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Apple piePaul Revere, by John Singleton CopleyTea-partiersRight-wing fantasyArizona Congresswoman’s office after health-care reform vote

An avalanche of news shakes Wall Street where the obvious flim-flam games of the last decade and more have produced a tsunami of public indignation and revulsion prompting a belated response from our political wind-sniffers, seeing a populist wave to jump on.  In one of the more bizarre contortions of the day GOP big-wigs huddled with bankers and summarily announced they were against proposed reforms because they would result in more TARP-like big bank bailouts.   Democrats assured this was not so, pointing to the legalese of the legislation.  The SEC, clearly cued by politics, announced an accusation against none other than Goldman Sachs for fraud, though for the moment this case remained “civil.”   Whether criminal charges will follow remains to be seen, but while lawyers publicly argue the merits for and against, the growing mob smells blood and is calling for it.  In turn Wall Street has unleashed an army of lobbyists to forestall any kind of meaningful regulatory reform.  While the Congress is clearly corrupt, it is also composed of politicians who, however out of touch with their constituents, can sense a hurricane strength wind and will duly weathervane themselves to the going current.

How much the Obama administration is behind this is difficult to say.  Perhaps playing a wily game of Go, this has been a set-up, and the Republicans have duly fallen into the trap, defending Wall Street and pure unregulated capitalism as the essence of America.  While market numbers seem to have improved in the last months, foreclosures continue unabated, unemployment figures remain dismal, and whatever the ranting of erstwhile tea-party patriots, a party supporting the obvious villains of the moment is unlikely to do well in the coming elections.  The GOP though has largely snookered itself, whatever clever political moves the Obama team may have made.

Former Congressmen Armey, Baker and Oxley, now working as lobbyists for the banking industry

Follow the money

To say, it is all deeply embedded in our cultural DNA and our history.  These swings towards wild speculative times, towards wars, towards Puritanical religiosity are as much in the American character as Lincoln, Charles Manson, Jefferson or Charles Starkweather.  Pogo had it right: we have met the enemy and it is us.

Cotton MatherAmerican Gothic, Grant Wood

Good old time water-boarding

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