Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream.
-Pink Floyd (sheep)
In the ongoing madness of an America in terminal decline, the great Surge II is now underway. This one has nothing to do with mass brainwashing that all is ell in Iraq and that we are indeed winning thanks to our shining medal festooned superstar quarterback otherwise known as General God (aka David Petraeus) to divert the flocks attention away from a doomed imperialist crusade. Nope, this one hits closer to home, it started last Monday with a sly piece of internal propaganda from Citigroup’s CEO Vikram Pandit having its best quarter since 2007 which triggered a sucker rally in the Wall Street casinos that dictate to the inhabitants of chumpland. The pocket media once again did their job, selling this latest call for the sheep to come and be sheared with all the effectiveness that they pimped the murderous lies of George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Things – ARE getting better you see, the gloom-gloomers, the glass is half-empty pessimists, the neurotic nervous nellies and the naysaying Eyores are all wrong, it’s a disease, in their heads, the economy is rocketing its way back to robustitude. The most incredible example of just how thoroughly corrupt that the corporatist media has become is the pernicious cover story of the latest edition of Newsweek magazine that has a picture of good ole Uncle Sam saying that he wants YOU to START SPENDING!... YOU need to INVEST in America – before it’s too late.
The Newsweek story, by Daniel Gross which inside is even more insidious in that it beats the reader over the head with STOP SAVING NOW! – in all caps and taking up the better part of page 27, page 26 is a picture of a squirrel (a cartoon representation of those greedy pigs who dare to save their own money rather than gamble in the Wall Street casinos who holding onto a backload of acorns has caused the branch of the tree to CRAK! This is corporate propaganda at its finest, even a cynic like me is astounded by the dastardly nature of this banker swill in one of the nation’s premier ‘news’ magazines.
The hum of ambient noise in midtown Manhattan is several decibels lower than it was a year ago. Fewer black Town Cars idle outside the investment-bank offices on Park Avenue. The aisles of the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue are so quiet you'd think you were in a library. The restaurants and shops at Rockefeller Center are open as usual, but they seem oddly depopulated. Where are all the tourists and office workers, the hordes of junior analysts lining up in Starbucks?
Something less tangible is also absent: the spirit of caffeinated, heedless risk taking. For a generation, risk has been the adrenaline of the nation's economy, the substance that made us all—from the denizens of midtown Manhattan to the residents of Manhattan, Kans.—run a little faster and stay up a little later. Now, with the economy in its 16th month of recession and the markets scythed in half, it seems we've all either switched to decaf or simply lost the taste for risk.
As consumers hibernate and investors hoard cash, the economy is withering. This new age of thrift is understandable. But for a recovery to take hold, Americans will need to start taking risks again.
Saving cash and building up reserves is a necessary first step to recovery. But eventually the mountain of cash has to be put to work. Last week's sharp market rally was certainly a sign—however fleeting it may turn out to be—that investors are putting money to work again. Retail sales in February provided another hint that purse strings may be loosening. But there's much more work to be done. Ironically, post-bubble periods are frequently great times to start new ventures. The best time to start a dotcom wasn't in 1999 when the IPO market was raging, it was in 2002, when the price of everything associated with the business—office space, programming talent—had plummeted. When Allied Corp. in the late 1980s didn't want to pursue the development of consumer products based on global-positioning-satellite technology, Gary Burrell left, raised $4 million and formed Garmin, which today employs about 7,000 people.
Great solution, just trust Wall Street with that money, think long term, be patriotic even if the malefactors of great wealth do not and are more than happy to wallow in international troughs and then come back to sh*t on America. Gross, a highly-paid, high profile stooge is just playing his part in the ongoing relaunch project to save Wall Street looters and protect their plunder. We have seen this story already, Americans with dollar signs in their eyes and cash register bells going off in their heads like some bizarre real life Uncle Scrooge cartoon, duped into thinking that they can actually become rich and powerful themselves just like The Donald line up to be fleeced by the flim-flam men with the political juice and insider knowledge as they seek to cash out one more time. Perhaps a final time before the country impoldes inward upon itself. All aided and abetted by the media, the Wall Street cadre occupying Barack Obama's White House, guys like Lawrence Summers and the conniving little twit Tim Geithner whose announcement as the new treasury secretary was greeted by a 6.5 % spike in the DOW, the crack-ho economy got a mainline spike into the arm and knew that the paper pusher inside the administration would ensure them that the game would go on and on. In the end of course, all has been enabled by the bewildered herd of sheeple themselves, brainwashed from birth into the bastardized capitalist system that is already drooling over being able to suck the blood from their grandchildren on account of their greed, stupidity and folly.
As a counter to the mainstream drivel that Gross and Newsweek are peddling as pearls of infinite wisdom I counter with an excerpt from a piece from his month’s Harpers. Infinite Debt by Thomas Georghegan discusses the ruinous and usurious effects of the debt based economy and its victims The same ones that Gross and his fellow pocket media hacks are now trying to swindle out of whatever little they may now have in their piggy banks having been badly burned by the existing system that has beggared them and cast them out of jobs and homes in addition to destroying their pensions and 401k retirement plans. From the Harper's piece (which I will be addressing at length in my coming post Usurious Bastards):
What is history, really, but a turf war between manufacturing, labor and the banks? In the United States, we shrank manufacturing. We got rid of labor. Now it’s just the banks.
Which is why the middle class is shrinking. Basically, we’re all waiters now; we’re bowing and scraping and working for the banks. Look closely at any American, and it’s even odds that he or she, directly or indirectly, is somehow employed by the “financial services sector,” which covers insurance and real estate and financial instruments of any kind. As brokers, lawyers, loan collectors, loan consolidators, secretaries at big investment firms, chauffeurs of private limousines, or even the high-tech types who exist solely to service banks — all of us, millions of us, are part of it, living off it in some way, as three generations ago we lived off manufacturers.
The game is rigged people, and the hit job done on America by the greedy pigs on Wall Street and their institutionalized system of debt slavery is all that is left, and STILL the banksters on the street and the gangsters in D.C. are doint everything that they can to continue to bleed the silly and naive masses of asses by doing all that is possible to get the debt/consumerism bubble reinflated. In a rare piece of sanity that slipped by the censors and minders of the memory hole a Reuters story, More debt: a curious solution to a credit crisis dared to utter the heresy that:
Indeed, a huge part of the Treasury's economic rescue plan is based on reviving securitization. This is the process by which everything from real estate and auto loans to credit cards and student debt gets repackaged into bonds and is then sold on to investors in a secondary market.
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