Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Listen up, people. This is how revolutions start!

Today marks the 220th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in Paris, which set off the bloody French Revolution. The painting is Liberty Guiding the People by Eugène Delacroix (1830).

Update: The New York Times reports today that Goldman Sachs earned second-quarter profits of $3.44 billion ($4.93 per share). This follows first-quarter profits of $1.66 billion ($3.39 a share). Since the beginning of the year, its stock has increased in value 77%, but remains below its record high of $250.70 per share, set in 2007.

Thus proving Mr. Kunstler correct:

James Howard Kunstler on Goldman Sachs:

"The cat coming out of the bag this week -- a frazzled, flaming, rabid, death-dealing cat -- is the news that Goldman Sachs will announce impressive second-quarter profits, and set aside $18 billion or so for employee bonuses averaging $600,000 per head (though, of course, not evenly distributed among them). There probably are not fifty-three people in the USA who can explain how this development figures in with last fall's bailout gift from the US treasury, or the $13 billion GS received on the backside of US gift payments to the failed AIG insurance company, plus the reams of necrotic securitized debt paper rotting in the back of the GS vaults. This is a company playing with the fire of world history.

"It brings back the question, which has loomed dimly at the margins of America's collective consciousness, as to whether we can get through the long emergency ahead without going through a wringer of domestic political convulsion. At this rate, sooner or later, anything identified with wealth could become a target for the wrath of the unemployed and foreclosed. The first rock that flies through an East Hampton window, or the first firebomb tossed into the lobby of Goldman Sachs Manhattan headquarters could ignite a chain of events that shoves all economic policy out of the political arena and quickly divides everyone at the center of power into armies out for blood. "

It brings back visions of Marie Antoinette telling the people, if they didn't have bread, to eat cake; or of the Russian nobility enjoying a lavish midnight meal while the masses were demonstrating. Egregious displays of wealth in New York's Financial District, while the rest of us lose jobs, homes, and retirement savings. The truth is, we are literally being robbed, and the Federal Government is a co-conspirator.

Can violence be avoided? Perhaps, but the time is growing short. Very short; however, there is an alternative, suggested by this Independence Day parade in Vermont:

Virtual buckeye to Vermont Commons, for both the Kunstler article and the picture.

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