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Wealth Bondage, Thank God, is Too Big to Fail

Glenn Greenwald in Salon:

What is more intrinsically corrupt than allowing people to engage in high-reward/no-risk capitalism -- where they reap tens of millions of dollars and more every year while their reckless gambles are paying off only to then have the Government shift their losses to the citizenry at large once their schemes collapse? We've retroactively created a win-only system where the wealthiest corporations and their shareholders are free to gamble for as long as they win and then force others who have no upside to pay for their losses....

The people on whose behalf these schemes are being implemented -- the true beneficiaries -- are the very same people who have been running and owning our Government -- both parties -- for decades, which is why they have been able to do what they've been doing without interference....

If there is any "pitchfork moment" -- an episode that understandably would send people into the streets in mass outrage -- it would be this.Nobody really even seems to know how much of these losses "theGovernment" -- meaning working people who had no part in the profits from these transactions -- is undertaking virtually overnight but it's at least a trillion dollars, an amount so vast it's hard to comprehend, let alone analyze in terms of consequences. The transactions are way too complex even for the most sophisticated financial analysts to understand, let alone value. Whatever else is true, generations of Americans are almost certainly going to be severely burdened in untold ways by the events of the last week -- ones that have been carried out largely without any debate and mostly in secret.

....what's probably most amazing of all is the contrast between how gargantuan all of this is and the complete absence of debate or disagreement over what's taking place. It's not just that, as usual, Democrats and Republicans are embracing the same core premises ("this is regrettable but necessary"). It's that there's almost no real discussion of what happened, who is responsible, and what the consequences are. It's basically as though the elite class is getting together and discussing this all in whispers, coordinating their views, and releasing just enough information to keep the stupid masses content and calm.

"The little people must eat my losses, Sweetie. There is no alternative. It is a Free Market, for sure, but Wealth Bondage is too big to fail, so Government does what it must to keep things under control. Now, as I cash in my golden parachute for managing Fannie and Freddie, I must go talk with Randy Ottinger about my personal journey from Success to Significance. He is speaking at the Harvard Club. What a sweet boy. A bit naive, but in a good way, if you know what I mean." So Candidia, my generous patron and goddess of the Free Market System was chortling, as we drove back in the limo from meeting with Hank Paulson, her Faithful Steward and Savior of Wealth Bondage.   

Obama Loves Wealth Bondage

Naomi Klein on Obama's Chicago Boys:

Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC, "Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market." Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed 37-year-old Jason Furman to head his economic policy team. Furman is one of Wal-Mart's most prominent defenders, anointing the company a "progressive success story."

Que Pasa?

Mr. Matrullo reflects on  Reinhold Niebuhr. To see the mote in another's eye, but not the beam in your own is an ethical failing. For that matter so is being blind to the murders traditionally committed by those in your station in life.  What is going on? Best not to see or say, lest you be the one to whom bad things happen in secret with nothing said and no appeal. How well Americans will adapt themselves to these blindnesses and insights remains to be seen. So far we are doing very well, I think, at least in the not seeing what is going on area of our social obligations. Philanthropy helps too in that regard being so polite and inoffensive. Leadership in selective attention is provided by our media. Who can blame us for not seeing what is really going on?

The Silent Laughter of the Tomb (On Good Manners in Philanthropy)

Skull_and_bones Good manners divides social space into "the acceptable" and the "unacceptable." What is unacceptable may, or even must, be done, but must not be discussed. It must be done, if it be done, in secret. What must be done in secret and not discussed includes the lower bodily functions, such as defecation, burping, micturation, and copulation. In the body politic necessary but unmentionable functions include reintegration of enormous drug profits into the legitimate economy. Also necesssary but unmentionable, or at least permitted if done in secret and not discovered, are fraud, cronyism, injustice, lawslessness, and self-dealing in high places. Where light and dark sides come together are in Wealth Bondage, in a place like Skull and Bones, where those in charge meet like pirates running the ship of state to privatize (aggrandize to themselves) public goods. Where also light and dark meet is in the long and honorable tradition of the Fool - the king's mini-me, a comedic, strutting, piratical captain of the ship of fools, with an enameled stars and stripes on one lapel and an enameled Jolly Roger on the other. In philanthropy, as well mannered as we are, we deal only in the light. And the dark delights itself behind the veil our blindness perpetuates.  So, we must turn the world inside out, before we can turn it upside down.   The change that begins with us is foolishness, mad, obscene, boisterous, not unlike the parties held in the Tombs of Wealth Bondage by our betters raising a skull in a toast to our confusion.  "Here is to all the fools who let us get away with this!" Who, then, is the greater fool? The knave in the tombs laughing at us? Or we prancing about dressed as a motley King, and laughing back? Well, less said the better, I guess. Mum's the word. What happens in Wealth Bondage stays in Wealth Bondage. If anyone asks, deny Wealth Bondage even exists. Act serious and ever so moral and the duped public will never know what pirates they have put in charge of their most precious heritage.  "To good manners and all it must not mention!" 

HeteroTextuality on the Margins of Philanthropy

Dr-Chadwallah-mt.gif  I don't want to take anything away from Phil Cubeta, the Master of Revels here. He is the kind of middle brow straightman that Candidia always picks to act as her feckless flunky and foil. Behind his back she calls him "totally pathetic," and who am I to disagree with she who rules us all. What I do want to protest, though, is my being confined to this Blue Box which always already circumscribes (i.e., from the Latin to "inscribe around") my discourse, reducing its credibility and putting all I write under suspicion, in my case totally undeserved, given my lifelong pursuit of excellence. 

I would also like to point out in my official capacity as Senior Wealth Bondage Fellow in Charge of Hermeneutics with special reference to Hidden Meanings, is that these Blue Boxes produce a kind hernia or involution or rupture in  the sensitive membranes of our shared textuality. It both limns and violates what - yes, following Derrida - I can only call the Hymen separating Gifthub from Wealth Bondage, or Philanthropy in General, from Wealth Systems in General!

That being said, I do not find this particular aporia stimulating or productive. No jouissance to speak of, really. It is all a bit too labored. You call call it post-post-modern if you wish, but it strikes me as Ancient, in fact a throw back to Menippius himself, the Cynic poet who work descends to us via Seneca the Younger, Diogenes, Sterne, Swift, and Wilde, to name a few.

Beyond that, beyond the whole question of Origins (and Origin-ality) this Blue Box forces into the foreground the whole question of Authorial Intent.  Phil is not "inside the Blue Box," nor is the content here subject to his control. I kiss no one's hand and fawn upon no man, least of all Phil. Thus, what is inside the box exceeds the boundaries of the text that is Gifthub, both inside it and outside it, thereby producing its own heteroglossollalia, if I may be permitted to coin that striking term. 

Who then will stop the endless play of signifiers set in motion by the Blue Box? What Author Function will wrap all within the Horizon of His/Her/Its Intentionality? Beats me, really.

You know what this is like, Tom, it is as if you were reading along in Finnegans Wake and all of a sudden you stumble on a biographical write up on Richard Ellman, Joyce's profound critic, but one who would not write about Joyce until many years later. Now, if Joyce had quoted (proleptically, to be sure) his unborn critic, and had included that quotation inside some kind of Blue Box, would that tend to still the free play of the Signifier, or only make its motions ever more catastrophic to our readerly readings of that writerly text, if you know what I mean? (c.f., Roland Barthes).   

Anyway, as I averred above, it beats me. I hope others will devote their life to this mystery. I have my hands full deciphering the chatter coming in through the phone tap on Gunderson. I am supposed to frame him for the Valerie Plame deal and get him to Gitmo after the hit men on the Freedom Team cut off his clothes, give him a drugged enema, and throw him in chains onto a plane bound for Cuba.  So far, all I have on him is a bunch of  repetititive verbiage about Vision in Philanthropy. But he sounds guilty.  What the hell, under torture, I am sure he will confess to something. I think I will just doctor the evidence and be done with it. The trial will be secret. It will never come back to bite me. I get paid by the job. Every prisoner in the Freedom Gulag raises the stock price of Wealth Bondage Prisons International by $500,000 and I get options. So, Gunderson, kiss Council on Foundations goodbye.

- Dr. Amrit Chadwallah, Adjunct in Charge of Forensic Hermeneutics in Wealth Bondage

Ignore the Blue Box

Just a word, if I may, on a new editorial convention: the Blue Box. For some time now I have been under considerable economic strain. Gifthub has still to reach a breakeven. My personal finances are a shambles. I had one of those subprime loans and they are taking my house.  The repo man from KIVA Micro-Finance has just repossesed my car.  My wife left me and took the kids back to her mother's trailer. The Dumpster thing is no longer a joke. Anyway, my generous patron, Candidia Cruikshanks, CEO of our esteemed sponsor, Wealth Bondage, has been trying to take advantage of my straightened circumstances to get me to  add little advertorials, editorial "Words of Wisdom from Candidia,"  and product placements for Wealth Bondage. As a man of integrity, I said, "No, absolutely not! My reader expect the straight story, not some bs from Wealth Bondage." Well, she pulled my funding, and after sleeping on it, we worked out what I think you will agree is an honorable solution. I will indeed include Wealth Bondage advertorials, and product placements, as well as whatever wisdom Candidia may provide,  inset into Gifthub, but will clearly mark them as such. Hence the Blue Box.

Whenever you see a Blue Box you will know that the content is ported over from my generous patron and esteemed funder. I do not speak for her and she does not speak for me.  You can judge that content for yourself, much as you would an advertisement on tv. Or you may choose not to read this content in the Blue Box. It is up to you as an informed consumer of Wealth Bondage and its anti-type Giftub. Above all, you will know that anything that is not in a Blue Box is pure me. Totally honest. No fakery. No trickery. No tainted content. Nothing Carnivalesque. No dialogism. No Mennipean satire. Just me, in propria persona:  earnest, direct, plainspoken, moderate, well informed, decorous, businesslike, sane, and balanced, like, for example, The NY Times, Philanthromedia, Give and Take or Steve Gunderson

Now, I know from your calls and letters that some readers are offended by the admixture of Dominance and Submission themes in a blog about Wealthy Donors and those who seek Donations, whether or not on their knees.  Whereas Wealth Bondage is, I am told, a disgusting farrago of sexuality, textuality, expose, unwlecome truth-telling and satire, Gifthub is and should remain a moderate and reliable source of objective news on the giving front within the accepted conventions of prime time media.  Gifthub is for a family audience. It should remain inoffensive and wholesome as befits the topic of philanthropy. I totally agree. I believe that the Blue Box should solve your problem and mine too. I get continued funding and all you have to do is look the other way, as you look the other way when ads come on, or when you pass a homeless person on the street, or the newscaster lies in your face, or a presidential spokesperson lies to you, or when your family and friends begin to disappear from the street, all in the name of Freedom. If you can look past all that, Friends, you can ignore whatever Wealth Bondage provides inside the Blue Box.

Seriously, in real life, in a real tv show, or in entertainment, there is no firewall between the sponsors, the funders, the writers, performers, and the stringpullers. Wealth Bondage content and product placement and war footage and think tank thinkers are festooned throughout the prime time news. You even see little Cans of Wealth Bondage Lite in scenes from Sex and the City, placed there by the Wealth Bondage advertising firm.  At Gifthub, I flatly refuse to sell out.  All Wealth Bondage content is quarantined inside the Blue  Box where it can safely be ignored. At no point is the main text outside the Blue Box tainted by Wealth Bondage ownership and editorial control.  I am pure. You are pure. All we have to do, you and I, is to totally ignore any post inside the Blue Box. How cool is that?

Who Has Your Control File, Sweetie?


My my, as Proprietress of Wealth Bondage, and as the Generous Patron whose Passionate Philanthropy makes Gifthub possible, I did find the piece on blackmail for government purposes, cited below quite, interesting and very practical at that.  My, yes, control files on all my little kingpins and queenpins. All the heads of government agencies. CEOs. Media Impressarios. Heads of the Big Charities. The biggest donors. The auditors. The police down to the block level. After what they do in Wealth Bondage, loving each other up, beating each into screaming joy, they had better hope that "what happens in Wealth Bondage stays in Wealth Bondage." 

O! Yes. Why do I  tap all the phones, and monitor all the scene rooms, Sweetie? Because Momma wants to protect you against Terrorists! They might get you, if Momma doesn't keep all your secrets in her little book. 

O my God, you have to laugh.  Congress couldn't be happier passing whatever enabling legislation I want. Plunder is good for America. I am the new Oligarchy! A one woman Russian Mob, but with a fucking Harvard MBA.  Why should Congress  balk, when I have the videos of their trysts with lobbyists in the Wealth Bondage? Well, what goes around comes around. We are all givers here. I give your Elected Represenatives a little freedom to commit their high crimes and misdeamors, and their petty acts of self-dealing, and get laid a lot, and the bigshots in return pledge me absolute fealty.

Maybe Momma will auction her little book of secrets off for charity? Now that would be Transformational Philanthropy for Social change. Ha, ha, ha! O my God. What well-meaning little morons read Gifthub? Let me clue you in. Gifthub is a load of crap. It is a headfake, stupid! I fund it to mislead you and get you working on projects that are totally hopeless and irrelevant!  Sweetie, Gifthub cites only public sources and the official stories provided by public sources.  Trust me on this: If information is public it is not worth shit. The private information is what matters and it is strictly on a need to know basis. And you don't need to know, 'cuz you are a loser who has no chips to play in the big game. Sorry, little ones. You do your pathetic little gifts and Momma will rule the world.

You even think of changing my Ownership Society and I will turn you over to The Forces of Freedom and they will feed your body inch by inch to the piranna is some South American Hell Hole.You think your friends will say word one? Why would they start now, when they have eaten shit since 2001 and said nothing?

Now back to the puppet show you morons mistake for the real world. Gifthub, Gifthub, rah, rah, rah. The world we want. Yada. Yada.You think I am a sockpuppet? And your elected representatives are "real? OMG! (LOL).

Candidia Cruikshanks, CEO of Wealth Bondage: Where America Works and Plays

From Blackmail as a Tool of State Domination: Ukraine under Kuchma by Keith A. Darden, a professor at Yale and Harvard

Blackmail as an informal mechanism of control
Blackmail, as an instrument of state control, relies on three basic elements. The first is a permissive attitude of state leaders toward corruption. In Ukraine, corruption and illegality among the elite were accepted, condoned, and even encouraged by the top leadership, resulting in a general atmosphere of impunity. The second element is extensive state surveillance. Even as the violation of the law is encouraged, the state-or rather the surveillance organs under the control of the president (including the tax ministry, interior ministry, and secret police)-continues to monitor such illegal activities. Using the surveillance organs, the state amasses a stockpile of files and criminal cases that document wrongdoing on the part of officeholders as well as private actors. When compliance with state directives is required, this information is used to blackmail the elite, with payment exacted not in cash but in obedience. The representatives of the power organs are able to present each member of the elite with a file containing compromising materials (kompromat) or evidence of wrongdoing-with the implicit or explicit threat that a sudden decision to enforce the law would lead to the imprisonment of the individual in question. Thus is compliance secured.

If blackmail is insufficient, individuals or groups that openly oppose the policies of the state or seek to usurp the existing leadership suddenly find that the veil of impunity has been lifted. The kompromat files or zagotovki are then made public, and recalcitrant individuals and their organizations immediately find themselves under close scrutiny or prosecution by the tax inspector, the law enforcement bodies, or other state institutions. But as long as consistent compliance with state directives is maintained, the state's role amounts to no more than surveillance, blackmail, and, in some cases, a cut of the proceeds. The mere threat of exposure and prosecution serves to keep the elite firmly under control.

The Great Risk Shift

Economic Policy Institute:

Most Americans are aware that income inequality has increased in the last 30 years. Less well known is that income instability—how much families' incomes fluctuate up and down over time—has also grown substantially. (Via.)

"Fucking morons get what they deserve," was my generous patron's comment, and I guess she is right, really. We all have to learn to be more self reliant, and not expect Wealth Bondage or the Government to take care of us. (I apologize for Candidia's salty Anglo-Saxon English, but correcting her manners would be a Career Limiting Move. My income is precarious enough as it is.)

The Happy Tutor at Council on Foundations

I was attending Council on Foundations, as as honored guest, when to my horror, I saw that the Happy Tutor was on the agenda for the Evening Plenary Session: "Making the Most of Wealth Bondage:  Mastering Social Change Before It Masters You." I see him walk, or really, swagger, in the front door of the Biltmore. I had been afraid he would come naked, his normal business attire, but no, he has on that god-awful white bell bottom leisure suit, with the rayon shirt open to his waist, and those gold chains, or gold-plated chains, over his hairy chest. He has shades on that looked like they had belonged to Sony Bono.  He flashes me a sign with both hands raised high, index fingers and pinky extended - Hook 'em Horns

I follow him into the packed ballroom, acting like we are strangers.  Down the aisle he goes, doing that Chuck Berry air guitar act of his, with the splits, every third chord. By the time, he gets to to the podium, he is wiping his brow with a scarf, like Elvis, "Thank you, that you very much...."  When he starts his lecture, or really it was more like karaoke, the red-jackets were serving the baked Alaska. Within 10 minutes, he had them all on the dance floor. The dowager in the low cut dress was waving her waffled arms, and doing the hokey-pokey. The waiters were doing the monkey with trustees in pin stripes.  Admiral Harlan Proctor, head of the finance committee,  was doing the samba with his daughter, Missy.  Senator Dick Minim (D. MA) was slow dancing with Smoky Joe, Senior Public Relations Counsel for Wealth Bondage. Joe McPatriot, drunk as a skunk, was running around saluting all the flag lapel pins, and there were hundreds. Even Sister Lucy was smiling. She may have taken a vow of silence, but it didn't stop her from tapping her foot. The little kids in their Sunday Best were tearing around the tables throwing water as their parents chased them.  I didn't have the heart to stick around and see what kind of party this all degenerated into. I went back to my room and watched one of those cable movies.

Next morning checking out, there was Tutor, buck naked, dragging a garbage bag he had borrowed from the maid to use as luggage. I asked him how it had turned out. "Phil, he said, it was going good until someone lit the table cloth on the dais on fire. That set off the sprinklers, the police showed up, Missy was arrested for public indecency,  and the Convener got tazed and dragged off in cuffs. They pulled her by her hair all the way down that hall. I think they are trying to bail the two of them out now."  I asked if he had accomplished his objectives. "Yes, he said, "we turned the world upside down pretty good. Do you know that our esteemed Founder, Diogenes, asked to be buried faced down so that that when the world was turned upside down, he would be right side up? Well, the world keeps turning over. This morning the guests were eating their omelets and reading the Wall Street Journal, same as ever. The wait staff was as invisible as ever, and I am out of here.   We don't any of us really want social change, not until the check clears anyway."

The Cynics, the real ones, were actually a serio-comic school of moral philosophers. Serio ludere, "play seriously" was their motto, or so I am told, by Dr. Amrit Chadwallah, Senior Adjunct in Charge of Hidden Meaning, but I wish that foolish tradition had died out for good. The last thing we need is a real Morals Tutor in a field like this. For those of you saw me with the Happy Tutor, forgive me. I do not know the man. Philanthropy is a serious businesses.  I cannot stress enough the importance of being earnest

The Century of Self

4 part BBC Series available on line.  Shows how propaganda, public relations, marketing, and brands in cooperation with psychology, polling, and focus groups have made us who we are, as individuals and as societies. We have highly responsive markets now for goods, services, meaning, politicians, and of course philanthropy.  There is no outside of Wealth Bondage, nor need there be since we express ourselves, and actualize ourselves, best through atomized market choice. We simply have to make the markets more effective, efficient, and responsive to desire.  How many of us in philanthropy are in the thrall of this market-based vision of humanity? Lucy? Sean? Holden? Kevin? Goodnight, sweet children, good night. May throngs of markets sing thee to thy rest!