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Somebody turn off the bubble machine

By Owen Paine on Monday April 20, 2009 03:32 PM

Here's a nice run past the last 75 years or so of bipartisan center-aisle regulatory/legislative pattycake, all of which came together in a glorious schmogigle last fall, with the catastrophic climax of the great Wall Street bankster heist.

And for those willing to delve a bit further, here's that piece's back up report.

And oh, by the way, here's a picture of a gal that oughta join the Leon Henderson Virtuous Regulators' Hall of Fame, the blessed Brooksley Born, juxtaposed with some of her noteworthy antagonists:

"In 1996, President Clinton appointed Brooksley Born chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC is an independent federal agency with the mandate to regulate commodity futures and option markets in the United States.

Born was outspoken and adamant about the need to regulate the quickly growing but largely opaque area of financial derivatives. She found fierce opposition in SEC Chair Arthur Levitt, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, all of whom felt that the financial industry was capable of regulating itself."

She fought the good fight, my friends. But then, as the narrative mentions, there was always the likes of this chap --

... Phil Gramm, of course; and this chap --

... Chris Cox; and this chap, already seen above, but burn his image into your retina again:

... whom I will not name; naming calls. Chaps like these ultimately won the day for Orthrus and his tip-o'-Manhattan master.

Comments (23)


Rubin looks truly ghoulish, doesn't he, in that last picture? Think of the myriad ways these guys can be punished, without a finger of the law being lifted against them -- heart attack, stroke, divorce, gout, impotence, senility, kidney stones, food poisoning, flatulence, rotten tomatoes at speaking engagements, exposees by underlings, lifetime confinement to the social circles of people like Bebe Rebozo.



"Think of the myriad ways these guys can be punished, without a finger of the law being lifted against them -- heart attack, stroke, divorce, gout, impotence, senility, kidney stones, food poisoning, flatulence, rotten tomatoes at speaking engagements, exposees by underlings, lifetime confinement to the social circles of people like Bebe Rebozo"

we'll need to panurge you on
to more such stuff here
i often feel the first half of the 16th century is where i belong

looting the odd monastic complex
now and again
for sport
social progress
personal gain

trots are monkish folk i think
don't u ???


father smiff has his zionics
i my trots

ticks my friends mere ticks

no matter what i may say
no matter what i may do

i love you all comrades
even shackmanites


It was a vain attempt at humor, a sleight of hand that didn't even convince me. I still want the bastards in the stocks!

Dear Paranoid Opie--
Why do you see ghosts of "trots" everywhere? Did Hal Draper once short-sheet your bed or something?

Exactly which "trots" are you talking about? Does ISO have a surveillance camera in your bedroom? Do visions of Ernest Mandel hover over your dreams, springing you upright in cold night sweats?

What are we to make of this bizarre "trot" fixation? Perhaps "trots" means that you have chronic diarrhea--I mean the real kind, not the verbal kind with which you afflict this blog everyday.

We're here to help, Opie . . . and just remember, no matter where you try to hide on this planet, the forces of the Fourth International (all 57 varieties) are watching you . . . Careful, Opie!


YOUR attempt at humor was hardly in vain

we obviously need
a good deal more
light touch prose
'round here

What kind of borderline psycho feels impelled to write all his comments in high-school-level free verse? And ONLY in the comments section--never in the blog posts. I mean--what's UP with this guy?

This guy is SERIOUSLY NUTS--from his preening prose poems, to his free-associative economics babble, to his finding "trots" under every bed.

His recent venture into specific policy analysis--on health care--showed him to be massively uninformed and temperamentally aligned with DLC corporate wolves.

The comments sections show that no one really has a clue what he's talking about, and neither does Opie, to be honest.

The real question is--why does MJS or anybody else out here take this low-comic fop/loon seriously? This blog could be a great resource--the fundamental idea is sound, potentially invaluable--if it weren't tramped on daily by the this bizarre specimen, with the intellectual pretensions--and level of actual intellectual achievement--of, say, Jerry Lewis.


Whew! Is that some kind of praising with faint damn?

No, hce, it's just saying what most people must think about Opie's stuff but are too supine to say. I mean--what an asinine affectation, this comment writing in verse--the key subtext being, "You see, I, Opie, am not merely the austere rationalist master of economic science, but I am also--maybe chiefly--the sensitive artistic type. Oh, the wondrous versatility of me!"

The guy is clearly nuts, a complete fraud, yet so many commenters here draw a long face and pretend to discern all manner of insight and profundity in his unhinged bloviating. It's like those college screenings of Hiroshima, Mon Amour, with the assembled sophomores nodding gravely and raptly at the overweening pretension unspooling onscreen while privately wondering, "When will this crap be OVER?"

Michael Hureaux:

VM, even when people pull in their horns and admit to having thrown dreck at you, you go on namecalling and ratcheting up the crap. You don't seem to have it in you to acknowledge a concession when it's made. So how can there be any real discussion with you?

I offered a "real discussion" with you on productivism, and you fell silent. But you march right up to stir the pot with some personal flaming.

You are a classic hypocrite. My posts are merely responses to Opie's chronic spree of ad hominem invective--nearly all his posts are littered with nasty, bigoted epithtets about "trots" and "greens" and "hysterics"; he coins insulting nicknames like "van dingo" instead of addressing arguments. You have NEVER called Paine on his aggressively bellicose and caustic ad hom assaults--NEVER. Yet one someone rises to call BS on him, your indignation is suddenly roused. And exactly where and when did Paine-in-the-butt ever acknowledge his abusive posting patterns? To the contrary, he compounds them in nearly every comment thread. In this thread alone we have the following:

"trots are monkish folk i think
don't u ???"

"father smiff has his zionics
i my trots"

"father smiff has his zionics
i my trots"(I had not even commented in this thread when Paine started splattering this shit, so once again Paine is initiating the acrimony--something that he does constantly--yet you fail to notice, much less faintly reproach him--or perhaps you notice and don't have the guts to call him on it.)

I have repeatedly documented the fact that Opie has initiated the ad hom ugliness in EVERY thread--I could cite countless instances from other threads, including many in which I did not even make a comment (as was the case here) but it's not worth the bandwidth. My responses simply amount to calling him out on his unending stream of scurrility--and the archives show that his facile, tart, abusive dismissiveness toward other theorists and posters long preceded my recent arrival here.

I have never initiated ad hom attacks on Paine in any thread--but only given him back a well-deserved taste of his own. The fact that so many others on this blog swallow his stream of abuse and condescension without a whimper of protest is a disservice to this blog, which has increasingly become a playground for one man's hypertrophic, bellicose ego.

On the other hand, I have had many polite, productive exchanges with people who are willing to discuss civilly rather than vent their megalomania on the slightest pretext.

I guess your personal biases make Opie's crap smell like roses to you. How else to account for your crass double standard?


Van, you seem to made Owen something of a personal White Whale. But you might want to entertain the idea that others could actually enjoy Owen's idiosyncratic lucubrations. I do, for one.

De gustibus non disputandum, as my grandmother used to say. There are people who like Vivaldi, for example. Nobody is here under duress, and your accusations of cravenness and servility are misdiagnoses.

Recruits for the Pequod don't appear to be numerous, which must be disappointing. But, erm, whale away -- it's a very libertarian blog, in at least one sense of the word.

You write, "But you might want to entertain the idea that others could actually enjoy Owen's idiosyncratic lucubrations. I do, for one."

You have this exactly backwards. I could cite at least a dozen instances in which Opie has flamed me with childish epithets in threads in which I had not yet made a comment--the obsession seems to be his, not mine. And he deploys this catty, malevolent style of discourse against other targets as well--nothing new about that.

As for Opie's "idiosyncratic lucubrations"--the issue is more than one of charming eccentricity. He often dominates threads with his pseudo-oracular rambling--to the point that what might otherwise thrive as a productive discussion degenerates into polite or confused silence in the face of his onslaughts of obscurantism. I think that the blog would be more active and productive if he were to just . . . you know, try to write lucid English sentences like everyone else instead of trying to intimidate with faux profundity in every (broken) line.

But--the blog is your toy. If you enjoy that stuff and think that if makes this a better forum, then, as you say, "De gustibus non disputandum" [sic--you left out the "est"]. But I think you'd have more and better discussions if he were to retreat a bit or at least stop pretending that he is passing down pronouncements from Mount Olympus.

Did you ever wonder how many hundreds or thousands of potential readers of this blog have encountered Opie's ornate opacity everywhere and decided--"no thanks!"?

Michael Hureaux:

VM, I haven't gotten indignant with you yet. I teach high school with urban teens, you can't say anything to me that I haven't heard before. But I think you're a farce, since you want to call names. And you don't even know you are a farce, and that's the funny part.

op is very often full of shit, as you imply, that is the purpose of someone who plays the role of celtic barb, or tribal clown, or for an even more concrete example, the mimes in the city park that shadow people and imitate the way they walk. Do you argue with them, VM?


Oh, Van, now you've got me mad. Correcting my Latin! The nerve!

Actually that's the kind of language Latin is -- you don't need the 'est'. In fact it's a little bit amateurish. Mediaeval, even.

Glad to see you realize that Paine is a bullshitter. But you seem to be quite the bullshitter yourself. First, you claimed, in your previous post, that people had "pull[ed] in their horns and admit[ted] to having thrown dreck at you." Of course, no such admission has ever emanated from Paine. I challenged you to cite an instance of such contrition from Paine, but you've come up empty--so you just made crap this up, like some kind of sleazy mafia lawyer. Lump of bullshit number one.

Then you claim that I "want to call names." I NEVER said or implied such a thing. In fact, I said something quite different--that Paine has poisoned the atmosphere of this blog with HIS chronic name-calling--directed not only to me, with his paranoid/Stalinoid "trot" obsession (including several threads in which I did not particpate), but also with his long-standing practice of coining condescending and/or abusive nicknames for other commenters and/or people on the left with whom he disagrees. I have OBJECTED precisely to this--and made it clear that I NEVER have initiated this tactic, but only held up the mirror to Paine to give him a taste of this own. So that's lump of bullshit number two.

I have not implied that Paine is "full of shit." I have stated it outright and PROVED it, especially on the thread on health care, where I showed just how ill-informed and compromised his blather was on that subject, complete with citations of sources.

But lies are not the only ingredient in your weird stew of malice--you're a coward and a toady. You claim to have known all this time that Paine is largely "full of shit," but you have sat back and swallowed all of it; not only have you never called BS on the guy, you have oozed comradely genial admiration for his crackpot megalomania. So your upbraiding of me is a classic case of selective and hypocritical prosecution--the person who initiated all this, and who has been blighting this blog with it for years, somehow evades the crosshairs of your death-ray aspersions.

As I noted earlier, when I tried to engage you on Baudrillard and productivism, you retreated into silence. When you saw a chance to stoke a flame war, however, you leaped into action--with your compost of lies, distortions, and double standards. Nice job!

It would be nice to think that the public schools attracted teachers of more even temperament and better character.

I defer to your expertise on Latin, and hereby retract my incorrect correction. I only wish that I could have written my retraction in perfect Latin. . . .


Van Mungo, one question -

do you like fish sticks?

Michael Hureaux:

VM, man, you really don't hear anything that's said to you by way of explanation, and that's why posts like this are largely a waste of time. No matter what's said to you, VM, you insist on circling the same old rock. Baudrillard? Productivism? Give me an effing break. You think you're going to create a "left alternative to the democrats", which is the toughest riddle on hand? You ain't ready. You're too thin skinned, too self important, and have too much of a tendency to go nova. If you can't take the tiny, tiny edge Paine has in his ribbing of all of us who post here, or from some of us who decide to jab guys like you to see if you can handle itsy bitsy flack, what are you going to do when the real class enemy starts instigating members of your family and your friends against you? What are you going to do when the FBI kicks in your door? What are you going to do when you can't get your rants into print or onto a regulated internet, oh leader of the people? And if you don't think those things are distinct possiblities if or when any real opposition faction starts gaining political momentum, you ain't worth squat. This political shit is for real, it's not about your purity. It's about figuring out ways to make a way out of no way. If you can't handle that because you can't handle the riddling qualities of language, that's too bad. That's really too bad. But until you do start working in that direction, you're going to be of no use to anyone as an organizer. And that's the truth.

Michael Hureaux, winner of the Unintended Self-Ironist of the Year Award for outstanding achievement in oafish self-parody when, after spewing 2,000 words of addled, sputtering, roiling, dishonest, maniacal vitriol to Van Mungo in the space of twelve hours, tells Van Mungo:

"You're too thin skinned, too self-important, and have too much of a tendency to go nova."


Baudrillard was just a sidebar--you evidently don't have the chops or the knowledge to deal with it, so I will give you an effing break--don't want to humiliate you any further in public.

Paine has no edge in ribbing anybody--he's just a completely nuts gasbag who thinks the only important thing in the world is impressing upon anyone who will listen how impossibly witty and erudite he is. If you think that's just too hilarious after the four thousandth go-round, then . . . you are easily amused indeed.

As for the issue of building a third party--you're right: the best way to deal with that is never to discuss it! Brilliant!

You are just a frothing mad dog, Hureaux. Your posts ooze an almost psychopathic rage and malice. I really don't think you should be anywhere near a classroom--I can think of other institutional settings that would be far more appropriate for you.

Michael Hureaux:

Yeah, well, at least I'm laughing. Now I'm a "frothing mad dog". Is that status below or above let's see, a coward, a hypocrite, a bullshit artist? Hmmm. My wife says I drool when I sleep and she gets tired of rolling over into the cold wet spot on the pillow, so you might have a point. And yes, I am easily amused. I'm not sure that's a problem, but if you really think I need help, I'll see your therapist as well as the one I go to upon occasion. Do you see a therapist? Given your readiness to consign me to the madhouse, I figure you must be a licensed professional. Otherwise, I'm not sure how you could tell so much about my mental condition through some magic ability to read tone and atmosphere through cyberspace.

By the way, "frothing mad dog", uh, wasn't that the phrase Vyshinsky used in sending convicted trotskyites, bukharinites and "wreckers" during the Moscow trial? Lighten up, man. You're on the verge of becoming what you spend so much time hating.

As for my work as a teacher, there are many days when my chops are so bad, I can only agree with your dimissal of my abilities. You are, of course, welcome to come in, observe, and correct the errors I'm making from time to time, I need all the help I can get. Seriously.

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