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      One of the great crimes and tragedies of our world is how we treat the animals we eat (or whose milk or eggs or other products we eat and use.) Factory farming keeps them in tiny enclosures, feeds them monotonous foods, and then when they’re slaughtered it’s a terrible experience: they’re terrified and die in […]
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President Re-Election Does the Vision Thing: A Play in One Utopian Act.

No, You Cannot. Have a Nice Day!

No, You Cannot. Have a Nice Day!

THE SCENE: A five-star hotel suite somewhere in America. (What – you thought he’d actually be at home, doing his job?) PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA and FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA are sitting at a linen-covered table set with heavy silverware and a pink rosebud in a crystal jar, sipping coffee and discussing the challenges and benefits of Presidenting. A four-poster bed can be seen slightly behind and to the left of where the Obamas are sitting.

MICHELLE: Well, I think things are going great, Barack. You haven’t had a Cabinet appointment scandal in a couple of days, and everyone seems to be getting used to the whole idea of spending hundreds of billions to fix Bush’s mess. Plus, your speeches are still killing!

OBAMA: Yeah, and I have all this cool stuff that shows I’m the President! Air Force One. A nifty jacket. The White House. Man, this job rules! But there’s one thing that’s getting me down.

MICHELLE: Listen, Barack, if it’s that whole smoking in the house thing again, I TOLD you –

OBAMA: Nah, nah, it’s not about that. This is something even MORE serious. (standing up and pacing) People are accusing me of thinking small on health care just because my entire plan consists of computerizing medical records! I mean, what do they want, single-payer health care or something? I never, EVER said I was going to do anything like that!

MICHELLE (watching him, sighing sympathetically): Yeah, honey, I know. Where do they get these stupid ideas about you?

OBAMA (lying on the bed, hands behind his head): I honestly don’t know. Maybe Axelrod told some of his operatives to spread that nonsense – I just gave up on keeping track of all the things he was promising my fans in the blogosphere. (pats the space next to him on the bed to indicate MICHELLE should come lie down beside him)

MICHELLE (crossing to the bed and lying down): So, is that it? You’re catching flack from a bunch of keyboard commandos over health care? Sounds pretty small-time to me. (suddenly worried) Unless – the health insurance companies aren’t threatening to withhold funding for 2012, are they?

OBAMA (laughing): Of course not! No worries there. They couldn’t be happier that I won. (sobering up) No, the real problem is that I’m being accused of not having a vision for this country. Can you believe that? Don’t they know that this medical records idea is just a small step along the way to a better, brighter, more efficient O-merica? Here, let me show you my vision…

(The stage goes dark. When the lights come up, the scene is the inside of an O-Mart. It’s a vast megastore that dwarfs its luckless progenitor, K-Mart. We see pictures of The One everywhere, of course, and signs are hanging from the ceiling, helpfully pointing the way to: GROCERIES/CLOTHING/RESTAURANTS/CASINO/COMMUNITY COLLEGE/PHARMACY/MEDICAL CLINIC/FUNERAL PARLOR. JOE and JANE O-MERICA enter stage right, gawking at the enormity of the affair.)

JOE: Wow! My cousin Bob told me this place was huge, but I had no idea it would be like this!

JANE: This is incredible! Is – is that a moving sidewalk to get people from one section of the store to the other?

JOE (proudly): Yup! And it’s entirely solar-powered. I hear that it’s already 50% renewable, and in five years, will be totally environmentally sustainable!

JANE: I gotta say, I was kinda skeptical about President Obama, but I have to admit that this is really impressive. What should we do first?

(Slight pause while their choices overwhelm them.)

JOE: Hey – how about a cup of coffee and a brownie?

JANE: Yeah – I could use a little energy. Plus, you should never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach!

JOE: Let’s use the people mover!

(They step onto the people mover and soon arrive at the coffee shop, where they disembark. It is called – of course – CUP O JOE, with the “O” being the Obama for America logo.)

(A charming young barista steps up to the register. She is wearing red, blue and white with the O logo showing prominently on a baseball cap perched atop her perky ponytail.)

BARISTA (smiling brightly): Hello, and welcome to Cup (pointing to the “O” on her cap) “O” Joe. What can I get you?

JOE: Ummmm….let’s see. (looking at the menu and prices, whispering to JANE) Everything’s kind of expensive, huh?

JANE: Oh my God. $7.50 for a cup of coffee? And what’s with these sizes? “Broke,” “Employed,” “Elite,” or “FOO?”

(The BARISTA rolls her eyes, having heard it before)

BARISTA: Sir, are you going to purchase an item or not? 

JOE: Miss, I’m just curious. What does “FOO” mean?

BARISTA (patronizingly): “FOO” is Friend of Obama. Believe me; if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

JANE: I think we should just go, Joe. I don’t like this one bit.

JOE (stubbornly): No, no, I want a cup of coffee and a brownie! Miss, can you get that for me? Make that two coffees in “Employed” sizes.

BARISTA (smiling charmingly again): Of course, sir!

(She enters the order on her terminal, and it appears on an LCD screen behind her as: COFFEES: 2, BROWNIE: 1.)

Please swipe your card – we do not accept cash, thank you.

(JOE swipes his card. A red light starts blinking above the word “BROWNIE” behind her.)

BARISTA: Oh, I’m sorry, sir, you’ve been “red-lighted.” (looking at her terminal) I see that your family has a history of diabetes and heart disease, so I can’t sell you that brownie. (smiling brightly again) But you can still have the coffees!

JOE (stunned): How – how did you know that about my family?

BARISTA (going into sales pitch): Don’t worry, Mr. O-merica! It’s all part of the President’s plan for affordable health care for all Americans. No one should be a burden on society, and it’s not fair that people who have tendencies towards long, expensive illnesses should be allowed to eat and drink things that will aggravate their condition. Why should someone who is healthy have to pay for your irresponsible behavior? That’s why we computerized everyone’s medical records and put them in a national database – to make it easy for our government to look out for the O-merican People’s best interests!

JANE: Oh. My. God. (grabbing the coffees) Joe, let’s get out of here.

JOE (shaken): Yeah. Let’s.

(They get on the people mover, somewhat dazed.)

JANE (pointing through the fourth wall into the audience): Look – they’re “red-lighting” that woman for trying to buy a refrigerator! What does it say?

JOE (squinting): “Debt-to-income ratio incorrect?” Wow, that’s hard-core! (pointing again) Oh no! That man just keeled over by the frozen peas!

(A voice over the loudspeaker is heard.)

VOICE: Cleanup on Aisle 13!

JANE: CLEANUP?! I’m going to give these people a piece of my mind. How DARE they refer to a human being that way?

JOE: Oh, crap. Here we go.

(They disembark from the people mover. An O-Mart employee enters backwards from stage left, carelessly dragging an unconscious old man on the floor by one arm. He is wearing the same uniform as the barista, and his nametag reads “John.” JANE steps forward to confront him.)

JANE: Excuse me. Just what are you doing with that poor old man? And how dare you people refer to him as “cleanup!”

JOHN (dismissively): Don’t get your panties in a wad, honey. I’ll have you know this guy is a hopeless case – diagnosed with terminal cancer. He’s lived a full life and to care for him now would only be taking money out of the taxpayers’ pockets and throwing it away on someone who won’t live to appreciate it. In other words, he’s dead meat. (looking around) Where’s that damn cart? I can’t drag this fucking guy all the way to the funeral parlor!

(An OMart cart appears, driven by another employee wearing the typical OMart uniform.)

JOHN: Finally! Jesus Christ, Frank. The customers are getting edgy here! Let’s load him up.

(FRANK and JOHN pop the opaque glass top on the cart, which opens to reveal a stack of bodies. All are older men and women. Some are stirring and moaning.)

WOMAN (feebly): I’m not dead yet!

FRANK: You will be, meat, so shut yer trap. You’re lucky we let you drain our wallets for as long as we did!

(FRANK and JOHN unceremoniously dump the old man on top of the pile, then close the top and drive off.)

JOE (with shocked realization): What the hell have we done?

(Both O-MERICAS pause and consider their options.)

JANE (making a decision): Come on, honey. I’ve got a friend in Canada. It’s time to, how shall I put it? “Stop burdening the state with our very existence.”

(JOE and JANE run desperately out of the store the way they came. The stage goes dark, and we are back in the hotel room with the OBAMAs, who are now cuddled together, MICHELLE’s head on BARACK’s chest.)

MICHELLE (wiping tears from her eyes): That was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. I – I’m in awe. I especially loved how the people who wouldn’t get with the program were kicked out of the country. Good riddance to those lazy assholes! Ohhhh, everything was so efficient and streamlined – and environmentally sound, too. Barack, you are just brilliant!

BARACK (basking): I know, baby, I know. I can’t wait till it all comes true. The American people will love me so much, I’ll be President for life! (turning towards MICHELLE, putting his arms around her) And speaking of brilliant ideas…

(As they go to kiss each other: LIGHTS OUT.)

140 Responses

  1. […] at The Confluence and Partizane Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Welcome to Barackracy! A Play in […]

  2. That’s the scariest thing I ever read.
    Great work, MadamaB, but scary as sh*t.

  3. I’m totally creeped out for the day. We are already in Omerica.

  4. OHMG madamab! excellent. and very scary.
    😈

  5. I had to stop reading at:

    (crossing to the bed and lying down)

    I was afraid to go any farther.

  6. My brain is a scary place! I just can’t help seeing all these connections and possibilities.

    (cue scary theremin music)

  7. Oh, myiq, you silly thing! You know I don’t work “blue.”

    😉

  8. myiq

    it’s a pg 13 thread. Mildly violent but no frontal nudity.

  9. Hmmm. It’s past the end of the hour and I still have an account at MyDD

  10. myiq go back to previous thread i flashed CL..

  11. catarina – I saw that! 👿

    Oh, the stories I could tell about that freak. Suffice it to say he is a hysterical, pompous d*ckwad who really REALLY hates women.

  12. myiq go back to previous thread i flashed CL

    That’s not a flash – this is:

    (o)(o)

  13. Catarina’s were old and droopy. Even scarier to a misogynist like CL!

  14. Catarina’s were old and droopy

    That was a waste of good coffee

  15. hey mad, I was trying to be realisitic. Should Ileave for Canada now while there’s still time?

    myiq that would have been 30 years ago..

  16. Awww. Didja miss me Myiq?

    😉

  17. At first the O mart reminded me of the costco in Idiocracy (the one guy went to law schoo there) then you went all Logan’s Run on me….good stuff, but scary….

  18. hee – thanks, Gary!

    It’s sooooo great to see you back here. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. thanks madamab, hows the new digs?

  20. teh awesome! 🙂 Really, it’s such a huge difference.

    The boxes are still piled up, thought. Too many books and opera scores! LOL Hopefully this weekend we will be able to finish up.

  21. madamab: I was just thinking “Bring out yer dead!” when I got to this line:
    WOMAN (feebly): I’m not dead yet!

    I love your wicked sense of humor but this play really is creepy. “Red-lighting” sounds like something Axelrove and Obama really would come up with.

  22. myiq

    you sound almost diappointed. 😉

  23. ugh disappointed

  24. Did meanchelle buy a huge mirror for their living quarters at Crate and Barrel? They do need that so they can both face it when they say….mirror..mirror on the wall.

  25. *reluctantly puts bra back on*

    betty you are a screaming riot.
    still running in 2012?

  26. Betty – Heh. I almost put a bit about mirrors in there – they would have celebrated Obama’s awesomeness by pulling out hand mirrors, smiling into them, then putting them away – but I knew it was going to be a long play already. LOL

  27. Obama’s approval rating stands at 67 percent in the new poll. That’s down 9 percentage points from the most recent CNN poll, which was conducted in early February

    And I bet that is about 10 points off in his favor, considering that in the RCP averages CNN consistently gives him 10 pts higher than other polls. Who wants to start a pool here to guess the date that he drops below 50 🙂

  28. Wow Futurama!!!! kewl Madamab!!!

  29. Catarina:

    You’re trying to get me in trouble again

  30. market is down almost 200

  31. Kat – didn’t you say that if the market went lower than 8200 it was, like, really really bad?

    Last I saw it was 7700 or so.

  32. Obama Administration Shoots Down LaHood Mileage Tax Idea
    Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood floated the idea to tax motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    arent the people O picked just brilliant, we have the dumbest President from the dem’s ticket ever and his wife went to that department today, I hope she didnt say our roads will be Skrong with President O in charge, lord, we have some low IQ’s being led by even lower IQ’s

  33. Who wants to start a pool here to guess the date that he drops below 50

    Do you think next Thursday is too soon?

  34. if they polled honestly, he’d be below 50 IMHO

  35. Listen, the fact that they are polling this guy ALREADY is simply ridiculous.

    They’re pushing that “Dear Leader” narrative as hard as they possibly can. It’s not working though. It’s so obvious that he couldn’t lead a dehydrated horse to water.

  36. Dak — could you expand on this:

    Roubini is making the same arguments Marx made during the the industrial revolution and Lenin made about banking during the gilded age.

    Because I think, after 40+ years of relentless anti-Communist rhetoric in this country, most people can’t really separate out Marx (mostly a theoretician) from Lenin (mostly a political activist and a demogog) from the implementation of either’s ideas (Soviet economy and society), which is not the same thing at all.

    Marx’ central idea, that workers should be able to control the value of their own labor, rather than be at the mercy of huge corporate interests seeking to exploit it, is quite a good one. However, (and this is an extreme summary), the implementation (Soviet society) did little to actualize the idea. Roubini is, as I understand, a generally well-respected economist, and to put out the Marx/Lenin comparisons out there in such brief form struck me as not quite fair — are you saying Roubini’s wrong? wacked? a class revolutionary? on our side? (since most of us are distinctly in the ‘worker’ class)?

    (Btw, I lived in the Soviet Union for a summer on academic exchange in college, so I’ve had up close and personal experience with the implementation; it’s not a model I’d ever recommend; but I try to separate out the ideals from the instantiation of them)

    Sorry, I know this was just one comment downstairs, but since I read Roubini with interest, I’d be really interested in more detail, if you have time to expand (and correct me if I read your comment wrong)

  37. If he keeps running his mouth, and let’s HOlder and Biden keep running his, i hope he freaking drops below the radar, well, except for the 13 % that we know wont ever give him low ratings

  38. WTF????

    Racial prejudice among whites decreased following Barack Obama’s groundbreaking presidential candidacy, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Florida State psychology professors.

    The research showed that following Obama’s nomination as the first black presidential candidate of a major political party, 51 percent of the participants showed knee-jerk preferences for whites, a decrease in bias from previous years.

    I thought that was some internet “are you racist test” bs. they really think that is for real?

    and even if it was a decrease, how do they know it is attributable to Obama????

    “Barack Obama was a very positive, very counter-stereotypic African-American man, constantly in the news, very salient,” Plant said

    …wait, isn’t that kind of racist?

  39. “They” already collect a lot of information on us. Between Facebook, Amazon, credit cards and all the shopping cards we have to use to buy stuff on “sale”, “they” essentially know who are friends are, what we read, what our hobbies are, what medications we buy and what food we eat.

    I happen to have relatives in Canada, and none of them have ever had problems with obtaining medical care or being denied certain procedures (and one had at least two, possibly three bi-passes, while others have had high risk pregnancies). So, I’ve never really bought into the whole scare tactics about rationed medical care (although I also know that Canada had some problems in the past maintaining enough doctors … many of them used to come to the U.S. to make more money … and I’m sure their health programs have had their share of problems).

    However, I recently read an article about certain medications that aren’t readily prescribable in the U.K., and was troubled that they didn’t allow for expensive osteoporosis medications to be given to elderly patients that don’t meet some type of cost benefit analysis (and the government hasn’t been willing to share the formula they use to determine if someone is eligible). I believe osteoporosis tends to be more common for women, and considering the long life expectancies of women, I found it troubling they wouldn’t treat bone thinning. A single hip fracture can often prove to be deadly for older patients. (And, I don’t want some government employee out there figuring out just how much money social security and medicare/medicaid could save if the long life expectancies for women could be shortened.)

    It does seem as though we all need to speak out now to ensure that we don’t end up giving away all of our privacy and that our government doesn’t turn itself into big brother.

  40. Gary, if O’s approval rating continues to drop by about 9 points every 2 weeks, then it should hit 50 in less than a month. Pretty funny, if it weren’t so f*ng pathetic.

  41. Gary:

    For that study to be valid, wouldn’t it have to be a longitudinal study of the same people before and after?

  42. Madamab,

    Brava, brava — just mark me down as a “Foo Fighter.”

  43. OT:

    Somerby on fiyah!

    http://dailyhowler.com/dh022009.shtml

    Sarah Palin opposes legal abortion; we don’t. What kind of “progressive” can’t argue this point without instantly churning a rude gender insult? Without offering the world’s most truncated “quote?” Without the clowning Olbermann staged as he ran him some rubes Tuesday night? We don’t use that language ourselves. But it told you where Flanders hoped you would go as she insulted the deeply vile Palin. We don’t know why Flanders would want to go there. But it shouldn’t be done on TV.

    Woo baby. Though I get the feeling Bob would like to go much further with his critique. **cough** Atrios!!!!**cough**

  44. Got an email yesterday from a complete obot saying the DHS wanted us all to have chips implanted “for our safety”. Is that true??

  45. Well, I got a dose of Obama’s vision today, and I hope it is OK to share it here. Three years ago, my best friend killed herself. She was a monument manager for the Bureau of Land Management in California. Her case was written about in the LATimes and other papers. She was a target of workplace bullying, from her field office supervisor, now BLM’s science coordinator in DC, to the head of California BLM, Mike Pool. I just found out that Mike Pool has been elevated to acting director of BLM in D.C. The Dept. of Interior under Bush/Cheney operated a “culture of fear” (Internal DOI report language) and it is obviously going to continue under Obama. I know this is a little off the topic, but I can’t tell you how this hit me. See http://carrisa.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/politics-as-usual-a-yes-man-advanced-to-head-blm/

    It is a personal blow. I understand that I should never have held out any hope that even Interior might get a little better. It is hard to give up a lifetime of believing in the Dems as liberals, but I am now thoroughly persuaded that only a new party or a take-over of something like the Green Party by liberal Pumas will ever be enough to justify my voting again.

  46. Got an email yesterday from a complete obot saying the DHS wanted us all to have chips implanted “for our safety”. Is that true??

    It’s the MARK OF THE BEAST!!!!!

  47. I am SO TIRED of Obama’s people lecturing me about how I’m lazy and irresponsible and r*cist. Eric Holder pointed his stupid finger at me and said I’m a coward because I supposedly don’t talk about r*cism.

    You know what, Eric Holder and Barack Obama and all your like-minded brethren and sistren?

    F*CK YOU. F*ck you and your benighted emotional blackmail and refusal to accept responsibility for your own life. F*ck you for reaching a high height and then pissing down on the people who got you there. F*ck you for being a spoiled, entitled assh0le who wouldn’t know REAL r*cism if it hit him in the head.

    Slavery ended in 1865. Institutionalized r*cism is a big problem in America, but yelling at the American people won’t change a g*ddamn thing. The Obama Administration needs to do something to help make that type of r*cism a thing of the past.

    And if they won’t do anything, they need to shut their f*cking mouths.

  48. madamab, I wonder if he chided Obama and the dems about their cowardly stance on misogyny and homophobia. they can all bite me.

  49. Nancy – yes, I think it’s true. I have a friend who works for Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield who was touting this idea over a year ago. The benign applications of it are interesting – if you have allergies to medication or foods, then if you are in an accident and there’s no one around who knows you, the hospital won’t accidentally harm you instead of helping.

    The non-benign applications are terrifying, however.

    Chimera – I’m so sorry. 😦

  50. Gary – as usual, nail on the head.

    The Obama people are the worst group of myopic bigots I’ve ever seen.

  51. I’m sorry, nobody is putting a chip in my body unless they properly abduct me and give me a tour of the mothership…

  52. When I checked into getting my dog chipped a couple of years ago, my vet said that whenever you introduce something foreign into the body, there is always a chance it could be harmful. He felt that there hadn’t been enough research yet to determine if there could be possible negative side effects such as cancer.

  53. madamab! amazing! Are you collecting these ?
    They are a history in themselves

    chimera, on February 20th, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Sorry about your friend… it must be like watching her tormentors get promoted…hell it’s not like it, that’s just what it is. You got an up close and personal lesson on just how seamless Bush and Obama really are….there isn’t a Dem or GOP distinction anymore It’s now along top and bottom/ elite /working class lines

  54. This is teh funny:

    The Huffington Post has learned that the below video has been doctored. We regret the error and apologize to Mr. Gibson. John Gibson never compared Eric Holder to a monkey with a bright blue scrotum.

  55. madamab

    Its hovering between 7200 and 7300. I feel like one of those gawkers who is looking at fatal wreckage. I keep wondering when it bottoms out.

  56. chimera – I can’t tell you how sorry I am about your friend.

    It is extremely demoralizing to be the subject of workplace bullying and it is very real. If a group is dysfunctional, they will eject the person who does not go along with the dysfunction. If a number of people are involved, it is called ‘mobbing’. It is recognized in Europe, but not here.

    I was subject to a workplace bully and could not afford to quit. The person I supported was the only woman in her position, so we were both targets. She could not protect me. She did arrange, however, that I could leave as a ‘layoff’ and therefore get unemployment. I jumped at the offer. She left shortly thereafter. Also, my position had a high turnover before and after I was there.

  57. LOL Myiq! As if he would. Gawd these people are idiots.

    OTOH, hubby and I noticed that ever since Obama was elected there is a lot of monkey imagery going on. There’s even a monkey appearing on some primetime show soon.

    I understood it with Bush, because he really looks like a chimp. But with Obama, it is r*cist and it upsets me. That Post thing was way beyond the pale. If you didn’t know the chimp-shooting story, it literally made no sense at all, and even if you did, it wasn’t funny.

    The Post is a rag, though, and it always has been. Guess there’s no level to which they won’t stoop.

  58. paperdoll, thank you. It’s moot, but I always believed Hillary would do a great job and I believed that Marlene Braun’s supporters (MB was my friend) could get help from a Clinton admin. Bill created the Carrizo Plain NM. A lot of BLM people wanted Obama though, just like a lot of GLBT voted for him. On both counts I was right–we are in a worse nightmare b/c now the bullies and the gayhaters are in what had been OUR party. I feel like crying. There’s a petition to get justice for Marlene
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/JusticeforMarleneBraun but I think it is useless now.

  59. myiq2xu, on February 20th, 2009 at 1:34 pm Said:
    Catarina:

    You’re trying to get me in trouble again

    bwahahaa!

  60. This is amazing, Robert Gibbs, replete in his omnipresent lilac tie, just said that during the campaign the cable news coverage of the Obama campaign was so slanted that if he had only watched cable he would have given up his goal of helping change the country.

    In which dimension of reality are these people living?

  61. Prolix – they are perpetual victims.

    Wait till the media really starts attacking Obama. These *ssh0les won’t know what to do with themselves.

  62. Gibbs also called out Santelli. Santelli is going on air in a few to respond.

  63. chimera, on February 20th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    I never forget Obama’s south side constituents. Those he let freeze as he partied with thier slum lord . That is always the starting point when trying to figure out where’s he’s coming from. Nothing has changed in Barryland but the scope.

    I did my crying over the Dem Party during the primary…but I didn’t have a recent reason such as yours . It cuts at the heart of anyone who believes in simple justice. I remember Spy magazine( when it was good ) had an article . It said there are so many books etc that discuss why bad things happen to good people…can someone explain why good things happen to bad people?

  64. Who is this Santelli guy? Sorry, I’m not going to CL’s place.

  65. Wow, reminds me of the scene in the movie Idiocracy:

    Or was that a documentary???

  66. They deleted all but three of my comments from MyDD

  67. Owen – I saw part of that movie and really could not believe how dead-on it was. I think it was a little too uncomfortably true for most people, which is why it didn’t do too well in the theatres.

  68. myiq – Their loss.

  69. thanks madamab

  70. Madamab:

    See it here

  71. Rick Santelli is a reporter from the Chicago floor for CNBC. Here’s a link:

    Santelli is on MSNBC now.

  72. Their loss

    Preserved here

  73. Okay, I just watched the Santelli thing. People are actually claiming that’s r*cist?

    LOL! They can’t handle the truth, apparently. Although I don’t agree with the idea that we shouldn’t subsidize “bad” people. Again, do not blame the people; blame the banks that preyed on them.

    I worked with a woman who was a project manager at BOA. She said that she was in real estate mortgages for 20 years, and that back in the day, they would never, EVER have made those ARM loans to people who clearly were trying to buy more house than they could afford. They had strict guidelines and the guidelines were followed, or “gasp” the lawbreakers were punished.

    Imagine.

  74. People are actually claiming that’s r*cist?

    Not people – Charles Lemos

    It’s a delegitimizing tactic. Rather than argue on the merits you just play the race card.

    We’ve seen this tactic before from “certain” bloggers

  75. brilliant, madamab. Most people don’t appreciate how possible some variation of your play is given the recent thwarting of Daschle as head of HHS and the out-of-control greed of the pharmaceutical and HMO companies. Bravo!

  76. They had strict guidelines and the guidelines were followed

    Studies show that loans made under the CRA were only 25% of the subprime defaults.

  77. Thanks, justus949!

    Myiq – Yes indeed. Good grief. I guess Santelli really hit a sore spot! LOL

  78. Again, do not blame the people; blame the banks that preyed on them.

    I couldn’t agree more. The banks were supposedly the pros in the situation. They certainly made folks pay fees for being ” approved” ….If the bank says you can handed a loan, who’s going to argue with them?

  79. madamab

    My question is what kind of house exactly is affordable when what you are collecting is an unemployment check and it wasn’t something you were figuring on?

    All of what is going on isn’t the result of bad decision making unless you say taking the advice of Greenspan and Bush to get creative mortgages and spend spend spend is a bad decision(which I did and do but it was for a long time a minority opinion).

    I do wish that the plan wasn’t so simplistic and did have a way to limit the plan to those impacted by layoffs or stuck in a bad fix. I’m not keen on paying into someone elses equity somewhere down the line when real estate goes back up or paying for greedy people who bought way way way more than they could afford but there has to be some remedy for places where people were reasonably approved based on the idea that they would be employed.

  80. It’s sickening that credit companies and their govt shills try to blame people for getting in a credit mess. Who sent out all those credit offers? I could have had $200,000 in credit if I had wanted to. And now I’d be paying 30% interest. One nanosecond late and they’ve got you. I know so many people in interest only mortgages. This is not the fault of ordinary people. There will always be people who behave irresponsibly, but I am sick of hearing it is all the fault of we the people. I do blame the banks!

  81. OT — Obama has replaced Jesus as America’s number 1 hero. Remember all the ruckus John Lennon caused when he announced that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus (well, I don’t myself, I wasn’t even born yet). Nevertheless, the times they are a-changing.

    Stupid, stupid people who think this POS is a hero.

    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/pubs/Harris_Poll_2009_02_19.pdf

  82. I’m not talking about the CRA. Why would you think that?

    I’m talking about industry standards. Like, if the mortgage you want is more 4x your yearly gross income, you don’t get the mortage. She said they were very strict about that.

    When I was in Yonkers in the apartment we owned, we were getting loan offers from Chase for $450,000. That would be the size of the LOAN, not the mortgage.

    It was ridiculous.

  83. oh and carrisa – I got my first credit card during the Raygun years, when I was in college and literally had no income at all. The credit card industry is even worse than the home lending industry IMHO.

  84. I’m not talking about the CRA. Why would you think that?

    The race-card players assume that any mention of bad loans is a reference to the CRA and is therefore a racist right-wing trope.

  85. Good lord, Reagan most admired.

  86. and the thing is, via mail and phone, I’m STILL getting ceredit come ons !! A bailout without strings is like giving a drunk another drink. Once they get the drink…it’s simply back to business as usual….only you are poorer and they will be back.

  87. LOL Myiq!!! Sensitive little things, aren’t they?

    Plural – Such is the power of the right-wing scream machine.

  88. paper doll – I’m getting credit come-ons too, although not as much since they can’t find me yet after my move. LOL

  89. madamab, right. That has to be what it is.

    And brava, for this playlet.

    That vision thing is what got Poppy Bush in trouble.

  90. The New Christ admires him so it stands to reason that Raygun is IN again.

  91. Charles Lemos isn’t the only one lying about the Clintons

    So is BAG News

  92. Plural – that’s what I was thinking of…and also the way he said that the vision for his administration is all coming from him.

  93. Who wants to start a pool here to guess the date that he drops below 50

    two weeks

  94. Young Bush was all about vision — that’s how he got himself and us in trouble.

  95. Hmmm. How did some of those people get accounts at Corrente and I didn’t?

    Oh well. Such are the vagaries of the blahblah-osphere. 🙂

  96. Madamab,

    That was brilliant. You are the lost sister of the Wachowski brothers.

    THEY ARE THE MATRIX, WE ARE WITH MORPHEUS!

  97. Well, TW – I did love The Matrix.

    🙂

  98. “Shortly after the release of Matrix Reloaded, it was rumored that Larry Wachowski began to make small public appearances dressed as a woman, using the name Lana Wachowski.”

    That’s not you, right?

  99. Downticket – I think two weeks as well.

    We needed a leader, not a speechifier in Chief.

  100. TW – LOL!

    Well, I am part Polish.

    😉

  101. BTW chimera – I think I’m starting to get bullied at my workplace too. My boss called me yesterday and was yelling at me for stuff that was totally not my fault or responsibility. He then threatened to fire me because I wasn’t doing stuff that I literally could not do. I was so shaken I just put my head down on my hands for a while. I almost started crying.

    Apparently this guy does this type of thing all the time.

    I hate to even think of trying to find another job in this economy, but I am going to start looking.

  102. garychapelhill, on February 20th, 2009 at 2:19 pm Said:

    I’m sorry, nobody is putting a chip in my body unless they properly abduct me and give me a tour of the mothership…

    Well, it’ll be okay with the chip if it makes me *bigger*, stronger, and able to last longer…

    Wait a minute-that’s Enzyte and I can get that on my own.
    Sorry, no chip implant needed.

  103. I am happy to see that LaHood’s idea of taxing drivers by mileage has been rejected.

    The idea of giving every car a GPS to track driving was too creepy.

    And he’s a Republican!

  104. Madamab, you are not alone, I, too, was cast out among the swine for I was not Corrente material.

  105. In case you have not gone over to Heidi Li’s lately.

    OT but important. I called Speaker Cretul of the Florida House as Heidi Li suggested regarding the ERA. Bill was submitted by Rep. Planas and has a number of co-sponsors, both Repub and Dem. I was told that the bill has not been sent to committee yet. However, Rep. Planas’ office believes that it has a good chance of passing this time. Thank you Heidi Li for the info. Please all contact Speak Cretul as Heidi Li suggested so that they know that the ERA is important to us.

    Heidi Li currently has a post up with all the pertinent contact information. I went one step further and called Rep. Planas’ office to thank him for filing it. His district office number is (305)442-6800.

  106. plural – of course he’s a Republican. Remember Ashcroft was the one that came up with Total Information Awareness. There are some really scary members of both parties out there.

    Fredster – LOL!

  107. madamab, I never knew what workplace bullying was until my friend died. She told me how bad things were, but I did not understand that it is like domestic violence happening at work. I volunteer for the Workplace Bullying Institute. You might want to check out their website. They were a little Obot-ish, but I think they are seeing the light! (Well, esp. since Obama appt’d Mike Pool to BLM).

    Document everything, even if it seems trivial. I am so sorry it is happening to you.

  108. Thanks, chimera. I am really ignorant on the subject. And again, I am so sorry for what happened to your friend.

  109. Gotta get going, everyone. Happy Friday! Don’t let the bastids get you down.

  110. madamab — I know that was a rhetorical question(!) but for the longest time I thought I didn’t have an account at Corrente, but when I finally got ahold of Lambert (through TL, back in days before it went PDS insane), he said to clear my browser cache and I’d be fine. I’d had an account for weeks but the software was weird or something (or perhaps my browser). In other words, I don’t think it was an exclusionary thing (I got an account, after all).

  111. madamab — Oh, and I wanted to echo what chimera said — document everything, even if you are looking for another job. Also, if you can do it discreetly, see if you can get your job description from HR (if you have them at your work — although don’t tell them why, just say you’re ‘just curious’)

  112. This was posted over at deadenders. Kinda scary.

    Orwell was only off two decades. This is the full article from the Oklahoma News.

    An Oklahoma City police officer wrongly pulled over a man last week and confiscated an anti-President Barack Obama sign the man had on his vehicle.

    The officer misinterpreted the sign as threatening, said Capt. Steve McCool, of the Oklahoma City Police Department, and took the sign, which read “Abort Obama, not the unborn.”

    Chip Harrison said he was driving to work when a police car followed him for several miles and then signaled for him to pull over.

    ”I pulled over, knowing I hadn’t done anything wrong,” Harrison said in a recent phone interview

    When the officer asked Harrison if he knew why he had been pulled over, Harrison said he did not.

    ”They said, ‘It’s because of the sign in your window,’” Harrison said.

    ”It’s not meant to be a threat, it’s a statement about abortion,” Harrison said.

    He said he disagrees with the president’s position on abortion.

    ”I asked the officer, ‘Do you know what abort means?’” Harrison said. “He said, ‘Yeah, it means to kill.’ I said, ‘No, it means to remove or terminate.’”

    Harrison said his sign was to be interpreted as saying something like: Remove Obama from office, not unborn babies from the womb.

    The officers confiscated Harrison’s sign and gave him a slip of paper that stated he was part of an investigation.

    Harrison said he later received a call from a person who said he was a lieutenant supervisor for the Internal Investigations Department and wanted to know his location and return his sign to him.

    According to Harrison, the supervisor said the Secret Service had been contacted on the matter and had told them the sign was not a threat to the president.

    Harrison was asked if he would like to file a complaint. He said he was not sure but would take the paperwork, just in case.

    But his run-in with the law wasn’t over yet.

    ”The Secret Service called and said they were at my house,” Harrison said.

    After talking to his attorney, Harrison went home where he met the Secret Service.

    ”When I was on my way there, the Secret Service called me and said they weren’t going to ransack my house or anything … they just wanted to (walk through the house) and make sure I wasn’t a part of any hate groups.”

    Harrison said he invited the Secret Service agents into the house and they were “very cordial.”

    ”We walked through the house and my wife and 2-year-old were in the house,” Harrison said.

    He said they interviewed him for about 30 minutes and then left, not finding any evidence Harrison was a threat to the president.

    ”I’m still in contact with a lawyer right now,” Harrison said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

    Harrison said he feels his First Amendment rights were violated.

    McCool said the officer who pulled over Harrison misinterpreted the sign.

    ”We had an officer that his interpretation of the sign was different than what was meant,” McCool said. “You’ve got an officer who had a different thought on what the word ‘abort’ meant.”

    McCool said the sign basically meant Obama should be impeached and it was not a threat.

    ”(The officer) shouldn’t have taken the sign,” McCool said. “That was (Harrison’s) First Amendment right to voice his concern.”

    McCool said although the sign should not have been confiscated, the situation was made right in the end.

    ”We always try to do the right thing and in the end we believe we did the right thing by returning the sign,” McCool said.

    Gird your loins people, this is all sorts of wrong! Where was the police and Secret Service with Bush and his chimp? Why is not Keith Olberman in jail for threating to kill Hillary Clinton?

    http://www.newsok.com/okc-officer-pulls-man-over-for-anti-obama-sign-on-vehicle/article/3347038?custom_click=headlines_widget

  113. I’m going to have nightmares about O-merica now. What a word and what a world!

    finally got back home from campus and just stuck a new thread up …

    meanwhile, I’m going to catch up here.

  114. madamab, My heart goes out to you. I worked for a bully boss for a year. I loved my job but hated my boss. It was one solid year of hell.

  115. Vahalla: Lenin wrote a great treatise one what’s wrong with the banking system and all on interlocking directorates and the closeknit relations between the banks and the industrialists …

    basically, both marx and lenin said that part of the collapse of the system would be because of this and they made rather good scholarly arguments that the entire capitalist system would collapse because of the problems innate to the banking/financial system. It was part of their arguments that capitalism would collapse on itself thus, causing the need for a new way of doing things. The Lenin Treatise on Banking is a classic. You should read it. It’s like amazing how many things he covers there, talking about the gilded age guys like the original JP Morgan sound a lot like what’s been going on now and the need to intervene.

  116. I, too, was cast out among the swine for I was not Corrente material.

    It’s whatcha call an “elite grassroots movement”

    If you asked me I’d say being hyper-exclusive makes it hard to grow a broad coalition.

  117. here’s a quote:

    The epoch of imperialism opens when the expansion of colonialism has covered the globe and no new colonies can be acquired by the great powers except by taking them from each other, and the concentration of capital has grown to a point where finance capital becomes dominant over industrial capital.

  118. another lenin quote:

    “It is characteristic of capitalism in general that the ownership of capital is separated from the application of capital to production, that money capital is separated from industrial or productive capital, and that the rentier who lives entirely on income obtained from money capital, is separated from the entrepreneur and from all who are directly concerned in the management of capital. Imperialism, or the domination of finance capital, is that highest stage of capitalism in which this separation reaches vast proportions.”

  119. When carrying the current accounts of a few capitalists, a bank, as it were, transacts a purely technical and exclusively auxiliary operation. When, however, this operation grows to enormous dimensions we find that a handful of monopolists subordinate to their will all the operations, both commercial and industrial, of the whole of capitalist society; for they are enabled-by means of their banking connections, their current accounts and other financial operations—first, to ascertain exactly the financial position of the various capitalists, then to control them, to influence them by restricting or enlarging, facilitating or hindering credits, and finally to entirely determine their fate …

  120. hmmm, i’m quoting lenin, is that the same as using r@cist rightwing, republican r@tf%cking memes?

  121. lol dak when rush links to you only then have you arrived!

  122. El Pompous Grande:

    Re: Dakinat sez (2.00 / 1)

    The Japanese asset bubble started in 1991. The South Korean and SE Asia crisis were an overvalues currency problem. The former was a problem of broad macroeconomic problems, the latter the problem of uneven development. Take the argument up with Krugman, he’s got a Nobel Prize. Does Dakinat?

    And I’ve got the fancy three letter degrees from Stanford. Play credential games and mine stack up very nicely. Can you say Goldman Sachs? Can you say United Nations?

    All your other comments have been deleted. This might stay up just to show how moronic you really are.

    by Charles Lemos on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 02:09:32 PM EST

    He’s gonna regret starting this pie fight

  123. LOL!!

    myiq can u give him a message for me? he’s messing with kat now, so it’s on!

    can you say “you’re a wanker?”

    all those “credentials” didn’t seem to do much for his portfolio. Poor guy.

  124. my: read the damned krugman thread, in now where does it say anything about it being Japan’s problem alone.

  125. He he he

    Stanford owes you a refund (none / 0)

    Can you say “educated fool?”

    We told you so! (Next time think before you vote)
    by myiq2xu on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 05:33:08 PM EST

  126. Japan’s institutions weren’t up to what was going on at the time and they crashed and it eventually became a contagion .. doesn’t the fact that the biggest banks in the world (other than BOA) where japanese at the time translate into mucking up the region? It goes on for a decade bookended by a US recession and stock market crash and the Asian Debt Crisis and he’s going to say Japan was over there suffering in solitude? sheesh.

  127. this is the Wolf article on FT:

    What has Japan’s “lost decade” to teach us? Even a year ago, this seemed an absurd question. The general consensus of informed opinion was that the US, the UK and other heavily indebted western economies could not suffer as Japan had done. Now the question is changing to whether these countries will manage as well as Japan did. Welcome to the world of balance-sheet deflation.

    As I have noted before, the best analysis of what happened to Japan is by Richard Koo of the Nomura Research Institute.* His big point, though simple, is ignored by conventional economics: balance sheets matter. Threatened with bankruptcy, the overborrowed will struggle to pay down their debts. A collapse in asset prices purchased through debt will have a far more devastating impact than the same collapse accompanied by little debt.

    Most of the decline in Japanese private spending and borrowing in the 1990s was, argues Mr Koo, due not to the state of the banks, but to that of their borrowers. This was a situation in which, in the words of John Maynard Keynes, low interest rates – and Japan’s were, for years, as low as could be – were “pushing on a string”. Debtors kept paying down their loans.

    How far, then, does this viewpoint inform us of the plight we are now in? A great deal, is the answer.

    First, comparisons between today and the deep recessions of the early 1980s are utterly misguided. In 1981, US private debt was 123 per cent of gross domestic product; by the third quarter of 2008, it was 290 per cent. In 1981, household debt was 48 per cent of GDP; in 2007, it was 100 per cent. In 1980, the Federal Reserve’s intervention rate reached 19-20 per cent. Today, it is nearly zero.

    When interest rates fell in the early 1980s, borrowing jumped (see chart below). The chances of igniting a surge in borrowing now are close to zero. A recession caused by the central bank’s determination to squeeze out inflation is quite different from one caused by excessive debt and collapsing net worth. In the former case, the central bank causes the recession. In the latter, it is trying hard to prevent it.

    Second, those who argue that the Japanese government’s fiscal expansion failed are, again, mistaken. When the private sector tries to repay debt over many years, a country has three options: let the government do the borrowing; expand net exports; or let the economy collapse in a downward spiral of mass bankruptcy.

    Despite a loss in wealth of three times GDP and a shift of 20 per cent of GDP in the financial balance of the corporate sector, from deficits into surpluses, Japan did not suffer a depression. This was a triumph. The explanation was the big fiscal deficits. When, in 1997, the Hashimoto government tried to reduce the fiscal deficits, the economy collapsed and actual fiscal deficits rose.

    Third, recognising losses and recapitalising the financial system are vital, even if, as Mr Koo argues, the unwillingness to borrow was even more important. The Japanese lived with zombie banks for nearly a decade. The explanation was a political stand-off: public hostility to bankers rendered it impossible to inject government money on a large scale, and the power of bankers made it impossible to nationalise insolvent institutions. For years, people pretended that the problem was downward overshooting of asset price. In the end, a financial implosion forced the Japanese government’s hand. The same was true in the US last autumn, but the opportunity for a full restructuring and recapitalisation of the system was lost.

    In the US, the state of the financial sector may well be far more important than it was in Japan. The big US debt accumulations were not by non-financial corporations but by households and the financial sector. The gross debt of the financial sector rose from 22 per cent of GDP in 1981 to 117 per cent in the third quarter of 2008, while the debt of non-financial corporations rose only from 53 per cent to 76 per cent of GDP. Thus, the desire of financial institutions to shrink balance sheets may be an even bigger cause of recession in the US.

    How far, then, is Japan’s overall experience relevant to today?

    The good news is that the asset price bubbles themselves were far smaller in the US than in Japan (see charts below). Furthermore, the US central bank has been swifter in recognising reality, cutting interest rates quickly to close to zero and moving towards “unconventional” monetary policy.

    The bad news is that the debate over fiscal policy in the US seems even more neanderthal than in Japan: it cannot be stressed too strongly that in a balance-sheet deflation, with zero official interest rates, fiscal policy is all we have. The big danger is that an attempt will be made to close the fiscal deficit prematurely, with dire results. Again, the US administration’s proposals for a public/private partnership , to purchase toxic assets, look hopeless. Even if it can be made to work operationally, the prices are likely to be too low to encourage banks to sell or to represent a big taxpayer subsidy to buyers, sellers, or both. Far more important, it is unlikely that modestly raising prices of a range of bad assets will recapitalise damaged institutions. In the end, reality will come out. But that may follow a lengthy pretence.

    Yet what is happening inside the US is far from the worst news. That is the global reach of the crisis. Japan was able to rely on exports to a buoyant world economy. This crisis is global: the bubbles and associated spending booms spread across much of the western world, as did the financial mania and purchases of bad assets. Economies directly affected account for close to half of the world economy. Economies indirectly affected, via falling external demand and collapsing finance, account for the rest. The US, it is clear, remains the core of the world economy.

    As a result, we confront a balance-sheet deflation that, albeit far shallower than that in Japan in the 1990s, has a far wider reach. It is, for this reason, fanciful to imagine a swift and strong return to global growth. Where is the demand to come from? From over-indebted western consumers? Hardly. From emerging country consumers? Unlikely. From fiscal expansion? Up to a point. But this still looks too weak and too unbalanced, with much coming from the US. China is helping, but the eurozone and Japan seem paralysed, while most emerging economies cannot now risk aggressive action.

    Last year marked the end of a hopeful era. Today, it is impossible to rule out a lost decade for the world economy. This has to be prevented. Posterity will not forgive leaders who fail to rise to this great challenge.

  128. “El Pompous Grande”

    What the fvck?

    Where did the fool write that sh!t?

  129. this is the krugman:

    Martin Wolf channels Richard Koo, whose balance-sheet analysis of Japan’s lost decade does indeed provide one of the best road maps to the mess the world as a whole is now in. And Koo’s counterintuitive praise for Japan — while it had a bad decade, it did not have a depression — is a useful corrective to the constant claims that fiscal policy failed.

    But here’s my question: does Japan’s experience offer any guidance on how a balance-sheet slump ends? Koo writes about the gradual rebuilding of private balance sheets, preparing the ground for recovery; and Japan did in fact have a fairly convincing bounce-back from 2003 to 2007.

    But a closer look at that recovery is not encouraging. The chart above is a quick-and-dirty summary of the sources of Japanese growth from 2003 to 2007. It shows the change in real GDP, the change in real consumer spending, the change in real business investment, and the change in real net exports, all as percentages of 2003 GDP. What we see is nothing special happening to consumption, which grew more or less at its long-term trend growth rate, and only a modest investment boom. Exports were the driving force behind recovery.

    And needless to say, we can’t all export ourselves out of a global slump.

    So, how does this end?

  130. go katiebird! LOL

  131. statement I took issue with:

    “However there are two differences between Japan’s problem then and ours now. First, Japan’s downturn was just that Japan’s and not a global one.”

  132. so, my question is how am I to take it up with either Krugman or Wolf when neither of them made the offending statement or anything close to it?

  133. katiebird: look at the previous thread

  134. WE were in a frigging recession in 2001 .. sheesh

  135. what, because Bora Bora wasn’t in a recession Japan was operating in a vacuum?

  136. Good grief, Madam – I had a similar thought a while ago but you’ve fleshed it out – shades of Soilent Green!
    👿

  137. Don’t apologize for quoting Marx or Lenin, dakinikat. In economic theory, on a lot of things, especially banking and government, at the expense of workers, they were right. (Don’t anybody jump me).

    What Stalin did with their theory was an abomination.

    Marx was actually an economist, and not a political figure like Stalin, and gave important warnings re unbridled capitalism.

    Personally, I appreciate the quotes you gave us.

    Thanks.

  138. Well, I only got here a day late — but wanted to chime in about the Gibbs quote that the administration BELIEVES in private banks. I heard him say it on the TV live and couldn’t believe it. Whuh? What does BELIEF have to do with it?

    GREAT PLAY, MB!

  139. Great….LOL!

    Scary and true-to-life. This was NOT fiction! I feel you were there in that same room recording the two Formerly-NOt-Proud Omericans.

    Hillary’s Single-payer Universal Health Care is the only viable way to go. Back in the early 90s, she had sent advisors/analysts to Ontario, Canada to study the National Health Care plan. She was very meticulous and wanted the best and most comprehensive informational data upon which to base her recommendations. Not our Barry-O! By the way, a friend of mine, Sudanese, told me that she is “scared every time she sees Michele”. I asked why as she does not know my political proclivities and she responded: “She looks as if she’s had an operation”. I did not bother to ask her what type, as I was afraid of her answer. She’s known for her wit and bluntness!

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