Posts Tagged ‘Financial Crisis’

Banking On Banksters

May 19, 2014

I was gloomy as I saw what happened in 2008 and thereafter: the very financiers who had stolen all the money, were given trillions, to replace what they had stolen. It was as inconceivable as the worst horrors of history, but it proceeded.

In exchange the crooks did not even have to recognize they had been wrong. When it dawned on our unworthy leaders that it looked bad, all this giving from the poor to the richest fortunes in the world, they invented something else: easing money creation for top banks, so that they could “reimburse” the Public: that’s called “Quantitative Easing” (or “the Twist”, or…)

It’s a pleasure to now have Paul Krugman seeing the light, six years later, in “Springtime For Bankers”.  Oh, don’t jump for joy, yet. No, Paul is not seeing the light about “Quantitative Easing”, that’s still beyond what he can conceive at this point. But he has finally seen that the exalted status of banking itself is the problem, and, more generally that:

…”economic policy since the onset of the financial crisis has been a dismal failure. It’s true that we avoided a full replay of the Great Depression. But employment has taken more than six years to claw its way back to pre-crisis levels — years when we should have been adding millions of jobs just to keep up with a rising population. Long-term unemployment is still almost three times as high as it was in 2007; young people, often burdened by college debt, face a highly uncertain future.

Now Timothy Geithner, who was Treasury secretary for four of those six years… thinks he did a heckuva job.

He’s not unique in his self-approbation. Policy makers in Europe, where… a number of countries are in fact experiencing Depression-level distress, have even less to boast about. Yet they too are patting themselves on the back.

How can people feel good about track records that are objectively so bad?…

In both Europe and America, economic policy has to a large extent been governed by the implicit slogan “Save the bankers, save the world” — that is, restore confidence in the financial system and prosperity will follow…

Mr. Geithner’s book is devoted to a defense of the U.S. financial bailout, which he sees as a huge success story — which it was, if financial confidence is viewed as an end in itself… But where is the rebound in the real economy? Where are the jobs? Saving Wall Street, it seems, wasn’t nearly enough. Why?

One reason for sluggish recovery is that U.S. policy “pivoted,” far too early, from a focus on jobs to a focus on budget deficits. Mr. Geithner denies that he bears any responsibility for this pivot, declaring “I was not an austerian.” In his version, the administration got all it could in the face of Republican opposition. That doesn’t match independent reporting, which portrays Mr. Geithner ridiculing fiscal stimulus as “sugar” that would yield no long-term benefit.

But fiscal austerity wasn’t the only reason recovery has been so disappointing… there was, arguably, a lot the Obama administration could have done to reduce debt burdens without Congressional approval. But it didn’t; it didn’t even spend funds specifically allocated for that purpose. Why? According to many accounts, the biggest roadblock was Mr. Geithner’s consistent opposition to mortgage debt relief — he was, if you like, all for bailing out banks but against bailing out families…

…leading experts on this subject are the economists Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, whose just-published book “House of Debt” argues very much the contrary. On their blog, Mr. Mian and Mr. Sufi point out that Mr. Geithner’s arithmetic on the issue seems weirdly wrong — order of magnitude wrong — giving much less weight to the role of debt in holding back spending than the consensus of economic research…

In the end, the story of economic policy since 2008 has been that of a remarkable double standard. Bad loans always involve mistakes on both sides — if borrowers were irresponsible, so were the people who lent them money. But when crisis came, bankers were held harmless for their errors while families paid full price.

And refusing to help families in debt, it turns out, wasn’t just unfair; it was bad economics. Wall Street is back, but America isn’t, and the double standard is the main reason.”

Some hold that Timothy Geithner is creep central. This plutocrat got his jobs because of his connections, and is now president of “private equity” (understand: conspiracyplutocratic central) firm Warburg Pincus. Obama was forced to select the 2008 crisis maker Geithner over his spiritual father, the extremely well connected Lawrence Summers, because Summers’ towering reputation as a sexist, derivatives and plutocratic fiend, was so colossal that even the powers that be cringed.

It’s true that, as chief of the New York Fed, Geithner was the prime proximal architect of the 2008 crisis, so hell could not have been in better hands.

Last week, the New York Times censored by comments about “glaciers disintegrating”, probably because the message that the melting would go faster by one order of magnitude than announced, did not go down well.

This time, one deigned to publish me (progress: in the past such a comment on finance would have been censored). Here it is (beefed up):

“Save the bankers, save the world?” It is worse than that. The bankers are who create the money, and they do so, by re-distributing it, to whom, and what, they feel worthy.

The financial crisis 2008 revealed that bankers had lent the money to unprofitable projects, on such a scale that banks went bankrupt.  In the European Union, and the USA.

It’s true some of the money, in the USA, was lent directly to families who could not pay back anymore the debts they had incurred. How did this happen on such a scale? Because those millions of home owners had been tricked into incurring these debts by misrepresenting the payments those people would have to make.

Thus the bankers behaved like gangsters. However, in spite of the colossal misery they caused, none of these gangsters was prosecuted.

Moreover, bankers had also created a lot of money they lent for highly leverage financial derivatives operations that went very wrong (they went wrong, in part because, by all betting that what they thought could not happen would not happen, the bankers made sure that it would happen). An example of this hedging gone wrong is the bankruptcy of American International Group, AIG (that cost nearly 200 billion dollars).

The futility of separating one side of the Atlantic from the other was made blatant by AIG. The specific unit of AIG that leveraged AIG into oblivion was operating from London.

Highly leverage derivatives was another way bankers went wrong. Those derivatives, in particular the financial ones, dwarf the real economy.  This means the banks are financing a virtual economy, not the real one.

The same phenomenon festers in Europe. The money was not lost for everybody, though: the richest have got much richer.

Rogue bankers create money for themselves and their friends. The public is then asked to bring fresh money to refloat the banks that the bankers and their friends just stole. Then innocent entities get accused (subprime mortgage holders, the Euro, etc.)

In New York, one, just one junior trader was prosecuted for the 2008 crash. He was French, of course. In France Jerome Kerviel was condemned to three years in jail (and initially a multi-billion dollar fine), for having, allegedly,  lied to his employer.

It has not struck the corrupt mind of “justice” that it’s a corrupt organization that allows just one man to trade 80 billion dollars. A corrupt organization in a corrupt system.

Kerviel indeed vociferously asserts that there was an extensive conspiracy to protect Societe’ Generale, one of the world’s biggest bank.

Meanwhile American justice pursues criminally some Swiss bankers. Swiss bankers are from a country small enough to eat raw. French bankers are another matter, and American bankers are, naturally untouchable (American banks are made to pay fines… from QE).

The European economy has been ravaged to give as much money to the bankers and their accomplices as what they had just stolen. And this “austerity” is still going on. Tellingly, in Europe, only the far left and far right parties are starting to understand the extent and nature of the theft, and talk about it. No wonder that they will progress in the European elections, because, increasingly, people are starting to understand the truth. Hey, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman is nearly there!

The bankers have been saved. The world is therefore still at their mercy.  “Save the bankers, save the world” is in truth: ”Save the gangsters, save the world”. This financial plutocracy is there to stay, We The People are left to pray. On our knees.

Patrice Aymé

Market Is No Civilization.

April 16, 2011


[[A security problem at WordPress prevented reproducing half dozen graphs crucial to the essay below; hopefully at a future date. Better a mangled publication than none! Essays explaining with historical maps and reproductions of incriminating documents how Turkey’s and Germany’s poorly digested pasts caused their friendliness to the Libyan dictator and his family of murderous thugs, are delayed.]]


Abstract: The USA used to be mainly composed of “whites” and “blacks“. (“Black” in the USA is (still!) defined as any, even the smallest, contribution of African ancestry. Is it the Mark of Cain? According to the Pope, yes.)

The USA was mostly made of “whites“, and still is. There are 196 million of “whites” in the USA, according to the latest census. Now the largest and fastest growing minority, by far, is “Hispanics” (54 millions).  The “whites” used to comprise the middle class, and they have been suffering: their real income has been going down, while the cost of accessing to the upper class, education, has become stratospheric. So “whites” are getting poorer, less educated, the latter feeding back on the former.

A consequence is that the deeply unhappy, insecure “whites” are collapsing demographically. The latest census shows that the total population of white children (0 to 18 years) has gone down 10%. In a decade. In other words, the population of what used to be the United States of America is collapsing. Extrapolating these rates, the USA will turn soon into Mexico. Indeed this seems to be the aim of the plutocrats: is not it true that the world’s richest man, Carlos Sims, is Mexican?

Serious: the Mexican tax income is 10% of GDP. The US federal tax income is 9% of GDP, the rest is borrowed from the objective accomplice of American plutocracy, the Chinese dictatorship (hey, what are friends for?)

I will argue that the Will-To-Lower taxes is actually the expression of the will to go down, indeed. Lowering taxes to nothing is an attempt to reduce man to fear and greed. It is a will to reduce man to crocodile. In the guise of reducing the deficit, the American right wing is reducing the USA to increasingly nothing. Reducing man to fear and greed is no way to have a sustainable civilization. It is an ominous fate. It has no future value.




The American right wing is frighteningly stupid. Its leitmotiv, as Obama pointed out, is to give even more power to its sponsors, the hyper rich. Obama took the case of his own tax cuts, as proposed by the US Congress headed by Ryan and company: 33 seniors would see 6,400 dollars more in taxes, so that Obama could play with another 200,000 dollars. That, Obama rightly points out, is outrageous.

The American wealthy love to claim they are philanthropists. Let’s help them by enforcing that (Obama presented that idea in a more sneaky, psychologically correct way: the rich want to give, if we only would let them do it).

Europe’s richest person is Frenchman Bernard Arnault, a self made man, formed as an engineer at Polytechnique. He is worth $41 billion, making him the fourth richest man in the world (excluding despots, such as the Mubaraks, Kadhafis, and other Putins). Ryan the ignorant would say that Arnault is the victim of France, a welfare state: Arnault pays more than 50% in taxes. He thus has the satisfaction to have the French state provide him with the service of being made more philanthropic than his American colleagues.

Plutocrats have names. Two Wall Street housewives, Christy Mack and Susan Karches, got 220 million dollars from the Federal Reserve bank (which they did not have to reimburse: the loans were “non-recourse”).

Their husbands were big guys on Wall Street, getting even more money from the government of the USA. Dozens of hedge funds with Cayman Island addresses (so paying no US taxes) got billions of dollars. From the always so generous, albeit unknowing, US taxpayers. Basically, all the richest people in the USA were given free money from the Federal Reserve bank. To support the economy: in the USA, according to the operating wisdom, the rich is the economy. All this was supposed to stay secret, but an act of Congress (thanks to Senator Sanders from Vermont, the Senate’s lone socialist) just revealed the enormity of what is going on.

I have talked about this for years, as indications here and there, showed that this was the case. The same holds in Europe, with the deliberately mislabeled “Euro Crisis”, which is, in zeroth order, simply a money grab by the plutocracy. Thugs grabbing candy from children, ready to eat whatever from whoever. Hopefully the Icelanders have called off that charade, and normal people, in the rest of Europe and America, will realize that they don’t have to pay for plutocrats. Twice. And that it is time to force obdurate oligarchs to join their role models, the Mubaraks, in jail.

Why the American crisis? Here:

[Non reproduced graph showing a collapse of taxes on the richest in the USA in the last 20 years. Krugman’s “Tax Facts” has two of the graphs I used.] 

Notice the drastic lowering of taxes under Clinton, from 30% down to 22% for the 400 richest. So much for Clinton being a democrat. Correct spelling: demoncrat. Then Bush, from a billionaire family, in an ambush, lowered the tax rate of the hyper wealthy down to less than 17%; by comparison in high tax areas such as New York City, the upper middle class can pay 50% or more, in taxes… making the middle class a shadow of its former self, and the tax burden not much different from that of European “welfare” states… without the advantages.



So say some recent analyses of the Nazis; they mostly killed the Jews, because they wanted to steal them. Hatred was a convenient truth, but not the strongest motivation.

One has to remember that German fascism was essentially an alliance of the hyper wealthy, and hyper powerful, among the Prussian aristocracy, other grandees, and some industrialists. After trying to grab Europe in 1914, that constellation of arrogance was defeated in World War One. Those worthies then allied themselves with American plutocrats, thugs, children of criminals against mankind, such as Hermann Goering,  and revanchards low lives such as Adolf Hitler, creating Nazism.

Meanwhile in Italy, Mussolini, a repented socialist, made explicit the alliance between corporations and the state, a version of plutocracy he called “fascismo”.

Fascism is not always a product of plutocracy, and is far from being always bad, as those who invented the concept, the republicans of Rome, would be the first to point out. For the genuine Romans, fascism was the symbol of the judicial power of the republic, and the French republic still uses the concept in that exact way, 25 centuries later.

Fascism is the ax of the People’s ultimate power, when the many wind around the force of simplemindedness. However an ax can be misused.

Plutocracy always use fascism, and uses it badly, deliberately. What Paul Ryan and company propose is a naked version of what Mussolini implemented in Italy, and what laid subterraneously in Nazi Germany (as Ernst Julius Röhm found out in the last few hours of his life).



There is no deficit problem in the USA. There is a plutocratic problem. True the Federal government takes 18% of GDP while the Federal tax receipts are 9% of GDP. But that is deliberate. The plutocracy does not want to pay taxes, just as it did not want to pay taxes in the Late Roman empire. Plutocracy wants wealth to rule. And only wealth. And Pluto. Plutocracy does not want the law, or the state to rule. To kill the state, plutocracy kills taxes. This is why, in the Late Roman empire the law, the state, and even the army collapsed (instead the Franks, Visigoths and huns were privateley contracted).

Just like in the Roman empire, plutocracy has created an ideology to sabotage the country, the state, whatever does not satisfy its cult of personal power. In the Late Roman empire, rabid Christianity was the ideology that plutocracy used. Now the ideology is the so called “free market”. According to that ideology, only the “free market” produces anything of value.

Ryan and the right wing economists who support him are amazingly ignorant. Being scoundrels, as Krugman pointed out, no doubt further their ignorance. They know nothing about a few dozen European countries, and still other countries, such as Japan, which completely contradict his ideas, with explicit examples, here, there, and everywhere. For example the Swedish health care is much better than the American one, and is much cheaper. As soon as one studies the Swedish system, one understands why.

And why is it that Germany, with 45% of GDP as state spending is doing better economically than the USA, with 18% of GDP for Federal spending? Overall, Europe is doing great economically (except for some overextended peripherals), and all European states have an AVT of at least 15%, and state spending between 40% and 55% of GDP. Way above the global state spending of the USA of 30%. One also has to keep in mind that the private sector in the USA is very inefficient, which bloats GDP: energy usage in the USA is only 33% efficient, whereas it is above 80% or 90% in the Western Europe, or Japan.)



[Absent graph showing the tax rates of many countries, the total tax load of the USA being near the bottom, between half and two-thirds of the European tax loads.]

I have harped for many years that taxes are not high enough in the USA.  Moreover, they are skewed very badly. To advantage the rich. To encourage waste, and discourage savings and conservation. As energy costs have increased recently, the French government was able to reduce by 10% the tax loads of poor professionals who depend upon transportation. High tax countries have freedom of financial engineering. If production oil prices doubled, European governments would be able to swallow the increase. Not so in the USA.

Aside from the low-tax status of the United States, it’s interesting to note that all the European debt crisis countries have relatively low taxes by European standards. This is a causal relationship. and it is well understood in Europe. To help fix its crisis, Greece has augmented its VAT up to 23%, and is now trying to tax the (rich) Church.

This puts the lie to those claiming that big welfare states were somehow responsible for the crisis: the four countries at the top, the top welfare states, with the highest tax rates, are doing splendidly. According to the IMF and the CIA, Norway, Denmark and Sweden have higher GDP than the USA.

This, in spite of the high inefficiency of the economy of the USA, which augments the ratio GDP/AWE. (AWE, Absolute Worth Energy, my own concoction, measures the efficiency of energy usage according to its true worth, as its name indicates.)



Adam Smith, building on the French physiocrats, and Dutch financial engineering, mentioned the “invisible hand” of the market. Four times. And he wrote more than one big book. Smith was not obsessive about the “free market” as the American plutocratic propaganda has been. The latter is obsessive, because it wants to hide the fact that the plutocrats are  government sponsored, government financed, and government owning. They are foxes complaining of being pecked by the chicken they eat.

The market responds to profit. But what does the rest of society respond to? Should a doctor be primarily motivated by greed or survival? Or should a doctor be primarily motivated by care?

Do these people who talk about “free markets” all day long know what they are talking about? The free market? Do they know what a market is, have they seen one? I advise them to go to France this summer, say Southern France. All cities and villages there have exuberant markets, generally twice a week, half a day. Really free markets, in the street. OK, not completely free: emplacements in a free market are in high demand, and each spot is tightly regulated.

In the USA, the French have the reputation to be welfare addicts. In truth, the French know real free markets very well: they are wildly popular, and all French in good standing use the market; produce are fresher, direct from the producer, and often of higher quality, and, or, cheaper. However, precisely because they use the market so much, the French know that the market is not the one and only place to run a society from. Financial profit as its only motivation carry a civilization only that far. Because, by definition, it can only be concentrated on the richest. The rich became more than twice richer in the last thirty years in the USA: after-tax income of the richest 1% went from 7% of total income to 17%. 

The plutocratically inspired, misleadingly labeled American “republicans”, though, demand that only the profit motive would move society. Thus they want to reduce all and any emotion to greed. Or a somber struggle for survival. But no civilization reduced to greed survived very long.



People are active for some reason(s). It is often simply because otherwise their basic needs would not be satisfied, and by working enough, they can get enough money to satisfy those needs. Call that the survivalist motive. People can be also be active out of greed, when their needs are satisfied, but they want more money than they need.

However, some people act from parental love. So it is for all and any parent in good standing. People can also act out of the goodness of their heart, or because they have passion for a task, be it engineering, a sense of justice, curiosity, poetry. These motivations don’t have a price, and they are not engaged into because they bring money. People can act out of a mix of the preceding motivations, with one of them dominating, or not. In any case, all these motivations contribute to economic activity. It is non financially rewarded economic activity, thus, it is not measured by GDP, but it is economic activity.

People do not, in general, make a financial profit of of curiosity. So in France, for example, the state had to step in to pay archeologists. Otherwise the archeology would not get done. A country such as France is heavily covered by not-for-profit “associations” which practice a myriad of activities, and which are somewhat supported by the national collectivity known as the “state”.

To all this, the fascists reply that only greed and survival are motives worthy enough, to be encouraged, and even paid for, by the government. Hence the extravagancy of welfare for billionaires in the post-Bush USA. As the historian Fernand Braudel pointed out, the capture of the state by a rich minority has been a classical feature. Most of the time, Egypt was organized that way, starting with the times of the pyramids. Tellingly, some of the best Egyptian science was done before that. When all you think about is greed and survival, or submitting to the masters, you don’t think much.

When the right wing friends of the plutocrats proffer economic advice, they claim that economic activity comes exclusively from greed and survivalism. It tells something about them that these are the only motivations they can imagine people to have.

It also mean that they reject a society where anything else than greed and survivalism reign.  Historically, though, such small minded, selfish, man eat dog societies have not proven sustainable. By contrast, the Oriental Part of the Roman empire, Constantinople, survived very well with absolutely enormous taxes, for more than a millennium.

The other motivations for activity do not depend, cannot depend, upon making a profit. By definition. But they are necessary to have a society open to all the motivations of the open heart, and the open mind. Thus they have to be supported by the public. That public support is the government sector. An open question is how much of GDP it needs. The answer  of the post Reaganites who reign now has been 9% of GDP, while spending 18%. The answer of the European governments has been above 40%.

Why so much more? The greedy have become more greedy, as greed has been brandished as the way. There is a competition of greed, in an ecology where greed gets no competition. More greed means more profit right away. Thus anything bringing profits later, even if more considerable, long term, is eschewed to the profit of profits now. Hence all serious infrastructure projects have been spurned in the USA. But not so in Europe. Or China. Hence the need for more government spending in Europe. (China’s banks are much obedient to the government, so their private goals coincide with government goals.)

To get to 40%, to get to a fully open economy, the economy of the open mind, the USA will have to raise new revenue, out of taxes on energy and consumption, like in the EU. In the EU a minimum 15% Added value Tax is the law. Anyway, that is the price of the mind, and heart, in full. Otherwise the USA will keep on shrinking, in mind and heart, as it reduces increasingly just to survivalism, and greed.



Why is the USA so vulnerable to plutocracy? It is a consequence of racism. Let’s not forget that the USA had the world’s most racist society (by comparison Rome had slavery, but was not racist: Septimus Severus, who founded the dynasty which bears his name, was a Libyan, and Rome had at least one Arab emperor, Philippe). Genetically founded slavery is rare, although India was submitted to it for 35 centuries, until the British colonized that primitivism with their advanced Western European civilizational ideas, and outlawed the infamy of the genetic caste system.

The fragmentation of American society is at the root of the crisis of the USA, and even of the world’s plutocratic crisis. (As American plutocracy has been busy finding itself allies overseas, yesterday Nazism, today China.)

The plutocratic effect always fragments a society, by definition, as it increases the gap between haves, and have-nots. This is what caused the morbidity of republican Rome. But the racial past is an aggravating ingredient at play in the USA, which did not exist in Rome.

As plutocracy appeared in the USA in the late nineteenth century, plutocratic fragmentation was at play. It was decisively corrected by the two president Roosevelt. Now, of course plutocracy tended to surface also in France, Britain (and was particularly nasty in Belgium, as the king went berserk with Congo).

In Germany plutocracy pushed Europe straight into world wars, various holocausts, and racial dementia. The plutocratic insanity had been amplified by something in common with the USA: institutionalized racism.   

“Black” in the USA is (still!) defined as the smallest contribution of African ancestry. African ancestry was generally felt by “whites” to be a powerful poison. So a dividing principle was instilled in the society of the USA. It became institutionalized, venerated.

Barak Obama’s mother was white as snow, but his father was from Kenya, so he dutifully classifies himself as “black”. The Bible calls this sort of things a “Mark of Cain“, an indelible mark placed there by God to warn of the criminal past of the perpetrator. Having a few genes of African origin is the Mark of Cain in the USA. (Another gift from the Bible which was applied to the Jews in the Middle Ages, by Christians and Muslims alike! In the same spirit, in the Middle Ages, the Pope decided that it was OK to enslave “blacks”)

A symbolic detail: “Blacks” use the word “nigger” among themselves (and do it all the time), but if a “white” uses it, it’s an unbearable insult. This cultural apartheid fragments society, and makes fragmentation honorable. Thus, when plutocracy imposes its own fragmentation, it can plead that fragmentation is honorable, and those who resist it are “class warriors”, who are implicitly equated with “race warriors”. The Wall Street Journal editorial board, and the giant Fox and Newscorp machinery attached to it uses this argument many times an hour, day in, day out.

An idiotic and dishonest story on CNN claimed that France had 12 million hidden Muslims and Africans, and they breed frantically and will overwhelm France by 2025. France’s situation is quite different, because apartheid is not venerated there, but republican integration is (see the “Burqua”/face mask law). By the American definition, some of Napoleon’s generals were “black”, and so was Alexandre Dumas. But most French people are unaware of that, and if they were, they would ask you what’s your problem. In a non racist society, Négritude is not like Plutonium, and a little bit does not change everything.  




The Nazis claimed to be patriots. Their fascism killed a bit more than 10% of ethnic Germans, in 12 years. The collapse of the white population in the USA is just as swift.  But its cause, American plutocratic fascism, differently from the German fascists, has not been extirpated.

A state such as California, essentially white a century ago, is now majority minority. In California one can meet American citizens who speak less English than a French peasant. This is compounded by the fact that the public school  system is collapsing, to the racist satisfaction of the plutocracy (remember, they dream of Mexico). This is what lays under  the American socio-economic crisis; it’s a plutocratic crisis multiplying a racial crisis. Basically the few rich whites don’t feel any solidarity for the colored tide of low lives that their very policies have brought about. All they want is private jets, gated communities for their servants, more than two millions incarcerated, and about eight million others under judicial supervision. Hundreds of millions walloping in misery will only augment their glory, the way they look at it.



Obama understands all this, all the more since he has one foot in it. Now that he has proven a great warrior in Libya, fighting for justice, in spite of everything, he seems more bellicose. The fight in Libya is not fundamentally different. In Libya a small clan of thugs captured the state, and then the country, 42 years ago, with minimal bloodshed. Then. No wonder that Qaddafi was upset when he saw his plutocratic colleague in Tunisia, ben Ali, come down, and flee to plutocratic Saudi Arabia. Now he and his eight children killed more than 10,000. Instead of fighting a few resistance fighters, the murderous thugs now confront the might of the leading democracies. No wonder that Putin is upset. No wonder that those who captured Tibet are upset. No wonder that those who kill indigenous peoples to get rare earths are upset. No wonder that those who spoil the Indians of Amazonia worried that democracy may come after them too.

Leading democracies cannot be the world’s police force, nor should they leave democracy undefended.

It was not easy for Obama: as he landed on planet Washington DC, he landed in Plutocracia Magna. Forgive my neo Latin. When surrounded by wolves, it is difficult not to howl with them. However, as he engages in real combat, Obama is growing, and may be will turn into a tiger: He does need to meekly howl with inferior canids.

Obama just brought to bear some logic on the ignorant Paul Ryan and his associated scoundrels. Obama’s liberal base may be ready to see again in him the courageous leader, the friend of sanity, it thought it voted for in 2008.

Thus it may come to vote in November 2012, after all. Then the decerebrated servants of the infamous Pluto will go back to the well deserved abyss they belong to, walloping in their reductive view of man. The ignorant can bellow. History does not listen.

The People of Rome did not wake up in time and numbers when plutocracy took over. Maybe “We The People of The United States Of America” will do so, after all. Hope is good, when it shows up.


Patrice Ayme

Financial Devils Administration.

September 6, 2009




Time For Financial Devils Attenuation?

The somewhat health care challenged Obama has a health adviser (Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel) who wants to "attenuate the chances" of "those with chronic diseases or towards the end of their lives". Emanuel calls that the "full life system". Presumably when Emanuel has determined that your life is full, it gets "attenuated".

Oh how nice it would be if the Obama administration showed the same scalpel approach to finance! But let’s deepen that health care analysis. The FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, decides if drugs, or treatments, the products of the health care industry, are "safe and effective". Then only the products of the health care industry that are "safe and effective" are allowed for consumption by the market. In other words, innovation in health care is seriously regulated.

The bankers always advance the argument that they need to be unregulated, because only then can they "innovate". To those who talk of that concept, please point out at one recent financial innovation with public utility. Say in the last twenty years.

That one innovation ought to be allowed, should it exist (it does not).

But that innovation with a putative utility should only be allowed once, and only if, it is proven to be safe and effective. All others ought to be forbidden. And proposed new financial "innovation" ought to be legally permitted only after a careful review by the appropriate agency, the FINANCIAL DEVILS ADMINISTRATION. After all new drugs are studied for years through a legislatively mandated process. Although medical drugs are invented to save lives. Instead financial innovation are only invented to “attenuate” the lives of others, as they presumably go through what the good plutophile Emanuel has determined to be their “full life”.

Now, of course, the financial devils will rush out of the temples of high finance in their own defense, and certify that they do not kill. We heard that sort of defense before: I was not there, I did not do that. We heard it even at the Nuremberg trial (not a coincidence, see below).

The malignant growth of the financial sector has sucked up most of the innovative capacity of the economy, not just by prostituting the very concept of "innovation", but by sucking a lot of the available capital, and a lot of the human capital (the best and brightest are diverted from activities with public utility to activities more akin to old fashion piracy), besides capturing the political process, and elevating profit to the new golden calf to be adored in the guise of absolute morality.

This all has practical consequences. The financial devils have been mentoring politicians for generations in the USA. Only in the last 15 years or so have they been able to make a frontal attack against the work of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his Congress in 1933. But their nefarious influence extended subterraneanly well before that. Starting in 1934, they fought subterraneanly the French menace, because France was not keen to let plutocrats play Hitler like a violin.

The crazy policy pursued with Arab Muslim fundamentalists (Osama bin Laden and company) in Afghanistan under Reagan to fight the forces of progress, so as to serve the perceived interests of the oil plutocrats, is another subterraneous example. So now people are being killed by the thousands, there, in Afghanistan, because plutocratic conspiracies of the oily type led us where we are, without any democratic debate.

These are not just slogans: bin Laden and company were taught to attack soft, public targets, such as schools. As far as those who held the purse strings at the time, it sounded smart, just as it sounds smart to shed crocodile tears about it now.

Another smart plutocratic move was to foster a Muslim fundamentalist constitution in Afghanistan. That would keep the Afghans divided, dumb and corrupt, and thus, the West forever in Afghanistan, and the oil flowing. Unfortunately the (huge) Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline (TAP) was stalled by the Taliban in 2006 (because of its control of the Afghan south, just where the most recent and fiercest NATO offensives were conducted, by the greatest of coincidence).

Of course Afghanistan is just a small, baby example, but typical. American, and not just American, most of the West’s policies, have been guided by the financial devils. Time to put them back in the box.

(By the way, the notes below are worse than the preceding, and ought to be omitted by the overly sensitive.)


Patrice Ayme


Note 1: CIA IN AFGHANISTAN MESSING UP SINCE 1973: Roger Morris, a Foreign Service Officer and National Security Council member under presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and others, have pointed out that as early as 1973-74, the CIA began offering covert backing to Islamic radical rebels in Afghanistan under the pretext that the right-wing, authoritarian government headed by Mohammed Daoud Khan was too progressive. Daoud Khan was the first cousin of the Afghan King, who he overthrew for blatant stagnation. At the time, little girls were going to school.

Thus we can safely say that the West has been messing up with, and aggressing Afghanistan since 1973. Of course the average person in the West is not aware of that: most of what they know is doing what they are told, whining, or dying on command.

Millions of Afghans died, because of the West, and then the West whines about itself, because bin Laden used in the USA what he had been instructed to use in Afghanistan. This is typical of the sort of mentally dysfunctional situations the financial devils of the West have maneuvered us in. Worse is to come, if we do not now react.

Note 2: WALL STREET AND AUSCHWITZ: As I have argued elsewhere, the powers that be on Wall Street created, at the very least, many of the instruments of Nazism as early as 1922. Although the perspective of the superior race on Nazism is a valid one (namely that the Nazis became what they did because they believed in the racial superiority illusion), and so was the seduction that fascism exerted, these are not the perspectives that enabled Nazism the most. For the latter a totally amoral part of international finance of Anglo-American (mostly American) origin was necessary (there are lots of technical details involved here, that i have addressed in other essays).

Thus Nazism can be viewed as an example of American financial deregulation pushed to extremes.

The American government led Nuremberg trials arrived to this conclusion, when it was determined that the largest companies in the world, some American (Standard Oil), some German Nazi (IG Farben, fourth largest company in the world) had secretly conspired together to violate many laws, going all the way to mass murder. Curiously, this has been forgotten. When I mentioned this and related facts on the European Tribune site, amazingly, angry bankers wrote to me decrying my insanity, arguing about side issue (such as the exact names of some subsidiaries), and threatened punishment. I was duly "banned" from the site within hours (I never looked at it again). I was told I fostered "hatred". A similar chain of events happened with the "Daily Kos" (which is busy publishing the same bonus bankers).

Well, the truth is often the object of hatred. Verily, it is exhausting to reprogram one’s brain, so we as well hate those what and who threatens to do so.

(For those who wonder why the American government was so honest in 1945/46, while it is so dishonest more recently, let’s not forget that in 1946, the influence of the just deceased American president Roosevelt’s was still great. Roosevelt was no blind friend of those he called the "banksters". He had to fight them to save the USA from the Great Depression.

Nevertheless, of course, by 1945, the new order was put in place. Just an example: the station chief of the OSS in Berlin was Dulles, lawyer to 100 Nazi firms, just five years earlier: you can imagine with how much enthusiasm he pursued his clients and associates… The Dulles brothers would direct American policy for the next 15 years at least.)


October 27, 2008



Money, ultimately, is trust. Money is the trust one has into the set made of trillions of contracts around the world. That trust was damaged badly when the US government let a major bank fail (Lehman). It has been unraveling ever since.

To fix the crisis, trust has to be reinstated. It has to be, otherwise, the world economy, starved of money, will crash.

We have the example of what happened to Rome. For centuries, the Roman empire thrived with a giant inter regional trade that saw as many as 10,000 great ships plying the Mare Nostrum, carrying all goods, not just wheat to the million inhabitants of the city of Rome, but even wine to Gaul.

For a number of reasons, many of them psychopathic, the Roman imperial administration took on too much military spending, and this led to various financial difficulties, including ever more diversion of economic activity towards the military, and high inflation. Trust in the socio-economico-political system collapsed. Trade inside the Roman State collapsed in turn. The great Roman cities waned and died, health care broke down, the starving population crashed, civilization nearly succumbed, libraries were burned, surviving intellectuals fled to Persia, religious terror thrived, social order broke down terminally. Germans came in to reestablish order. Commerce became local, with serfs and lords.

Lest we want to follow a similar course, it’s time to go to the basics. The first evidence we have to keep in mind is that the financial system is not a creator, just a servant (just like Rome should have kept in mind that the army was a servant, not the boss). At the limit, the financial system could be replaced by a computer. Better one good computer rather than half a million plutocrats feasting on our bones. The financial system does not create new technology, nor even new ideas. That is not its role. Yes, finance went nuts, it dreamed that it had such a role, but the financial sector was high, then, way too high, drugged on hubris with no relation to reality whatsoever!

The financial sector’s basic function, that servant’s basic service, it is supposed to render, is not even credit, it’s to see to it that trust, that is money, capital, circulates, in full trust. At this present stage (October 2008), that function is breaking down. Worldwide.

So what to do? Nationalize to the maximum, all of the financial system, right away. Now nationalizing does not mean, as the Bush administration has so far chosen to interpret it, that one makes gifts to the management and owners of the banks that caused the problem. As it is, this is what is going on, because the Treasury Secretary, Paulson, a plutocrat, gives treasure to his fellow plutocrats, but asks for nothing in return (a violation of the capitalist doctrine; but plutocracy is not about capitalism in general, it’s about a few having most of the capital, and the power).

Since when is the transfer of capital something that brings nothing to the one that it is taken from? Is not that called theft?

In Paulson’s little scheme, banks’ managements, made of his fellow plutocrats he has to socialize with, are free to get their bonuses (a straight transfer from taxpayer pockets to plutocrats, since the banks had no more capital, just prior), and shareholders are free to get their dividends (also straight from taxpayers’ pockets). According to the Guardian, bonuses could be as much as 70 billions, in the USA alone, for the culprit, and already extremely wealthy managers of the nationalized U.S. banks. The word theft is not too strong. By the way, the same outrage is expected in other places (see P/S).

Two things are very wrong here: 1) the Paulson-nationalization-as-gift is an egregious transfer of wealth from the poor ( the taxpayers) to the rich (the very rich people that caused the problem to start with); 2) the preservation of existing managements. Those managers not only caused the problem, but they know that so well among themselves that they do not trust each other at all, so banks will not transfer money from bank to bank, knowing all too well that they are headed by impudent and imprudent crooks, all over.

So what to do? Nationalization can achieve two things: 1) recapitalization: so a bank now has money, and is financially capable of satisfying its obligations, namely, it can now function. But that does not mean it will. For that it needs: 2) to throw the old managers out and stuff the banks with civil servants in the top management, and put two (say) civil servants on each bank board, with the MANDATE OF ENFORCING TRUST between the banks. This is where we are at, there is no other choice.

In a fully nationalized system, no bank can fail. So nationalize the financial system everywhere, right away. WORLDWIDE, the mandate should be imposed that NO BANK WILL FAIL, NO DEPOSIT SHALL FAIL (whatever its amount is). We are trying to bring back trust, remember? SO MANDATE TRUST.

No bank or deposit failure has to be mandated worldwide, and right away, to avoid further imbalances. Small countries that do not have the cash (i.e., trust, as we said above) should be given the cash (as Iceland was). One has to do all the banks at once, because only recapitalizing a subset of them all is, first of all, a violation of the republican equality principle, and secondly, would put at a disadvantage, or even cause runs, on banks that did not have problems (before their competitors got recapitalized, i.e., nationalized).

Credit will have to be addressed in similar ways: mandate credit at least to those who used to get it (France created a branch of government extending credit to small and medium companies, since banks are not doing their job anymore). And ibidem for the insurance industry. All these are servants of the real economy.

The failure to implement the preceding measures will lead to major economic disruption(s). What Rome did to herself in a decade or two, we would do in a year or two. At most.

At that point a major country, or more, will go fascist. Diverting huge resources towards armament programs will ensue. Nuclear world war will be next. Because dozens of countries have the know how and capability to build nuclear weapons.

It’s a civilizational choice. The next holocaust will not kill 75 millions, as W.W.II did, but several billions. From direct bombardments, and from the collapse of most basic services (water, food, energy, health care).

A fair warning.

Patrice Ayme

P/S 1: The fascist Roman Principate could not do things well, because it did not have the wealth, competition and selection of ideas that the continuation of Roman democracy would have brought. Although it still functioned as a republic in some ways [the emperor was initially just the first man (“princeps”) in the Senate], the big time decision making was taken by a small team of natural incompetents reminiscent of the team that brought the Bush administration to war in Iraq, or the little team that has been “rescuing” the financial system by gifting to its friends. By this I precisely mean that when a general such as Septimus Severus, whatever his qualities as an imperator, a top general, took long term strategic decisions pertaining to finance and economics, he was totally out of his depth. Similarly the little team of sycophants around Bush was able to steer the gigantic USA towards a war it could not win under any plausible scheme, it was also out of its depth, due to a lack of the spirit of democracy characterized by the failure to consult and communicate with experts. In the recent case of the USA with Iraq, Bush’s little team of sycophants did not consult with people who knew enough history and human geography, and others who knew serious economics, or, a fortiori basic philosophy (which is not taught by just praying among superstitious people; basic philosophy would have shown that the basic problem was Islam, and that Islam is not won over with a gun.)  

P/S 2: In any case, under the Severan dynasty, a dynasty founded by an African general who mistrusted the plutocratic Senate (his last message to his imperial sons), military spending was boosted considerably, beyond what the empire could afford, creating chronic inflation. (The army’s size augmented by 25%, and base pay was doubled.)

Next, after the emperor Alexander Severus bought off German enemies instead of punishing them with his mighty army, he was assassinated by his troops, and the empire fell into total chaos. It was the time of the “Barracks emperors” (no jokes, please), and, just like banksters nowadays, troops needed huge enrollment bonuses (these are used presently in the US army too). The inflation only got worse and worse, to the point people lost so much trust in  the currency that it stopped being current, and started to get replaced by bartering. At this point, two average distant trading places being unable to barter physical goods directly with each other, they had to cease trading with each other. If Byzantium needed wheat from the Danube, before the collapse of the trust in currency, it would pay for it with money. After the trust in money had collapsed, Byzantium could not send anything in exchange for the wheat, because it did not have enough to barter with, that interested the peasants of the Danube (money used to interest the peasants, before, when one could exchange it against valuable stuff).

That’s why money was invented: as a universal bartering system. Hence the average pair of distant places in the empire had to stop trading, and the trading system lost most pieces of itself. As the emperors bought off the troops (with gold), 20 to 25 emperors reigned in a few years. Unsurprisingly political disorganization probably facilitated a massive, extremely lethal epidemy that weakened the empire considerably further: when it rains, it pours. 

P/S 3: Nationalization is an emergency measure, Reversion to the private sector, under tighter and more intelligent regulations will happen, once the crisis is over (the Scandinavian nationalization wave of 16 years ago is an example, but there are others, similarly successful in their return to normal).

P/S 4: Last week, a top manager at UBS (Union des Banques Suisses) was adamant that he and his colleagues, those who caused the problem, get their gigantic bonuses: ” that’s the way bankers are traditionally paid”. Never mind the poor Swiss taxpayer, and the poor Swiss underclass, asked to transfer immediately 100 billion dollars to UBS. Managers need money now, to pay for their yachts, mansions, helicopters, and fancy private schools, so their children can network…

P/S 5: Deep reforms of the financial and trading systems will have to be elaborated. Differently from the emergency nationalization, those would be permanent. Let’s just mention a few in passing: a) globalization of trade should be submitted to human environmental review and compensation (just as there are environmental impact studies, there should be human and civilizational impact studies, each time massive amounts of capital are transferred, say to install a new factory in China. The idea is NOT to limit trade, but to make governments face their responsibility to the People, and not just to the plutocracy. b) A very low speed limit for trading in securities should be enforced. Only this way would the markets be efficient, AND DEMOCRATIC. That’s all the more important, since so many people have retirement money invested in securities (and those are not secure when hedge funds are free to buy and sell them within seconds). Another trick to the same effect: put a small tax on all and any security transaction. c) reorganize the derivatives, so that they become a DAMPING mechanism, not an amplifying one, as they are now (if there was just a mortgage crisis, it would be contained, it’s the amplification of unregulated derivatives that has caused the crisis to the present extend).


September 30, 2008


While the USA is floundering, the Europeans are nationalizing ailing banks. Nationalizations protect taxpayers, respect the capitalist principle that if you paid for it, you own it, and also give a tremendous boost of leveraged lending capability (by the fraction 100/8, that is, more than 12). So if the 700 billions of the Paulson plan had been used for nationalizations, the lending capability of the US financial system would have augmented by more than 9 TRILLION dollars. Yes, 9 followed by 12 zeroes. Real money, real help.

Fortis, the large Benelux bank, was part nationalized (yes, it’s possible to part nationalize), and Britain, once again nationalized some.

Why is nationalization not considered in the USA? A charitable explanation is that it is related to the frame of mind that makes the USA the only country in the world to use a system of units dating from the Middle Ages. A less charitable explanation is that it is the plutocracy that takes all the decisions (Paulson used to be worth more than 500 million dollars).


Patrice Ayme


P/S 1: The plan proposed by Paulson violated two basic principles of the US Constitution (equality and the general welfare clause).

P/S 2: Nationalizations would allow direct supervision by civil servants, hence direct dialogue bank to bank by civil servants, thus unfreezing liquidity flows. As the Great Depression of the twentieth century unfolded, the lack of trust from bank to bank became a major problem, and we are back there now.

An interest of nationalization is that the old management can be thrown out.

A radical way to insure trust, is to have the government insure all inter bank loans. That should be implemented worldwide. To avoid excess and corruption, justice departments should be aggressively involved. So should they be for punishment and recovery of stolen assets. After all, Wall Street bonuses in 2007 were more than 100 billion dollars.

Of course, the word “nationalization” is not used in the USA. Too socialist sounding. “Equity injections” is preferred. In truth there are many sorts of details in nationalizations. For example, during many decades, the British government owned a “golden share” in BP, British Petroleum, one the world’s most powerful and profitable corporations.

P/S 3: One of the fundamental problems is that the US population is over indebted. So the government will have to step out, and make work. No problem: much of the US infrastructure is obsolete.  “Making work” does not necessarily mean reinstating the New Deal or Stalinism. It could be as simple as relaxing some regulations and instituting others, to force some new economic activity.


September 27, 2008


There is a huge financial crisis developing and something huge needs to be done, that is correct (see P/S 4 for a hint of the extend).  

But why was the incredible 700 billion dollars gift to Wall Street (more than 6% of GDP) ever proposed? In its initial form, it was like offering a truck full of gasoline to an arsonist, so he could replenish himself.

But let’s hear it from one of the pillars of the democratic establishment. Paul Krugman writes the following in a New York Times editorial (September 26, 2008):

“Many people on both the right and the left are outraged at the idea of using taxpayer money to bail out America’s financial system. They’re right to be outraged, but doing nothing isn’t a serious option. Right now, players throughout the system are refusing to lend and hoarding cash — and this collapse of credit reminds many economists of the run on the banks that brought on the Great Depression. It’s true that we don’t know for sure that the parallel is a fair one.

Maybe we can let Wall Street implode and Main Street would escape largely unscathed. But that’s not a chance we want to take.”

An amazing quote, word for word straight from the NYT editorial, denoting an astounding view of the world, a total incapability to think out of the Wall Street box. Paul Krugman himself, the self declared “Conscience of a Liberal”, famous economist at Princeton and anti Bush New York Times editorialist of long standing, believes we cannot let “Wall Street implode”.

Really? Why not? Professor Krugman does not explain. He seems at a loss for concepts. No wonder: everything indicates that it’s the other way around. Wall Street is the problem. Why should imploding a big problem be a bigger problem? Keeping on sending money to Wall Street may keep on depriving Main Street of money. Sending money to Wall Street instead of Main Street is exactly what has happened in the last few decades. Maybe it’s time to try something completely different.

At this point, though, the establishment has been working as one. What the establishment, and its associated plutocracy, wants is money from The People. This has long been true, but now that the plutocracy and its associated establishment are in serious financial trouble, the request has become urgent. The plutocracy (and, indirectly the establishment) has been dabbling in FUTURES AND DERIVATIVES. Unregulated all.

The total worth of the world is about 100 trillion dollars, and the total world GDP is not even half that. Nevertheless, the supposed “value” of all derivatives invented by “Wall Street” is in excess of 500 trillion dollars. Yes, you read this correctly: the total value of Wall Street, according to Wall Street, is at least five times the total value of the world. No wonder Wall Street needs help! It has gone completely nuts. But what it needs is not more money: according to itself, it’s worth already five times the planet. What it needs is cognitive therapy.

Many of these futures and derivatives are leveraged out of mortgage-based securities. Most of the money invested in these nonsensical instruments was borrowed by the plutocracy from the banks where The People puts its money. This is the connection, People, that they tried to hid from you! They already took your money where it cannot be seen, and now they want more.

In other words, “Main Street’s” money (that Wall Street found in banks) was lent to hedge funds owned by extremely rich individuals, so they could leverage themselves to make themselves even more fabulously rich. Now that this leverage is working the other way, two things are occurring: the banks can’t be reimbursed, and the hedge fund industry (worth two trillions dollars in the USA) is in danger of being wiped out (bringing many of the hyper rich to ruin). This is probably what is the real reason for the panic of the Bush administration.

The simple solution to all this, for the People at large, for “Main Street”, that is for the real economy, is to nationalize all failing institutions that are necessary for the ongoing functioning of the economy (in the Great Depression, the Fed let thousands of banks necessary to the functioning of the economy close, a horrible mistake). In other words, let the government provide necessary banks with all the capital needed for operations necessary for the ongoing functioning of the economy . Simple. And don’t send the money to the rich: that could cause a new Great Depression.

Why? As we said, and what Professor Krugman does not seem to understand, is that too much money to the extremely rich caused the crisis to start with.

Now we are taking the patient, Main Street, who suffers from dangerous anemia, and draining it of blood some more, to feed the vampire, Wall Street, some more, lest it becomes anemic too.

More seriously, there is only that much money that the economy can create. Too much money sent to Wall Street meant not enough money for Main Street. Otherwise said, people can work only so many hours; if they spend too much time working for Wall Street, they spend not enough time working for main Street. In the end, they literally get depressed. This is no joke: an important factor in the Great Depression was the unwillingness to lend, from sheer depressed spirits, something that has shown up recently, and has an important psychological component. 

Hedge Funds and obscure, unregulated derivatives are unnecessary to “Main Street”. They have actually hindered “Main Street”, by siphoning money away from it, and by building inequalities sky high, to the point where they are damaging the world economy. Let most of the derivatives die. It’s time to do triage.

Nationalizing (hence saving) only functions and/or institutions useful to “Main Street” will save the economy. All “Wall Street” has been doing is destroying the real economy. Time for a change.

But that change will not be easy. Politicians and university professors (the decision makers) are paid very little (say a maximum of 175 K in a country where CEOs can make billions). Their only hope to make it big financially is by pleasing the plutocracy. And if one does not make it big in a plutocracy, one is nothing. That’s one of the main self-reinforcing mechanism of the plutocracy.

Patrice Ayme.

P/S 1: This is a small appetizer of a much longer work that analyzes and compares the present situation with the Great Depression. All this work confirms that there is only one way out, and that making more gifts to Wall Street will only make the situation worse. Coming soon.

P/S 2: Similar crises in Europe were well resolved by nationalizing. That makes sense both in the capitalistic and the socialistic models. Last time this happened on a large scale (5% GDP) was during the Norway-Sweden banking crisis (1992). Resolution by nationalization was highly successful. But Europe does not have the tradition of giving ever more riches to the rich. It is understood in Europe that, when the socioeconomic inequalities become too great, catastrophic consequences are not far behind: mass poverty, strife and war.

P/S 3: The trading of derivatives will have to be severely limited, both in who can trade them (the “commercials”) and by how much (that’s pure mathematics: the greater the order of the derivative, the more it impacts its integrals; so, to prevent astronomical leverage, one has to restrict down to zero the derivatives’ variation as their order goes up; that this is not the law yet was made possible by the lack of intuitive knowledge of infinitesimal calculus by lawmakers).

P/S 4: How big is the lending crisis? It is rumored that the losses to banks would be already around 130 billion dollars. Since banks are allowed by international law to lend a bit more than ten times their capital, this is a loss of 1.5 trillion dollars in lending capacity. Injecting directly 130 billions of dollars from the Treasury (i.e., The People) under the form of capital (hence equity) would recreate directly that capacity. The initial Bush crisis plan did not do that, though.