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For a long, but pretty clear in-language-you-can-understand article on what the present financial crisis is really about, there’s this in the Village Voice.   It gives an in-depth look at where the problems really came from.  The proper conclusion should be to take all these fraudsters and criminals to court, seize their myriad ill-begotten assets, lock ’em up and leave them to fend for themselves in an ordinary run-of-the-mill American prison.  [Note: the USA holds the world’s title for most imprisoned citizens, in plain old numbers, and per capita.  But the real crooks are “in business.”]

This is one of them, John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, who passed out 8 billion in bonuses just after getting a flush of US taxpayer money, and just before selling out to Bank of America, for which he briefly took CEO role.

Thain, 53, is a former head of the New York Stock Exchange and a former chief operating officer of investment bank Goldman Sachs. He had been named head of a wealth management division of the merged businesses of Merrill and Bank of America.

In 2007, Thain topped the list of highest-paid CEOs in American business, with a compensation package valued at $83 million, according to an Associated Press analysis. That included a signing bonus and other enticements that helped lure him from the NYSE to lead Merrill.

CNBC said Thursday that Thain spent $1.22 million redesigning his office — including $35,115 for a “commode on legs” and $1,405 on a parchment waste can — when he became CEO of Merrill Lynch a year ago.

If ours was not a very ill society, this guy would be imprisoned for such crap.  But our current celebrity-glamor-wealth-obsession culture instead tends to stand in awe of this kind of stuff, instead of perceiving it as a moral affront on a par with raping babies.

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One Comment

  1. Chris Hedges writing about the state of the global economy and Sheldon Wolin, political philosopher:

    ““The basic systems are going to stay in place; they are too powerful to be challenged,” Wolin told me when I asked him about the new Obama administration. “This is shown by the financial bailout. It does not bother with the structure at all. I don’t think Obama can take on the kind of military establishment we have developed. This is not to say that I do not admire him. He is probably the most intelligent president we have had in decades. I think he is well meaning, but he inherits a system of constraints that make it very difficult to take on these major power configurations. I do not think he has the appetite for it in any ideological sense. The corporate structure is not going to be challenged. There has not been a word from him that would suggest an attempt to rethink the American imperium.”

    Dire, but we knew that. John McCain, had he won, would have most likely turned the managing of this nightmare over to Phil Gramm and John Thain, who might have become Treasury Sec. But you see, the Republicans are lockstep with the idea of the American Imperium. They want nothing more than to promote its furtherance and domination. Whilst Obama’s best intentions and noble aspirations will come crashing down about him, because this beautifully engineered hologram of ours has taken on a life of its own, and nothing short of a complete breakdown will make any difference. In spite of everything that we see happening, this fucking world refuses to change.


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