Tuesday, November 24, 2015

American empire in decline?

Paul Buchheit, writing in Common Dreams, titled his essay "Signs of a Dying Society." I don't know about the "dying" but I do know that his points are well taken.

While Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are vilified for revealing vital information about spying and bombing and torture, a man who conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by New York University for his "Outstanding Contributions to Society."

Scriber clarifies with two snippets from the cited report on the hedge fund manager.

On April 28, Martin Lipton, Chairman of NYU, and its President, John Sexton, announced that hedge fund billionaire John Paulson would receive the "Albert Gallatin Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Society" at NYU’s 183rd Commencement ceremony, slated for next Wednesday. Albert Gallatin was one of the founders of NYU and a former Treasury Secretary under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Gallatin is buried in Trinity churchyard at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway – and he’s likely rolling over in his grave at the idea of having his name appended to John Paulson.

John Paulson is the founder and head of Paulson & Co., infamously known on Wall Street as the firm that conspired with Goldman Sachs to create Abacus 2007-AC1 – an investment Paulson & Co. assisted in designing to collapse in value. On April 16, 2010, the SEC brought charges against Goldman Sachs and one of its young vice presidents, Fabrice Tourre, for "defrauding investors" in the sale and marketing of Abacus. Paulson & Co. slipped through the net because it didn’t sell or market the product – it simply shorted it based on its inside information that it was designed to fail.

Buchheit continues:

This is one example of the distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American society. There are other signs of decay:

Here's the list of subtitles - check out the details in Buchheit's essay.

  1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as 'Honest Mistakes'
  2. Unpaid Taxes of 500 Companies Could Pay for a Job for Every Unemployed American
  3. Almost 2/3 of American Families Couldn't Afford a Single Pill of a Life-Saving Drug
  4. Violent Crime Down, Prison Population Doubles
  5. One in Four Americans Suffer Mental Illness, Mental Health Facilities Cut by 90%

There exists a common theme amidst these signs of societal decay: The super-rich keep taking from the middle class as the middle class becomes a massive lower class. Yet the myth persists that we should all look up with admiration at the "self-made" takers who are ripping our society apart.

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