Monday, April 8, 2013

What passes for genius these days

The lives of the privileged are shocking to the rest of us.  They are routed through the institutions of the elites.  They have tutors to help them with their learning problems and lawyers to get them out of the scrapes their carelessness gets them into.  They have publicists to assure the rest of us that we are dealing with people of real accomplishment.  Doors are opened to careers the rest of us have barely heard of.  With such advantages, almost any dullard can become something of a "success" unless they are caught in bed with a dead boy.

There are so many examples of this phenomenon that pointing one out is hunting in a target-rich environment.  One of the better examples has to be William Kristol—the political pundit who is never right about anything yet never seems to go away.  Eventually, the curious among us must ask—where the hell did he come from?
“The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle’s chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon’s domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at the White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC [Republican National Committee] and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at Penn and the Kennedy School of Government.
In economics, while there are many neoliberal mediocrities who are wrong most of the time, some of them are more blessed than others.  But the most privileged bumbler of them all must be Lawrence Summers—the nephew of two Riksbank Prize winners.  (This guy belongs in the same class as Doug Haig, the British general who is most associated with the Battle of the Somme—a little tiff that cost over 400,000 British casualties and moved the front less than 8 miles.  For this accomplishment, the Brits made him a Field Marshall—which pretty much explains why there is no more British empire.)  Here is a recap of the man's insanities by someone more willing than I to recount them.

Larry Summers Still Living Large

Mark Biskeborn  April 5, 2013

Early this morning, when NPR broadcasted an interview with the infamous Larry Summers, I almost choked on my coffee, shocked that people still listened to this hoodlum. But then, an entire wealthy class applauses his destructive policies. Summers embodies the elitist class.(1)

In his youth, he learned how to manipulate and obfuscate the truth for the sake of promoting Big Business agenda and at the detriment of the greater good of society. He is a member of the American aristocracy like G.W. Bush—you remember that president who lied and deceived Americans in order to obliterate Iraq for the sake of Big Business and Big Oil?

In the early 1980s, Summers was an economic advisor for Ronald Reagan. In the capacity, Summers was instrumental in deregulating the banking and financial industries and this despite the three important financial crises in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan.

Like most elites, Summers played a key role in the free-wheeling, free market. Under Summers' tutlege, Ronald Reagan, a former spokesman for GE, said government is not the solution, government is the problem. Among the barons of industry, the cult belief since the 70s was a conforming dance to the tune that unregulated markets would always automatically correct any problems and without government intervention. In 1999 Summers cheered the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Summers was happy to help dismantle the Glass-Steagall Act and its six decades of restrictions against banks offering commercial banking, insurance, and investment services.

While working in Clinton's administration, Summers argued against U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol to decrease carbon emissions. "During the California energy crisis of 2000, then-Treasury Secretary Summers teamed with patsy Alan Greenspan and the felon Enron executive Kenneth Lay to lecture California Governor Gray Davis on the causes of the crisis, explaining that the problem was excessive government regulation." (2) Summers stand on this environmental policy may cause the extinction of civilization as we know it.

Summers relied on his old buddies and fellow Big Business courtiers, in the ilk of former Carlyle Group as well as Goldman Sachs adviser Arthur Levitt, Fed Chairman Greenspan--another patsy in the cult of neocons, and Secretary Rubin, a former executive of Goldman Sachs for 26 years, a bona-fide shark. Summers destroyed any attempts to regulate the derivatives that many blame for bringing the financial market down in Fall 2008. This deregulation led directly to the Great Recession.

Early in this new millennium, Summers lost his job as Harvard president for suggesting that women lack a natural aptitude for math and science. (3)

Larry Summer's track record resembles that of the Devil incarnate. The man has a bold talent for making the most destructive policies of any man in our times, second only to G.W. Bush and his cabinet. Society would be more secured and prosperous if Summers were banned on a desert island. It would be dangerous even to put him in prison as he might persuade hardened criminals to practice his form of terrorism.

Most people probably had forgotten Summers. Most practical people probably never heard of him at all. He is a man with a triple chin and a behind that doesn't fit in any chair. That's why he's always slouching. He has a smile that terrifies hardened street criminals.

If you want to learn the easy ways to make money without working, you do not have to enter a prison to learn the trade of a professional criminal. If you can afford an extremely high tuition fee, you can enrol at Harvard and take notes from Satan himself. Several ivy league universities employ business and economic grifters as full-tenured professors like Summers.

How Summers and his friends still retain any credibility is a mystery. Their cancerous careers threw the nation and most of the planet into dangerous waters. We can say the same for the likes of G.W. Bush.

Very few journalists have dared to report how the Bush Wars into Eurasia combined with the financial collapse caused the on-going Great Recession and its high unemployment. Now the focus is on reducing the great deficit. In particular, Republicans are keen on reducing entitlements for the middle class while maintaining the entitlements for the wealthy, including low or no taxes and bailout bonuses for financial executives at Goldman Sachs...Citi Bank.....more
(1) Interview with a Vampire on NPR: Larry Summers: Economic downturn will leave 'permanent scar, '
(2) Wikipedia, Larry Summers,
(3) Secrets and Lies of the Bailout, Taibbi, Matt, Rolling Stone Magazine, January 2013.

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