In eight pages, Matt Taibbi explains what I've felt in my bones but couldn't articulate for months, mainly because I didn't have all the details spelled out for me until now.
I've had people tell me our government is a joke, a shill for the finance megacorporations which truly control us. I figured that just meant purchasing a few lobbyists, which I actually think is okay -- congresspeople can always choose to ignore them -- but now that I know the true scope of things (if Taibbi can be believed), I want to hide under my bed in the fetal position waiting for Armageddon.
Gordon Gecko, Wall Street: "The richest one percent of this country owns half our country's wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It's bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it."It's not just posturing, the governmental power which Wall Street owns is real. They install their own (e.g. Paulson, Geithner) in our government, in order for Wall Street to be 'regulated' by its palsy-walsy brethren, but I wasn't aware of the true powerlessness of our nation until now. And AIG didn't even have a CFO or Chief Risk-Assessment Officer during the worst of this shitstorm!
Truly, we are in the grip of the world's most frat-boyish gang of thugs:
The bonuses are a nice comic touch highlighting one of the more outrageous tangents of the bailout age, namely the fact that, even with the planet in flames, some members of the Wall Street class can't even get used to the tragedy of having to fly coach. "These people need their trips to Baja, their spa treatments, their hand jobs," says an official involved in the AIG bailout, a serious look on his face, apparently not even half-kidding. "They don't function well without them."None of this is terribly surprising, and I'm equally furious that we live in a civilization where this sort of thing is -- well, unsurprising. It's all like a "Simpsons" episode gone especially mad. I haven't been this angry since I last watched The Corporation.
Geithner is a joke.
The Treasury Dept., and specifically the Office of Thrift Supervision, is a joke.
The Glass-Steagall Act (the second one) is a joke, thanks to Senator Gramm, Representative Leach, and Representative Bliley. (Tangent: Gramm's wife was on the board of directors for Enron, but Leach supported legislation regarding the use of soy ink by the federal government -- plus he's pro-choice and in favor of stem cell research. How did someone like Leach get mixed up in all this?)
The Fed rules our world in order to benefit a few hundred financial assholes who own us, and they don't have to answer to anybody, least of all Congress.
Silly me! I actually believed that crap like 'voting' and 'paying taxes' meant something to the future of this republic!
This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite comic strips:
I need to go punch holes in some walls now, and then run through the streets shrieking about how soylent green is people. That, or I'll be getting some groceries at Trader Joe's; I'm far easier to soothe when I'm chock full of lunch and have a stocked fridge.
BASTARDS BASTARDS BASTARDS. AND THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO TO CHANGE THIS. Geithner will never chop up companies like AIG to make them more manageable. There will be no legislation passed with any real regulatory teeth. We're all either Gordon Gecko, or we're slaves to a system which is not built to help us.
INSERT FORMLESS SCREAM HERE.