The Highway Robber State

James Bovard, September 24, 2008

The Night Watchman State has been replaced by Highway Robber States – governments in which no asset, no contract, no domain is safe from marauding bands of politicians. (from my Freedom in Chains, 1999)

If you voted in the congressional elections two years ago, were you ceding the right to the winners to give @ a trillion dollars to their Wall Street friends and donors?

Did any politician mention on the campaign trail in 2006 that a vote for them would be a vote for lavishing tax dollars on some of the richest wheeler-dealers in the nation?

Did any congressional candidate run on a platform of seizing tax dollars and using it to pay above-market prices for worthless assets for Wall Street’s benefit?

How in Hades can this bailout have any legitimacy within any notion of democracy that does not proclaim that citizens exist to be financially slaughtered for the good of whomever the rulers please?

Will Congress follow the same standard for the financial bailout that it used to approve Bush’s warring? If groveling and cheering worked for Congress rubberstamping policy in Iraq, why not assume it will also work great for Wall Street?




73 Responses to “The Highway Robber State”

  1. If the last two weeks’ events don’t finally convince the citizenry that they are ruled by a kleptoligarchy, nothing will. (Given the characteristic obtuseness of “the citizenry”, I’d bet on “nothing will.”)

  2. Greed is God

    The greed is god capital is looking lonely
    At least it’s fall and decay ain’t color coded
    but hey….
    Soup, hot dogs, and KD are movin quickly

    New walls are building
    while main street is decaying
    as Wall St has yet another fling on the public purse
    more bilk and baloney dubbed milk and honey
    as the cockroaches take over for the locusts

    The pigs get meatier and meatier
    and don’t even mind the lipstick licks
    as the wild Dow ticks spike from boom to doom to boom
    for the tough is better going for them licks
    and for fake profits and cheese are
    sure lookin good with the ‘least of these’
    as the big board replaces AIG with KD

    Who’s the big cheese?
    Chaching chaching
    me thinks is Colonel Klink or Paulson
    yes it’s Kleptocracy Klink
    The Paulson of Chaching

    Greed is God
    and God is Good
    and we thank you for our KD
    chaching chaching

  3. Exactly right James – the rampup of “donations” into an endless pit, is almost exactly the same as the war-spending increases. This “Bail-out”, not only SOLVES NOTHING, remember, that once they have dumped – at near premium prices, all of these worthless swap-bundles, they are NOT obligated to loan ONE THIN DIME for new morgages, etc. It is just total (maybe, if it passes) ROBBERY – which will only encourage more by upping the precedent!

  4. Exactly the common thread between this bailout and the war is FEAR.

    In both cases, polticians, media, and talking heads failed to build a thorough and objective Threat Assessment.

    Take a look at yesterday’s video on the PBS Newshour with economist Alan Meltzer. He’s a strong clear voice from the economics profession opposed to the bailout.

  5. Agreed, Mr.Bovard.
    This latest theft is so large that it cannot
    be covered up(if it mattered to do so.)
    If there remain any Americans who cling to
    the belief of limited government in the
    U.S. perhaps this will finally dispell
    that notion.
    It’s over. Turn out the lights.

  6. Why this bailout is just about outrageous as is the fact that “Liberty Jim” Bovard censors his blog. Kinda hard to take Jim seriously when he kvetches about Presidential excesses.

  7. Jim, how long have you hated America? If we don’t bail out Wall Street (some of the residents are down to their last billion!!! have a heart, man!!) then the terrorists will have won and We The People will no longer have the freedoms we’ve long enjoyed.

    Freedom to bail out corporate America being high on that list.

  8. The worst part of the bailout is that it may foment cynicism.

    And we can’t afford to have any more Americans lose faith in the system.

  9. I think one of the scariest parts of the bill is that it gives the unlimited unchecked authority to the treasury secretary.

    “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency,” the original draft of the proposed bill says.

    This is basically a financial patriot act. It’s just like after 9/11 push through a draconian law without the input of the people regardless of the consitution. Notice how they are saying thats it’s such an immediate emergency and if they don’t act right now it will be too late. It’s the same old garbage using a disaster to enact more fascism.

    Peace!

  10. Can there be any doubt that the US government is a government of the criminals, by the criminals, for the criminals and is the most successful criminal enterprise in the history of humankind? That would make a great billboard…probably too long for a bumper sticker.

  11. Check out the aforementioned website at jimbovard.com/blog/

  12. If you have a choice between dealing with the mob or dealing with the US government your better off with the mob. At least they have a code of honor.

    Peace!

  13. Call it “Economics of Mass Destruction”. Looks like the Bushling and his band are getting away with THE BIG LIE yet again.

  14. Who are you to snivel and cry about lost rights? You got plenty of brand new rights here in the United States. You have the right to pay taxes to finance an inhuman war machine that is busy slaughtering the innocent men, women, and children of Iraq and Afghanistan. You got the right to fork over your hard earned cash to a bunch of lying and thieving banksters so they can clean up their balance sheets and start the same criminal process all over again. You got the right to have your money debased (that is the money the government does not steal from you to finance its criminal wars and bail out its bankster buddies) by Bernarke and his buddies at the Fed.
    With brand new rights like these who needs those cruddy old rights like the right to a trial by a jury of your peers, the right to be secure in your own home from government thugs, or the right not to rot away in some black hole prison for the rest of your life because our glorious leader has labled you an enemy combatant. I am so proud to be an American! I am so proud of our troops who are so bravely bombing wedding parties in Afghanistan! And as to you traiters whining about your lost rights I only have one thing to say: AMERICA! LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!

  15. Contrast the responses of the United States and Japanese central banks to the oil shocks in 1973 to 1974 and in 1979 to 1980. Between 1973 and 1975 U.S. and Japanese money (currency plus checking deposits) rose by 10 percent and 29 percent, respectively, and consumer prices rose by 20 percent and 35 percent. In the 1979-81 period the relative positions reversed. The U.S. money stock increased by 14 percent and consumer prices rose 25 percent; in Japan money and prices rose by 5 percent and 13 percent, respectively. A lesson learned from these different approaches to the common experience, and the analyses of that experience, is that oil shocks can change the price level, but if money growth remains moderate, the surge in prices will be temporary and short-lived. In 1982, Japanese prices rose by 2.7 percent, and by the middle of the decade prices were stable.

    Alan Meltzer

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Alan Meltzer is a blithering idiot.

  16. And we got the right to pursue wars of aggression for Israel’s grandiose notions of “security”, as defined by raving lunatic Likudniks and neocons, no matter what it costs us in blood and treasure, and no matter what it does to the rest of the world.

  17. Don’t worry boyz, the Bushman is gonna tell us tonight that he’s got it all figured out and if ya don’t support his plan the ‘tard is gonna tell ya alot of scary stuff is gonna happen…like yer 401k gettin’ wiped out…

  18. One of of Congressman Kucinich’s few economic blindspots to this point has been supporting the nonsense of “windfall profits” taxes on US oil companies, which does absolutely no one, consumer or producer, any good, and benefits only the bureaucrats and the politicians who do the taxing.

    Today Kucinich announced an important change of position, toward nationalization, which I have been recommending right along:

    As you know, I was the first one to step up to challenge of the corrupt price gouging and market speculation of the oil companies by proposing a windfall profits tax, on oil and natural gas companies, with revenues put into tax credits for the purchase of fuel-efficient American-made cars. However, it may be that nationalization is the only way to put an end to the oil companies’ sharp practices….

    Dennis Kucinich [September 24, 2008]

    The point to nationalization is not punitive or moral or ideological, but strictly economic: to disattach, as much as possible, the price of oil on the global market from the US currency.

    In order to have any effect it also has to be done exactly right, or it will be as useless and counterproductive as assessing windfall profits taxes.

    Even done right, it will not solve the currency collapse but it will provide a needed breathing space perhaps for other measures to have an effect.

  19. Yesterday began an important demonstration by veterans in Washington that I am told has not got any play in the mainstream media (I have no television so I do not know that firsthand, but am relying on what I been told by others):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cemg4rAeRtA

  20. Haiku Plus Two For Taxes Due

    Engraved bullseye clown.

    Empty holster and count down.

    Buffalo bill blue.

    Lift off.

    [copyright EAC]

  21. We also have the “right” to give Israel four billions dollars a year. Each and every single year.

  22. … but only at your own risk. Jim won’t be responsible for any duplicity encountered.

  23. “AMERICA! LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!”

    Just in case someone does want to get out of Bushistan for a while:

    Employment: Needed/Offered
    Elementary Teacher Position
    Kunming International Academy is advertising a second grade self-contained teaching position to be filled at once for the duration of the school year. The teacher must have English as the native language and teaching credentials for elementary education. The teacher must be able to carry out the mission statement of the school. (Please be referred to the school�s website: http://www.kia-china.org.) If you are interested in this position, please e-mail the school at info@kia-china.org for further requirements and details.

    ———————————
    TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE:
    Local Training Company seeks dedicated FOREIGNERS to teach ENGLISH
    Wesley Foreign Language School is a well established training company in Kunming offering supplemental English training for students and adults going abroad.
    We currently have openings for committed English Speaking Foreigners to provide ENGLISH CLASSES for Kindergarten, Primary and Middle school students as well as adult training.
    CURRENTLY AVAILABLE:
    1) Kindergarten English Awareness Classes
    Monday � Friday 9:00 am to 11:30 am (5) 20 minute classes each day
    Dian Chi area (just 6 blocks from KIA)
    Compensation rate 100 RMB per teaching hour.
    For more information Call: CANDY Gu Office: (871) 363-2896 Cell 1388-872-4728
    Or Doug Butler Cell – 1357-702-4550
    Wesley Foreign Language School
    A/9, Building C2, Century Plaza, 88 Nanping Street, Kunming 650011

    *************************************************

    Note that International Schools pay western scale salaries, but expect you to have real credentials and to put in 40 hour weeks. Chinese schools pay Chinese middle class level salaries, and provide housing. You need to get a passport, and negotiate with the school to arrange a Z visa, permission to live and work for a year.

    Kunming has perhaps the most pleasant climate in the world, the food is good and the people are quite pleasant. No violent crime to speak of.

    Lester Ness

  24. Extrapolate. Monetary economists have maintained that given a static money supply, spending increases in one sector entail spending decreases in others, thus overall inflation cannot be sustained.

  25. Why is George Hoover Bush getting off so lightly in this current mess? If Reagan was the Teflon president, Bush must be the greased Teflon pig president. I’ve yet to see a single finger pointed at Bush, rightly or wrongly, despite his eight years in the White House and Republican control of Congress for six.

    We do have the neocon quarter-wits such as Crusty Pumpernickel on his radio talk show blaming…you guessed it, Clinton. Crusty must forget that Glass-Steagall was overthrown by a GOP congress and that the mortgage industry went down the toilet not because of forced, shaky loans to the indigent, but because of greedy home buyers and banks. They anticipated skyrocketing house prices indefinitely.

    It even looks like Bush will largely escape the tar brush of Iraq and Afghanistan to boot. No wonder Kant thought there necessarily had to be an afterlife in order for justice to be done. It sure as hell won’t be done here.

  26. Great compilation of articles on why the bailout is stupid and harmful:

    http://devvy.net/pdf/sept08/compilation_092408.pdf

  27. The Moron in Charge says we need to bail out the bankers, stuck with bad loans, so that the bankers can feel solvent enough to lend back into the American economy and keep prosperity going. What a naive assumption. Who else expects those speculators, who are about to be bailed out, to turn around and put their rescued money back into the American economy. Everyone has figured out that the whole American economy is a house of cards built upon debt. So, the rescued “operators” will breath a sigh of relief and find a safe haven for their money, probably overseas or certainly away from any risk. First rats off the ship and packing their loot with them.

  28. ???
    Still, it makes more sense than a John Lowell post

  29. This financial bonfire is our Reichtag fire, and our real Fuhrer, Paulson, is requesting emergency dictatorial powers to save the nation from nonexistent, unbridled capitalism. Everyone who expected an October surprise believed that it would involve an attack on Iran. Little did we expect an all out assault on our wallets.

  30. I watched this video several times trying to get a simple translation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SFz6AsUUrQ

    It seems to come down to this:

    “We need to borrow $700 billion from private banks against the taxes you will pay to the Federal Government to give it to banks and others so that they can balance their books and continue to lend you money in the form of credit and loans at interest, thus creating jobs and keeping the economy going so that you can pay Federal Taxes to pay the private banks that lent money to the Federal Government to give it to banks and others so that they can balance their books and continue to lend you money in the form of credit and loans at interest, thus creating jobs and keeping the economy going to that you can pay Federal taxes to pay the private banks that lent money….etc. etc, etc.”

    This is a satori of sorts.

  31. Bush Tzu

    Empty mind talking,

    the unhindered idiot econocosmic.

    Bingo!

    Moses

    in simple prose and neocons

    lets cat out of bag.

    [copyright EAC]

  32. With so many people burdened huge credit cards debits and large medical bills ,thanks to congress these people can not declare bunkraptcy or write off their debits,losing their homes,and predatory collection agancies hrassing and threathining them.But they are constantlly told they have to pay for their mistakes nor expect any hand out by the same elites taht flecing these poor souls!

  33. Lear,

    One tactic which ought to be considered if these swine are bailed out would be an organized mass default on credit card debt. No one is likely to give you any more credit anyway, so why not recover what the government is going to permit them to steal from you in tax dollars by taking it out from the other side. No sense in paying these reptiles twice.

  34. @John Lowell

    Good point.
    All you have to lose is your credit rating and who gives a flip about that anymore?

    When the collectors call, refer them to the dept. of the Treasury.

  35. Because of the extreme nature of our plight, the Bush administration put out a distress call to all our allies asking them to stand with us in bailing out Wall Street. The response was disappointing. Kuwait, Dubai, and the other emirates sitting on a trillion dollars said they had other plans for the money. The Chinese are too busy developing their own country. The French went back to their old habits of sneering at our problems stating they had no intention of getting involved. Russia said “are you serious?”. Probably can’t report publically what Venezuela said. Our true allies (like the Japanese) view this all as an opportunity to do a little bottom fishing.
    Funny how what goes around, comes around. I guess if no-one is for us, they all must be against us. Bush’s finale – like the sick joke about a magician holding up a dead rabbit, “And now for my next trick…”.

  36. The Cheney-Bush administration in its last days, wants to take something away to remember its days in power, by. According to their logic why should the most ‘enlightened’ people in the world, inventors of ‘creating’ one ‘reality’ after another, always have to suck up to the rich to fund their ‘realities’? 700 billion dollars without any oversight whatsoever, will relieve them of that burden and can easily be used for establishing future administrations, as ‘real’ as the George W. Bush one. The honesty in the neocon wishes is striking. They want to rule America forever, and they do not shy away from asking the American congress to pay for it. And there is no doubt that the American congress will go ahead and accept their demands. After all, it is the American congress. And it is not a lot of money by American standards. In a country where a lousy singer like Madonna is worth 800 million dollars, why should not the neocons have 700 billions at their disposal?

  37. alas poor chumpy
    we picked thy carcass
    clean

  38. It is significant that you mention the Japanese.

    One recalls some of the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army, like Hiroo Onoda and Nakamura Teruo (a native Formosan), who fought on, isolated and single-handedly, until the 1970′s.

    On the chance that there are other members of the Japanese Imperial Army still fighting World War II, I suggest that the United States Congress appropriate at least a hundred million dollars to resume the search for any remaining Imperial Japanese hold-outs across the Pacific.

    When one is found, I suggest the United States unconditionally and promptly surrender to Japan.

    In lieu of any Imperial Army holdout being found, I move that the United States Congress send a formal plea to Japanese Emperor to accept a US surrender retroactively, unconditionally, and with due apologies for the misunderstanding in 1945.

  39. Actually, in many cases, John, it is much more than twice. It is open-ended and indefinite.

    Very few people also have any idea how much is actually paid back for the capital borrowed in a thirty year mortgage, for example, and with adjustable rates and no pre-payment that number too is indefinite.

    But what is never mentioned even in economics classes is that the amount is much more than capital plus interest over time.

    It is capital, interest, and lost investment and opportunity cost.

    Most economists, naturally, will not accept this model. They will argue, for example, that since the borrower has to borrow the capital, the capital does not exist for the borrower except in the form of credit.

    The sophistry here is that the same economists count what the borrower is contracted to pay back in capital and interest over time as a valid monetary entity insofar as it becomes a legal contract, moderated only by risk.

    It follows that the same entity might have been used to accrue interest or investment gains for the person who did the borrowing.

    Very few Americans have any idea how lucrative either mortgages or various forms of insurance are for the financiers.

    In return for the principal lent, they get back not only the principal and interest, but the use of principal and interest for more lending or investment over time and as it is returned.

    This is what Paul is trying to say, when he says the traditional way to economic success is “working hard and saving.”

    The flaw in his naive economic vision should be clearer now.

    Even that will not work when the “money” itself is credit and is subject to gross manipulation, or when exactly what is saved or invested is subject to wholesale theft, legitimized by law and paid for by taxes.

    Paul would probably counter that is why he wants to get rid of the Federal Reserve and return to the gold standard or some other commodity currency, returning the country to 1916.

    That is a charming but unworkable fairy tale.

    For one thing, there is already an new global commodity virtual currency in effect, and that is oil.

    Despite the voracity of Asia for gold, were gold the standard it would also very shortly be valued in relation to oil.

    That is the rationale for nationalizing oil, though that only moderates the currency problem and does not solve it.

    There’s occasional, kneejerk abuse by some posters on this site of Hugo Chavez.

    This seems in part a Randian, anti-Comunist or anti-Socialist hangover of right wing hostility toward anyone interested in improving the condition of peasants or the lower economic classes anywhere in the world.

    Like Ahminejad and the Russians, however, as well as the Chinese and also other Latin Americans left and right, Chavez has learned to play the game better than the reptiles who designed it.

    Who remains still in the dark is mostly the American people.

    And Paul and Bernanke and the rest not only intend to keep them there, but make it even darker for them if they have their way.

  40. corr: “Paulson and Bernanke”.

  41. Now – why not just announce default and get LIFE? That includes stopping the War on the World.

    Basically – there are only two ways out – either default or war. Real war on US soil. And did I forget to mention, that it is global nuclear war?

    The 700 billion trick is on the path to global war.

    It amazes me what Bush managed to do in 8 years… Quest for World Domination is one sure way to destroy a country. Any country.

  42. “Money supply” is one of the really perverted myths of contemporary economics.

    In fact they are not talking about “money” at all.

    They are talking about “credit”.

    Aquinas did have something right, that the “Protestants” who Weber delineated still tend to deny, to wit, that, all other things being equal, “interest” causes inflation.

    That is not a judgment of good or bad in relation to “interest” necessarily, nor even of “Protestants”.

    But denying it is sheer idiocy.

    The naive hostility to fiat currency is also baseless, at least theoretically, complicated by the fact that what most people call a fiat currency is not a currency at all, as in the United States.

  43. Indeed, in regard to what Bush and Cheney have managed to do in eight years–the old KGB veterans must be very envious.

    Were there any genuine war crimes tribunals in the world, Bush and Cheney and Rice and Clinton the rest would be making appearances soon enough.

    Milosevich and even Saddam Hussein were Cub Scouts by comparison.

  44. The neocons have their money:

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=70555&sectionid=3510203

  45. “Executive compensation”, like “windfall profits taxes”, is another sham issue, used by the Democrat Fascists to instill resentment in their constituents, then look like they are doing something “for the people” by restricting “obscene salaries”.

    The salaries are irrelevant except insofar as they show that the IRS and the book-keeping that sustains the tax code is, as the French say, “science fiction.”

    A flat percentage tax is the only way to go–Armey was right. No Federal taxes at all below a certain level of income and an appropriate tax above that level ($100,000?), for both individuals and corporations. Above that level, say, right now %20? No write-offs, no exceptions.

    The corporations will scream the loudest against such simplicity, for many of the really big ones are paying little or no taxes, or taxes at a rate considerable smaller than most individuals of middle income levels.

  46. A hint of the economic incompetence of Obama is the suggestion he made that “because of the recession” taxes will not be lowered during his administration.

    There is still good reason to vote for him as a vote against McCain. He may even be arguably better (how to know?) but only in regard to which of Dante’s circles one happens to be in and how close one may be to the door.

    The really important initiative remains, for anyone interested in Constitutional rule, impeachment.

    Will this bailout somehow convince Paul, unpersuaded by the administration’s criminality in regard to the war in Iraq, the Constitution, and so forth, that, yes indeed, Bush and Cheney are certainly “criminals” now?

    Look in your wallet, Congressman Paul, which seems the centrally important item in your wardrobe–anything missing?

    Incidentally, in regard to Paul’s priase of hard work and saving as the way to economic success, there is the small matter of the $35 million in campaign contributions Paul got as a putatively antiwar candidate.

    Supposedly he has at least $5 million left.

    Was that hard work and saving, Congressman Paul? Or was it easy as taking candy from a baby?

    And how about your salary as a government worker, sworn to uphold the Constitution from all threats foreign and domestic?

  47. It would be really praiseworthy if you did your job, Congressman Paul, instead of standing around officiously like a gynecologist while nature does most of the work, or, like the venerable Doctor Slop, intervening to make matters worse and to seem like you are actually doing something necessary to the whole process.

    And yes indeed, Doctor Paul, it is exactly Tristram Shandy that answers much of the nonsense of your John Locke.

  48. A tax on corporations is, like monetary inflation,simply another stealth tax on the public. Who pays the corporation tax? It certainly won’t be the top executives (the highest paid employees). It will be either the lower level employees in the form of lower income or lost jobs, the public in the form of higher prices or the shareholders in the form of lower share prices and or dividends. Most likely it ends up being all three groups – the general public.

  49. Assuming that he does “censor” his blog, Mr. Bovard has every right to do so, since it is HIS. He probably does not want his blog to be filled with the outbursts of lunatics. I suggest this list of political evils: the president allows torture, the killing of innocent civilians, destroys the remnants of a free country, lies repeatedly, ought to be tried as a war criminal along with most of his administration, and last but not least, Jim Bovard censors is blog. By God we better focus our attention on the evil and duplicitous Jim Bovard before its too late. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

  50. I really never understand the point of 20 or 10 or even 1 million dollar salaries. It is like professing faith in some sort of magical power that some people possess, not the natural results of becoming proficient at doing something as a result of hard work and decency. But that is just beside the point of this handout to Wall Street.

    I do not know much about Taxes in America, but I understand that the Americans have the most strong feelings towards the issue of income taxation in the world. Taxes are always a middle class issue, and right now, I cannot help remembering how Marx and Engels reserved their most cherished fury for the “petite bourgeois”. Its demise is what they most desired, and their genius was proving that when it is gone, it is gone for good. There is not a thing that anybody can do to revive it.

  51. The salaries are absurd–one of the lying clowns that sat before Maxine Waters with Hofmeister makes $14 million per year.

    That is not the point. The point is that he makes that much partly because of the tax code, not because of anything he does.

    But it is also economically irrelevant except to the stockholders, and Congress making an issue of it is pure demogoguery by an other kind of Fascist, who very likely would not turn down a large and immediate contribution, however the money was made.

    Medvedev makes what–$70,000 (USD equivalent ?)per year? And look at most of the Japanese executives who mostly do not make much more than workers on the line.

  52. Confucius say: Corporation legal person. Person taxed. Corporation taxed. Excuse pidgin.

  53. They’ve got to be convinced! How many weeks do we have to make a change?

  54. Well, a fairly large share hope to be robber barons themselves, so they don’t want to restrict the present-day robber barons. Their hope is futile, but they don’t see it that way.

    Lester Ness
    Kunming
    China

  55. Because Bush is RICH! Ordinary idolize the RICH. Also he is BORN-AGAIN! (Although he doesn’t bother to go to church.) The sizeable chunk of Americans who are BORN-AGAIN think he can do no wrong, because he is one of them.

    Lester Ness
    Kunming
    China

  56. The people of America don’t like this bailout one bit. And the House Republicans, seeing a chance to change their spots, are now arguing against Bush’s plan. So is the bailout DOA? No, this is just the cue for Act 2. Time for the “ole Washington Momument” gambit. The Washington Momument gambit refers to the habit of the Dept of the Interior (every time they are threatened with a budget cutback) counters that “they have no choice but to close the Washington Momument to visitors because they don’t have the funds to continue operations”. Also the Postal Service, when asking for a rate increase, always mentions an end to Saturday delivery if the rate increase is denied. Any institution, faced with hostile public reaction, always teaches the public a lesson in who needs who.
    Likewise, the financial institutions, if the bailout chance fades, will have to get the “rubes’” attention. All of a sudden, the ATM machines will spit out only a fraction of the funds requested, credit card limits will be lowered overnight. No more 300 point jumps higher in the Dow Indus; lots of downward movement, stirring visions of rapidly melting 401Ks – a future retirement spent handing out carts at Wal-Mart. A couple of weeks of that and the hoi polloi will be begging Congress to vote for the bailout.

  57. One has to wonder who are the individuals who would benefit the most from this bailout!?

  58. The German finance minister sent a consoling message – welcoming America to the ghetto of economically failed 3rd world countries. Haven’t heard from the Israelis yet – their finances are in great shape. Surely they will remember old favors.

  59. I have to admit that I’ve been very (pleasantly) surprised over the past couple of days to hear that an apparent majority of us common folk are DEAD SET AGAINST any form of bailout for the Wall Street criminal class. I must also wonder, however, given the almost medieval ignorance of rudimentary economics demonstrated by most, if they truly realize exactly why said bailouts are a catastrophically awful idea or if they will also demand an end to the ruling kleptoligarchy and its Monopoly[TM] money-generating counterfeiting machine (i.e., the Federal Reserve) responsible for the chaos in the first place. Given that a sizable percentage of the population benefits at least indirectly from (indeed, depends on) some form of federal subsidy, pseudo-entitlements whose continuance is jeopardized by the current meltdown, I wonder how many are opposed to the current bailout only because of the class aspect of it (“Hey, how come a working stiff like me won’t be able to get my debts wiped out with a federally subsized loan?”) rather than the economic, legal, and moral ramifications.

    Just some crumbs for thought…

  60. Calls to legislators are reported to be 300 to 1 AGAINST.

  61. charming tale

    killer cowboy

    lassoed

    judo black milk

    Mother’s gold

    Ruble’s new store

  62. The Steer

    In the sand of an afternoon twixt dilemma's long horns

    wisp-waisted maid somersaults the bum's rush.

    Manolete

    dividending

    all gall.

    Marvellous to watch.

    [copyright EAC]

  63. Just E-Mailed my Congressman today to express my displeasure with the bailout of the billionare banksters. I got the reply when I returned home from work and, of course, he is going to vote for the bailout. I do not know why I was so stupid as to take the suggestion that my Congressman (His name is Jim Cooper to reveal the guilty) would really care what I think. These people will do anything they want, and they do not give a damn about you or me or what we think. Voting or writing to your congressman is strictly for suckers and I will never do either again. The United States government is the greatest democracy in the world. Yeah, I believe that! And I also believe my own @%*# does not stink!

  64. I am familiar with the writings of Ludwig Von Mises, and have nothing against wealthy individuals so long as thier wealth is honestly aquired.

    END THE FED! END THE FED! END THE FED! END THE FED!

  65. The fact that even an election year will have no effect whatsoever on their decision to proceed with the bailout proves, like nothing else will, that voting is complete waste of time and serves only to legitimize these criminal rogues.

  66. “Benefitting the most” is open to many interpretations.

    And even if you interpret it mainly as a matter of, say, money, that involves specifying a point in time.

    For example, the day after the “money” is appropriated, it may be X and Y that are the only beneficiaries monetarily.

    Ten years down the line, however, and according to trickle down theory, it may well be the manufacturers of assemble-it-yourself mail order guillotines kits.

    What I call the “One Bastiat In Every Socialist Cell” School is one of the schools that acknowledge such trickle down theory.

    According the “Firing Squad School”, on the other hand, which deals with longer term “analysis spans”–if I may coin a useful term–the main beneficiaries in, say, thirty years, may well be the first generation serfs and wage-slaves produced by the bailout in the first place.

    This is another hidden recursion not generally known to American or western economists.

    An even more sophisticated analysis allows the possibility that no one benefits or that everyone is harmed, which are not the same logically, depending on whether one sees economics and finance, again just for example, as a zero-sum game.

  67. ” Now Brussels has found a new explanation as to why Ireland voted down the European Union treaty in June – a CIA and Pentagon-backed plot, devised by American neoconservatives to weaken the EU.”

    Sunday Times (article on antiwar front page)

    Some time ago in a blurb on the antiwar blog, I suggested that, given the collapse of USD in relation to oil and the Euro, one of the obvious courses as a response might be an attempt by the US to attack and depreciate the Euro.

    Whatever the truth of the above story, it seems to fall under the heading of what such an attack might look like.

    The article, read closely, also suggests that the motive force is the Neo-Cons.

    Someone like Giraldi surely can do a much better job than myself of delineating the changes in the Central Intelligence Agency since the advent of Bush and Cheney to the US executive branch, and whether Neo-Con and CIA are now coterminous terms.

    Obviously part of the context of the above might also be trying to set the EU and NATO at odds as two distinct and conflicting versions of “Europe” in the 21st Century.

    The main problem here, one suspects, is that the US policy seemingly pursued in Georgia, like most of the hare-brained schemes thought up by the Neo-Cons, will almost certainly produce exactly the opposite of the effect intended as far as US interests are concerned.

  68. One wonders whether antiwar would be interested in a weekly “Get To Know Your Thief” feature:

    Born in Palm Beach, Florida, to Marianna Gallaeur and Henry Merritt Paulson, a wholesale jeweler, he was raised in Barrington Hills, Illinois. He was raised as a Christian Scientist. Paulson attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.[3][4]

    A star athlete at Barrington High School, Paulson was a champion wrestler and stand out football player, graduating in 1964. Paulson received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Dartmouth College in 1968; at Dartmouth he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was an All Ivy, All East, and honorable mention All American as an offensive lineman.

    He met his wife Wendy during his senior year. The couple has two adult children, Henry Merritt III and Amanda Clark, and became grandparents in June 2007. They maintain homes in Washington, DC and Barrington Hills, Illinois.

    In 1970 Paulson received a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School…”?

    [wikipedia]

  69. The Treasury would have been permitted to spend $250 billion to buy banks’ risky assets, giving them a much-needed cash infusion. There also would be another $100 billion for use at the president’s discretion and a final $350 billion if Congress signs off….

    AP September 29, 2008

    Is this a bit of reality setting in after all?

    It is to be noted that thief Paulson was yesterday pegged at a personal fortune of $700 million.

    I wonder what it is today.

    Or did he and some of his pals go short?

    In any instance, Kucinich’s rough sketch of a bailout, including the establishment of a US citizen Mutual Fund, obtaining equity, and refusing to pay anything but fire sale prices, may have gained a bit of traction.

    Like most of Kucinich’s proposals, it might actually make money for the taxpayer for a change.

  70. I am unhappy that my Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsy, has compelled me to vote in November. Her web site has posted a message stating her opposition to the Billionaires’ Bailout. She also pointed out that her constituents’ are overwhelmingly opposed to the Bailout. Good I thought. Despite her opposition to the bill, I decided to pile on anyway and let her know that I would vote against her if she changed her mind. Well guess what? She voted in favor of the bill and now I am obliged to go to all the trouble of voting against her.

  71. MetaCynic, you seem to be learning the ropes of “structural voting”.

    That is the gist of Paul Craig Roberts’ position, as I follow it.

    I claim nothing but understanding it perhaps and giving it a name.

    Since the overwhelming majority of American politicos are liars, frauds, and thieves–with a few naifs and terminally stupid idealists thrown in for good measure–voting for any positive program is vain, and the main value of any vote is negative and impersonal, to wit: ousting an incumbent or holding a party or a group accountable.

    If that is not what Roberts is getting at, I will gladly stand corrected.

    I do consider Kucinich somewhat of an exception, mainly for his position on impeachment, and his economic and financial understanding.

    It may not be intuitive in the Protestant subculture of a Doctor Slop like Congressman Paul, but of the three possibilities (1) no government support for higher education; (2) privately financed student loans guaranteed by government; and (3) free government subsidized higher education, (2) is of the three the most economically counterproductive.

    Kucinich seemingly understands this.

    But even with Kucinich, I get a bit queasy when he has a good word for the Fascist Delano Roosevelt.

  72. Likewise, the financial institutions, if the bailout chance fades, will have to get the “rubes’” attention. All of a sudden, the ATM machines will spit out only a fraction of the funds requested, credit card limits will be lowered overnight. No more 300 point jumps higher in the Dow Indus; lots of downward movement, stirring visions of rapidly melting 401Ks – a future retirement spent handing out carts at Wal-Mart. A couple of weeks of that and the hoi polloi will be begging Congress to vote for the bailout….

    Confirmation almost point by point of your Plan B prediction: “The Washington Monument Gambit”, richard vajs–here in the US News And World Report Version, under the heading “Take II”:

    Another try at a big bailout plan. A lot of those constituents who have been calling Congress to complain about rescuing fat cats are going to rethink their indignation as they watch the stock markets–and their own portfolios–sink. Lawmakers who voted against the bailout plan are going to have to explain why they’re letting the markets collapse. The more uncomfortable voters get, the more likely Congress will be to pass some kind of sweeping relief plan. This is far from over.

    [Richard Newman]

    http://biz.yahoo.com/usnews/080929/29_bailout_take_ii_what_the_feds_do_next.html?.&.pf=banking-budgeting

  73. Pardon: I missed–I meant to post that under your Washington Monument post below, richard vajs.