Archive for the 'bailout' Category

26
Oct
10

Hedges: America more or less screwed, thanks to the liberal class. Have a nice day!

UPDATE BELOW: A defense of liberals!

Chris Hedges continues to hammer on the failure of the liberal class. And I can’t say I find much with which to disagree—either in the video above or his recent piece “The World Liberal Opportunists Made.”

I get so tired of the fearmongering about the threat to Democracy posed by Rush, Beck, Christine O’Donnell and Palin. It is absolutely true that they are are clowns, dangerous clowns. But at the moment they hold zero real political power. One wishes the Democrats would stop talking about how awful their opponents are, and just run things, as they were elected to do. But that is the only weapon left in their arsenal. Unwilling to actually enact changes that live up to their purported ideals, all they can do is say, “Look over there. What if those bad people actually took power!?”

Not that there’s any chance of the Dems finding their spine at this point, but even if they did, Hedges says it’s already gone too far.

An ineffectual liberal class, in short, means there is no hope, however remote, of a correction or a reversal through the political system and electoral politics. The liberals’ disintegration ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression in a rejection of traditional liberal institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. The very forces that co-opted the liberal class and are responsible for the impoverishment of the state will, ironically, reap benefits from the collapse. These corporate manipulators are busy channeling rage away from the corporate and military forces hollowing out the nation from the inside and are turning that anger toward the weak remnants of liberalism. It does not help our cause that liberals indeed turned their backs on the working and middle class.

 

UPDATED: “In defense of liberals, though, we…uh. Yeah, I got nothing.”

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08
Sep
10

Are the Dems stupid? Or not?

rahm

"Either way, I win." REUTERS/Jim Young

Money makes the Democrats stupid is a pretty decent rant by Eli at Firedoglake.

The Republicans, he observes, have a big advantage in terms of money because the ideology of conservatism lines up perfectly with giving rich people and corporations more money and power.

Not because they have more [money], although they usually do.  No, it’s because their base is almost completely aligned with their corporate and wealthy big-money donors, while the Democratic base is the complete opposite.

Republicans can deliver their megadonors tax cuts, deregulation, corporate welfare, and protection from prosecution, all cocooned in a conservative narrative of supply-side economics, free enterprise, and independent frontier can-do spirit that their base just loves.

Contrast this with the Dems, who, with a few exceptions, are pretty much on the same level in terms of greed and lack of scruples. But they have this nagging problem with their party’s (purported) ideology, which isn’t a good fit. They have to be sneaky because “there’s simply no way to spin pro-corporate, pro-wealth policies as congruent with progressive values.”

The best they can manage is to play the DLC/Third Way game of pretending that capitulation is really some kind of principled pragmatic centrism which is the only way to win elections or get anything done against the all-powerful GOP and its 55 49 40 41 Senate seats.

Some of the base reluctantly goes along with this because half a loaf is better than the enemy of the good or whatever, but none of us are particularly happy about always settling for a compromise of a compromise of a compromise. Think how much leverage Obama and the Democrats had after two huge electoral landslides, a huge Republican-branded financial crisis, and a huge congressional majority… and how little they did with it. They didn’t deliver on progressive priorities because that wasn’t what their big campaign donors wanted.

And now they’ve failed so miserably, sold out so blatantly, demoralized their base so completely, and ceded the populist ground so thoroughly to the Tea Party, that they’re on the brink of losing the House and maybe even the Senate. All of the Democrats’ kabuki to protect their corporate friends so they could rake in campaign cash and get re-elected will end up costing them their seats instead. Because it is possible to fuck up so badly and so obviously that all the money in the world can’t save you. Just ask the Republicans.

I like this, and I’m down with Eli’s disgust, but wonder if he might be missing something, like maybe the fact that it’s on purpose?

Not sure about this, but I’ll throw it out there and wonder aloud if perhaps we are in for a few decades where control of Congress (and maybe the Presidency) will swing from party to party with every election.

The Party Out of Power promises Change, gets in power, doesn’t change anything, and is sent packing. Or it promises to reverse the Mooslem Socialist Mismanagement of this Once-Great Nation. Until the voters realize they get screwed there too. Rinse and repeat.

Either way the party pros win. If in power, hey, you’re In Power. Out of Power you can make massive amounts of money in the private sector. (Think of Rahm’s waltz with hedge fund Magnetar Capital. Think Tom Daschle. Bob Dole.) Leverage your public service. G’head. You earned it. Take a position with one of the corporations you’ll be in charge of “regulating” when you get back into power. Money’s much better, and you will probably get to spend a little more time with the family.

And don’t worry. You’ll be back in D.C. before you know it. Count on the Other Party not satisfying those pesky voters either. Because there’s no way the non-rich 95 percent can be satisfied–unless legislation happens that actually reverses the flow of wealth.  And both parties have shown how firmly they are allied on the issue of wealth distribution.

At the moment, polls indicate voters will throw the current regime out, WITH AUTHORITY as Marv Albert used to say…. To replace it with a regime that makes no bones about its intention to give an ever bigger piece of the pie to the wealthy and powerful.

Does that makes sense? Not so much. Will it work for a few more election cycles? I wouldn’t bet against it.

06
Jan
10

From Iceland with love

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Iceland’s president has recently given the middle finger to the “international financial system” (or more likely the two-fingered fingered flip favored in the UK) by blocking a $5 billion (US) debt repayment deal, pending a referendum on the matter. The Icelandic taxpayers are rightly questioning why every family in the country should give 40,000 pounds to England and the Netherlands to make amends for the failings of their genius MBA banking class.

President Olafur Grimsson’s role is largely ceremonial, or it was, until he took the bold step of nixing the deal, after he received a petition signed by 20 percent of Iceland’s population. Polls have about 70 percent of the voters saying they’ll vote against the repayment package as it stands. Bad things are being threatened.

“The Icelandic people … would effectively be saying that Iceland does not want to be part of the international financial system,” Britain’s Financial Services Minister Paul Myners said.

How do you say “What are the benefits, exactly?” in Icelandic.

OK. I may well be oversimplifying things. But I like the sound of this. A president who steps beyond his designated role to respond to the popular will, in the process stepping hard on the bunions of the very moneyed interests who put him into office. I guess it could happen. But could it happen here?

Oh, yes, the video. Emiliana Torrini, Icelanic/Italian singer. Lovely woman, lovely song, lovely  video.

26
Dec
09

Rahm sez: “NAFTA = Good Times!”

Easy credit ripoffs. Good times!

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been telling Democrats a win on the health issue will reverse the slide in public opinion, just as passage of another controversial proposal, the North American Free Trade Agreement, lifted President Bill Clinton in the polls.

Wall Street Journal, “Democrats pin 2010 hopes on bill”

In an only slightly different context a wise person said, “It’s scary to think that people this obscenely stupid are running the country.”

26
Dec
09

More on Jane, Grover and Rahm

Vodpod videos no longer available.

All I know is the Hamsher/Norquist joint venture caused many Obama loyalists to pee their pants, and got a lot of positive comments on Jane’s own site. Not exactly surprising.

Someone asked about it on the President’s plane and was met with a predictably smug reply, that the Chief of Staff’s job was “very safe”.

And also: over the Christmas weekend the White House announced that the caps on Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac losses would be lifted. There was talk that they would be raised from $400 billion to $800 billion, but no. They have been raised, to, uh, infinity.

Did Jane Hamsher really whack Rahm Emanuel upside the head, as Cenk Uygur claims? If so, was it with a Nerf bat, or a 2 by 4 with a nail sticking out of it? Is he PISSED? Just mildly annoyed? More important, Will this be enough to shame the White House into taking any real judicial/investigative action with regard to Freddie Mac, like letting Inspector General Ed Kelley get back on the job? You know, 6 trillion dollars is a lot of money.

more about "Jane Hamsher Hits Rahm Emanuel Over t…", posted with vodpod




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