Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I took a Bill Gates Day to try to get Microsoft to perform as advertised and install Windows 7. No luck, but perhaps closer. Then I had to take a couple more Bill Gates Days to return to semi-normal. The good thing about Microsoft is that it single-handedly makes a mockery of all official pronouncements of economists on the nature of capitalism.

Predictions made in 2000 about life in 2010. Mine will be more successful: in 2020, the state of Israel will be under the full political control of Palestinians.

Argentina proves that if you tell the IMF to fuck off, all will be well. This article even tells creditors how to massage their books to cover the missing money that won't be repaid (I could care less about their books).

The assholes at JS-Kit are finally finishing the screwing over of clients of Haloscan (although they must be given credit for publishing the scathing comments!). I hope the money grab means they are on the way out.

Matt Taibbi notes how Obama replaced all his semi-'progressive' election campaign advisers with Wall Streeters all connected to Bob Rubin when it came time to run the economy (my emphasis in red):
"The significance of all of these appointments isn't that the Wall Street types are now in a position to provide direct favors to their former employers. It's that, with one or two exceptions, they collectively offer a microcosm of what the Democratic Party has come to stand for in the 21st century. Virtually all of the Rubinites brought in to manage the economy under Obama share the same fundamental political philosophy carefully articulated for years by the Hamilton Project: Expand the safety net to protect the poor, but let Wall Street do whatever it wants. "Bob Rubin, these guys, they're classic limousine liberals," says David Sirota, a former Democratic strategist. "These are basically people who have made shitloads of money in the speculative economy, but they want to call themselves good Democrats because they're willing to give a little more to the poor. That's the model for this Democratic Party: Let the rich do their thing, but give a fraction more to everyone else."

Even the members of Obama's economic team who have spent most of their lives in public office have managed to make small fortunes on Wall Street. The president's economic czar, Larry Summers, was paid more than $5.2 million in 2008 alone as a managing director of the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, and pocketed an additional $2.7 million in speaking fees from a smorgasbord of future bailout recipients, including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. At Treasury, Geithner's aide Gene Sperling earned a staggering $887,727 from Goldman Sachs last year for performing the punch-line-worthy service of "advice on charitable giving." Sperling's fellow Treasury appointee, Mark Patterson, received $637,492 as a full-time lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, and another top Geithner aide, Lee Sachs, made more than $3 million working for a New York hedge fund called Mariner Investment Group. The list goes on and on. Even Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who has been out of government for only 30 months of his adult life, managed to collect $18 million during his private-sector stint with a Wall Street firm called Wasserstein-Perella.

The point is that an economic team made up exclusively of callous millionaire-assholes has absolutely zero interest in reforming the gamed system that made them rich in the first place. "You can't expect these people to do anything other than protect Wall Street," says Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Republican from Florida. That thinking was clear from Obama's first address to Congress, when he stressed the importance of getting Americans to borrow like crazy again. "Credit is the lifeblood of the economy," he declared, pledging "the full force of the federal government to ensure that the major banks that Americans depend on have enough confidence and enough money." A president elected on a platform of change was announcing, in so many words, that he planned to change nothing fundamental when it came to the economy. Rather than doing what FDR had done during the Great Depression and institute stringent new rules to curb financial abuses, Obama planned to institutionalize the policy, firmly established during the Bush years, of keeping a few megafirms rich at the expense of everyone else."

It is funny that the new Democrats now have a political theory identical to the old - say, Nixon-era - Republicans (the Republicans are now wallowing with the religious crazies, and don't have a sane policy on anything). American politics has shifted wildly right. The calculation that a few bones thrown in the general direction of the poor will prevent any kind of mass uprising damaging to the rich appears to be true. The only thing resembling a mass uprising in American politics is the teabaggers, who are used to push politics further to the right. There really is no hope for the United States.

Every person who dies as a result of the Exxon success in Copenhagen is the moral responsibility of the Bloggers For Exxon, and I won't let them forget it.
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