How did we get here, to where the predators, pirates, and oligarchs control the state? [Maybe because we’re so stupefied by corn syrup and celebrity, cf. the actual Yahoo “headline” yesterday: Beyonce gained 12 pounds.] Bloomberg’s Putin-esque effort to maintain the control of the ruling oligarchy of developers and financiers here in the city was smoothly done. He and his toys on the City Council claim it’s an emergency, an economic crisis, by gawd! Well, it was his class that put us in this mess the first place. But back to the larger state, the US government, agent of predation.
Did you know that a while back the Bush regime invoked an obscure 1863 law to void all state antipredatory-lending laws, and to block the states from enforcing their own consumer protection laws against national banks? I didn’t. There’s just so much venality, corruption, and rank malignancy it’s impossible to keep track. I learned this in a column by the inestimable Patricia J. Williams, who goes remind us:
"For it is not merely a failure to regulate Wall Street; it's a failure to govern at all. The FDA is packed with industry insiders who seem content with the gross understaffing of inspections bureaus. Animal feed laced with melamine was imported from China, consumed here and has now entered the human food chain. Nontherapeutic experimentation with pesticides on humans has been given the nod. Pharmaceutical companies have gotten approval for drugs like Vioxx and Fen-Phen that should never have been put on the market. Efforts by farmers to do voluntary testing for mad cow disease have been blocked by the Agriculture Department. The Justice Department's civil rights division has been gutted. The FCC has hacked away at public access to the airways and OK'd obscene concentrations of media power. The Transportation Department is underfunded beyond all conscience, and the toll has been tragic: collapsed bridges, breached levees up and down the Mississippi and nearly unnavigable railroad tracks. And FEMA... well, we all remember FEMA."
NB: She doesn’t give enough attention to the Department of Justice, which has been corrupted from the top to the bottom with hacks, ideologues and cretins who’s only is loyalty to Bush.
Williams ends, after noting the racist blaming of poor black people for the financial crisis:
"If we must look for figureheads, allow me to nominate George Herbert Walker IV, who just happens to be George W. Bush's second cousin. He also happens to be Lehman Brothers' investment management director, who, just before the firm's collapse, dismissed a suggestion from the asset management firm Neuberger Berman that top executives forgo their multimillion-dollar bonuses so as to "send a strong message...that management is not shirking accountability for recent performance." Walker actually apologized that the very notion had been circulated: "Sorry team. I am not sure what's in the water at Neuberger Berman. I'm embarrassed and I apologize."
And people wonder why the French Revolution happened.