Welcome Comrades: The Bailout of Big Business

Dear Friend and Reader,

Writing about American election politics in 2008 is making me more and more an aficionado of Spanish surrealistВ film directorВ Luis BuГ±uel.

Planet Waves
Film still from Un Chien AndalouВ (An Andalusian Dog),В a surrealist film from 1928 by Luis BuГ±uel.

It seems as though we are in a Dada universe, where logic has escapedВ and that lack is celebrated. Considered par for the course. If we put an eye inВ the martini glass and drink from it, would people notice that something is wrong? In this movie called America 2008, IВ guess not.

Observing theВ current economic climate and trying to connect the dots between job losses in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and around the country where people are losing homes,В the bailout of AIG by your American taxpayer dollars defies conventional logic, not just wisdom. It’s beginning to paintВ the absurdistВ picture of our American world in the era of regulation-free conservatismВ more clearly.

Around the blogs, I found these gems that so beautifully summarize our currentВ economic and politicalВ conditionВ in a Daily Kos post entitled В Long Live the New Union of Socialist Republicans:

Now that the People own a major insurance company, it’s fair to ask how the People’s Insurance Company, along with the People’s Mortgage Companies and the People’s Investment Banks, will benefit the People who Own them. Can we expect lower premiums, equity sharing and corporate perks for our hundreds of billions of dollars? Should we start checking our mailboxes for dividend checks? Who gets paid first: claimants, bondholders, stockholders, or we the new taxpayer owners? We the Owners, want to know, and the Union of Socialist Republicans better damn well tell us, fast.

The Total Bailout Bill=$900 billion.В Think about that for a minute. В

$900 billion dollars, racked-up before your very eyes. This at a time when the federal government is already bleeding money. В Note the following numbers from the Bureau of the Public Debt:

09/30/2007 $9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 $8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 $7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 $7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 $6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 $6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 $5,674,178,209,886.86

Currently the total outstanding debt = $9,634,090,464,815.55. And now, thanks to the geniuses in charge of the US government, we’ve got the following bills to addВ (emphasis in bold mine):

– $200 billion for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The deal puts the two housing finance firms under government control. В

– $300 billion for the Federal Housing Administration to refinance failing mortgages into new, reduced-principal loans with a federal guarantee, passed as part of a broad housing rescue bill.В

– $4 billion in grants to local communities to help them buy and repair homes abandoned due to mortgage foreclosures

– $85 billion loan for AIG which would give the Federal government a 79.9% (ownership)В stake and avoid a bankruptcy filing for the embattled insurer. AIG management will be dismissed. В

– At least $87 billion in repayments to JP Morgan Chase for providing financing to underpin trades with units of bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said over the weekend he was adamant that public funds not be used to rescue the firm. (In this instance, I suspect the government felt it untenable to bail out more thanВ one failed mega-financial business in one day, so they opted toВ do a pass-through using JP Morgan Chase-FB)В

– $29 billion in financing for JP Morgan Chase’s government-brokered buyout of Bear Stearns in March.В

All of the profits have been privatized. В Now the US taxpayer is responsible for all the losses.В В

So now, after years of taking advantage of the little guy, unregulated,В to make obscene profits from untenable housing loans and mortgages that were never realistic, theseВ corporations are going straight to the public trough to bail them out for screwing up while they were screwing us. We can muse that this is all very interesting and perhaps funny. But its unfortunateВ this is also the same government that we pay for with taxpayer dollarsВ that can’t seem to move very quickly when a natural disaster, not a financial one, takes place. As said before, this seems like a country whose government comes right out of a surrealist art film. Its priorities are absurd.

I thought for a moment The Onion made this next piece up, but its for realВ andВ falls under the category ofВ Cosmic Irony:В

In an interview with CNN this summer, (Lynn Forester de Rothschild)В did not hide her distaste for eventual Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

‘This is a hard decision for me personally because frankly I don’t like him,’ she said of Obama in an interview with CNN’s Joe Johns. ‘I feel like he is an elitist. I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him.’

Forester is a member of the DNC’s Democrats Abroad chapter and splits her time living in London and New York.

Forester is the CEO of EL Rothschild, a holding company with businesses around the world. She is married to international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

Any questions?
Yours & truly,
Fe Bongolan

10 thoughts on “Welcome Comrades: The Bailout of Big Business”

  1. Creatif, I had to laugh out loud at the your ‘no idea w/t/h that is…’ I know that my remarks often seem facile. We’re in a very new environment though, and I keep trying to cook up ways to *s*e*e* it holistically.

    We all seem to be incredibly tied in to our pattern-based fears, fear-based patterns. It’s the evolutionary path we have inherited – at least according to current paleoanthropological theory. So while everything within that model says we’re condemned to keep aggressing, keep fearing, keep ‘surviving,’ my experience tells me something very different.

    A couple of years ago I drove in to Houston during H. Rita, right on the heels of Katrina. We had a lifetime of art in an east-facing studio and I wasn’t about to see it destroyed. So I went against the flow, into the deserted and quite weird city, stayed for 24 hours, then slogged out. It was a big adventure – but *the* most important thing I saw and participated in was the level of openness that ordinary Joes and Janes had to their own highest, sweetest, most resourceful selves. I talked with hundreds of people on the way home. And these people were *stressed* but they were wide-awake, and looking to become more so. It was breath-taking, and it showed me something I was longing to see.

    We can do this. Just keep embodying what you know. People don’t have to take the long way home through this shift… *help them* – show exactly what you are.

  2. Mystes – I am very familiar with Candace’s work. Great stuff. But before they can get to her work, people have to have some level of self-awareness of their own connections within, (that they even exist), before they could even begin to comprehend it.

    I work with people whose inner connections are either blocked or worse, disconnected. Years of family nurturing, the emotionally suppressed way, followed by schooling, have seen to that.

    I am absolutely for freedom and fun. Many people have no idea what the hell that is.
    I am definitely ‘for’ them finding out.

  3. Responding to Creatif: >>Models and systems will force people into change – whether they want it or not. But it is unlikely to change their underlying beliefs. The psychology at the core.

    Literally at the Core of the heart/brain: our little friend Mr. H (for hypothalamus) and its cohort: feed, fight, flee, fuck . . . and now?

    Creatif: >>The desire and the �belief of a need’ for more, more, more money and possessions, for fuller lips and bigger breasts, for bigger better anything, for being bigger and better than anyone. The search for security out of insecurity. Driven by?…

    All driven to some extent by the gentle intracranial suffusion of various forms of adrenaline. Which, according to our gal in the NIH, Candace Pert, can be reconfigured *within* the actual brain/body system.

    Which is where the fifth “F” comes in. Hmmm… what starts with “F”? I flip open the dictionary to : Freedom. Oh, that’ll do… Though in less dire moments, I’ve simply called it ‘fun.’

    As I wrote over in Priya’s blog. . .

    Again and again I see this world вЂ?crisis’ as simply the tissue of lies ripping open. Of course it is going to be painful, but much less painful than the pressures involved in maintaining the lie. And here’s the thing: the very same energy that has gone into maintaining a certain appearance of normalcy to our blatant mischief – that *very* same energy – has a productive capacity that we cannot even begin to imagine until it is freed up a bit more.


    Just a thought: if you are having trouble with your G4s or G5 systems, you might want to start backing things up now. I woke up yesterday morning knowing how to fix my son’s old G3, did so and we now have several G3s running in this house to offset what has happened to our faster systems. There might be frequency issues with anything over a Gigohertz in speed. G3s are cheap, slow, don’t run much of any new applications, but for basic data shifting, can’t beat ’em.

  4. Janesdefense:

    As a person who has had to pay back taxes to the tune of $60k, I’ve had personal experience about living with a hideous financial wraith, the IRS, riding my back.

    In order to regain my life, I ended up using a portion of my mother’s modest legacy to me. What this means for my future is that I will be chained to a desk for much longer than I expected. But I am a lucky one because I had these options. I can only begin to imagine what it could be like when someone loses home, income and future with nothing to fall back on. Which makes the tenuousness of the market and the capriciousness of those who are handling our money all the more outrageous.

    I used comrades in the title, referring more to the corporate socialism that the Kos post by DarkSyde wrote about in “Long Live the New Union of Socialist Republicans”. The bitter irony of these events on the political side and the tragedy to the those of us at the low rungs who have lost jobs, income and security does not escape me. American taxpayers are getting “Enroned”. Big.

  5. James – beautifully put.

    If we’re lucky, economic models and systems might indeed change for the better as a result of all this – BUT what is the liklihood that it would be enough? Models and systems will force people into change – whether they want it or not. But it is unlikely to change their underlying beliefs. The psychology at the core. The desire and the ‘belief of a need’ for more, more, more money and possessions, for fuller lips and bigger breasts, for bigger better anything, for being bigger and better than anyone. The search for security out of insecurity. Driven by?… Well if you can go along with the notion that behaviour is emotionally driven, that fear is at the root of all negative behaviour, then intellectual concepts can only play a fraction of the role in change.
    At that point the corporations, bankers, government and the population are surely in the same tough spot – being human – and for many, simply trapped with and by their fears.

  6. This just in from Nancy Sommers at Starlight News:

    …”I do want to mention one thing though. I found that tertiary progressed Venus is conjunct tertiary progressed Saturn this month in the US chart, at 20 Capricorn. This week, Mercury,Venus, and Mars were at 20 Libra. By itself, this is probably not enough to have totally rattled the country due to financial woes, but on top of the ongoing Uranus energy – square US Mars this year and in the Spring Equinox chart – it seems to have been enough. It has added deep concern and anxiety into the mix, especially this week. From my calculations, it will be exact around September 25. So even with the Market up today, people are pretty freaked out.”

  7. It’s only dadaist if you are walking around under false assumptions, such as that corporations actually perform the tasks and present the benefits to people that they claim to; that government exists as a separate entity from corporate interest, and that somehow taxpayer money isn’t just a big swimming pool of available cash that the connected bathe in and suck down and wipe their velvety white behinds with.

    If you don’t pay your taxes you will go to jail. If you don’t pay every dollar they say you owe them for the privilege of being employed, then you can have everything you own taken from you. But, if they take the money and give it away to all their friends so that they can all continue to run the world, there’s nothing you and I can do about it is there?

    Do you remember Enron? This was basically a *fake corporation*. They swooped around pocketing billions of dollars from *whole countries* and they never had to pay a penny back to anybody. The little guy paid for that out of his 401k. Does anybody else wonder if Kenneth Lay is really dead?

    Twenty years ago there were retirement pensions. Then corporations got wise and told their employees that they would make it possible for them to invest their money like the big guys do, directly in the market. But fund managers and money people actually take our little fistfuls of change, roll them into haystacks of cash for themselves, and dump us. Student loans are a fee young people have to pay now to even enter the system, and the payments are a tax they’re going to have to pay for being employed.

    You see: It’s only dadaist if you operate under the assumption that this is a crisis and not a robbery.It’s like a Magic Eye picture. We are experiencing both the largest wealth transfer in history and clear evidence of the shift to a global aristocracy. In other words: a robbery. The rich waging war upon the poor.

    Howdy yourself, Comrade.

  8. infini:

    THANK YOU for the Stiglitz videos. He so very clearly distills the information and makes it accessible.

    In fact, I hope all you Planetwavers bring what you find out there in articles, interviews and quotes that can add to the discussion.

    The more we bring to this virtual kitchen table, the better!!!!

Leave a Comment