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America is now in a state of bloodlust, following the shocking realization that there are bad people at the top of our economic food chain. It was one thing to bail out their banks and insurance companies—at least our tax dollars weren’t being wired directly to specific people with names and faces, but rather to “institutions,” which makes it a little more palatable. The shock we’re feeling today is like the shock and rage a wife feels after her husband is arrested on 152 counts of child molestation spanning three decades. How could we not know, when it’s been going on every day, every year, right in front of us? If we’d cared to look around us at any time since the Reagan Revolution, we’d realize that the CEOs, billionaires and finance stars are behaving no differently today than they have been for nearly three decades. A perfect example of the kind of person who benefited from the Reagan Revolution is Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap, a corporate superstar during the peak Clinton years, when Reaganomics accelerated under the guiding hands of Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin.
Mutual fund billionaire Michael Price was so impressed that in 1996 he brought Dunlap in to “restructure” one of his portfolio investments, the ailing Sunbeam Enterprises. But in a now-familiar plot-twist that has repeated itself over the past 30 years, it turned out that Dunlap wasn’t the great Rand-inspired corporate innovator that he and the media made him out to be. This same arc has been repeated all over the American economy—what we once thought were isolated cases turned out to be a pattern, and the pattern repeated so much up down corporate America that it finally became clear: These things are the rule. In the past, when downsizings and payouts happened, they were seen as a necessary evil in the overall march to a free-market utopia. What’s so strange, looking back, isn’t just the blatant, shameless plundering of thousands of American families for a few individual’s excessive profit, but the way we all adored them while they were in mid-plunder.
Dunlap at one of his book signings, not even pretending to worry that one of his adoring fans might be out to get him.
And yet, there’s a silver lining: The government is finally being forced to act on the taxpayer’s behalf, and make a serious attempt to recover the millions in bonus money from the AIG looters. In 1967, unions were much stronger, income disparities were much narrower, and Americans didn’t culture-hump their bosses.
Over the past few months, with the repetition of scandals and villains—whose names are different but whose machinations are all roughly the same—we’re starting to understand that people like Al Dunlap weren’t the aberrations we hoped they were. A couple of weeks ago, while researching for an article on the shooting spree in southern Alabama that left 11 people dead, I came across a variation of the Dunlap Plunder in an unlikely place: Pilgrim’s Pride chicken, the largest chicken processor in the world. It gets worse: Pilgrim’s Pride’s founder Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim overleveraged the company in 2006, the year everyone was overleveraging, in order to acquire rivals and overtake Tyson as the world’s number one chicken producer.
In short: wealth transferred from the pockets of local fireman, police, teachers and utilities into the pockets of the Pilgrim family. Amid all of this, the man who went on his shooting rampage a couple weeks ago, Michael McLendon, appears to have been set off by a decision by Pilgrim’s Pride to suspend his 53-year-old mother from her factory job due to a dispute over how she counted her work hours—the same dispute that Pilgrim has been fighting and losing the past few years. Which brings me back to the original point of this article, which is to say that we’ve finally learned our bitter Brady Bunch lesson: The economic elite of this country is made up of people whose exterior features look human, but whose brains are reptilian. That’s why AIG’s behavior, and all the rest of them, makes so much sense—both their bottomless appetite for plunder in the face of no resistance, and the way they have released the loot from their jaws and scrambled away to the muddy river bottom at the first sign of serious threats from the humans they’ve been feeding on.
Mark, I think we have to understand here that going backward into the days before the crisis of the 1970s will not work as the world economy is simply not in the shape it was back then.
And even if we were able to somehow transport everyone back to 1967, history would repeat itself right on track.
Of what you bring up what actually worries me is if the American people would be able to do this.
I guess then the best treatment is to show these wretches who are stealing our money every day as the traitors and crooks that they really are, as you are doing. Please provide eXile readers with the time, date, and location of the revolution and specific information about whether or not it will be televised. With the raise of Japan, USA finally had a real competition and since they couldn’t handle it, the only thing they could think of was to begin outsourcing.
Our entire nation has been crippled and yet the vast majority of those willing to take up arms would do so against poor minorities, homosexuals and middle-class liberals. Call it stupidity or paradigmatic paralysis, their entire worldview is at stake, the very reason for which they live.
Mark, I agree with most of what you’re saying, but as a coder, I think technology is accelerating and creating new industries and destroying old ones at an ever more rapid pace. Whenever real revolutionary action is brought up the quips about Che-shirts and the Cliche cultural American left come out. If there had been a real sustained revolutionary movement in the late 60s and early 70s, it probably would have looked a lot more like the Black panthers and Weather Underground on a mass scale, rather than all that peace and love bullshit. In any case, it’s probably better that it didn’t happen … because it would have just degenerated into a decade or two of terrorism and “counter terrorism”, and we would be much farther along the dialectical move toward statist absolutism in the name of plutocracy than we are already.
As to our current predicament, I don’t think this is a revolutionary time – at least not yet. If not for the government’s monopoly on violence, their corporate gang brothers would not be able to rob you.
I agree with the basic premise of this, but quality of life (maybe not satisfaction), technology, etc. I sense from Plamen’s comment the typical Russian pride that points far more towards jealousy than actual concern.
What I find fault with in your prideful thinking is that what America has done on a global scale, nations like Russia do on a regional scale and most certainly on a national level. What do you expect in a land where personal value is based on material wealth; where kids grow up wanting to become corporate hacks; where the lack of cultural and civic development creates a bunch of boring idiots with nothing to do but work all week and then buy stuff? Fortunately I am away from all of that here, living amongst the other refugees from the West who were smart enough to get out and in a formerly Communist country, where people had civility and community indoctrinated into them at a young age. All I care about after reading this article is the part at the end where Ames says he writes for Playboy. Same with Marc Wolin – ANOTHER finance industry lobbyist, nominated by Obama to be in his econ team. Finally, and most importantly, I want you to believe how sorry I am that this incident has occurred. Actually more, because since Bush-2 gave us those Monster US DEFICITS, the above $3-trillion is _MORE_ DEBT we put on the national credit card… which we must of course pay off with interest. Even the Wiki entry is confusing about the Fed’s ability to CREATE MONEY out of thin air, actually no more than electronic debits or credits in the registers of its 12 member banks.
It was of course THE STUPIDIST Financial capitulation in recorded history, but Nancy was lusting over the possibility of getting a Dem. They have already SUCKED $3 TRILLION _real_ taxpayer dollars OUT of the budget to make good THEIR losses in past 12 months, alone… and EVERYONE in America intuitively knows, “HEY! However, the media, the Republicans, the Democrats, and now even the “CHANGE” guy in White House, will NOT explain this simple sequence of events! He is literally the guy at the center of BOTH US market meltdowns, late 1980s & 2008-2009. This INVERSION of the simple facts (the Recession was caused by DEREGULATION allowing VAST FRAUD, which Righties FORCED TAXPAYERS to make up the BILLIONS lost, one TRILLION DOLLARS in 1980s money) led DIRECTLY to TIMMY McVEIGH’s blowing up the US Govt.


ROBERT RUBIN, LAWRENCE SUMMERS, MARK PATTERSON, Gary Gensler ALL GOLDMAN-SACHS PARTNERS, or LOBBYISTS!
Emanuel used his INSIDER “Democrat” political clout, to CLOSE THE LBO DEALS, that invariably laid off thousands of workers!! What Cramer doesn’t say in the video is where he learned those _illegal_ tricks – in his years as a trader for Goldman-Sachs! Indeed, in the video, Cramer says “IF you are NOT in to SQUEEZING and PUMPING clueless investors, you have no business being in a hedge-fund”! Dude, I just gave you the genesis of Economic Crisis 2008-2009 in two pages or less, with the best links, the best articles available anywhere, supporting ’em!! The US government *intentionally* allowed the AIG bonuses so they would have a witch to point out. Last year when Freddie and Fannie already were dead meat, and AFTER they received their astounding bailout disbursements, they paid such bonuses to their management which eclipsed anything that the AIG has done. One also has to remember that AIG is actually a huge and successful insurance firm, but with a Financial Products division which now looks very much like a mutilated corpse. But this is not to be allowed because it will wipe out the credit derivative deals underwritten by AIG.
What Mark Ames has been 100% right about for years is that the US government is just as corrupt and irresponsive as the Russian government. Go on watching TV, sports, eating cheeseburgers, apple pie, drinking beer and having sex because that’s the best it gets.
Dude, I could fucking care less if you wrote the Great American novel in those three pages. Dude, I could FUCKING CARE LESS if you wrote the Great American novel in those THREE pages.
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University Center Club is Tallahassee's premier private club for Florida State University, the local community and beyond. Due to renovations, Members and Guests will be required to enter using temporary entrances located at gates E or H. We knew there were some bad apples out there, but AIG’s $450 million bonus swindle simply defies everything we assumed about the American character, particularly the character of our best and brightest, our All-Star Success Stories. But now, with the AIG scandal, there are real people stuffing their pockets with money looted from us.
When we look back, what will pain us most is the way we admired the billionaires even as they brought about our ruin, turning them into TV celebrities and magazine-cover heroes, worshipping them like rock stars right up to the end. It was during Clinton’s centrist pro-business presidency that innovations like the like mass-layoff (rebranded as “downsizing”) became a regular feature of economicbooms, rather than of economic busts, as they had been in the past.
The mere announcement that Dunlap would take his chainsaw onto Sunbeam’s factory floor and massacre all those payroll-sucking employees caused Sunbeam’s stock to rise 60 percent as portfolio investors rushed to get a chunk of the promised loot. Even though Dunlap was fired from the company he destroyed, he still walked away with at least $16 million.
Now we understand that what really happened wasn’t as complicated or theoretical as it was made out to be. Just look again at Al Dunlap: he didn’t even try to pretend he was likeable or even human, but still we were licking his boots. It’s like asking a crocodile how he could possibly eat a baby wildebeest when its mother is right there on the riverbank watching. He didn’t just get away with it, he was a hero for doing what none of us had the guts (or conscience) to do.
Not until two weeks ago, when AIG’s Financial Products division received so many death threats and hate emails that they hired armed security guards to protect them from potential revenge attacks.
On one side are the reptiles like Dunlap, AIG, and so on; on the other side, the humans, us. Back then, Al Dunlap tried to apply his “chainsaw” to a company called Sterling Pulp & Paper. We see a similar modus operandi at work with Lehman’s Dick Fuld, with Merrill Lynch’s John Thain, with the Countrywide execs (who’ve bounced back recently with a new scheme to profit off the misery of Americans), with Washington Mutual’s ex-CEO Kerry Killinger, with Bernie Madoff, and now with AIG’s derivatives traders. He achieved his goal, and assured shareholders it was a wise move; but that’s when the company started getting sued for shaving employees’ salaries, which is another way of saying transferring money from the workers to the owners. Like AIG, Pilgrim’s Pride is holding a proverbial gun to the American government’s head: if it goes into Chapter 7 and collapses, then as bad as things are now, it could get much worse, with its 50,000 employees facing layoffs and dozens of factories facing closure. You would think they wouldn’t do something as brash as suspend an employee over a work-time related dispute, not during a lawsuit, not during bankruptcy, not now with Obama in power. It has actively globalized because of the failure of capitalism to stay in a closed territory, not expanding due to the fact that if the same people are making the goods and buying them, you’re shit outta luck trying to make a profit as all revenue comes from wages. That’s why we have to move forward and realize that we have to build a system where production is based on demand and not profit. They simply stopped fighting for their freedom and gave up, like the white kid in a State Pen. You do journalism instead of copying-pasting agency depeches, which is the reason the mainstream press is in such a bad shape.
Both of those two movements were ridiculously moral, idealistic, and had their own retarded sub-cultures to go along with it.
That spelled the destruction of USA’s middle class and all the problems that came with it.
Gangs and mexican nationalist will fight back which at best could fragment America into a Christian Fundamentalist Taliban on the one hand, and on the other a mexican controlled southwest with pockets of free states controlled by other ethnic minorities who were able to cut out their own Kurdistans. I’m always fascinated by those uncle Tom republicans, people with no healthcare and minimum wage jobs, who still take the side of the plutocrats. As far as the death of the United States goes, I agree that it is far likely to come at the hands of Christian fundamentalists and perhaps some kind of cultural disintegration along racialized lines (thanks to the shallow gene poolers among us) – though I’ll give that one 20 to 30 more years to happen. I moved to Central Europe four years ago to escape the looming destruction in the motherland. On March 24, in the wee hours of the morning, mistakes were made in the waters of Prince William Sound, way up someplace in Alaska.
Instead we are keeping our fingers crossed that this whole thing will blow over in a matter of weeks.
To those of you who suggested that we Hexxon executives should be forced to go to Alaska and scrub those oily rocks ourselves, not returning until the job is done, no matter how long it takes, we simply say this: You don’t understand.


Actually, this is simpler than it sounds… You wake up one morning to find out that your Citi or Chase Visa card suddenly has a $1 million CREDIT on it… Go ahead, spend it as you want! Would the Stock Market (Dow average of 30 industrial stocks) have flirted with 14,000 in October 2007 without that Fed “INJECTION” of one TRILLION dollars??? At first I thought that the whole thing was just them trying to prolong their system working after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the Dot-Com Bust, and the recession of 2000-2001 that followed, which showed evident cracks of the system but Taibbi’s article showed another important part of the story. This whole situation … sad death of America … has me thinking of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.
I mean, it’s okay to look at that for a paragraph or two but all those paragraphs look unreadable. The wide variety of experiences and backgrounds of our students provides for robust dialogue between students and faculty both inside and outside of the classroom. Tallahassee is home to 500-plus law firms, the Florida Governor’s Office and Legislature, several courts and many state agencies.
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Fraudulent jobs or scams are typically generic and non-specific in order to garner the greatest possible number of applicants. Business and community leaders gather together for fine dining, networking and private events overlooking Doak Campbell Stadium. Layoffs expanded right with the economy for the simple reason that each mass firing freed up millions or billions of dollars that had gone to workers, but now could be divided up between executives and major shareholders. And Chainsaw Al didn’t disappoint: as soon as he had an office, he fired 6,000 Sunbeam employees, or half the work force.
It was a straight-forward transfer of wealth out of the pockets of, say, 11,200 employees at Scott Paper into the pockets of Wall Street bankers and their CEO henchmen. As the Daily News itself noted, “When he fires thousands of workers, he boasts about it.” You might expect someone who caused as much destruction as Al Dunlap would want to keep a low profile, if not out of a guilty conscience then at least out of a fear that a destroyed worker might hunt him down and get some payback.
He proposed mass firings of its unionized workforce to bring down costs and boost the owners’ share. In 1978, American CEOs made more than 30 times the average salary of their company’s employees; by the early 2000s, CEOs made more than 500 times the average salary of their employees. They may not be as crude and boastful as Dunlap, but they were far more successful at plunder than he was. As a result, the USDA announced that we, the taxpayers, will spend tens of millions to buy Pilgrim’s Pride chicken. Dunlap was awarded an honorary degree in human dissection, before slithering back into his swamp-lair in the Everglades.
It is the nature of the economy that some businesses will sometimes go bankrupt, or shrink and need to lay off workers, and I think the government should provide everyone with health care and job security in the form of a full employment program, rather than relying on companies to provide them. The individuals at Kent state were not revolutionaries, because they didn’t bother to hit back. I say it’s not revolutionary because Americans are not going to uproot the political or economic system they have come to love with religious devotion … without an even more massive catastrophe.
By now you all know that our tanker, the Hexxon Valdez, was hit by a treacherous submerged reef that made us lose 240,00 barrels of valuable oil into the uncooperative waters of the Sound. And the Big Boyz he’s referring to is Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi (and Yasha Levine), because they put it in very readable, precise prose.
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The problem was finding people cold-blooded enough to do the job—which is to say, there was no problem whatsoever.
When you consider that he’d already netted at least $116 million in the span of a few years, a half-million dollar “punishment” for all that destruction wasn’t even so much as a slap on the wrist.
No matter how many words like “efficiency” and “restructuring” you gloss it with, it’s still taking money that formerly went into one group’s pocket, and giving to another, much smaller group.
That’s why death threats are bringing real results: Death threats work when you’re dealing with reptiles like AIG’s financial products division. Workers weren’t losing just a portion of the wealth, but also their pensions, health care, vacation time and job security. By December, the company declared bankruptcy, thereby protecting the billionaire Pilgrim family from its creditors and aggrieved workers and shareholders.
Meanwhile, Pilgrim’s Pride responded by shutting down three plants anyway, and the bankruptcy judge has allowed former executives of Pilgrim to be rehired as “consultants” on company retainer.
And that is scary, because like prison bitches we have learned to like this situation and now that our hubby is getting cornered by the guards, we don’t know what to expect or who to root for. It might have alienated the general public if they had bombed National Guard offices or assassinated the Governor, but it would have prevented the movement from being demoralized.
It’s also true, as some have pointed out, that the current trend of Global capitalism has had the effect of making Americans more and more dependent on it – what does a services and finance empire do when the ships full of cheap Chinese crap stop coming into harbor?
But I hope that you know Hexxon has already committed several hundred people to hose off those stubborn otters that still happen to be alive. Throughout their education, FSU medical students learn in an environment that values diversity, mutual respect, teamwork and open communication. That, in fact, they didn’t give a fuck about our bailout on any emotional grounds, except as it presented a new feeding opportunity. By reclaiming the sum total of whatever 11,200 workers earned and redistributing it to the shareholders and executives, Dunlap earned himself a $100 million payout for 19 months of “Mickey Mouse” chainsaw duty. What held those workers back from going to a Dunlap book signing and exacting some revenge? In 2007, the US Labor Department slapped a paltry $3 million fine on Pilgrim’s Pride for illegally undercounting work hours. On one hand, we have Randroids and the like, who are the prison homosexuals in us and on the other, the left, which has failed to deliver what it promised after shakedowns in 1919, the 20s, 1936-38, 1946-58, and the 70s. They also actively participate in an innovative curriculum that prepares them to become lifelong learners in an era of explosive growth in medical knowledge and information technology. Despite how it works in the movies, we haven’t been brought closer together—we, the common folk taxpayers, and they, the super-wealthy villains we bailed out. And this is what’s so enraging and humiliating: We were denied that cinematic transformation of character that Americans have been brainwashed to expect from our billionaire CEOs with their hardened hearts-of-gold—think Oscar Schindler’s climactic anti-greed speech, or Mister Magoo throwing coins out the window in the cartoon version of A Christmas Carol. In a land of infinite schemers who ended up creating the world’s biggest trailer park, I can see the pain in watching those idiot yanks end up plundering the world in ways you could have only dreamed.



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