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Sunday: “They think we are chumps”

Frank Jones from Bloom County prophesies in 1988.

Frank Jones from Bloom County prophesies in 1988.

Bill Moyers is on my $#@% list for becoming a toe sucking Obamaphile last year but he’s had some good interviews lately.  Last week, he had Glenn Greenwald and Jay Rosen on who shook their fingers at the press for being in the pockets of the bipartisan baddies while not acknowledging their own role in electing Barack Obama.  It’s too soon to say whether they’ve had an epiphany and are just too embarrassed to admit it.  Then, last Friday, Moyers interviewed Simon Johnson of the Peterson Group, the same econ group that employs Japan’s lost decade expert Adam Posen.

Johnson pulled back the curtain on the Obama administration’s economic team.  In short, it it chock full of financial industry insiders.  He also shares a short clip of someone from JP Morgan who is discussing bonuses.  Essentially, they are just going to change the name from “bonuses” to “retention awards”.  See?  Doesn’t that sound better?  Those bankers and brokers are not getting bonuses.  Nooooo.  They are getting awards for staying on.  I mean, it’s obvious.  No one in their right mind would want to work in this poisonous environment so we have to reward these people for sticking it out.

Johnson also critiques Geithner’s baliout plan and specifically his speech.  He praises Geithner for recognizing that the bankers are at fault and should be ashamed of themselves.  But then Geithner delivers the equivalent of a slap on the wrist to the bankers by suggesting (because no one really knows what the plan is yet) that he isn’t going to nationalize the banks.  Nationalizing is such an unAmerican concept that no one wants to utter the word.  We are trapped by our own cultural mythology.  Or are we?  The fact is that nationalizing has the biggest downside to the people most culpable for the demise of the financial industry in the first place – the bankers.  But we can’t do it for fear that we will be commies.  How conveeeeeenient.

So, Geithner’s speech was the equivalent of Bloom County’s Frank Jones catching Oliver Wendell Jones, his genius hacker kid, zeroing out his electrcity bill at the utility company and then “grounding” him by telling him he can’t have any beets for dessert. Johnson suggests that the faux outrage plays well in Peoria but really, a “small evil group to which no one we know belongs”  has its grip firmly on the Obama Administration’s junk.  This oligarchy is going to make sure that nothing bad happens to the bankers, thus all but guaranteeing a Japan style lost decade for the rest of us.  Yes, they think we are chumps.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Greenwald may be a former Obama chump himself, however lukewarm, but he’s right to be alarmed that the left has boxed itself into a corner.  It so bought into the Obamaphenomenon and so disabled its own leverage that it is incapable of exerting any power on Obama now.  It can’t hold Obama’s feet to the fire.

But *we* can.

And we must.  Because Social Security is now starting to get the attention of the “reformers”.  Those same people who had such incredible success with credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations are looking around for another pool of money where they can practice their own version of voodoo with new and groovy “instruments”.  We don’t want that.

If the progressive blogosphere is now sober and alarmed, I have a proposition for it.  Now is the time when we put aside our differences.  We will try to turn the other cheek and put aside the fact that you guys acted like f%^*ing @$$holes towards us for the past year.  If you are fully alarmed and ready to do some real activism, it is time we had some REAL unity and coordinated our messages.  We can offer amnesty, so long as you acknowledge to yourselves that you were mislead about us.  There was a reason why the split was engineered in the party.  It is to keep us from getting enough critical mass to take the oligarchical bastards on.  The way back to power is to first admit that you were had.  You don’t have to do this publicly.  I’m sure you know what barriers to success you have to remove.

It is also time to face up to the fact that Obama is owned by the bankers.  That was the deal he struck with them.  They paid him mucho dinero to have a seat(s) at his cabinet table.  Saving the country and the taxpayers is the right thing to do.  I’ve been picking up on a narrative that says Americans are responsible for what happened by consuming too much and saving too little.  But there are also reports that Americans aren’t spending their way out of the recession like they should.  Let’s admit what this really is.  This is like Jerry Fallwell blaming the sinners of New Orleans for Katrina or like any endtime group blaming the culture for not being pious enough.  If you want rain, you have to not offend the gods.  If you’re facing catastrophe, you must have forgotten your burnt offerings.

I don’t like this narrative.  It’s like blaming the victim and as long as the “victim” feels guilty, he will accept his “punishment” because he will feel like he deserved it.  Oh sure, there are some people out there who spent more than they should have and gambled away their home equity or got over their heads in credit card debt. But there are many, MANY more people who did none of these things.  They contributed to their 401ks diligently and didn’t take on more debt than they should have and they are still going to have to suffer the consequences of the finance industry’s failures.   Wages have been essentially flat since the 70’s when adjusted for inflation even though the American worker has been more productive.  It’s time we started to put the blame where it belongs: on the people who created this system where you now need two jobs to support a family of four.  The bottom has fallen out of the social safety net.  Families are one paycheck away from insolvency through no fault of their own except that they have been snookered into voting for Republicans over and over again for the past 30 years.

So, if you Obots are getting alarmed, fighting this narrative is one of the first places to start.  The American taxpayer should not be forced to sacrifice anymore.  The American taxpayer has to stop being passive about the gods who are punishing them for their imaginary sins.  It is time that we stop paying for the mistakes of others.  If the banking and finance industry is in trouble for taking risks and leveraging themselves beyond all reason, it’s time that they paid for those transgressions and stopped foisting the bill onto the hapless  taxpayer.

Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to empower American taxpayers and inflame them with righteous indignation.  It’s time to tell them they are NOT chumps.  We didn’t all just fall off the turnip truck.  It’s time to help them understand what is happening because knowledge is power.  It’s time to pull back the curtain and point to the real culprits, even if you just helped to get them elected.

Are you with us?

137 Responses

  1. “The first step is admitting that you are powerless over Kool-aid”

  2. From a post about Michael Steele at the “C” blog:

    Why is he “fauxbama”? Because he’s a republican trying to pretend he’s as cool as Obama because of his skin color? That’s admitting that Obama is cool because of his skin color.
    If we play this game then shouldn’t Obama be called “fauxreagen” or “fauxking”?

    I think “fauxking Obama” sounds right.

  3. There was a reason why the split was engineered in the party. It is to keep us from getting enough critical mass to take the oligarchical bastards on.

    Right on the nose! I think some of them are slowly admitting to themselves, although not quite in the mirror just yet. And it will be years until any thought of amends will enter anyone’s mind.
    On a much, much lighter note, re-visiting with Chuck, the Staten island groundhog who bit Bloomberg is always rewarding – he seems like a PUMA to me

  4. myiq2xu
    I would go with fauxdemocrat or fauxgressive. He certainly is not a fauxreagan – he is more Reagan than Bonzo’s partner, and consciously so. As to fauxking – only if you mean MLK. The other kind of king he may get there.

  5. Did anyone see what was written on the tee shirt of the “screaming male Obama fan from last week”??
    I believe it said “King Obama”?
    Off to yoga.
    See ya later

  6. Superb, RD. Fauxking great, radical, far out, and courageous.
    So often you write exactly what I’ve been thinking or ranting
    about, and say it better.

    I’ve been thinking about this whole left-right thing, and how
    the split happened. I like your idea that the split was
    engineered to weaken our power.

    I think they bought so much of the left by focusing on
    foreign policy, which is where they appeared to be more
    “progressive” than Hillary – as in “he was against Iraq War”.
    As in that one non-event was enough to buy him the whole
    left blogosphere.

    That was how they managed to slip in all those conservative
    right-wing finance guys, to steal our money. Which is really
    always the most important issue, IMHO. Money, who has it,
    where it’s going behind the black curtain, while we
    look elsewhere.
    Of course, the real info was out there, if you were
    paying attention. (Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report
    was warning about his Chicago
    School economic advisors from the beginning).

    So where the h*ll were Moyers, and people like him?
    They were so busy being ABC (anyone but Clinton) that
    they missed what was in front of them.
    Though, I don’t think they really missed it. I think they
    were bought.

  7. myiq2xu: ” I think “fauxking Obama” sounds right.”

    Emphasis on “sounds.”

    From King George to King Obama. We’re fauxed.

  8. Saw the Moyers’ program. Wasn’t sure I could trust him either. But they ever so gently laid out Obama’s reneging on the “no lobbyists” pledge – several times. I was heartened to that extent.

    RD, you are leading/foretelling the way forward.

  9. “I think they bought so much of the left by focusing on
    foreign policy, which is where they appeared to be more “progressive” than Hillary – as in “he was against Iraq War”. As in that one non-event was enough to buy him the whole left blogosphere.”

    He said he was agains the war, but he voted for it. He said he was against FISA, and he voted for it. (Add countless similar examples at your leisure.)

    If the “left” was indeed bought, then they have no integrity and deserve no support. All the folks who said, “yes, I voted for it (whatever “it” happens to have been, whether the war, Patriot Act, etc.) but only because I was tricked, or lied to,” are cynical liars or morons.

    It will be no different with this “stimulus” bill — when the rainbows and unicorns fail to appear, the same people will cry that they were tricked again. Anyone who continues to believe that there is a genuine affinity with that gang of thieves is sadly mistaken. Don’t be fooled again.

    Party Unity my Ass, not Party Unity My Axiom

  10. I also agree that it’s time to put aside our differences, and
    work together. However, I don’t think obots are really at
    the point to admit they were had. That would be too much
    cognitive dissonance for them, and would really hurt their
    egos. (I base that perception on my own little live-in Obot,
    who I get to monitor and observe every day.)

    So it might be better to drop that whole narrative, just not
    mention it, as we might with a BF who just lost five
    tennis matches to us, the way our mothers taught us to
    deal with men we beat. (I used to be very good at that –
    in the sixth grade I lost a schoolwide spelling bee to
    the “boy” when it occurred to me that the boys wouldn’t like
    me if I won. I lost on the word “banana”. Hah!)
    The past few decades, though, I’ve turned more into
    an “I told you so” kind of girl. But, maybe we need to put
    that aside now. The stakes are too high, and as you said,
    we need each other.

  11. speaktruth, bear with me becaus4e I’m still in the middle of thinking this out…
    While it’s possible that Moyers, et al were bought, it is possible that they were simply ignorant. There’s a certain element to liberalism that does not allow pragmatism because it is somehow dirty and tainted. Lofty idealism, particularly the kind that paints a rosy picture of how human beings can be at their best and particularly when it is unyielding to any kind of pragmatism, is clean.

    Moyers is in the group of liberals that thought Bill’s “triangulation” was dirty. It’s fun to watch him dance around B0’s triangulations now!

  12. Unfortunately, I see very little evidence that the Obot blogs are now sober and alarmed. As Greenwald said,

    “Part of the political shrewdness of Obama has been that he’s been able to actually convince huge numbers of liberals that it’s a good thing when he ignores and even stomps on their political ideals, that it’s something they should celebrate and even be grateful for.”

    I think we’re out here on our own RD.

  13. We have arrived! RD, yesssss! This is exactly what people need to hear at this time. I woke up this morning with the thought of revolution in my brain – it’s now or never! 😈

    Purplefin – just last night I said to my husband – we are right back where we started with King George III. Interesting comparison:

    King George III, after the French and Indian War, had large debts to pay, and thought he could extract the necessary money from the colonies. King George was incensed when the insolent American colonists objected to the taxes being levied, particularly the Stamp Act. When the Stamp Act was repealed, King George flew into a rage. Using his profound influence, he pushed through the Townshend Acts, in 1766, taxing many commodity items including tea resulting in the infamous Boston Tea Party. King George was eventually humbled as the American colonies successfully became the United States Of America.


  14. “except that they have been snookered into voting for Republicans over and over again for the past 30 years.”

    What do I tell my republican friends about PUMAs? they are equally alarmed at the state of this nation and the fraud that has been elected.

    There is a split among democrats but there has also been a split engineered among americans (rep vs dem)…. common sense has been tossed out the window years ago while each team beats up the other team with no answers and no solutions….once again the ruling class has control, and we schlubs BOTH repub and dem suffer.

    and I see no way out of it. the repubs I know are socially liberal while fiscally conservative…. the repubs in control used
    social issues to gain power and this was devastating for me & my gay family. its mind boggling and confusing.

    I just want to make a decent living and part of that is to have decent healthcare. I just want equal rights and to legally marry my partner. I just want to live comfortably both financially and emotionally… And I want to be able to retire some day and enjoy future grandkids….. these are simple goals.

    I do not see it happening.

  15. This post started my day right! Please count me in.

  16. @speaktruth
    In all fairness, Moyers was not ABC. I remember him going to great length trying to debunk one of their “Ma’ they’re racist” memes – the one with MLK and Johnson. For this reason he is not on my sh*t list

  17. RD, i applaud your will to “reach out”. I supported Obama over McCain but have always understood that he is part of the establishment (just as Hillary) and need to be pressured from the left. I like many posts on this site when it comes to POLICY. It’s sad when the FOCUS on personalities divide people who should who have common goals when it comes to policy.

  18. Sophie, good points. That’s the problem with throwing people under the bus. It’s an all or nothing approach. Triangulation is so not “pure.” But when you don’t have the majority in Congress, what are your options?

    Having a slim majority for Democrats is still a problem. Republicans delight in looking like the “bad” guys – filibustering is strong and tough. Democrats want to look like the “good guys.” They wouldn’t be obstructive.

  19. Joanelle, with no colonies as such, our mounting debt is making indentured servants of our future generations.

  20. I just want to make a decent living and part of that is to have decent healthcare. I just want equal rights and to legally marry my partner. I just want to live comfortably both financially and emotionally… And I want to be able to retire some day and enjoy future grandkids….. these are simple goals.

    Ironically, that is what most of us aspire too, not too much, but just enough. And all they give us is less and less.

    I hate these people!

  21. pj – I

    feel like they are BOTH wrong… dems and repubs.

    this post made me cry.
    no place to go, and no political party that will help me.

  22. “Moyers is in the group of liberals that thought Bill’s “triangulation” was dirty. It’s fun to watch him dance around B0’s triangulations now!”


  23. Contributing to the overuse of credit also were stagnant or shrinking wages, and medical costs. Some people were desperate enough to charge groceries, many were using them to pay for medical care.

  24. Excellent post…but that’s the norm here.

    If this is a no-no, my apologies…but did you see th epic of obama and meechelle looking like they’re celebs, leaving an “uscale eatery” in Chicago this weekend?

    Meechelle’s carrying a doggie bag!



  25. indigo-ITA

  26. destardi
    don’t knock it! It’s for that doggie that they’ll get one day – you know, that not girlie one?

  27. “bonuses” change to ” retention awards”?- smacks of Rovian word play-GRRR….

    “nationalizing” banks?Is this a good idea? With whose money does the gov’t
    prop up the banks? Is there any reward for the taxpayer?

    And the protection of Social Security,joining forces,letting bygones be bygones- grand idea but i think it’s still too soon for that- the Obots aren’t ready to make nice. Things have got to get worse before the average Obot sees their mistake-
    or until WE can forget the past goddamn year.

    Otherwise, count me in too.

  28. Sorry is the hardest word, so don’t expect to hear it from the Obots. But moving on, I think that we need to get people to stop thinking of Social Security as an entitlement. “Entitlement” smacks of welfare, of getting something for nothing from the government; and that’s soooo socialist, we can’t have that in America, the bastion of capitalism.

    The truth is that EVERYONE who’s ever worked, AT ANY JOB, FOR ANY TIME has paid into the social security system, provided the job was on the books.
    Even students, like my daughter who only works in the summer and is exempt from federal tax withholding, are not exempt from FICA withholding. Foreign workers are not exempt either. EVERYONE pays, so it’s hardly welfare.

    Now the system may need some tweaking as people live longer and the Boomers start to retire. I’m mindful of my mother who is 91 and has been retired for 25 years and receives social security. On the other hand my Dad, who worked his entire life before retiring at 69, only enjoyed five years of retirement before he passed. He probably didn’t get back what he paid in. On the other hand, my mother has probably received more than she paid in. But it all evens out in the end. That’s my thinking. I have no problem with raising the retirement age once again. But privitization is a non-starter.

    For what it’s worth some of the comments on a post by Atrios makes it look like the Obots will revolt if any serious proposal to change social security is put forth. The third rail is still live.

  29. I couldn’t bear to turn on the tv this morning to the Sunday morning talk shows. One half of a panel discussing the downside, the other half arguing that this is all good. Unbearable!

    Meanwhile, Dear Leader flies to Chicago and wines and dines at some exclusive restaurant without a care in the world. And Krugman this morning on C Span predicting at least 5-10 years before we see daylight with astronomical unemployment figures by years end.

    I am studying for my license in becoming an ostrich. The only way to ignore my surroundings without losing it altogether.

  30. Sophie, I’m still figuring it out, too. A few weeks ago
    I posed the same question on here – ie. “Is the left-wing
    stupid, or lying and bought?” And which is worse?”
    Myiq wrote back that they all knew, Ie. were bought.

    I agree, jury’s still out, but it’s hard to believe that
    Moyers was really stupid and blind, and now suddenly
    sees the light. I guess one explanation that makes sense
    is the ABC one (anyone but Clinton). But how naive to
    believe that Obama, or anyone who could win, or be pushed
    by corporate media, would be their ideal fantasy leftist.
    But especially naive and stupid, when you hear what
    Obama was actually telling us, especially about UHC. On
    one level what they did was unforgivable. (And I believe in
    redemption and forgiveness, usually).

  31. When I saw Penny Pritzker heading up Obama’s campaign finance team, I KNEW we were in trouble. He’s got all the Foxes looking after the Hen house and it’s been that way since his campaign. I just don’t think a critical mass of people figured that out and got the word out.

    and I agree with Krugman, there’s nothing being substantial being done here … they might as well be heating the white house by burning folk’s paychecks in the fireplaces.

  32. Since there are so many interested in applying labels to themselves and others. We will add a new one if the Amercian citizenry doesn’t take a crash course in real world history.

    The crisis that confronts us has nothing to do with Roe v Wade, or with getting jobs for steelworkers, or with making sure that I can get cheap health insurance.


    “In 1929, Italy was hit hard by the Great Depression. The Italian economy, having just emerged from a period of monetary stabilization, was not ready for this shock. Prices fell and production slowed. Unemployment rose…

    Trying to handle the crisis, the Fascist government nationalized the holdings of large banks which had accrued significant industrial securities…

    This economic model based on a partnership between government and business was soon extended to the political sphere, … , the Fascists began to impose significant tariffs and other trade barriers.
    [see HR1 — the “Buy American” clauses]

    In 1935, Mussolini boasted that three-quarters of Italian businesses relied on the government. Various banking and industrial companies were financially supported by the state. … with the special aim of rescuing floundering companies.

    Mussolini also adopted a Keynesian policy of government spending on public works to stimulate the economy. Between 1929 and 1934, public works spending tripled to overtake defense spending as the largest item of government expenditure.”

  33. poplicola: did you know the roosevelt administration actually sent a team of advisors over to figure out what italy was doing right?

  34. I didn’t, but am not surprised. There is a peculiar attractiveness to the stability and peace enjoyed in dictatorship, without all the uncomfortable civic duty of a free republic.

  35. I wish more people had “been snookered into voting for Republicans” last year….. I still can’t even call him president.

  36. I think maybe one of the problems with this left-right,
    Dem-Repub, liberal- conservative, split, and confusion, lies
    in the labels themselves.

    I do believe that most of the people in the country want
    the same basic things, ie. enough food, comfortable nice
    home, as much health care as needed, relaxation and fun
    on weekend, education, etc. Who wouldn’t want that? Who
    wouldn’t want not to worry about paying for health care?
    Who wouldn’t want free education? Banks that don’t rip us
    off with 30% or 20 or even 8% interest rates? Help starting a
    business or vacation every year? Most other major countries
    have this.

    But here they give the label “Socialism” to anything that
    serves to give more to the lower and middle class, in
    order to demonize the concept of real equality, and keep
    the status quo of the top 1% owning 70% (or is it more?)
    of the wealth, and us struggling.
    Nationalizing banks? Means people at top take big big
    paycuts (less than 500K salary), probably leave (who’ll
    miss them), banks make less profits by charging us less,
    and the profits they do make go back to us, in education,
    Social Security, other government programs. Why shouldn’t
    gov. be bigger to take care of the people better? That’s what
    they”re there for, not to get rich, or make the rich richer.

  37. FOX News decided Saturday night was the night to do straight reporting on the stimulus package and really analyzed the health care provisions in terms of “tracking” and some of the military questions, like cutting defense while fighting two wars.
    Hate to say it, but 1) I knew where they were coming from and actually agreed and 2) was pissed because I didn’t hear this BEFORE the bill was shoved through. I admit, I don’t watch any TV news and found this report by accident as my mother, just home from the hospital, had it on…

    And the DCCC has the gall to beg for money…under the name of BILL CLINTON….

    The Past Week: February 8-14, 2009 (Saturday Night Hard HR1 News; Chicago News [“Racial” Comments; Obama Ally Alexi Giannoulis]; “Roots Camp”; Bill Clinton Shills for the DCCC; New Sprouts in the Late Winter Garden)


  38. Speaktruth…

    Let’s face it, it’s facism.

  39. Someone’s got to take a stand.

  40. As for Moyers…MANY moons ago, I researched him and his wife and presented the info to Buzzflash, which rejected my efforts, saying “why go there??” Basically, he’s on OUR side.

    Let me tell you…His wife sat on boards of energy companies,etc. and Bill Moyers’s show was funded by quite a line up of foundations that made me wonder years ago about who was pulling HIS strings…They are both players…

  41. insightanalytical,

    We all should be angry. Not one of the 535 members of Congress read the bill before it was voted on. It was posted after midnight the morning of the vote, in a pdf form that was deliberatley made so it could not be keyword searched. Not only that but the House had voted 403 to 0 earlier in the week to make all bills available to the public for minimum 48 hours prior to a vote.

    That is enough reason outside of any other consideration to campaign against anyone who voted “Yea.”

  42. Well, that’s interesting, popicola.

    But again, is the problem nationalizing banks or who the
    government is. Are you saying that the people who run
    the banks now have our interests at heart? I think that
    idea has been skewered by the public revelations of the
    last few months? They are for profit, profit, profit, for
    themselves and their cronies. And they are not elected,
    as flawed as our election system is.

    Nationalizing some businesses, large ones, often monopolies,
    whose purpose is to serve public interest, should definitely
    not be allied with fascism. Fascism is when the government
    takes rights of people away. Isn’t that what Bush did? And he
    supported profit for the rich bankers.

    It all comes down to who is running the gov. And at least
    there’s the potential for us to do that, and of course, not
    to allow fascism to emerge.

    The old cliche is true, when you go too far left (as in Russia),
    you are the same as the far right. It’s about power and control,
    vs. democracy and educated populace.

  43. FYI: I heard Krugman on the early C-Span call-in show this morning.

    He is using the word “receivership” for the takeover of the banks, instead of “nationalizing.”

    He says it would be more like the S&L problems in the 80’s: government took them into receivership, clarified the books, cleaned up the issues (still our money, yes), and then sent them back to private ownership after that.

    Much like Sweden did (see Roubini’s article in WAPO this morning titled “We’re all Swedes now”), and what he describes is not fascism.

    But unless and until the government (FDIC type audit) understands what the banks are actually holding, they can’t make wise decisions on behalf of the taxpayers (not that they always do, anyway).

    I liked Krugmans’ phraseology: Receivership, not Nationalization.

    And yes, he says Obama’s stimulus won’t cut it, and we’ll in trouble for about 5-10 years, much like Japan was.

  44. insight,

    What’s fascism? Big government is traditionally what liberals
    believe in. FDR was about big gov, so was Bill Clinton. UHC
    is part of big gov. So, definitely, is Social Security, and all
    social programs that liberals believe in, and conservatives
    and Repubs are against.
    Libertarians are against big gov. Sounds good to me,
    too, until you realize that means no Social Security, UHC,
    free education, privatizing everything.
    Big gov. is not fascism – unless it’s a fascist gov.

    The part about Moyers is very interesting. And that
    explains it all, answers my question. They were bought.
    Ooooooooh eeeuuh. Yik.

  45. The “social security reform” meme is picking up steam and is frightening to say the least.

  46. speaktruth,

    You seem to be surprised that businesses operate to create profit. Under normal circumstances good businesses usually grow, bad ones usually fail, and sometimes (less frequently) bad ones prosper while good ones fail.

    In your previous post you indicate a desire to punish bankers. If this was a normal system, the bad ones would have gone out of business and be out of jobs. Our government said that they were “too big to fail,” and rescued them with our tax money. YOU, speaktruth, are right now rewarding those people that you think behaved badly and greedily. YOU are rewarding them.

    When you nationalize them, you say that you (through your political representatives) know better, that instead of the market deciding, that instead of good management being rewarded and bad punished, or even that bad or good luck plays a part, that you are going to keep them afloat.

  47. lolz…i agree on this

  48. The problem is that there is no left wing in this country any more. The “left” blogosphere is center right. For some reason those blogs that really are sort of left, like the “C” blog, have decided we are too working class (or whatever their excuse is) for them to associate with, even though we are probably in generally the same socioeconomic class as they are.

    I appreciate your optimism, RD, and I hope things work out the way you hope. I’m very discouraged, and like popicola, I think we’re already pretty far down the road to fascism. I’m not sure there is any way to turn it around, absent revolution.

  49. popicola,

    Well I disagree with you there. I think nationalizing the banks is the only solution unless we want to go through a serious depression that will last many years and may push us toward dictatorship even faster than the present course.

  50. SOD: No surprise that they only supported the person. Few could easily answer what about Obama they found so appealing. No experience, no qualifications, a thin resume, no executive or managerial experience, no paper trail, yet they remained entrenched and enthralled about the possibility of electing a minority candidate to office. This was, and is, above all the only recommendation and how does that translate into a solid argument of support? It doesn’t.

    His policies were vague and he merely parroted what others said. Less than two full working years in the Senate? How does that compute into years of lifelong service and accomplishments? It doesn’t but drowning out the opposition by screaming STFU or labeling skeptics as r*cists fulfilled their one note desires. They earned him.

    The paradox now is finding a clear path out of their unflinching support as the days roll on. The most we can hope for is clear objectivity but even that is doubtful. The bell cannot be unrung.

  51. How about this: would you be if we nationalize some businesses so they don’t get greedy and trample on the rights of the workers? We can so EVERYONE gets enough to eat. We CAN make cars inexpensive and efficient for every worker. We cn care for all children, adn health care will be free or cheap and very good. And we still keep our democratic system. Who wants to sign up? Do you support a National Socialist Democratic Workers Party, does that sound good?

  52. beets for dessert! I really like that one RD.

    I think we should begin our concerted efforts by examining in depth the stimulus bill and seeing how much of our taxpayer debt we can claim for our own. We could use our legally gotten gains to finance our political future. Karma.

  53. Clearly, I am discouraged as you are BB about this situation – maybe even more given the fact that I am older and watching them about to rip the rug out from under us.

    But I’ll not give up or give in – They believe that we are a flock of sheep who are willingly ready to follow them where ever – not this ewe – and the only recourse we have at this point is to stand up to them – raise a ruckus at least bordering on revolution – so that they understand that we are mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore and they’ll have to pry anything more they get from me out of my cold, dead hands! 👿

  54. Help, I’m in moderation!

  55. popicola,

    If that’s directed at me, I would support democratic socialism. But since that will never happen here because of our “culture,” I support going back to lower income disparity–say the way it was before the “Reagan revolution.” I support having a social safety net so we don’t have children growing up homeless and starving and elderly people dying in the streets. That’s what I would support. Unfortunately, I think we are going to continue letting people die in the streets in this very wealthy country.

  56. Joanelle.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up. And they’ll have to kill me before they get me in one of their FEMA camps too.

  57. popicola,

    Are you saying you don’t believe in gov. regulation of
    business either?

    Are you saying that you want the Free Market to take over
    instead of gov. regulation to stop abuse and theft by the few
    of the many? Do you believe that all the profit motive will
    keep all systems in check, and there is no greed or abuse
    by the powerful of the weak?

    That sounds like libertarian Republicanism. That’s fine, but
    should be clarified. Did you support Hillary, because that’s
    definitely not what she or Bill represent? Or Ron Paul, who I
    think is a cool guy, but wrong in his beliefs, except about
    Iraq war.

    Do I understand the profit motive?
    Uh, absolutely, I’m a small businessperson. That’s what I
    work for everyday, obviously, to make a profit, instead of a
    loss. Nothing against that, that’s not the question.

    Profits of millions in the pockets of the few while others are
    worrying about enough food, dying for no money for health
    care or homes, that’s profit I’m against. I call that criminal
    theft and murder. What all liberals and Dems are supposed
    to be against, and what Bush, Cheney, etc. have been doing.

    I don’t understand your points. How am I rewarding greed?
    I didn’t support the first bailout (did at first, when I mistakenly
    would help “Main St.”), don’t support giving banks more
    money now.
    I do support help to homeowners, and not rewarding
    CEO’s of banks.

    And what I support is the system that has been working
    in many European countries now for a long time, like
    Scandivian countries, maybe France, but with changes.
    There is no perfect system, but libertarianism isn’t close.

  58. Didn’t Obama get those girls a dog yet? Tell me it isn’t so.

  59. I’m uncomfortable with the whole villanizing of The Bankers approach. To me it seems the other side of the coin of the Welfare Queen bashing.

    In both cases it is not the institution that is at fault but (sometimes willful) mismanagement.

  60. BB it wasn’t really. You posted while I was typing. While we’re at it though does anyone else think that plan is a good solution?

  61. BTW,

    Lots of buisnesses are still regulated, at least in my state, MA. Insurance companies and public utilities can’t raise rates without state approval. I think most states have some regulations about environmental hazards, etc. Do I want to go back to nearly pure capitalism–what we had back in the days of the milltowns and people (even little kids) working for pennies? No I don’t. But I think that’s what Obama and his bankers want. They want serfs. If we have to nationalize the banks to prevent that, then do it. According to Paul Krugman and a number of other economists, it’s the only way.

  62. To paraphrase, “There is nothing that so focuses one’s attention as tying the noose that will be used the next morning.” To have the likes of BrazileNut braying about $13 every two weeks being a salve for the nation’s problems is the epitome of lunacy. These folks have inexorably tied themselves to the success of someone whose core values can best be described as gelatinous, but the really sad part is that they seem to reveal in the goo.

    It is amazing that it took BZero so little time to start using Dubya’s term of “all the hard work it takes.” Any bets how long it will take before we hear, “History will be the judge of our success…”

  63. What you’re describing is not fascism, poplicola.

    It’s putting the banks, who will not reveal the amount of their toxic assets , in receivership, in order for the FDIC to assess their true value.

    We’ve done that before, during the S&L crisis in the 80’s, and the companies were later placed back in private ownership after the auditors figured out how much trouble they were actually in.

    Now, you may be pissed that taxpayers ate the loss—-as am I—–but that’s not fascism.

    Your only other choice is giving the banks more and more and more money, with no requirement that auditors or taxpayers actually know their risk in doing so, and a ten-year long recession like Japan.

    It wasn’t until Japan actually took over the banks (call it whatever you want), assessed the damage, cleaned them up, and re-privatized them, that Japan recovered from their “lost decade.”

    Sweden knew better. They “nationalized ” the banks immediately to clean them up, rather than waste trillions of dollars propping them up, and their economy rebounded much sooner than Japan’s did.

    But, it’s not fascism.

    It’s what the SEC and FDIC were designed to do, originally.

  64. popicola,

    What plan? I’m not sure what you are referring to.

  65. Thank you, Mary. I agree and you said it better.

  66. Japan recovered from their “lost decade.”

    I keep reading that phrase but, how were Regular-Japanese-People affected by “the lost decade”?

    I’m really interested in what might be ahead for those of us who don’t have all that much right now…..

  67. speaktruth,

    “Are you saying that you want the Free Market to take over instead of gov. regulation to stop abuse and theft by the few of the many? Do you believe that all the profit motive will keep all systems in check, and there is no greed or abuse by the powerful of the weak? ”

    No and no.

    As for my philosophy, I am an American. Not left, right or middle.

    “Do I understand the profit motive? Uh, absolutely, I’m a small businessperson. That’s what I work for everyday, obviously, to make a profit, instead of a loss. Nothing against that, that’s not the question.”

    “I don’t understand your points. How am I rewarding greed? I didn’t support the first bailout (did at first, when I mistakenly would help “Main St.”), don’t support giving banks more money now. I do support help to homeowners, and not rewarding CEO’s of banks. ”

    My point there is that you ARE — your taxes are now and will now continue to pay those bankers. Saying you don’t support it doesn’t matter (I agree with you there, by the way) The fact is that Congress and Present Obama are sending them our money.

  68. does anyone else think that plan is a good solution?

    If you’re referring to the stimulus plan, I am reminded of the cold war quote (I believe it was Robert S. McNamera) regarding Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD):

    “Gentlemen, this isn’t a plan, it’s some kind of horrible spasm.”

  69. The plan am referring to is

    How about this: would you for it if we nationalize some businesses so they don’t get greedy and trample on the rights of the workers? We can so EVERYONE gets enough to eat. We CAN make cars inexpensive and efficient for every worker. We can care for all children, and health care will be free or cheap and very good. And we still keep our democratic system. Who wants to sign up? Do you support a National Socialist Democratic Workers Party, does that sound good?

  70. I might mention, bostonboomer, re state regulations, that most of the reason Texas is not in such dire shape as Florida, California, Ohio, or NY, is that our state regulaters actually tightened regulations on requirements for licenses for mortgage brokers when the subprime issues began.

    Florida and California were notorious for allowing anyone and everyone to gain a broker’s license —even convicted felons—-with no background checks. They had very little state regulatoin on the whole scam, which is why most of the people in Texas who WERE NOT given a license, ran straight to Florida and California to get in on the easy scams.

    I notice California will get the largest amount of money in the state allocations (population or debt, not sure), but until they tighten their own state regs, nothing will improve.

    I got news for Digby and other Californians. LA Times is reporting that most of the fed money will go to state debt and corporate help (including some to Hollywood producers), but the “little people” are still facing increases in sales tax, property tax, vehicle taxes, and others.

    And Obama , who they supported, offers them $13 a week less in payroll taxes.


  71. I’m a small businessperson

    For a couple of generations now the GOP has talked about small business owners to justify deregulating the big ones. Then the big one squeeze out the small ones.

  72. katiebird: i don’t think you can draw parallels on that, the japanese have a huge savings rate so they have piles of money sitting around as safety nets

  73. There are retention bonuses that keep bankers from going to competitors (that’s a laugh these days), and there are retention bonuses that keep clients invested in bad financial products that generate fees for the brokerages. Merrill in particular was/is very guilty of the latter. As long as the government focuses on institutions and not individuals, the people will lose. What is required are individual heads on a very high profile public platter (like Lay and Skilling of Enron) in order to move and change the system. What is lacking is any serious challenge from the SEC, Justice or Treasury, because god forbid, we might upset the apple cart, the one stuck a yard deep in mud and sinking deeper everyday.

    I’m trying to keep things simple in my head. Three challenges. One, prioritizing residential mortgage relief first: to help people and to define prices. There’s been more chatter in last couple of days, but nowhere near enough action. Two, getting this securitization of consumer/business loans for secondary markets off the ground: to provide more backing to students, auto loans, credit cards, small business credit, commercial mortgages. Three, saving the banks’ collective asses with more capital infusion and some kind of warehouse for the toxic assets. Geithner only cares about #3. He’ll likely throw #1 to Bair, and #2 to Bernanke. In fact, he probably only really cares about the capital infusion part of #3. The headachy toxic asset part, he may end up throwing to uncle Bernanke or Sheila Bair as well. Its early for Geithner, and I don’t know how dakinikat is seeing it, but imo he’s already a mistake.

    On nationalization of banks, I have no idea and will look forward to dakinikat’s thinking and guidance. On Moyers, agree that it is naivety more than guile. At least he has the sense to consult with people like Johnson. PBS never cared enough about big finance in their reporting. The upcoming Frontline documentary on the meltdown is a good step. CNBC on the other hand understands big finance, and they can move markets. They are obviously part of NBC/GE, and CEO Jeff Immelt sits on Obama’s main Economic Advisory Board. See how that works. So there won’t be any protests from that corner. Let’s see, who else. Fox Business and the WSJ are owned by Murdoch, and Rupert just made it under the wire to become one of Barry BFFs. So they won’t help much. There is Bloomberg News, and they are suing the Fed under FOIA for details on the bank bailouts. Maybe a glimmer of hope there. The blogosphere needs to be all over this, but why is everybody except RD and TC just sucking on their thumb on this topic. Do people understand that we could be a matter of weeks away from slipping into a big D depression. Why are they yucking it up in Congress because they passed the impotent stimulus bill. Do they really think they are halfway to the finish line?

    Capitalism, if not managed well, can turn into a pyramid. Yes, like that pyramid on the one dollar bill with the eye of “providence” on top looking out for us, at us. That eye is looking more like Barry’s everyday. Have a peek.

  74. dakinikat, it’s not ME drawing those parallels — I can’t do that since I don’t have any idea what “the lost decade means”

    Maybe my question was ill-phrased but, I keep hearing that it could happen to us and I don’t know what is meant by the phrase.

    Would it affect me? And how?

  75. i posted my thoughts on the bank bail out last fall and the suggestions from what works from the latest megastudy of all bank crises … I can rewrite some of that in light of what’s been put forward, but really, the situation hasn’t changed at all from the last time I wrote on the banking crisis and what needed to be done, and that in itself is a said statement, 3w

  76. i posted my thoughts on the bank bail out last fall

    And got called a “racist Republican ratf**ker” for your troubles.

  77. Is control by the “military-industrial complex”, the term coined
    by the Republican Eisenhower, better than a
    bigger govt. stepping in, whose purpose is the representative
    of the people, the only representative we have, to
    protect our interests.

    Fascism doesn’t have to be perpetrated by govt., it can be
    any large group that exerts absolute control, and is hurting
    the people. And what protects us from that, if not govt.?
    When govt. stops protecting the people we have big problems.

  78. What Anglachel and Lambert don’t seem to get is that giving home loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back was a predatory lending practice.

  79. dakinikat, the whole point Krugman is making about Japan’s lost decade is that they tried for years the ole throw-money-at-the-banks-and-prop-them-up–without-a-true-audit thing , but it wasn’t until they actually “nationalized/receivershipped” (pick a word) , did a true audit, let the really crappy banks fail, and the re-privatize the semi-solid ones, that anything improved.

    And the fact that the Japanese had a huge savings rate didn’t really change that.

    Roubini’s article “We’re all Swedes now” is great in explaining the mistakes the Japanese made (and we may now make, too) and the better choices Sweden makes.

    Krugman’s term “receivership” is more appropriate to what should happen, like the S&L’s.

    I am no economist, like you, admittedly.

    But I’ll play the prediction game, and would love to see your response:

    After all is said and done, Citi goes down.

  80. myiq2xu: yeah, and just when i think its safe to go back into the water again … they’re back !

  81. The wealthy don’t need government to protect them. The poor do.

  82. I’m worried that eviscerating Social Security is exactly what many of O’s supporters really want.

    They’re mostly young or financially well off enough that they don’t see Social Security making up a large part of their retirement, if any. I’ve heard the use of “entitlement” mostly from younger adults and those who identify with them, who are determined that the old folks will not be allowed to live comfortably at what they see as the expense of the younger generations. There’s an attitude that any large fund should be theirs, for their use now, that is impervious to reason.

    I’m afraid the Obots will use the “Dems won’t mess with Social Security” meme right up until the day they do.

  83. Mary: no the huge savings rate didn’t help Japan, but it helped Japanese families survive … that’s what i meant in my previous point, maybe I didn’t make that clear

  84. Ok, dakinikat……I think I misunderstood your point.

    Thanks for responding.

  85. yes, I agree with the receivership idea, take them back in and when they’re ready, privatize them … I was in the S&L industry as a kid when the one I worked for failed madly, I did all the internal numbers for them and they were HUGE. When I finally got all the numbers I needed in a format where you could actually see what happened, the management refused to believe my results –was you’re out of business in 3 – 5 years and only lasting 5 years if the interest rates don’t stay high. They tried to go public. I refused to be a part of that scam. Finally, they were split up and bought up by an insurance company and turned into a bank. I think we’re going to have to go the same route we did in the depression and the 80s. But let me write a post again about Systematic Banking Crises from the IMF. It’s a megastudy and basically tells what worked and didn’t work for japan, sweden, the US during the depression, etc.

    it came out in October 2008, and I wrote briefly about it then, but maybe revisiting it would be worthwhile since this TARP appears to be re-creating the same things I complained about back then

  86. Akk, late as usual. My comment about ssn was meant to follow up on Stateofdisbelief’s at 10:53.

    Y’all are too darn prolific.

  87. My 2nd ex was a mortgage loan supervisor for a local bank. Most of the loans were sold to bigger banks.

    Lots of people made money and homeowners were encouraged to “leverage” their equity and keep refinancing.

    When people got in trouble due to things like illness, lay-offs or divorce they lost their homes but the banks didn’t lose money because rising prices meant they could foreclose and then sell the house to cover the default.

    Then the bubble popped.

  88. I don’t understand why people still say that the financial institutions don’t know what their exposure to the mortgage mess is. They know EXACTLY what it is. Anyone with a mortgage knows EXACTLY what they owe. All this money to the banks hasn’t paid one mortgage. Everyone with a mortgage still owes the full amount. Just like with stocks no bank has a loss until a mortgage defaults or you sell your stock. What we are paying for is the ponzi scheme of the derivitives. I personally don’t like paying for some ones gamble that they lost.

    Simple solution: Let the FED set up a mortgage fund and allow ANYONE with a mortgage to borrow enough money to pay off their existing mortgage and charge a flat 3% rate. This puts more money in peoples pockets, pays the banks so they have no loss and the Gov’t will recoup at least some money ( 3% ) back.

    Will this benefit some that don’t deserve it? Yes. But it would benefit mostly working class and poor more. We have been living with the undeserving ( no one deserves millions in compensation ) benefiting since 1980.

    This is not class warfare. I don’t see why the rich can’t see that they will also go down if the economy collapses. It is in every ones best interest to right the ship.

  89. Poplicola: “The plan am referring to is

    How about this: would you for it if we nationalize some businesses so they don’t get greedy and trample on the rights of the workers? We can so EVERYONE gets enough to eat. We CAN make cars inexpensive and efficient for every worker. We can care for all children, and health care will be free or cheap and very good. And we still keep our democratic system. Who wants to sign up? Do you support a National Socialist Democratic Workers Party, does that sound good?”

    Is this snark or are you building a straw man? I don’t remember anyone calling for nationalization (in exchange for taxpayer dollars) of any businesses besides failing banks. And what’s with the “National Socialist” stuff? We don’t need facism to get workers rights or healthcare.

    I also noticed you quoted that right-wing nutcase Coburn a lot the other day. Just what is your political philosphy anyway?

  90. BTW, mary, N.Y. does require licenses for mortgage brokers,
    since the mid-eighties.

    Also, btw, I deal with a lot of banks, and the nicest one
    to deal with, so far, has been Citibank. So was Indy Mac,
    which is now in receivership.

    Maybe the most people and small business friendly
    banks are the ones that go down first, and are the ones
    that are publicly demonized. Something to think about, that
    most people are not made aware of.

    Another thought, very radical, I know, but do banks have
    to be profit making? Aren’t they serving the public, like
    fire, police depts., like schools. What if none of these
    are private? Keep capitalism for small and medium
    businesses, keep all those that serve the public nationalized.
    Is that bad? For who? Why?

    Gotta go for belated Valentine’s brunch. Less crowded.
    Good discussion, guys, even with disagreements.

  91. They know EXACTLY what it is

    All the shoes haven’t dropped yet.

    They know how much money they have loaned out, and they know how many loans are currently in default.

    They don’t know how many more loans will go into default.

    They don’t know how much they will ultimately lose if (when) they can’t sell the foreclosed properties for the amount owed on them.

  92. Yes, native, I think the banks know exactly what their liabilities are.

    What they’re gambling on, is that without the feds actually auditing, they can claim market rate for those toxic assets, when they’re not really worth market rate anymore.

    They want the taxpayers to pay THEM the full market rate , which is a rip-off for the taxpayers.

    Until the “receivership” does a true audit, we can’t know what the bankers already know.

    And therein lies the game.

    I might mention that these are Geithner’s career buddies, and he was the one who refused to limit their bonuses or “retention awards.”

    Personally, I think the fact that Obama chose him, and that Obama was advised by Rubin and Summers, plus some Chicago economic thugs, speaks volumes about Obama’s loyalties.

    Not to mention that all these BIG BOYS support the campaign coffers of Schumer and Dodd.

    BUT…..until the banks are willing to open their books to get any help, taxpayers won’t have a clue if the new administration is really looking out for their interests. Every dime the banks get in the bailout, provides money for the contributions of the very politicians (from BOTH parties) who oversee them.

    I agree with Roubini and Krugman: receivership, real audits, transparency, taxpayer interests at the forefront.

    Whether we’ll get that or not, depends on whether you believe the 2 political parties are the same, and whether you believe Obama’s “change” mantra was just for the campaign, AND whether you Obama can manage/control his own party’s members to do the right thing.

    Me……I’m not so sure. 🙂

  93. I think the banks know exactly what their liabilities are

    They don’t want to “know” that answer, because then they might be committing fraud.

  94. Thanks for the information re New York, speaktruth. I’ll take them off my “naughty” list. I think it was right after the S&L failure that Texas tightened their regs, too.

    Citigroup is “nice.” Well, ok. But they were right in forefront of de-regulating derivatives, which gave us Enron and subprimes, while they raked in the profits. They got $25 billion from Paulson, and Rubin resigned as CEO. What can I say?

    Back to original point: the 2 states of Florida and California—-where homeowners /subprime frauds are rampant—-were the 2 states that avoided any regulations, cuz the housing bubble, when it was good, gave them higher property taxes.

    Lessons to be learned in comparing the 2 philosophies, I think.

  95. The American taxpayer has to stop being passive about the gods who are punishing them for their imaginary sins. It is time that we stop paying for the mistakes of others.

    Agreed, RD, but absent the news media actually meeting the criteria of fair, balanced, and accurate reporting, we little people are likely headed for financial slaughter in the coming months and years.

    I’m feeling very pessimistic about the likelihood of any effective opposition to Obama and his bankers cabal – not to mention the coming assault on Social Security and Medicare “entitlements” – absent honest media coverage. What is needed is a Walter Cronkite Takes On The Vietnam War moment. But given the corporate big bucks forces now driving our news media, there’s little hope that another Cronkite will emerge, that average Americans will coalesce in any meaningful way.

    Yes, we have Paul Krugman, but he stands practically alone in his battle for fiscal sanity and fairness. Those of us out here who are deeply concerned, however vocal we have been reduced to little islands floating in the Net stream. We are likely to be swept into some very deep, dark, powerful waters, and soon.

    (Maybe BB and I could co-found the Confluence Pessimists Club.)

  96. Dakinikat,

    We’ve got your back. Don’t worry about a few bitter deadenders at the “C” blog and the “A” blog. How many readers do they have anyway? 40? That’s what they all say about us.

  97. The fact that no one read the bill and this has happened many times before with congress is just plain wrong.
    What are we paying them for? If I do not do my job I am fired.
    Maybe one of the first things to be done would be to reorganize Congress. They do not do what they are paid to do now.
    I can not understand why there has to be such a rush to pass bills before they are read. Their job is to legislate , shouldn’t they be made to understand the bill before it is passed?
    Their lack of understanding has hurt this country for years. In my lifetime do you think we will get a congressperson with enough guts to stand up and say “NO the vote must be postponed until the bill is read by all”. Isn’t that what they are paid for?Why not have a rule that it will be 30 or 60 days after a bill is brought to the floor before the vote is held? That way there is no excuse for not reading a bill before it is passed.



  98. Will Rogers:

    “If you think banking ain’t a sucker game, why is your banker the richest man in town? Bank failures break banks but bankers don’t go broke, do they?”

  99. Geithner at G7 conference


    I watched a little bit of Axelrod and Gibbs on the Sunday shows, and I didn’t get the impression they knew WTF they were talking about. It wasn’t reassuring.

  100. D’kat, we not only have your back, we’ve got the front and sides covered, too.

  101. And the head, Kat5–we need her brain!

  102. katiebird,

    I worked and lived in Tokyo for three years during the heart of the lost decade (not finance). What dakinikat says matches my experience. Japan is a much more producer oriented economy. US more consumption oriented. Japanese are net savers by nature, we are the reverse. It is difficult to do an apples to apples comparison. What I recall most from that time is that most people went from being steady savers to being frugal maniacs, and I mean that respectfully. The society however was not in a depression, people went about their lives, there was alot of sharing, people found ways to be cheerful in ways that had little to do with money. Culturally, the Japanese tend to be quite socialist in nature. When people say “lost decade” katiebird, I believe they are mainly referring to the investor class.


    Noted your thoughts on Krugman’s point about receivership. And as you said and I believe dakinikat affirmed, the rub is taking public ownership of these private toxic assets having no sense of their potential market valuation. I could be wrong, but that particular problem did not exist with the S&L bailout and was not apparent with the Japanese bank crisis in the 90s. The Japanese banks climbed out of their mess after ten years, not necessarily because they saw the light or bit the bullet on receivership. The ones that survived climbed out of their hole because the global economy began booming in the late 90s, plus Japanese retail investors starting moving their considerable savings from their postal savings accounts into investable sectors of the economy. We are unfortunately at the bust, not boom, end of that cycle. And the Fed and Treasury are trying to figure out how to avoid a ten year bust. If we keep the toxic stuff at the banks, that’s turning Japanese. If we completely nationalize the nasty stuff, it will probably eat away at the government and Fed’s balance sheet for decades. If we face up to reality and go fix housing, it will be painful for everyone up and down the value chain, but just maybe we might be able to escape with one of those sharp V recessions that dakinikat showed us last week.

  103. myiq and others:

    Sorry I can’t stay and flesh out my earlier points, off to work I go.
    if another similar thread opens I hope to be able to stay and add to the discussion in more detail.

    Thanks for this forum you provide RD.

  104. Well, RD & Co. I think poplicola has a point, above. Ages ago now, when RD began the Conf. I remember a distinct red flag she and I both jumped on. It had to do with something that happened up in Montana — a certain attempt on the part of someone to call bloggers liars, no? And that no one should ever listen to them.

    Well — that was an interesting form of censorship wafting our way. I think it was then, when Hillary was still in the running — and RD said “walk it back” — that I bought a book by Jonah Goldberg who writes edits for LAT called “Liberal Fascism” — I didn’t read the whole thing then — because I didn’t like the fact that Clinton was in it — because I liked the era of the Clintons myself — but, the book ends on O — so?

    One thing we saw was the marketing, right off the bat. Quite a game and not unlike the 30’s elsewhere. The concept of “bundling sticks” is how fascism starts — and Axelstein was very good at doing that — wasn’t he? It’s all in retrospect now of course as we look back at the alignment under that easily personalized logo…by so many…using the web and the twitters and tweets and so forth. It was glossy, no?
    Supra-glossy! And nobody at age 30 knows anything about Mussolini et al — hell we hardly do, do we?

    This marketing was a first though. He flooded the web and the G really helped him do that. Something called a bubble sort?
    They did. Bubbly. Each person got to personalize their own little logo — so it became about the logo, didn’t it?

    It did. The logo even transcended the man.

    That happened once before. But it is a definite first here.

    Meanwhile, faux seals were made and a giant flying logo went overseas — much to Germany’s disdain. Well…? Could Europe know more than us — yes. It’s their history — not ours.

    Here is London with a review of that book of Goldberg’s:


    Here is another view from these guys — I figure we can learn from the non-democrats? At least listen to them at this point — post Hillary — and what we saw happen.


    He is using the F word in the sense poplicola means and talking about business and the deals:

    “…There’s a element of truth to the basic theme (although not to the headline): the state is getting more and more deeply involved in business, even taking controlling interests in some private companies. And the state is even trying to “make policy” for private companies they do not control, but merely “help” with “infusions of capital,” as in the recent call for salary caps for certain CEOs. So state power is growing at the expense of corporations….”

    “…Second, not one person in a thousand knows what fascist political economy was. Yet during the great economic crisis of the 1930s, fascism was widely regarded as a possible solution, indeed as the only acceptable solution to a spasm that had shaken the entire First World, and beyond. It was hailed as a “third way” between two failed systems (communism and capitalism), retaining the best of each. Private property was preserved, as the role of the state was expanded. This was necessary because the Great Depression was defined as a crisis “of the system,” not just a glitch “in the system.” And so Mussolini created the “Corporate State,” in which, in theory at least, the big national enterprises were entrusted to state ownership (or substantial state ownership) and of course state management. Some of the big “Corporations” lasted a very long time; indeed some have only very recently been privatized, and the state still holds important chunks–so-called “golden shares”–in some of them…”

    This last is off WashPo:

    On the gifts that were part of the big “stimulus” — one reason i like Grassley is because of what he said at the end of this piece — he seems honest and I have already seen him fight corruption before —

    This article is quite the surprise, you guys…


    “…Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, railed against a provision that he said would undermine the independence of watchdog agencies within the government. The bill sets up a new panel, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which has the authority to request “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.”

    “Any new limitation on the independence of inspectors general is dangerous,” Grassley said…”

    I like Grassley because of what he has done for things ethical and psychiatry… He goes after the bad guys? And corrupt things…

    I don’t mind if he is a Republican. Once we lost Hillary, and the way it was DONE (before our very eyes) — the Dem Party did split in half.
    Smart Dems, such as those in the PUMAtribe will have to educate younger Dems who needed a round pacifier.

    Unfortunately the proletariat here isn’t too bright — stoned as it is most of the time on the same meds Grassley is fighting…
    The logo acted just like a balm to that part of the proles, didn’t it?
    So did those arty “street pastors” except — when the real pastors started coming aboard…

    And then? All the target demographics realized “oh no” — he didn’t mean what he promised…

    This will be his undoing, I bet. In the public eye — when he can’t keep the promises he made to all those groups…
    The Dems who saw through him aren’t Republicans — they are Dems from the tail end Boom looking at one of their own and being left with a whole lot of question marks.

    Goldberg was one of the first to write an edit on that censorship deal as well — the same one RD and I saw up Montana way.
    So long ago now. Here is another one of his — looking at “The Democratic Brand” — as well as “The Republican Brand” — via scandals…


    The way I see it, this last year was the most corrupt thing I have ever seen. Somebody at age 30 is going to be like “we won!” OMG let’s tweet it, dude!

    But the PUMAtribe?

    We are just watching, aren’t we?

    We are.

    They aren’t smart enough, RD. To see what happened as a result of target marketing on Axelstein’s part.
    I’m sure the Republican party is going to catch every wrong deal on Social Sec, or the Census and so forth — so, I have no probs looking at them and what they are writing. I feel totally without a political party after 20+ years — like a lot of us.

    Just, who is the honest politician right now?

    Assuming their is such an animal.

  105. Moyers (and a lot of Obots) just couldn’t get beyond Obama’s skin color. Electing a black man would (somehow) undo hundreds of years of American racism (and relieve decades of white liberal guilt over that racism) and combined with a little (or not so little) CDS that was enough for them to ignore the obvious (to us) reality of what Obama was and wasn’t.

  106. (popping in from lurking to say hi to all..it is great to see indigogrrl. now, back to reading this meaty thread. I have way too much catching up to do)

    my intial thoughts:

    -haven’t seen too much alarm yet from the obot voters myself.
    -is creating a viable third party really impossible?

    from prolix: “It is amazing that it took BZero so little time to start using Dubya’s term of “all the hard work it takes.” Any bets how long it will take before we hear, “History will be the judge of our success…”

    Prolix, it doesn’t amaze me at all. How are earth do we get through this time?

  107. Here’s a picture-book version of the story:

  108. prolix-all the hard work it takes

    The guy never worked a day in his life.

  109. vbonnaire

    “…Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, railed against a provision that he said would undermine the independence of watchdog agencies within the government. The bill sets up a new panel, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which has the authority to request “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.”

    “Any new limitation on the independence of inspectors general is dangerous,” Grassley said…”

    authority to request that an inspector refrain from doing his work? WTF

  110. I have a big problem taking seriously citing republican hypocrites like Goldberg, economists like Hayek (Margaret Thatcher’s idol), and seemingly reasonable republicans like Grassley.

    I don’t know what poplicola and vbonnaire are up to except inducing knee-jerk reactions with selective quotes from far-right figures and outright disinformation.

    I also think we should be looking beyond what Grassley says before reacting. I believe this is what he is referring to:


    (a) Independent Authority- Nothing in this subtitle shall affect the independent authority of an inspector general to determine whether to conduct an audit or investigation of covered funds.

    (b) Requests by Board- If the Board requests that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation and the inspector general rejects the request in whole or in part, the inspector general shall, not later than 30 days after rejecting the request, submit a report to the Board, the head of the applicable agency, and the congressional committees of jurisdiction, including the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives. The report shall state the reasons that the inspector general has rejected the request in whole or in part.

    from HR1, Section 1516


    If we want to join forces with Corrente, truthiness has got to go.

  111. This will be in the top ten when RD’s Greatest Hits comes out.

  112. popli — well, ……………….. that is quite the little book…

    laurie, that is what I like about Grassley — he calls it…

    It’s so hard to be a Dem, who is no longer a Dem, because the dems are no longer Dems and we don’t know who the Repubs really are yet?

    I’m sticking with Grassley, myself! He’ll call it. I think McC will too — on “wrongs” — somebody has to — and if PLENTY of others see what is in popli’s little book — they’ll get it, too.



    Best to leave him for the Republicans……to deal with.

    I don’t know what I would have done without the Conf and Uppity this last year — RD & Uppity.

    Two of the MOST HONEST voices in PRINT! DEMS!
    DEMS we can believe in.

    From now on — the most honest politician wins.
    People like Grassley, and I don’t know all of his history but I will follow the deeds as he does them.

    Oh popicola.


  113. hey joaniebone!

    got your voice mail message but have been incredibly busy (say yay! I’m not sure why and I’m not asking) and working nights and weekends

    email me…I have lost yours ~ I want to catch up.

  114. nene?

    I’m a dem, in exile — who reads all kinds of people.


    don’t know you — but are you the OBOT kind?

    If so?


    I’ll read sources as I see fit — on all sides, kiddo.

    So who are you nene?

    And ummm, I read Corrente for awhile — but?
    RD’s writers are more my style……

    the gardening was fun though — Lambert.

  115. Liberal blog commenters are definitely waking up.

  116. Nope. I voted for Hillary in the primary; cast a protest vote in the general.

    My politics are most closely matched with Bernie Sanders. I guess you could say I’m a social democrat, of the scandinavian type.

    The sources you cite are people who are no friends to the goals of social or economic justice.

  117. Hi: Sorry i disappeared but I put a huge thread up on the banking crisis with some discussion of the nationalization issue …

  118. The sources you cite are people who are no friends to the goals of social or economic justice.

    The left doesn’t have a monopoly on truth, and not all hypocrites are on the right.

  119. If we want to join forces with Corrente, truthiness has got to go

    Truthiness is a buzzword meaning “I don’t agree with you but I can’t explain why”

  120. Re: Obie wanting his hands on Soc. Sec.

    Over at the blog with the mighty bldg. there was a post on S.S. and link to an article which stated S.S., left alone as is, is in good shape for the next 40 years.

    I commented that if Obie wanted to do anything with it, then raise the ceiling on income subject to S.S. withholding. I also said I hoped that when he got ready to fu play around with S.S. that the 40 year quote would start making the headlines.

  121. Myiq:

    I never said the left has a monopoly on truth or were free of hypocrisy. But let me ask you this: Do you think Jonah Goldberg, Hayek, or Grassley have something valuable to offer? Do you think quoting Grassley without looking at what’s he’s complaining about about or offering any kind of evidence or link is a good thing? I don’t.

  122. Do you think Jonah Goldberg, Hayek, or Grassley have something valuable to offer?

    I’m not saying they do, but should we categorically reject everything someone on the right says just because they are on the right?

  123. That’s how we ended up with Obama – people assumed that he was a progressive just because he is a Democrat.

  124. Interesting post, thanks vbonnaire. Myiq, right on.

    Nene I’ll be happy to debate if you can bring a substantive argument beyond ad hominem attacks.

  125. nene -I’m afraid your link to the Library of Congress doesn’t work.

    Anyway another problem with the new provisions of The American Recovery Act and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which the blurb back in January told us was going to include a RAAT Board AND whistleblower protection at a local and State level forthose who report fraud andabuse :

    .A Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board will be created to review management of recovery dollars and provide early warning of problems. The seven member board includes Inspectors General and Deputy Cabinet secretaries.
    • The Government Accountability Office and the Inspectors General are provided additional funding and access for special review of recovery funding.
    • State and local whistleblowers who report fraud and abuse are protected.

    has now been changed. The Senate passed version of the legislation does not include the whistleblower protection provision that was included in the House passed version.


  126. I’ve read Hayek and his theory that any government regulation leads inevitably to “serfdom” is simplistic and wrong.

    I coined the phrase “The Goldberg Principle” (You can prove any thesis to be true if you make up your own definitions of words) in response to Liberal Fascism when I was still at Balloon Juice.

    I know who Grassley is but don’t have a clue what he said.

    But I think it’s intellectually lazy to slap a label on people and use that label to determine whether what they say is right or wrong. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.

    Besides, reading and analyzing both sides sharpens your arguments and helps to define your beliefs.

  127. Who’s “Axelstein?”

  128. Nene,

    I’m ummm, out of patience like most of the Dems are after this last year.

    I agree with RD’s writers and commentators every day — and I have been following this blog since day1.

    When Dems are worried about what the Democratic party is up to?

    That’s historical.

    These deals being made to favor corporate interests?


    poplicola’s point and mine come from a Historical perspective on all of this — we see the parallels — so do others, with times past.

    We aren’t looking at Dems as we know Dems, right now.

    We are trying to figure out what happened, or is happening, day by day as it rolls.

    I watched O blame the war on Hillary and McC. Will he have a draft soon? For WWlll — ? With Pelosi’s actions so far?
    These aren’t Dems.

    That has been the problem.

    Or maybe Chicago Dems are different from East/West Coast Dems?

    Republican criticism is a good thing. To learn from. They will also spot ANYTHING WRONG right away. The things I reffed are things this blog has looked at — and is looking at.

    There are specialists on this blog — professionals from all fields — zillions from O’s gen.

    All of us aligned under one thing — a pawprint…..
    That happened sometime last year.

    As I recall.

  129. I saw it here first…. but?

    Axel + FRANKENSTEIN = Axelstein

    it’s all about how astroturf creates monstrous things?

  130. (((((((vbonnaire)))))

    tell them where to get off.

  131. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{CONFLUENCE}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}!


  132. I had to leave for a while. I’m back.

    I’ve been reading since day one, too. There are loads of smart people commenting here. That’s why i read it every day, though I rarely comment because it’s too hard to keep up, what with everything that is out there.

    I’ve also witnessed history and politics for decades as I’m a mid-boomer.

    And I honestly cannot find the value in quoting republican after republican in the context of economic recovery after the last eight years. You asked me if I was an obot, which is interesting, as he is the one who wants to make nice with the republicans, not me.

    I do not understand why one would go to the right for support of one’s arguments against this bill. It’s not a great bill, it’s not adequate. The repubs wanted to load it up with “tax break for upper-middle-income taxpayers, at a two-year cost of $70 billion. It was advanced by Sen. Chuck Grassley” It sure looks to me like he’s not advancing any social or economic justice.

    Jonah Goldberg can create all the little lists of “look, they have scandals, too”, but to go back 40 years, as he did, I think it would be safe to say that a comprehensive list would look quite different from the one in his article. What was his point and why was it relevant to the discussion here?

    I don’t have a problem reading about what Repubs do or follow. I just don’t get the relevance of these references. Democrats, whether in exile or not, have always found enough ways to disagree, without citing republicans in an approving way, especially some really obnoxious ones, like Goldberg, Coburn, and, yeah, in the end, even Grassley.

    I don’t get it.


  133. agree that having preapproved reading lists is a risky path. and what’s with this, you can’t make a point unless you cite someone else. my citation is bigger than yours. my source has a longer cv. isn’t that how we fall into the same tired old grooves. research does not mean following instructions. it means gathering information so you can apply your own reasoning and judgement on the matter. if we can’t think for ourselves, why think at all. it’s dangerous to confuse the process of forming an opinion with the process of forming a consensus. on the latter, tc is rd’s blog.

    i prefer axelrove to axelstein, the derivation is clearer

  134. I don’t get it

    We only censor trolls and abusive comments. But feel free to disagree with anyone.

  135. Riverdaughter – busy today, so just read your commentary. I saw most of Bill Moyers last week, but missed the other night. Thought the same thing with the media critics: hope the veneer has finally cracked. Also seem to recall Moyers saying something like liberals need to hold the Obama Admin.’s “feet to the fire” to uphold promises he made in the campaign. (Note: Did Mr. Moyers ever stops to count up BHO’s flip-flops during the campaign, and since? But we digress…)

    Your conclusion of the banking industry buy-in with the Obama Administration, so to speak, makes good sense. Throw is Soros, Oprah, whoever has the $.

    I’m frustrated too, and reminded of the movie, “Network”, when the Peter Finch character got in front of the camera and encouraged people to say, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Whether we shout it out the windows, on the streets or via the Internet, we need to tell the power-brokers that be we’ve been supporting their greed and paying for their mistakes long enough.

  136. What happened to the comment from silverlakemom?
    I agree with her. I know it’s too ugly to even contemplate,
    especially here, but I think it should be addressed. By
    banning that name.
    It’s very offensive, and people here aren’t about that.

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