Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told business leaders assembled by the Wall Street Journal in November that the economic crisis facing the country is “an opportunity to do things you could not do before.”

That has to be one of the most chilling statements I have ever heard uttered by an American political official in my lifetime.

It ranks right up there with the transparent arrogance of Clinton administration hotshot Paul Begala’s July 1998 explanation of the use of executive orders by the president to go over the heads of Congress: “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.”

But there was even more to this quote from Emanuel. He followed up that scary and yet candid statement with this: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Every so often, an insider among the power brokers in our establishment elite let’s slip an extremely telling remark. I suspect Emanuel meant exactly what he said – though he probably wishes he could take it back.

Why is it that Emanuel and other members of the Obama administration seem downright giddy about the collapse of our economy? Could it be more than the fact that it led them to power? Do they believe they can use this crisis to push through unconstitutional, immoral and draconian anti-freedom measures that will help them maintain control and power under the cover of crisis?

And, if so, is it possible this dire economic calamity was at least partly engineered by insiders from the beginning – for the purpose of enriching the elite and turning the rest of us into serfs?

I’m beginning to open my mind to just such a possibility.

It is certainly not without precedent. Way back in 1928, Edward Bernays wrote in his work, “Propaganda,” the following: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power in our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

Is there any doubt in your mind there is at least some truth to that statement? Is there any doubt in your mind that we can see at least some truth in that statement in American society today?

Could we have been manipulated into this financial crisis for economic gain and political power for the few? Just do some serious reading about the Great Depression if you have any doubts.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who works so well with Republicans and Democrats alike, worked with Goldman Sachs for more than two decades before ascending to his government position – and taking a huge pay cut in the process. If anyone was in a position to be one of the architects of this disaster, it was he.

He earned some $800 million during his years with Goldman Sachs. Why does someone give up that kind of wealth to become a federal government bureaucrat? Is he, in fact, still doing the bidding of his former cronies at the expense of U.S. taxpayers today?

By the end of last month, Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had engineered loans, pledges and guarantees of more than $7.4 trillion to the financial elite that was responsible for creating the economic crisis in which we find ourselves today:

  • March 11: $200 billion in loans to financial institutions
  • March 16: $29 billion in loans to J.P. Morgan Chase
  • July 30: $300 billion housing bill
  • Sept. 7: $200 billion for the U.S. Treasury to assume Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s debt
  • Sept. 16: $85 billion to AIG and $70 billion injected into the financial system
  • Sept. 19: $50 billion pledged to support Money Market funds
  • Sept. 29: $150 billion made available to U.S. banks and $330 billion made available to foreign banks
  • Oct. 3: $700 billion in Paulson’s bailout package
  • Oct. 7: $1.3 trillion in purchase debt from companies
  • Oct. 8: $38 billion in additional loans to AIG
  • Oct. 14: $1.4 trillion in FDIC guarantees of interbank loans
  • Nov. 24: $20 billion loaned to Citigroup with the Treasury Department assuming responsibility for 90 percent of Citigroup’s $306 billion in debt
  • Nov. 25: $600 billion in loans for mortgage-backed assets and $200 billion in loans for consumer-backed assets

There’s likely a lot more of this on the way.

Is any of it working? Is the economy better off today than it was before this spending spree? If you want an answer, just try getting a loan.

I don’t like conspiracy theories, but we sure have a lot of people in positions of power who see crises as opportunities.

They don’t mean opportunities for you.

They mean opportunities for them.

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