By Mark Drolette
Having (regrettably) spent much of my life in jingoistic ignorance, I never imagined I'd one day set foot in Argentina. Then again, I never imagined I'd witness an American administration whose death-dealing militarism and breathtaking corruption would dwarf those perpetrated by even the worst Latin American dictatorship, so there you are.
And, well, here I am, visiting the grand city of Buenos Aires, and just in time, too, to catch on Argentine TV the long, sad faces of investment banker after investment banker insisting a $700 billion giveaway to America's richest was what must be done, had to be done, to save the U.S. economy. And here I also am just in time to see Congress members predictably scream there'd be a bailout over their dead bodies (hmm…) before they just as predictably rubber stamped that puppy.
Speaking of dogs, they love them here in Buenos Aires, a huge plus from where I stand although I do have to be careful where I step since the city's residents aren't keen on picking up their beloved pets' end products which, for some reason, reminds me all over again of the bailout, a ghastly amount of steaming hot Fed fiat money steam shoveled to, and benefiting only, the avaricious jackals who gleefully stacked the deck of America's house-of-cards economy as high as possible before even the lackiest of lackeys could no longer deny the flimsiness of the laughably-named "free market."
They're utterly shameless, these animals, still lecturing us on the marvelous benefits of unregulated capitalism 'cause, you know, it's so good for us. Here's World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy (per Reuters): "The current hurricane that has hit the financial markets must not distract the international community from pursuing greater economic integration and openness…"
Why mustn't it? Well, because, as he so thankfully informs us, "[i]n a financial crisis and at a time of economic distress, in particular at a time of soaring food prices, what impoverished consumers desperately need is to see their purchasing power enhanced and not reduced."
Touching, eh? His true concern lies with impoverished consumers. And if you believe that, I've got some lovely mortgage-backed securities I'd like to show you.
At least history buffs are in luck these dismal days, since we've just witnessed the most balls-out, audacious looting of a society's resources ever. In broad daylight, too, with hideous, rammed-through, in-the-bag legislation passed by a Congress so contemptuous of their in-name-only constituents that there they were, splashed all over the front page of the Buenos Aires Herald, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and a knot of others from their bipartisan den of thieves, laughing and grinning so wildly after having passed this monumental pile of dog shit (it's one of today's themes) that it looked like they'd all just taken a huge hit of nitrous oxide.
Well, we've all just taken something huge, too, but none of us are laughing and it really hurts to sit down.
I find it interesting being in Argentina during our collective buggering since Argentines know a thing or several billion about battered asse(t)s. Their country suffered a total economic meltdown at the beginning of this decade that kicked their formerly relatively well-off large middle class flush in its breadwinning breadbasket. However, a silver lining emerged: The crisis led to the country defaulting on, and then getting out from under, its crushing debt "owed" to both the (D.C.-based) World Bank and International Monetary Fund, a couple of truly fine organizations for those who think neo-feudalism has a lot going for it.
In 2006, Argentina paid off all loans to the predatory entities. A sizeable part of the assistance came from Hugo Chávez, who bought Argentina bonds. (Just a hunch, but something tells me that's not going to happen in our case.)
Though the catalysts are different, we're in for the same ride. Don't even think it'll end with the $700 billion. Free market leeches don't stop. They won't stop. They can't stop. It's in their (cold) blood; they are addicts, they got a (Dow) jones goin' on. And like addicts, they will steal every dollar they can to feed their habits, and then come back for more.
And also like addicts, they (gasp) lie, too! Here's Fannie Mae's former CEO, Daniel Mudd (per Charles Duhigg of the International Herald Tribune):
And no one thought planes might be flown into buildings, either. Jesus! Is this guy kidding? Anyone smarter than broccoli knew the bloodbath was imminent. Admittedly, this would leave out brilliant sorts like, say, George W. Bush, but he's never really been in charge anyway (just act Dick Cheney, if you can find him), so he doesn't count.
Who does count (our looted dough) are the vultures that have ripped us off blind for years via their puppet boy president with dandy little revenue-generating items like two senseless wars, insane tax cuts, the Medicare/Big Pharma drug ripoff, no-bid contracts…
But that's kid stuff compared to this grand gambit, a deliberately manufactured crisis that starts the kill for keeps. The scheme to starve the government beast to feed the fascist monster stands naked now in all its power-grabbing, future-stealing glory. Say goodbye to Social Security. Say goodbye to Medicare. Say goodbye to infrastructure repair. Say goodbye to public education, whatever shreds of it remain. With their incessant mantra about the wonders of privatization, the moneychangers have done their unlevel best for years now to condition the populace for the biggest wealth-transferring heist of all-time, and every ilk to follow.
I will say that except for a few broccoli-brained Americans (my apologies for twice now disparaging a fine vegetable), it does seem most of our fellow citizens are hip to, and mightily pissed about, the reaming just administered. But -- no matter. Too bad. Tough luck. Oh well. The parasites in charge couldn't care less about our pathetic moral victory. With secret scorn, they lecture us with the best damn fake concern you'll ever see that if we don't assume the no-time-for-lubrication position right this instant and take what's good for us, the "system will fail."
Well, guess what? It's failing now. Since March alone, we've been strong-armed for over a trillion bucks of funny money (the $700 billion theft, $85 billion to AIG, $200 billion to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and $29 billion worth of "help" to J. P. Morgan & Co. to buy Bear Stearns) and its only effect and that of other certain larceny to come (other than further enriching produce-nothing vipers) will be to delay the inevitable, thus ensuring our pain cuts even deeper. More banks will fail, more savings will be stolen, more companies will go bust, more pensions will disappear, and unemployment, inflation and homelessness will skyrocket.
The only questions are: How profusely will we bleed, and how long will the hemorrhaging last?
Does Argentina's experience offer guidance? Since its 2002 default, its annual growth rate has averaged over eight percent, and a visitor to the center of bustling Buenos Aires would see few hints of the nation's recent horrors. Nonetheless, most Argentines would tell you their country is not the same, having taken a gigantic hit from which it may never fully recover. On the positive side, as a whole, South America's collective social services-suffocating IMF debt, per YES! magazine, has nosedived from $42.9 billion in 2004 to $108 million in 2007.
Can any of this help us better survive our own country's current palm-greased slide into hell, or assist in predicting what may rise from the ashes? Who knows? What is known, however, is that the reversal of fortunes hasn't gone unnoticed.
Meeting with Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner the other day here in Buenos Aires, Chile President Michelle Bachelet, per the Buenos Aires Herald, noted:
Bully for you, señoras presidentes, and a hard-earned touch of touché, too. With our current meltdown fomented by the same species of wealth-sucking vampires who happily bled most of your continent to within an inch of its life, the U.S.A.'s payback bitch has, indeed, arrived. (I knew I could squeeze in another dog reference.)
Just one question, por favor: Might either of you have a hankie handy?
Copyright © 2008 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.