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Fairness, Dignity, Respect: Conducting Subversion in Public

She was us. But we're still out here even if she has moved on.

I have read a lot of Woe is Us comments and posts around the web in response to Anglachel’s excellent post, Hillary is not Going to Save Us.

“We are doomed.  We should just accept Obama’s Reign of Error and unopposed primary run in 2012.  We should get used to our batshit crazy Republican overlords.  All is lost!  The hosts of Mordor have won!”

This is bull $#@%.

You are not reading Anglachel’s post correctly if that is what you think she is saying.

What she is saying, and she can correct me if I’m wrong, is that leaders get power from movements, momentum, a bloc of supporters and a set of principles.  Neither Hillary not anyone else can save you if you don’t have a movement to support her or make any attempts to save yourself.

Here’s where I differ with Anglachel: I think Hillary would jump in if she knew there was a tidal wave of people ready to throw their support behind her or some other FDR style Democrat.  Obama is very weak.  His supporters, as Anglachel says, are numerically small but very vocal.  So what?  It doesn’t matter how noisy the Stevensonians are.  The Democratic party still needs to appeal to all of the other regular working class people out there.  And those people aren’t letting themselves be corralled anymore.  Witness the reports on the AmericaSpeaks forums that Corrente is reporting.  We know what kind of game the handlers are playing.  They are trying to present the policy prescriptions as a choice between bad and slightly less bad.  Nowhere are the “acceptable to the average guy” policies allowed.  And people are letting these agents of the wealthy know that they’re not interested in that.  They want to be masters of their own fates, not sheepish pawns in someone else’s fantasy.

But more than that, had Hillary won in 2008, she would be looking at a second term in 2012.  It’s nonsense for her to state that she’s out of politics because, well, I don’t know why she would say that.  She wouldn’t be too tired to run for her re-election in 2012.  So, there’s got to be another reason why she says she’s *planning* to sit it out.  As we have seen with many politicians, Hillary included, it is usual with candidates to reject the addresses of the voters whom they secretly mean to accept, when they first apply for her favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second or even a third time. We should therefore by no means be discouraged by what she has just said, and shall hope to lead her to the oval office ere long.

But why should she, or any FDR style Democrat, accept the hand of a Mr. Collins when what she/he really desires is a Mr. Darcy?  We’re not in fighting form for  successful courting.  What we need to be is an attractive voting bloc, not just a ragtag, disjointed bunch of discouraged disenfranchised working class schlubs.  And when I say “working class”, masslib, I am talking about all of the people the Democrats left on the table in 2008, whether they are college educated or not.  If you make your income from a paycheck and not investments, YOU ARE WORKING CLASS. Don’t be afraid of the term.  Your strength depends on recognizing what you have in common with the people who you once thought were your intellectual inferiors.  When the top 10% of the county makes 70% of the wealth generated here, you working people of all professions and condition of dirt under the nails are in the same boat. To the top 10%, you all look like a bunch of stupid losers. It’s YOU against that top 10%.

This is why Sarah Palin is so successful.  She has tapped into the anger of the people who have smelled the asphalt.  If you want to beat her, you have to join with the road workers.  Once you have established that you exist and that you share a common cause and a common set of principles based on Fairness, Dignity and Respect, you will start looking pretty hot to the politician who will fight for the right to carry your banner.

Yes, oh best beloveds, there are such people.  The world is ever thus.  There are people who will strive to accumulate power and wealth and who will step on the heads of anyone who gets in their way.  And there are people who will gird their loins for you and step up.  There are good people in the world.  Those people are not perfect.  No human has ever been born upon the planet who did not have flaws.  But there are people who try.  They try and sometimes they fail.  But they do not give up because civilization hangs together by the slimmest of positive efforts that overcome the negative ones.  Without effort to overcome the chaos in favor of establishing a good order for the benefit of all, we as a people would cease to exist.  So, we must all be doing something right every single day to hold ourselves together.

That means showing up at public meetings and not allowing others to shout you down.  That means sticking up for the working people, even if they are public servants who seem to be benefitting from your taxes.  That means rewarding solidarity with your support.  That means giving to others when you don’t have much yourself: feeding the poor, buying a gift for a disadvantaged child at Christmas, donating money to classrooms in need.  That means helping your friends who have become unemployed through no fault of their own.  That means standing up for them when the ignorant and narrow minded call them parasites after all of their years of hard work and taxes for the public good. That means never accepting the fate that others would assign to you.  That means women sticking up for themselves and letting go of Roe that has created a false sense of equality and has been used by your enemies to rally the opposition to tear down your rights.  That means never giving anyone consent to treat you as an inferior.  That means conducting your business in public, transparently, creating your principles and values and inviting others to join you.  That means imposing discipline on yourself and others to stick to the point, not be distracted by identity politics.  That means insisting on equality for all because the country can use all the help it can get from everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, education level or any other criteria that separate us from one another.

Do not let them separate you from your friends.  Hold hands, get together, brainstorm, meet, plan, do, solve and never, never let the bastards grind you down.  Push back forcefully.  You don’t have a choice.  This is your country.  Take it back.  Insist on Fairness, Dignity, Respect.  Demand a New Deal.

If you build it, she may run.  Or someone else will take up the banner.  When she told us at the Convention to “Keep Going!”, I think this is what she meant.

Update: For those of you who asked, here is the proposal I wrote in 2008 for going forward.  It is preliminary and somewhat out of date.  But it’s a starting point for discussion.

ANewOrganizationforDemocratsinExile

 

Banquo’s Ghosts


I’ve always been a loner.  Growing up I was not one of the kewl kidz but it never bothered me because I never felt the need to be part of any group.  I prefer jobs that let me work independently without co-workers getting in my way or bosses looking over my shoulder.  I live alone, but I’m not lonely.

Maybe that’s why peer pressure has never had much effect on me.  I’m always behind on fashions and the latest pop trends.  I usually discover the fashion changes when I go to buy something and the clerk informs me that “they don’t make those anymore.”

It’s not that I’m afraid to try new things.  But if I try it and I don’t like it then I don’t keep doing/wearing/eating whatever it is, even if everyone else believes (or claims to believe) that it’s the greatest/coolest/most wonderful thing ever.  I make up my own mind and I trust my own judgment.

But even though I’m a loner and don’t need anyone’s approval to validate my existence I was never treated like an outcast before (or if I was I didn’t notice.)

Ironically, I now find myself art of a group – of pariahs.  If you’re reading this there’s a pretty good chance you’re in that group with me. If you’re not in our group then you’re probably a deranged blogstalker who needs to get a life.

You can divide lefty bloggers into three main groups – the ones who supported Obama enthusiastically and uncritically, the ones who would have preferred someone else but went ahead and voted for him anyway and those of us that saw through him and refused to support him just because he had a “D” after his name.

Among the many weird phenomena that swept Left Blogistan beginning in 2007 was the Obama supporters’ rabid intolerance for differing/dissenting views.  Not that long ago nonconformity was considered a highly-prized virtue by liberals and progressives and freedom of speech was a holy principle that the Flying Spaghetti Monster gave to Founding Fathers.

Suddenly everyone on the left side of the blogosphere was expected to conform and stop exercising independent thought – as if we were right-wing authoritarian followers.

To question the One-derfulness of Obama was heresy, and supporting Hillary Clinton was blasphemy.  The cult-like behavior of the Obots was never more evident than in the way they persecuted anyone who dared to disagree with them. At many blogs moderation was non-existent or one-sided.  Anyone who refused to support Teh Precious had two choices: STFU or GTFO.  So we left, and they tried to follow us so they could keep harassing us.

We had committed a mortal sin – we rejected the divinity and most awesome gloriousity of Barack Obama, made worse by the fact that we were very vocal about it.  But the worst part is that we were liberal Democrats, which made us apostates to the true believers.

They told us we weren’t wanted in “their” party.  They said we were old, ugly and stupid and no one wanted us.  Then after all that they went ballistic when we announced after the RBC meeting that we didn’t give a fuck about party unity and we were not going to vote for Obama no matter how many of Hillary’s delegates they gave him.  For that we got called traitors.

Continue reading

Saturday Morning News and Views: Populist Uprising Edition

Good Morning Conflucians!!!

President Obama was in Ohio yesterday trying to impersonate a populist.

“I won’t stop fighting for you,” he thundered in a campaign-style speech in economically sagging northeastern Ohio, remarks that provided a likely preview of the themes in his first State of the Union speech next Wednesday.

Trying to shore up public support, Obama urged people to “stand by me, even during these tough times.”

Like you stood by us Mr. President? When did you fight for us anyway?

Obama acknowledged that the healthcare overhaul — suddenly in limbo on Capitol Hill — had run into a political “buzz saw.” He dismissed concerns that his lengthy focus on healthcare meant he had taken his eye off the economy, the country’s No. 1 problem.

“Let me dispel this notion that we were somehow focused on that (healthcare) and so as a consequence not focused on the economy. First of all, all I think about is how are we going to create jobs in this area,” Obama said in Elyria, Ohio.

The president’s switch to a more populist tone followed his own admission in an ABC News interview earlier this week that he had lost a direct connection with everyday Americans.

I’m not so sure he ever had a connection with “everyday Americans”–those gun-toting bitter knitters? And those uppity women who don’t know their place? No, I don’t think so.

If Mr. Obama wants to make a “direct connection” with “everyday Americans,” he is going to have to give them more than “just words.” He is going to have to pretty much do a complete about face and become as “transformational” as he pretended to be when he was campaigning. He is going to have to stop impersonating Herbert Hoover and start impersonating Franklin Roosevelt. I’m really not sure if he is capable of that, but if he manages to do it, I’ll be the first to cheer him on.

From the Toledo Blade:

A defiant President Obama assured Ohioans yesterday that he will continue to fight for health care, banking, and energy reform despite recent political setbacks that some argue have endangered his agenda.

He made the promises at Lorain County Community College even as Ohio announced its unemployment rate had hit 10.9 percent in December, up from 10.6 percent the month before. The national jobless rate is 10 percent.

“I did not run for President to turn away from these challenges,” he told a town-hall meeting of about 1,300 people.

“I didn’t run for President to kick them down the road. I ran for President to confront them once and for all. I ran for this office to rebuild our economy so it works not just for the fortunate few, but for everybody who’s willing to work hard in this country,” he said.

Uh huh. Talk is cheap, Mr. President. Now lets see some action. Continue reading

Monday Morning News and Views

Ida

Hurricane Ida batters coast of Cancun, Mexico

Good Morning, Conflucians! This morning more than ever, I’m so grateful for all of you, and so glad we have this blog where we can discuss, argue and rant about politics and news events. I can’t begin to imagine what I would have done with out TC and all of you Conflucians over the past couple of years. Thank you all for being here! I hope you have a marvelous Monday, despite the bad news.

This has been a very tough weekend to be a liberal who saw through Obama from the beginning when so many other other people who previously seemed sane and reasonable just gulped down the Koolaid and adjusted their blinders so as to see only “hope ‘n change” filtered through their rose-colored glasses. I don’t enjoy saying “I told you so” anymore. The consequences of electing an inexperienced, narcissistic, apparently amoral, misogynistic, homophobic man to the presidency are becoming all too clear. And those results are tragic.

From where I sit, the pain of the unconscionable betrayal of women by the President and the U.S. House of Representatives still feels fresh. Stateofdisbelief said it so well yesterday in a comment on Quixote’s post:

Yep. Last night was it for me. They can all pound. F#$K Sestak, F#$K Specter, F#$K Holden. I am done. No help. No phone calls. No canvassing. No money. No vote.

I hate them all.

There is no one that can argue with a straight face that women should vote for Democrats. There is nothing. They burnt the bridge.

It’s over for me too. I can never again consider myself a Democrat. We need a new party to represent those of us who were FDR, JFK, LBJ, WJC, HRC Democrats–there is no longer room in our former party for liberals who believe in equal rights for all and compassion for our fellow humans. Both of the parties now represent only the superrich and giant multinational banks and corporations. We’re on our own now. As Quixote wrote so eloquently:

But women are just, as always, the expendable canaries in the coal mine. Their rights are toast, which means so are everyone else’s.

I’m going to shout that: WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE TOAST WHICH MEANS SO ARE EVERYONE ELSE’S.

Rights are for all. When only some people have them, they’re just privileges. And privileges can be taken away….

The right to control one’s own person is fundamental. Even the right not to be murdered is secondary, since killing is allowed in self-defence.

So what’s happening in the news this morning? It’s hard for me to work up much enthusiasm for surfing the ‘net right now, but I’ll post a few links and you can add your own in the comments.

It looks like Hurricane Ida has weakened to a Category 1, so I hope Dakinikat and her fellow N’awlins citizens will be able to safely weather the storm. Fingers crossed.

Hurricane Ida chugged toward the Gulf Coast, and despite warnings extending more than 200 miles across several states, residents seemed to take the first Atlantic hurricane to target the U.S. this season in stride.

Authorities said the hurricane weakened early Monday to a Category 1 storm, with 90 mph winds, and could make landfall as early as Tuesday morning.

The New York Times has a very good story on the background of the shooting at Fort Hood.
Fort Hood Gunman gave signals Before his Rampage

Major Hasan’s behavior in the months and weeks leading up to the shooting bespeaks a troubled man full of contradictions. He lived frugally in a run-down apartment, yet made a good salary and spent more than $1,100 on the pistol the authorities said he used in the shootings.

He was described as gentle and kindly by many neighbors, quick with a smile or a hello, yet he complained bitterly to people at his mosque about the oppression of Muslims in the Army. He had few friends, and even the men he interacted with at the mosque saw him as a strange figure whom they never fully accepted into their circle.

It is beginning to look like Major Hasan was a very likely suffering from clinical depression at the very least. He had turned to his religion for solace, but he needed much more help than any religion could provide. Sadly, it appears that many of his superiors either ignored or simply did not notice the ominous signs and they did not listen to those who tried to warn them. Continue reading

Common Sense and the sensus communis: anatomy of an American pressure cooker

romesenate1

Gay-Lussac

The pressure of a fixed mass and fixed volume of a gas is directly proportional to the gas’s temperature.

This relationship is known as the Gay-Lussac’s Law and a pressure cooker is an example of the law in practice. Cooking under pressure creates the possibility of cooking with high temperature liquids because the boiling point of a liquid increases as its pressure increases. High pressure and high heat can result in delectable dishes.

41CvXI3gHEL__SL160_

Cooking under pressure can be also dangerous because as liquids change phase into gases their volume expands greatly. For example, at atmospheric pressure the volume of steam is about 1700 times greater than the volume of water. To prevent pressure cookers from becoming bombs, relief devices (pop safety valves) are employed that are capable of relieving all of the steam the vessel is capable of producing.

America the Beautiful Pressure Cooker

The political pressure cooker is beginning to heat up. The power brokers and institutions that drive the nation have arrived unannounced on the doorsteps of America like a gaggle of unwanted, high maintenance relatives that demand hospitality for an unforeseeable time and that won’t take no for answer. Furthermore, they’ve announced that more relatives are on the way. Whatever plans America’s householders had, they’ve just gone out the window, with their household budgie and the relatives’ cat in hot pursuit.

People are justifiably angry with this incursion. Their budgie might not have been much, but it was “their budgie”, nurtured from birth into what it had become. Justifiably angry householders are trying to work out why the relatives arrived on their doorsteps and why they brought their fucking cat. Continue reading

We own our votes

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As Booman immolates himself in conflagration of Kool-aid fueled stoopidity, one of the asinine assertions he has made is that Obama won the popular vote in last year’s primaries. As evidence for this claim he cites this page at RealClearPolitics showing at the very top that Obama received 17,535,458 votes (48.1%) and Hillary received 17,493,836 votes (48.0%)

The problem for Booman is that those numbers don’t include Michigan. If you count ALL the votes (as shown on the 3rd and 4th lines) then Obama received 17,535,458 votes (47.4%) and Hillary received 17,822,145 votes (48.1%) Even if you include estimates of the caucus votes Hillary still got 176,465 more votes than Obama (.5%)

I can hear Obamanation sputtering now:

“But she agreed the votes wouldn’t count!  She signed a pledge!  Da roolz!

DA ROOLZ!”

First of all, Hillary never agreed that Michigan and Florida would be completely disenfranchised.  The totality of her statements on this issue make it obvious that she expected a solution to be worked out.  Secondly, the pledge she signed was an agreement that she would not campaign in MI/FL and she didn’t (but Obama did.)  Lastly, fuck the rules.

Michigan and Florida held official primaries sanctioned by their state governments and paid for with tax payer money.  Those state governments are the duly elected representatives of the people.  The Rules and Bylaws Committee is an unelected body within the Democratic National Committee, which is itself unelected by the people.

To assert that democratic principles are less important than scheduling rules demonstrates the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Obama supporters.  Rules should reflect our values and principles, not trump them.  Nor should our values and principles be cast aside in pursuit of some short term goal, especially if that goal is based on a cult of personality.  And as for our lurking Obama supporters, please don’t whinge about “fairness” because Obama was not on the Michigan ballot.  HE VOLUNTARILY TOOK HIMSELF OFF THE BALLOT.

It doesn’t matter what Hillary may or may not have agreed to.  She doesn’t own our votes.  Neither does the RBC nor the DNC.  Obamanation will never understand us until they get it through their heads that we aren’t mad because Hillary lost the election, we are furious because Obama stole the nomination.  It’s not about her, it’s about us.  Those were our votes that were stolen.

———————————————————————————————

A couple of last points for our lurkers.  We understand and accept that Barack Obama is the President.  He stole the nomination, but he won the election.  He is the only POTUS we have, and barring something unforeseen he will be until at least January 20, 2013 if not longer.  But we don’t have to “embrace” or support him.

We will continue to advocate for a liberal/progressive agenda, including real health care reform (single-payer), LGBT rights, freedom of choice, ending the wars in Iraq and Afganistan and environmetal protection.  We will be VERY vocal in criticizing Obama whenever he is less than perfect in that regard.  If you want us to STFU then tell Obama to get his shit together and be FDR II, not Bush III

We are FORMER supporters of Hillary Clinton.  Someday we might support her again, but she isn’t running for office right now.  While we admire her quite a bit, we don’t worship her or follow her orders.  We realize that she now works for Obama and we are grateful to have such a high quality person representing our nation to the rest of the world. But as a member of Obama’s Cabinet she has a duty to publicly support him and avoid criticizing him.  We don’t hold that against her, but then again we don’t have any obligation to agree with her either.

Obama’s 60 Minutes Interview and that Odd, Inappropriate Laughter

This morning I watched the 60 Minutes interview with President Obama that aired last night. You can read the transcript here. Part of the interview took place at the White House, with Obama discussing his schedule and how his daughters are adjusting to their new surroundings. The other part was a sit-down interview in which Steve Kroft asked Obama some questions about the economic crisis. I’m posting the first part of the interview below, along with some segments from the transcript that I’d like to discuss.

Just a personal note–I think Steve Kroft comes across as quite biased toward the Wall Street point of view throughout the interview. He expresses compassion for the unfortunate people working for the banks and thinks it’s terribly unfair to ask them to work for *only* $250,000 per year.

STEVE KROFT:
Your Treasury Secretary’s plan… Geithner’s plan, and— your plan really— for solving the banking crisis— was met with very, very, very tepid response. And you had a lot of people criticize… a lot of people said they didn’t understand it. A lot of people said it didn’t have any— enough details to— to— to solve the problem. I know you’re coming out with something— next week on this. But these criticisms were coming from people like Warren Buffett, people who had supported you, and you had counted as being your—

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
And— and— and— and Warren still does support me. But I think that understand Warren’s also a big player in the financial markets who’s a major owner of Wells Fargo. And so he’s got a perspective from the perspective of somebody who— is part owner of a bank. You’ve got members of Congress who’ve got a different perspective. Which is, “We don’t want to spend any more taxpayer money.” You’ve got— a whole host of players, all of whom may have a completely different solution. (LAUGHS) Right?

And— you know, one of the challenges that Tim Geithner— has had— is the same challenge that anybody would have in this situation.

people want a lot of contradictory things. You know, the— the— the banks would love a lot of taxpayer money with no strings attached. Folks in Congress, as well as the American people, would love to fix the banks without spending any money. (LAUGHS) And so at a certain point, you know, you’ve got just a— a very difficult line— to— to walk.

It seems to me that Obama perceives himself as someone who is trying to meet the conflicting demands of many different people; and that is certainly something that is going to happen to the President of the United States. What is missing for me is any sense that Obama sees himself as an advocate for a particular point of view. This is the thing that has bothered me about Obama from the very beginning. I just don’t get a sense of there being a real flesh-and-blood person in there beneath the polished exterior. I don’t get the feeling that he really cares about anyone or anything–except himself, of course. Continue reading

“Don’t expect too much from me,” says the POTUS

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The B.O.T., Barack Obama Teleprompter.

I’m just lucky that I still have some Tums handy:

From Yahoo News/AP

Obama seeks patience, warns of expecting too much

LOS ANGELES – Facing largely adoring crowds far from Washington, President Barack Obama on Thursday asked Americans to back his far-reaching economic and health policies, but warned them not to expect too much from him or the federal government. With many Republicans and even some Democrats in Congress resisting his budget plans, Obama went into full campaign mode in California, using television, friendly audiences and his massive e-mail list to counter his critics.

Also known as propaganda units and NBC, owned by General Electric, a massive donor to Obama’s Presidential Campaign.

Without naming names, he mocked Republican officials who call his plan too costly even though they presided over huge deficits while they controlled Congress and the White House.

“Where have you been?” he said to several hundred people at a raucous town-hall meeting in Los Angeles. “What have you been doing?”

Was that on the Teleprompter?  (Who by they way, The B.O.T., a.k.a, Barack Obama’s TelePrompter, has a new blog all on his/her/it’s own, here).

In his second California town hall in as many days, Obama mixed cockiness with humility.

Humility only is shown when it’s on the B.O.T.

He told Americans not to expect “something for nothing” from their government. Improvements to the economy and health care will take time and require unusually large deficits for a while, he said.

Only if you’re AIG or one of the 13 bailed out conglomerates that didn’t pay taxes.

“Nothing is free,” he said. Responding to a woman’s complaint about cuts in jobs and salaries for teachers in California, Obama urged people not to ask the federal and state governments to cut taxes and improve services at the same time.

So which are you going to do, Obama?  You already promised that 95% of the population is going to get their taxes cut, which equals about $13 extra dollars a week to the average working American.  How about concentrating on the economy instead of picking out your NCAA teams? Nero Dribbles while Rome burns.

“At some point you’ve got to make some choices,” he told the crowd, which loudly cheered him repeatedly. Obama also asked the country for patience and forbearance. “We are not always going to be right,” he said. “And I don’t want everybody disappointed if we make a mistake.”

Uh, how many are you going to make?  I’ll leave to WMCB to comment on that:

WMCB, on March 19th, 2009 at 8:15 am Said: I point out to them that this ENTIRE election was all about what a big mess Bush would leave, and who had the experience and work ethic and smarts to clean up that mountain of mess. Obama and his supporters assured us all that he was fully aware of the scope of the task, and could do the job. Could do the job handily, with great success, like no other! So no use now whining “But…Bush left such a huge mess!” Yeah, dipshit, we knew that. Cleaning up that mess is the job he APPLIED FOR, and wanted so badly, and insisted he was qualified to do, so STFU and do it or face the people’s anger.

Oh but Obama needs a compass apparently:

The important question, he said, is “are we moving in the right direction” and is he keeping his main campaign promises.

Then there’s a little dribble of “Hope” for foreclosed homeowners:

Obama also announced fresh aid to struggling homeowners in California. He said California was receiving $145 million to help communities hardest hit by the home foreclosure crisis. He said the money would be used to buy up and rehabilitate vacant homes, and provide loans to poorer and middle-income families to help with home assistance. He announced a new Web site to help people around the nation:http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/.

We all here at the Confluence support aid to homeowners a la Hillary’s plan adopting FDR’s plan like she proposed in Fall 2008.  We believe that taxes are good if the general public is receiving and benefitting fromn these services, as all card carrying liberals that we are.  We know how important it is for the government to do FOR the people, BY the people.  But what Obama is saying is, “if we f___k up, hey, don’t blame it all on us” while AIG and and other bailout baneficiaries skip out paying taxes while taking the bailout money in hordes out of our Treasury. If we can’t count on our government, or expect you to do the right thing because appraently you’re pre-empting the clusterf__k you’ve created, President Obama, then WHO do we trust?  This happened on your watch not on Chimperor’s and Darth Cheney’s.

Is integrity above your pay grade?


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Obama’s “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” and the Week Ahead

FDR signing the Social Security Act

FDR signing the Social Security Act

It’s going to be a big week for the Obamagharchy. In order to short-circuit the coming Obamageddon, our Dear Leader is making “fiscal responsibility” the focus of his week. On Monday, President Obama will meet with lots of “experts” and think tank denizens to discuss the future of what is left of the social safety net: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The meeting will take place on Monday from 1-4:30PM in the State Dining Room of the White House. According to Politico, the event will open with

addresses by President Obama and Vice President Biden. It’s set to include members of both houses of Congress from both parties.

The opening session will be followed by “breakout” sessions of five topics: health, tax policy, Social Security, contracting and procurement, and the budget, each led by senior officials.

The budget director, Peter Orszag, will be leading the health breakout — a policy area on which he’s long focused, and one expected to be front and center in the budget.

Christina Romer and Larry Summers will lead the Social Security session…

One hundred and thirty guests, reportedly including forty-four blue dog Democrats and a number of Republicans, have been invited to participate. Some of the invitees from Congress whose names have been published are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Jim Matheson, D-Utah, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-South Dakota, and Dave Camp, R-MI (ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee). CIA Director Leon Panetta will also attend because of his experience working on the federal budget in the Clinton Administration.

Also invited to attend are “leaders” of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an organization begun by billionaire Peterson to push for “reform” (read elimination) of Social Security and other “entitlement” programs. William Greider wrote about Peterson’s project in a column entitled “Looting Social Security” in The Nation last week. Continue reading

Tim Geithner; Herbert Hoover – Depression revisited

Unlike fellow Conflucian “headliner” Dakinkat (see her must-read post), I am not an economist, and I do not purport to have expertise in the field. I offer this post based on the claims of Paul Krugman and Barack Obama that the fiscal crisis facing the United States and its citizens today is more comparable to the conditions of the Great Depression than any other crisis faced since then. If that is true, no wonder I find the details of whiz-kid tax evader Tim Geithner’s newly dubbed Financial Stability Act (this is NOT the TARP redux bill just passed by the Senate) personally depressing. So, by the way, does Wall Street.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner announced a vast new rescue plan for the financial sector. Stocks plunged following the unveiling of the program to use $1.5 trillion or more in public and private funds to bail out banks and financial institutions and thaw frozen credit markets. The plan would create a $500 billion fund to buy up toxic bank assets such as bad real estate loans and commit up to $1 trillion to reopen lending markets for consumer, student, small business, auto andcommercial loans.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 383 points in afternoon trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq plummeted 63 points, and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index dropped 43 points.

(source)

Here are the highlights of the Geithner plan, according to The New York Times:

0210-biz-GEITHNER-web

Now, read these excerpts from an overview of the Hoover administration’s approach to the Great Depression, which set in 6 to 8 years before Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first elected. Continue reading

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