Open thread for night owls: Wall Street propaganda machine says things are going great
At The Baffler, Whitney Curry Wimbish writes—The Calm Before the Crash:
BUSINESS NEWS IS THE WORST part of mainstream media. You’re no better informed by reading it than by reading nothing at all. In fact, you might be worse off—if you’re sucked into the assumptions of neoliberal economics that are the only existing reality on Wall Street. Those theories boil down to one point: It’s your fault if you’re poor.
This September marks the tenth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers’ collapse, the event accepted by the media as the beginning of the subprime mortgage crisis. Expect the stories solemnizing the occasion to run alongside ones that assume big predatory firms aren’t in the process, at this very minute, of causing another crash.
Take, for example, recent stories about Goldman Sachs, which wants to goose its revenue $5 billion by 2020. So among other projects, it’s opened new business lines in lending and Bitcoin trading. That should make your skin crawl.
A recent story in the Financial Times, however, doesn’t mind that the firm’s new online bank is making subprime loans, a disturbing fact delivered thirty-two paragraphs in. While executives want to lend to “prime” customers likely to pay loans back, “the bank has been dipping below that level.” That’s an awfully deferential way to describe it, given that subprime loans caused the 2008 market crash and Goldman was one of the largest underwriters.
Or take the New York Times article about Goldman’s new business built on Bitcoin—a scam best represented by the cryptocurrency ATMs around Manhattan that allow you to deposit money but not withdraw it. To the Times, Goldman’s project is just a “big push to position itself as the most technologically sophisticated firm on Wall Street.” The financial crisis of 2008? Yes, well, “the firm faced significant criticism,” but let’s not belabor the point—or even discuss it at all.
Consider that Goldman “has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression,” as Rolling Stone memorably put it in 2009. Consider that it used government bailout money to hand bonuses of at least $1 million each to 953 employees after the 2008 crash and that it paid just $14 million in taxes that year. Then decide whether these boot-licking articles are anything other than free PR for a vampire squid.
A typical criticism of business-page reporting is that it’s not really for regular people, it’s for investors. And, sure, it acts as another set of society pages for richies and helps them make money. But that’s not all it does. Financial news depicts Wall Street from the Wall Street perspective. And it depicts us as Wall Street sees us. [...]
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“The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.”
~~Henry A. Wallace,
TWEET OF THE DAY
xICE is operating exactly as designed when it rips screaming children from parents. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs exactly why we must abolish it.We MUST have the moral and political courage to #abolishICE.Weak half-measures do nothing. This is a defining moment of our time - the time to act is now. pic.twitter.com/0viiQ4qdz8— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) June 19, 2018
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2002—Sludge is now good for fish:
Just when I think the Bush Administration can't shock me anymore, they gleefully prove me wrong. You see, according to an internal EPA report, dumping toxic sludge into the Potomac River is good for fish. The sludge is dumped into the river in violation of the Endangered Species Act and Clear Water Act. The Washington Times notes:
The document says it is not a «ridiculous possibility» that a discharge «actually protects the fish in that they are not inclined to bite (and get eaten by humans) but they go ahead with their upstream movement and egg laying.»
The Bush administration is a blatant enemy of environmental regulation, but the extremes they will travel to justify their polluting is bizarre. California Rep. George Radanovich, a Republican, was flabbergasted
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, #WhereAreTheGirls? We still don’t know. But it's not like Trump has a history of trafficking and abuse of young girls or anything. Oh, another weird sex cult link? Sessions flirts with Holocaust denial. Kobach gets schooled. Kaliningrad gets reinforced.
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