You’ve probably heard that Obama told a group of business leaders that
My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.
I am not a populist. But I do wonder if angry, anti-corporate populism can be put to good use. There are many industries — the credit card industry and broadband and wireless providers come to mine — that are actively ripping off consumers using lack of regulation and/or monopolistic practices.
Can populist anger be channeled into pushing back against these industries (and others, like the health insurance industry, which is perhaps less obviously a scam but more obviously problematic on a larger scale)? I think the answer isn’t clear because in the United States, populism has generally had more to do with “cultural” and racial divisions than on economic inequality. Here’s Krugman on that:
And who can honestly deny that race is a major reason America treats its poor more harshly than any other advanced country? To put it crudely: a middle-class European, thinking about the poor, says to himself, “There but for the grace of God go I.” A middle-class American is all too likely to think, perhaps without admitting it to himself, “Why should I be taxed to support those people?”[….]
Consider this: in the United States, unlike any other advanced country, many people fail to receive basic health care because they can’t afford it.
It’s not just race, of course, it’s also gay marriage, flag burning, school prayer, abortion, etc.
Is there any hope that this will change? Any chance that angry Americans will begin demanding health care for themselves and an end to corporatism instead of blaming our economic crisis on poor black people and stockpiling weapons for the coming government take-over?
I realize that the answer is probably “no”, of course. We may see a few more angry outbursts over things like the AIG bonuses, but I suspect things won’t go much farther than that. Time-Warner and MBNA and the rest likely have very little to worry about.
joe from Lowell
This is a very recent phenomenon. For most of American history, populism was very much focused on economic issues – think of Wm. Jennings Bryan, or George McGovern the "Prairie Populist."
I mean, the conservatives whichever party they flocked to have always used, "Look, Negroes!" to keep poor white people from demanding a system that was fairer to them. While that is still the main tactic to distract the poor whites from the real problems, it has had to be buttressed by adding all kinds of others to the repertoire as it has become less acceptable to scapegoat black people so directly.
Also, Lee Atwater more or less stated this as fact, no?
Any chance that angry Americans will begin demanding health care for themselves …
I thought it was teh Leahft that was all angry and such. Oh, wait, you said Americans.
You mean the Red ones, the holies that wish for a king and war and are anti-immigration. Them. The angry Americans.
Got a bit of that kkkoolaid down the wrong pipe again, Cole.
You can only get your third outcome.
The first outcome is "on the table" but not credible; its only purpose is to lend credibility to the second outcome.
The second outcome is credible but not attainable; its only purpose is to make the third outcome attainable.
So if you really mean to get outcome X (the third outcome), then you must explicitly formulate outcome Y (the second outcome), which is more extreme than X, AND outcome Z, which is more extreme than Y; and all three, X, Y, and Z, must be stated at the same time.
The commonplace mistake is to identify outcome Z as the necessary outcome and state it alone. It is then declared implausible and you are forced off it to watered-down outcome Y, which is stated with the effect of an improvisation. Y, in turn, is declared infeasible and you are then forced back to attainable outcome X, a further dilution that is likely to have only symbolic value.
So concretely with respect to today’s "capitalists", if you outcome that you really mean to get is dispossession, you cannot begin with dispossession. You have to begin by laying out the full spectrum of X (dispossession), Y (imprisonment), and Z (the guillotine). The guillotine is not credible, but it has to be on the table to lend credibility to prison, which is not attainable but may make dispossession attainable.
Instead, if you begin by demanding dispossession, then it becomes outcome Z and the debate is instantly turned to outcome Y, which cannot help being an incoherent improvisation, born on its back foot: unenforceable caps on executive compensation, or some such nonsense. Eventually you are then forced down onto outcome X, which in this case will probably turn out to be a Congressional investigation that has no concrete effect.
Repeat without rinsing.
Which is too bad. I’ve heard that one of the things FDR did was save American Capitalism from itself. Out of gratitude, of course, they started chipping away at the regulatory system helping bring us to the pass we find ourselves in now. I think a few bankers swinging from lampposts would have had a salutary effect back then and it sure would snap these people back into reality right now!
Unfortunately, I don’t think populist outrage lasts long enough anymore to be an affective driver of change. There is so much inertia to overcome.
1. Fannie and Freddie are giving out $200 million in bonuses and I haven’t heard anything about any populist response. Its like we used up our outrage on AIG – and not only did we not even stop the AIG bonuses, but the Obama administration is circumventing the restrictions that were passed by congress for other TARP recipients.
2. Bernie Sanders anti-usuary legislation was absolutely killed in congress so the credit-card companies are even more likely to gouge us.
3. The cram-down bill which was so essential died a lingering death.
Why aren’t people yelling about these things? In Europe they are at least having substantial protests. I think Americans will only get off their couches when people start losing their cable TV.
That’s a bit grandiose, isn’t it? Crikey, it’s positively fucking Imperial.
Of course, the de-politicization of Homelanders makes it possible because we now have LEADERS instead of praxis.
I am coming to believe that America is a violent, violence-loving nation. We love war and killing. We drive competively and violently on the roadways. We routinely are rude and discourteous to strangers. We worship guns and the gun culture. We are greedy and self-serving in the way we do business. We treat our poor and suffering as if they are worthless. We imprison and impose brutality on the drug addicted. We kill people on the possibility that they are guilty of a crime. We convict on false testimpny of law enforcement and legal professionals. Our legislators routinely accept bribes and legislate against the best interests of the people who vote because we don’t care enough to even go to the polling places in sufficient numbers to vote the corrupt out of office. Our politicians lie routinely and openly, and the media not only fails to call them on it but abets them. The few times that lies are revealed the American people do not care.
A Different Matt
If Obama intended to use raw populism to get bankers to comply with his agenda, why did he pick Geithner to head treasury? In other words, what banker would fear Obama-change after seeing his cabinet? That’s just not a credible threat – but it’s great for popular consumption.
@Bill H: I’ve been to a few other countries in my time, and I haven’t noticed any of this behavior to be peculiar to Americans.
LOL. Impotence is always a good thing in the Loony Left.
Huh, I guess I’m more optimistic than most people here, because I think the Reagan-Bush conservatism of the past thirty years is on its deathbed. In the short term, the GOP is being run by a bunch of idiots; in the long term, the demographics will kill it. The GOP is going to have to make some serious changes, but they will have to lose a couple more elections to realize it.
Though I feel you. I think the main difference is that we’re so deeply, deeply in denial about it.
Speaking of which…Here in TN, Republican lawmakers sponsored and passed a bill to deregulate AT&T. They bought into AT&T’s rationale that competition would regulate rates. This is yet another example of how so-called representatives of the people will sell out their constituents in favor of corporations.
I understand this is how the market should work but modern times being what they are, haven’t telecommunications become a necessity vs a luxury?
You don’t have to be Paul Krugman to understand that telecommunications giants will push their rates as high as possible. Wait until they begin charging internet by the minute like they do with phones. Why does it feel like the rank and file citizen always has to be at the muddy end of the stick?
I was amazed and encouraged that Obama made that crack and hope the masses can continue to keep banks and corporations at the business end of a pitchfork. The best we can do is vote corporation and bank enabling "representatives" out of office, the voting booth as the new pitchfork and all that. Here’s hoping.
@R-Jud: The denial isn’t peculiar to Americans, either.
I thought the answer to this, discussed a few days ago in a thread on this very blog, was that solving this problem requires the expertise of people who know the system. You might not agree with that answer, but you cannot simply disregard it.
joe from Lowell
I’m with you, Mark S. The Nixon-Reagan-W era was an historical anomaly that has come to an end. They had a pretty good run, especially considering that for the last decade or so, it has been surviving entirely on tactical gambits.
Huh? This isn’t crudely put, it’s non-sensical. So fat French bourgousie took the pious option when Africans and Arabs took to the streets? A WASP thinks like that, specifically the John D. Rockefeller variety.
The first part is just illiterate. The second describes what some people think should be a function of religion, not the state.
I like Krugman most of the time but this is wanking.
joe from Lowell
Who said anything about Obama? This is a post about a broad, grass-roots-driven phenomenon, that Obama and the rest of the leadership would have to respond to.
The cure is simple: If you can’t vote for the candidate, you can not contrinbute to the candidate. Until that happens, all this blatther is like pissing in the wind. I forget who vectored me to:
but it was an eye opener. Mussoline said "Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merge of state and corporate power" That’s about where we are at. I’ll support any candidate, liberal or conservative, who will cut the strings. That’s the kind of populist uprising we need!
Unless and until term limits are instituted on all elected offices, I have no hope of any real change. At one time, long ago, serving in elected office was considered to be a public service, hence the referral to those elected officials as "public servants". Now, instead, elected office is a career and none of them seem to intend leaving the trough until forced to via electoral defeat and none of them are particularly interested in serving the public interest.
In order to keep winning re-election, the politician must beg for campaign funds and then pander to whomoever he or she can drag contributions from. Those funds, vital to the election process as currently constructed, buy access, if not outright favors. The granting of access and favors then results in ever more campaign contributions, thus continuing the turn of the hampster wheel that our political process has become.
When was the last time you saw an elected official, any elected official, do the right thing for the right reason, following their conscience, damn the electoral consequences? Take the AIG bonus debacle – do you really think our congress critters were really angry or do you think they were exhibiting a faux populist bent in order to win favor with the angry voters back home? Given the money thrown around in Washington on a daily basis, do you really think that $165M was a big deal to these people? Every position, every vote, is nuanced in order to either curry favor with the deep pockets that fund their campaigns or present a favorable persona to the voters back home who remain ignorant of who exactly their representatives really serve and who that service really benefits.
Laws to benefit consumers at the expense of corporate profit? What are you smoking?
I eagerly await a testimony from some wingnut who’s lost his health insurance, who might die from lack of medical care, and who claims he’s willing to get sick or die because it’s patriotic to oppose national health care.
Then again, considering how few of them were willing to volunteer to fight in the Iraq war, I shouldn’t expect any of them to put their money where their mouths are.
Without admitting to himself? McCain explicit ran a campaign with this is an explicit plank. Obama is going to take your money and give it to people on welfare. This is what Joe the plumber was about. This is pretty much all McCain had.
@guest2: I don’t even understand your comment, but beyond that, is it too much to ask that we stick to flaming me for post I write?
@A Different Matt:
But, A Different Matt, look at how the banks who received billions in funds from the various programs are now attempting to give the money back BUT CANNOT.
Early on it was infuriating to hear Geithner advocating for more money to be given to these greed-driven folk. We could see that they were saving their own asses with it and not using it to jump-start lending.
So when we look at Geithner’s early actions, which seemed to cater to bankers, compared to what is becoming clearer now, that they cannot return the money and are now subject to rules and regulations that they didn’t see coming when they stuffing money in their own pockets, we begin to sense a larger plan.
Something tells me we’re witnessing part of Obama’s "Checkmate"…or at least his "Check". Here’s hoping.
@Church Lady: I disagree. Term limits sound promising, but in effect we are seeing that they may make things worse.
1) You end up having ineffective legislators and executives because people with institutional knowledge and experience of how to get things done get kicked out.
2) Lobbyists don’t get kicked out. New legislators and executives are increasingly being shown "the ropes" on how to pass legislation by said lobbyists.
It’s not as though the newbies running for office won’t be getting corporate support. And, without name recognition and a legislative history to campaign on, perhaps corporate support will become MORE important to getting elected. Shiver.
It ain’t the credit card companies it’s the banks they partner with. Visa and MC don’t set rates or terms, the bank in the lower right corner of the card does that. AMEX doesn’t have many partnerships so in most cases AMEX sets the rates and terms but AMEX isn’t accused of ripping off anyone, just lowering their credit lines. There is currently legislation going through congress to stop most of the bad practices (raising your interest if they see your late on a car payment, house payment, or any other obligation [AMEX doesn’t do this BTW]) but it’s bank regulation so expect resistance from the clowns who blame it all on greedy people who can’t set a budget. Visa, MC and AMEX will get slapped but I don’t expect too much change*.
*No one cares about Discover
@Church Lady: There have been career politicians since the inception of the US. A lot of people here seem to have rather pollyanna views of history.
I couldn’t figure it out either. I gave it a shot because it’s similar to my incoherent writing style but it’s beyond my powers.
@Church Lady: (@ #20)
I know this is a cliched response, but, we already have term limits. They’re called elections. The problem, in my estimation, is the lack of critical thinking on the part of ‘us’, the electorate, unrealistic expectations of the political process, laziness (again, on the part of ‘us’), and decent information about the issues and the candidates for any given office.
You’re *coming* to believe this? Where exactly have you been for like the last 250 years mas o menos?
"Violence. It’s what’s fer dinner."
Like so many things in life, the answer is, it depends.
If legitimate anger is a starting point for answers to why what happened occurred and locating the solution to any problems, then yes, it could make a difference. But if anger devolves into a simple slogan of "FUCK THEM!" and "Off with their heads!," it’s not clear that anything constructive will happen.
I could be very, very wrong about this, and I hope I am, but there are more people than I thought would exist who think the answer to everything is banning something or punishing those involved in an industry. Not so much here, mind you, but in enough places where the simplistic, easy-to-please message that they are pitching could take hold if things get worse. That’s why I am glad we have level headed leaders like Obama. He hasn’t been perfect, but to me at least, he seems to acknowledge the problems and channel the appropriate amount of anger into solving them.
To be a little more specific as far as finance and banking is concerned, I don’t know what to think. It doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of middle ground between the side that wants to hang them by telephone poles and the side that wants to look the other way. If nothing else, maybe this time can be used to sneak in a stock transaction tax, which would probably net us $100-150 billion a year, no matter what the market conditions are. If I’m not mistaken, that’s the cost of Obama’s health care plan per year–or if it’s not, it’s a sizable chunk of that cost.
I long ago came to believe that human beings are a violent, violence-loving species.
(Edited to note that R-Jud beat me to it.)
This is good stuff. I would shorten it and call it something like "Overton Window", but that’s just me.
California already has term limits on every state and local office, from the governor on down, and look at the mess the state is in. We got "change" when term limits were imposed, change for the worse.
Instead of term limits, which I suspect would really lock out the good, experienced legislators and allow a lot of clowns to come into office, why not have some system which makes it easier for those who want to seek office to challenge the vested interests and current office holders? Some combination of public financing and some push to go against gerrymandering might do the trick.
The Tim Channel
When the whole house of cards comes crashing down, it’ll come.
I have read this over several times I am not sure how to process it.
Are we suggesting that most Americans are "angry?" Two thirds of them are giving the president a honeymoon right now. The number who think the country is on the right track is on a steep upward trajectory.
What percentage of Americans think that the economic crisis is because of poor people? Isn’t it about the same as the percentage who still think Iraq had WMDs?
Will the country change? Of course. Just as it has done in the past. Slowly, in zigs and zags, and not always in the best direction. And our capacity to do that still makes this the country to live in AFAIC. Look at the politics of the country from 2004 to 2008, at the national election level. If that isn’t profound change, then what the hell is it?
C’mon dslak. Your tolerance of the status quo leaves us with the old SS/DD. What do you see as a solution for returning power to the people? or have you completely given up?
Populism is only effective when a super-majority are on board. 50.5% doesn’t cut it. As long as 40%+ of the population is willing to vote against their economic self interest in order to make a cultural point, very little will change.
Leelee for Obama
There should be public financing of elections. There should be no lobbyist money for campaigning, fund-raising, or junkets. There should be full-disclosure of all spending, all earmarks, all that. There should be no revolving door from former or future CongressCritters. There should be sanity insofar as the Defense Budget, there should be freedom to form unions, there should be universal healthcare, there should be fair practices for all banking, there should be fairness and equality in the workplace. There should be a moral rule that says "Thou shalt not fuck your workers." There should be another that says "Thou shalt not steal from your employer."
I really don’t think this should need an uprising, but the way things look, maybe I’m wrong.
Yes, I believe that they are. I believe that most Americans feel that the economic crisis was avoidable to some extent and they’re angry that it wasn’t avoided.
Some blame rich execs, but many buy into the idea that it was caused by (poor, black) subprime mortgagees.
The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion
@Joe from Lowell;
Populist racism and cultural xenophobia in the Untied States (originally a spelling error, but I liked the implications) are recent phenomena? WTF? Ever hear of the colonization of the United States? The Indian Wars? Slavery? The 3/5 compromise? Bloody Kansas? The Know-Nothing Party? The admission of the Republic of Texas to the Union? Jacksonian Democracy & The Trail of Tears? The American Civil War? There were economic imperatives behind every damned one of them. Economic anger and racism/xenophobia are NOT mutually exclusive. Ever wondered what happened to the Grange movement? Ever hear of Tom Watson? Populism has a long history of starting out with noble ambitions and devolving into explicitly racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic violence. Try reading some history before pontificating about it.
I guess I don’t understand the value of "experienced" legislators. Experienced in what, exactly? Writing laws? That’s what assistants are for. Knowing the so-called "history" of issues? The insider view of the history of issues involves whatever the lobbyist with the winning bid allows; the outsider view of issues is probably much more beneficial to the constituents. No, "experience" is usually a euphemism for "seniority", which means "I am able to game the system." I think we need less of that, not more. If we are going to keep privately funded elections, then I think we need term limits so corporations know they can only lease a legislator, not buy him/her.
Let me guess, you are just back from a gun show?
Or, you just came from a seminar on how to fake bad typing to create more believable spoof?
I have been listening to a lecture about our international system, and the lecturer said that when it comes to the problem of conflict and violence in the world, it is very wrong to set up the expectation that one thing like Democracy or Commerce will solve the problem. Its even wrong to believe that those things together will solve the problem. The world just doesn’t work that way. Things are the way they are not because they are carefully constructed by Top Down ideologies. Things are the way they are because they are based on incredibly powerful, base level human instincts: the desire to do what we want and the desire to impose that on other people. This is not easily broken, if indeed, it is even possible.
I wonder if that is the same case here. I wonder if it’s wrong to believe that a Policy or Event will change overnight a system (oligarchy) that has been a great power in all governments for the last, what, 2-3000 years? Rich people fuck poor people because rich people want more money. And so they take it. And then they payoff politicians who also want to be rich, so that the politicians make laws to make the rich people even richer so that they can be rich themselves. So it has been and probably always will be from Crassus to Robert Rubin.
I wonder if our desire to see this change is so strong that it is creating an expectation that is impossible for reality to meet, and if our cynicism will just continue its cycle, because we expect too much.
I have no clue. But the comment about international relations really struck me as being true and I wonder if it applies here. We should be careful not to expect too much from populism or anything that doesn’t fundamentally address the rot at the core. I wonder if that thing even exists. :(
@passerby: Ah, so now recognizing that political corruption didn’t originate in the late 20th century is now endorsing the status quo? I suppose I should add a lack of elementary reasoning to the list.
I think the last year alot of us were angry enough to make phone calls, knock on doors and send money to change things. Until more people get involved and pay attention over the long haul nothing will change. I’m hoping we can churn up a few more leaders with the skill to channel anger to constructive use. This hope thing is unfamiliar but I’m trying to roll with it.
I just cannot express the amount of glee this quote brings me :)
@A Different Matt:
Yep. But the bankers don’t all have a common interest. Goldman was more than ecstatic to see Lehman go down at Paulson’s hands.
Obama is there to protect "their" interests, even if they all have a Randian view of themselves. Tough talk makes good play, but in then end, a populace that bends over and watches their 401k tank doesn’t have the slightest clue where their pitchfork is.
America has exactly the government and system it deserves. It would just be nice if the Executive, Congress and Titans wore wifebeaters to make it clear to us.
Wow, I haven’t seen this much "most people would say" nonsense since Darrell was posting here.
Sorry, no sale. I don’t think most Americans are angry, and if they feel some agita at the daily news, I doubt that there is any widespread anger at anything in particular. I think they are generally optimistic that we have turned a corner and can get on a better track, but like you, my hunch is a hunch and I can’t prove it. It’s just based on hanging around and talking to a lot of different people IRL. My info stream begins at the Safeway checkout counter. That’s the most reality-based forum I know of. Pure anecdotal, from the urban core of a very mixed city politically, the capitol of a red state. Goldwater country. I ate a sandwich with Rome Again last week literally in the shadow of John McCain’s condo. Not feelin it, Doug. Sorry.
@LD50 : Speaking of healthcare, maybe you’ve heard of this right wing asshole, the founder of "Moorewatch.com", Jim Kenefick. (quote from from the Democratic Underground, I can’t find it on Moore’s site anymore )
Then after Moore gave him the money the ‘effin tosser went right back to dissing Moore with his web site. If you need more evidence of what we’re up against with the sociopaths on the right and their pathetic Wal-Mart Republican enablers, I can’t help you.
/goes back to sharpening pitchfork prongs with DeWalt hand grinder, muttering about karma…
I’m convinced term limits are the political version of cutting of one’s nose to spite one’s face. This "long time ago" you speak of when officials were "public servants" never really existed. Even if you go back to the founding of our country, or the Jackson era, you see that important entrenched special interests (slaveowners/plantationers in the case of the founding, banksters in the person of the Bank of the US in the Jackson era) manipulated the politicians and called the shots.
The "public servants" line is a mythology, which depends on the example of a select few "outsider" politicians which are the exceptions that prove the rule. The same applies to the "career politicians" slur–before we had "career politicians", we had independently wealthy folks who could afford to take a negligible salary to raise their own status as a politician. The rise of "career politicians" was actually an important democratic innovation that broke up the total domination of politics by the wealthy.
But term limits DO NOT accomplish what they set out to do. Rather than making politicians less responsive to special interests, they make them MORE responsive–since now they’re looking out for their future career interests, and being the patron of a particular industry is a great way to be employed when the term limits come up. Moreover, they dramatically decrease the pool of legislators familiar with issues and procedure, so legislators become more dependent on unelected lobbyists and holdover staffers to understand the issues–and those folks become the "new" power base in the capitol. This is basically the story of California since term limits have been enacted.
@The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion
Yee-ouch. Not to defend Joe from L or anything because he’s a clueless punk, but damn! If we actually understood anything before we commented on it this here blogola would have about 3 regular commenters. And Laura W ruling them all from her hidden lair.
Actually, not unlike the current situation. Carry on.
And I personally think it’s aprocryphal and complete bullshit. The fuck his administration is in any way stopping anything. They’re basically lying out their ass, same ole same ole.
All evidence to this point shows us that his admin is enabling these fucking crooks to continue their illicit activities. What has been stopped, curbed or otherwise held to account?
These guys are worth mega-millions and could board a private jet *right now* to any of a dozen destinations worldwide and live like kings for the rest of their lives.
Fuck this silly ass quote.
Before I go to commune with my red state peeps again, just this addendum:
People are scared. They are scared that healthcare costs will ruin them, that they will lose their jobs and their insurance, that they won’t be able to retire or send their kids to college.
Scared much more than they are angry. Angry people get heard on blogs and in the paper and on tv, but they aren’t the rule, IMV.
And they are expectant, that things will get fixed, but not sure yet that it will be in time to spare them serious pain.
That’s my take on where people are. And I am talking about my neighbors who are a mix of red state Republicans and good Democrats, and a lot of Don’t Label Me’s.
That wouldn’t be much of a scam, would it?
Holy Shi’ite? We have a genuine idiot in the White House. Since when are citizens ready to march on the bankers? It’s the politicians they go after, example: Protestors Outside Karl Rove’s Home
…and what’s this:
By Bill H, who was born yesterday. I’ll be that films like "Saw XXX" and lots of others are bankrolled by right-wingers – because that’s what Hollywood’s all about…
The more you "liberals" believe your own bullshit, the worse it’s going to get.
Yes, I do have the ability to converse with the dead, if you are in need of such services, please contact me. ;)
Maybe we can’t have populism or straight up nationalization of industries, but I do like how Treasury is getting a stake in banks, forcing them to take TARP money, and then telling them what to do. In the absence of any balls on the part of Congress, the next best thing to do is to use the spending clause and the threat of an onerous use of regulatory power and the bully pulpit until these bankers agree to act responsibly and work for social justice. So a few industries get more or less nationalized and the government gets in the business of picking winners and losers… big deal. It’s still bound to be a fairer allocation of wealth than what the Republicans’ discredited laissez faire capitalism brought us.
It would just be nice if the Executive, Congress and Titans wore wifebeaters to make it clear to us.
The quotes around liberals is a cute touch. I picture you making those first-two-finger gestures as you say it. Very convincing.
But anyway, if it’s a choice between our bullshit, and your bullshit then I’m afraid that choice isn’t that hard, compadre.
Maybe it’s a mix of fear and anger. Either, I think, can motivate populism.
It has in the past. That’s part of how we got regulation in the first place, and unions. What is required is organization and leadership.
No shit. Sign me the hell up. They can scam me 10 times a week.
Only a winger idiot would think taking a 33% premium for laundering cash is a bad deal.
Please, anyone who needs to wash multi-thousands of dollars – let me know.
Electing a first term black senator named Barack Hussein Obama president by almost ten million votes, four years after reelecting the absurd George Bush, doesn’t strike you as being a little bit of a populist turn?
What I am saying is, the populist corner has already been turned. Not driven by any one imperative, but by a number of imperatives. A desire to try something new, and apparently more people-centric than the old government.
It will be a couple of years at least before we know how that turned out. Meanwhile, do you have anything to eat? I’m starved.
HA!HA!HA!…Oh wait, you were serious?
"threat of an onerous use of regulatory power"…"these bankers agree to act responsibly and work for social justice"
Holy mother of fuck me sideways. God damn.
So am I. Let’s go eat. You’re late. ;)
I liked that one too. And how did those CEO assholes like being told their excuses for why they felt entitled to millions were bullshit?
Says one of them: “The signal from Obama’s body language and demeanor was, ‘I’m the president, and you’re not.’”
Why, the nerve of that uppity negro, acting like he’s important or something! Who the hell does he think is anyway? It’s not like he’s the head of a Fortune 500 company.
Fuck these CEO assholes. Fuck these arrogant assholes with their inflated sense of importance, privilege and entitlement. I’m thinking that kind of assholery goes so deep only real pitchforks can reach it.
Well then, things are only looking up for O’Reilly and Beck. At least their viewers know where you can get a pitchfork.
I bet the BofA and Citi guys could barely restrain themselves from cracking up when Obama tried playing bad cop with them.
This site has a real issue with blockquotes. Maybe they dated in a previous life and now BQ just can’t get past his jealousy.
Read my comment again please. I said tolerating not endorsing. I’m still waiting for your opinion and/or ideas on how you think the people can gain traction against corporate machines.
And I’ll fix that to say "a lack of elementary reading" and toss it back at’cha.
I see, unless we do what you conservatives say, us "liberals" will never win any elections, eh?
Ah, yes, and here I thought the aristotelian concern troll was extinct.
Not an issue at all if you read my link. ;)
Nope. They were *totally* pissing themselves. They then left, got into their limos, ate their caviar and drank champagne on the way to a private airport, boarded one of their several private Gulfstreams, flew to Barbados or the Bahamas and had one of their 30 staff clean their pants and serve them fresh mimosas down by their private beach outside their 150 acre estate on the water.
"I am Obama! Destroyer of all the billions you have stolen! Do as I say or the peopleses will get you and eat you!"
Fuck this silliness.
Little Dreamer @74 –
I’m a hetero male but I love you, whoever you are. And let them condemn us for our love if they must!
Years ago, I saw a cartoon that depicted a voter coming out of the booth, slapping his forehead, and exclaiming, "I can’t believe I voted for that guy again!"
Still, I favor keeping existing term limits for POTUS. I guess I’m a conservative.
@passerby: In this context, that’s a difference without a distinction. I do appreciate the firm demand for answers to arbitrary questions, however. Does that routine usually work for you?
Liberal application of paragraph tags solves most problems.
@passerby: An epidemic of lead poisoning and open, shallow graves immediately come to mind. Power concedes nothing without the fear of a righteous, humiliating ass-kicking or worse. Never has, never will. This isn’t colonial British-run India, and his name isn’t Barack Ghandi. That’ll never happen again.
Enablers in the Media should be the first to go if we ever hope to turn things around.
"Corporate Machines"… This is starting to sound like a prequel to the Terminator movies. Ye Gods.
One thing that makes term limits so atractive is that congress-critters seem to lose touch when they start foraging in other pastures.
How would you feel about netmeetings in place of physical meetings for congress? The only physical meetings be cermonial or impeachment.
Think of the alphabet soup that would make of K street!
BTW dslak, your original [email protected] Lady:
is a good observation. but this:
is just condescension.
Yeah, I’m kind of a lazy jackass. No one here will deny.
@passerby: Besides condescension, sarcasm and just plain belligerance are also services I offer.
Do you mean because it’d be harder for a lobbyist to press his case long distance, or because the representative would stay closer to his/her populace and therefore more responsive, or both?
I think I agree with you in that representatives can become isolated and start to agree that the lobbyists needs are *actual* important points of view.
How many of us will this site withstand?
ETA – Fuck! That is my complete gameplan! Now what?
This is a good point. The most recent example being the type of questions asked at Obama’s last white house press conference. They were designed to spark the petty quarrels that provide the fodder for nightly ratings. Is the press corps not allowed to ask pointed questions?
@Corner Stone: Since supply has always exceeded demand for these services, we needn’t worry about the extent of our inventory.
Evidently, you do it well. Keep up the good work, I guess.
What’s the evidence that the reporter’s direct quote from Obama is apocryphal? Sure it’s from Politico, but unless you think they are making shit up wholesale it’s not likely. Especially that quote. Too easy to disprove, too risky if making up shit is what the reporter is trying to do.
As for bullshit — well if you don’t know what apocryphal means or can’t figure out how unlikely bogus attributions would be in this context –and make no effort whatsoever to show why it would be — then you’re not off to a good start to convince me you know bullshit when you see it.
And that’s not surprising because you contradict your own assertion. It took you exactly one paragraph to show your own claim of bullshit is bullshit.
If as you say the Obama administration is enabling these assholes to continue doing what they are doing and it’s really the same ‘ol same ‘ol, that he is protecting them from accountability then his administration is in fact the one thing standing between them and accountability.
Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ on a Stick, you claim it’s bullshit and then 3 sentences later you agree with it.
Methinks you are full of shit yourself.
Merciful Allah! Put down the fucking kool-aid for a second.
My point was that this quote attributed to Obama is complete shit. Who fucking cares what he says about keeping the wolves at bay? It’s just not true.
"Gentleman, please continue to keep raping our nation. But know this – I am the only barrier between you and the hard boot of the proletariat."
Fuck you and fuck this stupid context. Obama isn’t keeping anyone or any power at bay. As srv says, Obama can try and play "bad cop" all he wants. To what effect? The exact same outcome that anyone with a brain would expect. The banksters will continue their actions, the Obama administration will continue expressing their faux outrage, and everyone else will continue getting fucked.
The quote is bullshit. It’s like me climbing to the top of Yankee Stadium and demanding the wind stop blowing.
"I demand you pay me attention or else I will make things less than optimal for you, you mega-millionaires!"
ETA – Fuck you again.
You were probably one of those people who fainted when Obama sneezed on stage, right?
Yeah, I used to think that, too. But not at Swampland. They’re either stripped out or ignored…
Oooo! My nipples are all tingly because Obama gots teh tuff with the dreaded banksters!
My lower extremitehs are all a twitter!
Jesus Christ, you’ve made your point, give it a rest.
Are you any relation to WD40?
The Bible says, "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks and they shall learn war no more." Isaiah 2:4. It is printed on the United Nations building as a prophetic wisdom of how they will solve the world problems they create by ignoring God’s wisdom. Instead of an employment lifestyle, God is calling for a garden paradise lifestyle that solves all world problems with that one strategy.
Barack Obama, our Harry Potter Book lover, is standing strong against the word of God and thinks that it will not come to pass. He has been reading too many witchcraft-sorcery books to his young daughters and does not realize that sorcery brings a curse from God and cannot overcome the world problems. No guidance from God comes to one who enjoys witchcraft novels and movies so we are going the wrong way, borrowing money to continue an oppressive system that increases the cost of everything and makes bankers and insurance companies rich. God warned that system is coming down, especially if Barack Obama stands in the way between businesses and pitchforks.
@Corner Stone: in comment #94
Who the heck do you think you are? Chris Matthews?
@Bill H #97
Ouch. Sir, you have vanquished me.
@Corner Stone: Both and more. Who the congress-critter associates with for lunch, diner and banking would be observable by the constituents.
We can do this: if congressional business can only be conducted in the district or state then the behaviour not only is observable but is susceptable to state law.
My wingnut family that would rather die than have national health care currently has two members on welfare and getting their state’s el cheapo health coverage for indigents. Should I point out to them that all the "lazy lefties" in the family are paying their own way AND paying taxes for these right wingers?
@Marie Devine: Uh-oh. So Obamas’ reading a handful of books of fiction to his daughters nullifies the years of support and participation in worship in his Christian Church? Books in which these young "sorcerers" participated in celebrating Christmas with their families?
Svensker @ 101: Yes.
Sort of a microcosm of American political geography in general.
@ Marie Devine: Did I mention I’m listening to the Dixie Chicks as I type this?
Hell yes. I wouldn’t hesitate but a moment. Call them welfare queens *liberally*. When they complain ask them what the fuck makes them different from anyone else who needs assistance. Do it at Easter.
Mind you, I’ve only ever known two people who received welfare in my life. Both of them are white Republicans. Republicans should be given only a percentage of what we give everyone else – seeing as how they are so opposed to the programs in the first place.
My ambitions are modest. I was only addressing blockquote problems here at Balloon Juice. When Obama announces his Paragraph Tag Initiative I’ll be as skeptical as anyone.
The California experience suggests that term limits have made legislators more prone to special interests and lobbyists, not less.
The reason why this is the case is because legislators spend more time preparing themselves for another elected office (which are often statewide positions) and require oodles of money that these special interests can deliver. And since legislators are inexperienced, they rely on lobbyists to fill gaps in their knowledge of issues.
Furthermore, when legislators know they’re going to be termed out in a couple years, they don’t bother making the long-term, tedious changes because they know it won’t be their problem anymore (see: kicking can down the road, California budget woes). So term limits actually shorten political time horizons, ensuring that necessary, long-term changes will never happen because these legislators will have been long gone before the benefits of such reform are felt.
Okay, fine. Maybe he needs to point some disgruntled Republicans at them and say "them jew bankers is going to take yer guns!" The important thing is he’s going to take their toys from them, hopefully, through executive compensation limits and other controls on their irresponsibility.
Good, because everyone that does get it seems to always start wars, genocide and purges.
You poor fucking child.
I’ll tell you what. Give me the keys to your buick and I’ll be your sledgehammer.
All you do is call me. I’ll be anything you need.
Why don’t you call you my name? This will be my testimony.
@passerby: A colleague and I were discussing the last presser and I said, "That’s why town halls are more interesting than these things. Ordinary folks come up with real questions. Y’know, that people like us would actually be interested in the answers to."
She said, "Yeah, but some of those questions from the ‘ordinary folks’ this last time were really stupid." I pointed out that this was a press conference – there were no questions from ‘ordinary folks.’ And she said, "OMG! You’re right! Those questions were all from reporters.
. . . . They’re really pathetic, aren’t they?"
(She’s a communications prof, btw.)
I’m going to fucking haunt you until you retort this beauty.
Y’know, I don’t get you, Justice. You used to be into all this girl stuff. Stealing, boning, blowing shit up, and now you’re like this little priss with a conscience. It’s really a fucking drag.
‘Retort this beauty’?
re the obama/ceo meeting, al giordano made a mockery of sirota’s crystal ball gazing.
Um, yeah. It’s not art if I have to explain it.
God has a habit of speaking to whom he chooses, not who his followers want to listen to.
You still haven’t explained why you think the quote is bullshit. Lots of fuckyous, lots of shit. Maybe that’s all you got?
Or maybe it’s no longer art if you have to explain that?
You aren’t very good at this. As a hyperventilating spoof you’re pretty lame.
well if you don’t know what apocryphal means or can’t figure out how unlikely bogus attributions would be in this context
If as you say the Obama administration is enabling these assholes to continue doing what they are doing and it’s really the same ‘ol same ‘ol, that he is protecting them from accountability then his administration is in fact the one thing standing between them and accountability.
Ok, I clearly have blockquote fail. Just like that, but reverse it.
It’s obvious that I haven’t, and no I won’t.