd must be culled, an action now underway. But this will not necessarily fend off a larger disaster.

It all makes so much sense, except that it completely leaves out human freedom, aspiration, and spirituality. In fact it leaves out God. What is happening is that the most materialistic segments of humanity are trying to create a fortress against Spirit in order to save themselves. Many of the controllers are the Zionists who run the banking system, own the armaments industry, control the world media, and aim to rule from their world capital of Jerusalem. They are the descendents of the ones who rejected God by rejecting Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. It was Jesus Christ who prophesized the end of the age and sought to prepare mankind for it.

But why so many people? Where have they come from? Why are so many crowded on this small planet at this particular point in time? Is it simply because of improved sanitation, farming methods, and survival of infants? Or is it because all the human souls from history have been allowed to incarnate to give them one final chance to develop themselves spiritually in order to move on to higher planes of being?

After all, every person alive has been exposed to teachings of spiritual development, not just from Christianity but from all other organized religions as well as spiritual teachings such as yoga that cross religious lines.

Why else have we seen in the past century so many enlightened teachings existing side by side with such organized political, financial, and military horror? Doesn’t it seem that each soul today is being tested? In fact each one of us perhaps is being given one last opportunity to attain enlightenment before the curtain comes down and the theater is closed for the season.

So what are we waiting for? Instead of fighting against the inevitable collapse shouldn’t we be coming together to work for enhancement of being? Shouldn’t the more conscious and spiritually minded of us be creating centers of light to prepare ourselves and each other for the coming darkness? Indeed some are. But are we doing enough?

Time is running out. Who knows, maybe there is only a year or two left before society collapses, the dark controllers set up their world dictatorship, world government, and world currency and do all they can to stamp out the last vestiges of spirituality on earth.

Because that is what is likely to happen. They have already killed many spiritual teachers and will continue to try to do the same, because the only way they can rule is to eliminate higher consciousness as a human hope. It is the controllers of society who are the real terrorists.

Yes, the microchips are coming. Whoever accepts one will wear the mark of the beast—by choice, because the conscience within will have cried out against it. Nuremburg established that no one is innocent because they were simply following orders. Far better to die than to submit. This applies to victims as well as perpetrators.

Yet God is not mocked. It is now that the “earth changes” which have been prophesied will manifest on an increasingly vast scale. The planet will cleanse itself. It has been prophesied, for instance, that as part of this cleansing New York and Connecticut will be under water.

Without a doubt, the United States will no longer exist, because no nation as heedless, violent, prurient, and materialistic as this has become can possibly make the cut. When the dust settles there may still be communities of human survivors in existence, but not many. These survivors will be spiritually-minded and will live close to the earth. But there will likely be no more human civilization as such for many centuries.

Time is up, humanity. We each have had our chance. Now we will find out what measure of truth we have imbibed and incorporated into our being during many lifetimes. The testing has come.

“La moneta di Satana”, il romanzo rivelatore di Cosimo Massaro

18/05/2010 - Manduria - Cultura: MANDURIA - “La moneta di Satana”, il romanzo rivelatore di Cosimo Massaro

Sarà presentato il 29 maggio presso la libreria Agorà di Manduria

Fortissimo entusiasmo e grandi attese per l'uscita del primo romanzo di Cosimo Massaro "La moneta di Satana" edito dalla casa editrice Tabula Fati di Chieti. Cosimo Massaro poliedrico artista di origini savesi, coniugato a Manduria, arredatore di professione, abile conoscitore di arti marziali e orientali, sensibilmente vicino alla cultura in tutte le sue sfumature (fa parte di Associazioni attive nel campo sociale) realizza finalmente il suo sogno, quello di scrivere un romanzo di contenuto socio-economico. La trama avvincente cattura ogni genere di lettore dal più curioso al più competente estimatore del romanzo thriller, tenendo tutti incollati alle pagine del libro fino alla fine del racconto. La storia è ambientata in luoghi oscuri, sinistri e ricchi di suspense, conferendo uno sfondo originale a tutta la narrazione.
Un noto giornalista della RAI, Enrico Costa, viene ritrovato ucciso nel suo appartamento. Le indagine del caso rivelano subito che la vittima risultava scomoda a grossi poteri massonici-mafiosi; egli infatti stava lavorando su una scottante inchiesta, affiancato nelle ricerche dal suo collaboratore e archeologo Alessandro Matus, uomo poliedrico, dinamico e grintoso. Sarà proprio quest'ultimo a far luce sulla colossale truffa conosciuta con il nome di Signoraggio. Egli spiegherà come un sistema diabolico sia stato ideato oltre trecento anni fa da una élite massonico-bancaria per soggiogare tutti i popoli del mondo, e che ancora oggi persiste.
Ambiguità contemporanee e arcani del recente passato fanno da sfondo a fughe rocambolesche, spettacolari inseguimenti e scottanti rivelazioni che rendono la trama avvincente e il finale entusiasmante. span>i>div>
Il romanzo è stato già presentato giovedì 13 maggio a Sant'Eusanio del Sangro (Chieti), per l'evento "Settimana contro l'usura" a cui l'autore ha partecipato come ospite.
Sabato 29 Maggio, invece, si terrà la presentazione ufficiale presso la libreria Agorà di Manduria alle ore 18.
L'evento, fortemente voluto dall'Associazione culturale SEFIRA di Manduria, vuole suscitare le coscienze popolari alla consapevolezza dell'artificioso sistema monetario attuale. La serata si avvarrà della presenza dello stesso autore e dell'avvocato Antonio Pimpini, relatore del recente convegno "Sete di giustizia", tenutosi il 7 marzo scorso presso la sede della provincia di Pescara, e il dibattito verterà sulle tematiche più salienti del romanzo, quali la perdita della sovranità monetaria da parte degli Stati, la supremazia delle banche centrali nei confronti dei popoli e il signoraggio bancario. Si analizzeranno la vita e l'opera dell'emerito prof. Giacinto Auriti, e le finalità della sua scuola monetaria sottolineando l'impegno profuso negli anni e le iniziative contro l'attuale sistema monetario (usurocratico).
L'Associazione SEFIRA invita la cittadinanza tutta.

Wall Street Reform Moves Forward

Wall Street Reform Moves Forward — Here’s What’s Going On

This post originally appeared on Open Left.

Concurrent with today’s primary action, Wall Street reform continues to move forward in the Senate. Here is the state of play:

Cloture filed, vote tomorrow
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has filed for cloture on the Wall Street reform bill. The vote will take place tomorrow.

If cloture does succeed, amendments and debate will continue for 30 hours
Even if cloture succeeds tomorrow, the final vote will take place on Thursday evening or Friday morning. Also, the debate and amendment process will continue. There will still be 30 hours of debate and amendments, possibly during an all-night session. The only difference is that the amendments must be ruled to be germane, which might cause problems for amendments such as the ones related to the oil spill, secret holds, and health insurance industry anti-trust exemption.

If cloture does not succeed, there will be a vote a day on it until it does succeed
If Republicans block the bill and cloture is not invoked, then Senate Democrats will employ the same tactics they successfully used to get the bill on the Senate floor: hold a vote on the bill every day, generating negative media coverage for Republicans, until they let it pass.

Corker expects “four or five” Republicans to support
FWIW, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker expects cloture to succeed, with four or five Republican votes:

At least four or five Republicans will break ranks with the GOP to support Democrats’ Wall Street reform bill, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday.
Corker, a key negotiator on the bill to overhaul U.S. financial regulations, said he would not be among those Republicans to support the overall legislation, which has been the subject of debate and amendments in the Senate this month.

“I think that we know that there are probably at least five Republicans who are going to vote for this bill,” Corker said during an appearance on CNBC. “I think we’ve seen that in the voting patterns.”

No matter what happens on cloture, amendments continuing today
Some amendment highlights today:

  1. The Senate will take up the Carper weakening amendment starting at 2:15 pm, eastern. This amendment strips the authority of state Attorneys General to enforce state laws against large financial instutions, and has some Demcoratic support. Zach Carter explains:

    Over the past decade, state regulators tried to crack down on subprime outrages, but federal regulators stepped in to protect the megabanks. If we want to establish a fair financial system, we have to empower states to take action against abusive banks.
    That’s what makes a new amendment from Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., so dangerous. Carper’s plan is to ban states from enforcing their own laws against big national banks like Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Bank of America. This is an overt attempt to take cops off the beat and allow banks to get away with outright abuses. While doing lipservice to “strong consumer protection,” Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., John Ensign, R-Nev., D-Mark Warner, D-Va., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Evan Bayh, D-Ind., have all gone to bat for America’s largest banks.

    This is the kind of amendment that can actually sink the bill if adopted. For years, federal bank regulators at the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) asserted broad powers to preempt state laws, and courts generally backed them. But in 2009, the Supreme Court reversed those decisions, giving states the ability to go after big banks through the court system. Carper’s amendment wouldn’t just institutionalize a destructive status quo-it would actively deregulate, further empowering banks to take advantage of the public.

    This is a very dangerous amendment. Read Zach’s whole piece for more.

  2. Cantwell joins Dorgan in threatening filibuster if her amendment does not receive a vote: Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who is looking to reinstate Glass-Steagall, has joined Byron Dorgan (D-ND) in threatening a filibuster if her amendment does not receive a vote:

    “Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has said he will filibuster the bill unless the Senate votes on his amendment banning a speculative financial instrument known as a “naked” credit default swap. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has done the same, saying she needs a vote on her amendment separating commercial and investment banking operations. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said any Democratic defections are a cause for concern.”

    Progressives are winning a lot of these strengthening amendments, so it would suck it Cantwell and Dorgan are not given their votes.

  3. Volcker rule whip count. Another key strengthening amendment is the Merkley Levin amendment to reinstate the Volcker rule. As a sign of of important this amendment is, opponents may make it face a 60-vote threshold, instead of the 50-vote threshold all but two amendments have faced thus far. Here is a whip count I have seen on the bill:
    • Democratic No (2): Hagan, WarnerWith two Democratic defections, three Republicans to reach the 60 vote threshold. One Republican defection has already been secured:
    • Republican Yes (1): LugarWhich means two of the following six potential votes are needed:
    • Republican Lean Yes (1): BrownRepublican Undecided (5): Collins, Snowe, Voinovich, Grassley, McCainAnd, even if we make up enough votes from the Republicans listed above, we have to hold these Democrats, especially the first two:
    • Democratic Leaning No (2): Klobuchar, Ben NelsonDemocratic Undecided (5): Lieberman, Gillibrand, Schumer, Carper, Byrd Democratic Leaning yes (1): Byah

    The keys are the six potential Republican votes undecided and the two Democrats leaning no. Four of eight Senators will be needed for passage. Even then, the vote would need to be held on a day when all Democrats are available for votes, and all Democratic undecideds would need to be secured. So, hopefully the vote will come on either Wednesday or Thursday, rather than today. Otherwise, it will be difficult to reach 60 votes on this one.

Debate and voting restarts at 2:15 pm. Watch it live on CSPAN2.

Where Did Wall St. Get the Attitude That It Deserved

Where Did Wall St. Get the Attitude That It Deserved to Rip Us Off?

Author Michael Lewis in his best-selling book takes us inside capitalism’s “doomsday machine,” and it’s your worst nightmare come true.

This article first appeared on TruthDig.

"For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different. There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well. Middle-income households made less in 2008 than they did in 1999. And the net worth of American households … has also declined compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s." --"Aughts Were a Lost Decade for U.S. Economy, Workers," Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2010


"Rep. Henry Waxman: You have been a staunch advocate for letting markets regulate themselves. Were you wrong?

"Alan Greenspan: Yes, I found a flaw in the model that I perceived that was the critical functioning structure of how the world works.

"Waxman: In other words you found that your view of the world, your ideology was not right.

"Greenspan: Precisely." --Testimony, House Oversight and Government Committee, Oct. 23, 2008


My cardiologist recently said I must either pay $50 to ask him a question about my potentially serious heart condition outside our annual exam or schedule an appointment so he could bill Medicare $50 for it. "Schedule an appointment just to ask you a 30-second question?" I asked incredulously (I live abroad part of the year). "Look," he exploded, "you love Medicare because you see your doctor for free! But when they talk about `cutting Medicare,' they're cutting us, the doctors! And if they cut payments to us, we are going to reduce services to you! I've got bills, kids to put through college! I'm not in this for my health, you know!"

While I appreciated his honesty (I'd hate to live under the illusion that he was in it for my health), what most struck me was the indignation in his voice. Medicare costs may be skyrocketing and must be controlled to preserve the system. But try to save it by partly reducing doctors' incomes? "How dare they!" was his clear attitude.

This attitude of entitlement comes across loud and clear in Michael Lewis' "The Big Short," whose greatest value is to bring us the insights of those who made hundreds of millions of dollars by betting against, i.e. going "short" on, the unsound subprime mortgage packages peddled by Wall Street titans and blessed by policymakers like then-Fed chief Alan Greenspan.

Lewis’ protagonists, among them Steve Eisman of FrontPoint Partners and Mike Burry of Scion Capital, a one-eyed doctor with Asperger’s syndrome, speak in wonder and disgust of the arrogance of those top Wall Streeters—from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns—who knowingly repackaged home loans made to thousands of people who could not afford to repay them, kept rating agencies like Moody’s in the dark about their shoddy content, and then resold them to institutional investors around the world after claiming that the rating agencies had certified them.

Eisman and Burry clearly understood the financial system better than the Alan Greenspans and Henry Paulsons who were supposed to regulate it. When they talk, the rest of us need to listen.

Lewis reports that Burry had been “the first investor to diagnose the disorder in the American financial system. Complicated financial stuff was being dreamed up for the sole purpose of lending money to people who could never repay it. ... To Michael Burry, the subprime mortgage market looked increasingly like a fraud.”

And this is what Eisman imagined saying to those who caused what Ben Bernanke has called “a cataclysm that could have rivaled or surpassed the Great Depression”:

“The upper classes in this country raped this country. You fucked people. You built a castle to rip people off. Not once in all these years have I come across a person inside a big Wall Street firm who was having a crisis of conscience. Nobody ever said ‘This is wrong’.”

To see long excerpts from “The Big Short,” click here.

It is difficult to disagree with this assessment, given that top Wall Street bankers enriched themselves while throwing millions out of work and homes, bankrupting municipalities and entire nations, and fleecing taxpayers for hundreds of billions in bailout funds. That they have then taken absurdly high bonuses, part of which they use for lobbyists and political contributions so as to gut any attempts to rein in their behavior, is properly seen as a declaration of class war against a majority of Americans.

But it is wrong to see the financial crash of 2008 as an isolated phenomenon of Wall Street rapacity. On the contrary. The mentality behind the financial crisis—that making money is the top priority, and that those who can may do whatever they wish to make more of it—permeates every corner of the top reaches of American society. And even if it can be argued that this attitude was tolerable while the U.S. economy was growing, it will clearly tear this society apart if we have now entered an era of prolonged economic stagnation or even decline. For if so, more for those at the top means less for everyone else—including cardiac care which can determine whether one lives or dies.

The basic fact that none of our leaders dare say aloud—from CEOs to economists to politicians—is that the U.S. private sector and capitalism itself have failed, as well as the government charged with controlling its worst excesses. Greenspan’s admission that free markets have failed was a stunning admission from its greatest proponent. But none—including conservatives calling for a return to the free market, President Barack Obama calling the CEO of Goldman Sachs—whose firm is being sued by the SEC—a “savvy businessman” whose $9 million bonus he does not “begrudge,” and a Congress dependent on Wall Street for campaign contributions— have been willing to even acknowledge the implications of Greenspan’s admission, let alone act on them.

How can anyone in his or her right mind trust today’s pronouncements by economists, CEOs or government leaders when they not only failed to foresee but often actively abetted the worst financial crash since the Depression? The frightening truth is that the U.S. economy today resembles a ghost ship sailing in the fog, the captain’s deck unoccupied, sustained only by its forward momentum and ability to keep bailing water by borrowing trillions and printing money in a desperate attempt to keep afloat.

But the real truths revealed by the 2008 financial crisis go far deeper than this Shakespearean epic of amoral and criminal Wall Street rapacity. The simple but frightening truth is that not only Wall Streeters but CEOs and government regulators are incompetent as well as greedy. They have become obstacles to economic growth as America enters a “late capitalist” phase in which the powerful prey upon the weak—including manipulating angry mobs of the uninformed—rather than producing new and healthy growth, e.g. a Clean Energy Economic Revolution, which is America’s major hope for a strong economic future.

Greed had been around a long time, certainly in America, from the era of the “robber barons” to tobacco companies and Ivan Boesky in postwar America. But what is new—and most alarming—about our present state of affairs is the confluence of greed and incompetence; lack of conscience and the hollowing out of U.S. industry; enormous political clout enjoyed by economic moguls who contribute little to the overall wealth of society; and a shockingly politicized and nonjudicial Supreme Court which has just strengthened the corporate stranglehold on our economy by allowing corporations to directly campaign for candidates.

The greed of 19th century robber barons was no less than that exhibited by today’s Wall Street leaders. But the former also built the railroads and created the oil and automobile industries that made America the world’s leading economic power (aided by America’s rich resource base, isolation from devastating European wars and massive government assistance). And, although it took strong government regulation of and aid to the private sector, enormous sacrifices by union workers, and massive public investment in infrastructure, a rising tide of economic wealth did indeed lift enough boats to create an enormous U.S. postwar middle class. Many of today’s CEOs, Wall Street barons and government leaders, by contrast, do not build. They destroy.

What is lacking in the books about the financial crisis of the last decade, including Lewis’, is a parallel examination of the gutting of the “real” economy—manufacturing, infrastructure and high tech—as America’s political, economic, financial and business leaders ignored or actively fostered America’s internal economic decay.

book cover

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

By Michael Lewis

W. W. Norton & Company, 266 pages

Buy the  book

During the 1980s, as research director for California Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Gary Hart’s think tank, and director of Rebuild America, I worked on economic policy with many of America’s top CEOs, manufacturing experts and economists. Rebuild’s advisory board included Intel co-founder Robert Noyce, current economic czar Larry Summers, Nobel laureates Robert Solow and Paul Krugman, Laura Tyson (later to chair the Council of Economic Advisers), Robert Reich (Bill Clinton’s future labor secretary), Boston Fed Chair George Hatsopoulos, and Ed Miller, president of an R&D consortium of America’s top manufacturers.

What most struck me were the contrasting opinions of the macroeconomists and many of America’s most successful high-tech CEOs, such as Intel’s Noyce and Andy Grove, National Semiconductor’s Charlie Sporck, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Hewlett-Packard’s David Packard, the latter two serving on the California Commission on Industrial Innovation, whose final report I authored.

Many high-tech leaders who actually made and built the industries that drove postwar U.S. economic growth were alarmed about the future of the U.S. economy as a whole. They called for national competitiveness strategies to maintain strong domestic industries rather than export U.S. plants and jobs abroad, emphasizing the need for low-cost capital and cooperative private-public efforts to buttress high-tech sectors targeted by the Japanese. These were not failing auto manufacturers but some of America’s most successful business leaders, and their advice needed to be taken seriously. It was not.

Numerous studies during this period debunked the canard that labor costs forced U.S. companies to locate abroad. Labor was only a modest portion of overall costs and often was offset by the advantages of having skilled workers and proximity to one’s market—as Japanese automakers demonstrated by building plants in the U.S. while U.S. automakers shifted production overseas. High-wage nations like Germany and those in Scandinavia demonstrated conclusively that it was possible to remain competitive while paying domestic workers relatively high salaries.

However, macroeconomists who knew little about the real economy, like Larry Summers, sneeringly dismissed such “micro” concerns, insisting that all that was needed was to reduce the budget deficit and get monetary policy right. Politicians, including those in Republican and Democratic White Houses, ignored or even actively opposed competitiveness strategies. Older industries, most conspicuously the auto industry, were consistently outmaneuvered by smarter and more efficient foreign competitors.

These 1980s seeds of economic decline began to grow into serious problems in the 1990s although an Internet bubble covered over America’s ongoing internal economic decay. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was absurdly deified, e.g. through the creation of a new school of “Rubinomics.” He made Summers his successor after his deputy led the fight to gut the Glass-Steagall Act, which divided commercial and investment banking, and to actively block regulation of shoddy Wall Street lending. Rubin then used Glass-Steagall’s collapse to enrich himself by forming the giant conglomerate Citigroup, the world’s largest until it collapsed and needed a $306 billion taxpayer bailout. Meanwhile, the Clinton administration further gutted America’s domestic industrial base by supporting NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, and standing by while China started to become an even greater industrial threat than Japan.

As director of Rebuild America I wrote in November 1988—in collaboration with Summers, Solow, Krugman, Reich, Tyson, Hatsopoulos, Lester Thurow, Pat Choate and Lawrence Chimerine—a white paper entitled “An `Investment Economics’ for the Year 2000.” We called for setting specific targets for investment in education, training, R&D, infrastructure and plant and equipment, e.g. that gross nonresidential fixed capital formation be 23 percent of GNP by the year 2000. Such thinking, however, was entirely ignored during the Clinton years.

The death of even more of our domestic industrials was ensured in the 2000s under George W. Bush as U.S. officials promoted exporting U.S. jobs abroad; Fed Chair Alan Greenspan—even more ridiculously deified than Rubin—supported the shoddy lending which led to the financial crisis; and the financial sector amassed 40 percent of overall corporate profits (up from a tiny percent when postwar American industry was actually growing and creating jobs).

The November 2008 financial crisis is thus properly understood not as an aberration but the logical culmination of 30 years of incompetence throughout every sector of the U.S. economy. Those involved in the financial crash, as Eisman explains, included:

—THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY: “The subprime mortgage loan was a cheat. You’re basically drawing them in by telling them, `You’re going to pay off all your other loans—your credit card debt, your auto loans—by taking this one loan. And look at the low rate!’ But that low rate isn’t the real rate. It’s a teaser rate.” Eisman also learned from the CEO of Golden West Financial Corp. that free checking “was just a tax on poor people—in the form of fines for overdrawing their checking accounts. ... That’s when I decided the system was really, `fuck the poor.’ ”

—THE FED: “Greenspan he viewed as almost beneath his contempt, which was saying something. `I think Alan Greenspan will go down as the worst chairman of the Federal Reserve in history. I’m convinced he knew what was happening in sub-prime and he ignored it, because the consumer getting screwed was not his problem. I sort of feel sorry for him because he’s a guy who is really smart and was basically wrong about everything.’ ”

—THE RATING FIRMS: “ `They’re underpaid. The smartest ones leave for Wall Street firms so they can help manipulate the companies they used to work for. There should be no greater thing you can do as an analyst than to be the Moody’s analyst. ... Instead, it’s the bottom! ...’ To judge from their behavior, all the rating agencies worried about was maximizing the number of deals they rated for Wall Street investment banks, and the fees they collected from them.”

—THE MEDIA: His assistant Danny Moses explained that “we turned off CNBC. It was very frustrating that they weren’t in touch with reality anymore. If something negative happened, they’d spin it positive. If something positive happened, they’d blow it out of proportion.”

Lewis sums up this saga of incompetence thusly:

“The people in a position to resolve the financial crisis were, of course, the very same people who had failed to foresee it. All shared a distinction: they had proven far less capable of grasping basic truths in the heart of the U.S. financial system than a one-eyed money manager with Asperger’s syndrome. … The world’s most powerful and most highly paid financiers had been entirely discredited; without government intervention every single one of them would have lost his job; and yet these same financiers were using the government to enrich themselves.”

book cover

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

By Michael Lewis

W. W. Norton & Company, 266 pages

Buy the  book

And as for the financiers, so too for much of the rest of the top tiers of the American economy. The key question now is how long it will take the general public to realize that most of the entire private sector has failed, and that entirely new arrangements are needed—featuring strict regulation, bank nationalization where appropriate, greater worker control, public members on corporate boards and a national economic strategy prioritizing the interests of workers and citizens.

The immediate prospects are not promising. The Supreme Court decision will help elect Republicans, whose policies of less regulation, less taxes on the wealthy, and less help for those in need will profoundly deepen the economic and social crisis. Voters and tea partyers mistakenly supporting demagogic Republicans who most threaten their incomes and jobs will grow even angrier, as will workers throughout the economy as their suffering becomes increasingly intolerable, leading to ugly class division, and possible violence and police measures to counter them.

The key question, however, is what will happen over the longer run. As even the most obtuse are finally forced to realize we can no longer rely on a failed private sector, there will be mass support for new approaches. America’s last private sector failure ushered in an era of government intervention, featuring job-creation and safety net programs financed by taxing the rich, and strict private sector regulation. Today’s economic stagnation could create mass support for an even more radical “New Deal,” especially since it will be exacerbated by the aging of the giant baby boom generation. As 77 million boomers—and their low-earning children who be unable to support them—find U.S. economic decline affecting not only their quality of life but how long they get to live, there will be unprecedented demands for an expanding safety net.

As discussed in Theodore Roszak’s “The Making of an Elder Culture,” [To see Fred Branfman’s Truthdig review of the Roszak book, click here] a baby-boom generation fighting not only for its own survival but a wider safety net for all those threatened by economic decline could create the only rational and humane alternative to today’s mess: European-style welfare-state policies ensuring that the pain of America’s inevitable decline is shared equally, so as to maintain social cohesion and avoid disintegration into warring camps.

Whatever happens, however, one thing is sure. Cardiologists—and overpaid Wall Street bankers and CEOs, and the politicians who do their bidding—can maintain their present way of life only at the expense of everyone else. How soon the public wakes up not only to what Eisman calls the “rape” of the American economy by Wall Street, but the gang rape perpetrated by so many more of our economic and political leaders, will determine not only Americans’ economic well-being but the future of democracy.

Lewis’ protagonists, among them Steve Eisman of FrontPoint Partners and Mike Burry of Scion Capital, a one-eyed doctor with Asperger’s syndrome, speak in wonder and disgust of the arrogance of those top Wall Streeters—from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns—who knowingly repackaged home loans made to thousands of people who could not afford to repay them, kept rating agencies like Moody’s in the dark about their shoddy content, and then resold them to institutional investors around the world after claiming that the rating agencies had certified them.

Eisman and Burry clearly understood the financial system better than the Alan Greenspans and Henry Paulsons who were supposed to regulate it. When they talk, the rest of us need to listen.

Lewis reports that Burry had been “the first investor to diagnose the disorder in the American financial system. Complicated financial stuff was being dreamed up for the sole purpose of lending money to people who could never repay it. ... To Michael Burry, the subprime mortgage market looked increasingly like a fraud.”

And this is what Eisman imagined saying to those who caused what Ben Bernanke has called “a cataclysm that could have rivaled or surpassed the Great Depression”:

“The upper classes in this country raped this country. You fucked people. You built a castle to rip people off. Not once in all these years have I come across a person inside a big Wall Street firm who was having a crisis of conscience. Nobody ever said ‘This is wrong’.”

It is difficult to disagree with this assessment, given that top Wall Street bankers enriched themselves while throwing millions out of work and homes, bankrupting municipalities and entire nations, and fleecing taxpayers for hundreds of billions in bailout funds. That they have then taken absurdly high bonuses, part of which they use for lobbyists and political contributions so as to gut any attempts to rein in their behavior, is properly seen as a declaration of class war against a majority of Americans.

But it is wrong to see the financial crash of 2008 as an isolated phenomenon of Wall Street rapacity. On the contrary. The mentality behind the financial crisis—that making money is the top priority, and that those who can may do whatever they wish to make more of it—permeates every corner of the top reaches of American society. And even if it can be argued that this attitude was tolerable while the U.S. economy was growing, it will clearly tear this society apart if we have now entered an era of prolonged economic stagnation or even decline. For if so, more for those at the top means less for everyone else—including cardiac care which can determine whether one lives or dies.

The basic fact that none of our leaders dare say aloud—from CEOs to economists to politicians—is that the U.S. private sector and capitalism itself have failed, as well as the government charged with controlling its worst excesses. Greenspan’s admission that free markets have failed was a stunning admission from its greatest proponent. But none—including conservatives calling for a return to the free market, President Barack Obama calling the CEO of Goldman Sachs—whose firm is being sued by the SEC—a “savvy businessman” whose $9 million bonus he does not “begrudge,” and a Congress dependent on Wall Street for campaign contributions— have been willing to even acknowledge the implications of Greenspan’s admission, let alone act on them.

How can anyone in his or her right mind trust today’s pronouncements by economists, CEOs or government leaders when they not only failed to foresee but often actively abetted the worst financial crash since the Depression? The frightening truth is that the U.S. economy today resembles a ghost ship sailing in the fog, the captain’s deck unoccupied, sustained only by its forward momentum and ability to keep bailing water by borrowing trillions and printing money in a desperate attempt to keep afloat.

But the real truths revealed by the 2008 financial crisis go far deeper than this Shakespearean epic of amoral and criminal Wall Street rapacity. The simple but frightening truth is that not only Wall Streeters but CEOs and government regulators are incompetent as well as greedy. They have become obstacles to economic growth as America enters a “late capitalist” phase in which the powerful prey upon the weak—including manipulating angry mobs of the uninformed—rather than producing new and healthy growth, e.g. a Clean Energy Economic Revolution, which is America’s major hope for a strong economic future.

Greed had been around a long time, certainly in America, from the era of the “robber barons” to tobacco companies and Ivan Boesky in postwar America. But what is new—and most alarming—about our present state of affairs is the confluence of greed and incompetence; lack of conscience and the hollowing out of U.S. industry; enormous political clout enjoyed by economic moguls who contribute little to the overall wealth of society; and a shockingly politicized and nonjudicial Supreme Court which has just strengthened the corporate stranglehold on our economy by allowing corporations to directly campaign for candidates.

The greed of 19th century robber barons was no less than that exhibited by today’s Wall Street leaders. But the former also built the railroads and created the oil and automobile industries that made America the world’s leading economic power (aided by America’s rich resource base, isolation from devastating European wars and massive government assistance). And, although it took strong government regulation of and aid to the private sector, enormous sacrifices by union workers, and massive public investment in infrastructure, a rising tide of economic wealth did indeed lift enough boats to create an enormous U.S. postwar middle class. Many of today’s CEOs, Wall Street barons and government leaders, by contrast, do not build. They destroy.

What is lacking in the books about the financial crisis of the last decade, including Lewis’, is a parallel examination of the gutting of the “real” economy—manufacturing, infrastructure and high tech—as America’s political, economic, financial and business leaders ignored or actively fostered America’s internal economic decay.

During the 1980s, as research director for California Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Gary Hart’s think tank, and director of Rebuild America, I worked on economic policy with many of America’s top CEOs, manufacturing experts and economists. Rebuild’s advisory board included Intel co-founder Robert Noyce, current economic czar Larry Summers, Nobel laureates Robert Solow and Paul Krugman, Laura Tyson (later to chair the Council of Economic Advisers), Robert Reich (Bill Clinton’s future labor secretary), Boston Fed Chair George Hatsopoulos, and Ed Miller, president of an R&D consortium of America’s top manufacturers.

What most struck me were the contrasting opinions of the macroeconomists and many of America’s most successful high-tech CEOs, such as Intel’s Noyce and Andy Grove, National Semiconductor’s Charlie Sporck, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Hewlett-Packard’s David Packard, the latter two serving on the California Commission on Industrial Innovation, whose final report I authored.

Many high-tech leaders who actually made and built the industries that drove postwar U.S. economic growth were alarmed about the future of the U.S. economy as a whole. They called for national competitiveness strategies to maintain strong domestic industries rather than export U.S. plants and jobs abroad, emphasizing the need for low-cost capital and cooperative private-public efforts to buttress high-tech sectors targeted by the Japanese. These were not failing auto manufacturers but some of America’s most successful business leaders, and their advice needed to be taken seriously. It was not.

Numerous studies during this period debunked the canard that labor costs forced U.S. companies to locate abroad. Labor was only a modest portion of overall costs and often was offset by the advantages of having skilled workers and proximity to one’s market—as Japanese automakers demonstrated by building plants in the U.S. while U.S. automakers shifted production overseas. High-wage nations like Germany and those in Scandinavia demonstrated conclusively that it was possible to remain competitive while paying domestic workers relatively high salaries.

However, macroeconomists who knew little about the real economy, like Larry Summers, sneeringly dismissed such “micro” concerns, insisting that all that was needed was to reduce the budget deficit and get monetary policy right. Politicians, including those in Republican and Democratic White Houses, ignored or even actively opposed competitiveness strategies. Older industries, most conspicuously the auto industry, were consistently outmaneuvered by smarter and more efficient foreign competitors.

These 1980s seeds of economic decline began to grow into serious problems in the 1990s although an Internet bubble covered over America’s ongoing internal economic decay. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was absurdly deified, e.g. through the creation of a new school of “Rubinomics.” He made Summers his successor after his deputy led the fight to gut the Glass-Steagall Act, which divided commercial and investment banking, and to actively block regulation of shoddy Wall Street lending. Rubin then used Glass-Steagall’s collapse to enrich himself by forming the giant conglomerate Citigroup, the world’s largest until it collapsed and needed a $306 billion taxpayer bailout. Meanwhile, the Clinton administration further gutted America’s domestic industrial base by supporting NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, and standing by while China started to become an even greater industrial threat than Japan.

As director of Rebuild America I wrote in November 1988—in collaboration with Summers, Solow, Krugman, Reich, Tyson, Hatsopoulos, Lester Thurow, Pat Choate and Lawrence Chimerine—a white paper entitled “An `Investment Economics’ for the Year 2000.” We called for setting specific targets for investment in education, training, R&D, infrastructure and plant and equipment, e.g. that gross nonresidential fixed capital formation be 23 percent of GNP by the year 2000. Such thinking, however, was entirely ignored during the Clinton years.

The death of even more of our domestic industrials was ensured in the 2000s under George W. Bush as U.S. officials promoted exporting U.S. jobs abroad; Fed Chair Alan Greenspan—even more ridiculously deified than Rubin—supported the shoddy lending which led to the financial crisis; and the financial sector amassed 40 percent of overall corporate profits (up from a tiny percent when postwar American industry was actually growing and creating jobs).

The November 2008 financial crisis is thus properly understood not as an aberration but the logical culmination of 30 years of incompetence throughout every sector of the U.S. economy. Those involved in the financial crash, as Eisman explains, included:

—THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY: “The subprime mortgage loan was a cheat. You’re basically drawing them in by telling them, `You’re going to pay off all your other loans—your credit card debt, your auto loans—by taking this one loan. And look at the low rate!’ But that low rate isn’t the real rate. It’s a teaser rate.” Eisman also learned from the CEO of Golden West Financial Corp. that free checking “was just a tax on poor people—in the form of fines for overdrawing their checking accounts. ... That’s when I decided the system was really, `fuck the poor.’ ”

—THE FED: “Greenspan he viewed as almost beneath his contempt, which was saying something. `I think Alan Greenspan will go down as the worst chairman of the Federal Reserve in history. I’m convinced he knew what was happening in sub-prime and he ignored it, because the consumer getting screwed was not his problem. I sort of feel sorry for him because he’s a guy who is really smart and was basically wrong about everything.’ ”

—THE RATING FIRMS: “ `They’re underpaid. The smartest ones leave for Wall Street firms so they can help manipulate the companies they used to work for. There should be no greater thing you can do as an analyst than to be the Moody’s analyst. ... Instead, it’s the bottom! ...’ To judge from their behavior, all the rating agencies worried about was maximizing the number of deals they rated for Wall Street investment banks, and the fees they collected from them.”

—THE MEDIA: His assistant Danny Moses explained that “we turned off CNBC. It was very frustrating that they weren’t in touch with reality anymore. If something negative happened, they’d spin it positive. If something positive happened, they’d blow it out of proportion.”

Lewis sums up this saga of incompetence thusly:

“The people in a position to resolve the financial crisis were, of course, the very same people who had failed to foresee it. All shared a distinction: they had proven far less capable of grasping basic truths in the heart of the U.S. financial system than a one-eyed money manager with Asperger’s syndrome. … The world’s most powerful and most highly paid financiers had been entirely discredited; without government intervention every single one of them would have lost his job; and yet these same financiers were using the government to enrich themselves.”

And as for the financiers, so too for much of the rest of the top tiers of the American economy. The key question now is how long it will take the general public to realize that most of the entire private sector has failed, and that entirely new arrangements are needed—featuring strict regulation, bank nationalization where appropriate, greater worker control, public members on corporate boards and a national economic strategy prioritizing the interests of workers and citizens.

The immediate prospects are not promising. The Supreme Court decision will help elect Republicans, whose policies of less regulation, less taxes on the wealthy, and less help for those in need will profoundly deepen the economic and social crisis. Voters and tea partyers mistakenly supporting demagogic Republicans who most threaten their incomes and jobs will grow even angrier, as will workers throughout the economy as their suffering becomes increasingly intolerable, leading to ugly class division, and possible violence and police measures to counter them.

The key question, however, is what will happen over the longer run. As even the most obtuse are finally forced to realize we can no longer rely on a failed private sector, there will be mass support for new approaches. America’s last private sector failure ushered in an era of government intervention, featuring job-creation and safety net programs financed by taxing the rich, and strict private sector regulation. Today’s economic stagnation could create mass support for an even more radical “New Deal,” especially since it will be exacerbated by the aging of the giant baby boom generation. As 77 million boomers—and their low-earning children who be unable to support them—find U.S. economic decline affecting not only their quality of life but how long they get to live, there will be unprecedented demands for an expanding safety net.

As discussed in Theodore Roszak’s “The Making of an Elder Culture,” [To see Fred Branfman’s Truthdig review of the Roszak book, click here] a baby-boom generation fighting not only for its own survival but a wider safety net for all those threatened by economic decline could create the only rational and humane alternative to today’s mess: European-style welfare-state policies ensuring that the pain of America’s inevitable decline is shared equally, so as to maintain social cohesion and avoid disintegration into warring camps.

Whatever happens, however, one thing is sure. Cardiologists—and overpaid Wall Street bankers and CEOs, and the politicians who do their bidding—can maintain their present way of life only at the expense of everyone else. How soon the public wakes up not only to what Eisman calls the “rape” of the American economy by Wall Street, but the gang rape perpetrated by so many more of our economic and political leaders, will determine not only Americans’ economic well-being but the future of democracy.

Fred Branfman, the editor of “Voices From the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War” (Harper & Row, 1972), exposed the U.S. secret air war in Laos while living there from 1967 to 1971 and went on to develop solar, educational and Information Age initiatives for California Gov. Jerry Brown and national policymakers.