"Derivatives"--that' s the word of the day. I listened to all the new economics experts who are suddenly tumbling out of the woodwork on the most worthless place to get information, the commercial television channels. They are now experts on what's gone wrong with our economy. Where were they in the past? Why, writing columns of Wall Street praise for the respective newspapers they write for, and well, hey, most of the economic experts I heard on teevee this morning (another John McCain Sunday), yes, were journalists--pretending know-it-alls, like most journalists think of themselves--and their journalistic view was "gloomy" (and this was a Gloomy Sunday), but they weren't gloomy (Chaotic) enough for me.
Then tonight, after sleeping off a "pass out" that occurred after I overinvested in several shots of Michael Collins Irish Whiskey, a new Irish whiskey I had overinvested in at $35 a bottle, I accidentally discovered old Brother Bill "Preacher Boy" Moyers (Baptist ministerial student turned journalist)--his teevee show, The Reverend Bill Moyers's Journal--Bill's PBS-teevee blog--and suddenly out of the woodwork of Old Bill's show stepped old-time Neo-Connish rightwinger transformed Kevin Phillips. "MY GOSH," I thought, "it's old right-winger Kevin Phillips--from back in the days of 'Read My Lips' Pappy Bush and David 'Free Trade' Stockman." And that's who Brother Bill's guest was tonight, Kevin Phillips, and Brother Bill and Kevin then trotted out one of Kevin's books, Bad Money--and I'd totally forgotten about Kevin Phillips and I'd totally forgotten about Kevin's book Bad Money--I was busy looking for level heads like that of Robert Reno, who is an economist, yes, Janet Reno's brother, who used to write an economics column for the New York Post, before Rupert Murdoch turned The Post into surplus toilet paper or a substitute umbrella--a cheap 35-cent umbrella on a rainy New York City day. The Post before Murdoch was a Murray Kempton-edited "liberal" newspaper for leftie-leaning New Yorkers, and Robert Reno's columns were always on-target, intelligent, and between-the-lines satirical about the goings on in the nation's economy.
Now here sat old-timer Kevin Phillips answering Brother Bill's questions about "What is going on with this 700-billion-dollar bailout of our banks and Wall Street institutions, Kevin?"--and, I add, the bailout amount grows a hundred billion or so every time some government goon tries to explain why these bailouts are necessary--it started at 500 billion but became 700 billion when our faux president, Georgie Porgie Bush, said he was rushing to do something about it, which to him means driving us further into debt--GWB is the man who fucked us all up in the first place; yet, this bastard is gonna get away with it free and clear--just like the CEOs of all these failed "securities" companies and banks--CEOs who, by the way, are bailing out even under bankrupt conditions with millions and millions of dollars--the CEO of Lehman Brothers, for instance, is taking off in his private yacht for his private island with 475 million dollars in his saddle bags. That makes me want to revolt, doesn't it, you, too? It should make us all want to revolt. As Riley of The Life of Riley used to say, "What a revoltin' development this is!" And Kevin Phillips answered Brother Bill with sarcasm. Here's an excerpt from Kevin's book, Bad Money--it came out in April of 2008 in case you are wondering why the hell this book has attracted my eyes:
What’s securitization? some will ask. A pompous six-syllable word, to begin with, but also a humongous new business launched by Wall Street in the 1990s. To oversimplify somewhat, sophisticated financial institutions discovered gold in tying together five hundred or five thousand loans, mortgages, or whatever, and then selling fresh securities based and valued on the new assemblage. These securities, issued in pricey amounts, were cut into separate slices, or tranches (French, and suitably expensive sounding), according to degrees of risk. Sure, some of the slices had lower credit ratings, but risk could be spread out and the affected bits of patisserie sold more cheaply. In practice, however, there was less clarity and candor—sometimes considerably less. These ambitious financial organizations were not exactly the brokerages and First National Banks of our parents’ era. But that’s part of the staggering transformation, one of the greatest stories never really told. Between 1987 and 2007, debt—in all flavors, from credit card and mortgage to staid U.S. treasury and exotic Wall Street—became one of the nation’s largest, fastest-growing businesses. Over those two decades, so-called credit market debt roughly quadrupled from nearly $11 trillion to $48 trillion. This was abetted by a revolution in marketing, packaging, and propaganda—in reality, public debt wasn’t the big ballooner, private debt was. Without much publicity, the financial services sector—banks, broker-dealers, consumer finance, insurance, and mortgage finance— muscled past manufacturing in the 1990s to become the largest sector of the U.S. private economy. By 2004–6, financial services represented 20 to 21 percent of gross domestic product, manufacturing just 12 to 13 percent. And finance enjoyed an even bigger share of corporate profits. [This excerpt was copied from: www.bad-money.com/excerpt ]
As I heard a French economist say this morning, "If this had happened in France, the government wouldn't have bailed these businesses out; they would have arrested all the company officials and thrown them in jail." I don't know if this is true or not, I'm sure French bankers and investment businesses are just as crooked as US ones, but it sure seems the right thing to do in this case. Why aren't the officials of these institutions being carted off to jail?--I mean Bush eventually even gave up defending his old pal Kenny Boy Lay, a jake-leg economist, by the way, and let him slip-slide-away to prison where the Wrath of Khan got him and shot a proton torpedo into his crooked heart.
Allan Greenspan, too, that docile, senile, old fool; he could have stopped all of this, but, no, that old fool had power to rule under no regulatory or accountability oversite whatsoever--Allan Greenspan, a true economist fool, should be shipped off to prison with the rest of these smarter-than-the-average-bear crooks--I say, in fact, let's put Congress and the whole government into prison, too--and that includes Nutjob McCain and Barack Obama. Obama's top advisor is Robert Rubin who killed the Glass-Spiegel Bill that would have thrown a wedge into these bastards's "securitization" bullshit schemes--but, no, Robert Rubin (of Goldman-Sachs, also soon to go belly up, I'm sure--and guess where Treasury Sec'y Paulsen worked before Bush picked him for T Sec'y? If you said Goldman-Sachs, you are right) killed that bill and advised Clinton to bail out his securities and investment buddies if they got into trouble. How quickly we forget, but under Clinton, it was Rubin who advised Clinton to bail out the Mexican peso and thus save the Mexican economy--remember when the Mexican economy was collapsing and Bill Clinton bailed 'em out with big-buck bailouts--plus, it was Robert Rubin who helped the New Russia save it's own bucks from becoming worthless--and yet this fool is advising Barack Obama now. [One of the foreign banks Paulsen wants to bail out is USB, a Swiss Bank--and guess who works for USB? If you said Phil Gramm (once a McCain advisor and who McCain said would be his Sec'y of Treasury (and it's a treasure, too)), you were correct; Phil's wife once worked for Kenny Boy Lay and the amazing gaggle of crooked motherfuckers he called Enron. They are all in cahoots! They all know each other very personally--we are being robbed by the robbers--we have given these robbing sons of bitches the keys to the treasury--Paulsen wants dictatorial powers over this 700 billion-dollar bail out. Fuck him, I say; then put him in prison--and throw Robert Rubin in there with him--and Phil and Mrs. Gramm.]
Holy shit, we're doomed. And that's what Kevin Phillips says, not only in his book, but in person, too. Kevin, whatever you think of him, knows the Repugnicans--he was there during the Reagan years, during the Pappy Bush "Read-My-Lips" years--the David Stockman years--he knows; he knows neo-conservative theory, too--though I do know, like David Stockman, Kevin Phillips became more socialistically responsible sometime in the 90s--like when David Stockman finally came out and admitted, as did its inventor, the fool Milton Friedman (the U of Chicago wanted to name a building after Milton, a U-Chi grad, and the students and teachers protested it) that "trickle-down" economics had failed; Stockman said it didn't work, case closed. Oh, it worked alright, though, boyz. Yeah, it worked. It drove the dollar down, wrecked our economy, forced down wages and styles of life, cut out government bailouts for the people (oh, no, that's Socialism) in favor of the Government for Big Business by Big Business--and this, today, is the result of oh those many, many years of trying to bring this average-Joe country to its worshipful knees--these bastards, like Unka Dick Cheney, think they're gods--they demand worship or they chastise--and boy have these bastards chastised the hell out of us!
Of course most of our Congress are wealthy people--John McCain owns so many homes he can't remember how many, has 9 or ten private cars, prefers shoes costing $500-a-pair, and is worth 300 million bucks (thanks to his wife's beer-and-liquor-money inheritance)--so all of this shit ain't gonna hurt them one bit.
In the meantime, New Orleans sits still wrecked and needing a bailout; the Texas Gulf Coast needs billions of dollars of bailout money, too; the nation of Haiti, a majority of whose citizens live in the USA now, has been so devastated by Gustav and Ike (hurricanes, in case you've forgotten), some Haitian observers are saying there may soon no longer be a viable nation of Haiti--Haiti is ruined--its whole northern area, including its 4th largest city, Gonaives, is under waist-high water--the women wading in that polluted water are getting vaginal diseases (typhoid, for instance) because there vaginas are not protected by shields or creams against the pollutants in that foul water--plus, all the hospitals in those northern parts are ruined--the bridges that led into that area have all been washed away--the nation of Haiti has only ONE helicopter and is dependent on US and UN helicopters and boats in getting supplies into these flooded zones--there is flooding in the southern part of Haiti, too, though Port-au-Prince wasn't hit that bad, still even there they have no supplies, no food, and no water.
Gonaives, Haiti, under Ike's waters (Gonaives is the place where Haitian Independence was declared in 1804)
I have a genuine affection for Haiti. I lived there for three months back in the mid-70s. The poor people of Haiti are the nicest people--no, not the politicos or military types--I was there during Baby Doc's reign and heavily armed Tonton Macoutes were every few hundred feet all up and down the streets and roads and shit) and on the way up to my hotel in Petionville, on a mountain road, between Tonton Macoutes, I saw a little girl child, tiny back off the highway in some woods, and she was squatting over a small fire that had a tin can sitting in it--and then I acquired a cabdriver, Danny, and Danny took me all over the country just because he liked me and had lived in New York City, and Danny took me home and I met his family, and I fell for his sister, Nancee, and he took me to Cite Soleil, and I drank Presidente beers with him in a Cite Soleil bar under a huge poster of Dutty Boukman, the Haitian voodoo priest, and Danny looked up at that poster and he told me, "The white man hates Haitians because we fought and won our independence from Napoleon's best army and we got our independence through the divine inspiration of that man up there, Dutty Boukman--and Dutty held a voodoo ceremony at the Alligator Woods (Bois Caiman) and declared the slaves would overthrow our oppressors, the French. Haiti was established by French pirates and these pirates brought slaves from Guinea and Dahomey and we were treated, why, Wolf-man-friend, you wouldn't believe what the French did to my ancestors." "Why do you have a statue of Columbus in Port-au-Prince?" "I think the US Marines must have put that up when they ruled us back in your 1920s and 30s, our Year 100 and so forth. The white man hates it that blacks gained their independence through fierce fighting and the Father of our country, Toussaint L'ouverture, who lived in the USA while you were fighting for your independence and is said to have even fought on your side against the British." And I took a liking to Haiti's people, friendly, proud, poor as hell, though filled with smiles and laughter--living in what Albert Murray calls "the briarpatch," and though these Haitians are resilient like the rabbits that live in the briarpatches, still I felt how fatalistic that society was--the first time I was there with my wife way back in the 60s, they still had woodsy mountainsides. The second time I was there, living there in the 70s, those trees had been thinned out but were still lush around Port-au-Prince up to Petionville--soon, however, all those trees were cut down to make charcoal for China--and today Haiti has no forest covering, one reason it flooded so drastically and catastrophically. Can you imagine, Haitians in the northern area are going for 4 and 5 days without food or water--"Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink!" And if you get so thirsty you can't stand it, you drink the flood waters, and soon you are dead floating belly up in the water you sought salvation through.
I get carried away when I think of Haiti and the US's treatment of that Black Republic. Remember how ruthless Big Daddy Bill Clinton was toward the Haitians, jailing them in Guantanamo when they tried to float on innertube rafts across the Caribbean to come here, then putting a navy flotilla all around Hispaniola so Haitians couldn't get the rubber rafts past them--what an asshole Bill Clinton was and still is. I love Haiti but I haven't been back...and I've had opportunity to go back many times but I refused.
And to think, while Haitians are starving and thirsting to death, some fat-cat asshole is sailing off on his fucking yacht to go to his private island with 400-million-dollars of stolen money tucked safely away in an offshore bank account (thanks to Brit banks like Barclay's). Bush has offered a million or so in aid to Haiti--and the UN is there, but, still--I heard a Haitian say today that Haiti as a nation may not survive this hurricane season, which in case you all don't know it, lasts until the end of December, so Haitians are facing perhaps more hurricanes this year--one more hurricane of the magnitude of Ike and there may not be a Haiti anymore--maybe some corporation will buy it and name it after them, like we name our sports arenas after corporations now! Do corporations rule us? Rule us, hell, they OWN us.
This bailout is wrong. Case closed.
for The Daily Growler
In late August of 1791, Boukman conducted a ceremony at the Bois Caïman and prophesied that the slaves Jean François, Biassou, and Jeannot would be leaders of a slave revolt that would free the slaves of Saint-Domingue.
Soon after the uprising began, French authorities captured Boukman and executed him by beheading. The French then publicly displayed Boukman's head in an attempt to dispel the aura of invincibility that Boukman had cultivated. The attempt failed.Haitians honored Boukman by admitting him into the pantheon of loa (Vodou spirits)