|The Pentagong Show|
Cleaning out old cobwebs and dust balls, I discovered a long buried journal I used to keep before I finally just gave up and started writing everything into the cloud. Back then, Bernanke was blaming the US CAD (current acct. deficit) on other countries, and we were still entertaining the fiction that the net worth of a country was equivalent to the equity in the country's balance sheet such that a nation's citizens and businesses have investments in other nations and those investments are the asset side of the balance sheet, whereas liabilities exist in the form of claims on US assets by foreign investors. Assets minus liabilities would then be used to compute the net worth or equity; what a nation owns minus what that nation owes, thereby reflecting its international net worth.
But the US rampage in Afghanistan and Iraq changed all that. The US Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act made it harder and harder for the world to use the US financial system, even as we demanded $2bln/day in foreign loans, fostering a parallel financial system from which the US is more and more isolated and in which the US doesn't participate. This was the even shadowier shadow banking system run in parallel to the US's own shadow banking system that was pumping billions of faux dollars into keeping investments in the Bush regime's planned push for a parallel oil production platform of expensive oil even as the World's light sweet crude production was peaking.
But that was then. No one in the world was admitting that there was any such thing as peak oil, even as the production of Iraq was shut down by the Texas Oil Magnates (Maggots would be a better term) in the Whitehouse intent on getting their Ponzi scheme up and running before the end of their term, so as to finance Halliburton (whose ex-CEO was still receiving checks from the oil services giant even while sitting as Vice President), which was feverishly putting up rigs in North Dakota's Bakken and the Eagle Ford "plays" in Texas. Taking a page from his father, who was instrumental in getting the economy rigged while setting up the Carlyle Group to reap an enormous "Get your Piece Dividend" by buying up the assets of defense companies, the value of which, following Pere Bush's declaration of said "Peace Dividend", were rigged to plummet, but which, thanks to Halliburton's shenanigans in Kuwait,where they brought their horizontal drilling technology, having proven it in the Bakken in 1987, to show the Kuwaiti's, as reward for their help during the Iran/Iraq War (during which then Vice President Bush was in the Whitehouse, where Dickhead Cheney was the Chief of Staff, feeding intelligence to Iraq while simultaneously selling cocaine in central America, valiantly fighting communism, of course, to finance the smuggling of arms to their opponents, the Iranians), to drill across Iraq's border, because it was known by the Kuwaiti royals that the Burgan field was in precipitous decline, instigating the pretext under which the President of the United States, with Cheney, as his "Defense" minister, would go off to War, skyrocketing the value of the shares they'd bought up for pennies on the dollar, per Bush pere's "advise" to the Carlysle Group, and for which the Defense Secretary would be rewarded with a nice position as Haliburton's CEO after his term was up.
But for a family with the insatiable greed of the Bush Dynasty and its acolytes, this windfall merely whet their appetite, and the GW regime was paving the way to keep the dollars flowing to the Halliburton plays via strangling the production of the only known remaining source of light sweet in the world, the billions of estimated reserves beneath the Iraqi desert sands. So as the MSM stood aghast as the administration committed blunder after blunder while Comedy Central's The Daily Show featured Jon Stewart playing his part by lampooning the supposedly feckless GW, he and Cheney were acting their respective roles in this Confederacy of Dunces oil play, known as the Iraq War, but their fruit, like GW's father had taught him, would ripen after they were out of office and the Fed could prime the oil pump with the necessary financing to keep money pouring into the oil sector, having first escalated the price of oil via the shadow banking system that was pumping money into the pockets of investors (total bank credit in the US grew by $1.3Trillion during just the first quarter of 2005). In the meantime they were paying back their campaign promises to the Texas backers by pouring the funny money of the Wall St. scam of MBS, CDO, and CDO squared moneyness empire to fuel speculation in the only asset whose production they knew had peaked: light sweet crude (the rest of us may be fooled by CERA, but it was the AEI, funded by the administration's Neo-con buddies, who provided the funds to Yergin to come up with his sanguine predictions of plentiful oil now and forever, Amen), but Texas is the #1 oil producing state in the country, and at $100+/bbl, they were being well-rewarded for putting the buddy of Enron's Kenneth Lay in the Whitehouse.
And now Jeb Bush wants his turn. Once more the world is to be plunged into chaos to enrich an already gluttonously wealthy oiligarch even further. The screed of greed knows no limits, it exists in the pure amoral realm of unabashed self-aggrandizement from which it offers not the least shred of apology, as getting what you want and to the hell with everyone else isn't a failing, but a success; the attainment of the American Dream where one can bask in one's glory and hold sway over all those whose lives you have destroyed in order to get destructively wealthy, and they will fall at your feet in admiration of your feat.
And that is the real reason that global warming will not be slowed, climate change not decelerate, but, as we are witnessing, but denying every day, will continue to accelerate instead. Because to lay all the blame on Republicans is just beating around the Bushes:
In a documentary on pollution in China, a woman is interviewed on the subject, and, being pregnant, she is very concerned for the life she now has growing inside her, ie for her own offspring. Prior to that, she worked like everyone else, saw the pollution that was choking the children of her fellow workers and causing asthma in the children of her neighbors, but that didn't affect her attitude one whit. Let them all die, there's too many people in the world anyway. The weak deserve to be culled from the population. It was only when SHE had the prospect of a child that she became concerned that maybe that poor little vulnerable being would be damaged. All the other poor little vulnerable beings that were damaged before her pregnancy meant absolutely nothing to her. Their deaths and illnesses were the price that had to be paid in order for the Chinese to get rich. Such considerations were anathema to her. I don't know this woman, and I don't say it has anything to do with her being Chinese, but she illustrates the intractability of our dilemma: nobody cares for anyone but their family. That's what the stoking of "Family Values" with the bellows of Capitalism, greed and individualism, fosters, because you know there is no other group, not clan nor tribe, nor union nor guild, nor religious institution, and certainly not the State, that's going to help you.
But this mentality can't hold, wouldn't even have taken such an ascendancy, had it not been for the US, which will defend it to our utter ruin. In my aforementioned journal, there is an entry dated 6/1/2006 that reads:
"As I read once again that Putin is 'becoming more authoritarian and presiding over the rollback of democracy', as described by the Bush administration, I'm struck by the, once again, shameless, blatant double standard no one comments on or cares about, because at no other time in US history has a regime in DC moved further toward the strengthening of executive power and authoritarian rule and away from Democracy, than in the current administration."
But as always, it was the underlying coded message that held the real meaning. What Putin was doing is what nations in all the world needed to do: jail the oligarchs, make it clear that pillaging the resources of the country by opening them up to be plundered for the enrichment of a few while the rest of the citizenry is left to bear the burden of the externalities such as the expense of paving roads, poisoned water supplies, deforestation, endless Wars, and a climate being fueled pell-mell into cataclysmic climate change, is no longer going to be tolerated. The opposite message than that of the Reagan Revolution, that exhorted mankind to do exactly the opposite, screw the consequences, take what you need, grab what you can get, and crush anyone who gets in your way, because it's the American Way, so it's blessed by God.
Compared to this philosophy, Putin's stance that oligarchs have a responsibility to the country that made them rich seems reasonable and sane to me, and more importantly, constraining. Had the US followed Putin's lead in 2006, the utter calamity that befell the global economic system in 2008 may never had occurred. Instead, the Wild West approach of Washington DC (Destructive Creation) to let moneyed moguls run roughshod over the citizens, the environment, and the Constitution, to gorge themselves with undeserved wealth while spiraling the world into a future of avoidable catastrophes they feel they'll have the wherewithal to sail through unscathed, is not tenable. Nor is it even meant to be. But the current administration's followed the same path, ignoring the exploding Deepwater Horizon, who's anniversary is this month, and exploding railroad cars and exploding governments all around the world and pretending that everything is just fine, so long as we can get that bad ole Putin to behave, or whoever else is the next bogeyman to be fingered by Washington to distract us constantly so we won't think too much before signing that student loan document, or that lease/loan contract for the SUV we can't afford, or the mortgage on that house we only need to put 3% down on, but that has therefore had the non-recourse clause removed.
But the future we face has nothing to do with Vladimir Putin, whose policy of jailing the most destructive and criminally insane oligarchs we eschew as trammeling on their "freedom", and everything to do with the Enronification of the entire global economic system that sends an entire country off to endless Wars, squandering our savings and plunging us into intractable debt to enrich a few private entitled citizens, to make good their bets in a system they've rigged completely openly, smirking in derision at a public too self-absorbed and smitten with "Patriotism" to notice how easily they're used as pawns to further the tawdry ambitions of a dynastic clique. If you remember, even Enron's corporate logo was crooked, they knew no one would realize why; and they changed the red white and blue, to red white and green, replacing the color that stands for virtue and honesty with the one that embodies greed and envy: the color of money.