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Obama’s Economic Misfits Finally Get It

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Posted on Jun 17, 2009
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, left, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

By Robert Scheer

          Now they tell us.

          On Monday, two men with considerable responsibility for enabling the banking meltdown confronted the error of their ways. Not directly, of course, for accountability is hardly the mark of either Lawrence Summers, the top White House economic adviser, or Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

          Their careers have long been fueled by error. Summers was one of the leading prophets of radical financial deregulation in the Clinton administration. And Geithner, as head of the New York Fed, looked the other way during Wall Street’s collapse and then responded by opening wide the spigot of taxpayer dollars to resuscitate Citigroup and AIG.

          What they wrote this week in a joint Op-Ed article in The Washington Post is a condemnation of the Wall Street shenanigans they once abetted and celebrated. I hope their apparent sudden conversion to common sense indicates the seriousness of the banking regulation plan that President Obama will present to Congress today.

          “Over the past two years, we have faced the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression,” they wrote, placing the blame squarely where it belongs, on the unregulated derivatives markets they once gushed over. “The current financial crisis had many causes ... in the widespread use of poorly understood financial instruments, in shortsightedness and excessive leverage at financial institutions. But it was also the product of basic failures in financial supervision and regulation.”

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          What irony that Summers, who as Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary pushed through legislation guaranteeing “legal certainty for Swap Agreements” and banning the regulation of securitized mortgage debt, should now admit that “securitization led to an erosion of lending standards, resulting in market failure that fed the housing boom and deepened the housing bust.”

          According to Summers and Geithner, the Obama plan to be revealed today promises that all derivatives dealers will be “subject to supervision, and regulators will be empowered to enforce rules against manipulation and abuse.”

          If such language is ever passed into law, I hope that Brooksley Born is in the gallery and gets the standing ovation she deserves. That’s the woman who, when she headed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, warned that the derivatives market needed to be regulated. Summers and his predecessor as treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, destroyed Born’s career because she dared to accurately predict today’s crisis.

          But better late than never, although it’s a shame that Obama’s economic whiz kids are only now getting serious about cracking down on Wall Street hustlers after first guaranteeing their toxic paper with trillions of taxpayer dollars. Nor should we assume that the Obama plan will not be subverted by the financial industry lobbyists, whose enormous campaign treasure chest, now financed by taxpayers, allows them to slice and dice congressional voting blocs the way they did subprime mortgages.

          Already there’s a joker in the deck of the Obama proposal in that it relies heavily on the Federal Reserve, which on the regional level is fully controlled by the very financial industry firms that it is expected to monitor. Summers and Geithner write that “all large, interconnected firms whose failure could threaten the stability of the system will be subject to consolidated supervision by the Federal Reserve.” Like we never heard that one before.

          Because of bad deregulation laws, those large, interconnected firms were allowed to grow to the point where their failure indeed threatened “the stability of the system.” What we need to do is return to the basic principle of the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act (which Clinton reversed) that broke up “too big to fail” financial conglomerates because, by definition, when such companies threaten to fail, we taxpayers are left picking up the tab.

          It was depressing that the president told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he favors “a relatively light touch when it comes to the government ... in terms of financial regulation.” And that “[w]e had a regulatory system that was outdated that did not encompass the non-bank sector.”

          Nonsense. We had a regulatory system inherited from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that for 60 years sustained a wall between the traditional heavily regulated banks and the non-bank hustlers on Wall Street who should have never been allowed to play their funny money games with people’s savings and home mortgages. That wall was torn down by President Clinton at the behest of Wall Street lobbyists and now must be restored if there is to be true reform. The reforms presented by Obama are an important start, but I worry they do not face up to the reality that financial conglomerates too big to fail are too big to be allowed to exist.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By KDelphi, June 22, 2009 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Therer are so many “new” “Sociaists”, “Anarchists” Anarcho-Socialists, Anarcho-INdustrialists, Libertarian-Socialists, etc, today, I dont really know what its meant by any of them.

I do know that they “all seem to disagree”! At least, on the internt…

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By Bud, June 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Robert Scheer is remarkably naive.  These two aren’t changing their stripes.  Can we arrest them for fraudulent conveyance of public monies yet?

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By Anarcissie, June 20, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

PhreedomPhan:
’>By Anarcissie, June 19 at 8:01 pm #

  PhreedomPhan:
  ’...  Since socialism and fascism are also totalitarian forms….’

Socialism, as defined by its originators, is the ownership or control of the means of production by the workers or by the people in general.  There is nothing particularly totalitarian about it.<

To be honest, I don’t think the definition of the originators has much if anything to do with the reality of socialism today.  To me it’s much like Martha’s “abstract” concept of left and right.

The question naturally arises: How do they intend to achieve this.  Almost certainly by strength of government.  By fiat.  By dictate.  It almost necessitates totalitarian government to succeed.

I’ve enjoyed exchanging thoughts with you, but I think this is a waste of time so I plan to leave.  CYA somewhere in our internet travels.’

Actually, most of those currently calling themselves socialists that I read about are democratic welfare-statists well-soaked in liberalism.

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By MarthaA, June 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

PhreedomPhan,

Communism has been used in its proper form by Israel—when Israel set up their government, according to Mikhail Gorbachev, which he said was never achieved in Russia.

Anarchy is chaos when a government goes down, anarchy isn’t a point on the political spectrum, there’s 360 degrees of possibility that exist on the sphere of anarchy, not just two little points of a binary frame. Anarchy can be on the right as well as the left.

On the political spectrum, conservatism, autocracy, fascism and totalitarianism are far right; and liberalism, socialism, true communism and democracy are far Left.  The right uses “selective socialism” and “selective communism” for the few, rather than the many; at the present time this practice has been employed to bail out greedy corrupt bankers of the right from their failed capital at the expense of the many for the benefit of a few.  Conservatism is an awfully greedy.

Freedom is the absence of oppression that doesn’t care whether it is on the left or the right.  The concern of freedom is not just freedom as defined;  but the number of people that have freedom in a society; whether or not freedom exists for a select minority at the expense of the majority, or whether freedom exists for the majority that is inclusive of the minority.  Your logic is flawed.

As long as there is a conservative right-wing duopoly hydra as both the left and the right; left-wing democracy will be squelched.

Your neo-con stuff is drivel.  The neo-cons came from the Nixon administration and they were far from creative, but followed strict conservative doctrine.

Wilson, Roosevelt, Clinton and Obama, are/were creative problem solvers:  *Wilson created the Federal Reserve Central Banking System—- Hoover brought the economy down.  *Roosevelt put the economy back together—- Nixon took the country off the gold standard to enable massive government spending and began deregulation—- Reagan took the country into deficit spending and continued deregulation—- *Clinton, although outsourcing our jobs with Trade Agreements and deregulating, created a surplus in the economy—- Bush finished deregulating and totally destroyed the existing economy—- *Obama is in the process of restoring the economy and putting new regulation in place.  Hoover, Nixon, Reagan and Bush were conservative opportunists.

There is no way both sides did every bit as much to destroy this country.  If you really believe what you have said, you have no understanding at all of history.  History that was creatively made and must be conservatively preserved, if we expect, as a people, not to relive the past over and over again.

“You people”, never give up on your disingenuous rhetoric of “confidence without merit”, but it doesn’t work as well as it did in the past, and in the future, as awareness increases, I see a time when REPUBLICAN rhetoric will not work at all, and the masses of the population will hold “you people” accountable for your actions that serve only your greedy self-interest against the interest of the 70% MAJORITY Common Population.

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By MarthaA, June 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

PhreedomPhan,

Art abstracts are a false analogy, they do not deal with creation and the conservation of creation, realistic art deals with realistic perception; and neither actualize creative concepts that take form and substance beyond a simple depiction of perception. Based on your art analogy, you have confused the “perception of reality” with reality.

It is impossible to put abstract aside to deal with reality, as everything that’s been created was created from the abstract and everything that will be created will be created from the abstract.  That which is literal can’t exist without creation from the abstract, if you put aside the abstract, you put aside that which the abstract creates, which IS the literal, neither can exist as a singularity.  Conservatism is dependent upon creation.  Since abstracts create realities, how do you propose to deal with reality as a singularity in the absence of its own creation?  Looks like a paradox to me.

You’re following a rhetorically binary and emotional thought process or frame, which is propaganda, as you are splitting the diversity of creation into 2 polarized emotional choices and presenting a rhetorical choice between those same two choices on everything you have stated, while eliminating all creative factors of abstraction, reducing everything down to just two views in a dynamic world.

(PhreedomPhan answer cont. in following post)

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By herewegoagain, June 19, 2009 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phreedom Phan writes: “Not a problem.  I may have over reacted.  Understand that, since I first came on the internet I’ve been attacked by left and right.  I’ve been called a Rep and a “con” and a lot worse by some and a Dem and a “lib” and a lot worse by others.”

I know what you mean. I’ve been in so many Internet “debates” that at this point, I tend to speed-read posts, see a few familiar phrases, and think I can deduce the rest of the post from there. That basically happened with our exchange, and is a good reminder to me to pay closer attention to what I’m reading.

See ya around.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 19, 2009 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

>By Anarcissie, June 19 at 8:01 pm #

  PhreedomPhan:
  ’...  Since socialism and fascism are also totalitarian forms….’

Socialism, as defined by its originators, is the ownership or control of the means of production by the workers or by the people in general.  There is nothing particularly totalitarian about it.<

To be honest, I don’t think the definition of the originators has much if anything to do with the reality of socialism today.  To me it’s much like Martha’s “abstract” concept of left and right.

The question naturally arises: How do they intend to achieve this.  Almost certainly by strength of government.  By fiat.  By dictate.  It almost necessitates totalitarian government to succeed.

I’ve enjoyed exchanging thoughts with you, but I think this is a waste of time so I plan to leave.  CYA somewhere in our internet travels.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

>By herewegoagain, June 19 at 3:55 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

Phreedom Phan, I am not intentionally twisting your words, I simply neglected to read *all* the words you’ve posted on this thread.

We’re certainly on the same page here. I believe I misunderstood you and thought you were advocating anything goes for corporations.<

Not a problem.  I may have over reacted.  Understand that, since I first came on the internet I’ve been attacked by left and right.  I’ve been called a Rep and a “con” and a lot worse by some and a Dem and a “lib” and a lot worse by others.  Always, when they couldn’t refute what I said, they wrote in their own meaning and refuted that.  I thought I was in that situation again.

I’m actually opposed to all collectives.  In my lifetime I’ve found very few people who weren’t basically decent as individuals, but somehow, when you put two or more people together in a group, be it a corporation, union, brotherhood, religion, political party or any other grouping they seem to look for some way to shaft a third person who isn’t a member of their group.  I think government should deal with all people as individuals and people should deal with government as individuals.  I know it will never happen, but unless it does, history will repeat itself over and over and history is not kind.

Anyway, nothing personal, but I think this whole thread is a waste of time.  I cutting out to look for something more productive to do.

CYA round.

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By Anarcissie, June 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

PhreedomPhan:
’...  Since socialism and fascism are also totalitarian forms….’

Socialism, as defined by its originators, is the ownership or control of the means of production by the workers or by the people in general.  There is nothing particularly totalitarian about it.

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By Anarcissie, June 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3:
‘Anarcissie wrote:
“Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that it was set up properly in the first place, or that the money wasn’t subsequently stolen. “
___________________________________________________

Anarcissie,

On what basis you are saying the SS was not set up propely??!!.’

Paying out present receipts as if they were income from investments.  That’s what a Ponzi scheme does.  This arrangement made the initial Social Security payments rather low, and they would continue to be low as long as the population was growing rapidly, which was the case immediately after World War 2.  The beneficiaries got a substantial return on investment, which made the program very popular, not only among those who received benefits but those who anticipated getting them later.  However, when population growth slacked off, the government was confronted with the problem of having the smaller “Generation X” pay for the large “Boomer” generation.  The mills of arithmetic grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small.  It was necessary to raise the Social Security payments considerably.  Had this money been separated from other government income and invested properly, and had the government not been fiddling with printing money and other financial games, then a reasonable basis would have been established, but of course as MarthaA points out the money was stolen instead.  There has been one scam after another.

Another, ongoing deception involved with Social Security has been the theater of having half the payments come from the employer.  In fact, both halves come from the employee; the employer simply reduces the wages offered by whatever is necessary to cover the Social Security payment and whatever other benefits he offers.

None of this should surprise anyone.  The fundamental idea of the state is that some people should have power over others.  As true knowledge is power, the ruling class of the state must deny it to those they want to control, that is, the rest of the population.  Hence the propensity for the government—politicians, bureaucrats, cops—to rely on deception and obfuscation as a habit, indeed, as stock in trade.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Ismael,

There’s no question Garrett had it together.

It’s been many years since I read “The Revolution Was.”  I did quote part of it in one of my blogs, but I don’t remember the whole treatise.  If Garrett left it at a revolutionary intellectual elite as the force behind the revolution, then I have to disagree with him.  No idea goes anywhere without money behind it.  I know of no significant “ism” that doesn’t have considerable financing.

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By MarthaA, June 19, 2009 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

truthdigger3,

The Social Security figures are at the Social Security’s website:

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TR/2009/tr09.pdf

They have the trust fund recorded in billions, but it’s less space recorded in trillions since 1,000 billion is a trillion.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 19, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Martha, you can have your Picasso if you like, but I’ll take the reality of a good landscape painting.  I feel the same about politics.

A spectrum in the real world goes from one extreme to the other.  For example, from the shortest wave length to the longest.  Putting abstracts aside to deal with realities, a political spectrum must also go from one extreme to the other.  In other words, from totalalitarianism, total government, to anarchy, no government at all.  It’s customary to place communism with its ownership and control of everything by the state on the left.  I really don’t care whether we put it on the left or on the right, either way the opposite is anarchy.  Since socialism and fascism are also totalitarian forms, it is only logical to place them on the same side as Communism.  Again, I don’t care whether you call it the right or the left, they belong together. 

The deceptive spectrum we are given has Communism on the left and Fascism on the right leaving us with socialism as “middle of the road.”  Nowhere are we given the choice of any form of limited government which must lie somewhere between the extremes of the three totalitarian socialist forms and anarchy.  It would seem freedom is not an option.

As to who has taken over who, take a good look at the “Neo-Cons.”  This was a gang of McGovern liberals who ported over to the Republican party.  and drove it so far to the “abstract” left that the “liberal” Democrats are our new “abstract” “right-wing.”

Am I the only one tired of the “Fascist” cries aimed by one socialist gang at rival socialists?  Am I the only one sick of the constant whining of those who idolize Wilson, Roosevelt, Clinton and Obama, socialists who did or are doing every bit as much to destroy this country as did the Hoover, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush socialists?

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By herewegoagain, June 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phreedom Phan, I am not intentionally twisting your words, I simply neglected to read *all* the words you’ve posted on this thread.

For example, I missed this statement by you in a post to someone else:

“I’ll go you one better, though.  Allow no corporations, or at least give them no special status under the law.  Corporations with lives beyond those of their founders only create a closed society such as that of Europe that so many of our early settlers sought to escape and to which we have now regressed.”

We’re certainly on the same page here. I believe I misunderstood you and thought you were advocating anything goes for corporations.

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By ishmael, June 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The paralell between the Obama and the Roosevelt:
People’s Pottage:—

“This revolutionary elite was nothing you could define as a party.  It had no name, no habitat, no rigid line.  The only party was the Communist Party, and it was included;  but its attack was too obvious and its proletarianism too crude, and moreover, it was under the stigma of not belonging.  Nobody could say that about the elite above.  It did belong, it was eminently respectable, and it knew the American scene.  What it represented was a quantity of bitter intellectual radicalism infiltrated from the top downward as a doctorhood of professors, writers, critics, analysts, advisers, administrators, directors of research, and so on—a prepared revolutionary intelligence in spectacles.  There was no plan to begin with.  But there was a shibboleth that united them all: ‘Capitalism is finished.’  There was one idea in which all differences could be resolved, namely, the idea of a transfer of power.  For that a united front; after that, anything.  And the wine of communion was a passion to play upon history with a scientific revolutionary technic.”


“There was probably no blueprint of the New Deal, nor even a clear drawing.  Such things as the A.A.A. and the Blue Eagle were expedient inventions.  What was concealed from the people was a general revolutionary intention—the intention, that is, to bring about revolution in the state, within the form of law.  This becomes clear when you set down what it was the people thought they were voting for in contrast with what they got.  They thought they were voting:

“For less government, not more;

“For an end of deficit spending by government, not deficit spending raised to the plane of a social principle, and,

“For sound money, not as the New Deal afterward defined it, but as everybody then understood it, including Senator Glass, formerly Secretary of the Treasury, who wrote the money plank in the Democratic party platform and during the campaign earnestly denounced as akin to treason any suggestion that the New Deal was going to do what it did forthwith proceed to do, over his dramatic protest.

“The first three planks of the Democratic Party platform read as follows:

  We advocate:
  ‘1.  An immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus and eliminating extravagance, to accomplish a saving of not less than 25 per cent in the cost of Federal government….
  ‘2.  Maintenance of the national credit by a Federal budget annually balanced….
  ‘3.  A sound currency to be maintained at all hazards.’

“Mr. Roosevelt pledged himself to be bound by this platform as no President had ever before been bound by a party document.  All during the campaign he supported it with words that could not possibly be misunderstood.  He said:

”  ‘I accuse the present Administration (Hoover’s) of being the greatest spending Administration in peace time in all American history—one which piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission, and has failed to anticipate the dire needs or reduced earning power of the people.  Bureaus and bureaucrats have been retained at the expense of the taxpayer. ... We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary.  In addition to this, we are attempting too many functions and we need a simplification of what the Federal government is giving to the people.’ ”

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By MarthaA, June 19, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

PhreedomPhan,

Whether you accept it or not, there is a Political Left and a Political Right that have been taken over by a political RIGHT-WING duopoly.  The Political Left and the Political Right are abstract thoughts, like the numbering system and the alphabet; the Political Left and the Political Right was developed from the period of the French Revolution, and that same abstract Left/Right thought is used today to define what the Political Left and the Political Right are. As a literal reality the Right can take over the Left, or the Left can take over the Right, but the takeover, either way, does not destroy the abstract concept; which, if understood, can be replaced and made functional by awareness within the masses that represent the Left, the 70% MAJORITY Common Population; currently conservative Democrats of the Right are in control of the Right’s duopoly, a Right-Wing hydra with two heads.

The 70% MAJORITY Common Population need to become aware that they need a political party to represent the 70% Majority Common Population in the United States to promulgate and enforce law that is in the interest of the 70% MAJORITY Common Population, rather than the ONE-party duopoly that represents the CONSERVATIVE RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST REPUBLICANS and the conservative/moderate Professional Middle Class toadies to the American Aristocracy. 

You are absolutely correct, there is only ONE wing, and you are obviously frustrated with the one wing duopolistic fascism that rules the United States, but complaining about what they’re doing will not solve the problem.  I’m all for complaining long, loud and continuously; but I’m also for developing awareness in the 70% MAJORITY Common Population that will lead to mass demonstrations of disapproval, that will enable formation of a Political Party for the unrepresented 70% MAJORITY Common Population; an institutionalized Political Party, so that the 70% MAJORITY Common Population can participate in the making and enforcing of law; rather than their current roll of passive subjects, that are tyrannized and oppressed by subjectified law of which they were not a part of in the making.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 19, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

wego,

I have nothing but contempt for people who have to twist what other people say, to write in their own meanings to the words of others, and to ignore that which doesn’t fit their arguments.  My experience has been that such people don’t know what they’re talking about so they use this tactic rather than legitimate discussion.  They totally lack intellectual integrity.

I have no more time to waste with you.

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By herewegoagain, June 19, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phreedom Phan, one example to look at would be anti-trust laws. *When* those laws are properly enforced, they help open up more competition. When they’re not, as they haven’t been except in a few isolated cases, well, we can see many of the results today.

I assume if we were to follow your advice, we’d remove such laws altogether, because they’re an example of governmental power. My view is instead of taking those laws off the books, we should actually start enforcing them.

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By herewegoagain, June 19, 2009 at 7:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phreedom Phan writes: “I didn’t think there was anything brilliant about my idea.  It’s just simple logic that all but the simplest minds should be able to understand.”

I understand exactly what you’re saying, and yes, it’s overly simplistic. You state Big Business controls our government, and so thus, you believe that giving the latter more power gives the former that much more power, too.

But please note that power abhors a vacuum. If government’s power to regulate is drastically weakened, if our judicial system continues to recognize corporate rights more than they do human rights, then the industrial monopolies we have now will look like quaint mom and pop shops.

It’s true that Big Business and Big Government are currently wedded at the hip. We need to sever that relationship, not completely dismantle one or the other.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 19, 2009 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

>By truedigger3, June 19 at 7:49 am #

I think you are one of those liberitanians, who under the guise of freedom of government interference, regulations and taxation, will let big corporations/capital run amock devouring each other and becoming so big and powerful to be able to control the government as is happening right now and consequently have a free hand to abuse and exploit their workers and damage the environment.
When everyone has the freedom to do anything and compete for a share of the pie, who do you think will end up winning??!!, the average citizens or
the powerful corporations who control the government??
In my opinion, the best system is strictly regulated capitalism that is watched with eagle eyes by the government. Corporations should not be allowed to grow beyond certain size.
Rosevelt PARTIALLY accomplished that, but he chickened out or was successfully opposed by the
rich elite.<

Dig,

I think you are one of those socialists who, although well intentioned, under a lack of understanding have long ago given the money powers all the government regulation and taxation they needed to destroy competition.

If you can keep government interference in our lives to a minimum and not give it the chance to confer tax and regulatory favors on corporations, there is no doubt in my mind that the average citizen will be a major beneficiary.  It has been said that system best able to provide a high standard of living for all is that system in which all are free to look out for number one.  It doesn’t sound very idealistic or utopian, but I think it’s true.  Of course, this is just theory.  I’m 67 years old and have never lived under a free enterprise system.  We’ve had a socialist/fascist system all my life. 

And, yes, I did say “socialist/fascist.”  Communism, Fabian Socialism, and fascism are all forms of socialism.  All are totalitarian. All represent the ultimate capitalist monopoly in which the state owns or controls everything and the capitalists own or control the state. 

We’ve all heard the repeated theme – Bush is a fascist.  On the other hand, Rhodes Scholar Bill Clinton is not generally known as a “right-winger.”  Scholars spend two to three years at Oxford being indoctrinated in the British world view. That view is generally Fabian Socialism as an internal policy and British Imperialism as an external policy.

During Clinton’s administration I was working as a contract engineer for Martin-Marietta. That’s when the Department of Defense gave Lockheed and Martin $31 million to merge in order to, of all things, reduce competition in the aerospace industry. 

Almost immediately, Norm Augustini, chairman of the new Lockheed-Martin, gave himself an $8 million bonus.  Of course, we can’t assume that was DOD money.  It may well have been savings from the thousands of employees that lost their jobs as a result of the merger.  Augustini, BTW, was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, America’s ruling party.  It has dominated every administration since FDR and maybe earlier.

Speaking of FDR, despite the spectacular theatrical production staged by the “great” man himself, aided and abetted by the already money controlled media, Roosevelt was in the pocket of big business from the beginning.  “His” NRA was the first major “fascist” program in the U.S.A.

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By truedigger3, June 19, 2009 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

PhreedomPhan,

I think you are one of those liberitanians, who under the guise of freedom of government interference, regulations and taxation, will let big corporations/capital run amock devouring each other and becoming so big and powerful to be able to control the government as is happening right now and consequently have a free hand to abuse and exploit their workers and damage the environment.
When everyone has the freedom to do anything and compete for a share of the pie, who do you think will end up winning??!!, the average citizens or
the powerful corporations who control the government??
In my opinion, the best system is strictly regulated capitalism that is watched with eagle eyes by the government. Corporations should not be allowed to grow beyond certain size.
Rosevelt PARTIALLY accomplished that, but he chickened out or was successfully opposed by the
rich elite.

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By truedigger3, June 19, 2009 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

MarthaA wrote:
“The Professional Middle Class are of the Common Majority, but have snubbed their noses; thinking they will be able to be aristocrats”
_____________________________________________________

MarthaA,

That might was true before the era of globalization and off-shoring jobs and importing professionals, whole sale, with H1-B work Visas.
Now many engineers, programmers, physicist, chemists etc .. and low and middle level managers are suffering.
Even many college teachers are migrant teachers working by the single course/semister, commuting between different colleges and don’t know what will happen next semister!!
OK, I prefer the COMMON MAJORITY instead of the COMMON MAJORITY POPULATION which is too long.

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By liecatcher, June 18, 2009 at 11:54 pm Link to this comment

I would change the title from:
“Obama’s Economic Misfits Finally Get It”, to:
Obama’s Economic Misfits Got It & Now They Will Get A Whole Lot More.
One of the reasons the profilers of “CRIMINAL MINDS”
catch the villains is because the villains don’t change.
It is already obvious that Obama is WALL STREET & is carrying out the hidden agenda of the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. Giving the FED,which is the primary engine of AMERICA’S destruction & enslavement, unlimited power is the death knell of what little is left of our society. Whether we think of Obama as a Judas Goat or Trojan Horse, or just a Fascist, he is not for we the people & every decision he makes buries us deeper & faster. Another example is his carrying out KING COALS instructions & is allowing business as usual:more mountaintop mining & toxic sludge pit proliferation as well as toxic natural gas drilling which destroys water sources.
And finally, whatever so-called health plan is passed, we can be sure it will benefit MIPIC (MEDICAL INSURANCE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX), & not we the people.

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By tahitifp, June 18, 2009 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

Phree:

I call it the one bi-polar party. grin

Someone different/2012

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By PhreedomPhan, June 18, 2009 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

Martha,

I wish you and your “right-wing” counterparts would wake up and smell reality.  The whole right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal, and, yes, Republican vs. Democrat is a dog and pony show to keep us arguing over non-issues.  They have it set up so that no matter who wins, they win.  It’s the Hegelian dialectic in operation.

Among those who rule us (not represent us) there is no right-wing, no left-wing.  There is only one “wing” and that is the vulture wing.  The buzzards in Washington, call them Republocrats or Demolicans, have been dropping financial rocks on our heads for over a century in order to pick the wealth from our bones and give the bulk of it with master vultures of international banking.

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By MarthaA, June 18, 2009 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

Social Security was set up properly, or the conservatives would already have made it extinct long ago.  The fact that it is still in the fight, as much as the conservatives have been trying to destroy it, is a sign that Social Security was set up well to begin with.

Social Security’s money was loaned in exchange for U.S. Government Securities from the Treasury of the United States to conservative governments, since the Reagan administration, and these governments used the money to finance deficit spending; NOT stolen.  Redemption of the government securities would make the Social Security guarantee from the government of the United States fully funded.  If the Securities are not redeemed, the full face and credit of the United States Government means nothing, because they are choosing not to redeem Government Debt. and the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION must not allow greedy bankers to have the benefit of their retirement while the common population gets nothing but their dreams and have to continue working to survive until they die, rather than to have what is owed to them. 

Why do you prefer the term average folks, it doesn’t roll off the tongue really well, as the average folks majority population or the little people’s majority population; it’s best to say what is, if one isn’t of the Elite Capitalists or the Professional Middle, they are of the COMMON MAJORITY POPULATION; the common majority is the big tent class, it includes everyone below the Professional Middle Class that no longer even represents the 70% majority common population.  Common as opposed to aristocrat.  The Professional Middle Class are of the Common Majority, but have snubbed their noses; thinking they will be able to be aristocrats, but they are not. It would be well for the people to understand that they are of the majority common population, instead of always thinking they are somehow the middle class, because there is power in numbers and there are 210,000,000 members of the common majority population that the 90,000,000 Elite and Professional Classes are opposing and treating so indignantly.

You are correct the common majority used to be 90%, but the Professional Middle Class withdrew from the common majority and formed a NEW CLASS, the Professional Middle Class, a class of academic professionals taking away 20% of the common majority’s population and coalesced in cooperation with the elite capitalists bringing fascism down on the nation when private business formed the DLC to rule the Democratic Party, the Democratic Leadership Council of NEW Democrats, that represent the upper 20% population of the common majority that withdrew from the main body and are toadies to the elite capitalists.  You can read about the NEW CLASS in Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, “The Fear of Falling, The Inner Life of the Middle Class”.

Now the United States has three distinctly different classes and cultures, the 10% American aristocrats Elite Capitalist Class, the 20% Professional Middle Class and the 70% Common Majority Class of which includes yours truly.  The humongous problem is that the United States only has two political parties, which has left the 70% Common Majority population without representation, having to deal as if in a kingdom.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 18, 2009 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

I apologize for the repeat post.  It didn’t show up and I thought I’d forgotten to post it, so I posted it again.  If I could and knew how, I’d delete the duplicate.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 18, 2009 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, June 18 at 2:24 pm #

>You have to do more than that, though.  Government grows because people demand services from it and rely upon it.  If you want to reduce or eliminate the government, you have to cultivate institutions—non-coercive, non-govermental institutions—and a supportive culture which replace those functions of the government which its subjects find necessary or useful.<

It could be the other way around.  Government has enticed people to take handouts because it’s the means government controls them.  It has been said that a government dependent on the people for its support is controlled by the people.  A people dependent on the government for its support is controlled by the government.  Discussing subsidies, Cordell Hull is said to have told Everett Dirkson that at first the people would demure at the thought of subsidies, then they would learn to accept them, and finally they would come to demand them.  It’s a blueprint for rendering citizens subjects.

Washington often bemoans the economic plight of the States and local governments.  But the tears are crocodile.  The federal government has been working assiduously to reduce State and local governments to conquered provinces in the same manner it has been reducing us to serfs.  You can find the plan in the Regionalism post in my lostliberty blog.  I don’t think I’m allowed to post the url here, but you can find it by googling phreedomphan AND lostliberty.

BTW, you think revolution is the answer?  You would have liked my uncle.  When my cousins, one a pilot and one a navigator, came home after bombing Germany in WWII, they told of the strategic targets they couldn’t bomb because of who owned them.  From then on my uncle’s motto was, “Give me a carload of rope and enough troops and let me go to Washington.  I’ll straighten the country out.”

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By truedigger3, June 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie wrote:
“Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that it was set up properly in the first place, or that the money wasn’t subsequently stolen. “
___________________________________________________

Anarcissie,

On what basis you are saying the SS was not set up propely??!!.
It is one of the best run,efficient and useful gonernment programs.
And the money was not “subsequently stolen”!!
It was invested in U.S. government securities.
If you don’t trust the full faith and credit of the U.S government, then who do you trust.??!!
Or you would have prefered that the money was given to Wall St. crooks and fraudsters to invest??!!

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By PhreedomPhan, June 18, 2009 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, June 18 at 2:24 pm #

>You have to do more than that, though.  Government grows because people demand services from it and rely upon it.  If you want to reduce or eliminate the government, you have to cultivate institutions—non-coercive, non-govermental institutions—and a supportive culture which replace those functions of the government which its subjects find necessary or useful.<

It could be the other way around.  Government has enticed people to take handouts because it’s the means by which government controls them.  It has been said that a government dependent on the people for its support is controlled by the people.  A people dependent on the government for its support is controlled by the government. 

Discussing subsidies, Cordell Hull is said to have told Everett Dirkson that, at first the people would demure at the thought of subsidies, then they would learn to accept them, and finally they would come to demand them.  It’s a blueprint for rendering citizens subjects.

Washington often bemoans the economic plight of the States and local governments.  But the tears are crocodile.  The federal government has been working assiduously to reduce State and local governments to conquered provinces in the same manner it has been reducing us to serfs, through bribery and extortion.  You can find the plan in the Regionalism post in my lostliberty blog.  I don’t think I’m allowed to post the url here, but you can find it by googling phreedomphan AND lostliberty.

BTW, you think revolution is the answer?  You would have liked my uncle.  When my cousins, one a pilot and one a navigator, came home after bombing Germany in WWII, they told of the strategic targets they couldn’t bomb because of who owned them.  From then on my uncle’s motto was, “Give me a carload of rope and enough troops and let me go to Washington.  I’ll straighten the country out.”

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By PhreedomPhan, June 18, 2009 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

herewegoagain:

>  ‘Phreedom Phan writes: ” If Big Business controls the government, which it does, then giving more power to government gives more power to Big Business to control and destroy competition.”

  I know you probably think you’ve come up with a brilliantly simplistic idea here, but you haven’t. It’s just simplistic. Because what you are basically insisting is this: “The more power a bully has, the more power his victim has, since he controls the victim.” <

I didn’t think there was anything brilliant about my idea.  It’s just simple logic that all but the simplest minds should be able to understand.  Feeble attempts by someone to redefine what another says to fit their own argument is a good indicator of a mind that can’t understand simple logic.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 18, 2009 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

By truedigger3, June 18 at 2:36 pm #

>PhreedomPhan,

I beg to disagree. If you reduce the power of government, then money will run amock and eventually
will control the government.<

No need to beg, dig3.  You have every right to disagree and I’ll defend to the death your right to be wrong. wink 

Don’t look now, but money has been running amock for at least a century and the growth of the money power has coincided with the growth of government.  The money power has grown because of that growth in government not in spite of it.

>The solution is to reduce the power of money
and decouple it from the government. <

I’ll buy that.  We began the decline into our current state when Washington listened to economic royalist Hamilton instead of Jefferson.  We rebounded briefly a couple of times, but for the most part the decline has been steady.

>I suggest the
following steps and maybe more:
1)Public financed elections.<

That’s a great idea!  If money doesn’t have to spend on the elections, it will have more to buy the politicians after the election.  Besides, since the early twentieth century the goal of those holding the power has been to replace the elected officials with bureaucrats not subject to election.  Often these are the people who wield the real power in government.  We still have elections, but they are hollow.  The bureaucrats run the show.

>2)Limit the size of corporations and the banks.
  After reaching a specified size, they have to be
  broken up to smaller units.<

Having worked inside a number of these giant corporations I can tell you that if we ever instituted a true free enterprise system most of these biggies would collapse under their own weight.  We’re seeing that now and we have anything but a free enterprise system.

I’ll go you one better, though.  Allow no corporations, or at least give them no special status under the law.  Corporations with lives beyond those of their founders only create a closed society such as that of Europe that so many of our early settlers sought to escape and to which we have now regressed.  I would say the same about labor unions.  They had their equivalent in the old trade guilds.  My industrial experience leads me to believe they are organized more against competing labor than against management.

>3)Nationalizing the Federal Reserve System which is
  owned by the banks and is not a federal entity
  as its misleading name implies.<

Enforce the Constitution and the Fed just goes away.  If we don’t want to do that, then I believe the government has had the right to buy it back at the original subscription costs since it was created.  But that only takes care of a small part of the problem.  The real mechanism used to transfer our wealth to the bankers has been the fractional reserve system and, of course, the income tax.

>4)A really progressive taxation with high taxes on
  on high incomes and wealth.<

Riiight!  That’s how extreme wealth suckered us into the income tax in the first place.  “Soak the rich” with a program designed and built by and for the rich.  They already had their money socked away in tax frees.  The whole point in a graduated income tax is to tax the middle class so highly that they can never challenge those at the top.  What was that about “you can’t cheat an honest man?”

I trust I’m not breaking any forum rules by suggesting another website for information.  http://yamaguchy.netfirms.com has a great collection of old books rendered as ebooks.  A little digging can give you a chronological history of the battle of the banks vs. the people.

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By Anarcissie, June 18, 2009 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA—I would certainly like it if the Federal government made good on Social Security since I’m due to come in for a good bit of it in the near future.  And I agree that the government or whoever owns and operates the government owes the working people who paid into it a fair return on the money.  Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that it was set up properly in the first place, or that the money wasn’t subsequently stolen.  Nor does it mean that our present lords and masters feel any obligation to us.  As we can see by recent events, starting with the Paulsen bailout, their concern is solely for themselves and others of their kind.

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By truedigger3, June 18, 2009 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA wrote:
“the U.S. Government can pay off the $2.35 TRILLION in IOU’s it owes Social Security, as the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government has borrowed ALL of the money”
_____________________________________________________

MarthaA,

But Social Security doesn’t need $2.35 TRILLION right away and never in lump sum. Are you sure of this figure?
Assuming nothing is done in the near future, SS has enought cash revenues, from annual contributions, to pay retirees until the year 2018. After that, there is a gap, between yearly revenues and payments to retirees which then will need the partial yearly redemption of some of the U.S. government IOUs. This can continue until the year 2044 with full payments, and after that until the year 2075 with 75% of payment.
That is assuming nothing is done at all. But with some tax adjustments, SS can continue for the foreseeable future, with full current benefits without any problem.
Instead of giving tax cuts to the super-rich and bailing out Wall Street fraudsters and crooks, a small fraction of that money can help SS to go on
indefinitely.
I prefer the term average folks, instead of the COMMON MAJORITY POPULATION and they are more than 90% and not just 70%.

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By MarthaA, June 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

The Bush administration respected the greedy, corrupt, financial transaction bankers that didn’t have a floor in their elevators, and really did not deserve respect and the Obama administration went right along with the conservative rip-off of the 70% COMMON MAJORITY POPULATION.  Therefore, it is imperative that the people of this nation’s 70% common majority population, who rely on Social Security, also be respected, because unlike the bankers who schemed to get money for nothing, they have worked and paid into Social Security all their lives, and the Nation’s Debt to Social Security must be paid.  And if the bankers can be shored up, surely Medicare can.  There are more people living in this country than just the greedy capitalists.

Social Security is an INSURANCE POLICY with the Federal Government, the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA), a Social Security Trust Fund, insurance that uses the risk pool of the entire nation to finance a retirement plan for working individuals of each generation who pay FICA out of their employment earnings.

A Federal Insurance Trust is NOTHING like a get rich quick Ponzi scheme that is a pyramid scheme to dupe people as long as they can.  When you say Social Security is like a Ponzi scheme, you are saying that in the beginning there wasn’t any intention of having generational retirement for United States workers, but Franklin D. Roosevelt started Social Security with every intention of it lasting forever, generation after generation.

A get rich quick Ponzi pyramid schemer uses a sales pitch to convince people they are going to make money through investing with him, and actually pays off a few, while increasing the amount of his investors, so that he can continue skimming and paying something to his increasing amount of recipients; until the recipients at the top of the pyramid get to be too many for the amount of investors at the base of the pyramid to pay, then the Ponzi Scheme FAILS, which is NOTHING AT ALL like the Federal Government’s retirement insurance plan for the common majority population. 

There are IOU’s, government securities for loans, being held by the U.S. Government in a drawer or a box at the Social Security Administration to cover all of the money that conservatives borrowed from Social Security; all the solvency of Social Security is just as secure as the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.  If the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government is worthless and bankrupt, then Social Security solvency is worthless and bankrupt.  The question is more about the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government than it is of Social Security, and how the U.S. Government could fail to honor its Social Security obligations to its own people.

I don’t know about Lyndon B. Johnson’s Medicare, but the real question with Social Security is if the government can put in over $2 TRILLION to recapitalize the capital of FAILED BANKS, the U.S. Government can pay off the $2.35 TRILLION in IOU’s it owes Social Security, as the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government has borrowed ALL of the money from Social Security that would fund Social Security and make it a sound insurance policy.  If the U.S. Government can recapitalize corrupted greedy bankers, the U.S. Government can recapitalize Social Security’s capital, and if not, the 70% common majority population must rise up and demand answers as to why the U.S. Government can recapitalize the assets of FAILED BANKERS, but cannot pay back the loans to recapitalize the government’s Social Security commitment, or provide Medicare for all the citizens of the common majority population.  If the U.S. Government is going to say that Social Security is bankrupt, then the U.S. Government is saying that the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government is worthless and bankrupt for anything other than bailing out failed capitalist bankers at the expense of the common majority population.

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By Anarcissie, June 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

herewegoagain:
‘Phreedom Phan writes: ” If Big Business controls the government, which it does, then giving more power to government gives more power to Big Business to control and destroy competition.”

I know you probably think you’ve come up with a brilliantly simplistic idea here, but you haven’t. It’s just simplistic. Because what you are basically insisting is this: “The more power a bully has, the more power his victim has, since he controls the victim.”’

No, he’s pointing out that between big business and the government, there is no “victim”.  What you have is a single monster with two faces.

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By ardee, June 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

Palindromedary, June 17 at 3:46 pm #

Those who repeat the lie that Clinton caused this financial mess are avoiding the facts:

The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act:
...................

Well, I blame Phil and Wendy Gramm, King and Queen respectively of the deregulation movement.

As to Glass Steagel, well here’s financial columnist and Pulitzer winner Steven Pearlsteins take on that:

Steven Pearlstein: Much as many liberal Democrats want to believe that the repeal of Glass Steagel was the key policy mistake, I must tell you that is wrong. The world of finance had changed so thoroughly that the repeal of Glass Steagel, by the time it came, was almost irrelevant, because most of the intermediation had already moved from banks to the credit market. The only question at that point was whether the banks were going to be allowed to be integrated into that new system or not.

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By blogdog, June 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

RE: a public option for health care,

What has he done to show anything other than total disregard for this “option?” He could have used his clout to bring a dozen single-payer advocates to the table, yet had to be harangued by health-care professionals, activists and a lone voice in the media to get even one there.

A year ago I weighed in at Truthdig (and of course not a lone voice), proposing that Ralph Nader would do more for the majority of Americans in a day than Obama would do in 4 years. I was smacked down and Nader was maligned as an inexperienced crack pot. Sorry to report, but for those who’ve waited 45-years for Der scwartze Kennedy, disappointment is in the cards.

Listen to Nadar lecturing these days on Health Care and Insurance reform - truth you will never live to hear uttered by the Trilateralist puppet Obama. As for being a realist, well aren’t they all, with full knowledge of the fact that there’s still some of that US-gov.-issued-weapons-grade anthrax out there?

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By herewegoagain, June 18, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phreedom Phan writes: ” If Big Business controls the government, which it does, then giving more power to government gives more power to Big Business to control and destroy competition.”

I know you probably think you’ve come up with a brilliantly simplistic idea here, but you haven’t. It’s just simplistic. Because what you are basically insisting is this: “The more power a bully has, the more power his victim has, since he controls the victim.”

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By MarthaA, June 18, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

truthdigger3,

I do not think Obama is as much a bullshit artist as he is a reality artist.  Once he got into office, the ensconced NEW Democrat and Blue Dog fascist web that has taken over our government became a reality and he is having to deal with FASCISM.  I really believe the only way to be done with fascism is for the people of the common majority to overthrow it, because fascism is like a cancer on a government that has to be cut out or it will totally destroy the common majority, if they all just sit back and look.

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By truedigger3, June 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

BobZ wrote:
“If Obama gets the regulation passed he iterated yesterday and he gets a public option for health care, those will be major achievments for his first year of office.”
_____________________________________________________

BobZ,

Obama is a fraud and bullshit artist. Yes, he is
gifted speaker which was good during the election
campaign but is not good or adequate any more.
People are tired of the good oratory and make-believe
measures that is without any real substance.
Obama’s proposals for financial “regulations” and health care “reforms” are nothing but another of his make-believe bullshitting without any real substance.
Someday, hopefully soon, you will wake up from your
Obama trance and see what is actually around you.

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By Anarcissie, June 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA:
‘Social Security and Medicare are NOT Ponzi Schemes. Apparently Folktruther doesn’t know what a Ponzi Scheme actually is. ...’

Social Security in its original form was something like a Ponzi scheme in that beneficiaries were paid out of current investment instead of returns on prior investment.  This is why it started to run out of money as the Boomers approached payoff ahead of a smaller generation who would have to support them.  The system was then revised so that there would be, in theory, sufficient prior investment to fund anticipated payoffs.  However, you are correct in saying that this money was then stolen.  The money should have been rigorously separated from the Federal budget.  When lawyers do things like that—mix others’ investments with their own funds and spend both freely—they often go to jail.  But if they’re politicians they just get reelected.

truedigger3:
’... If you reduce the power of government, then money will run amock and eventually will control the government. The solution is to reduce the power of money and decouple it from the government. ...’

Money, in the sense of people with a lot of wealth and other forms of power, already control the government.  This should be evident from the very topic we are discussing.  The solution you propose is not possible because those who have power will not willingly permit their power to be taken away.  “The only solution is revolution.”  If the revolution is violent, the existing state will be replaced by another, probably worse state.  If the revolution is non-violent, and therefore outside the state and separate from the government, there is some chance that people could build such institutions, and cultivate such culture, as would benefit rather than exploit and immiserate them.  But before this can happen more people have to cease to believe in the benevolence and efficacy of great leaders, heroes, and other authorities, and begin to rely on themselves and the communities they belong to.

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By Clark, June 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is Wall Street.
He believes in Capitalism…greed based economics.
Stop apologizing for him.

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By BobZ, June 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Truedigger and Martha A,

Yes I voted for Obama and so far I am happy with his progress given the political realities that much of this country has to be dragged into the 21st century. And I agree that Clinton should have vetoed the repeal of Glass Steagel. I was quoting another poster who felt Clinton had no choice which is ridiculous - he caved in to the blue dog Demos whom he probably sympathized with. I wish the Democrats were more progress along the lines of Dennis Kucinich but that is not the reality of this country. Obama knows that which is why he is president. He will be better than the last three presidents and better than McCain would have been. If Obama gets the regulation passed he iterated yesterday and he gets a public option for health care, those will be major achievments for his first year of office.

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By MarthaA, June 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Social Security and Medicare are NOT Ponzi Schemes. Apparently Folktruther doesn’t know what a Ponzi Scheme actually is.  Social Security and Medicare’s money is/has been pilfered.  Pilfering is not a Ponzi Scheme.  Social Security and Medicare in no way are Ponzi Schemes; conservatives taking/borrowing the money for other uses that conservatives deemed more worthy is theft if not replaced, which is far from being a Ponzi Scheme.  The government needs to shore up Medicare and Social Security the same as private institutions for big banks and big insurance were shored up, these were real Ponzi Schemes, and they got completely away with all the loot, without even a slap on the hands from our government.  Now they want to complain about Social Security and Medicare after giving trillions to private big business.

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By truedigger3, June 18, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

PhreedomPhan wrote:
“Money will always control government.  The only solution is to reduce the power of government to reduce the power of money”
_____________________________________________________

PhreedomPhan,

I beg to disagree. If you reduce the power of government, then money will run amock and eventually
will control the government.
The solution is to reduce the power of money
and decouple it from the government. I suggest the
following steps and maybe more:
1)Public financed elections.
2)Limit the size of corporations and the banks.
  After reaching a specified size, they have to be
  broken up to smaller units.
3)Nationalizing the Federal Reserve System which is
  owned by the banks and is not a federal entity
  as its misleading name implies.
4)A really progressive taxation with high taxes on
  on high incomes and wealth.

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By Anarcissie, June 18, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

PhreedomPhan:
’ ...
Money will always control government.  The only solution is to reduce the power of government to reduce the power of money. ...’

You have to do more than that, though.  Government grows because people demand services from it and rely upon it.  If you want to reduce or eliminate the government, you have to cultivate institutions—non-coercive, non-govermental institutions—and a supportive culture which replace those functions of the government which its subjects find necessary or useful.

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By truedigger3, June 18, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Folktruther wrote:
“A Progessive long time Democratic activist told me a week ago that social security is a Ponzi scheme and it and medicare have to be cut.”
_____________________________________________________

Folktruther,
I suspect that your so called “progressive” Democrat
is nothing but a DLC follower and operator.
The Social Security program is sound until the year
2044, after that with some moderate tax increases,
the program is sound into the foreseeble future.
How about rolling back Bush’s obscene tax cuts that benefited mostly the super-rich, part of these taxes will be more than adequate to finance Social Security well into the future.
Medicare might have a problem due to the runnaway
costs of healthcare in this country.
Something has to be done to control costs which
I am sure stem mostly from unneeded tests and procedures and price gouging by hospitals and drug companies.
Obama el al are not saying anything about rolling back Bush’s tax cuts.

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By MarthaA, June 18, 2009 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Not if legislation is made, passed and institutionalized as part of the Constitution of the United States that the U.S Political System has institutionalized MULTI-POLITICAL PARTIES, so that there will be other EQUAL political parties to keep the two original political parties from being able to join as ONE against the 70% common majority population; and, so that there could never again be a ONE-party leadership under the guise of two separate parties in the government of the United States.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 18, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

tahitifp, I’m a “progressive,” but I suspect of a different type than you.  I believe that our Constitution with the Bill of Rights and without slavery was the most progressive achievement to that time.  I count progress as the elimination of all but the most essential actions of government in our affairs.  It’s why I call myself an 18th Century Liberal and a 21st Century Reactionary.

I would like to go back to the principles of men like Jefferson, reject those ideas of Hamilton, and more forward again to greater individual liberty.  Most of what is called “progressive” today promotes bigger government and I think is taking us back to serfdom. 

I voted for Barr, though I would have liked to have the choice of Paul.  The important thing is to break the backs of the “two” (pronounce “one”) parties.  It would only be a temporary fix because money would quickly buy into the new party.

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By MarthaA, June 18, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

There is 210,000,000 people of the 300,000,000 population of the United States, that are the common majority population that need to unite in the realization that for posterity’s sake, unified war needs to be declared against unified corporate war for profit, and stop these legislators from making legislation against the common majority, but until the common majority unites and activates, conservative/moderate legislators will continue business as usual against the common majority.

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By warbad, June 18, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

BROKEBANK MOUNTAIN

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By PhreedomPhan, June 18, 2009 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Back in the “good old days,” when the popular mantra was, “Big Business controls the government,” I used to agree with my “liberal” friends.  It does control the government.  I would then ask what the answer was.  Invariably it was, “We’ve got to give Congress more power to control Big Business.”  Well, Duh!!  If Big Business controls the government, which it does, then giving more power to government gives more power to Big Business to control and destroy competition.  That’s exactly what happened.  Every year, with mock surprise, the media would announce that the rich had gotten richer and the poor poorer.  That’s what the regulation was designed to do.  When the giant corporations produced by giant government had moved most of their operations overseas and they no longer had need for regulation to destroy competition because there was none, we started “deregulating.”

Money will always control government.  The only solution is to reduce the power of government to reduce the power of money.

Unfortunately, we haven’t learned a thing.  The people will still listen to the agents of wealth when they say, “We need more power.”

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By psickmind fraud, June 18, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Scheer’s either a pawn or he’s oblivious.  The only thing the Obama misfits “get” is that it’s time to offer another distraction, a smoke screen.

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By boggs, June 18, 2009 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

Blogdog, my statement about regulation keeping the american workers investment safe from plunder was referring back to the good ole days when we actually had regulation, before it was stripped away by all the idiots in DC. In the seventies and up to the mid eighties we didn’t have to fret about the corporate heads running off with our money.

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By RdV, June 18, 2009 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

But, do we “get it”?


It is exceedingly difficult to convey exactly how much we are spending on all these bailouts. Whenever I start talking trillions (versus mere billions), I get puzzled looks from people. Humans have a hard time conceptualizing any number that large.  I wanted a graphic way to clearly show how astonishingly ginormous the amounts involved were.

So I once again went to Jess Bachman at Wallstats. This Bailout Nation graphic shows the the total costs to the taxpayer of all the monies spent, lent, consumed, borrowed, printed, guaranteed, assumed or otherwise committed. It is nothing short of astonishing.

It includes the total outlay for all the bailouts to date. In just about one short year (march 2008 -  March 2009), the bailouts managed to spend far in excess nearly every major one time expenditure of the USA, including WW2, the moon shot, the New Deal, Iraq, Viet Nam and Korean wars — COMBINED.

206 years versus 12 months. Total cost: ~$15 trillion and counting . . .

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/06/bailout-costs-vs-big-historical-events/

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By Clark, June 17, 2009 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Americans have become textbook ‘bourgeoisie’.
Fat, ignorant, apathetic and lethargic.

We ought to take note of the Iranians and have a proper protest.

THROW THEM ALL OUT.

Our government is thoroughly corrupt.

Our economic system is thoroughly corrupt.

Our courts, our health system, our military are irreparably corrupt.

We can’t FIX this, we must throw these crooks out.

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By idarad, June 17, 2009 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment

Why does it take the 4th estate til the ninth inning to find out Summers et. al.  rigged the game.

Coulda, shoulda, didn’t

greed will return, they write the rules, they bend the rules, they re-write they rules. 

Bottom line capitalism benefits capital - anyone see social responsibility in capital?  I don’t!  The sooner the jig is up the sooner we can address the real needs of the earth and its inhabitants.

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By Folktruther, June 17, 2009 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

The beerdoctor and anarcissie’s comments can’t be bettered.  Scheer goes much to easy on these financial criminals and they are constructing more cons, after an obfuscating acknowledgment of their last one.

The major problem can’t be solved within the American power system.  The banks and corporations control the governement and the owners and managers control corporations.  this neoliberal power system is no longer competitive on the world market without dire consequences.  so the rich and powerful are plundering the American people, which always happens when a powerstate reaches the end of its historical life cycle.

A Progessive long time Democratic activist told me a week ago that social security is a Ponzi scheme and it and medicare have to be cut.  You can’t have endless war and people expenditures at the same time, and she is now for war.  Excuse me, Defense.  the leadership of both parties are now on board for a fake regulation and an increasing of a horrendous class inequality.  And only a mobilized population can stop it and the American population is atomized.

There is no alternative to mobilzing the population.

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By MarthaA, June 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

BobZ,

What do you mean Clinton had no choice? That is absolutely incorrect.  Surely you are kidding.  Clinton was the president; Clinton had a choice. Clinton never had to sign anything, but he did.  Clinton chose to sign ever piece of deregulating legislation, instead of vetoing it and sending it all back to Congress to be over ridden by Congress.  Clinton went along with the whole deregulating scenario, as did Nixon and all the rest of the presidents after Nixon.

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By BobZ, June 17, 2009 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

“Clinton really had no choice but to sign it because it was veto proof.  The Republicans and the majority in both house and senate and the votes were over 66 per cent in favor of the bill.  So don’t blame Clinton for what was the fault of the Republicans, the banking industry, Wall Street, and all of those who supported them and their religion of greed.  The banking industry sought the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act since Reagan was president.  And through the Republicans, who were putting unrelenting pressure on Clinton for his relationship with Monica Lewinski, they finally got their wish.”

Clinton did not use the bully pulpit to campaign against this bill and he should have vetoed it just to shame the Democrats who voted for this bill. Clinton wasn’t much better than Reagan.

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By MarthaA, June 17, 2009 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Capitalist regulation does work, the problem wasn’t lack of regulation, because regulation was set to avoid the pitfall; the problem was that all conservative/moderate legislators in Congress with assistance of the Presidents took all regulation off the big moneyed capitalists and freed them from any and all capital regulation on usury and greed overwhelmed them.  PBS had a documentary that said the fault was not the governments, but these bankers could never have gotten away with what they did, if legislation hadn’t been canceled to allow them to do it.

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By tahitifp, June 17, 2009 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

Phreedom wrote:

“Not only should the people vote third party, when Republicans and Democrats vote in their primaries, they should vote for the unendorsed candidates.”
*********************

I’m an Indie who always votes dem but this last time, I just couldn’t.  If we’re all scattered among Indies, Greens, Naderites etc. we won’t get the results we want, which is a progressive candidate. 

I know a number of people who voted anti-Bush (Obama) and were Kucinich supporters.  Just think what would have happened if all those supporters wrote him in or stood in his corner in IA.  Did he even have a corner in IA?

I like the “evil of two lessers.”  Thanks. grin

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By blogdog, June 17, 2009 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

RE: keep the american workers investments safe from corporate plunder.

HUH?!?

Pension funds halved in value due to explosion of the insane derivatives / hedge funds speculation bubble - so where did all that wealth go? Someone was selling at the outer edge of the bubble… look to Summers’, Geitner’s and Rubin’s cronies.

Like I suggested earlier, they should be hoping there’s still room on Ken Lay’s island.

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By Clark, June 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It doesn’t make any difference what laws are passed.
Clearly, some people are above the law.
There were laws about wiretapping, habeas corpus, torture, lying in office, fraud, etc.

People in power are above the law.

Our government is around to give the impression that we have some power over how things are decided.


“...they own the place.”

It has been rumored that Kissinger once referred to the less fortunate as “useless eaters”. 

It has also been rumored that there is a plan to reduce the world’s population.

If we had smarter “leaders”, I would bet that there is a way for all of us to pursue happiness, but if we must “thin the heard”, I say we thin out the inbred, blueblood assholes that have been treating us all like pawns for the last few generations.

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By boggs, June 17, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Someone said regulation did not work, huh? How do you figure. It maybe didn’t work to let the CEO’s run off with corrupt profits, but it did work to keep the american workers investments safe from corporate plunder.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 17, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

tahitifp,

I’ve long said that he who votes for the “lesser of two evils” is consciously voting for evil.  In the past election, someone put it beautifully.  He said this time we have the choice of the evil of two lessers.

Not only should the people vote third party, when Republicans and Democrats vote in their primaries, they should vote for the unendorsed candidates.

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By PhreedomPhan, June 17, 2009 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

All of you people who are talking about how stupid these people are hit the nail on the head.  Thanks to the economy they created, they may have to cut down the Lobster and Fillet Mignon to three times a week.  When we move from our hovels to our new steam grates, we can laugh at them all the way.  Aren’t they dumb!?

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By tahitifp, June 17, 2009 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

“I also voted for Obama and now I am beginning to feel sorry I did….except for the alternative was McCain.”

********************

Not true.  We had several good alternatives. We have to get out of the thought pattern of having only 2 bad choices, and get us a good candidate in 2012. Back that person, cut off funds to Obama and see what happens.  We can’t go on like this, being afraid that we have to vote for the dem.  We can’t keep letting the CM decide our candidate and by our I mean Progressives.

For me, his campaign speeches were like nails on a blackboard.

Neither McCain nor Obama got my vote.

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By tahitifp, June 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

“Misfits Finally Get It?”

When I first saw this, I thought it was from the “Onion.”

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By ocjim, June 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

The stupidity of the Clinton deregulation indicated the failure of advisors to Clinton, his willingness to cave into Wall Street, and their total lack of attention to the Reagan S&L mess.

It’s is one thing to licks financial boots with no mileage of past failures. It is another lick the boots of their even more greedy, if not fraudulent, successors and ignore the vast S&L failures that cost taxpayers over a hundred billion dollars to clean up.

Just as we don’t need the inane leadership of Cantors, McConnells and all the other deadhead Republicans, We need independent, intelligent leadership whose concern is the benefit of the people not the plutocrats.

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By Barebone., June 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

MORE POWER TO THE FED?!

Summers-Geithner-Bernanke & Rubin the enforcers!?

Pre-Meditated POWER-GRAB!

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By jimijazz, June 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Token Lib, what you’re essentially advocatng is the re-implementation of the Glass-Steagall Act which dealt with all of these points you suggested. Robert Reich should know this, of course.

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By Outraged, June 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

There is nothing new here under the sun.

“Hear me, people of America, God’s laws live today. Keep them and none suffer, disregard them and we go the way of the missing. His word said that. Here is what He said:

“The profit of the earth is for all.” Ecclesiastes: chapter 5, verse 9.

“And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” Leviticus: chapter 25. verse 10.

“At the end of every 7 years thou shalt make a release. . . Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbor shall release it; he shall not exact it of his. . . brother; because it is called the Lord’s release.” Deuteronomy: Chapter 15, verses 1 and 2.

Maybe you do not believe the Bible; maybe you do not accept God as your Supreme Lawgiver. God help you if you do not; but if you do not, then all I ask of you is to believe the simple problems of arithmetic, the tables of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. If you believe them, you will know that we cannot tolerate this condition of a handful of people owning nearly all and all owning nearly nothing. In a land of plenty there is no need to starve unless we allow greed to starve us to please the vanity of someone else. I can read you what Theodore Roosevelt, Daniel Webster, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, all other great Americans said. Their beliefs might be stated in the following lines of Emerson: “Give no bounties: make equal laws: secure life and prosperity and you need not give alms.” Or maybe these words of Theodore Roosevelt would be proof: “We must pay equal attention to the distribution of prosperity. The only prosperity worth having is that which affects the mass of people.”

It was the poet Horace who warned that Rome would fall in the days of Augustus Caesar. He expressed the line: “Penniless and great plenty.”

So are our American people today. Too much to eat, to wear, or to live in; too much, and yet we are penniless and starve.”......Sen. Huey Long in a speech to congress Jan. 23 1935.

http://www.ssa.gov/history/longsen.html

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By blogdog, June 17, 2009 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

RE: Talk about a shadow financial system

Clearly, Robert Scheer isn’t prepared to talk about it. As usual, it’s all a reign of error - surprising there’s been no attempt to lay the blame for the financial meltdown at the feet of Al Queda and it’s financial Svengali, the legendary OBL.

But why the sudden change of heart? Maybe pension fund/endowments’ astronomical losses…just maybe?  Wouldn’t you investigate?

...and so it begins:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/02/nyregion/02pension.html

Where will it end? Geitner, Summers and Rubin probably got a clue. Suppose there’s room on Ken Lay’s island for them too?

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By PhreedomPhan, June 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Misfits?  These men were both members of the Trilateral Commission, the global elitists’ economic shock troops.  Money always wants government power to lay on the same level as their economic operations so it can be used to further their own interests at the expense of the rest of us.  Unfortunately for the people of the world and Americans in particular, their interests are global.  They want world government and to get American acceptance our standard of living had to be reduced to that of the rest of the world or lower.

If these two accept Obama’s plan, chances are they are the authors, or at least the messengers that carried it to him. It will likely further the destruction of these United States.

Rick

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By Bilejones, June 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is an absolute fucking disaster. The Fed is the rot at the heart of the entire cancerous system. To imbue it with more power is the result of either stupidity on a truly Galactic scale or vicious corrupt cynicism.

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By vigdor, June 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Regulation, did not work.  Deregulation, did not work.  Reregulation will not work either.  All these failures occur for the same reason: the driving values of the leadership systems at the top of the governing hierarchy control the whole system.  That’s why there now appears ”a joker in the deck of the Obama proposal in that it relies heavily on the Federal Reserve, which on the regional level is fully controlled by the very financial industry firms that it is expected to monitor.“

This is a stacked deck.  Very profitable stacked deck, enriching the finance industry by looting the US Treasury, and robbing the American people blind.  This is why America is a bank owned state, supported by the Courts of Robbery and Despotism, and the Legislative Assembly of state and national government owned by the finance industry. See my letter on equal access to the courts for indigent litigants in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico:  http://sunsite.utk.edu/FINS/loversofdemocracy/equal_access_to_justice.pdf

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By ardee, June 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Palindromedary, June 17 at 3:32 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

I also voted for Obama and now I am beginning to feel sorry I did….except for the alternative was McCain.
.....................

Actually there were alternatives to voting for Obama or McCain right there on most ballots. Perpetuating the myth of the two party system by refusing to spend ones vote on the best candidate is not a way to effect change.

Jason,

I understand that you are a legend in your own mind, but you should understand that you are as transparent as hell to most…..

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By thebeerdoctor, June 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

This will be my last comment on this tiresome subject. If you really want to check out where the big body is buried, look into an article by Washington Post staff writer, Tomoeh Murakami Tse, concerning how BlackRock has quietly become the world’s largest money manager and advisor to the U.S. government, overseeing $2.7 trillion in assets… yes that’s right, I said trillion.
BlackRock it is said, uses minimal leverage, around $20 billion. CEO Larry Fink (that is his name, I’m not being flippant) does not believe that BlackRock poses any threat to the financial system.
But hey these are Big People making Big Deals, who now advise the government and others, on what to do with $3 trillion. Talk about a shadow financial system:
“President Obama is set to propose Wednesday a plan to tighten financial regulation, but largely absent from the debate about regulatory reform has been the role of asset managers, which oversee about $21 trillion of assets globally for institutional investors such as pension funds, hedge funds and university endowments.”
Tomoeh Murakami Tse, Washington Post, June 17, 2009

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By samosamo, June 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

““Already there’s a joker in the deck of the Obama proposal in that it relies heavily on the Federal Reserve, which on the regional level is fully controlled by the very financial industry firms that it is expected to monitor.”“
****************************************************

This alone is the doublespeak of obama and crew that will enable the continuance of this grand larceny.

If there were to be any meaningful point about obama’s just announced ‘regulation’ of the industry it would have spelled out the repeal of the federal reserve act of 1913, not given more control or ‘self oversight’ by the biggest threat to our economy, or what’s left of it.

No matter how shameful these or any of the crooks involved in this financial terrorist attack PRETEND, it is just a facade of continuing the rape and these ‘misfits’ do ‘get it’(meaning more of our money, courtesy of obama)!

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By Palindromedary, June 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Those who repeat the lie that Clinton caused this financial mess are avoiding the facts:

The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act:

“The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa) in 1999. The bills were passed by Republican majorities on party lines by a 54-44 vote in the Senate[12] and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives[13]. After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8 (1 not voting) and in the House: 362-57 (15 not voting). ’ The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999. [14] 

The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980s.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass-Steagall_Act

Bill Clinton was interviewed Monday morning by the Today Show’s Ann Curry, who asked the former President whether he should take any blame for the current financial crisis. Clinton answered, “Oh no… My question to them is: Do any of them seriously believe if I had been president, and my economic team had been in place the last eight years, that this would be happening today? I think they know the answer to that: No.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/16/bill-clinton-asked-on-tod_n_167386.html

Clinton really had no choice but to sign it because it was veto proof.  The Republicans and the majority in both house and senate and the votes were over 66 per cent in favor of the bill.  So don’t blame Clinton for what was the fault of the Republicans, the banking industry, Wall Street, and all of those who supported them and their religion of greed.  The banking industry sought the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act since Reagan was president.  And through the Republicans, who were putting unrelenting pressure on Clinton for his relationship with Monica Lewinski, they finally got their wish.

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By rolmike, June 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

marty peretz has some fine general observations
about the gas machine in jefe:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=cd70b25d-12b5-4f6f-8fd3-4a965be569f3”

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By Palindromedary, June 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I also voted for Obama and now I am beginning to feel sorry I did….except for the alternative was McCain. Obama made promises that he now appears to be breaking. In his mistaken attempt to reach out to the Republican party he has made compromises, or a complete sellout of the ideals that he campaigned for. It is impossible to compromise with the Republicans and expect them to reply in kind. It is beginning to look like the only options that true Americans have is to emulate the Iranians and take it to the streets…since our system is corrupt as well.

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By ApleAnee, June 17, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All of these new and improved regulations, like the recognition of regulation is a totally new concept?

Bring back Glass/Stegall.  Remove banking from the investment houses and the problem will be solved. It worked for many years. It is like the illegal immigrant debate.  Everyone screams that we need new laws.  No we don’t.  The laws are already there, we just need to enforce the existing laws, which no one wants to do.

Glass/Stegall is the solution to the financial problems we face, not a bunch of new committees and appointments.  Always making the problem convenient, never solving the problem.

I voted for Obama.  I can’t stand to listen to him any longer.  He has thrown all of us under the bus.

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By Palindromedary, June 17, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clinton did not cause this “mess” no matter how many times the idiocracy machine from the right repeat the lie. 
The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act:

“The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa) in 1999. The bills were passed by Republican majorities on party lines by a 54-44 vote in the Senate[12] and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives[13]. After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8 (1 not voting) and in the House: 362-57 (15 not voting). ’ The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999. [14] 

The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980s.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass-Steagall_Act

Bill Clinton was interviewed Monday morning by the Today Show’s Ann Curry, who asked the former President whether he should take any blame for the current financial crisis. Clinton answered, “Oh no… My question to them is: Do any of them seriously believe if I had been president, and my economic team had been in place the last eight years, that this would be happening today? I think they know the answer to that: No.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/16/bill-clinton-asked-on-tod_n_167386.html

Clinton really had no choice but to sign it because it was veto proof.  The Republicans and the majority in both house and senate and the votes were over 66 per cent in favor of the bill.  So don’t blame Clinton for what was the fault of the Republicans. Besides, Bush would have signed an even more disasterous version when he got into office. The banking industry sought the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act since Reagan was president.  And through the Republicans they finally got their wish. So you cannot blame Clinton for this mess.  It is a mess created by the greedy a-holes that preached that greed is a good thing….coming from the Republican party.

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By Eric L. Prentis, June 17, 2009 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Summers and Geithner are on the take con men. Bernanke, at the Federal Reserve, is a shill for the banking elite, who currently has the power to destroy the US financially and shouldn’t be given any more influence over the economy. President Obama is either a dupe or biding his time until the present economic policies are seen to fail by the average American and he can blame it on his current politically-connected, money-class henchmen: let’s hope it’s the latter.

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By boggs, June 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Of course Obama is the main part of this facade. He is the one who chose these notorious corporatists to watch over the american finincial interests. He is the one who is putting the foxes in position at the henhouse door.
He is the one who refuses to hold any of the criminals of the past eight years accountable. This tells me that he is okay with crime, it need not be punished.
I voted for Obama, but am becoming increasingly sorry.
I am noticing the difference in our two partys is practically nothing. One uses a soothing voice while the other yells and screams.

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By remoran, June 17, 2009 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Nothing of consequence will be done until the Fed is abolished. As for these two, words cannot describe the contempt I have for these bastards. As for Obama, he’s Melville’s Confidence Man, risk adverse and without spine. We have been betrayed by our so-called leaders as they take marching orders from the Fed and the bankers who run it.

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By Samson, June 17, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Is anything slowing the flood of OUR money that is still going to Wall Street?

Are any charges being filed for fraud against the people who’ve caused this crisis with their lies and their funny-money games?

When you start to see those two actions, then you can believe that the Obama administration is changing course.  What we are seeing today is a BS smoke screen to cover the fact that nothing has changed.

Oh, they’ll propose new legislation and rules.  There will be fancy proposals that sound better on the surface.  But, there will be a long slow process before these regulations come into effect. And, during that long slow process, the regulations will become weaker and weaker.  More and more loopholes will appear in the regulations. 

By the time the long slow process is complete, the Wall street crooks will throw a party to celebrate their passing.  Because, it was all a smokescreen to cover the fact that our money is still pouring into their pockets and they all got rich from the deal and none of them will go to jail.

The game is rigged. And the Democrats are not on our side.

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prole's avatar

By prole, June 17, 2009 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

“Already there’s a joker in the deck of the Obama proposal” - and it’s Obama himself. This joker bought the Oval Office for over a billion bucks, the majority of which came from Wall St. related interests. He’s in their vest pocket, indeed the whole Obama mirage was invented for their benefit, and any ‘change’ that comes will be to fulfill their ‘hope’, not anyone elses. Obama was long ago “subverted by the financial industry lobbyists, whose enormous campaign treasure chest, now financed by taxpayers, allows them to slice and dice congressional voting blocs the way they did” the Obama scam campaign. Of course there are divisions among the ruling elites on the best way to go about saving their own skins, but that should never be confused with “getting serious about cracking down on Wall Street hustlers”. These are every bit as much lies as Obama’s campaign promises. They’re strictly for public consumption, while the Shylocks figure out the best ways to serve their own class interests behind the scenes. The ruling elites do have to watch their backs to a certain extent. Despite the abject servility of the American public, the powerbrokers don’t want to risk provoking the little people to the point where the scenes of popular unrest in Tehran are repeated in city squares across America. Americans may not care much how many innocent foreign nationals their government slaughters and tortures in far-flung corners of the globe, but on pocketbook issues they may eventually get aroused. So the Wise Men in high places have to at least give the appearance they’re doing something - and know what they’re doing. Even though there’s not much evidence to support either assumption. For political purposes it may be useful but probaly little else. As Ethan Siegel, of the Washington Exchange, which assesses laws for institutional investors opined yesterday: “I’m very sceptical that they can get any significant reform through the Congress this year.” Regardless of the outcome there, it’s NOT “a shame that Obama’s economic whiz kids are only now getting serious about cracking down on Wall Street hustlers after first guaranteeing their toxic paper with trillions of taxpayer dollars” at all - it was planned that way! It’s only a “shame” if you’re naive enough to believe that the always “depressing” Obama and his deck of jokers have the public good at heart.  And only a shameless apologist for Obama’s chronic deceit like Scheer would try and promote that insupportable line. “The reforms presented by Obama are” a public relations gambit enabling the culprits to “not face up to the reality that financial conglomerates too big to fail are too big to be allowed to exist.”  Like plutocratic corporate lawyer Brooksley Born’s tepid proposals earlier, they’re strictly limited to saving greedy investors from their own ‘irrational exuberance’ and preserving the iniquitous system intact. But “I hope that Brooksley Born is in” Robert Scheer’s living room “and gets the standing ovation she deserves” so he can at last get over his crush on her. But there is a silver lining here. “Because of bad deregulation laws, those large, interconnected firms were allowed to grow to the point where their failure indeed threatened ‘the stability of the system’”. “What we need to do is” make sure that this happens. If Summers or Geithner or anyone else can help bring the whole rotten system crashing down, then they will deserve a standing ovation far more than the hapless Born who only wanted to save it, like her most ardent admirer, Scheer.



.

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By Jon, June 17, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, Mr. Summers was Treasury Sec.,under Clinton when the Gramm act repealed Glass Stegall, and Mr. Summers was overjoyed that we finally had abandoned that awful restrictive stone age financial system and was now (1999) moving forward with a 21st century financial system. 

http://partners.nytimes.com/library/financial/102399banks-congress.html

We don’t have common sense in the White House, we have academics and people who disdain the working American.  Not the change we needed.  At least here on Main Street where we’re languishing, waiting for that stimulus to trickle down.

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By KDelphi, June 17, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Why arent these Captains of INdustry in prison?

Oh, yes the president hired them all…as long as Summers and Geithner are there, being “creative and innovative” and all, nothing will change.

BobZ—you dont see the abyss anymore, when you are close to the bottom, But, Obama is not even trying to break the fall—at least not for middle class and below. What was it, exactly , that was “avoided”??

I watched Frontline last night, “Breaking the Bank”, and I thought—draft them! (REAL “frontlines”!)Let them go fight this fricking “overseas contingency operation”. Re-deploy as necessary. And , pay their own way…

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 17, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

The 70% COMMON MAJORITY are not “little people”, “simple Americans” or “average Americans”, we are the common majority.

Why do people choose to consistently call the 70% COMMON MAJORITY POPULATION the “little people”? Or other names that they aren’t? Why can’t we just be called by the name of our class, the Common Majority Population, we are not dwarfs, simple or average; we are the population from which both the American aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class evolved.  The only person that I have ever heard address this fact was George Orwell, and he did it well in his book, “1984”.

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By truedigger3, June 17, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

BobZ wrote:
“Today was the most important day to date for the Obama Administration. It’s now up to Congress to close the financial barn door.
_____________________________________________________

BobZ,

Are you kidding or satiring or you are just another
mouth-piece and bullshit artist for “team Obama”
The hosrses have left the barn already and the people
who are entrusted to close the barn door are the same
people who opened it and stole the horses??!!
Talk is cheap. We need a new team who will retrieve
the horses, punish the thieves and fix the barn door.

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By BobZ, June 17, 2009 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

It will be interesting to hear the howls from the GOP over the reregulation of the financial marketplace. But this time their protestations will fall of deaf ears. At some point last year, we almost went over the financial cliff and into a depression. Our government is telling us just how close we came but Paulson and the Bush team knew. America is now beginning to understand just how close we came to the abyss, as many of us go through a reset of the American dream of lowered expectations. Obama will get zero credit for saving the country just as FDR was villified by Wall Street even though he saved their butts. Today was the most important day to date for the Obama Administration. It’s now up to Congress to close the financial barn door.

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By P. T., June 17, 2009 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

On whether economic busts are a thing of the past, the famous investor David Dodd said that the four most dangerous words in the English language are “this time it’s different.”

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, June 17, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

re: By BobbieBoo, June 17 at 11:45 am:

Bobbie, please run along now. The grownups are having a discussion.

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By boggs, June 17, 2009 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

It’s always so humbling to hear the fox apologize after eating the chicken.
Bet these two clowns have their bankrolls secured.

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By Tokin Lib, June 17, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

It has gotten so bad that this is the best we can expect?

It has gotten so bad the this is ALL you can expect…

Geithner & Summers, being members of the Club, will do everything they can to prevent the imposition of tougher rules on their buddies and pals, while pretending to be the guardians of the public purse.

Regulation of Finance will be achieved precisely the way that health care reform will be achieved: By promoting the (false) idea thet ANY ‘change’ in a VICTORAY for the people, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth,.

But the SCUM are well trained in stenography and obedience now. Regulation (and reform) needn’t actually do anything as long as they can fool the rubes into thinking they’re doing what they, the proles, think they want…

It’s pretty easy, nowdays…

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