Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

March 13, 2009

Cramer Becomes Inarticulate

Filed under: capitalism, economy, media — Tags: , , , — codesmithy @ 9:05 am

Crooks and Liars has Jim Cramer’s appearance on the Daily Show.  There was definitely a moment of who-are-going-to-believe as Cramer tries to ignore the fact that Stewart has just played a tape where Cramer admitted that he manipulated the market and following it up with example on how to start a rumor and short Apple’s stock.   

Cramer was all over the map, advocating criminal indictments, kangaroo courts, and positing his street-cred as an Obama voter.  To me, he never seemed to answer the fundamental question: what does he see as CNBC’s role as an institution?  Cramer, lamely, kept admitting that CNBC needed to do better without ever striking at the heart of the issue.  

The focal point of Stewart’s criticism was how CNBC pushes itself as a reliable get-rich-quick network.  When Santelli complains about bailing out loser’s mortgages, he fails to mention that no home owner is leveraged 30 to 1, unlike many investment banks that we are now pumping money into.  The unbelievable sense of entitlement that the executives of bailed out firms demonstrate when simultaneously asking the government for money while threatening dire consequences if their demands aren’t met shows the accountability free and disconnected nature of the Wall Street aristocracy.  Stewart likens it to Sherman’s march to the sea; it is more like Nero fiddling as Rome burns.

The problem is that CNBC could have been the early warning system to let the public know something was going wrong.  Instead, CNBC cheered on Wall Street, and why not?  Everyone was making money at least on paper.  In reality, executives walked away with the real cash for illusory short-term gains and people who entrusted their savings in the market are left holding the long-term losses.

Michael Parenti has an article called “Capitalism’s Self-inflicted Apocalypse.”  While, it might be a tad over-the-top.  The real economy is based on work, not gambling.  Until we get back to that foundation, and limit the tax that these middle-men can place on the productive economy by their arbitrary and obviously undeserved control of capital, disasters like the ones we are experiencing aren’t unexpected, they are inevitable.


  1. Just out of interest– (and perhaps I misunderstood…) why did you say, “While, it might be a tad over-the-top”? I went to the article and read it, found it dead on. For more info on this you might want to read ‘Shock doctrine’ by Naomi Klein or ‘The Wrecking Crew’ by Thomas Frank. While they don’t put it in quite this way, they address this same topic the same conclusions are essentially reached.

    Comment by Danette Baltzer — March 17, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

  2. Hello Again Danette,
    So the question at hand is whether or not something titled “Capitalism’s Self-Inflicted Apocalypse” might be considered over-the-top. In my defense, I’m going to have to appeal to the plain meaning of the word “Apocalypse.”

    1. (initial capital letter) revelation (def. 4).
    2. any of a class of Jewish or Christian writings that appeared from about 200 b.c. to a.d. 350 and were assumed to make revelations of the ultimate divine purpose.
    3. a prophetic revelation, esp. concerning a cataclysm in which the forces of good permanently triumph over the forces of evil.
    4. any revelation or prophecy.
    5. any universal or widespread destruction or disaster: the apocalypse of nuclear war.


    The relevant definition I had in mind was 3 or 5. I understand that Parenti might have intended it in the literal Greek sense, but as an English speaker I understand words in their English context primarily and I expect other readers to do so also. If I were reading Greek, which would be a fine skill but not one I currently possess, then my complaint would be the result of my confusion and inability to distinguish between the same word and their respective English and Greek meanings.

    I feel 3 is the best definition at hand, because 5 is more or less an employment of a metaphor for 3. Now, I understand and am willing to give Parenti some artistic license. However, to say that the current credit crisis is equivalent to a nuclear war or a cataclysm in which one of parties in the conflict would be permanent eliminated (presumably capitalism) is something I think some people may find to be an exaggeration or over-the-top. I, for one, have no expectation that the last vestiges of a capitalist economy will be eliminated as the result of this crisis or even in my lifetime. At best, I feel what will happen is the shoring of a mixed economy, which someone like Klein advocates for as opposed to neo-liberalism or a completely planned economy. That is why I said that it might be a tad over-the-top.

    Comment by codesmithy — March 18, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

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