Tag: depression

Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment

I used to think that Obama was, at the very least, a very intelligent human being.

Now I’m starting to wonder.

How smart is it when the people you listen to are all Goldman Sacks employees or ex-employees (which means future employees)?

Sure, if you’re at Goldman Sachs, things are just ROSY.

For everybody else?   Well, is he fucking BLIND?

US President Barack Obama defended his administration’s response to the economic crisis over the last six months, declaring: “The fire is now out.”

“I think that we have stepped back from the abyss. I think we’ve put out the fire,” he said in an interview with PBS, according to a transcript released by the TV station.

No, Obama, you’re either a liar or a bonehead (or both).  

The fire is most certainly not “out”.  It’s more like one of those coal seam fires in coal country, those fires that burn and smoulder for years and years, and nobody ever knows how to put the damn things out.   I mean, do you think we’re gonna go back to “home loans for all my friends!” and CDO’s and McMansions and Cadillac Escalades and cheap gas?  No, of course we’re not going to.  And you damn well know it.  The new economy has yet to be built.   You wasting billions, TRILLIONS of goddamn dollars by handing it over to your Goldman Sacks buddies and giving it to your Pentagon buddies so we can keep slaughtering our own troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and slaughtering civilians in distant countries, well that is one of the big reasons WHY we do not, and WILL NOT, have a “new economy” here.

And when your own Fed Reserve Chairman doesn’t even know where half a trillion dollars went, and who he fucking GAVE IT TO, well that doesn’t exactly bode well.

But, Barry, if you really want to go with the “fire is out” metaphor, fine.   But we’re on a ship.  And the fire is out.  But the ship is sinking.  

You’re like the captain of the Titanic saying “well at least we’re not smashing into that damn iceberg any more!  Things are looking up!”

Obama, you expect to have any credibility after this bullshit remark?

Well, you don’t.  Not any more.

You’re either a lying dumbass, or you think we’re all just fucking stupid.

Well we’re not.

We know when we’re being lied to, and you’re absolutely fucking lying to us right now.


Yes.  Breathing clean air, drinking clean water plus being in an enviornment with lower levels of electronic smog for two weeks is enough time to feel the effects of retoxification on returning home.  I plan to avoid TV news with a higher than usual state of vigilance just to see if I gain more piece of mind when we return to the woods for the second two weeks.

Tracking the Meltdown: Sweating the Small Stuff

The big economic news is all over the place-lately the truly dire unemployment figures which have administration officials suddenly hemming and hawing instead of bragging about “green shoots.”

But the unfolding depression is making its mark in a thousand pinpricks of pain as well. A newspaper that will flesh this point out a bit just rose to the top of one of the piles here at Casa FotM. It’s an issue from last month of The Millbrook Independent–a six page weekly whose masthead proclaims “Serving Millbrook and Stanfordville and the Greater Millbrook Region” in Dutchess County, New York.

Along with coverage of wetlands regulations and high school math scores were two articles that illuminated unexpected aspects of the crunch.

One, on the front page, plugged a new “state of the art” storage facility opening in a former bowling alley in Mabbetsville. It struck me as perhaps an unfortunate business to be starting in this climate, but the owner had a quote which led me to reconsider: “With the huge advent of home offices, people now need to store what was once in that room.”

Chinese official — “buy gold and American land”

To most people, it’s a recession, or even a depression.

To those with money, it’s a “buying opportunity”.  

For those who are financing the ridiculous debt this country is burying itself into, it might be a good time to cash out.

And by cashing out, I mean cashing out, as in getting out of cash and going for the hard stuff:  gold, and land.  And where better to buy the land, than in the country whose dollar is about to be utterly devalued, the good old United States of America.  

What a buying opportunity!

Chinese official urges buying of gold, U.S. land: report

Li Lianzhong, who is head of economics at the party’s policy research office, said the U.S. dollar is poised for a fall, making gold and land better investments for China’s $1.95 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, the report said.

Every day I gots da blues

BREAKING!!! The.Sky.Is.Falling.


Congressional Republicans on Sunday predicted a doomsday scenario of crushing debt and eventual federal bankruptcy if President Barack Obama’s massive spending blueprint wins passage.

Let’s see the “doomsday scenario,” which Republicans fear in a few years, is crushing debt and federal bankruptcy.

Hmm… …Wait a sec… …Oh.My.God… Doomsday is here already!!!

The Abyss

Economic freefall, environmental melt-down and political ponerology.


Come along for the ride. It’s free.

Mr. President: Tear Down this Banking System


Ooh, CNN is reporting Congress is about to get tough with AIG. This is like saying Baby Huey is going to get tough with his diaper pins.

Yeah, Congress, you remember them. Giving Kucinich and a few others a pass, almost 535 fellow citizens who give cowardice a good name in comparison to the craven, corrupt and gutless policies they pursue. Congress made up of used car salesmen with law degrees, is going to tax back $165 million of virtually worthless smackers from AIG for paying bonuses to managerial technocrats following the orders of free-range executives to maximize profits at all costs by filling regulatory loopholes (or caverns) with snake-oil chicanery.

Ooh. You better be scared AIG. Congress is coming! Ooh!

We the Bubble


“In the past few years, we’ve seen too much greed and too little fear; too much spending and not enough saving; too much borrowing and not enough worrying,” Summers said Friday in a speech to the Brookings Institution. “Today, however, our problem is exactly the opposite.”

Larry Summers – Idiot

Oh, the twists and turns of elite logic make for so much fun. Fun, that is, if there weren’t tent-cities rising like wild mushrooms along the decayed American landscape. If the fruits of the “ownership society” weren’t un-payable usurious debt, debauched currency and foreclosed houses full of slave-labor crap; the envy of first-worlders everywhere – never to mention the literally billions of human beings who live on less than a devalued dollar a day.

Let’s Look at the Numbers: Afghanistan edition

17000–that’s the main number folks have been talking about lately–the number of additional young men and women the US government is presently sending into harm’s way in Afghanistan.

$2,080,000,000–that’s one that caught my eye recently. It was in a NY Times article entitled “U.S. Plans Afghan Effort to Thwart Road Bombs.”

Actually you had to do a little math to come up with it. Thom Shanker reports that

the Pentagon is planning to buy 2,080 heavily armored vehicles that are more maneuverable than the 2,000 larger models in place. Each costs about $1 million. The more unwieldy version of the troop transport, known as a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, or M-RAP, has trouble negotiating Afghanistan’s rough terrain.

2080 vehicles at a million per (before cost overruns, of course) is over 2 billion dollars. For armored trucks. Because the 2000 the brass already bought won’t work in Afghanistan. And that’s just one small line item in the tab that is being run up for the expanded and prolonged occupation it sure looks like that poor country has in store.

I know 2 billion can seem like chicken feed when we read how much is being shoveled into AIG’s trick or treat bag, but this is a damn wake-up call. As each day brings new signs that the depression we are spiraling into will be long and ugly, we should think very carefully about how smart it is to pump billions and billions into trying to dominate the country they call The Graveyard of Empires.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Can Obama Save Capitalism?

Original article, and editorial, via Socialist Appeal (US):

The capitalist system may well be suffering the worst crisis in its history. According to George Soros, billionaire investor and frank analyst of the system he defends, the world financial system has in effect disintegrated and there is no possibility of a near-term resolution to the crisis. He believes that the turbulence is in fact worse than during the Great Depression and that the current crisis is equivalent to the collapse of the Soviet Union. As he recently told an audience at Columbia University: “[Capitalism] was placed on life support, and it’s still on life support. There’s no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom.”

Reject UAW sellout at Ford! Mobilize autoworkers to defend jobs and living standards!

Original article via socialistworker.org:

Auto workers across the US are voting on proposed changes to 2007 UAW-Ford contract, which attacks the jobs, wages and benefits of 42,000 current workers and 186,000 retirees and dependents. The ratification process is scheduled to be completed by March 9.The Socialist Equality Party is calling for a rejection of this betrayal by the UAW and the mobilization of auto workers industrially and politically. We encourage auto workers and supporters to download and distribute this statement as widely as possible.

Ford workers should reject the sellout agreement negotiated by the United Auto Workers union and fight to mobilize the strength of all autoworkers against the attack on jobs, living standards and working conditions.

The deal signed by the UAW, coming on the heels of the 2007 concessions, will destroy the achievements of decades of struggle.

The agreement will eliminate cost-of-living raises and the lump sum bonuses the union said would offset the wage freeze it accepted in the last contract.

The UAW also agreed to eliminate overtime payments after eight hours, reduce break time and cut two paid holidays. The Jobs Bank will end and supplemental unemployment benefits will be capped at one year, just as the auto companies embark on an unprecedented wave of plant closings and mass layoffs.

By allowing Ford to fund half of its retiree health care obligations with virtually worthless stock, the deal ensures that 186,000 retirees and their dependents will see their health benefits slashed and their premiums and co-pays raised by thousands of dollars.

Autoworkers are not responsible for the crisis in the auto industry. They had no power over the decisions of the corporate executives and Wall Street investors who sacrificed the long-term health of the industry in order to boost share values and amass staggering levels of personal wealth.

The working class is not responsible for the breakdown of the capitalist system, which has created the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s.

For the last three decades-starting with the 1980 Chrysler bailout-autoworkers have given up one concession after another, culminating in the 2007 contract which cut wages in half and eliminated employer-paid pensions for new-hires. Now, UAW members are to work for the same or even lower wages than non-union autoworkers at the US plants owned by Toyota and other international companies.

Once again the UAW bureaucracy is claiming that massive concessions are needed to “save jobs.” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger says that without the concessions, “Ford cannot survive on a long-term basis.” But none of the “job-saving” contracts signed by the UAW has stopped plant closings and mass layoffs. Since 1978 nearly three-quarters of a million autoworkers have lost their jobs. At Ford, the hourly workforce has shrunk from 174,000 to 42,000.

General Motors has already announced plans to wipe out another 47,000 jobs, including 21,000 hourly and salaried positions in the US, and close 14 plants in North America and Europe. Chrysler and Ford are preparing their own downsizing plans to meet the drastic decline in car sales.

The money robbed from workers in previous concessions contracts was not used to bolster the health of the industry, but to fund stock buy-backs and other measures to boost share value and funnel billions into the bank accounts of corporate executives and big investors.

All the talk about “shared sacrifices” by the auto executives is a fraud. Ford CEO Alan Mulally is to take a cut in his base salary that will leave him with the “modest” figure of $1.4 million-some 28 times the pay of Ford workers. In 2007, Mulally’s total compensation package, mostly from bonuses, stock and stock options, came to $21.6 million.

He and the rest of the top executives will eventually recoup their “sacrifices” by reaping vast profits from a “restructured” auto industry, having dumped their pension and health care obligations, driven out higher paid veteran employees and hired new workers at half the wages.

The new concessions will be used to establish a lower benchmark for the next round of concessions demanded by GM, Ford, Chrysler and other global corporations. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ford will be “free to seek additional concessions from the UAW if GM and Chrysler-which must secure concessions to comply with terms of their government bailout loans-get better deals or file for bankruptcy.”

The Obama administration is functioning on behalf of the most ruthless sections of finance capital, which see this crisis as an opportunity to fundamentally and permanently shift class relations in the US. They aim to put an end to the so-called “middle class worker” who attained a modicum of economic security-a home, a pension and a college education for their children. The attack on autoworkers will be widened to encompass the entire working class.

This is clear from the collection of Wall Street bankers and asset strippers Obama has selected for his auto task force. They include Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a key architect of the Wall Street bailout, and White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers, who was treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. Both have opposed all but token restrictions on banks that receive taxpayer bailout funds, and both lobbied against limits on bank executive pay that were included in the stimulus bill passed by Congress.

They will be advised by Steven Rattner, a mergers and acquisitions expert who runs a multi-billion-dollar private equity firm, and Ron Bloom, another Wall Street financier. Bloom helped protect the interests of the steelworkers’ union bureaucracy as it worked with various financial sharks to “save” the steel industry, leaving tens of thousands of workers without jobs or pensions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one scenario being considered is to drive the auto companies into Chapter 11 bankruptcy so they can sell off their profitable assets to big investors and dump their health care and pension obligations into the bankruptcy court.

At the same time, the White House is reserving the power to recall the government loans to GM and Chrysler and throw the companies into bankruptcy if workers carry out any strikes or walkouts.

The UAW is complicit in this attack. In exchange for its collaboration, the UAW will reportedly receive hundreds of millions of shares in common stock from Ford, making it the single largest shareholder in the company and qualifying the union bureaucracy for a seat on the board of directors. This will give the union a direct financial incentive to increase the exploitation of its own members.

The fact that the UAW is a union does not make it a workers’ organization. It has long since ceased defending the interests of the workers from whom it collects dues. For many years it has striven to reposition itself as a business enterprise so that the income and privileges of the union bureaucracy could be separated as much as possible from the fate of the workers it nominally represents.

Together with union-management corporatism, the UAW has promoted “Buy American” nationalism and anti-foreigner chauvinism to block any unified struggle with autoworkers in other countries, while demanding ever greater concessions in the name of making Detroit “competitive” with European and Asian automakers. The outcome of this policy is a fratricidal struggle pitting workers from different countries, states and even factories against each other.

Autoworkers must reject the blackmail being carried out by the auto bosses, the Obama administration and the UAW and launch a struggle to halt the destruction of their jobs and living standards. Such a struggle must be organized independently of the UAW through the setting up of committees of rank-and-file workers in the factories and of working people, youth and the unemployed in the communities.

A decisive stand by autoworkers will generate massive support from working people in the US and around the world, who are looking for a way to fight mass layoffs, home foreclosures and the continued bailout of the financial aristocracy.

Ford workers should launch a national strike and urge all workers at GM and Chrysler to join the fight, along with the tens of thousands of workers in the auto parts industry and non-union transplants. A special appeal should be made to workers in Canada, Latin America, Asia and Europe to join US workers in a common fight in defense of jobs and living standards.

This industrial fight must be guided by an entirely new political strategy and perspective. The crisis in auto is part and parcel of the failure of the capitalist system in the US and around the world. The only alternative that represents the interests of the working class is the fight for socialism.

This means mobilizing against the Obama administration and breaking decisively with the Democrats and Republicans-two parties of big business that are united in their efforts to make the working class pay for the crisis.

Workers need to be organized as an independent political force to advance their own solution to the crisis. The auto industry must be taken out of the hands of the corporate executives and financial speculators who have driven it into the ground, and transformed into a public utility, democratically owned and controlled by the working people themselves.

The trillions of dollars squandered on the Wall Street bankers must be recovered and used to retool the auto industry to build safe, affordable transportation, in cooperation with autoworkers around the world.

This is the socialist and internationalist perspective fought for by the Socialist Equality Party. We urge autoworkers looking for a way to fight the assault on jobs and living standards to take up the struggle for a socialist future and join the SEP.

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