Friday, September 19, 2008

Life in the USSA

Dateline --Cheneygrad, DC, September 19, 2015

Today in the United Soviet States of America, we celebrate the 7th Anniversary of the Glorious Achievement of the Stealth Revolution. Marking the day that the shadow government led by Chairman Cheney saw the fruits of their sabotaging labor blossom into the world's first entirely peaceful Socialist takeover of a major Capitalist country, we pause each September 19th to reflect upon the genius that made such a historical achievement possible.


Pageants throughout our great Motherland will commemorate the Week of Surprise, in which not only did Chairman Cheney's furtive policies finally cripple the evil capitalist financial system in one fell swoop, but our Glorious Leader took advantage of the pending chaos to spend billions of dollars nationalizing the
Peoples International Group (formerly the American International Group [AIG]). From sea to Soviet sea today, children will re-enact the Freedom Mortgage March, commemorating how Chairman Cheney boldly raided the treasury to free the People from the shackles of the evil McMansion Bank Masters who had enslaved them.

There had been concern that two of the day's most popular closing events might not take place this year. The annual Fireworks Celebration (a yearly gift from our sister nation, the People's Republic of China) was possibly going to be cancelled due to growing concern over China's continual push toward the free market system, but after intense diplomatic urging by Northern Korea, the USSA relented and the celebration is back on. There was suspence as well after it was learned that Hugo Chavez, host of the Annual Straight-faced Reading of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations Competition, might not be able to attend (it just wouldn't be as funny without "Uncle Hugo" making faces behind the contestants). In a last-minute reshuffle of some G8 meetings he was supposed to chair, though, he announced today he will once again be able to participate.

Consider this an open thread on the state of the economy.

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46 Comments:

Blogger George said...

Don't worry, Be Happy.

9/19/2008 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

We are potentially in the middle of a world wide financial meltdown. I am an usually optimist but it is the most threatening financial event since the 1929 depression or the 1974 oil crisis.

So, Expect the money guys to do whatever is necessary to prevent it from happening. Central banks are currently pouring money into the financial systems world wide in order to alleviate the freeze up in the system. They will change the rules where needed, print and spend any amount of money necessary in order to get the beast under control.

I think it's going to work, the markets are up 7% in Europe as I write this.

For the art world, maybe there will be a reprieve, it's hard to tell just yet

FYI, I also write a blog on finance.

9/19/2008 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Brandon Juhasz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/19/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Brandon "pay me via contract employee, therefore I can rightfully not pay my taxes"

LOL, it doesn't quite work that way, your employer has to file a form 1099 the the IRS, and they will come after you.

9/19/2008 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Brandon Juhasz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/19/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

This post is will surely be a classic, it needs music-no an opera!

9/19/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Julie Sadler said...

OMG! This was such a well-penned fantasy post! Good deal Ed!!! I needed a good laugh on this rather Black Friday.
After camping quietly and painting in the Adirondacks for 4 days, I came back to a crashing Wall St. and my daytime employer is laying people off.
The whole scene is so maddening. I hate the frustration that I feel inside at my inability to do anything about all this. I am assuming most people are getting pissed at all the craziness.... At what point will the steam be vented??

9/19/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger mondotrasho said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/19/2008 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Hagler said...

Well written. People tend to forget that the "neo-conservatives" who run the Republican Party are actually a bunch of Trotskyites.

9/19/2008 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Hagler said...

On a more depressing note, I read a good post recently on how the Evil Empire can use the ongoing socialist takeover of (even more of) the economy as a weapon to bludgeon other countries into submission:

Government Takeovers: Another Weapon, and a Truly Fearsome One

9/19/2008 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chaney is a openly avowed fascist, as he has often claimed that force can and he does, change history. He is creating monopolies, not a competitive market, taht his friends can run. Much as Hitler did after making a deal with Prussian industrialists.

And whilte facists and communists are so different they are the same, both extremes that circle back to touching one another politically, except private ownership is reserved for the rich oligarchy, versus a built in oligarchy in the state.

And that rich oligarchy is what patrons the art markets, witness London three days ago.

9/19/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Anybody who thinks the current economic crisis was engineered to serve some Machiavellian purpose is giving our inept leaders way too much credit.

What is occurring is a massive failure of government to "promote the general welfare" by taking the appropriate action to reduce the systemic risk in the financial sector, against problems which were known to exist well in advance of the first banking failures.

Worse, I am willing to suggest that the avoidance of any intervention by the Republican administration occurred as a conscious decision made in order to retain the support of the financial sector in the forthcoming election.

What is occurring now is a panic response on the part of this administration to a problem which is so totally out of control, it can no longer be contained by the normal regulatory or financial actions. The problem is extraordinarily serious and we can expect more extraordinary responses in the next couple of months.

Vote the bastards out of office.

Go with Obama.

9/19/2008 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Republicans talk and talk about how the market will take care of itself. The hypocrisy here, with no admission of failure to regulate, is stunning.
The fact that government has taken so much control is pointless. Unless Congress regains control over our currency we are the mercy of the Federal Reserve System.
Where is Anthony 'the originalist' Scalia on the power of Congress "to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;"

Republicans, come out and plaaayyeeeayyyaaa. Your ideology is bankrupt.

9/19/2008 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It goes without saying that your friends of friends probably all feel the same. I find the pro-Obama e-mails I get from my friends really silly, I'm already in agreement. As are the other hunderd on their e-mail list.

So how is everyone on this board going to try to win over the McCain supporters over to the Obama side in the states that aren't Obama supporters?

I was thinking of cold calling people in PA to get the unregistered registered.

9/19/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

I wish there was an adopt-a-republican strategy for Democrats to teach Republicans about things like evolution, semiotics, feminism, and explain pesky concepts like metaphor and interpretation.

I am starting to understand the emotional context of the Civil War.

9/19/2008 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

I also think I just an insane email to the editor at the New York Times. No, I did. I may have called for every single official in the Federal Government to be hauled out of office and sent to live in Iraq.
Things are not business as usual right now...

9/19/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I still think people are going to vote their pocketbook and that works against McCain. The present financial turmoil only makes it worse.

When was the last time you worried about the safety of your bank?

When was the last time you heard the talking heads seriously suggesting the possibilities of another 1929 style depression?

The Democrats just need to keep the focus on the major issues, the economy and healthcare.

9/19/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Dude,

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/09/19/tent.cities.ap/index.html?eref=rss_latest


When was the last time you heard about tent cities!!!!

9/19/2008 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

spot on, add 'em to the list

9/19/2008 05:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link William, tent cities. What's next?

9/19/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George is right this time, about healthcare and the economy. The problem has been going on for decades, starting with the globalization of world markets. Money has been in a continual shell game, moving about with no accountability. A huge bubble grew, as no one could actually say how much actual liquidity we had, what the true assets were worth. And the speculation ran over any sense of responsibility.

The subprime housing was just the tip of the bubble, the weakness that burst the whole. This will take years, and with the huge budget deficit we run, far greater than even Reagan could have dreamt of, this could be disasterous. As we print money to cover it up, and inflation is about to run rampant even during a recession, we risk a full fledged depression. The homeless have been growing for months, I see it everyday.

This was not because of some SEC chairman, as McPalin wants to scapegoat. He is just part of the whole environment of reckless greed, one all are a part of. Unregulated, unaccountable, unintellgent, avarice at its worst. Todays rebound means nothing, the higher it goes, the lower it will fall.

About 9k on the Dow will be the time to buy, unless it really collapses. This is just a bandaid, ready to peal off as the blood forces its way out. Rotten, festering, diseased. It will take time to heal, if we all admit our failings, and change our ways.

And the art world is among the worst violators of sense and decensy. It has encouraged decandence, BEEN decadence itself. Focused on vanities, games, self involvment, rather than considering the whole, and looking for usefulnes and purpose. Art has failed, miserably. Time to start dealing with reality, our field, in its totality and making sense of it. Time to be of use to humanity once more. Now is the time.

9/19/2008 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

9/19/2008 06:39:00 PM

Go to the Creative Time Democracy show, and speak out. There will be platforms. You are right, and whether or not I properly made my point with the work, you just articulated why I make art.

9/19/2008 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

A couple of points.

I do believe the economic rescue plan will work. Most likely the recession will continue into next year but there will be no 1929 depression. (I was only noting that it's rare when it makes the mainstream media.) I disagree with anon's (6:39) assessment about the causes and his conclusions, but I don't think it's worth discussing here.

I firmly disagree with anon's conclusions about the decadence of the art world. It reads like the typical complaint made by those disappointed that art took a unexpected path at some earlier point time. Art typically does this but I'm also aware that a lot of people might agree with him.

None the less, there are also those who supported the present direction art has taken and the culture has validated this decision by supporting what they considered the stronger artworks. Survival of the fittest.

9/19/2008 08:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And they are about to die, as did their grandparents Gerome and Meissonier. Lately dug up from the dead because our world became a mirror image of the Gilded Age that led to the depressions of the late 19th century, and WWI.

There IS no money out there, it has been a shell game, a massive check kiting scheme where the actual wealth of companies, and even nations, has been hidden. And so speculated on til the bubble finaly burst, something was going to trigger it, it always does. History shows we make the same mistakes, over and over, as in our arrogance we think we have overcome physics in our latest "new economy". A giant lie, and none bigger than this one, not since the death of pure Capitalism in 1929.

We tried to resusitate that ghost, deny the hybrid of capitalism and socialism we had created worked, that just cutting taxes, and not spending, would make companies stronger, when it made them weaker. Cutting taxes for profit is NOT good business, is is the work of bad businessmen, who cant compete in a fair and equal setting. Weakness, and it has overcome us. And reflected in the absurdities that just got worse and worse since the advent of contemporary art, and its reliance on appearances, not substance.

Thanks alot.

9/19/2008 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

9/19/2008 08:54:00 PM

Well, despite your protests anon, I'm certainly not going to quit making art, everything is political. I hope no one gives into rank cynicism and gives up whatever hope of freedom that art and love hold.
Even that French bastard (a term of endearment) Houellebecq understands that in the face of impending nothingness.

Now with your recognition of the the cyclical nature of humanity versus the myth of progress, what's your next move?

9/19/2008 09:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no myth of progress, it comes about, and after this mess is dealt with, and cream rises to the top, after removing the scum, we will leap forward again, til the scum comes again take the cream for their own greed, it is the way of Man. As the masses become diverted in their own desires.

But, we are incredibly adaptable, and will take care of this, in time. There are no easy fixes to decades of economic irresponsibility. Then, the major problems begin, alternate fuels source, dealing with the shortages of commodites, read food, achanging environemnet from global warming, where some parts of the globe decline and others get better. So mass movements of peoples.

I AM an optimist, once we get rid of the scum. It will take working as a whole, again WE, not I, US, not me. A Marshall plan of the industrialized, technological world, as effeciency will be our motto. And the waste of greed, and the last forty years, an old nightmare. Quality, substance, simplicity, grace. Virtue will regain the day, for awhile, when the evils of selfishness and avarice will again arise. Its a dance of good and evil, but still, little by little, progress, can, and has, been made.

Pick your side, now, and work. Now is the time.

9/19/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And art hs a key place in this, as it did before. It halps people to visualize the world, our universe, and our place in it. But it msut be an art of truth, that shows the bad and the good, the ugly and the beautiful, vices and virtues. Not this absurd canival of sin we have been in. Not, nto of the bibilical god, but of what is good for mankind. Waste is a sin, and that is exactly what we have done, when we should have been working on the real problems facin us, instead mired in oour own filth, beause we denied it existed as the plumping backed up.

Go make art, but not for you. How, IS up to you, but it must relate to others lives, and learned from our combined past. Build on our culture, not deny its virtues, and claim to be above it as you wish to be gods yourselves, too absurd to be taken seriously, but evil in its results. As you now see. Art is needed now more than ever. Get to work.

9/19/2008 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

nice. I can't wait for Frau Palin to nationalize oil then we'll really be "blessed" and realize our true destiny. The question is what militia should I join? The Club for Growth Raiders or the Values Voters Death Squad?

9/20/2008 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger jeff f said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/20/2008 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

You can't put 100% of the blame on the Republicans for this mess.
It started with Carter, Reagen made it worse. Clinton added to the problem and Bush, well we see what his government has done.
There is plenty of blame to go around for both parties.

Do your research, if you do you will see that Barney Frank should resign as the current Chairman of the Financial Services Committee for his involvement with Fannie and Freddie.

What this proves to me anyway, is that free unregulated markets do not work.

I hope you all are good at selling apples and own a good tent.

Margo Channing once said, "Fasten your seat belts it's going to be a bumpy night"

How right she was...

9/20/2008 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Hitesh Patel said...

It's very good information about films.
for more information about FESTIVAL
thanks

9/20/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Is there any truth to the rumor that Damien Hirst has bought Bank of America?

9/21/2008 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

"I am starting to understand the emotional context of the Civil War"

At the rate we are going as a country that may very well happen. Unfortunately, it is within reach due to some of the issues the country is split on... like the ethics of abortion and the like/dislike of religion within the context of law. Issues that fuel emotive responses from both sides of the issue... mostly online.

Luckily, we have all been conditioned not to be openly vocal about what we believe in. By that I mean that the same people who rant about issues online probably don't do the same offline. Most people avoid that kind of conflict offline.

In other words, it is easy for people to be a lion online only to take a paper tiger stance in person. If that balance were to shift I think we may all be in trouble.

Hate is all around. People are getting fierce with their views... at least on the inside. Proof is all around. Like people who dislike someone just because they are a Republican or just because they are a Democrat... or just because they have religion or don't. Extreme changes can crack the foundation of our unity.

With certain issues people want all or nothing as far as law is concerned. You see it on forums and blogs all the time. The problem is that in most cases that means half of the population would lose their voice. When the voice is lost all you have left is to raise your fists. Hopefully that can be prevented.

Yes, I'm probably going to have another Mad Max inspired dream tonight.

9/21/2008 03:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Sometimes I think the whole world is going crazy
The shit that I see don't cease to amaze me
I get baffled everytime I try and suss it
And now I've had enough, so excuse me please, fuck it

(Dizzy Rascals)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff80PX7C2bI

9/21/2008 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Nearly my entire adult life, having lived in Europe for a few years in countries with much more Socialism woven in through their Capitalism, I have felt like banging my head against a wall when trying to explain the value of such balance. Zillions of gigabytes wasted on conservative blogs trying to get folks to see that a little Socialism goes a long way in moving the entirety of society forward, only to have Adam Smith-style free market purism shoved back in my face.

It drives me to distracion that the same folks who would mindlessly bang the drum about how evil Socialism was at its core would rush to embrace it the moment their ass is on the line.

The underlying sentiment in such thinking is a mindboggling paradox based on nearly inhuman inability to emphathize. "Why should my tax dollars go to help welfare mothers...why should I be forced to pay for that person's Social Security...why is my money not entirely mine to do with as I see fit...I earned it...I inherited it...I married into it...it's mine." This self-centered anthroplogical retardation goes hand in hand with lip service to personal responsibility. When the tide turns and they become the disadvantaged, though, all of a sudden a handout is their birthright.

All the while, a little bit of Socialism tied to a healthy skepticism guiding regulation policy would probably make becoming a gazillionaire a little more difficult but would also serve to help the nation avoid the extreme spikes that leave so many individuals destroyed in their wake.

Let things stablize and let the "not with my money" crowd feel just a little more satisfied, though, and they're right back at their delusional mindset, insisting that fortune entitles them to arrogant ambivalence and that short-sighted greed is their perogative.

It doesn't help when you elect as president someone who believes the "general welfare" he has sworn to protect only obligates him to look out for the oil companies' best interests, but what the hell...soon he'll have time to go neighborhood to neighborhood, knocking on doors to finally sit down and have that beer with all those middle and working class Americans who thought that this fantasy alone was reason to vote for the incompetent fool.

9/21/2008 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Ann giving it another try for us said...

Edward, I've heard that some people completely agree with your sensibility as articulated above. i.e. force people into a perceived "others" shoes and if "lucky" they will become something other than an incompetent fool.

I wish I could be a racist, however society will not let me even in its permissive "adaptability."

9/21/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

force people into a perceived "others" shoes and if "lucky" they will become something other than an incompetent fool.

You're mixing too unrelated ideas here, IMO, Ann. Bush's incompetence is not related to his inability to empathize, but rather his incuriosity.

I do believe, however, that being disadvantaged (or reminding oneself to remember what it felt like when you were) goes a long way toward making the "it's my money" mentality feel selfish and ungrateful. That's all before we even get to whether or not the "it's my money" mentality makes for good economic policy or not.

You last sentence makes no sense to be at all.

9/21/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

"You last" s/b "your last"

9/21/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Staff Brandl said...

WONDERFUL post!

9/21/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Whose Bush said...

Which Bush? Seriously.

I really don't even know if Bush exists.

were we talking about talking about US & them?

As far as unrelated, Ed I presume you are familiar with systems enough to enter into Hairy territory.
e.g. Something one perceives as being unfamiliar rather than unrelated.

9/21/2008 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

uh...still confused.

9/21/2008 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous driver of Ann said...

I've been here before

9/21/2008 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

I'm fine as long as I have my wine. :)

9/21/2008 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Good comment Ed.

There is a fundamental flaw which capitalism is being forced to reconcile. At the extremes of price behavior the normal functioning of free markets becomes distorted by fear or greed.

In another era we might have been able to live with the excesses that result but the world economies are so interconnected that this is no longer an option.

It needs to be dealt with in order to prevent the condition we find ourselves in today.

9/21/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Mixing Socialism with Capitalism:

Well, France has a good model. We in Canada have a system with flaws but isn't so bad.


In a socialist system, most jobs are paid by the government. So those who don't work and are on welfare cost less to society. When someone is working, they want to be rewarded for that work and paid accordingly. People don't realize it, but, working people are actually much more costing to a society than welfare people, living on minimum needs.

The model of working over 20 hours per week in contemporary society is a fallacious model. People shouldn't need to work that much in order to survive. We have brains, and we invent technologies that are supposed to help us work less. The problem is that we use the working model as a new form of slavery. Those with money know very well that making money and working are very separate things (though working CAN bring you money if know how to attract it).


In Canada one of the best job paid by the government is a doctor (the
hospital guy, no the phd), yet we are not able to produce enough of them. Being a doctor in Canada is not a very inviting situation because you rapidly become a slave of the working hours that you must fill up. Some people don't want that much money if they won't find the time to find life profitable.


In the meantime, when you live in a place where everyone is lazy, you must think 7 times that you have all what you need, because if you forgot something at the shop, it closes at 5pm and doesn't open for the next 2 days. Here I'm thinking about life at the chalet. I'm pretty doomed if I get sick there. I wish we had the doctor-comes-to-your-house model as in France, but it's remarkable that in that country, doctors actually drive themselves to people's houses. In USA with all the free loose guns it would be way too dangerous.


There is a price to pay when you loose civilian trust.


Cedric Caspesyan

9/21/2008 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed

Yevgeniy Fiks has gone to your head!!

9/22/2008 12:04:00 AM  

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