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All the Pretty Stolen Horses

The kind of scam represented by AIG and so many others was its own kind of Ponzi scheme, with an insulting little flip added. There were all these valuable horses kept in elite stables, out of reach of the smudgy masses who – well, what do the masses know about good horses, anyway?  It’s not in their world.  The guards who watch the barn doors were fired or bribed because – well gosh, if you can’t trust horse-thieves, who can you trust? Besides, it’s not like a lot of those horses could go very far.  The ranches were held among friends and fellow rustlers. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch had argued in the past that derivatives were valuable risk-management tools that skilled investors could use wisely without any intervention from federal regulators. Initiatives to regulate financial derivatives were held at bay during the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. If we would sleep through that, why awaken now? Goldman Sachs had said that its exposure to A.I.G.’s financial trouble was “immaterial.” CNBC has rebounded from its rebuke by America’s most trusted newsman so they hardly even remember Jon Stewart’s flailing of Jim Cramer, and are back in their job as carnival barkers, drawing in the marks. This is a class thing.  Some horse thieves had nearly perfected the deal since about 1980 when the class war was begun in blood.  High-level investments simply aren’t part of the rabble’s world or understanding.  This is at bottom a transfer of wealth from the many to the few, protected by the guards, congressmen, judges and other elected officials of the few – the few who are there to protect the interests of the opulent from the persistent hunger of the multitudes. When the horses inevitably got out, only the privileged set – and only the right members of them – could understand why obscene bonuses still had to be paid to those who let out the horses.  It’s just the way things worked — plus the necessary slap in the face for workers and others who scurry about, reminding them of where their place is, and isn’t – they mustn’t forget that. So of course the incompetent and complicit horse traders must be paid enormous bonuses by the masses – not for having done a good job, but because these are the rewards of being in, and faithfully serving, the right job and the right caste.  The ignorant thundering herd will get over it; they always do. And soon some of the owners of our grand media of distraction will be able to leverage another sensationalist diversion back onto the front pages, for the masses love them so.  Good grief, we have missed a chapter in the continuing sagas of Brad and Angelina, Chris and Rihanna, Apple’s next wave of iPhone hype, or how Hong Kong stocks have risen for five whole days now – so settle down, foolish workers, there isn’t really a problem after all.  Go back to sleep.  Everything will be fine.  Close your door so you aren’t awakened by the Brinks trucks all driving by in the same direction.  Daddy’s fellows are back in charge of the barns; you’re safe.  Just close your eyes.  It’ll all be fine.

Maybe Obama’s Serving a Different, and Bigger, Faith

President Obama has rattled some liberal critics by affirming his version of a link between state and religion.  He opens his public rallies with invocations that have been commissioned and vetted by his people, and set up an “Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships” as a 25-voice council.  These words from one of his […] Read More..

Stewart vs. Cramer’s Sponsors

The Jon Stewart-Jim Cramer battle was a heavyweight fight with what seemed like a clear winner.  In religious terms – which nobody used – it was about what we’re serving, whether gods or idols.  That’s really too simple, though.  It seems like a cloudier picture. Gods, as theologians define them, are those values and ideals […] Read More..

Saved by Our DNA

We need to start listening to better animal stories. The other day there was an article about a chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo who hoards stones and pebbles to throw at visitors, referred to as “ammunition” caches. And since we share over 98% of our DNA with chimps (I know people who share even more), […] Read More..

The Flying Saucers Aren’t Coming

What a show — the Republican Party and its operatives, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, staging righteous rants against All Things Obama. Limbaugh praying our President fails, and one of Glen Beck’s guests actually referring to the present administration as “a tyranny of incompetence”? And all this after the failures of a president destined to […] Read More..

The Hope That Might Save Us

So much hopeful rhetoric is flying around. Since Obama’s campaign, “the audacity of hope” has inflamed millions of Americans – not since the days of JKF, many say. To have a leader this bright, this charismatic, and with such an apparently strong moral center to boot. No wonder people are hopeful that maybe this one […] Read More..