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Under the Thumb of Corporations

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Kevin Gosztola       (Page 1 of 5 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   6 comments

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How do you grapple with the Dow falling 500 points in one day? How do you comprehend the largest bankruptcy in American history? And how do you even begin to understand the implications of the Bank of America’s buyout of Merrill Lynch or the implications of the nationalization or quasi-socialization of banks as the government bails out banks whose board of directors conducted operations like gamblers at a casino?

Why not take a step back from it all and look at the idiosyncrasies of the situation?

In a segment on The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart, Stewart said, “Don’t worry. Lehman’s commercial real estate is insured by the massive American International Group better known as “Notorious A.I.G.”, which today nearly collapsed. Why? Because A.I.G. sought to solve their financial problems by lending money to themselves. Try that sometime.”

He went on to show a clip of Bush responding to the event and uttering with peaceful serenity, “Americans are concerned about the adjustments that are taking place in our financial markets.” And then he juxtaposed that insensitive remark with clips of the media wigging out in reaction to what happened on Wall Street. The media described what happened as, “blood on the floor”, “a financial tsunami”, “nightmare on Wall Street”, “the atomic bomb”, “a financial hurricane”, and “almost Armageddon.”

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This led Stewart to characterize the situation by saying: “The state of the American economy [lies] somewhere between the four horsemen riding steeds and wielding blades of fury over a charred hulls cape and something you get at your chiropractor. That’s your range, America! Go confidently and plan your financial future.”

Stewart demanded to hear an expert speak to the situation, and the Herman Munster-like Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson came forward. But first, Dana Perino had this introduction to give:

“Secretary Paulson has graciously given us some of his time today. He doesn’t have an endless supply of it so please keep that in mind.”

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In other words, thank you for coming, press, but Mr. Paulson really is not in the mood for your attempts to collect information that might help the public better understand the crisis our economy is experiencing.

After Perino warned the press, Paulson stepped up to speak and the first thing he said was, “Good afternoon everyone and I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend.”

Stewart commented on this saying, “[laughter] you’re bad at what you do. I hope [that] little joke distracted you from the fact that you’ve lost everything. Hey, here’s an economic indicator. The economy is so bad that the first thing the Treasury Secretary does is protect his own job.”

A clip came on with Paulson saying “the president has been a great boss” and “he’s been focused on the right thing” and “I strongly support his economic policies.”

As McCain would say, “The fundamentals are strong.” But, anybody who is reading this probably thinks otherwise. You might actually find yourself identifying with and praising a man who many Americans love to ridicule, shoo away, and ignore.

For those struggling to comprehend and understand fully (like myself) what took place on Wall Street this week, it only makes sense to me to use Ralph Nader's writing and rhetoric because it is a result of a mind that looks through a lens which rejects the two-party system. Since Democrats and Republicans bear a huge responsibility for what has happened, obviously, anything written or said by Nader because of this rejection will not leave out important details. Details that would be left out if you simply asked a Democrat or Republican to describe the situation will be mentioned.  And with Nader, you can always count on him to go straight to the core of the situation, address it, provide a solution, and explain why Democrats and Republicans will fail at implementing or working towards such a solution. 

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Ralph Nader, as Politico reports, “predicted this” and had been “writing about this “five, 10 years ago.”

Nader said, “Pure greed, coupled with concentrated power on Wall Street and elsewhere” brought about this mess.

Ralph Nader wrote a letter on July 23, 2008, to Senator Chris Dodd, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and Congressman Barney Frank, the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services. The letter suggested that the House and Senate “jointly hold hearings on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s ability to deal with potential bank failures in the next several years.”

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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