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Unspeaking the clean bailout

September 23rd, 2008

Steven Poole is taking a break from blogging, so we can’t get his thoughts on the “clean bailout” as an example of Unspeak. To me the natural association is something like “clean handover” as in “I want a clean handover. Leave the money in unmarked used bills, no tricks and no police, nobody gets hurt”

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  1. September 23rd, 2008 at 19:03 | #1

    has he improved on newspeak?

    when public figures refer to oz as ‘our democracy’, orwell’s estate should demand copyright fees.

    words have proved to be vastly more effective tools in crowd control, than spears or gas or electric batons, but it’s not a new phenomenon. not only did early shamans manage their people with words, ‘lies’ were invented before words.

    the handless mob will be shivvied about with euphemisms and simple lies, until the mess is so bad that rebellion becomes a desirable option.

  2. gerard
    September 23rd, 2008 at 20:12 | #2

    I hope you don’t mind me copying out this e-mail in full:

    Dear American:

    I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

    I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

    I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

    This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

    Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to [email protected] so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

    Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/09/22/hank-paulsons-bailou.html

  3. September 24th, 2008 at 08:22 | #3

    the system is fundamentally sound. …sound …sound …

  4. Spiros
    September 24th, 2008 at 08:51 | #4

    Gerard, that’s very funny. Except that it’s true, which makes it not funny at all.

    It looks like the Administration and the Congress are playing a giant game of chicken over this. “Hand over the money, no questions asked”, says the Administration”, or the whole world blows up. “We want better terms”, replies the Congress.

    I think it’s now clear that what the Busg Administration is asking for is unacceptable. He is saying the US taxpayer should buy these assets (sic) above their values, that is, above zero, with no conditions, no legal or regulatory oversight, no anything.

    This is exactly the same behaviour from Bush we’ve seen for the past seven years over the national security response to 9/11 and Iraq. Surely Congress isn’t going to fall for it again.

    Yes, the banks need recapitalising. But with $700 billion of capital should come $700 billion of ownership and control. The cowboys running them should be fired and replaced with old fashioned conservative bankers. The banks can then hopefully be nursed back to health and then sold for a profit. If the US taxpayers are going to take a $700 billion risk, they are entitled to some of the upside.

  5. Socrates
    September 24th, 2008 at 11:17 | #5

    This is not my field of expertise but I find Paulson’s position implausible. If things are really as bad as is claimed, then why can’t the vulnerable institutions release details of their position to prove it? Surely if they are at risk of collapse they would be prepared to reveal the truth to guarantee the rescue package goes through? As a minimum, this rescue must be transparent. Only the guilty profit from hiding the facts in such a crisis. Time to call their bluff.

  6. smiths
    September 24th, 2008 at 11:20 | #6

    wow isnt it amazing,

    a crisis that no-one sees coming,
    and then a set of solutions that involve a huge transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich and a transfer law based system with checks and oversight towards an increasingly powerful authoritarian fascist system,

    and its all once again just a big case of incompetence and accidents…

    dont look at the pattern though, whatever you do

  7. sdfc
    September 24th, 2008 at 13:47 | #7

    Plenty saw it coming Smiths, only for many this time it was different.

    “The average man who loves a gamble turns a blind eye to any likeness between the sound prosperity on the continuance of which he budgets, and the booms and manias of long ago. Things are different now, he assures you as he shakes off the warning hand on his shoulder.�
    THE BOOM OF 1890—AND NOW, (Shann, 1927, p1).

  8. smiths
    September 24th, 2008 at 14:28 | #8

    my tongue was in my cheek sdfc

  9. paul walter
    September 24th, 2008 at 15:05 | #9

    I think it is revolting.
    The most infamous event of its kind since Ned Kelly at Jerilderee. Ned at least had the justifications of scale of crime, personal poverty and injustice and was eventualy punished harshly for his adventures.
    I remember reading a while back, that $50 billion (maybe 100 now) give or take would do it to provide fresh drinking water for all of humanity. Instead, this $trillion is handed over, no questions asked, to scum of the ilk of the character who ran one of those banks into the ground and has already walked away with a $160 mill. payout.
    This is the regime that has already wasted $trillions, including to its own gangsters running outfits like Halliburton on military adventures; or in tax cuts to exactly the sh-ts now responsible for the current Wall St debacle. All across the world the lives of huge numbers of “little” people are ruined and even commentators like Alan Kohler are revolted. Meanwhile the UN announced just today that the world’s starving are massively endangered by recent events.
    Bail them out?
    Hang ‘em and confiscate their ill-gotten gains from the offshore havens.

  10. Ian Gould
    September 24th, 2008 at 16:08 | #10

    “Instead, this $trillion is handed over, no questions asked, to scum of the ilk of the character who ran one of those banks into the ground and has already walked away with a $160 mill. payout.”

    Virtually none of this is true.

  11. Ikonoclast
    September 24th, 2008 at 19:46 | #11

    Imagine the concervative outcry if a US government had said in 2000, “We are going to spend four trillion dollars over 8 years on aid, healthcare, the poor, building alternative energy infrastructure, hurricane proofing our southern coasts and properly regulating our markets.”

    And yet 4 trillion may well have substantially performed all the above jobs.

    Instead, what have the necons gotten for their four trillions recently? Well I make the count two unwinnable quagmires of wars, a sinking New Orleans, 800 km of devastated coastline, ever increasing poverty, a housing bubble, a debt crisis, a financial meltdown and no way out of the coming crisis of Peak Energy.

    If the neocons had made it their express objective to foul everything up as much as possible, they could not have made a bigger mess.

  12. Jill Rush
    September 24th, 2008 at 23:15 | #12

    For Unspeak to work the people have to have trust in the words of the speaker. People who ask people to “Trust me” are almost invariably untrustworthy as only the untrustworthy make this kind of statement.

    A clean bailout is being viewed as yet another rort from the neocons who have proven so often to have judgement which benefits themselves whilst harming others.

    The USA citizens are keen for a solution – but not at any cost and thus have been using the weapons available to them through contact with their elected representatives and talkback radio. With an election so close they are far more likely to be listened to and are speaking the unspeakable. The view that traders are thieves is informing their views although none of their leaders are using these words.

  13. sdfc
    September 25th, 2008 at 13:11 | #13

    Sorry smiths, I obviously have no sense of humour.

    I mistook you for one of the bozos who have been throwing the term “black swan event� about as if to suggest the crisis was somehow unforeseeable.

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