Friday, August 14, 2009

Bush Era Financial Scandals Still Have Plenty Of Legs


Another absolutely direct legacy of Republican economic policies and conservative political ascendancy: so far this year 72 banks have failed, costing the taxpayers of this country $16.58 billion. But watch the shiny object over there making strange noises and drooling on herself. And the latest bank to fail, Alabama-based Colonial Bank, was raided last week and is being investigated for criminal accounting irregularities.

A friend sent me a blurb from yesterday's NY Post: "Harry Markopolos -- the whistleblower on Bernie Madoff who proved to be much smarter than the SEC -- says there are evildoers out there who will make the Ponzi scum "look like small-time." Markopolos gave a speech to 400 of the faithful at the Greek Orthodox Church in Southampton and predicted major scandals will soon be revealed about the unregulated, $600 trillion, credit-default swap market. 'To put it in simple terms, it is like buying fire insurance policies from five different insurance companies on your neighbor's house and then burning down the house,' he said."

I have no reason to believe that the criminal activities at Colonial Bank and the criminal activities Markopolos is describing in relation to the very shady credit-default swap market are related directly. How they are related, however, is by the excesses of purposefully unregulated, market-worshipping predatory capitalism foisted on society by... predatory capitalists via the media outlets and politicians they own (and the 'tards who get suckered in by the combination). As president of a division of AOLTimeWarner, I ran a large corporation. As part of the massive rip-off that was the Bush Era, the CEO and his cronies pillaged the company and absconded with as much as $6 billion, leaving the company, essentially, well down the road to failure and bankruptcy. It is an extremely convenient and self-serving tenet of conservatism that government can't do anything right. [Please see update below.] Government may indeed get things wrong-- especially government run by conservatives themselves, as the Cheney-Bush Regime just proved-- but government is not necessarily less competent than private industry. And the motivation of selfish and unbounded enrichment is not a tenet of government, the way it is of predatory capitalism.

Let me turn to the book I've quoted from so much this summer, Mike Lux's The Progressive Revolution:
The only big arguments remaining for conservatives are their old standbys, fear and the contention that government doesn't work, for which, ironically, their own failures provide the most powerful evidence. In fact, ever since the Katrina disaster, conservatives have said that what Katrina proves is that government is incompetent. They cynically use their own ineptitude to argue their philosophical point. When your most powerful argument is your own incompetence, you don't have a very strong hand.

One of the overarching themes in the teabagger demonstrations is that government can't get anything right. They are demonstrably wrong and simply mouthing propaganda from the self-serving corporatocracy. If you want to look for society's villains, regulators under Bush's conservative and purposely incompetent government may not have found Bernie Madoff stealing billions from investors, but it wasn't government stealing the billions. Like in the case of Colonial Bank unfettered greed is what has brought our economy to its knees, not Big Government.

UPDATE: Government Can't Do Anything Right

Have you ever argued with a dittohead or brother-in-law about this oft-repeated canard. This sweet refutation came in the mail this morning. Pass it along if you'd like:
This morning you were awoken by your alarm clock (powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy). You then took a shower (in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility). After that, you turned on the TV (to one of the FCC regulated channels) to see what the national weather service (of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) determined the weather was going to be like (using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). You watched this while eating your breakfast of (US Department of Agriculture inspected) cereal and taking your blood pressure medication (which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration).

At the appropriate time (as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory), you get into your (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved) automobile and set out to work (on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation), possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel (of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency), paying in cash (legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank). On the way out the door you deposit any mail you have to be sent out (via the US Postal Service) and drop the kids off at (public) school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work (thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), enjoying another two meals (which again do not kill you because of the USDA), you drive your (NHTSA) car back home (on the DOT roads), to your house (which has not burned down in your absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department).

You then log on to the internet (which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration) and post on, and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

The only reason government doesn't work is because conservative Republican administrations defunded and/or patronage staffed them with people with ties to special business interests: to wit the last FDA, Dept of Interior and Agriculture under Bush. No one seems to have a problem with pumping over $500Bil to the Defense Department, which last I heard is a socialized entity.

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At 7:13 PM, Blogger Lindy said...

They want it all. We don't matter, as long as we let them bleed us.

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One can only hope that Nazi Bastard Jeff Sessions had his slimy fingers in Colonial Bank...and it comes to light.

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever the fox is allowed to run the hen house, there will be a few hens this case all of our S.S. money has been stolen and the country's financial system is left in ruins.
But the, like minded, idiots cannot fathom such a catastrophe being caused by ideology (idocracy)and refuse to acknowledge this failure.


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