Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is the Global Financial Meltdown a Conspiracy?

I don’t necessarily think it is. It’s one thing to get this from Matt Taibbi (in his latest Rolling Stone column) and various “alternative” news sites. But this time it’s coming from Jim Jubak, the financial columnist for MSN. It’s a lot harder to dismiss him as just another tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy nut who hates capitalism.

He says Congress and Wall Street “want to pretend that the current global financial crisis… was an accident caused by some unfortunate confluence of greed and asleep-at-the-switch regulators.”

Instead, he says the current global catastrophe is “the result of a conscious, planned looting of the world economy. Its roots stretch back decades. And it wouldn't have been possible without the contrivances of the bought-and-paid-for folks who sit in Congress.”

For example, this past March 5th there was a “show trial” (Jubak’s wording) conducted by Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL). Their two “sacrificial victims” (his wording again) were the supervisor of insurance for New York State and the acting director of the Office of Thrift Supervision. Both of them were thoroughly reamed out for evading their regulatory responsibilities.

Jubak says: “By trotting out these sacrificial victims in this show trial, our representatives in Washington hope you won't ask the hard questions, the questions that show that they bear far more responsibility for this crisis and for the destruction of trillions of dollars in global assets than any state insurance commissioner or Washington bureaucrat.”

This is a long article but it’s well worth reading, since we all want to find out what the F#$%! happened so we can hopefully prevent it from happening again.

cross-posted at Bring It On!



Blogger Ricardo said...

Dodd is on thin ice here. Some say the ice has given way from under him. I don't think he's going to get elected for another term.

I call for a new law to be enacted: Perversion of Capitalism.

If you think about it, what got us into this was exactly that. Natually any system is going to get abused one way or another but you had the inmates running the asylum with deregulation and all. It wasn't to grow business, it was to do exactly what you are talking about here.

PERVERSION OF CAPITALISM!! I think I'll write something on this.

March 20, 2009 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: From the little I've known about Dodd, he's always seemed like he's more interested in grandstanding in front of the cameras than in actually solving problems. It looks like this is finally coming back to bite him now.

March 20, 2009 at 7:17 PM  
Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

That's a very worthwhile column, with some good insights. I especially like Jubak's conclusion the whole system should be torn down and done over. With many new people from outside Wall Street minding the store, I hope.

Everyone should realize, though, that if you've got people like Alan Greenspan, a true believer the markets would always self-regulate, in an oversight role, we're doomed to go from bubble to bubble and bust to bust, getting ripped off the whole way.

Jubak also underscores my point that we Americans pay a terrible price for not using public funds exclusively for political campaigns, and for not strictly limiting the length of campaigns.

March 20, 2009 at 7:25 PM  
Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

Re: Dodd. He's been a good senator on many issues and for many worthy causes over many years. Connecticut is chock-a-block with insurance, credit card and other financial interests. As I've said, legislators will watch out for the interests in their state. It's not just about getting campaign money, but also about jobs and their state's economy.

Given the committee Dodd chairs, his home state's interests and his inevitable record, he's vulnerable to getting black eyes all over the place in the current situation. I certainly can't prove he's clean as a whistle, but I don't believe he's thoroughly corrupt either.

What I do believe is that Republicans realize how vulnerable Dodd is and would dearly love to replace him with one of their own the first chance they get. Anyone care to bet on how lily white and pure that replacement would be after even one Senate term?

March 20, 2009 at 7:33 PM  
Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

Here's Robert Reich's take on this (not long) which is also well worth reading.

March 20, 2009 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

The only answer to the problem is public funding of the election process, so politicians can't be bought by criminals like this to create laws to look the other way while they loot our treasury so they can live like the kings they think they are.

March 21, 2009 at 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Bee said...

I'm torn. While the conspiracy theorist side of me (I believe the war on drugs was a war on black americans) says yeah, there's smoke here, and where there's smoke, there's fire...

My pragmatic side says "Don't give them that much credit, these f#!*ers aren't that smart."

I figure there might be a middle ground here. Maybe it started out as a conspiracy, then mushroomed into Frankenstein's Monster, took on a life of it's own, started rampaging with noone giving nary a thought in their Lexus-obsessed minds to the potential risks and consequences.

I dunno. We're all screwed, though, of that I'm pretty sure.

March 21, 2009 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Each time I see the word 'conspiracy,' I think of that Damon Wayans prison sketch from In Living Color. Funny shit.

Speaking of funny shit, 'prevent it from happening again.' I see you've been working on your standup material. Good luck, sir!

March 21, 2009 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: I'm also in favor of public financing of elections, and a time limit. Unfortunately, rightwing think tanks have the public so brainwashed, public campaign financing has about as much chance as "socialized medicine!" Maybe these 2 things will become a reality, but it'll be a slow process. There's a lot of mass unbrainwashing to do. (Sorry Lew, hope that isn't a copyright infringement :) )

Good post by Robert Reich.

Lew: That's an excellent idea. Unfortunately, as I was saying to SW, the public is too brainwashed to go for that. As soon as some rightwad yells out "government rationing of political speech!" or "food stamps for politicians!" -- millions of dumbfucks will snap to attention and go "DUUUHHH!!!" and that'll be the end of that. I've actually seen those two exact soundbites. Like the saying goes, you can't make this shit up.

Bee: I think you've got it. It probably started out as a conspiracy and then blew up in their faces. I also agree that those F%$#!s aren't very bright, and that we're all screwed.

Randal: Yup, my new standup routine oughta knock 'em dead.

Those In Living Color skits were a riot.

March 21, 2009 at 12:37 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

I'm not buying it. History tells me that greed will make people totally stupid, and it has already happened countless times. It is too easy to attribute to skullduggery what more than likely is just plain stupid greed rearing its ugly head again.

I have been absolutely stunned at the "go Galt" bullshit underway right now. Here we have a classic example of people so blinded by selfish greediness that they can't see that Rand was a great writer, but an absolute wack job when it comes to real world economics.

March 21, 2009 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: That "going Galt" movement is absurd. It's probably all talk anyway. I loved The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, but those two inspiring novels don't have any applicable solutions to this current crisis. That's like trying to reduce crime in the neighborhood by utilizing what you saw in Death Wish and Dirty Harry.

March 21, 2009 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Dodd is very narcissistic, he loves the attention but since things went well for so long, we kept electing him. Now that everything has gone to hell his weaknesses have really been exposed and is his undoing.

March 22, 2009 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: For being such a liberal state (supposedly), Connecticut isn't being represented too well with Dodd and Lieberman.

March 22, 2009 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

No we are not. We really are not so much liberal but old school republican. Back before they got in bed with the religious nut jobs and decided to intrude upon our lives with religious rhetoric. Think Gerald Ford. But instead we got Dodd and Joe.

March 23, 2009 at 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm not sure if there is a conspiracy or not but you exposed a government constant: Find a few suckers, roast them and declare the work done.

Like telling the country that if we convict Ollie North, we have solved Iran-Contra.

That if we throw John Gotti in jail we have broken organized crime and our streets are safe again.

If we really want to get the top guys in this mess, we have to go down many levels from that! the Fear factor of a destroyed economy and therefore longer unemployment etc., will scare us away. Nobody knows it that is what will truly happen, but no one (including me if it was my watch) wants to test it to see if it's true.

And before we rant and rave too much - the people have been just as afraid as the politicians to make the really tough decisions for fear of what the consequences will be. No matter how much everybody knew Bush lied, no one really wanted an impeachment which would have been a good decision!


March 29, 2009 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I guess the good old "scapegoat" approach works every time, at least in terms of public perception. It's so much easier than actually getting to the bottom of a problem and making a difficult decision.

March 29, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

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