States Visited

Sunday, October 26, 2008

For entertainment purposes only!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

At the risk of rendering myself completely irrelevant in terms of a serious discussion, a thought occurred to me this morning. It began when I saw the name of the new department created by the bailout bill - the Office of Financial Stability. The name is so absurd and so ridiculously Orwellian that I actually double checked to make sure someone wasn't just being facetious. Nope. That is what they named it. My mind just kept turning it over and over - how could they possibly choose a name that far removed from reality? Didn't they realize how much it had to sound like one of the "Ministries" from 1984? And then it occurred to me that it was NOT an accident. After all, who could possibly argue with a decision handed down by an office whose only job is to provide financial stability?

As I was pondering the underlying reasons why the government would use psychological tools against its own people - and that is precisely what is happening - it lead me down a rabbit trail of thoughts that made my skin crawl.

I've said repeatedly in my blog that either our politicians were woefully incompetent or corrupt to the core. I've also said repeatedly that I am convinced that there are no longer two separate political parties in this country, just two arms of the same party always bickering amongst themselves but always putting themselves ahead of the citizens.

As I was thinking about our new Office of Financial Stability and just how unlikely it is that the new finance czar will produce anything like financial stability (using the 'successes' of the drug czar at dealing with drug problems and the energy czar at fixing our energy problems as a guide) I was also thinking about how we got here in the first place. As I was trying to come to terms with those things I read an article about the Congressional questioning of Robert Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers. The first thing that caught my attention was the comment by Rep. John Mica (R-FL) when he made it clear just exactly why Fuld was in Washington, "In case you haven't discovered your role, you're the villain." I have no doubt Mr. Fuld bears some responsibility for the actions of his company but he is no more the villain than the members of the House doing the questioning. Something about that statement just doesn't sit right with me. Perhaps it is just too true - he was brought in to be the lamb of sacrifice so the House could wash their hands of their sins. Washington has clearly circled the wagons and started pointing fingers at everyone but themselves. Then, either during his questioning or afterward by a reporter, he was asked why the government didn't bailout Lehman Brothers when it stepped in to bail out so many others. He didn't know and said, "Until they put me in the ground I will wonder." Look, he is super-rich and I don't feel sorry for him, but it is a good question. Why was Lehman Brothers allowed to fail when others of comparable size were deemed 'too big to fail' and saved? Something about that doesn't make sense to me...I kept thinking.

Beginning in the early 1990s pretty much every office and department in the federal government has consistently and repeatedly made horrifically wrong economic decisions and compounded those wrong decisions with even more wrong "solutions." The number of people making horrible decisions is mind boggling. This pattern cuts across party lines and across multiple administrations and continues to this day. The House, the Senate, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Deparment, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the administrations of Presidents George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush, along with countless departments, committees, and offices. How can this many people consistently make that many bad decisions? These are supposed to be some of the best and brightest in the world. How did we get here? How is this possible? Is it all just the result of a 'perfect storm' of bad luck, bad decisions, bad investments, and bad timing? Or could this be exactly what some have had in mind all along?

That sounds preposterous, I know, but, forgive me for a moment of conspiracy theory. In a period of just a few months we have seen half of the home mortgage business nationalized, a huge chunk of our financial markets placed under direct federal control, and the institution of an office that will control the 'financial stability' of the country. In less than one year we have seen the federal government step in and take control of perhaps the last major capitalist system in the country (world?) under the guise of 'saving' us from a mess the government helped create. We already have an essentially nationalized passenger rail system, an airline industry taking giant leaps towards federal control, an auto industry that will be essentially under federal control in less than a year, a nationalized retirement system, a nationalized old-age medical insurance system, a nationalized emergency response system and it appears we are on our way to a complete national health system. And those are just the big ones I can think of off the top of my head. All of those things, and many more, are now under the direct control of a handful of people in Washington. It is ludicrous to think that a small group of people are pulling off the biggest conspiracy in the history of mankind, essentially taking over the entire United States right before our eyes, but is that any more ridiculous than having that many 'experts' make that many bad decisions over so many years?

The thought also occurred to me that this could be the first truly tangible stages of World War III. What? Our financial meltdown is rocking the entire financial world. Most of us live our lives without any real understanding of just how important the United States is to the rest of the world. The U.S. is probably the only country in the world capable of surviving a complete global financial meltdown. Again, this seems almost unimaginable, but could all of those bad decisions have been a deliberate manipulation of the markets to trigger a global collapse that would cement our status as the world's only superpower? Not a hot war or even a cold war but a silent war waged with financial paper rather than bullets and rhetoric? For all of the talk about changes and freedom, it was our seemingly limitless defense spending that led directly to the fall of the Soviet Union, so there is precedence for our using economics as a weapon.

It is not like I am breaking any new ground here. I have, off and on over the years, read lots of things online that pointed to some sort of behind the scenes, shadow government that was made up of the ones really pulling the levers. If you want to get really, really deep into it just run a few google searches on the Bilderburgs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Skull and Bones Society and the Trilateral Commission. Weird stuff.

I have always written it off as nothing more than conspiracy theory nut-balls, lumping it in with the stories about aliens at Area 51 and other X-files type stories. For entertainment purposes only. And, for the most part, I still do. Perhaps in a few years, possibly decades, I will find it incredibly amusing that the level of incompetence in Washington rose so high that it actually made one of those ridiculous theories seem plausible. In the end I think it was, and is, nothing more than a 'perfect storm' of inadequate, career politicians doing everything than can to make sure they get re-elected and doing it all on the backs of willing taxpayers who are more than happy to trade freedom for a free ride. Term limits, anyone?

Welcome to the new world, comrades!

No comments: