Inside Job

In my previous post I vented my despair at the current political and economic situation of our nation. In an odd example of synchronicity, our weekly Netflix film of the evening expanded my pessimistic attitude detailed earlier in the day. My wife queues the list of films and Inside Job showed up in our mail. My despair trebled in intensity at the conclusion of the documentary. That pile of dung about which I wrote yesterday  grew deeper.

Matt Taibbi’s book, Griftopia, which I eagerly read last year, nailed the vexing problem that America faces: the shysters on Wall Street rolled the dice and lost our money and suffered not at all because of it. Charles Ferguson’s expose of the very same topic, aptly named Inside Job, comes to the same conclusion: the shysters won and The People lost and no one went to jail because of it.

How many black men are rotting in jail because they had some crack in their pocket? As if that ‘crime’ was more serious than bilking millions of our citizens out of their life’s savings, homes, and jobs. There’s the rub!  The Grand Hoax of white collar crime vs ghetto ‘crime.’ I wonder how much more ‘safe’ the citizens feel knowing that some man from the ghetto is locked up for smoking crack? By the way, how’s your 401K? Feel ‘safe?’

That’s the problem- the Grand Spoof that is being played out 24/7 here in the Land of the Free. Shysters in the Financial Services Industry impaled millions of our citizens through their wild and unconscionable greed,  having joy-rides on other people’s money. That in itself is unbelievable, yet the most egregious aspect of the entire scheme is that they are back at the same thing, having even received bonuses for their ‘work.’ And the lawmakers! Our congressmen! Nada.  Nothing. Many of them were themselves implicated in the Grand Ruse. They were all reelected. The only losers from this scheme were The People. Naturally.

Inside Job won an Academy Award earlier this year. That’s great, but which theaters are currently showing the film? Here’s a further bit of irony: in the film there is a statement belies reality.  Someone said of the film, ‘Wait until the public sees this expose’!’  OK. Sure.  As if anything will come of it.

That’s what fuels my pessimism. The People don’t know and even if they DID know, what are they supposed to do about it? We’re essentially a herd of mindless sheep following the trail of the barking dogs.

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11 thoughts on “Inside Job

  1. That just hit a nerve. It bugs the hell out of me what they get away with. The example I like to use is the bailout of a financial firm that turns around and gives out MILLIONS in bonuses. Their excuse: “They were promised those bonuses.”

    Give me an example of JUST ONE company in bankruptcy that still has to pay out bonuses. And isn’t it usually the fault of the bonus receiving managers who caused the bankruptcy in the first place?

    And I’m sorry if you just love your federal representative, but he’s not going to bite the campaign contributing hand that feeds him.

  2. The problem is that they control the media and pretty much the message. Even US Public Media is controlled through the “underwriting” process rather than direct commercials to provide a biased viewpoint (despite what the right asserts). Money runs the US through the golden rule:

    Those with the gold make the rules.

  3. M_R says below in a comment: “No, UTF, I’m not missing the forest. I’m tired of fighting losing battles. There are no heroes any longer and few people willing to take the risk of changing things. Corruption is everywhere and none more concentrated than in the political arena.

    In all due respect, my friend, it seems that you are. I’m trying to get rid of your “stupid thinking”, lol. It seems to me, M_R, that your immediate two posts and your comment under the previous, “dung”, post suggest that you are not seeing the “forest”. It seems to me that the forest is not “corruption”, or payola, or greed, or lack of a hero, or tax policy, or a
    foreign empire, or a patriot act, or a lack of voter interest, or cutting collective bargaining, or ethanol, or oil and gas subsidies, or nafta, or
    abortion, or social legislation, doma, or dadt, vouchers, you name it. I am suggesting that we have been fighting the battles and not the wars. Yes, we lose the battles, but the war or wars are still to be won. It seems to me that this is the re-focusing that we need to do. All these battles play into our wheelhouse, our argumentive strengths, namely, our comfort area. But, it’s the war(s) that we need to focus on now. Moreover, it seems to me if we do that we each have a new internal dynamic at play. A dynamic that can be more positive. Hell, if we keep stirring up all the muck, it can’t help depress and makes us “tired of losing.” It’s not time
    to “hang up that jock strap yet, my friend. We have been fighting the
    “windmills” and not emphasizing the “promise of American life.” And, this is exactly what the usurpers of the “American Dream” want us to do.
    They keep our eye off the ball as we 98 percenters fight the battles that they purposely put out there for us to consume our effort and time. They keep us from re-reading Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, the so-
    called “bible” of capitalism. But, is it that? We need to re-acquaint
    ourselves with Hobbes and Locke and Darwin. But, this is exactly what they don’t want us to do. There is the war(s), my friend. Listen, the facts of war can be as stimulating as the depression of all the lost battles.

    And, the media is of little help, you know. Let’s look at the three main
    newstories they are pulpagating today:, Afghanistan, the war
    powers act for Libya, and the marriage act in NY. A distant fourth
    is the looming debt ceiling crisis. Those are “battles’ the elites are
    throwing on us to hide their control of their exhaulted positions. What
    they are preventing to be done, is to show life for the 98 percenters.
    They are purposely not showing the plight and suffering of the 98
    percenters. They are not showing the unemployment of people over 50, they are not showing how enron and world com and the savings and loan scandal destroyed retirement of millions of Americans, they are not showing the corruption in Afghanistan or Iraq, they are not showing how the drought, the floods and tornados have impacted our agriculture.
    We, therefore, see no cause for action. Just harken back to 1965, as
    we witnessed the beating, the attack dogs, the fire hoses, the killings,
    the freedom riders. This was night after night, day after day as we ate
    our suppers on t v trays in front of the family television. Americans
    identified with that and Congress was “forced” to pass the civil rights acts and the voting rights laws. We don’t have that anymore because of the
    collusion of the elites with the media.

    Therefore, it should be the war(s) that we concentrate on, the forest, and
    not the many battles, the trees.

  4. Right on Laci….I had not seen your comment before making mine. Nice to have a fellow traveler, lol….

  5. QUERY : What was the most important vote the House of Representatives took last week (before going on another Vacation) ?

    A.) Rebuking the President over Libya operations.
    B.) Defunding of the Libya operations.
    C.) HR 1249 – The Patent Reform Act

    As you ponder that, may I recount what two members of the House said about Patent Reform legislation ? (note these are edited comments for space purposes)

    Representative #1 : “I rise in opposition to the rule.
    The CBO says the manager’s amendment to this bill, H.R. 1249, would significantly increase direct spending. According to the CBO, over a 10-year period, H.R. 1249 would incur significant new deficit spending.
    [SNIP]
    That’s a $1.1 billion increase in spending.
    [SNIP]
    We should not be going back on our promise to the American people to act responsibly.

    This bill will lay the foundation not only for weaker patent protection for American inventors but it will also knock the legs out from us finally being responsible in our spending patterns.
    [SNIP]
    And who’s going to be strengthened by this? Multinational corporations who don’t care about the United States.

    The Hoover Institution just did a major study showing that the patent bill demonstrably is a plus for large corporations who have created no jobs and hurts all the little guys and the small guys and the startups who have created all the jobs. This is an anti-jobs bill. It should be defeated.”

    = =

    Representative #2 : “The bill is unconstitutional. It will stifle American job creation; cripple American innovation; it throws out 220 years of patent protections for individual inventors; and it violates the CutGo rules, increasing our deficit by over $1 billion. This bill should never have been brought to the floor. Not only is it chock full of special interest legislation for large banks and a handful of corporate interests, what we are voting on today makes a mockery of the openness that the Republican leadership promised in legislative procedures. The bill has gone through a lot of iterations, without sunlight, since it was first reported out of committee. The Congressional Budget Office’s score on this latest version of the bill that just came out last night shows that it violates the CutGo rules. That’s right. It increases the deficit every year between now and 2021.

    Just last week, we couldn’t find enough money to provide hungry American children with food. But for some reason, the Republican leadership believes it’s appropriate to add hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to the taxpayers and more regulations at the Patent Office. That’s the non-partisan CBO’s number, by the way. Meanwhile, the bill takes away patent and intellectual property rights of individual inventors. [SNIP]
    The first-to-file patent system will lead the Federal Government to create commercial monopolies and more regulations–exactly what Jefferson, Madison, and other Founders opposed. As opposed to securing to first inventors their property rights, the bill will merely secure unreserved rights to the first to file a patent. The first one to run over to the Patent Office might get the patent. That is not what is enshrined in our Constitution. The authentic, first inventor must not be stripped of their rights.”

    ===

    Now, if you wanna know which members of Congress are beholden to the Chamber of Commerce and Big Business, then look at the Roll Call 491 (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll491.xml 491) in which 67 Republicans and 50 Democrats voted NO … the bill was approved.

    And by the way, the second Representative’s comments was from a Democrat, while the first Representative comments were from a Republican … the parties know that deficit is a major problem … yet 168 Republicans and 136 Democrats thought that the path to a better economy was to reform the Patent laws regardless of how much it will cost.

  6. Minnesota Central, i appreciate the work that you did for this comment.
    It brought an important issue which probably none of the rest of us new
    about. I wouldn’t have even known how to find the information.

    However, your comment is in line with what I have been trying to discuss
    with M_R concerning all the minutia that there is to bog us down.
    It just seems to me that we can fight all these various battles, but we
    will continue to lose the wars. If we focus on all these battles, and lose
    just as in this instance, we become disillusioned and may well say, “screw it”, and believe that it is better to keep our sanity for the
    few years that we have left, than constantly indure defeat after defeat,
    even by the people we vote for. I hear M_R saying that he is fed up
    with it as their is no hope for the future. And, that is precisely why I am
    writing that he, we, need to change our emphasis. We need to get out
    of the debilitating downer of progressive measure after measure being eliminated, watered down, or dying in committee. I would call these
    the facts of government, or of politics (or the trees) or the daily battles.
    I am thinking that maybe it is time to focus on the philosophy of
    government. We could have a lot of lively positive discussion around
    that and not be so up tight about this or that event. Hopefully, at this
    stage in life, we are more philosophically based than fact based. If we
    get the philosopy down, M_R and friends, that facts will fall into place.

  7. Matt Taibbi’s book, Griftopia, which I eagerly read last year, nailed the vexing problem that America faces: the shysters on Wall Street rolled the dice and lost our money and suffered not at all because of it. Charles Ferguson’s expose of the very same topic, aptly named Inside Job, comes to the same conclusion: the shysters won and The People lost and no one went to jail because of it.”

    OK, M_R, so you read and saw disturbing economic and political actions
    that have caused a lot of hurt, namely, the Great Recession. Stop
    chinning yourself on the curb and get away from these depressing
    battles, lol. They offer no solutions, they show no way out of the mess
    we are in. Of course, it is going to be depressing. What’s that old
    saying about doing the same thing and expecting different results? We have got to stop reading and watching that crap, as it prevents
    progressive thought. We need to accept the crap for what it is, per se,
    the road to no where, because it prevents thought about the body politic
    as a whole. Based on these facts (battles) you are right, we are not
    going to change the system. We need to get above these daily facts and
    into the “system”. That is where our adversaries are. They are above
    the daily political battles. We have to get into the philosophical and intellectual sphere. Our adversaries are in such “think tanks” like The
    Federalists, the Hudson Institute, the Hoover Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and many others. How about some good muckraking on the leaders and what they emphasize? Even the liberal Brookings.

    .

  8. We can all philosophize about this and give our opinions and conjectures but here’s real meat and potatoes effects of the Grand Shyster Scheme of 2008. I just talked to an old friend this evening who, at age 69, has to go back to work because she and her husband lost nearly all of their savings in that scheme and can no longer make ends meet!

    Her husband is deaf and crippled and can no longer work; he received no pension after he was laid-off from an engineering company in town. They have a severely handicapped [mental illness] son who has no health insurance and has been turned down twice when he [they] applied for SSI. Her career was with a Catholic school that, of course, provided no benefits after she retired.

    No musing or philosophy needed. The Wall Street Shysters and their asshole banking associates ruined their lives! Period.

  9. ‘The Wall Street Shysters and their asshole banking associates ruined their lives! Period.”

    They may be the immediate reason, but were they really the “first cause”? Something enabled them to do what they did. It is a philosophy that is the enabler. That is the problem….

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