Tag Archives | Financial Collapse

Are We Entering A New Age Of Feudalism?

Everything old is new again. Current makes note of the growing belief that, in the era of postindustrial perma-recession, our sociopolitical structures increasingly resemble those that were found in feudalist societies — a concept called neofeudalism:

Among the issues claimed to be associated with the idea of neofeudalism in contemporary society are class stratification, globalization, mass immigration/illegal immigration, open borders policies, multinational corporations, and “neo-corporatism.”

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How Ayn Rand Tanked The Economy

Screen-shot-2011-04-11-at-9.46.35-PM-e1302612380309Ayn Rand was a godawful writer, and in ironic fashion her philosophy failed disastrously in her personal life. Yet decades after her death, her work’s destructive influence has never been stronger. The Awl rips apart the “Objectivist” doctrine championed by Rand and one of her most adoring disciples, former Fed chief Alan Greenspan:

That pill-popping, boy-crazy nincompoop Ayn Rand has got a lot to answer for. Indeed, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that we owe at least part of the recent economic crisis to her and her philosophy of Objectivism, since former Fed chief Alan Greenspan was a lifelong disciple of both.

The two first met in the ’50s. Back then, a gang of acolytes, calling themselves the Collective, used to gather at Rand’s apartment on East 36th Street every Saturday night so they could tell each other how smart they all were. Along came Greenspan one evening, shy and somber.

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How The Banksters Got Away With The Biggest Rip-Off Ever

Plunder: The Crime of Our TimeHats off to Matt Taibbi for staying on the Wall Street crime beat, asking in his most recent report in Rolling Stone: “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?”

“Financial crooks,” he argues, “brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.”

True enough, but that’s only part of the story. The Daily Kos called his investigation a “depressing read” perhaps because it suggests that the Obama Administration is not doing what it should to reign in financial crime. Many of the lawyers he calls on to act come from big corporate law firms and buy into their worldview.

Kos should be more depressed by the failure of the progressive community to focus on these issues, and not pressing the government to do the right thing.

There is much more to this story. It’s also more about institutions than individuals, more about a captured system that enables and covers up crime and, then, deflects attention away from the deeper problem.… Read the rest

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The Sherriff Elizabeth Warren Rap Video

Mark Memmott for NPR:

Please allow us to mix a seriously serious subject — consumer protection — with a bit of fun.

As NPR’s Scott Horsley will report on All Things Considered today, President Obama is getting a lot of advice these days about whom he should name to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Actually, most of the advice is about whether he should or shouldn’t choose Elizabeth Warren, chair of the congressional panel that oversees the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

…The fun part of the story, though, is the “Elizabeth Warren rap video,” also known as Got A New Sheriff

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Hard Times

Aren’t job losses and foreclosures as important as a “Ground Zero Mosque” (that isn’t a mosque, hasn’t been built or even at ground zero)?

We know we live in hard times that are on the verge of getting harder with 500,000 new claims for unemployment last week, a recent record.

The stock market may be over for now as fear and panic drives small investors out. Big corporations hoard stashes of cash rather then hire workers. The D-Word (depression) is back in play.

Foreclosures are up, and the Administration’s programs to stop them are down, well below their stated goals, only helping 1/6th of those promised assistance.

And here’s a statistic for you: 300,000. That’s the number of foreclosure filings every month for the past 17 months. This year, 1.9 million homes will be lost, down from 2 million last year. Is that progress? In July alone, 92, 858 homes were repossessed.… Read the rest

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Countdown To Collapse: The Recovery Is Not Recovering

Financial journalist Charles Gasparino, whose career trajectory took him from Newsweek to CNBC to Fox News, was on with Bill O’ Reilly doing what the host of the factless Factor likes to do the most: promote Fox News.  In the course of their self-promotional banter, Gasparino let slip an unverifiable story about a meeting of top CEOs speculating about whether President Obama really is a secret socialist.

Stories like this, invented or not, freak a White House ever eager to reassure the business world of their loyalties. That is no doubt why Robert Gibbs, the President’s Press Secretary, took a whack at the “professional left,” a statement he later said had been “inartful” but did not withdraw.

Writing on OpEd News, Kevin Gosztola was not surprised:

“While circumstantial, the best evidence for why Gibbs would feel like uttering the aforementioned remarks is the shift of money from Wall Street to Republicans ahead of the election… The Democrats earned 57 percent of campaign contributions from securities and investment industries.

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On The Third Anniversary Of The Crash Of The Economy

We live in the United States of Amnesia and selective memory. As we debate the breaking news, we easily forget the sequence of events that broke the bank and left us broke.

Three years ago, when the idea of an Obama presidency was still a fantasy in polite company, a non-seismic financial earthquake began to rumble in ways we then could barely anticipate. Buildings didn’t fall as they did in Haiti’s nightmare, only a financial system. And, there are still piles of rubble everywhere here, too.

It was August 2007, and I was blogging about the coming economic collapse even as it appeared that our economy had nowhere to go but up.

What began with a few “incidents”–the collapse of New Century Financial, the demise of Bear Stearns–turned into a nonstop month-long drama of economic convulsion as fear turned into panic with calls for intervention. Slowly, like an apple being peeled, the truth got more apparent the closer you got to the core.… Read the rest

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Unemployment Is Worse Than We Know, The Recovery Challenge Harder Than We Think

As we move into the dog days of summer, and a coming Congressional recess, the Obama Administration has shifted its focus back on to the economy and wants to convince one and all that an economic recovery is just around the corner.

In recent speeches, the President warns that the Republicans, if they take over, will support policies that will usher in a new recession, as if the current recession is over. “They are the same policies, “ he said, ”that led us into this recession. They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward.”

He wants to push “distractions” like the Shirley Sherrod affair and the BP spill out of media view so we can all get back to the economy.

Wake me up when reality intrudes into a “debate” that is flawed on all sides.

The “signs” of recovery, so breathlessly trumpeted by the politicians who want it to be true, is not generating the new jobs we need.… Read the rest

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Lying And Spying: The Economy Is Sinking, Confidence Is Down Along With The Market – Is A Depression Coming?

FBI_logoThe FBI arrests 1200 Americans for mortgage fraud in the largest crackdown of its kind in history. There is no media focus on the companies that securitized and insured their toxic loans. This white-collar crime sweep is, at best, a one-day story with most of the reports carried by local outlets.

Clearly the FBI did not get the media punch it had hoped for. The issue of financial industry fraud did not even register on the media’s Richter scale.

Two weeks later, the FBI tried again, this time with an ill-timed, years in the making bust of 11 alleged Russian spies accused, so it seems, of impersonating Americans with no sign that they carried out successful espionage missions.

The story grew legs, in several senses, after it was discovered that one of the “spies” posted sexy pictures of herself on Facebook and other sites.

Ooo la-la: Predictably, she has now become the story; No one knows what to think about the FBI’s motives in pumping up this cold war like drama.… Read the rest

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