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Tuesday: It’s official. Obama gave the country to the bankers

img_0073He had a choice.  He could have upheld the Constitution with all of the pretty language on promoting the General Welfare or he could take the easy way out and let the private investors have taxpayer funded sweetheart deals to bail out the bankers.  The bankers come out of this relateively unscathed.  The private equity firms profit no matter which way the markets go.  YOU work until you’re 85 or dead, whichever comes first, provided you can find work.  You can hear the gory details in yesterday’s podcast from Planet Money.  No matter how you slice it the taxpayers get left holding the bag.

The only thing left to do is figure out what to do about this.  The Tea Party idea might be good if it weren’t populated by so many Malkinites who think the real problem is government spending on taxpayers, who you would *think* actually deserve to profit from their hard work.  But that’s not the Republican way.  No, the Republican way is to make you think that the people below you are the problem.  It’s always the pecking order for them.

But what about Democrats?  What’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans these days?  Last year, the party traded in its guiding principles for Republican Lite.  Barack Obama is definitely pro-“money class”.  He’s proven that now by Geithner’s plan where the only people to benefit already have money.  We can rage against Congress but they are feckless.  They pretend to care whether billions of taxpayer dollars go to save the lifestyles of the rich and finance.  But where are they where pensions are concerned?  What about our 401K retirement accounts that we were all forced to take instead of a pension?  What about the giant Ponzi scheme?  If Congress doesn’t back up their diatribes with action to rein in the bankers and hold them accountable for the mess they’ve made, we might as well be voting for Republicans.

Meanwhile, the left seems paralyzed.  Those of us who would rally the troops are trying to keep our jobs.  Those on the left who sold out to Obamamania last year seem like bewildered children who discovered something nasty about their parents.  They just can’t believe it.  But it’s worse than that.  Obama has effectively neutralized the left with the left’s help.  His campaign attacked it from within and made it helpless.

A couple of days ago, I stumbled on this interview of Margaret Atwood on Bill Moyer’s Journal.  The topic was religion and government but she could be talking about any group that seeks power for its own sake.  The last five minutes of the interview is the relevant part:

This is something we recognized early on: *WE*, the liberals of the left, were Obama’s opposition because we were supposed to be the closest to him ideologically.  He had to either co-opt us or discredit us and Voile!, no one on the left could stand in his way.  That’s how the PUMAs and others like us became the old, uneducated, working class, menopausal females because who wants to sit at that lunch table?  That’s why we were called racists because we supported the person who was the real progressive, the real change agent.  That’s why we became the “Old Coalition”, as Donna Brazile called us.  We were the heretics of a new religion.  The question is, what do we do about it?  Because if we do not reconstitute the left, all that remains is the right.


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120 Responses

  1. Wall Street Jurnal crowes how Obama became more amenable to Wall Street (just as NYT did last week), Josh Marshall is stunned of such a view, calling it “an alternate universe”, and Washington Monthly is shocked of the chutzpa of the bankers, threatening the government like that.
    Poor Obama! he wanted to help the people, but the mean bankers scared him off!
    But the veneer is peeling off anyway, as approval slipped to 50% and disapproval climbed to same in the latest Zogby poll

    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/it-didnt-take-long-approvaldisapproval-5050/

  2. How about reconstituting the middle….where most Americans dwell….with Democrats or Republicans there is clearly no choice….it is time for a new political party and a new political agenda for the moderate individual….

  3. There is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans right now. We have no real leaders out there to help us find a way out of this mess. And I sincerely doubt either party is going to put forward any candidates who will endanger the status quo both parties are enjoying right now. This is like a bloodless coup.

    As for The Tea Parties out there, there may be a good number of Republicans among them but there also Democrats and Independents out there screaming along with them because these are the only places where physical voices are being heard. Emailing, faxing, and writing our Congress people is proving pointless, they’re ignoring us even when you assure them you will not be voting for them in the next election. It’s as if they don’t even care about our votes any more!

    We need someone to step up to the plate to be a leader for us little guys. Personally, I’d like to see someone who isn’t from either political party because I wouldn’t trust either one right now.

  4. driguana: It’s because the “middle” doesn’t have a political philosophy. It simply says, “A pox on both your houses”.
    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that there is a way around a political philosophy. The country was founded on liberal principles. Not radical, tree hugging, organic tofu, birkenstock principles. LIBERAL principles. They have meaning.
    If you want to start a third party and get all of American on board, it can be done but it has to start with a foundation of meaning.

    • That’s part of the problem. I know that down to my DNA that I am a liberal. Of course I believe and want to care for the environment. But I don’t wear Birkenstocks (I wouldn’t wear them even if/when I could afford them). I am not a tofu eater (I can appreciate the wonders of tofu, but I’m rice and beans and platanos kinda girl).

      What makes a liberal a LIBERAL (at least to me) is where egalitarianism and our Constitution meet. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness FOR ALL.

      Every one in the US deserves to have access to good housing, good schools.

      Every one in the US deserves to have the opportunity to work and earn their living and be paid a living wage.

      Every one in the US deserves to have equal participation in society and in their government.

      Every one in the US deserves to be heard when injustice is committed.

      As US citizens we DESERVE all of these because that is what our Constitution GUARANTEES.

      Just like a manufacturer who doesn’t fulfill a warranty on faulty equipment or a product, when the US government doesn’t comply with any of the above, it’s time to get rid of them.

      IMPEACH OBAMA.

      • Amen.

      • But see, that’s where the problem lies – when you say the word liberal people think you want to give away everything instead of that people should have the right to earn good housing, food, schools, etc. and that the government should make sure that everyone has the right to earn it not be given those things. The Right seems to think that because I’m a liberal I believe that everyone should get a handout – I don’t believe that at all – but I will defend to the death that everyone should have access to those things if they are willing to work – and that they have access to work
        O’s crowd is making sure that there soon will not be access to work for those who dearly want to.
        OT – by the way they are printing another Trillion dollars this week – soon we will all need wheelbarrows full of money to just buy the basics.

      • You pretty much described middle of the road Americans. If people don’t think “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” is a political philosophy, they’ve got a problem, not the middle.

        What is needed is a way to get the middle to pay as much attention to politics as the committed on both sides.

    • I think where the middle meets is that we believe in our Rights and our Freedoms, and we believe in defending them.

    • Uh the principles were pretty darn radical for the times. Of course, it wasn’t as if the times called for it. After calls were ignored by the King for reform the Founders felt they were left with no alternative.

      I still disagree with you on attending the tea parties. Most of the GOP feels leaderless according to polls. They feel duped. There is absolutely no reason we should not reach out to these folk. Alot of what they are angry about is righteous. While I do believe in government spending(particularly on stuff like family planning which when funded SAVES money in the long run) I do recognize there is plenty of waste to cut out of the government(so some of what they say on the right has a point). I think the thing is to reach out and make a compelling argument. If I can prove to a GOP member that it makes sense financially to fund family planning and make a concise logical argument I can perhaps change enough minds to implement that change. You do it the same way we did tochange perception on Iraq and making the argument that minimum wage needs to be increased. Sure, we won’t get everyone but we won’t need everyone just enough to get a majority.

  5. Get out the torches and pitchforks, pack up our tents and march on Washington. What else is there? Some of us may have to be martyrs for the cause, like John Brown.

    • Hear, hear, BB! :evil:

    • We should consider planning a peaceful protest in my opinion. I’d also like us to riff off the Founders. We need to make it clear government is supposed to work for us.

  6. RD, Thank you for that interview. Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors. I’ve never seen an interview of hers.

    About the Tea Parties, Tampa has theirs coming up in April. I may be inclined to make signs that say LIBERALS AGAINST OBAMA, or something to that effect.

    But I don’t think I can hang with “kill all the brown people but abortion is murder” crowd, especially since I’m brown and pro-choice.

    Obama co-opted the progressive left to silence them. He put them in his pocket to disarm them when he moved forward on his “Bankers Rule, the rest of you drool” plan.

    • Yes, that interview with Margaret Atwood was amazing. When I heard her say that she’d bet her “Handmaid” vision could happen here, I flashed on all the creepy preachers that Obama has put in powerful positions.

      • Meeks, McClurkin, that young guy who’s in charge of the White House Religious Affairs office, Otis Moss…they are all fundamentalists that are very very scary.

    • TOT (totally off-topic):
      sm77, I read an article for school about laryngeal reflux which is similar to GERD. Drug and behavior intervention is discussed in detail. I think I read you have reflux (sorry if it’s not you). I’d like to share the info. If you want it, send me an email at
      katdesign99 at hotmail dot com.

    • Sm – you’re right – and now it is even more important that those of us who are not brown skinned or red skinned or black skinned step up and speak for ALL Americans – because they will not hear you in that environment but they perhaps will hear at least part of what we have to say.

      It is time for those who have said “someone else will do it” to get off their duffs and do something before there is nothing left to save. We have no right to complain if we sit around waiting for someone else to do it. WE are the someone else. :x

  7. Listening to Atwood. Strange that when Moyers asked her about “how we transform into a totalitarian regime” she had communism on her mind (you don’t go to people and tell them – let’s all be communists”). Other forms of totalitarianism come easier to mind these days. But the roundabout rhetoric and the use of “theology” for political dogma are right on the mark. I am not sure if I’d dare read the Handmaid’s Tale again these days.

  8. Antinomianism as described by Atwood defines Obama and Bush 2.0 to a tee.

  9. Atwood and Thoreau – two great people to start the day with. Thanks, RD.

  10. “What’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans these days? ”

    I have been screaming this for days and it seems the answer is NOTHING; at least there seems to be no difference now.

    • The only difference is the rhetoric by which they pacify the people.

      The R’s talk about strength, rewarding private initiative and effort, freedom from govt interference, the joys of self-sufficiency, family ties and values (all of which can be good things in themselves). While they funnel the power and tax dollars to the monied and/or political class and stomp on the rest.

      The D’s talk about a just society, fairness, caring, freedom, and lifting all up to participate (sounds appealing, huh?) While they funnel the power and tax dollars to the monied and/or political classes and stomp on the rest.

      • You said what I was thinking when I wrote my comment below, only you managed to do so more clearly with far fewer words (a true gift).

      • All that Democrat and Republican means anymore is that on the left side of the entrance to the CATTLE CHUTE are Democrats, and on the right side of the entrance to the CATTLE CHUTE are Rebublicans. They round up the sheeple, people, “cattle”, and send them down the chute for their shearing, sale, and slaughter.

        They count our heads. They do not count on our humanity. They ignore our voices. We are nothing more than livestock to them, used to further their ends.

        bleak sentiments, bleak times

      • nicely said!

    • They are all thieves and liars.

  11. There is already a party that represents all the liberal values we hold dear and impressive policy positions on a host of issues: the Green Party. I know some of you have a distaste for them after L’Affaire Nader, but Nader is no longer their candidate and their platform is one that I doubt anyone here would find much disagreement with.

    OK here are my thoughts:

    As most of you know, I yield to almost nobody in my dislike and distrust of the O-ster.

    That said, I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and I have been very pleased at what the Obama admin. is doing in foreign policy especially towards the Middle East (opening dialogue with Iran, drawing a harder line with Israel) — assuming, of course, that it turns out to be more than just talk. Because of accompanying actions like bombing the cr*p out of Pakistan and continuing our stupid mindless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am hesitant to give more than mild, cautious praise. But if this new direction does turn out to be real, I would happily(yes, happily) cut POTUS a lot more slack.

    THAT said, I am heartily saddened, frustrated, and enraged by the Banking Bailout, the utter lack of any attention to job creation, the wholesale selling-out of taxpayers and workers to benefit the banksters, the refusal to consider single-payer healthcare, and the overall blind stupidity and unfairness of it all.

    Some of you may feel the same about other issues where you feel Obama has done well, while doing very badly on others. So what is our choice? To push him HARD where he falls down and to express support on the occasions (yes I know they are not that frequent) when he does well.

    The Bank Bailout, for the record, is not one of those times when he’s done well.

    • I don’t agree regarding his approach to Iran–to me, it just comes off as the same naive “meeting without preconditions” posture. He has no idea how to use the symbolic role of his office to advance foreign policy from a place of strength and/or receptivity. He thinks if he talks to them, they will swoon and acquiesce, just as he has done to get this far in his career. Instead, he just makes himself and, in turn, the US look weak and ineffective, because Iran takes advantage of his simplistic opening and laughs in his face. I’m prefer Hillary’s approach: carrot and stick. She knows when to be tough and strategic, and when to be gracious.

  12. In answer to “what do we do now”, which, being a pragmatic person (mostly), I think should be addressed – is there any way “we” (to be defined later) could get our own cable station? Yes, I know, that’s probably not doable because it requires so much d*mn MONEY but – could there be some way.

    I say this because I just spent an hour watching the morning shows, switching back and forth in an effort to check out what they’re brainwashing us with now, and hoping to hear something sane. Aside from one guy who was for legalizing drugs to end problems with Mexico (sounds good to me) propoganda went from bad (Thomas Friedman, Robinson on Morning Joe defending banks, bonuses, and Obama) to worse (Fox defending free market, attacking crazy Congress trying to stop bonuses).

    It’s so clear they’re constantly selling something (Scarborough even tried to sell GE stock, isn’t that illegal), Pravda-like propoganda.

    And of course they sold a country who really didn’t want him – Obama. Now that they got him they’re mostly showing their true colors, pushing him to the right, or spinning spinning. Robinson admitted he met with Geithner yesterday morning.

    So media is the story. Is there some way Pumas could get back together with our original allies, people like Hamsher, etc. (I know, I know, but we
    have no one else), raise money, get rich backers, and start a TV station. I’m assuming rich obots will see the light pretty soon, and start coming back to us.

    • Speak, I dunno. I’m not as hopeful as you.

      They are still too high from snorting KoolAid powder.

      • I agree that many are still too high.It’s also an ego issue. Who wants to admit they were wrong?

        But I’ve been checking out some obot sites (firedoglake is one) and most people are not happy at all with him. The Nation has been criticizing him, even Arianna. People on Robert Reich’s blog, even Reich. Others, like Maddow, Olbermann, still snorting. But the fact that there’s even this much dissent is hopeful to me. These people are not stupid, which is why it was and is such a mystery to me, that they were so fooled. But they were going on hope – and total CDS. But now they’re faced with who he really is – it’s not so easy to make excuses any more.

        Obama has to come through with some real changes pro people, anti-corporate, or they’ll desert in even bigger numbers. Media shills will lose their following.
        Thank goddess for Krugman. He’s really putting himself out there, and he has credibility.

        • These people are not stupid, which is why it was and is such a mystery to me, that they were so fooled…..

          I use to think they weren’t stupid….they are stupid or they were paid off…. I mean there’s no in between. Well over a year ago, if one just googled Barry’s backers for 15 mins, you could get the cut of his jib .
          Those people have far greater access to what’s going on than I do….yet they jackbooted for Barry and mowed others down who mildly question him . And after the FISA vote, there was no doubt about what he was. So on a case to case basis , one has to ask , where they stupid or paid off ?….I’m guessing both.

    • How do you get back together with people that you cannot trust to maintain their sanity the next time a bright, shiny object is waved in front of their eyes.

      I trust PUMA. They saw their party and Oblahblah for what is was, did and who he was and what he did.

      All others, especially kool-aid sippers were so busy hating Republicans, Bush/Cheney and what they had wrought to really look at what was going on in their own party right under their oblivious noses.

      Most will still excuse Democratic behavior because they are our side than admit that both major parties have abandoned, and betrayed the people and the country for 40 pieces of silver and a spot in front of the nearest microphone..

      • As much as I agree that Democrats are not doing what they’re supposed to, ie.be the party of the people, I don’t see how it could possibley be the answer to switch to the party that the party of the rich, of big business, of corporate power, which is the Repubs. To say that both parties are the same so it doesn’t matter who you vote for or what you do is the kind of thinking that brought us Bush. If people hadn’t voted for Nader Gore would have won.
        Nader voters thought Gore was the same as Bush. I remember being horrified by that thinking, because I knew Bush would be a disaster.

        Since Dems at least profess to be for the people, they will be more accountable. There’s been lots of instances of them fighting for us in last few months. Voting for Repubs is so not the answer. I agree with MaBlue that it’s very disturbing hearing people say that. Though there are a feww moderate Repubs that I kind of like (Issa is one, or is that
        because I find him sexy), moving to the right is the last thing the people need (except for very very rich people, maybe). The answewr is to keep pushing Dems. (I don’t really consider Obama a Dem.)

        • How can you pin this on just Obama? Have you been paying attention to Reid and Pelosi or Dean or Brazile. The problem is just as systemic with the Democratic apparatus as it is with the GOP apparatus(and there are plenty of GOP members who will tell you there are problems with the GOP apparatus). I have no intention of moving right. I intend to convince some to move left(which does not by any way shape or form mean Democrat). I intend on working my backside off to push for real change not just shifting back and forth from bad choice a toworse choice b.

          • I’m certainly not defending all Dems – definitely not Brazile, who is maybe my least favorite Dem.

            My only point is that Republicans are not the answer. Dems are not living up to their platforms but Repubs have a very different platform. If you believe in their ideas of small government, which means lack of regulation, pprivatizing public services, basically run not by government but by private interest, in less social tolerance, then you should vote Republican. Those are not my beliefs, and not the beliefs of the Democratic Party.

            I think the result of saying that parties are meaningless now, is very dangerous. The purpose of parties is that it gives voters a way to know what a candidate stands for, since it’s impossible to know everything about every candidate, check out every vote, so it helps the voters. It also
            gives leaders a way to get feedback from voters on whioch direction they want them to move in. Unfortunately, when Americans are not happpy with the Dem leader they vote for a Republican, which means voting for the interests of big business, not the little guy. That’s gotten us to where we are today, years of Bushes, Reagan, Nixon. That seems crazy.

            Unfortunately, we are in the position of voting for the lesser of two evils, and then pushing them in the direction of representing the little guy. Unfortunately, it’s looking like it’s never going to happen, if you guys think the solution is to vote for Republicans.

            And, no, I’m not definding most Dems in power now. But they are better than almost all of the pathetic Republicans.

          • Of course moving left means Democrat, at least until we have a third party. Are you saying moving left can mean Republican?

        • Hey, I’m not now nor ever have been a Republican. I am now a moderate left-leaning, fiscally conservative Independent.

          And Dems porfessing to be for the people doesn’t mean they will be more accountable if they don’t mean what they say and say what they mean. Many tyrants have claimed to be for the people. Words seem to mean nothing when coming out of a politicians mouth. I look to see what they have done these days, since most of them cannot be believed.

        • Since Dems at least profess to be for the people, they will be more accountable.
          ___________________________
          that is bs-when does this accountability begin?

  13. Who for a moment does not think we are drifting into a one rule government? This nation is slowly sinking into the philosophy of the Right Wing, labels be damned.

    We are in the grip of monolithic corporations and the money elite. The middle class is slowly shrinking. Soon there will be only them and the rest of us. The nation is at risk and we may soon be without anchor.

    Our “leaders” have made it thus.

    • Pat Johnson, on March 24th, 2009 at 8:18 am Said:

      “Who for a moment does not think we are drifting into a one rule government? This nation is slowly sinking into the philosophy of the Right Wing, labels be damned.

      We are in the grip of monolithic corporations and the money elite.”

      Good nutshell, Pat. In the grip of. I don’t see any way out of that grip, and have been brooding on it for decades. The only way out I see is if the Galactic Federation lands and says, everybody freeze in place so that necessary services go on while we undo the artificial persons, the creation of which has been banned by all other galactic civilizations.

  14. I think we’ve still got a long way to go before Obama voters see the light of day. On Krugman’s blog today, which the NYT had posted in the Editorial box on the front page, there was actually a post by an Obot (paid?) saying that Krugman and the NYT just hated Obama and couldn’t bring themselves to be fair to his programs (for helping out the financial industry). Even my best friend, who is a brilliant financial mind, keeps pushing Obama’s programs on the basis that “we’ve got to do something.” I keep pointing out that as an independent, small businessperson, Obama hasn’t done jack squat to help people like me yet, and, until he does, the majority of employees and small company employers are still facing disaster. I think there are many, many people who just don’t want to believe that Obama could be such a devastating failure so early in his administration.

    • So laughable. The NY Times has been a veritable cheerleading lap dog for Obama for the past year+, and now that they dare to print anything that is questioning, they are “MEAN MEAN MEAN! LEAVE BAWACK ALOOOOOOONE!”

  15. Once “religion” rises to the forefront of any political debate, when candidates are measured on their religious purity and “god” rhetoric, you should know the battle is close to being lost.

    Religious views stamp an imprimatur on the loss of the separation of church and state. Following that belief, anything else is possible.

  16. It’s fascism. Plain and simple.

    Corporations run the government.

  17. I just heard the interview. Thank you, RD, it was great.

    It was done during the Bush years I’m guessing, but when she spoke about how you would use “the true religion” concept to quell opposition, I thought of how “r*cism” branding was used. How if you go against it (him), you’re not just wrong, you’re evil.

  18. Thanks for posting the interview.

    Disturbing facts about humans and their behavior- Atwood says when things are chaotic, people often turn to rigid dogma for stability, like the desire of some to return to Soviet days when Russia fell apart, or even people acquiescing to the Taliban for stability as their country implodes. (Somehow the hidden hand of the Taliban in causing implosion is overlooked).

    Or when one group attains supremacy, they destroy all of their opposition, most especially those closest in ideology- I’m assuming this relates to the marginalizing of the Old Democrats by the New. Hopefully homicide doesn’t figure in that destruction in the future. Reminds me of lions where the new male destroys all the cubs from the previous father. I don’t know if primates do that too. (You can see how my mind wanders)

  19. What a provocative post.

    As a left leaning independent, I’ve spent the past few months re-evaluating many of my beliefs, with the primaries and general election serving as a wake up call. I finally realized that our main stream media not only operates with an agenda, but often provides us with inaccurate and misleading information (and there is much they fail to report as well).

    For that reason, I’ve found myself reading at more right leaning (or even right wing) sites, however, I haven’t fooled myself into taking the information provided at face value. In fact, I take very little at face value, and always factor in the source and any ulterior motives they may have.

    If anything, I’ve come to the conclusion that many high ranking Democrats and Republicans serve the corporate or high powered elite agenda, and both parties seem equally corrupt. Outside of the corrupted party leaders and high ranking elected officials, I believe there are people on both sides who truly have the best interests of this country in mind (I believe we’re all being equally misled and used by Party and elected officials). Seriously, can any Democrat here really believe the Party has been truly fighting for a liberal agenda on a consistent basis (many of my relatives are Canadian, we get 6 weeks leave for childbirth, while they get 1 year, and Chris Dodd is still crowing about fighting to allow workers to take unpaid family leave as if that were some great accomplishment).

    As for the tea parties, I am interested in following them, but at this point I have no desire to take part. I’m not sure of the motives behind those who are promoting them, and I also disagree with some of the sentiments they express. I happen to think that the government should provide some type of mortgage relief to responsible homeowners (why bail out the bankers but not the struggling homeowners?). I do, however, respect the right of those participating to express their views, and I’m sure many who are attending are doing so because they fear government spending is getting dangerously out of hand.

    To be honest, after moving from a blue east coast state to a red mid west state, I can’t find it in myself to hate those who consider themselves Republicans. I’m not hopping on the Republican bandwagon (a social safety net is vital), but I’ve gained a new level of respect for their call for States’ rights to avoid power being too concentrated in the federal government (not that the outgoing Republican administration stood for that).

    • I can’t find it in myself to hate those who consider themselves Republicans.

      Me too.
      I think I have more in common with a voter from any party: GOP, Dem, Libertarian, Green, than with any elected politician.

      The ruling class sticks together, and uses labels to divide us peons.

      • My favorite classmate is a moderate Republican and after the Dem fiasco last year (and continuing), I am free to feel I have more in common with her than them. Funny how a little bit of knowledge can change one’s mind. The Obots’ behavior has shown me how non-open-minded my formerly-fellow-dems really are.

      • I think I have more in common with a voter from any party: GOP, Dem, Libertarian, Green, than with any elected politician.

        Yes. I feel the same way.

        • I just realized what I wrote, above – I declared myself a “liberal” – and I guess compared to my Right leaning friends I am but I seem to always come out as a moderate and since last year I’m a registered Independent – so where the heck does that leave me now? :? Probably smack dab in the middle of nowhere based on what I’m seeing in both parties – because they have indeed become One.

  20. I just cannot get onboard with either party. The Repubs insist on the insertion of religion as their litmus test and the Dems are equally involved these days. Neither one speaks for me.

  21. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090324/ap_on_bi_ge/bailout_bernanke_geithner

    “WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Tuesday he wanted to sue to stop insurance giant AIG from paying millions in bonuses, but was talked out of it.”

    __________
    O/T FYI – some interesting tidbits of information coming from the hearings (Geithner asking for more power).

  22. Okay, a Republican source, but it does contain some interesting information (obviously, the info. may be spun to suit the Republican agenda).

    http://republicans.oversight.house.gov/news/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=487

    “WASHINGTON D.C. – An Oversight and Government Reform Committee Republican report Countrywide Financial Corporation’s infamous VIP and Friends of Angelo Program offers new insight into the inner workings of Countrywide’s efforts to buy friends in critical government and industry positions affecting the company’s business interests.

    “This investigation finds that Countrywide embarked in a determined and calculated effort to buy influence – employees openly weighed the political influence of targeted officials when deciding what perks to offer,” said Issa. “Countrywide VIPs in positions of key responsibility didn’t innocently stumble into loans with reduced rates and waived fees – they were recruited into the program personally by high-ranking company officials including former CEO Angelo Mozilo.”

    “VIPs weren’t just offered good service. Company policies were thrown in the trash in a rush to offer preferential treatment to VIPs such as Senator Kent Conrad and Senator Chris Dodd. Those who were supposed to oversee the lending practices and relationship between Countrywide and Fannie Mae were actually in bed with them.””

    • “Names of previously undisclosed VIPs include including lobbyists, trade association employees, senior Fannie Mae employees, other industry insiders, and individuals working in and employed by the media.”

  23. Well, the country is going to the bankers…but look at this….I think the U.S. could be considered a “credit-based” economy, don’t you??

    The Scanner–International Edition, March 24, 2009: Say Goodbye to the Dollar? China, Russia Proposing a New World Currency for “Non-Credit” Based Economies, Echo G-20 Agenda of Expanding IMF; China Will “Consider” Buying IMF Bonds; 10th China Develpment Forum Underway

    http://insightanalytical.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/the-scanner-international-edition-march-24-2009-say-goodbye-to-the-dollar-china-russia-proposing-a-new-world-currency-for-non-credit-based-economies-echo-g-20-agenda-of-expanding-imf-china/

    • To clarify the above…

      “In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, said the goal would be to create a reserve currency “that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies”.

    • What do we do in Seven (7) years when China has said they want payment on the debt we owe them?

      • I suspect they’re trying a hit-and-run.

        Grab the money, put into effect whatever it is they’re working towards, and then scram. Leave it to a new govt, and the people, to deal with their mess. A mess that they, potentially, want to happen.

        Too pessimistic? I don’t think so.

        A remote off-the-grid life is looking more and more tempting.

  24. From Interfluidity:

    I am filled with despair, not because what we are doing cannot “work”, but because it is too unjust. This is not my country.

    The news of today is the Geithner plan. I think this plan might work very well in terms of repairing bank balance sheets.

    Of course the whole notion of repairing bank balance sheet is a lie and misdirection. The balance sheets we should want to see repaired are household balance sheets. Banks have failed us profoundly. We want them reorganized, not repaired. A world in which the banks are all fixed but households are still broken is worse than what we have right now. Too-big-to-fail banks restored to health are too-big-to-fail banks restored to power. The idea that fixing legacy banks is prerequisite to fixing the broad economy is a lie perpetrated by legacy bankers.

    • Wow. That’s perfect. That’s how I feel.

    • (nodding)

      • Geithner now wants Congress to give him the power to seize and take control of huge companies like Lehmann and AIG.

        Goldman Sachs is going to return their TARP funds to be free of Government interference, but what about the $13 billion they got through AIG?

        • I wonder if he wants to make it retroactive to avoid lawsuits like the one he is facing from WaMu.

          I wonder why it has to be between the two extremes. Why is he not writing legislation to regulate industries? Why instead does he insist that entities remain part of the private market but wish to have the ability to acquire these private entities?

          For a group of people dead set against nationalizing why is the ability to seize these entities so important?

          I must be missing something because I don’t see the full picture. All I know is I do not trust Geithner-at all.

        • I know someone who is at a very high level at Bank of America, and she told me the exact same thing–they just want to pay it back so they can be free of government interference.

      • Exactly.

        • Somehow this comment ended up in the wrong spot. It was referring to bb’s and Katiebird’s comments above.

          As far as government “interference” (regulation) in all
          banks, I am for it.

  25. Obama has effectively neutralized the left with the left’s help. His campaign attacked it from within and made it helpless.

    This in my book is the worst damage he created (at least to date)
    Today, the market stories are splashed on all NYC tabloids

    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/tabloids-on-the-economic-mess/

  26. Maybe we are just free-thinking individuals, who see hypocrisy for what it is, and were and are willing to give other people the same freedom we exspect for ourselves.

    As for Donna Brazile, Sundays paper, Parade magazine quoted her as saying that when she saw BO on the podium taking the oath of office, for the first time she could see a woman being in that position, and she wanted to be part of charting that course.

    WTF? She’s is part and parcel of what stopped that from happening. Now she wants to be part of it? That does not bode well for us. I can only imagine who she wants to be the first woman in the oval office.

    • Yeah, I made the same observation earlier this week after seeing that in Parade – indeed – WTF – where was she when she had the opportunity

    • Donna is looking for a new gig. Barry left her at the alter.

    • That woman makes me sick. I sent her a blazing rebuke in the comments section of that article in the Washington Times.

  27. We’re just back to “Trickle Down Economics”. Obama gives the banks a ton of money, takes on all their bad loans and makes the taxpayers pay for them, and then we are all supposed to “hope” that the banks will give us a little trickle down by giving loans out….which they won’t because they are too busy banking their money in any other country but the U.S. Call it what you want, Reganomics, Trickle Down Economics, or just plain ol’ Obamanomics….it’s all means the same thing, the rich get richer and we’re stuck with the bill.

    • Well, Teleprompsident did tell us, many times, how much he lurves Reagan.

    • It’s much worse than that. There won’t be any trickle down, I’m afraid.

      • I agree. Unless one runs a high end catering company in DC

      • Exactly. This is theft, pure and simple. The economy is not going to grow again because we reflated the banks’ balance sheets, because underlying trends such as the end of cheap energy simply do not allow for the same models of growth that we once witnessed. So what we are doing and robbing the wealth of this nation in order to sustain failed banking system and the people at the top of the heap and doing so at a time when we should be spending that wealth honestly confronting the challenges ahead of us in a post-peak oil world.

  28. This is financial fascism, perpetrated by the New York and Washington financial oligarchy centered on Goldman Sachs. If history rhymes, as these folks bankrupt the country and send the vast majority of Americans into heavily taxed wage-slave immiseration, with no sense of control whatsoever over their country’s government, the oligarchs will be looking for a war to send the youth of America off to fight and die in. Look for that in about ten years. But they may get themselves a revolution instead.

    We now know that Barack Obama is no Franklin Roosevelt.

    http://animalspiritspage.blogspot.com/2009/03/cash-for-trash.html

  29. Edward Harrison at Naked Capitalism:

    In my view, the Obama Administration, through its actions to date, has already politically cast its lot with the monied class. On Obama’s watch, we have the Citigroup situation, the Bank of America bailout, the Merrill Lynch bonus scandal, the AIG bailout and bonus scandal, the furore over golf tournaments and the backdoor bailouts under TALF and the Public-Private Partnership. All of these events demonstrate a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the monied interests of the financial sector. Yes, none of these events individually is a fatal problem. However, taken as a collective, the preponderance of evidence points toward an Administration which will increasingly be seen as more aligned with Wall Street than Main Street. This is a catastrophe for a man who campaigned on “Change you can believe in.”

    And, what’s more, with the die now cast on most of the major financial crisis efforts, Obama has no obvious opportunity to win back all of his credentials as a man of the people. I see this as a ‘Katrina’ event, which changes the perception of the public inexorably. Therefore, the Administration will come under greater scrutiny by the media and the public going forward.

  30. The “left” is dead. The “left” killed itself. No one has been keeping score like Ol Arthur

    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2008/02/most-of-you-will-eat-shit-until-day-you.html

    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2008/09/deadly-star-if-you-dont-vote-for-me.html

    “I view Obama as one of the most profoundly dishonest and irresponsible candidates ever to run for president. He is playing with fire. It appears to me that he is well aware of what he is doing, and of what many of his supporters are doing.”

    “An Obama victory will kill much of the possibility for meaningful political opposition for good — that is, opposition that might significantly alter the existing system without destroying it (if that is at all possible, which I am almost entirely convinced it is not). But the resentments, the anger and possibly even the hatred will remain, and they may grow. What happens then?”

    What happens now?

    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2007/02/triumph-of-monsters.html

    “If a critical number of Americans do not protest in ways that finally cause our government to take notice and alter its course, it’s over. This is why I repeat once again: now, it’s up to the rest of us.”

  31. “Geithner now wants Congress to give him the power to seize and take control of huge companies like Lehmann and AIG. ”

    More control, over everything, is what they’ve been aiming for.

    OT – and kinda irrelevant but I’m too curious! – I just read that O said the Wire was his favourite show, but that it was clear that he wasn’t familiar with the show because the favourite character he named was Omar.

    How? Who’s Omar?

    • Where did you read that, arkachips? Do you have a link. Omar is a very interesting choice for O.

    • Never mind. I found one.

    • Omar Little was stick-up artist, the guy who robbed the drug dealers, the street legend, the one who helped put away Bird by testifying falsely against him. He was finally done in in the fifth season, and the young Michael from season four looked like he was poised to take his place.

      I hate to admit it, but Omar may have been my favorite character too, although there were so many great characters in that show.

      It doesn’t change my opinion about Obama, however.

      • Don’t worry, because by the sounds of it, he was told to say that Omar was his favourite, for appearances sake. SO cool, Prez!

        Questioned further, couldn’t say more than ‘intriguing character’ or something.

        But who cares if he is clueless, right? He got his coolness factor on and the Wire got publicity. Win win.

  32. Variations On the Word Sleep

    –by Margaret Atwood

    I would like to watch you
    sleeping,
    which may not happen.
    I would like to watch you,
    sleeping. I would like to sleep
    with you, to enter
    your sleep as its smooth dark wave
    slides over my head

    and walk with you through that lucent
    wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
    with its watery sun & three moons
    towards the cave where you must descend,
    towards your worst fear

    I would like to give you the silver
    branch, the small white flower, the one
    word that will protect you
    from the grief at the center
    of your dream, from the grief
    at the center. I would like to follow
    you up the long stairway
    again & become
    the boat that would row you back
    carefully, a flame
    in two cupped hands
    to where your body lies
    beside me, and you enter
    it as easily as breathing in

    I would like to be the air
    that inhabits you for a moment
    only. I would like to be that unnoticed
    & that necessary

    As I wait the necessary time for dial-up to bring me the M. Atwood video, I thought I’d put this poem of hers in the comments. It is for a lover, or a loved one, and perhaps, in these times, for a country we love.

    I am not familiar with copywrite law, and so, if I have errred in putting her poem here in full, please feel free to correct this. But it is one of my favorite poems and important to remember that there are those who see
    the darkness and can still produce the light. Which is what we are all going to have to try to do, no?

  33. OT, but all part of a whole. It seems BO & Co. don’t like the new questioning tone of the press…

    Obama seeks filter-free news

    At a time when his Washington honeymoon is turning into a hazing, President Barack Obama and his team are launched on a strategy to sail above the traditional White House press corps by reaching out to liberal commentators, local reporters and ethnic media.

    But those moves are only part of a much larger strategy aimed at communicating directly with audiences the White House believes are more sympathetic to the president’s agenda — and one in which much of the work is being done by Obama’s top advisers.

    Obama himself plans to meet soon with liberal bloggers, according to an administration official.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20395.html

    • Howard Dean has a diary at the Cheeto right now about a conference call for Democracy for America tomorrow night. The subject is health care.

      • Like Daily Kos actually gives a sh!t about healthcare.

        Dean is delusional. He’s just trying to rack up cool blogger boiz points for his quixotic bid for Health & Human services Sec. gig.

        Dean was under the bus right after Obama was awarded the Dem nomination.

        • very astute comment. All those Barry dropped need new gigs. They deserve the political 5th ring of hell they are wondering in.

          • So then Dean wants to get his former Deaniacs all riled up for HIM so they can spend all day posting about how they wish Dean was nominated to the H&H post.

            But Dean, you sold your political mojo to Obama. Now they are not redeemable.

            Democracy for America is now Obama for America. So who’s “yeeeeargh”-ing now, Deanie Weanie???

    • But those moves are only part of a much larger strategy aimed at communicating directly with audiences the White House believes are more sympathetic to the president’s agenda — and one in which much of the work is being done by Obama’s top advisers.

      Whoever was an Axelfraud troller is invited. They want them to pick up where they left off.

      OBAMA IS A FASCIST!

  34. backtrack told everyone who he was when at a San Francisco money raiser he call the people in PA bitter, bible reading,gun toting racists. That is what he thinks of most Americans.
    He was not raised loving this country, he has few friends that love this country. He is finishing what bush and ben laden started the melt down of the financial security of most Americans.
    Those who chose color over country help bring this on.
    I do not know if our country will recover but for future generations I pray it does.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  35. Help! Stuck in moderation!

  36. Sometimes my conversations with ordinary Republican voters (not wild idealogues) go like this:

    Them: Well, I just can’t see creating a nanny state where the government is overly involved in every little thing, totally supporting anyone and everyone, and people can just sit on their ass and expect my tax dollars to take care of them. Why should I work if that’s how it’s gonna be?

    Me: Funny, I don’t believe in that, either. But I think that there should be a level below which people can’t really fall – a safety net. And that the govt should do what it can to see that everyone gets the education and opportunity to do their best. Sort of like “setting the stage” for personal achievement and initiative, then getting out of the way.

    Them: Yeah, that’s cool. That’s sort of how I think, too.

    Me: So you don’t think people ought to just be told “too bad, sink or swim, I’ve got mine and screw you if you can’t work hard enough to make the grade?”

    Them: No! Of course not! God, I’m not an ogre!

    Me: And I think that whatever the govt is doing, whether it’s social and jobs programs or defense, they ought to be accountable for doing it efficiently, not wastefully.

    Them: Yeah! Liberals think that, too? I thought they just wanted to spend however much they needed to make everyone happy with no effort on that person’s part, and who cares if it bankrupts the rest of us.

    Me: What?? No, Liberals don’t think that! At least, I don’t.

    And so on.

    Again, I’m not talking about R politicians, or even the rabidly political R activist types. I’m talking about ordinary, not overly political friends and neighbors who happen to vote R.

    If all of us “ordinary folks” out here started talking to each other like that, both parties would be very VERY afraid indeed. So they do their best to jump into the conversation and start throwing incendiary bombs about stuff we DON’T agree on, to deliberately keep us unaware of how close we actually are to each other on many major issues. They want to keep us, the little people, all CONVINCED that finding any agreement would be stepping across a huge chasm and abandoning our principles (whether D or R).

    Then they further muddy the waters by pulling a lot of fake “kumbayah” shit and making sure to screw enough people over doing it that The People in their respective partisan boxes get gun-shy, and say “See, bi-partisanship is nothing more than a cave-in to the enemy.”

    We are being played. By both sides, both of whom are OWNED by the banking class, and whose biggest fear is that enough of us will figure this out to take them down.

    • We certainly have.

      Both of the parties sold out.

    • WMCB

      Great comments, always.

      Ive had this conversation with “ordinary” Repubs too.

      I’m not buying into the divisive “evil conservative” stuff.
      It’s all over the blogs and it’s a crock.

      • One of these days I’ll do a post on how conservatives are people too.

        I read their blogs and I’m even related to a few of them. They aren’t stupid, ignorant or evil. They want peace and prosperity just like we do.

        They see the same problems we do, they just disagree on the causes and solutions.

        But most of them are good people – sincere and patriotic.

        (they aren’t all bigots either)

  37. Here’s something on democratic nomination reform from the LATIMES:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/03/obama-kaine-dnc.html

    • I don’t see Donna Brazile’s name anywhere on the new DNC committee list!

      Could it be that she, like Dean, are truly under the bus?????

      (BWHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!)

  38. NEW POST BY THE CUTTHROAT CLOWN

  39. We can’t do anything about this tragedy from a left perspective. That is too narrow and will never work. It must be a taxpayers revolt where we check a lot of our ideology at the door and focus on putting the crooks in jail and getting our money back.

  40. That’s why we became the “Old Coalition”, as Donna Brazile called us. We were the heretics of a new religion. The question is, what do we do about it? Because if we do not reconstitute the left, all that remains is the right.

    It’s never easy to change a party affiliation. Studies have shown that in many cases people choose parties on the basis of their own particular family tradition.
    Big events and game-changers are needed for people to change. In Hillary’s case, the Vietnam war catalyzed her decision to change from her family’s Repub allegiance to the Dems.
    In a similar way, this year some A-As made a truly difficult decision not to side with party or race. We have seen them here.
    Baby boomer and younger women disgusted by their own party’s tactics against a qualified woman, became Pumas.

    There are now more Indies in America than there are party affiliated. Pumas must reach out to fellow independents to form a voting block. To do this old style liberal tolerance and new style communication, must become the key.

    • why does anyone have to change party affiliation?

      why can’t we just f-ing revolt?

    • Yes, Laurie! A new Third Party is called for….
      Canadian Universal Health Care would still be in embryonic form were it not for the New Democratic Party (third party) that pushed a minority government into much-needed action in the 70s. Since then, not a single bankrtuptcy can be traced to..medical bills in Canada. And to think that Hillary sent a team to Ontairo back in l993 to research on the fact that the U.S. spends three times as much of its GDP on healthcare than Canada does. If only she was not cheated of the nomination this world would be a better one–for everyone. Not the surreal, punch-drunk world we seem to be living in now thank to Clueless Barack and his gang of incompetents…

  41. “To do this old style liberal tolerance and new style communication, must become the key.”

    Absolutely. I have to go, but keep seeing interesting words and I get dragged back in again! :)

    Tolerance is definitely key. Which mesh perfectly well with –

    “why does anyone have to change party affiliation?

    why can’t we just f-ing revolt?”

    No need to change at all. A united show of protest from all peoples will be more powerful than separation. Just my opinion, as usual. But as someone also said above, the rich and powerful players at the top need to be shaken by an awakened and angry people if they are ever going to take notice.

  42. Actually, it would be funny to see the look on the faces of the powers-that-be to see a hugh protest – with liberals, conservatives and in betweens all mingled together – with the common denominator being our disgust with them and not each other. That ought to make them sh!t their pants.

    • YES! I’d like to see ordinary citizens getting up on a podium with a microphone and saying things like: “Look, I’m a dyed-in-the wool Liberal, and these are Conservatives, Libertarians, what have you. We argue about lots of things, and that’s fine. But one thing we all agree on is that ALL of YOU in Washington are selling our country down the river, and we are sick and tired of it!”

  43. I feel gratified and renewed from reading this entire post, esp. after lack of response to my rebel’s yell to “to put a screeching halt to Business as Usual and to traffic” and to IMPEACH OBAMA whether by hanging banners out our windows, or putting “Impeach the Jackass Now” and “Say No to 4 Mo’ Years; Say Yes to Impeaching Obama” bright & colourful Impeachment Stickers on our websites.

    No use waiting 4 years. We’ve already waited 8 with Bush.

    And yes, we need to encourage voting for independent parties, in order to break the D/R duopoly’s stranglehold on our system. The U.S. Constitution says nothing about a so-called “2-party system”; the crooked parties and their corporate cronies were not intended to have such power over us!

    We are living in a gilded age of corporatism.

    The libertarian Cato Institute knows it. They opposed Dubya early on, back in 2001 IIRC, and they oppose Obama for much the same reasons. In December, they republished David Boaz’s article comparing Obama & Bush:

    Bush and Obama Opt for Corporatism…
    by David Boaz

    http://cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9853

    I don’t agree with everything Boaz says, which is exactly why I’m linking to it here. I still respect his knowledge of corporate abuse of power.

    It’s an example of how strongly I believe, as many here do, that Libertarians, Greens, Constitutionalists, United Independents, and yes, Socialists, and yes, Dems and Republicans, and any other party you can name, need to set aside our differences and push forward, together, in numbers too big to ignore.

    Stop business as usual in NYC. Stop traffic in L.A. and Chicago. Do it on any ordinary working day.

    Impeach Obama & Non-Partisan Voting GIF stickers
    in “Impeachment U.S.A.” & “Fair Elections” areas
    of http://www.dgwhiz.net/Stickers/Stick-It.html

  44. Riverdaughter, I just want to say “thanks” for the Margaret Atwood on Religion vid!!!
    How I love your “uneducated, working-class, menopausal old women” description of the esteemed coalition so scorned by the Punch-Drunk Party that’sm just starting to wake up from its lethargy. The Obots are shocked, shocked to find that Obummer was gambling with their loyalties!
    Thanks Zeus. Obamyopia is a curable disease it seems….

    P.S. Wonder if the letter Obama sent to the former French Prez Chirac was intended for the current prez Sarkozy who doesn’t think too highly of the punch-drunk prez of the Free World?..

  45. [...] as Riverdaughter put it … the left seems paralyzed.  Those of us who would rally the troops are trying to keep our [...]

  46. [...] as Riverdaughter put it … the left seems paralyzed.  Those of us who would rally the troops are trying to keep our [...]

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