1. Uncle Billy Cunctator

    Moyers is such a bad actor. Black is a fairly good one. It’s very easy to see that they’re both in on the joke though. “Gosh, look how smart and corrupt all these people were.”

    “Criminopathic” So the doctors created the “disease.” This is a metaphor they’re going to be exploiting. It’s a “systemic” issue. So by the by we’re going to need a systemic plan to fight widespread disease. There are some evil geniuses producing this show (not the pbs show). They have more than great power; they have absolute power, and we know where that *always* leads.

    Goebbels would be proud of how everything is unfolding nicely. They have a near monopoly on perceptions and the ability to sew chaos.

    1. DownSouth

      Perhaps Hannah Arendt put it best:

      Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.
      –Hannah Arendt, Crises on the Republic

      1. Thomasina Jefferson

        Nice quote, but how does it apply to the current situation? In my view, there is no sense in going after a few culprits while not fixing the broken system at the same time.
        Not fixing the system means it will happen again, with different people.
        Can the damage be contained next time? I doubt it.

    2. DownSouth

      Uncle Billy Cunctator,

      I would add that no one ever promised us that this would be easy or without risks.

      The other great risk, the opposite risk of doing nothing—-the path most preferred by the Libertarian-Austrian-Neoliberal (LANie)constellation—-is that risk pointed out by Reinhold Niebuhr:

      Since it is impossible to count on enough moral goodwill among those who possess irresponsible power to sacrifice it for the good of the whole, it must be destroyed by coercive methods and these will always run the peril of introducing new forms of injustice in place of those abolished.
      –Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society

      Niebuhr expands on this theme in a later work:

      We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization. We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimated. Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends.

      The ironic nature of our conflict with communism sometimes centers in the relation of power to justice and virtue. The communists use power without scruple because they are under the illusion that their conception of an unambiguously ideal end justifies such use.


      Marxism is so formidable as a political creed precisely because it expresses the convictions of those who have discovered the errors in the liberal-bourgeois creed in bitter experience.
      –Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

      Both the LANies and the Communists live in a highly simplistic and naïve universe, what Niebuhr calls their “paradise of innocence.” They concoct pat little theories and political prescriptions based upon a bowdlerized universe, completely divorced from worldly reality, where the risks and hazards set out by Niebuhr simply disappear.

      That’s why the theories of the LANies and the Communists, when put into effect, always result in economic and political chaos.

      1. DownSouth

        I’d also add that Hannah Arendt observes that the end product of Communism and LANieism is all but identical.

        Communism results in what Arendt calls “state socialism” where the state becomes all powerful, ruling over business.

        LANiesm results in what Arendt calls “state capitalism” where business becomes all powerful, ruling over the state.

        In both cases you have the unholy alliance of state and business.

        As Arendt explains:

        Our problem today is not how to expropriate the expropriators, but, rather, how to arrange matters so that the masses, dispossessed by industrial society in capitalist and socialist systems, can regain property. For this reason alone, the alternative between capitalism and socialism is false—-not only because neither exists anywhere in its pure state anyhow, but because we have here twins, each wearing a different hat.
        –Hannah Arendt, Crises of the Republic

        1. Doug Terpstra

          That sounds a bit like what Clint Eastwood said (for the rest of us).

          “Extremism is so easy. You’ve got your position, and that’s it. It doesn’t take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right you meet the same idiots coming around from the left.”

          — Clint Eastwood

          So are we hopelessly stuck on a vicious cosmic treadmill, doomed to endlessly, inexorably repeat the cycles, or is MLK’s virtuous arc of history (very) slowly unfolding toward something really new?

        2. The Rage

          Yes, the state is eternal. You can’t get rid of it(which both socialists and capitalists struggle to understand). “lanies”(the new coming “bad” term) say we are “shrinking” the state, ah, but they are not. They are just putting more of its functions to the merchant caste and suppressing the strong, anti-social darwinism, something people don’t understand. The strong has s tendency to be destroyed by “market forces” further destroying the potential of a country to succeed. By 1896 the “state” had enough and began a long century of intervention.

          Socialists try to merge all the castes and get rid of the power structure. Anarchists go to extreme measures. Which leads to low caste domination and failure. Both Socialists and Capitalists tend to become isolated and anti-social.

          What is funny, every aggressive,militant “socialist” revolution’s “killings” always mostly become reality because of a “reactionary” primal urges. Stalin’s “death camps” consisted mostly of eastern european colonies being forced by mother russia to bow onto their great russian overlord’s trend of the day(central planning). How Czarist of the Soviet under Stalin. You go unto Russia today and Stalin is, as amazing as it seems, fondly remembered as the man that brought Russia into the modern industrial world. While in the “colonies”, he is a considered the worst tryant in world history. Even western historians and intellectuals don’t get the real origin of the killings. They just weren’t done for some “collectivization” scheme, they were done to enchance the Russian empire and nothing more. China has long had a history of that, way before Mao.

          The “tradition” as Evola put it, cannot be stopped or defeated. It goes beyond the material world, right to the spiritual.

        3. Thomasina Jefferson

          Introducing more complexity to master an already complex system is not necessarily the best or wisest thing to do. Striving to simplify also has its merits. For one, simplifying does not give to much – or exclusive – power to a caste of experts claiming to have understand the complexities and ordaining solutions on others.

          Besides, equating Capitalism and Socialism as two opposite ends of a spectrum is a common tactic of discarding both outright without really discussing what both stand for, in other words refusing to substantially compare the two and draw conclusions accordingly.

      2. Ghost of Joe

        Niebuhr was an eloquent apologist for the Roman Catholic church’s hatred of Marxism. Read your David Halberstam. It was Edmund Walsh, S.J. (Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service) that recommended to Joe McCarthy that he adopt an anti-communist platform to boost his sagging political profile in the early 1950s.


      Well we certainly can’t let such an opportuntiy go to waste…hmmm, where have I heard that before?

      Anyway, Moyers is just one of those kind of guys who pretty much makes me want to puke…serious its a physical thing. And I have wonder if it’s just me, or does he have this power over others as well. This guy’s one sick, twisted, little puppy…or puppet…or whatever. The point is that somebody needs keep the paper changed a little more often in his cage.

      Sure, they have some valid points of their own here, and the useful idiots will be all over it in order to make their own ends justify their own means.

      1. velobabe

        NOONBALLON who is the heck are you to judge bill moyers,
        as such.
        you know who makes me puke, people like you†

        1. NOONBALLOON

          I’ll say it again, only slower this time; there’s validity to the points being made here by Mr. Black, but it is interesting to hear this being presented by Bill Moyers.

          Hee hee… That’s choice; the tables are turned, and the great Bill Moyers is the one getting judged…how unacceptable of me…I’ll have to try to be more intellectually honest in future.

          I’m just one of the unwashed masses is of the opinion that Mr. Moyers would sell his own mother down the river if it meant that he could spend one more day on the inside of that comfortable little gerbil cage environment, which he would call reality.

          I’m quite content to criticize the banksters for their role, but you’ll just pardon me if I think things happen for a reason, and if I don’t subscribe to the notion that we should all become wards of the state, or, that moral hazard, when combined with artificially low interest rates and attempts at mortgage subsidization played no role in any of this….it did. Incentives and cronyism helped make all of this possible. Where were the regulators and who were they again?

          You don’t have to believe in natural law to end up on the receiving end of its effects, but when we continually attempt to sidestep these effects by distributing the costs of such failures along to the taxpayer, without being truthful about ALL of the participants involved, past and present, then we’re just compiling and expanding the overall effects for some future date.

          Yeh, I know the party line: “Capitalism baaaaaaad”, and “Socialism goooood”. Just keep repeating that over and over again, and Moyers might even invite you to repeat it on his show. But if I were you, I’d stay away from reporting any thoughts of perverting capitalism with man-made laws designed to influence the invisible hand to corrupt and slap the individual.

          You’ll just have to excuse unsophisticated folks like me if we have to take anything that Moyers has to say with one those big blocks of salt, or question his motives for presenting portions of the problem in a manner that is so typically convenient to his handlers’ agenda.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            “Me thinks thou dost protest too much” without any specific critique, just a drive-by retch. You should be so much happier since that was Bill Moyers’ last show; why the poison?

        2. LeeAnne

          Yes, Moyers STYLE isn’t for everyone. But shouldn’t it be obvious that it is his method to ask the obvious question in different ways so that his dumb audience can get it?

          We have a dumbed down society. Thank God someone has the patience to talk baby talk to them on important compelling subjects they get to vote on.

      2. Anonymous Jones

        I hear ya, Noonballoon.

        I also get physically ill when my unjustified and unsophisticated pre-existing beliefs are threatened by new facts and new ideas. Very troubling experience it is to be overwhelmed by the complexity of the world and its constant devouring of my heuristics.

    4. Doc Holiday

      1. Is that a stack of bibles on the table?

      2. has Obama disappeared into the presidency (yet)?

      I realize that you may not know, but I thought I would check to see if you were paying attention.

      Also see: BILL MOYERS: Well, this haunts me, of course, from the Johnson years, the war in Vietnam, the year we escalated the war so intensely in 1965. I remember dinners at the Smithsonian, dances at the Smithsonian. You know, there was a disconnect. And I remember a piece you wrote some years ago about how presidents get isolated. And you said they have to burst the bubble of celebrity and sycophancy. Remember that?

      VICTOR GOLD: Oh, yes.

      BILL MOYERS: How do they– George W. Bush has disappeared into the presidency, hasn’t he?

      From: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/06292007/transcript5.html

    5. EB

      “…Goebbels would be proud of how everything is unfolding nicely. They have a near monopoly on perceptions and the ability to sew chaos….”

      Goebbels had nothing on Bernays….who I consider one of the most dangerous geniuses of the 20th century, he literally wrote the book on ‘Propaganda’ (Bernays, 1924). Sigmund Freud, Bernays’ uncle, created the theories, Bernays put them to practice on the American public to great effect…

      Bernays was all about ‘engineering the consensus’…

      1. Uncle Billy Cunctator

        A hidden empire is slowly revealing itself, stepping out into the light. Mentioning Bernays wouldn’t have suggested the horrors that possibly lie ahead; Goebbels always does.

  2. R. Dow

    So we’re all simply naive Uncle Billy? We should ignore the erosion of ethics that Ms. Smith outlines so well in the intro to her book. Mere envy of the natural selection of the best and the brightest? Perhaps, but their ascension via deceit and obfuscation brought us to the brink. Left unchecked, I’m sure they’ll yet succeed. But what should I care – I’ve got mine.

    1. Uncle Billy Cunctator

      R. Dow: I don’t think everyone. But the vast majority of people are so oblivious to the propaganda that they latch on to the Blacks and the Warrens and the Borns and every other friendly face that the system throws their way, and accept them uncritically. But Black is giving us the straight dope, everyone says. Ask why! Think of intelligence agencies that use criminals for their ends and then discredit, despise, and dispose of them when they’re done with them. Black, his buddy Ackerlof, Stiglitz, and all these other high PR supported names are putting on a show for us and nudging us into the very mistrust (deserved of course) and chaos and breakdowns that they talk about. They are sophisticated, and they are very effective.

  3. Glen

    Unfortunately, given Mr, Black’s background in the S&L crisis as one of a few ex-regulators who have real world experince, we’re getting the (as Vinny says) non-suger coated view of just how bad Wall St has imploded.

    Too bad, capitalism is a good thing, and I too believe that capitalism cannot “fail”. So I don’t know what we have on Wall St right now, but it sure as heck ain’t capitalism. Those TBTF banks are walking dead zombies sucking the life out of our economy. We’re simply not going to get our economy, our country, turned around until we clean up Wall St.

  4. Blurtman

    It has been said before, but is underappeciated greatly.

    One serious risk of this financial crisis is the solidification of deep cynicism in the population about what the country stands for, and what its economic and justice systems stand for.

    As many folks’ standard of living diminishes, to see fabulously wealthy banksters who have acted unethically and imorally not only be bailed out by the general public, but to go unpunished, is asking for alienation of the general public or (hopefully) much worse.

    This serious risk seems to receive little to no consideration by our elected officials.

    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming

    Lifted from: http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2010/04/reykjavik-on-thames-hard-times-ahead.html

    1. EB

      ‘…One serious risk of this financial crisis is the solidification of deep cynicism in the population about what the country stands for, and what its economic and justice systems stand for….’

      The Great Depression left such a deep scar on the American economic landscape that the one day record 16 million share volume of the crash of ’29 was not exceeded until ’69…

      Will this crash, when completed, lead to another 40 year stock market hiatus?

      1. Skippy

        Sure when they finish building all the server nodes over in Jersey, then they can dispose of all the traders on the floor.

        Its going to be better that parking lot realestate, just one server closer to the exchange, one 10th of a milisecond and your order is in first[!] habla that?

        Skippy…Black holes man…Black holes…full of algos…and only the gods, can weld such power.

          1. EB

            Hey, if you flip a coin, where both sides are heads, it’s predictable from a probability perspective…

            It’s just when someone slips in another coin, when the fun starts…

  5. Paul Repstock

    Wow! many good posts here..some so-so…
    Sadly, Ms. Smith is only attracting a few posters so far.
    To badly quote Robert Service, “I’m not so smart as them lawyer guys…”, so I will state my thoughts in lowbrow language.
    First to address Thomasina and EB on the market rise; EB is mostly right However, another point to consider is the lack of motivation for cashing in investments for dollars which are not likely to even hold their value. Btw. was anyone more shocked than I, to hear Mr. Buffet endorse GS???

    Second: I haven’t been able to find an email for Yves, and therefore have to post a point here. Yves has seemed to have difficulty reconciling Government action or inaction with the activities of the financial sector. And several posters have alluded to the absence of any moral difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. The conundrum can be resolved if one is willing to upset the apple cart by exposing the true agenda.

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