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Actually Existing Capitalism II

By Al Schumann on Sunday November 1, 2009 09:43 PM

Note: Yves Smith has called the financial services pay arrangement of “heads I win, tails you lose” looting, and has also argued that our form of capitalism is evolving into Mussolini style corpocracy, meaning fascism. But the label most often pinned on the Obama adminstration is socialism.

Socialists, of course, would argue that socialized gain and privatized loss is not socialism, which tries to “distribute income according to need as well as performance”. Indeed, socialists might call it fascism.

But I don’t put much stock in what socialists might label a system, any more than what fascists or corporate looters would label a system. Whatever you call it, if you have corrupt people running the system, you will have a corrupt system.

Why speculate on what socialists might call it? I think I need to start an "Ask A Socialist" service to handle these occasions. Anyway. It's called actually existing capitalism, it's working just the way it's supposed to, and that is the problem.

Comments (26)

Son of Uncle Sam:

"Ask A Soc"- Al, a friend of mine was telling me about how he was approached by a group of Socailists passing out pamphlets, at a concert on friday in Boston. Down near the fens, probably some displaced college youth but does that qualify? If so I'll keep my eye's peeled.

Al Schumann:

I have an unrelenting hostility to college students and pamphlets. The combination makes me ill — in that "where's the Cheka when you really need them?" kind of way. Fens, however, are my kind of thing. So much so that I often shed a few tears when I'm drinking, and brood over my peat collection.

Al Schumann:

Nostalgia is a horrible affliction, Sam, but just thinking about fens reminds me of my old pal, Peter Sphagnum. You can bet he took a lot of teasing when we were kids. It made him mean, and ultimately brought him to a bad end.

People like to say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Peter never took any chances with that... The finance commentators like to use the word "prudential" a lot. That was Peter, poor fellow.

Al Schumann:

Mike, thanks for the set of links. I'm familiar with some of them already and will look over the others. My post was a little snarky, but I do get a lot from Naked Capitalism in spite of the occasional disdain for reds.

Mike Hunt:

I tried to post a range.
Market Skeptics is interested in food production. Some damn scary items there.
Zero Hedge has quite a bit of insider knowledge and a wide range of comment.Plus they have hit someones nerve recently. They must be doing something right.
Mainly what they discuss NEVER will make the main stream. Why rouse the sheeple.

Zero Hedge (at least their comments section) is filling up with Rand-ites. i dont know how that happened...

btw, many of those authors have guest-posted on NC on more than one occasion.

Mike Hunt:

While I see Rand attacked and vilified for her position, no one ever mentions how similar Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion is.
I know the movie barely gets airplay due to the strong anti-union message.

Phil Ochs saw the hypocrisy and creeping Fascism of " Liberals".
Artist: Ochs Phil
Song: Love Me, I'm a Liberal
Album: There But for Fortune

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I'm glad the commies were thrown out
of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
as long as they don't move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I read New republic and Nation
I've learned to take every view
You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I'm almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I'll send all the money you ask for
But don't ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Jello Biafra modernized those Lyrics.
" Jello Biafra Love Me, I'm A Liberal lyrics"
I cried when they shot John Lennon
Tears ran down my spine
And I cried when I saw "JFK"
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X and Ice-T had it coming
They got what they asked for this time

So love me, love me, love me
I'm a liberal

I go to pro-choice rallies
Recycle my cans and jars
I'll honk if you love the Dead
Hope those funny grunge bands become stars
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far


I cheered when Clinton was chosen
My faith in the system reborn
I'll do anything to save our schools
If my taxes ain't too much more

And I love blacks and gays and Latinos
As long as they don't move next door


Rush Limbaugh and the L.A.P.D.
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand where they're at
Arsenio should set them straight
But if Neigborhood Watch doesn't know you
I hope the cops take your name


Yeh, I read the New Republic(an)
Rolling Stone and Mother Jones too
If I vote it's a Democrat
With a sensible economy view
But when it comes to terrorist Arabs
There's no one more red, white and blue


Once I was young and had an attitude
Stickers covered the car I drove in
Even went on some direct actions
When there weren't rent-a-cops to be seen
Ah, but now I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in


Mike Hunt:

Ok, ok my last Phil Ochs post.
I doubt anyone will ever write anything like this for Barky.
Really hearing these lyrics and comparing with todays bailouts illustrates a massive change in attitude.

Phil Ochs - The Ballad Of U.s. Steel
See the man with the glasses, his name is roger (?)
He went to see the president, say "hello" and rush out (?)
"i got to tell you we need a small price rise"
But honest john just looked at him with ice cold steely eyes
U.s. steel won't be stealing anymore
Jfk come to life and close the door
They shovel slag on the public's back
Inflation raced down the track (?)

Jfk paced up and down, he was very ill at ease
Said "my daddy told me they're a bunch of sobs
This follow the leader pricing is cake with too much icing
Adam smith is turning over if this is free enterprising"

Then kennedy conference it was seen all over the land
The spirit of the roosevelts was once again in command
With the public on his side, well he finally turned the time
And william buckley almost comitted suicide

Peter Ward:

I agree with Mike re: liberals. However self-styled leftists leave about as much to be desired. I think the quality of commentary on LBO-Talk provides a fair sample.* And these are sophisticated intellectuals who see through capitalism and the Democratic Party and so on (or a least affect to in certain company).

I think a serious movement is almost certainly going to have to be the product of those suffering standing up and refusing to take it any more. In the US I think it will probably in labor, since almost all of us are either exploited or can't get decent paying work at all, where a robust movement will start.

*Discussions range from quantifying the hipness of Zizek to the superiority of being a left-intellectual over a redneck to intricacies of the Polanski affair, as our government bombs human beings into oblivion.
The left for their part are still to hung up on stylistic considerations (apart from sheer cowardice) and their contribution will have to come later.

Mike Hunt:


To modify your post a bit there is a "real" Liberal and then there are "faux" liberals. Just as there are "real" conservatives and "faux" conservatives.
Both real versions have more in common than in difference. With personal freedom being at the top of the list.
The problem is we rarely see the real Liberals. Sure we had George Carlin. But he is gone.
We have Nader but he has been so marginalized by the PTB he is virtually dead.
What we need are Huey Newtons and Abby Hoffmans. We need Tim Learys and Ken Keseys. We need a Woodie Guthrie or Phil Ochs.
We need an Emma Goldman.
What will happen is an internet populism. But that will be open for destruction the same way Pat Buchanan was sent to destroy the Reform Party.
Who knows maybe Jesse Ventura will team with some Naderite and offer true choice.

Mike Hunt:

Just how predictive was this?
RoboCop (1987)

Detroit - in the future - is crime ridden, and run by a massive company. The company have developed a huge crime fighting robot, which unfortunately develops a rather dangerous glitch. The company sees a way to get back in favour with the public when a cop called Alex Murphy is killed by a street gang. Murphys body is reconstructed within a steel shell and named Robocop. The Robocop is very successful against criminals, and becomes a target of supervillian Boddicker.

After Omni Consumer Products (OCP) announced that it bought out the Detroit police department, the department decides to go on strike. Alex Murphy, gets transferred from Metro South to the West. He and his partner, Anne Lewis, track down a group of criminals led by Clarence Boddicker. Unfortunately, Murphy was killed by Clarence's gang. Bob Morton, one of OCP's employees, transforms Murphy's corpse into Robocop, to compete with another employee Dick Jones' ED-209. Robocop's tests are successful. Unfortunately, Robocop rediscovers his memories (when he was Alex Murphy), and now knows he has to find and arrest Clarence Boddicker. He realizes that Clarence is working for Bob Morton's competition Dick Jones. Now, Robocop must stop both Clarence and Dick Jones

In this week's print edition of TIME, I write about one of the most striking things I noticed after arriving in Detroit two months ago: neighborhood private security patrols. In recent years, Detroit's financial crisis has forced the city to cut its police force by 25%, to roughly 3,000 officers. So the force is understandably overwhelmed dealing with escalating violent crime across a large territory. Rather than fleeing the city, residents of some relatively upscale neighborhoods have hired private security patrols.


as usual
nice meme snaps
even better taxidermy super Al

seems our peter now calls on the job class to liberate itself
having enough of the epicene pinko's at father smiffs favorite
pink-borg site

pink-borg owen ??

yes where nearly random unit action
and a few shrewdly collective ID
type demon doors
leads to a reliably tepid caldron
from much one pours
out one's daily serving of soup
no matter the kind or variety
the soup's always goldie locks "just right"
at LBO -schlock


mr hunt

your 20 segment poli-econ-link-a-pod
looks tempting
but only tempting

i'll have none of it
Al is a great white hunter
let him stalk the wild amphiboly

for me ... in this age of infotainment
i subsist on as little raw imput
of new matter as possible

give me ten more stomachs i say
and one tenth the coarse fodder

and that
goes as much for meme-o tainers
as it does for the info brands

let me wax didactical here:

since that jacobean court sycophant
lord ha ha bacon
a priori deduction has been
too often
and too widely
by us hapless victims
of an early and smug
anglo-ideolitic water boarding

and add to that
a healthy ration of facile
pragmatic syncretism
and well...
ecce the wallow
since dewey it's been
one long trunk to tail parade
of fact and figure stuffed

and what with the free market in wizardry
why the cacaphony only further dulls
the ear for carefull quiet minimal means
analytic thought

i loathe small is beautiful sisters and brothers
except in data bases
and meme menageries

I am PWOG:

And I love blacks and gays and Latinos
As long as they don't move next door

Or become president.


Mike Hunt:


The magical negro (sometimes called the mystical negro or magic negro) is a supporting, often mystical stock character in fiction who, by use of special insight or powers, helps the white protagonist get out of trouble. The word negro, now considered by many as archaic and offensive, is used intentionally to suggest that the archetype is a racist throwback, an update of the "Sambo" and "savage other" stereotypes.[1] Spike Lee popularized the term, deriding the archetype of the "super-duper magical negro" in 2001 while discussing films with students at Washington State University and at Yale University.[2][3]

The magical negro is a subset of the more generic numinous negro, a term coined by Richard Brookhiser in National Review[4]. The latter term refers to saintly, respected or heroic black protagonists or mentors.


I am PWOG:

Richard Brookhiser in National Review

Now there's a real leftist.

There used to be a cliche that white people in the north didn't care how high a black person rose, as long as he didn't get too close. And that white people in the south didn't care how close a black man got as long as he did't get too high.

It was Hillary's turn goddammit.

/Bill Clinton

I guess you'll have to be Dixie and I'll be New England.

I am PWOG:

OK. I'll stop trolling you guys now.

The election is tomorrow and I've got to get up and vote for Corzine.

My last post, honest. Christie's probably going to win and I'm going to be too depressed to do any more trolling.

A coworker told me yesterday that:

a.) She was voting for Christie

b.) She thought that illegal Mexican immigrants should be murdered at the border.

That's the real world I live in. Hopefully you guys will bring your revolution soon.


And I love blacks and gays and Latinos
As long as they don't move next door

Or become president.

The belief that a man's character can be judged by his skin color is a trait shared by Obama's supporters and detractors both. It is outdone only by those who think a vagina trumps skin color, unless of course the vagina in question belongs to Cynthia McKinney, who is apparently too far to the left to qualify as a woman or a black in the Dembot identity politics sweepstakes.

It was Hillary's turn goddammit.

/Bill Clinton

Why you sexist, gynophobic Hillary hater, you! Maybe you would be happier with JOHN MCCAIN as president. Maybe we should give BUSH 4 more YEARS!!!! You're all in favor of having a woman in your BED but GOD FORBID!!!!! one should be PRESIDENT!!!!!

This is almost enough to make me go out and vote for NADER!!!! but I am no FOOL so I will show YOU by voting for SARAH PALIN!!!!!

P.S. You can't make this shit up.

Al Schumann:

Mike and Owen, I agree with you both.

All the Dewey-reading liberals wanted to be the next Ralph Nader at one time, back when he was a young, handsome living tribute to the liberal merit system. Those were good times for establishment meliorists and liberal rationalists, the strong influence of crackpot realists notwithstanding. The wingers couldn't get their shit together. The old left was coopted or marginal and the New Left was, well, the New Left. Liberal meliorists seeking power had it good. But that started to founder when Humphrey oozed into the nomination. When McGovern ran, panic-stricken liberals flailed around for something that could cover the dissonance between their public support for liberalism and their shame-ridden votes for Nixon. They started by belittling and then vilifying their reform wing. They developed their own fatuous dolchstosslegende, indicting the reformers, and they've stuck with the same basic line ever since.

All that's left of the liberal reform establishment are some marketing consultancies, run by ex-reds, and a gaggle of pwogs playing the sad mind games Sean so aptly ridiculed — ironically, games cribbed from the wingnut tactical ball-grabbing chapbooks. Some of the actual reformers are still around, of course, if getting a bit long in the tooth.

Ah, McKinney. I have a buddy who blogs liberally and, in the process, has suffered almost every manner of right-wing jaggoff you can imagine camping out in his backyard-- sometimes on a semi-permanent basis. He will tolerate all manner of ugly sentiments from these people, so long as they're couched "civilly." But McKinney gives him the willies because she went on some talk show where the host was mean to Jews. I've thought of explaining to him how much this says about liberals and what manner of political animal their "tolerance" really is tailored to. Then I think... nah, not worth it. These futile debates grow passe, but a cold beer never loses its allure.

Mike Hunt:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
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. Surely so
revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

— WB Yeats's "Second Coming"as first printed in 1920

Mike Hunt:

I'm blatantly stealing this from a Zero Hedge poster in the Stimulus 2.0 thread.
I think Rand nailed it.

Thanks Sancho. May I add, from Ayn Rand:

"When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed...

"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper... Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'"

...End the Fed.



---to quote a great man
mr E Kennedy
in the movie 'mad wenesday'---

"you arouse the artist in me "

if you'd like to exchange views on credit money

here's my e-mail



"so long as they're couched "civilly." "

sign of a prig always a tell
scratch hard enough on that civility spot
and a main frame
liberal behind
will rotate into view
poosibly cut a fart or two
much fun

Well, ya' know, op. Whatever makes 'em happy over there. Everyone's entitled to shape their space the way they want it. Blogs are like neighborhood bars that way. It just got tiresome to me after a while, so I stopped going.

If I wanted to waste whatever's left of my life in a futile struggle for approval from those incapable of offering it (except maybe on the end of a fishing line), I'd go to graduate school. :p

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