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    • Feeling and Acting Powerful in Catastrophic Times
      The United States is moving into a time of catastrophe. Thirty-two percent of people were unable to make either their rent or mortgage payments in July. Twenty-two percent of small businesses seem likely to go bankrupt. One-third of small independent farms are on the verge of bankruptcy. When these people lose their homes and wind […]
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WH vs. Supreme Court – Open Thread

Threads were getting full so it looked like a good time for a new one. This is an open thread. Below are a few topics to throw out there.

The battle between Obama and Roberts is getting silly:

…after Chief Justice John Roberts made some entirely reasonable remarks yesterday — and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs just had to respond — it’s now getting ridiculous.

Whether the White House has a short-term or long-term strategy or no strategy at all, it’s flat-out absurd and ill-advised for the administration to think it should always have the last word. It’s like my 6-year-old: “I don’t LIKE your idea. I like MY idea.”

t wasn’t enough that Mr. Obama, for the first time in modern history, took a direct shot at the Supreme Court in his State of the Union address, when he slammed the justices for their recent campaign finance reform decision. Six of them looked on — including the author of the opinion, key swing vote Anthony Kennedy — while Democrats jumped up to whoop and holler.

All that, of course, was too much for Justice Samuel Alito, who shook his head and silently mouthed, “not true.”

The next day, the White House just couldn’t let it rest. It again had to have the last word. It put out a “fact sheet,” trying to prove it was Mr. Obama — not Justice Alito — who was right.

Now the Chief Justice, speaking yesterday at the University of Alabama Law School, has weighed in. Responding to a question from a clearly insightful Alabama law student, Roberts said he thought the whole scene was “very troubling.”

“To the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I’m not sure why we’re there,” Roberts said.

Don’t you just love a good soap opera.

And of course, as if we didn’t already know, banks will find ways to replace overdraft fees:

For a hefty fee, banks offered to pay your bad checks for you, thus helping you avoid all the embarrassment of walking into a store that no longer accepts your checks. And with the advent of debit cards, overdraft kicked into high gear. Consumers could use their plastic cards to make purchases without enough cash in their accounts to cover any of them. Think of the fee bonanza.

Well, things are changing again. Bank of America today said it will soon prohibit most debit-card transactions if the account owner doesn’t have money in his or her account, and other banks are expected to follow suit ahead of new rules that will require banks to alert customers before covering an overdraft.

That means if you make a purchase with your debit card but don’t have money in your account, you’ll get denied at the cash register. That might sound like bad news, but to my mind it’s not. A few embarrassing denials at the cash register might prompt more of us to keep better track of how much money is in our account. Nothing like a public revelation of bad financial planning to shame us into what’s best for our pocketbook. (And anyway, what is the big deal about getting denied at the register? It’s not the end of the world.)

The bad news is, we’re losing a known ogre — the overdraft fee — for an unknown one. Because you can bet banks will figure out a way to make up the lost revenue.

And finally, welcome to the United States of Finland:

It’s time to start paying attention to the financial sinkhole that Iceland is trying to climb out of — the view from inside of it is eerily similar to our own.

An Icelandic savings bank, Icesave, had attracted billions in deposits from hundreds of thousands of British and Dutch citizens, due to the phenomenally high interest rates it offered. Icesave collapsed in 2008, for much the same reason Lehman Brothers, WaMu, and hundreds of local savings banks did: its bankers used their cash to make complicated, bad, leveraged investments, mostly on real estate.

Check the link for more fun and how our paths are similar.

This is an open thread.

No end in sight.

This is supposed to be the morning news post but I didn’t put any news in it because it’s all bad and I’m too fucking depressed to even skim the headlines right now.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been around here much the last week or so and the reason for that is I’ve been in a very dark and depressed mood and I needed a break. I think what triggered it was Joe Cannon’s announcement that he was closing his blog. In the big scheme of things somebody deciding they don’t want to blog anymore is not a major catastrophe but his announcement was the straw the broke the camel’s back.

I don’t know if I’m drinking too much or not enough but I’m still feeling pretty gloomy. The real reason for my emotional recession is partly due to all the bad news we’ve been getting steadily for years now. Pick a topic, it’s all bad, but some of it’s worse than others. We didn’t even get to enjoy the end of the Bush administration.

Another thing that has been bothering me is that I really wanted to be wrong about Obama but I wasn’t, and saying “I told you so” doesn’t make up for having my worst nightmares become true. If anything, he’s even worse than I feared.

But what really has me bummed out right now is the realization that there is no end in sight for the mess this country is in. The single biggest problem facing our nation is the illness in our political system. When I say “illness” I mean the equivalent of an inoperable cancer that has metastasized. If we fixed our political system then we would actually be able to do something about those other problems.

For most of my adult life I believed that the Democrats were the good guys so even when they were getting slapped around by the Republicans I could support them and hope that after the next election they would grow a pair and start standing up for the liberal ideals they campaigned on.

I finally realized that the majority of the Democrats who hold elected office are not only corrupt but they have the same agenda as the Republicans. Oh, the say they’re on our side, and when it’s time for them to represent us they might make some speeches andr play some parliamentary tricks but when the nitty meets the gritty they lose on purpose. Lots of times they don’t even bother to put on a dog and pony show anymore, they just vote to bail out Wall Street or take away our civil rights as if that’s what we wanted them to do.

Now as far back as I can remember the Republicans were corrupt and they tended to be pricks or assholes, and sometimes both, but they weren’t insane. Nowadays there’s a lot of GOPers that are crazy as shithouse rats. That not only includes the elected ones but the voters too. Then you got the tea baggers who don’t think the Republicans are crazy enough.

On the left side they’re getting just as bad, they’re just insane about different things. If you read both the left and right blogs on a regular basis you’d think think they inhabit completely different worlds. It’s almost like they don’t speak the same language.

Next fall we’re gonna have and election and right now it looks like the Republicans will gain seats in Congress, and maybe even get control of one or both houses. But no matter who wins, we lose. The same thing in November of 2012. – If either the Democrats or Republicans win, we’re screwed.

Sooner or later Obama will be out of office, but will whoever the Democrats nominate to replace him be any less corrupt?

When does this shit start to get better?

No news is good news so y’all have a nice day.

PS: If anybody fucking tells me to cheer up I’m sending a clown car to their house.