Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Shop the Truthdig Gift Guide 2014
December 21, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!


Loss of Rainforests Is Double Whammy Threat to Climate






Truthdig Bazaar
Storm from the East

Storm from the East

Milton Viorst
$ 11.16

more items

 
Report

The Democrats Who Unleashed Wall Street and Got Away With It

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Feb 2, 2012
AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

George W. Bush and his predecessor, Bill Clinton, share a laugh in 2006 at the groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington.

By Robert Scheer

That Lawrence Summers, a president emeritus of Harvard, is a consummate distorter of fact and logic is not a revelation. That he and Bill Clinton, the president he served as treasury secretary, can still get away with disclaiming responsibility for our financial meltdown is an insult to reason.

Yet, there they go again. Clinton is presented, in a fawning cover story in the current edition of Esquire magazine, as “Someone we can all agree on. ... Even his staunchest enemies now regard his presidency as the good old days.” In a softball interview, Clinton is once again allowed to pass himself off as a job creator without noting the subsequent loss of jobs resulting from the collapse of the housing derivatives bubble that his financial deregulatory policies promoted.

At least Summers, in a testier interview by British journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News, was asked some tough questions about his responsibility as Clinton’s treasury secretary for the financial collapse that occurred some years later. He, like Clinton, still defends the reversal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, a 1999 repeal that destroyed the wall between investment and commercial banking put into place by Franklin Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression.

“I think the evidence is that I am right about that. If you look at the big players, Lehman and Bear Stearns were both standalone investment banks,” Summers replied, referring to two investment banks allowed to fold. Summers is very good at obscuring the obvious truth—that the too-big-to-fail banks, made legal by Clinton-era deregulation, required taxpayer bailouts.

The point of Glass-Steagall was to prevent jeopardizing commercial banks holding the savings of average citizens. Summers knows full well that the passage of the repeal of Glass-Steagall was pushed initially by Citigroup, a mammoth merger of investment and commercial banking that created the largest financial institution in the world, an institution that eventually had to be bailed out with taxpayer funds to avoid economic disaster for millions of ordinary Americans. He also knows that Citigroup—where Robert Rubin, who preceded Summers as Clinton’s treasury secretary, played leading roles during a critical time—specialized in precisely the mortgage and other debt packages and insurance scams that were the source of America’s economic crisis.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
Even Clinton, in a rare moment of honest appraisal of his record, conceded that his signing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), legalizing those credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations, was based on bad advice. That advice would have had to come from Summers, his point man pushing the CFMA legislation, which Clinton signed into law during his lame-duck days.

When the British interviewer reminded him of Clinton’s comment, Summers, as is his style, simply bristled: “Again, you make everything so simple, when in fact it’s complicated. Would it have been better if the whole financial reform legislation had passed in 1999, or 1998, or 1992? Yes, of course it would have been better. But … at the time Bill Clinton was president, there essentially were no credit default swaps. So the issue that became a serious problem really wasn’t an issue that was on the horizon.”

That is a lie. Credit default swaps had been sold at least since 1991, and collateralized debt obligations of all sorts quickly became the rage during the Clinton years. Summers surely remembers that Brooksley Born, the legal expert on such matters that Clinton appointed to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), warned about the ballooning danger of those unregulated derivatives. Born, who served with Summers as one of four members of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, tried repeatedly and in vain to get her colleagues to act. When her pleas fell on deaf ears, she issued a “concept release” calling attention to an unregulated derivatives market that was even then spiraling out of control.

The CFMA legislation that Summers pushed and Clinton signed was a specific rebuke to Born’s efforts. As Summers testified at the time before a Senate committee: “As you know, Mr. Chairman, the CFTC’s recent concept release has been a matter of great concern, not merely to Treasury, but to all those with an interest in the OTC [over-the-counter] derivatives market. In our view, the release has cast the shadow of regulatory uncertainty over an otherwise thriving market—raising risks for stability and competitiveness of American derivative trading. We believe it quite important that the doubts be eliminated.”

Those doubts were eliminated by the new law exempting all of that troubling OTC derivatives trading from all existing regulations and regulatory agencies. Summers argued in his congressional testimony that there was no reason for any government regulation of what turned out to be tens of trillions of dollars in toxic assets:

“First, the parties to these kinds of contracts are largely sophisticated financial institutions that would appear to be eminently capable of protecting themselves from fraud and counterparty insolvencies and most of which are already subject to basic safety and soundness regulation under existing banking and securities law.

“Second, given the nature of the underlying assets involved—namely supplies of financial exchange and other financial instruments—there would seem to be little scope for market manipulation of the kind seen in traditional agricultural commodities, the supply of which is inherently limited and changeable.”

Has any economist ever gotten it so wrong?

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.



Get truth delivered to
your inbox every week.

Previous item: What Happened in Florida Won’t Stay in Florida

Next item: Four Reasons to Watch the Super Bowl



New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By Aquifer, February 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Mark,

It’s too bad you are walking away from here as you are walking away from voting -

“If I want to be able to vote to end war, I can’t vote on a ballot that only allows me to delegate that power to government, I have to stop voting until I can get a ballot that allows me to vote directly on ending war.”

Mark, here’s the problem (actually there are several, but this is a biggy) - you have provided NO mechanism for getting such a ballot - will it magically appear?

“The 99% have no responsibility to vote for a system of government that only represents the interests of the 1%.”

That is absolutely correct .... which is why we have to stop doing that and vote for something better instead ..

“Neither is there anything “peaceful” about voting for an undemocratic system of government that wages wars of aggression and commits genocide and crimes against humanity without consulting its citizens and against the will of the majority of its citizens.”

Agreed ..

“You can’t get peace by voting for a government controlled by corporations and a military-industrial complex that profits from war, any more than you can get a shirt by shopping in a shoe store.”

Agreed ...

“If you want peace, stop voting for it. Walk away. Seek peaceful solutions instead of voting for the violent status quo.”

Agreed, in the sense that I think you meant if you want peace, stop voting for war . ...

See, this is what is unfortunate, Mark, i think we want the same things, but we split on how to get there - you want to abandon the ballot without first making a real all out effort to use it to get where we say we want to go. Maybe that would be OK if you offered a better way to get there, but you don’t ....

Report this

By Aquifer, February 7, 2012 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Just tried post to mark again - still won’t print ..

Report this

By Aquifer, February 7, 2012 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

ardee,

Tried to post a reply to Mark last nite and this AM, but not allowed to - “preview” and “submit” page “not found”. Do you know what gives? does TD censor or ban? (nothing unusual in the post)

Can you explain?

Report this

By MeRainyDay, February 7, 2012 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

Please note you have been exposed as an enemy of the 99%.

RT @OccupyWallStNYC: We welcome all, who, in good faith, petition for a redress
of grievances through non-violence.

RT @OccupyWallStNYC: Those seeking to capitalize on this movement or
undermine it by appropriating its message or symbols are not part of OWS

Report this

By ardee, February 7, 2012 at 4:01 am Link to this comment

By Mark E. Smith, February 6 at 4:03 am

While you seem to have slunk away ,tail between legs perhaps, I cannot refrain from noting that this last effort of yours is no effort at all. Every single one of your analogies is a false and childish misstatement. Don’t vote, let others carry your burden.

Report this

By diamond, February 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

“There is nothing violent about not voting.”

Really? How do you think Reagan got elected? And most of what is wrong with America’s economy and its foreign policy began in his era and has continued ever since, even though it has been disastrous from the start. George W. Bush was able to use the supreme court to get into the White House because so many people either didn’t vote or were forcibly prevented from voting because they were black or Hispanic and therefore most likely to vote for the Democrats. You can read about what really happened in 2000, complete with precinct by precinct fraud statistics in ‘Armed Madhouse’ by Greg Palast. The result? Bush was able to invade Iraq, even though 70% of the population opposed it. Probably the same 70% that want a public health care system. Saying that not voting will fix the political dysfunction of the United States is like saying, ‘Let the drunk drive. I’m sober and I’m in the car with him but I’m not going to impose my will on the drunk’.

I’m sure the people of Iraq and Afghanistan won’t thank any American voter for not voting. Not voting is a crime against your fellow citizens only slightly less criminal than voting for the Fascist Party, ooops, Republican Party. Don’t be guilty of it.

Report this
Mark Etprophet's avatar

By Mark Etprophet, February 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

“From his position of power, Sen. Gramm consistently leveraged his Ph.D. in economics and free-market ideology to espouse the virtues of subprime lending, where he famously once stated: “I look at subprime lending and I see the American Dream in action.””

I think that what he said might have been taken out context. What he probably meant to say was “I look at subprime lending and I see the American Dream in auction.”

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 6, 2012 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Mark E. Smith:

“The 99% have no responsibility to vote for a system of government that only represents the interests of the 1%.”
___________________

Those who want systemic change and government that would represent the interests of natural persons have a reasonable responsibility to themselves and others to affirmatively vote for what they wish to see.

Although near half of those eligible to vote in the 2008 election chose to not vote, 46% of those who did participate (R) voted for a continuation of “dumb” wars to be waged, and another 53% (D) voted for more “dumb” wars to be waged provided they would be pleasingly relabeled as being “necessary” and “humanitarian” under more competent “progressive” liberal management of mass murder for profit.

Only 1% voted in opposition to the corporate-state’s sociopathic policies.

While the corporate-state clearly represents the interests of corporate persons rather than natural persons, election results reveal that the sociopathy of corporatism is aggressive animal desire appealing to 99% of the natural persons who have been voting. Those who do not vote effectively support whatever the majority chooses to support, which has regularly been a supermajority support for the (R) & (D) continuum of sociopathic corporatism.

Smith’s position of advocating absolute suppression of voting — particularly the suppression of all protest votes — is a position effectively preferring that the 1% minority using elections for a good purpose should disappear rather than grow, and the 99% majority that has abused elections to provide popular vote mandates for a continuum of the corporate (R) & (D) party’s evil policies should rise to become a 100% unanimous consent.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

Report this

By avraam jack dectis, February 6, 2012 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

.

  Roosevelt was a giant. He would have been livid that Glass Steagall
was repealed.

  His successors seem to have exhibited a steadily diminishing caliber.

  Could it be that as each Presidential candidate is forced through the
finer sieve of greater scrutiny, the only possible result is the most
polished and smallest caliber?

    Roosevelt would have been appalled that we now allow stalker gangs
to openly poison people.  He fought a war against fascism, we grabbed
our ankles when faced with our own fascists.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 6, 2012 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

Sorry folks, I’m unsubscribing to this discussion. Thanks to those who saw the logic in my reasoning and said so publicly or contacted me privately, and my best wishes to those who cannot and never will be convinced.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 6, 2012 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

Ardee, participating in an unjust system is not the only peaceful way to change it, it isn’t a way to change it at all. If I go shopping for a shirt in a shoestore and they tell me that they only have shoes, not shirts, if I buy shoes because that’s all they have, I won’t get a shirt. I have to say, sorry, wrong store, walk out, and go to a store that sells shirts, if I want to buy a shirt. If I know what I want, and it isn’t on the ballot, I have to refuse to vote until I can get a ballot that offers what I want. If I want to be able to vote to end war, I can’t vote on a ballot that only allows me to delegate that power to government, I have to stop voting until I can get a ballot that allows me to vote directly on ending war.

Refusing to buy shoes when what I want is a shirt, is not violent. Refusing to vote when I want a voice in government, not merely a choice of which representatives I’d prefer to have manage my affairs, is not violent. 

Ardee: “This is, at best, a poor analogy. At worst it is an abdication of your responsibilities as a citizen.”

When an employer pays you to do a job, you have a responsibility to do that job. If the employer doesn’t pay you, they have violated the terms of your employment and you have no further responsibility to work for them. If the only choice they give you is continuing to work without pay, or looking for another job, you have the choice to decide what you want to do. You do not have any responsibility to work for no pay.

When a government represents the interests of its citizens, the citizens in turn have a responsibility to that government. When a government represents the 1%, only the 1% have any responsibility to that government, so let them vote. Watch and see how much credibility the US government retains if only the 1% it represents vote. The 99% have no responsibility to vote for a system of government that only represents the interests of the 1%.

Ardee: “You advocate violent solutions by spurning peaceful ones.”

There is nothing violent about not voting.

Neither is there anything “peaceful” about voting for an undemocratic system of government that wages wars of aggression and commits genocide and crimes against humanity without consulting its citizens and against the will of the majority of its citizens.

If the government has no responsibility to count my vote, I have no responsibility to vote. If the government has no responsibility to allow my vote to influence its policy decisions, I have no responsibility to vote.

You can’t get peace by voting for a government controlled by corporations and a military-industrial complex that profits from war, any more than you can get a shirt by shopping in a shoe store.

If you stay with an employer who violently abuses you, you will continue to be abused. Walking away and finding a job where you won’t be violently abused is not violence, remaining in a violent situation is violence, even if you are the victim rather than the perpetrator. The US government is based on violence. It uses violence to protect corporate interests and to suppress civil rights. If you want peace, stop voting for it. Walk away. Seek peaceful solutions instead of voting for the violent status quo.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 6, 2012 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

Lafayette, it isn’t that we may not like the way in which the government counts the votes, it is that in 2000 the Supreme Court found that there is no Constitutional requirement that the government count the votes at all, so they didn’t. They stopped the vote count, ordered that the votes not be counted, and decided the election themselves.

Since there is no Constitutional requirement that the votes be counted, the votes do not have to be counted, and in any election where the 1% do not like the outcome, they do not have to count the votes.

It isn’t victimization, it is fact. The Supreme Court found that there is no Constitutional requirement that the votes be counted at all, and they have used that finding to order that the votes not be counted. Thinking that it is merely the way in which the votes are counted, rather than the fact that in the United States, the Constitution does not ensure any right of the people to have their votes counted at all, is denial of reality.

Aquifer, it is not the ballot or the bullet, the lesser evil or the greater evil, nor any other false dichotomy. In a democratic form of government, people can manage their affairs by voting, by voting on issues, budgets, and everything else. People can vote on whether or not to go to war, whether or not to tax the rich, whether or not to bailout crooked billionaire banksters, and anything else that needs to be voted on. In an undemocratic form of government people can vote for representatives, but their votes don’t have to be counted and their representatives do not have to allow public opinion to influence policy decisions. An undemocratic form of government can wage wars, levy taxes, bail out crooks, or anything else it wants to do without bothering to consult the people or bothering to listen to the people, because by voting in an undemocratic form of government, the people have delegated their authority to representatives who can’t be held accountable to manage their affairs in any way those representatives wish, whether in accordance with their personal, religious, or political beliefs, or in accordance with the dictates of their big donors, etc.

Voting in a democratic system of government is the most precious right there is, as it determines government policy—it is the way that the people manage their affairs.

Because it is an undemocratic form of government, voting in the United States is agreeing to let the 1% manage your affairs for you. It is declaring yourself incompetent and appointing guardians to manage your affairs—guardians you have no power over and who have always mismanaged your affairs, stolen from you, and committed crimes against humanity in your name.

Voting for what you hope will be more honest and benevolent guardians is not the same as being competent to manage your own affairs. But again, I can’t argue with you. Not everyone is competent to manage their own affairs. Although people in other countries with democratic forms of government have proven competent to manage their own affairs, if US voters believe they are not competent to manage their own affairs, they are much better able to assess their own competency than I can, so I have to concede that they’re probably right.

Report this

By ardee, February 6, 2012 at 3:57 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith, February 5 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

Ardee and David, in countries with proportional representation, where a political party which gets 10% of the votes gets 10% of the seats in parliament, third party voting can be very effective. The US is not such a country.

Yet, to gain the goal you seem to admire, you spurn the only peaceful way to achieve said goal.

Voting in a democratic system is a precious right and can accomplish anything. Voting in an undemocratic system is a waste of time and energy and cannot accomplish anything. It’s like trying to drive your refrigerator to work instead of your car or bicycle. The refrigerator is good for keeping foods cold, not transportation, just as our electoral system is good at ensuring that the rich will always rule, not giving people a voice in government.

This is, at best, a poor analogy. At worst it is an abdication of your responsibilities as a citizen. You advocate violent solutions by spurning peaceful ones.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 6, 2012 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

Mark,

“You know for a fact that the government doesn’t have to count your vote, yet you continue to believe that you can “vote it out.” I can’t argue with beliefs, as they are not susceptible to logical arguments.”

Well, let’s put it this way - i think my “belief” is a lot less fanciful than yours, that you can bring “the system” down by boycotting the ballot box ....

“In a democratic system of government, supreme power is vested in the hands of the people,”

And how do the people manage, manifest, utilize, leverage their power? What mechanism do they use, Mark? We ARE the government - our problem is that we refuse to take responsibility for that fact ...

It is the ballot or the bullet; i prefer the former.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 6, 2012 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

WE, THE SHEEPLE

MES: Since the government doesn’t have to count your votes, it is the government that has the final say, not you, and this is not a democratic form of government.

This contention is superbly naive. It is just “victimization” feeding the notion that “there’s nothing we can do except go along. So, why vote? It’s useless anyway.”

You may not like the way the government counts the votes – voting card chards in Florida come to mind - but our system remains nonetheless profoundly democratic. We, the sheeple, have voted and continue to vote for the present political class into Congress. So, instead of preaching to the faithful, here on this blog, get out and preach to the grassroots. The one that stays away from the polls in droves, because they believe ignorantly the Victimization Bullshit .

Show the grassroots how their blind faith in the present political class has permitted government to be manipulated on behalf of vested-interests. How regulatory oversight agencies have been neutered. How insufficient taxation has allowed the making of a Plutocrat Class that spends hallucinatory amounts of money to manipulate electoral outcomes. How we, the sheeple, allow ourselves to manipulated.

But most importantly, explain the mystery of why such money has such a profound impact on electoral outcomes. How and why is it that we, the sheeple, believe the bullshit being fed to us and vote accordingly?

This happened clearly when, out of consummate ignorance, we voted for Dubya’s second term as PotUS. One was enough to recognize his ineptness in the role. More recently, how did we ever allow the T-Party (T for Troglodyte) to take control of the HofR?

Any answers to those questions, MES? Because, therein lies the key to reforming the American system of governance.

And we-the-sheeple remain nonetheless the most powerful political force on earth.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 6, 2012 at 2:54 am Link to this comment

OUR SOCIOECONOMIC DILEMMA

Ultimately, this means that each of us needs to trust the system enough to take care of our needs such that no one feels they have to sabotage that system to pervert it to support only their interests, even if that means the vast majority feel otherwise.

That trust should be merited.

Ours is presently a cultural problem. Why is it that Social Justice has rooted deeply in Europe and not in America? Why is Unbridled Individualism a virtue so prized in the US and, oppositely, so highly taxed in Europe? This distinction is due to the lack of Social Justice as an overarching societal value in the US.

At the root of the matter, I submit, is the fact that we have no deep cultural preference for either egalitarianism or meritocracy. I doubt most Americans have even ever heard of those two words.

And yet, they are primordial to understanding Social Justice, Income Disparity and what Americans like to call “a level playing field” – because we are unable to articulate that thought otherwise.

Yes, we believe foremost in freedom. But the question then ensues, “What kind of freedom?” The kind that allows one class to indulge itself blithely in the spoliation of another class? (Spoliate means to plunder, rob or ruin.)

The sort of privilege by which an upper-class spoliates an underclass is precisely the kind that provoked Karl Marx to found “Marxism”, which is (dictionary definition of the word)

the doctrine that the state throughout history has been a device for the exploitation of the masses by a dominant class, that class struggle has been the main agency of historical change, and that the capitalist system, containing from the first the seeds of its own decay, will inevitably, after the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat, be superseded by a socialist order and a classless society.

Marx was quite possibly right historically but very wrong in terms of the outcome, described in the last line of the above paragraph.  A classless society assumes that we are all very much alike, replicants of some basic model. In fact, Mark did not sufficiently appreciate the fact that humans are highly diverse beings, some being much more or much less qualified / capable /expert in their skills or talents or competencies.

In a market economy, one’s talents largely define the return on their labor. And, whilst our economies were not aggregated into corporations during the Agricultural Age, the return on one’s abilities was the sole means of authentically evaluating one’s worth – whether a farmer or a blacksmith, a tinker or tailor, or whatever.  With the Industrial Age’s evolution of corporations those distinctions are now the unique preserve of professional classes (like doctors and lawyers and artists).

Those who own and/or specifically run corporations determine largely the return-on-labor, without the slightest care or concern as to whether that return is fair or inequitable. Which leads us directly – in a country with so little taxation of the plutocrat upper-classes - to the stark distinction of the One Percenters versus the Ninety-nine Percenters and our present socioeconomic dilemma.

Yes, socioeconomic, not just social and not just economic. Both are entwined into the one dilemma that presently besets us.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer: “Yup, time to vote it out ....”

Do you understand that you can’t “vote it out” unless the votes are counted?

Do you understand that in 2000 the Supreme Court ruled that the popular vote does not have to be counted, stopped the vote count, nullified the election, and choose the President themselves?

Do you understand that the government has the final say and that you can’t vote them out unless they choose to count your votes, and that since they have no obligation to count your votes, if you try to vote them out and they don’t feel like leaving, they’ll just refuse to count your votes again?

It’s like saying hey, we’ve got a terrible king, but he lets us petition him, so let’s petition him to stop being king, or to stop being terrible. Good luck with that. The Constitution ensured that the government, not the people, would have the final say in US elections. You can’t vote them out when they have the final say.

In a democratic system of government, supreme power is vested in the hands of the people, so the people have the final say. In an undemocratic form of government, supreme power is vested in the hands of the government, so the government has the final say. Since the government doesn’t have to count your votes, it is the government that has the final say, not you, and this is not a democratic form of government.

The specific reasoning in Bush v. Gore 2000 was a one time thing. But the broad general finding that the Constitution does not ensure the right to have the popular vote counted is a general overriding finding that applies to all federal elections, so they can use different specifics the next time they choose not to count the popular vote.

Only if you had the power to ensure that the government had to count your vote, could you say that you had power over government and that your vote could accomplish something. An uncounted vote is like a vote flushed down the toilet and has no relationship whatsoever to a voice in government.

I’m really impressed at the power of belief to triumph over reality. You know for a fact that the government doesn’t have to count your vote, yet you continue to believe that you can “vote it out.” I can’t argue with beliefs, as they are not susceptible to logical arguments.

Report this
THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., February 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

By Mark E. Smith, February 5 at 8:33 pm Link to this
comment
THX 1133, I prefer the original definition of genocide
that was used by the person who coined the word,
Raphael Lemkin…
______________________
Thanks, I didn’t know that.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Mark,
“When a government operates on behalf of corporations, it is a fascist government.”

Yup, time to vote it out ....

“It is voting within and for such a system that is the problem.”

Voting FOR it, yes - but i am not voting for, nor am I voting in, a “fascist system”,  i am voting in a voting booth for non-fascist candidates. Sorry man, but the act of voting is the act of voting - it is not fascist or communist or monarchical it is just voting. Our problem, as i said, and as you said, is that we have treated it like entertainment or team sports instead of a solemn act of inserting ourselves, our desires, and our needs into this process of participating in a would be democracy - and it would be if we took it seriously, as it would seem you do not ....

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

THX 1133, I prefer the original definition of genocide that was used by the person who coined the word, Raphael Lemkin, and is also preferred by anti-genocide activists like Ward Churchill and keith harmon snow, to the politicized and watered down version adopted by the UN to ensure that their members with veto power, who were all guilty of genocide under the original definition, would not be brought to justice.

I don’t care about whether or not the victims fall into any particular group, or what the claimed intent of the perpetrators is, if a million or more innocent people are murdered due to state-sponsored military or para-military violence, I’m still going to call it genocide. Nobody can kill more than a million innocent people accidentally, unintentionally, or without being aware of it.

Aquifer, Mussolini defined fascism as the merger of government and business. When a government operates on behalf of corporations, it is a fascist government. It is impossible to distinguish between private corporate economic interests and the government’s interests in a fascist system, as they are one and the same. In most cases when the US State Department refers to “US interests” overseas, it is referring to the interests of private multinational corporations that often pay no taxes here, contribute little or nothing to job creation here, and do not benefit the United States in any way whatsoever, other than making campaign donations to politicians and political parties who are loyal and obedient to them even when it is at the expense of and contrary to the interests of their constituents. It is voting within and for such a system that is the problem.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

Mark,

“they are either voting for incumbent Members of Congress, or to elect new Members of Congress. In other words, they’re blaming the puppets instead of the puppet masters,”

Huh? i thought Congress critters were the puppets - how does continuing to vote for the same schmucks constitute “blaming them”?

“It’s like saying that if we could just elect kinder gentler people to the Mafia or the KKK, they’d be perfectly law-abiding organizations.”

Yup, so you have to get rid of the KKK and the Mafia - let’s see, i suppose, for the purposes of analogy, we could say the KKK are the Reps, and the Mafia are the Dems? or the other way around?

“It wouldn’t take much to push it to the point where the government loses legitimacy completely.”

So what magic number do we have to reach before this house of cards magically falls down under the weight of “illegitimacy”?

“If people stopped confusing US elections with American Idol and voting as if elections were popularity contests instead of what they really are, the consent of the governed to be governed, they’d realize that this system of government does not and cannot represent their interests and stop voting until a better system was established that did represent their interests.”

If people stopped voting as if the elections were like American Idol/popularity contests and started voting for folks who really represented their needs and aspirations, we’d have a whole diff gov’t - one that you might even tolerate ...

And just who will establish this “better system” and how will they do it ? “Systems” don’t represent interests, people do. Some systems function better than others, but they are all made by people, can be remade or unmade by people, and function through people. The “best” systems can flounder with crummy people - garbage in, garbage out. So concentrate on getting good people who will then work to repair, or replace it, prn. But that requires participation, not dropping or copping out ...

Hmm are you of that generation whose motto was “tune in, turn on, drop out”?

Report this

By Aquifer, February 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

Mark,

‘The US economic system is based on genocide. People who vote in its elections are doing their civic duty to a system based on genocide, a genocidal system, and thereby demonstrating their faith in, trust in, and support for a genocidal system.”

Well here’s you problem, Mark, confusing the economic system with the electoral system. I know they both begin with “e” but ...

When I shop in a store I am participating in the economic system. When i vote, unless i have sold my vote, I am not participating in the economic system, but the electoral one. Whatever the basis of the economic system, the electoral system is not based on genocide, unless of course you wish to argue that our entire country, and everything in it is based on genocide, which i will not argue with, but a new Constitution won’t change that defect - nothing can do that. Is that your argument? if so the only way to “correct” that defect is to return the whole place back to the First Peoples and get the hell out. But if you are not willing to go that far, then no matter what you do you will be working with a “defective” system. So the question becomes, which defects to fix and how to fix them and who to do it ...

“I begged every peace activist I knew not to vote for him. They all voted for him anyway. Even Kucinich, who talks so big about peace, threw his support to his dear friend Obama, who had already committed to war.”

And your point? We are supposed to drop out of the electoral system because people screwed up and voted for schmucks? Why do you keep bringing up Kucinich? What the hell has he got to do with it? He’s a Dem who has put party over principle - so what is your point, no one is arguing for him here. His case makes the point against supporting Dems or Reps but not against voting ...

“When there is proportional representation, equal ballot access, publicly funded elections, the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine, the abolition of gerrymandered districts and the Electoral College, a way to verify that votes are counted accurately, along with the power to ensure that the popular vote is counted at all, along with a few hundred other necessary reforms to ensure free, fair, open, honest elections, people will have a full range of options and voting will be able to bring about change.”

And how do you propose to achieve all this? Oh, that’s right, just don’t vote and the system will melt down like the wicked witch of the West and Dorothy will click her shoes and it will happen. Again Mark, you propose no mechanism. And now you say we need a whole new Constitution - so how do we get one of those? Are they on sale at WalMart?

“just as our electoral system is good at ensuring that the rich will always rule, not giving people a voice in government.”

Not the system itself, though it does have its flaws, but the way we have used the system - it’s like shooting a gun at a target - it will work if you aim properly and point it in the right direction - for too long we have been turning the gun around and pointing it at ourselves ...

Isn’t there some old joke about a refrigerator running ......

Report this
THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., February 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Genocide:
Cambridge Dictionary;
Genocide is the killing or attempted killing of an
entire people belonging to the same race, religion or
nation.
_________________
Collins Dictionary;
the policy of deliberately killing a nationality or
ethnic group.
_________________
Merriam-Webster
The deliberate and systematic destruction of a
racial, political, or cultural group.

The term genocide is constantly mis-used by most
people and MSM. cheers.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer, fewer than 10% of voters approve of Congress, yet about 50% of the eligible electorate votes, and they are either voting for incumbent Members of Congress, or to elect new Members of Congress.

In other words, they’re blaming the puppets instead of the puppet masters, the system of corporate rule and the military-industrial complex that funds, owns, and rules Congress (and the White House).

It’s like saying that if we could just elect kinder gentler people to the Mafia or the KKK, they’d be perfectly law-abiding organizations.

Yes, the US is clinging to legitimacy by a slender hair—with only 50% of the eligible electorate bothering to vote, despite the fact that the corporations spend billions of dollars funding elections and saturating the mass media with election-related crap, at least half of us can see through the hype. It wouldn’t take much to push it to the point where the government loses legitimacy completely. If people stopped confusing US elections with American Idol and voting as if elections were popularity contests instead of what they really are, the consent of the governed to be governed, they’d realize that this system of government does not and cannot represent their interests and stop voting until a better system was established that did represent their interests.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

Tagg,

I agree - the “left” has gotten so enamored of “reason” as the alpha and omega of discourse and political activity, with our policies and programs, charts and graphs, that we have forgotten that all politics is personal, all persons have stories and at the heart of those stories are those feelings of the heart and, dare i say it here, soul ....

At some point in time we have to stop acting out of percentages or odds or strategy but out of what we “know” at a level deeper than our cerebral cortex ... where morality does indeed lie.

Don’t calculate my odds of attaining a just life, or draw a graph of it over time, or write a treatise on it, just tell me where such life is so that we may go there ..

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Ardee and David, in countries with proportional representation, where a political party which gets 10% of the votes gets 10% of the seats in parliament, third party voting can be very effective. The US is not such a country.

Lafayette wrote, “Hyperbole, suitable for polemics and not debate. Which do you want?”

So discussion is off the table, not on the ballot, and not a valid options? I get two choices only, an evil and a lesser evil? I don’t want polemics or debate, Lafayette. I want discussion. This is not a US election and you may not limit my options.

Lafayette quotes me saying: “I called people who perpetuate this genocidal system by casting uncounted votes in its secret and unverifiable elections,

Lafayette responds: “This has nothing even remotely to do with “genocidal”. Get a dictionary.”

You cut off my sentence and took it out of context. The complete paragraph read, “I did not call people who disagree with me genocidal, I called people who perpetuate this genocidal system by casting uncounted votes in its secret and unverifiable elections, knowing collaborators in a genocidal system. Voting is the consent of the governed, and voting in a genocidal system is the consent of the governed to continue to be governed by a genocidal system.”

The US economic system is based on genocide. People who vote in its elections are doing their civic duty to a system based on genocide, a genocidal system, and thereby demonstrating their faith in, trust in, and support for a genocidal system.

In the ‘08 campaign, when Obama stated his commitment to expanding the war in Afghanistan (he didn’t mention Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, or Libya, but that may have been because he had not yet been elected and the military-industrial complex hadn’t yet told him what his plans were), I begged every peace activist I knew not to vote for him. They all voted for him anyway. Even Kucinich, who talks so big about peace, threw his support to his dear friend Obama, who had already committed to war.

When there is proportional representation, equal ballot access, publicly funded elections, the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine, the abolition of gerrymandered districts and the Electoral College, a way to verify that votes are counted accurately, along with the power to ensure that the popular vote is counted at all, along with a few hundred other necessary reforms to ensure free, fair, open, honest elections, people will have a full range of options and voting will be able to bring about change. That would require more than just a half dozen Constitutional amendments, it would require a new Constitution that vested supreme power in the hands of the people instead of in the hands of government, the dictionary definition of democracy.

Voting in a democratic system is a precious right and can accomplish anything. Voting in an undemocratic system is a waste of time and energy and cannot accomplish anything. It’s like trying to drive your refrigerator to work instead of your car or bicycle. The refrigerator is good for keeping foods cold, not transportation, just as our electoral system is good at ensuring that the rich will always rule, not giving people a voice in government.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

Mark,

“JFK didn’t listen, tried to bring the troops home from Vietnam, and was assassinated.”

Sources please for the connection - and even if you can make THAT connection, why wasn’t Nixon assassinated? Or had the MIC made enough money by then?  Obama is pulling out of Iraq, whether he likes it or not ...

i have heard that argument over and over - but the problem is it suggests that what you are saying is that there is no point in having a Pres, or Congress, for that matter,  until all the Generals and “spooks” and arms dealers are gone - and yet you have offered no way to accomplish this other than, apparently, by “denying them legitimacy” by denying them the vote:

“My plan is to take away their veneer of legitimacy, the consent of the governed. If people don’t vote, they’ll be exposed for the military junta they really are. They can continue to operate as a military junta, but would no longer be able to pretend to be a democracy.”

Mark i hate to tell you this, but a whole lot of people have been not voting in elections for awhile now as a whole lot of people, both here and abroad, haven’t thought the US was a “legitimate” democracy for some time, and that perception hasn’t changed a thing as far as the duopoly or the MIC is concerned. In fact not voting is fine with them. In other words, without articulating it in the way you have, a lot of folks have been following your strategy and -  it hasn’t worked. How long do you want to sit on your hands while you play this no voting experiment? Haven’t we been sitting on our hands, and our votes, long enough already?

“Unless the economy is changed, the wars cannot stop.”

Yes, they can - there will be pressure, a great deal, to continue, but there is also growing pressure to stop and they CAN be stopped ...

“Stating facts is not a personal insult.”

Is this one of those “facts”?

“You seem to pretend that you care about other things, but because you won’t acknowledge that the current system is genocidal and unacceptable, you are perfectly willing to sustain it”” (earlier post)

Your assertion that i am willing to sustain a genocidal system is not an insult?

“I did not call people who disagree with me genocidal, I called people who perpetuate this genocidal system by casting uncounted votes in its secret and unverifiable elections, knowing collaborators in a genocidal system.”

Ah, so i myself am not genocidal, just a collaborator - well, shucks, i feel EVER so much better now ...

And if you feel “attacked” by being accused of being an “angry dude”  - pardon me, i didn’t realize you weren’t angry. Sure sounds to me like you were - wonder what you would sound like if you WERE angry.

Well in that case, my critique would be I think you SHOULD be angry - hell I am, this set-up sucks ...

Report this

By Aquifer, February 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

THX,

I don’t see a problem with anger either, I am pretty angry myself; as a matter of fact if you aren’t, you either aren’t paying attention, are part of the 1%, or don’t give a damn about anything. But, as you say, properly directed, and i would add, with some sort of plan or vision or goal for what you want to do once “the system” has been monkey wrenched.

“Under the present situation he does make a point that I’d agree with: If one can’t vote third party then don’t vote at all.”

If Mark had said THAT I would have no argument with him at all, but that is not what he is saying - he is saying don’t vote AT ALL, nada, zip not for any party or any person, do not participate in elections, ever, period, end of story. THAT is what i am having a problem with, plus the implication that those who persist in voting, at all, are complicit in ‘“genocide”


balkas,

of course hurdles are put in the way of anyone trying to upset the duopoly applecart - but that is no reason not to enter the race, it just means we have to be good hurdlers, or pole vaulters as the case may be ....

with regard to your point about “promises”- you do have a point - a candidate can only say what their program is, what their intentions are, and perhaps just as importantly, what they think America can and should accomplish, or at least try to accomplish, as a society - this will give you a clue, I think as to where they stand on your “superior person” issue.  I think, realistically, we judge our politicians on how hard they try - what powers they have that they chose to use and on whose behalf they choose to use them. Pres. are not omnipotent, we all know that, but one can often pretty well tell ahead of time how sincere they are.

The other issue that i think we leave out with regard to how much a Green Pres. would shake up the system - is just by the act of being elected, before she even took office - she would shake up the system enormously - the duopoly would drop its drawers (no, wait, they have already done that on numerous occasions, haven’t they?) rather, have to change their underwear if this happened. The duopoly as a fact of life, a force of nature would have been cracked wide open. Even if there was no win but a large percentage of the vote for that 3rd party, the system that Mark refers to would be shaken .....

ardee,

Hear, Hear! (or is it Here, Here! or Hear, here! or ..., anyway, i agree)

David,

T"hose who choose to not vote are counted — by both the corporate-state and the people — as being persons with no complaint… counted as being people passively acquiescing to everything that the corporate-state has done and will do.”

Agree ...

BR549

“Ultimately, this means that each of us needs to trust the system enough to take care of our needs such that no one feels they have to sabotage that system to pervert it to support only their interests, even if that means the vast majority feel otherwise.”

That is the system we must aim for ...

Report this

By hettygreen, February 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The central irony of financial crisis is that while it
is caused by too much confidence, too much borrowing
and lending and too much spending, it can only be
resolved with more confidence, more borrowing and
lending, and more spending.”

Larry Summers October 23, 2011

Give that drunk another drink and he’ll be just fine!

Report this
TAGGLINE's avatar

By TAGGLINE, February 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ,

I just wanted to add another comment to your reaction
per my reference to the wisdom (you call ‘cynicism’)
of Chris Hedges’ writings, etc.

You may want to note that within every book he’s
written is a cite, and a reference to those
intellectuals/writings/quotes he illustrates, and you
so ridicule with your “...”.

In addition, Mr Hedges ‘spiritual’ component , from
my vantage point, is the very element that is missing
in our pseudo-discourses about this and that “issue”.
Without a moral compass…we’re lost. The
“Liberals”/“progressives” have been lost because of
that lack as has been evidenced by the “ok, it breaks my heart, but we’ll send our kids to die in bullshit wars” left side of the aisle congress…(or, it might make them less “intellectual” if
they defer to a character trait we so need in this
mire of self-involved, self serving, beholden to nonsense we so readily claim is our ‘democratic’ leadership…)

To negate the issue of a ‘moral core’ is a death-wish
for us all, for we, as a low-brained thinking species,
will continue on the path of self destruction without
engaging the very component that can save us.

In Hedges’ lecture, ‘Calling All Rebels”...the point
is driven home to a ‘T’...I sincerely hope we, as
Social Advocates and seekers of an true, egalitarian
and just society take the time to digest that
lecture…and learn a thing or two.

Per Mr. Obama…I’m afraid that the man is bought and
sold by and to whom he and his ilk are beholden.

Report this
BR549's avatar

By BR549, February 5, 2012 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

Mark and Aquifer,  @Aquifer, February 3 at 9:46 pm

“What does that say about you? If you would do that, why should I trust you when you tell me that voting is worthless?”

Unfortunately, what is missing in the whole process is integrity. Too many people have lost that individual connection that reminds them every day how, through all the variations in ethnicity and religion, we are still all one people. Ultimately, this means that each of us needs to trust the system enough to take care of our needs such that no one feels they have to sabotage that system to pervert it to support only their interests, even if that means the vast majority feel otherwise.

When speaking of politicians, that group of individuals has sworn an oath more or less indicating that they are actually “conscious” of potential perversion, yet look where we are. Somehow, after all is said and done, with this whole body of august and spotless politicians, we always seem to go further down the crapper and when the public starts pointing fingers, they build more prisons behind our backs and deploy sound cannons (LRADs) and heat rays (ASDs) to be used against the very population that put them in office. Talk about no faith in the system .......

But to address the initial responses, if anyone feels they must tamper with the voting results, basically altering the will of of the majority, these people are truly disconnected and have no business even pretending to live in a democracy or a republic.

Report this
sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, February 5, 2012 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

after taking those supposedly law-binding oaths…
upholding the constitution of a people and country…
officials quickly personalize their own office space…
installing back-door passageways to wall street!...

(as presidencies weaken many conflicts-of-interest…
prior violations become the current way of business!)...

whenever monetary value must fill basic human needs…
it takes stricter supervision to keep it far enough from greed!...

Report this

By balkas, February 5, 2012 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

i need an elucidation how any prez, whom the onepercent would vigorously oppose [or not gladhand], thwart,
estop in some acts s/he may want enact and without having a supportive majority in congress or the judiciary,
could be able to make any change for a better life for all americans.
i gather a green prez would not be okayed by army echelons, fbi/cia; nearly all judges, MSM columnists,
bankers, 30 million rabid americans who think US cannot ever do any wrong.
to be elucidatory, one must tell us HOW one is going to bring changes for better and not behave like a ‘normal’
politico and promise the moon; be it tacitly or explicitly.
it seems to me that much of what politicos say [it includes paul, rocky anderson, and st.jill] is of the promisory
kind.
if a politico would be honest; respectful of people, s/he, would say: look, i do not know what i can do. here’s
what i like to do, but don’t have the how yet. we’ll see when i get elected and get to know, hopefully, a lot more
than i do now.
there is a mile-thick-cover-of lies there that need to be dug away before we learn anything new.
and above all else: tell people i came to make mistakes.

Report this
David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, February 5, 2012 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Mark E. Smith:

“Voting is the consent of the governed, and voting in a genocidal system is the consent of the governed to continue to be governed by a genocidal system.”
_____________________

While that is clearly true, with regards to the mindless majority of voters who regularly routinely self-restrict themselves to only choosing between the two corporate-state selected money manufactured “electable” candidates, it is not true of those who choose to use elections as an act of resistance, in opposition to the corporate-state’s sociopathic policies.

In these Corporate States of America, elections function as a barometer for the corporate-state to frequently measure the actual level of societal dissidence. No other polls matter.

Demonstrations, other direct-action means of resistance, and any personal lifestyle disassociations from the system are ineffectual, if there is no significant minority willing to vote in opposition to the corporate-state’s Republican and Democrat team.

Those who choose to not vote are counted — by both the corporate-state and the people — as being persons with no complaint… counted as being people passively acquiescing to everything that the corporate-state has done and will do.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

Report this

By ardee, February 5, 2012 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

You don’t explain how electing a Green President would change the system, because it would not and could not bring about change.

Mark, if I may I would offer that , while your basic premises are valid and factual, I must rise in support of continuing to exercise one’s duty to vote.

Yes, the system is corrupted, but it is the exclusivity of the two party monopoly upon that system that lends itself to said corruption. The way both parties so jealous guard their monopoly on voters choices, battle, not in ideological wars but in vying for the corporate dollar, that is the heart of our problem.

When you further reduce the numbers of voters you make it much easier to advance the corporate control of our governance.This is why I believe the introduction of third party influences into government is the best way to end the stranglehold of corporate influence upon this nations course.

I would offer , as proof, the case of the government of France. The most advanced workers rights of any industrialized nation, achieved precisely because of the number of party’s involved in the decision making process.Literally a dozen parties, thus making it almost impossible for corporate rule to achieve the power it has here.

The key to change here is not to withdraw from the process, but to strengthen it through participation in it.

Report this

By balkas, February 5, 2012 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

i’m not that well educated about US electoral rules and procedures. but if
mark, et al are right about the hurdles put in the way of, say, a socialist
party during election campaigns and of their delegates, then not voting
in such an unjust election makes sense. thanks

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 5, 2012 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

OTT

MES: Our system is genocidal and unacceptable.

Hyperbole, suitable for polemics and not debate.

Which do you want?

I called people who perpetuate this genocidal system by casting uncounted votes in its secret and unverifiable elections,

This has nothing even remotely to do with “genocidal”. Get a dictionary.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 5, 2012 at 4:00 am Link to this comment

Aquifer: “Electing a person like Stein would affect a lot of things - as commander in chief she would have the power to bring the troops home from all over the planet for starters.”

Really? President Eisenhower, who was also General Eisenhower, warned about the power of the military-industrial complex. JFK didn’t listen, tried to bring the troops home from Vietnam, and was assassinated.

Aquifer: “The economy wouldn’t be changed overnite - but the wars would - how will your boycott stop the wars?”

Unless the economy is changed, the wars cannot stop. Care to explain how having a well-meaning President can change the economy overnight?

Aquifer: “Well, here you go again - replacing argument with personal insult .....”

Stating facts is not a personal insult. Our system is genocidal and unacceptable. No President, working within the current system, can change that.

Aquifer: “Mark, you are one of those angry dudes…”

THAT is a personal attack.

Aquifer: “All you can do, it seems, is call folks who disagree with you genocidal and compare a Mass. physician running for Pres to Hitler. Not a good advertisement for your position, IMO ....”

I did not call people who disagree with me genocidal, I called people who perpetuate this genocidal system by casting uncounted votes in its secret and unverifiable elections, knowing collaborators in a genocidal system. Voting is the consent of the governed, and voting in a genocidal system is the consent of the governed to continue to be governed by a genocidal system.

In 1933 General Smedley Butler, the most decorated Marine in US history, said that he had spent most of his military career fighting not for his country, but for private multinational corporations like Standard Oil and United Fruit. That’s because corporations rule this country. Things have gotten much worse since then, not because of who people vote for or who is in office, but because we don’t have a vote on the boards of directors of the big multinational corporations that run this country. We don’t get to vote on who is on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We don’t get to vote on wars. The President doesn’t make decisions about wars, the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon brief the President, and the President either goes along with their plans or they assassinate the President as they have assassinated so many other heads of state, many of whom were actually democratically elected. When the CIA comes in with “documented proof” that terrorists are about to nuke the US (“proof” in the form of documents that the CIA itself has forged, as it has done so many times before), and the Joint Chiefs of Staff insist that unless we commit to a preventative war, the entire country will be destroyed, if Stein faces them down and insists on taking that risk, they’ll either take out Stein, or they’ll stage a false flag event (as they have so many times before) to push the country into war. JFK vetoed Operation Northwoods so that the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had all signed off on the plan to pretend to hijack US civilian airliners, substitute empty military planes, crash them into buildings, and then blame the imaginary loss of US lives on Cuba (google Operation Northwoods if you don’t believe me), and the MIC knew they couldn’t rely on him. If they can’t rely on Stein, Stein will also be taken out. It isn’t the people, it’s the system, the capitalist imperialist genocidal system.

My plan is to take away their veneer of legitimacy, the consent of the governed. If people don’t vote, they’ll be exposed for the military junta they really are. They can continue to operate as a military junta, but would no longer be able to pretend to be a democracy. That will cost them allies and credit. Without the allies and credit it can only obtain by claiming to be a democracy, which it would no longer be able to claim if people didn’t vote, the US would no longer be able to continue this genocidal economy.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 5, 2012 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

MEGA-CORPORATIONS

I understand Mark’s point though, but it doesn’t really show a way out of the R/D dilemma.

Then you are particularly blind to it.

Progressive values address most of the problems that preoccupy Americans - and specifically that of Income Disparity. By means of higher taxation (both marginal and capital gains income) the revenues of which are spent on a larger array of Public Services offerings. (Like a National HealthCare System and subsidized Post-secondary Educational achievement.)

However, such Social Justice is seen by the Rabid Right as “Hand-Out Socialism”. It isn’t, it’s a hand-up towards enhancing the quality of well-being by diminishing those factors that lower our standard-of-living.

And if that notion epitomizes Social Justice, so what? It is precisely such a vision that this nation needs - and a Progressive Political Agenda can help bring about Social Justice. Our nation is crying out for it.

The objective of business is to make profits. Nothing wrong with that. It all went haywire when we allowed too much of the resulting economic wealth (that we all generate by means of our work and our spending) to trickle-upwards under Reckless Ronnie’s upper-incomes almost-tax-free administration. Which created an elite class of Plutocrats.

Worse yet, his administration installed the silly notion that Free Markets would bring an abundance of riches to be shared by all. And therefore government should not interfere with market operations.

The consequence of this lie has been to create mega-corporations that game-the-system by means of an army of lobbyists well-paid to compromise Congressional regulation of markets. The bigger-is-better mentality is a quick-recipe for concentrating market competition thus building companies with assured revenue streams.

But it has the side-effect of mitigatating competition,  thus enhancing price manipulation that optimizes profits. We, the consumers, pay the price through higher costs.

Any economy that allows corporations, which are contractual entities and not citizens, to manipulate markets is asking for what it gets.

And have we ever got it. Right between the eyes.

Report this

By MItchel Cohen, February 5, 2012 at 1:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s not forget Al Gore in all of this, either. The approach to economics had its parallel in their approach to ecology, as well. I explore some of that in two articles I wrote: “Listen Gore: Some Inconvenient Truths about the Politics of Environmental Crisis”:
http://www.mitchelcohen.com/?p=1887

and “Where the Crises Intersect: Lawrence Summers, Al Gore, and U.S. Environmental & Economic Policy ... Obama’s Winter of Neoliberal Discontent”:
http://www.mitchelcohen.com/?p=1803

Report this
THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., February 5, 2012 at 12:51 am Link to this comment

By Aquifer, February 4 at 10:58 pm Link to this
comment
THX,

“What’s that old saw about the definition of
insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting a different result.”

Yep, voting for Dems/Reps over and over is pretty
crazy, isn’t it?
______________________

I would have to answer that in the affirmative.
I understand Mark’s point though, but it doesn’t
really show a way out of the R/D dilemma.
I also don’t see a problem with anger, properly
directed.
It should be obvious the two party system is rotten
to the core, but it’s no longer in our immediate
power to change that. The first thing is to drop the
politically correct posturing and closed mind to new
ideas and possibilities. The only way I know to do
that is through dialogue and, most importantly,
listening to another’s point of view.
This is the big problem with a lot of the posters
here and most, but not all, websites; an insistence
their point is the only correct one extant and a
refusal to listen to another POV. Not casting
aspersions here, just making a point. I’ve posted
here for many years and most of the worst are finally
gone.
I appreciate that you are a critical thinker; but so
is Mark. Under the present situation he does make a
point that I’d agree with: If one can’t vote third
party then don’t vote at all. That’s given the
obvious present “choices” which really aren’t choices
at all. They’re both ice cream, just different
flavors.
The logic to that is simple; don’t vote for the least
worst (that’s been our choice for decades) because
that doesn’t fix anything; it just continues the long
slide down. Cheers.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm Link to this comment

THX,

“What’s that old saw about the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Yep, voting for Dems/Reps over and over is pretty crazy, isn’t it?

Report this

By Aquifer, February 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

Mark

“Aquifer, what you’re suggesting is that people continue to vote, and that, although it never has happened in the past, somehow a miracle will happen this time and there will be change.  You don’t explain how electing a Green President would change the system, because it would not and could not bring about change.”

I am suggesting that people start using their votes for different options than they have in the past - or are you one of those who thinks voting has never done anything since the beginning of time?  I have run into that routine before ....  If voting hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years or so - maybe, just maybe now it’s because we have kept voting for the same schmucks all the time. Electing a person like Stein would affect a lot of things - as commander in chief she would have the power to bring the troops home from all over the planet for starters. But think about it - the very fact that someone like that would be elected would shake up the system a hell of a lot more than your election boycott would. Which reminds me - you still haven’t explained how your boycott would change a damn thing ....

“Of course you fully understand that a war economy cannot be changed overnight, ...”

The economy wouldn’t be changed overnite - but the wars would - how will your boycott stop the wars?

“I’m sure that people who voted for Hitler weren’t voting for genocide either.  .....if what it happened to take was genocide, they were fully capable of ignoring it, just as you are.”

Oh, you are getting desperate now - pulling out the old Hitler canard. See the problem with that is that it has been so overused - and now you are comparing Stein to Hitler? - there’s a laugh

“You don’t change a system by continuing it.”

Well that’s pretty obvious - have no desire to continue it….

“you shut the damned thing down until the cooling system can be repaired or replaced.”

So who is going to shut the damn thing down in your scenario?

“Unless, of course, you have no regard whatsoever for human life or the planet and care only about getting your political party and its candidates into power. You seem to pretend that you care about other things, but because you won’t acknowledge that the current system is genocidal and unacceptable, you are perfectly willing to sustain it”

Well, here you go again - replacing argument with personal insult ..... For the record, I don’t belong to a party - i could give a crap about parties. I care about a lot of the same things you claim to, and have very strong feelings as to how to get there. I have yet to hear from you how you propose to get there or even where “there” is . I hear a lot from you about “shutting” down - but shutting down what, exactly? Oh, “the system”. And what does “shutting down the system” mean? And then what?

Mark, you are one of those angry dudes who appears to have no plan, no program, no vision - you hate the way things are but you have no proposal for making them better other than “shutting the system down” and to add to the absurdity you haven’t even explained how you propose to do that other than by boycotting elections and haven’t given a mechanism for how a boycott would accomplish it ... 

All you can do, it seems, is call folks who disagree with you genocidal and compare a Mass. physician running for Pres to Hitler. Not a good advertisement for your position, IMO ....

Report this
THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., February 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment

By Mark E. Smith, February 4 at 7:59 pm

How many decades now have you been voting due to your
cherished belief that this time a miracle will
happen?
________________

What’s that old saw about the definition of insanity?
Doing the same thing over and over again and
expecting a different result. wink

I was 2 weeks shy of 58 when I left; 67 coming soon,
very soon. Cheers.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer, what you’re suggesting is that people continue to vote, and that, although it never has happened in the past, somehow a miracle will happen this time and there will be change.

You don’t explain how electing a Green President would change the system, because it would not and could not bring about change.

Of course you fully understand that a war economy cannot be changed overnight, so you’re willing to work slowly within the system over decades to try to change it from within, as it continues to kill hundreds or thousands of innocent children every day for no other reason than to provide profits to defense contractors.

I’m sure that people who voted for Hitler weren’t voting for genocide either. They were voting for better jobs, a better economy, a better lifestyle, and if what it happened to take was genocide, they were fully capable of ignoring it, just as you are.

You don’t change a system by continuing it. When the cooling system fails and a nuke plant is overheating, you don’t bring in a more pleasant, intelligent, environmentally-oriented supervisor, you shut the damned thing down until the cooling system can be repaired or replaced. Once the containment vessel is breached and radioactivity is escaping, people will die, whether immediately or later on. If the system you are running isn’t already causing deaths, you can keep it running and try to bring in better supervisors and engineers. Once is it causing needless deaths, the way that the capitalist imperialist US system had been doing and continues to do, you have to shut it down and try to find a way to survive without it so as not to cause any more needless deaths.

Unless, of course, you have no regard whatsoever for human life or the planet and care only about getting your political party and its candidates into power. You seem to pretend that you care about other things, but because you won’t acknowledge that the current system is genocidal and unacceptable, you are perfectly willing to sustain it by trying to put good people into a genocidal system, as if that might change the system, which it cannot. Unless, of course, your miracle happens.

How many decades now have you been voting due to your cherished belief that this time a miracle will happen?

Report this

By Aquifer, February 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Laf,

“It seems we spend more time researching a good doctor or dentist, automobile or private school for our children than the same rigor necessary for a PotUS or Congressional. ...... That is the Great Shame of our nation. That we cannot value first and foremost the most fundamental attribute of a republic – the right to vote those who will represent us. .... As “get off your ass and vote” participants in the process - we are part of the solution.”

Agree with the above - those who encourage “boycotting elections” could arguably be seen as 1)defenders of TPTB who are quite pleased when those who don’t like their picks just stay home - what would bother them most is to have folks in large numbers vote for reps who are not bought and paid for, and/or 2) just too bloody lazy to organize an opposition.

Mark,

“My efforts to try to make it happen nonviolently, are mostly feeble and futile.”

And just what efforts are those, Mark, other than to get people not to vote? What alternatives do you offer other than just stay home? Sounds like a plan .... Reminds me of the cartoon - a fellow at the blackboard writes an equation for the problem on one side and an equation for the solution on the other and in the middle writes “and then a miracle happens”. As the examiner says, “I think you are going to have to do better than that.” So we boycott, then what, all TPTB give up, slink way into the sunset and we all live happily ever after?

“But of course the voters and political party operatives in this crowd don’t think of themselves as violent drunken bullies, even as they try to work within a system of violent drunken global bullies, because they’re convinced that it can be reformed. So they keep voting for the system, thinking that they’re voting for their impotent peace candidates, as if a few important peace candidates could accomplish something within the most corrupt system of government on the planet.”

No, those of us arguing for voting outside the duopoly are not voting FOR the system - we are voting for those who would help us change the system.  Change, like evolution, if it is to survive in any meaningful fashion, is an organic process - Mother Nature never starts from scratch, she works with what she has and goes from there - As Mead said “never doubt that a small group of committed persons can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has” ...

“They retain faith in the system because it has been good to them in the past, and they don’t care how many millions of innocents were impoverished, tortured, or murdered for their benefit. They think that it can be good again because they’re determined to remain deliberately ignorant of the global price in human misery that was paid for their selfish lifestyles.”

Mark are you referring to anyone who is for using the vote to make changes? If so, that is absolute BS - and is the type of rhetoric usually engaged in by those who have run out of anything that approximates an argument - I could say the same of folks who espouse the positions you do, but I generally refrain ...

” while it may be too little and too late, there is definitely a growing awareness, even here on TD. The same old political operatives keep repeating their same old lies, but fewer and fewer people agree with them.”

Yup, more and more folks are considering 3rd party politics ....

“you’ll see that I was all alone and subjected to crude and vicious personal attacks by everyone back then.”

Oh, poor fellow, so having been subjected to those attacks you now choose to visit them on others - ah, ‘tis always the way ..

Report this
THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., February 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Beware the perennially optimistic; they are dangerous
in their inability to recognize the reality around
them.

Report this
TAGGLINE's avatar

By TAGGLINE, February 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

JDmyst…
As my granny used to say…“the proof of the pudding, is in the eating”. The comment about Inverted Totalitarianism being a ‘theoretical construct’ makes me shake…I live in the South where that ‘construct’ couldn’t be more evident. Money talks and shit walks.  I’m in one of the ‘reddest’ states around and I see the realities of that so-called ‘theory’ daily. The folk ‘round here are dozin’ and droolin’!! 
I campaigned & voted for the POTUS for the changes he promised, and promised…etc, ad nauseum. I also adhere to the same moral code that is inherent with most socially egailtarian revolutionaries. I do not feel that the elites will give up anything until it’s wrested from their rapacious little mitts.
Mr Obama, while yes, has dealt with a less than ready, willing and able congress, has kept almost none of his campaign promises. I will not ‘vote’ for him and watch the chips fall where they may. The “Liberals”/read: liberal class in this country have turned into a pack of apologists for the status quo. I also read Noam Chomsky’s work…as well as Arthur Miller…whose life story (esp during the ‘30’s-40’s) is glaringly familiar given the instruments of power brokering machinery of this time in our history as it was during his. I do not live in a La La land. I’m the father of five lads for whom I am fearful, but continue to steel up for the road ahead. My wife, after 25 years of employment with the same company as HR director, was given a pittance in severance, forced to sign a “don’t talk about our malfeasance” exit afidavit…then kicked to the curb (..only after having to be the voice/face of said company , and terminating 75% of the workforce due to the collapse of the housing market). Hedges and those like him are voices in the din who speak in the revolutionary tone that must be adpoted to affect real, substatial ‘change’...rather than some bullshit soundbite. Forgive my zeal…

Report this

By balkas, February 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

i suggest that if we want to live, feel better we MUST pare down the
ideology i call “personal supremacism”.
this ideology gave birth to discrimination on personal and ethnic level;
institutionalized meritocracy; racism; displaced cooperation and
introduced brutal; competition which lead to massive lying, cheating,
deceiving…
in short destroyed the best thing in life. if we do not succeed in this
endeavor to a necessary degree [and i am not the sole judge how much
of it we should retain] democracy would always work in favor of the
onepercent. thanks

Report this
zoskia's avatar

By zoskia, February 4, 2012 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

very good Article Thanks

Report this

By Paco, February 4, 2012 at 6:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Back when Clinton was promoting NAFTA, etc. I recall that my initial reaction was shock - I didn’t expect this from a Democrat.  Still, I didn’t see much opposition from the media - and I tend to read the progressive media more than anything else.  I had to wonder whether I was simply missing something.

It was not only Clinton and Summers that were at fault for this free-trade fiasco.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 4, 2012 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

ROFL. Good one, ardee.

I’ve seen many problems solved by people posting them on blogs and other people offering solutions.

I find it hard to believe that anyone still thinks the US is a democracy, or that anyone else in the world wants it. Most countries have parliamentary systems with proportional representation because they’ve seen how the lack of proportional representation leads to fascism (not to mention leaving half the country unrepresented). And I learned that little fact from a talk given a couple of years ago by somebody from the League of Women Voters. It was reaffirmed by a friend in the UK who said he was taught in grade school that without proportional representation, a country cannot be considered to be a democracy.

The dictionary definition of democracy is when power is vested in the hands of the people. Being allowed to cast uncounted, unverifiable votes for officials who can’t be held accountable is NOT an exercise of power, nor is begging them to keep their campaign promises. When elected officials represent corporate interests over the interests of their constituents, it means that their constituents have no power. You can’t exercise your power through your elected representatives unless you actually have some power to exercise. When you delegate your power to representatives by voting in US elections, your job is done until the next election and you have no power whatsoever until then. You can petition your officials just as any serfs, vassals, or slaves can petition their lords, tyrants, or masters, the same way that the Founders petitioned King George to no avail, but you have no power over them so you cannot exercise your will through them or hold them accountable.

I don’t think anyone really believes the myths they repeat, they’re just hoping that some other fools might.

Report this

By ardee, February 4, 2012 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

norman Harman, February 3 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Larry Summers is a lying sack of Wall Street shit! He was always an over-rated,
overblown, over-paid ass.

The repeal of Glass-Stegal was begun by then Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin
- another free market, Wall Street vampire - at the behest of his fellow corporate blood suckers at Citibank who were desperate to buy up a bunch of commercial and investment banks in order to get in on the mortgage derivative
scam. Summers was merely one of Rubin’s proteges’ and the person Rubin helped place in the T-Secretary’s seat to make sure the repeal process was successful.

Phil and Wendy Gramm spent a very long time working to end Glass Steigall.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm–Leach–Bliley_Act

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm–Leach–Bliley_Act

http://factcheck.org/2008/10/who-caused-the-economic-crisis/

Report this

By ardee, February 4, 2012 at 5:59 am Link to this comment

Bitching-in-a-blog is nothing more than a cathartic. It never solved a problem and never will.

Yet you remain, and continue to bitch.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 4, 2012 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

INDIGNATION

M.E.S.: If you look at the public forums where I advocated election boycotts five years ago, you’ll see that I was all alone and subjected to crude and vicious personal attacks by everyone back then.

Good post, MES. One of thoughtful and well-articulated indignation. 

But the above I must disagree with. Americans are election stay-at-home couch potatoes - spectating from the sidelines a game that is pure entertainment. Then bitching-in-a-blog when one side, and one side alone, seems to win all the points.

Our voter record turnout is pathetic, just see here. Scroll down to the bottom to find Uncle Sam - the Greatest Democracy on Earth. Americans have died - and others are dying today across the world - to have a “democracy” that we take for granted.

That is the Great Shame of our nation. That we cannot value first and foremost the most fundamental attribute of a republic – the right to vote those who will represent us.

MY POINT

We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. As couch-potato spectators, we are part of the problem. As “get off your ass and vote” participants in the process - we are part of the solution.

Bitching-in-a-blog is nothing more than a cathartic. It never solved a problem and never will.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 4, 2012 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

Thank you, THX 1133. You are correct, of course, that I’ll never convince this crowd.

One of my best friends is a US ex-pat who has been living in Germany for decades. Another stopped by to chat today because he and his wife were in town from Caracas, Venezuela, where he has been living for almost a decade, to visit his mom for the first time in three years. Smart people got out long ago.

I wish I could, but I’m old and not as mobile as I used to be. So I may be stuck here in the belly of the beast, but my heart is with the global struggle for social and economic justice, a struggle that is primarily against the predatory and genocidal US capitalist imperialist system that is destroying the planet and thwarting democracy everywhere it can.

The chickens will inevitably come home to roost, and this empire, like all arrogant empires, will also fall. My efforts to try to make it happen nonviolently, are mostly feeble and futile. It’s like trying to convince a drunken bully to stop beating somebody up before the cops come. They never listen. I really don’t think they can. If they were capable of thinking, they wouldn’t be violent drunken bullies.

But of course the voters and political party operatives in this crowd don’t think of themselves as violent drunken bullies, even as they try to work within a system of violent drunken global bullies, because they’re convinced that it can be reformed. So they keep voting for the system, thinking that they’re voting for their impotent peace candidates, as if a few important peace candidates could accomplish something within the most corrupt system of government on the planet.

They retain faith in the system because it has been good to them in the past, and they don’t care how many millions of innocents were impoverished, tortured, or murdered for their benefit. They think that it can be good again because they’re determined to remain deliberately ignorant of the global price in human misery that was paid for their selfish lifestyles.

US voters are like Charlie Brown in the cartoon strip believing that this time, even though it has never happened the hundreds of times they’ve tried it before, Lucy won’t grab the football away before they can kick it. This time the government will end the wars. This time the government will give them health care. This time the government will restore their civil rights. This time Santa Claus will bring them everything on their list because they’ve been such good little boys and girls.

It’s pathetic to watch, but they are probably right—US voters are so out of touch with reality that they may be the only people in the world who aren’t capable of self-governance.

But while it may be too little and too late, there is definitely a growing awareness, even here on TD. The same old political operatives keep repeating their same old lies, but fewer and fewer people agree with them. For that I am grateful. If you look at the public forums where I advocated election boycotts five years ago, you’ll see that I was all alone and subjected to crude and vicious personal attacks by everyone back then.

There will always be diehards and dinosaurs, but their numbers are diminishing. I’m not saying there’s hope, but among the oblivious herd stampeding towards catastrophe, there’s even a small but conscious Transition movement, leaving the herd and reinventing or rediscovering sustainable societies. Anyway, I’m glad to know you got out!

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, February 4, 2012 at 2:37 am Link to this comment

NUCKLEHEADS

Esquire Mag: “Someone we can all agree on. ... Even his staunchest enemies now regard his presidency as the good old days.”

Frankly, compared to the Lead-head Years that succeeded Clinton, the above is not all that wrong.

Clinton has publicly admitted that he was wrong in having both Rubin and Summers convince him of the demise of the Glass-Steagal Act. It was not one of Clinton’s more judicious decisions and it paved the way for the Wall Street money-frenzy that occurred subsequently.

Besides, nothing succeeds like success. Clinton kept Greenspan at the helm of the Fed, who in turn, kept interest rates low with the intent of sustaining/furthering employment levels. There is some sense in this, since what Americans want most is to maintain their incomes.

What was not expected was the fraud spawned by the Real Estate sector - in connivance with the Banksters - based upon no qualified verification of mortgagor creditworthiness. This latter is, or should be, at the heart of the real-estate loan business. (And probably contrary to the Truth In Lending Act of 1968, the enforcement of which was expressly overlooked.)

The inability is amazing of successive leaderships, both Republican and Democrat, to learn from the history - that is, the mistakes that lead up to the Great Depression and the mistakes made during the Great Depression to end it.

Clinton and Bush were educated men. They employed educated people in their administration. Nixon was a fool, but an educated fool - who allowed widespread mischief (to put it mildly) during his administration. How is it that a lead-head PotUS could employ an incompetent as head of FEMA, which probably cost an untold number of lives after Katrina in New Orleans that could probably have been saved?

When are we ever going to learn NOT to elect such knuckleheads? Furthermore, why do we not give at least some credence to their past experience but seem to be very impressed with the attractive wife and 2.3 children with beaming smiles.

Here’s how: Because they are being packaged like soap-powder and sold as “Washing Whiter than White”. And we are fools enough to believe this bullshit spoon-fed to us on the BoobTube.

MY POINT

It seems we spend more time researching a good doctor or dentist, automobile or private school for our children than the same rigor necessary for a PotUS or Congressional.

Just you watch. We have passed a bill the purpose of which is to establish a Customer Protection Agency. This agency should have the objective of preventing such calamities as the Toxic Waste fraud. But, if a Replicant is elected, that agency will be neutered. It will not be given the teeth with which to do its job adequately.

All in the name of BigBusiness profit motives, which are far more important than the Net Worth of poor and middle-income families for whom their house is the overwhelming part of their Net Worth.

But Romney’s Net Worth that amounts to multi-megabucks – well, that’s just fine. It’s the American Way ...

Report this
THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., February 4, 2012 at 2:36 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith, February 3 at 8:30 pm

Of course there really are fascists, real fascists
who kill innocent people (collateral damage) because
they’re “just doing their job,” or who support
parties or candidates because they get paid by the
post. They never think of themselves as fascists, but
they are.
________________

Good points all; but you’re never going to get this
crowd convinced.
I’d never tell you to stop, but I saw the futility of
this system in 2000 and then with the March 19th,
2003 invasion of Iraq, it became crystal clear the
fix was in and all resistance is futile.
So, 6 weeks later I left for good. I’ll be damned if
I’ll be like the Germans and be trapped in because I
refuse to see the reality.
The majority of Americans are still in shock, because
as you know, the powers have carefully orchestrated
the propaganda machine to keep them scared shit-less
and insecure regarding the future.
There are two sayings I hold dear;
The first one is;
“Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask
anything of them.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The second one is;
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to
and you have found out the exact measure of injustice
and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these
will continue till they are resisted with either
words or blows,or with both.
Frederick Douglas

Report this

By Aquifer, February 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm Link to this comment

Mark,

“I guarantee you, Aquifer, that if I hold an election right now to decide if people like you or me better, and I insist that people can only vote by sending me an email, and I count the votes secretly the same way that votes in US elections are “counted,” I’m going to “win” even if everyone votes for you”

What does that say about you? If you would do that, why should I trust you when you tell me that voting is worthless?

“Doing your civic duty to a corrupt system is nothing more than an indicator that you are also corrupt.”

I don’t consider voting a “civic duty” - I consider it a way to express my preference for how i want my government to run ..

“The only way to change the system is to stop doing your civic duty to the system and insist on changes before you will comply. That’s how the Irish got rid of the voting machines, they simply refused to vote on them and the government had to scrap them because nobody would use them. Boycotts”

So, did they not vote at all, or just not on the machines? And do you think that in this “rotten system” you can get everyone to boycott? It just takes a few who will vote - our system has had low voter turnout for a long time - that hasn’t changed it ..

“Writing in Jill Stein is no different from writing in Mickey Mouse,”

Don’t have to write her in, she will be on the ballot ...

“When people know that the system is rotten, but hold their noses and vote for the lesser turd or vote to throw a good person into the political sewage of US politics, they know that if they’re not voting for excrement, they’re throwing good (but naive) people into the excrement.”

Voting for a good person who has chosen to run isn’t throwing them into the political sewage - it is helping us all to detoxify it ....

“Unlike the Germans in WWII, nobody in the US can claim that they didn’t know what the government was doing in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo,”

Hmm, well maybe that means they condone it .... that’s another story

“If Jill Stein becomes President, when the military industrial complex tells Jill that it is a simple choice, either start four more wars or be assassinated, Jill’s best option would be to “resign for personal or health reasons.”

That will be up to her, now won’t it?  Another option of course is to publicize the option she has been given ... That has been known to throw a monkey wrench into the works ...

I was actively involved in local politics and found 2 dead baby raccoons on my front lawn - shot through the head; shook me up a bit, I must admit, but it didn’t stop me ...

Of course our voting system needs cleaning up, but the longer we wait to put folks in office who will do it, the tougher it will be ...

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

Imagining that you can vote “out of the box” is like thinking that you can drive a car while out of your body. 92% of all votes in the USA are tallied by central tabulators, commonly known as “black boxes” because neither their software nor their results can be verified. TPTB hold the elections, own the proprietary computer software that “counts” the votes, own the mass media that decides if candidates get positive, negative, or no coverage at all, and announces the “results.”

I guarantee you, Aquifer, that if I hold an election right now to decide if people like you or me better, and I insist that people can only vote by sending me an email, and I count the votes secretly the same way that votes in US elections are “counted,” I’m going to “win” even if everyone votes for you.

Taking part in the electoral system and thinking you can vote “out of the box,” is like enlisting in the military and thinking that you can serve outside of the chain of command. TPTB simply won’t allow it. The only way to change the system is to stop doing your civic duty to the system and insist on changes before you will comply. That’s how the Irish got rid of the voting machines, they simply refused to vote on them and the government had to scrap them because nobody would use them. Boycotts work.

If you want your vote to count, you have to stop voting until you get a guarantee that your vote will be counted. Since the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution not to grant the right to have US citizen votes counted, you’d need a new Constitution, not just an amendment or five amendments. Writing in Jill Stein is no different from writing in Mickey Mouse, it just means that the central tabulators can count your vote for Jill, or, if they’ve been programmed otherwise, can count your vote for Obama or Romney, or can take votes from another candidate they don’t like and add them to Jill’s (that happened to Nader when he got a whole bunch of votes in a district where he had hardly any supporters but the computers needed someplace to allocate the votes they had stolen from another candidate), etc.

Doing your civic duty to a corrupt system is nothing more than an indicator that you are also corrupt. But if you feel that you have to do your civic duty, at least please remember to flush this time. The stench is getting intolerable. When people know that the system is rotten, but hold their noses and vote for the lesser turd or vote to throw a good person into the political sewage of US politics, they know that if they’re not voting for excrement, they’re throwing good (but naive) people into the excrement.

If you believe in the system, that it is basically good but just needs a few reforms or a few more good people in office, then you are ignorant of history. These days, when even the MSM carries video of US atrocities across the globe, you have to be deliberately ignorant to remain ignorant. Unlike the Germans in WWII, nobody in the US can claim that they didn’t know what the government was doing in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and many other countries we’ve either invaded based on lies, destroyed so that Rockefeller corporations could control their resources, or simply demolished because the accompanying defense and reconstruction contracts were profitable to the US.

If Jill Stein becomes President, when the military industrial complex tells Jill that it is a simple choice, either start four more wars or be assassinated, Jill’s best option would be to “resign for personal or health reasons.” Staying in office would be either genocide or suicide and neither one is a good option.

Of course there really are fascists, real fascists who kill innocent people (collateral damage) because they’re “just doing their job,” or who support parties or candidates because they get paid by the post. They never think of themselves as fascists, but they are.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

BR549,

I think you summed it up pretty well ...

That is why i think we need to step outside that duopoly; Stein is a solid, credible, candidate with the guts to buck TPTB and a solid platform to stand on. Time to think and vote outside the box ...

Report this
BR549's avatar

By BR549, February 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

JD,
It wasn’t just the last 3 years under Obama or even the last 30 years going back to Reagan. It’s been a tag-team decimation by both parties to continue the gradual transfer of wealth from the middle class to the upper class, and while some nitwits are still thinking that voting for their favorite Republican or Democrat candidates is going to somehow miraculously solve America’s problems this time around, in the end, after each election we ALWAYS wind up further down the crapper hole than before the election ...... no matter which party has been in power. As for the poor, no one gives a crap about the poor because they are just a burden top the wealthy; it’s just lip service to make our election process appear to have some humanitarian intent. Like with the UN facade, if anyone had any intention of solving world hunger, that would have been accomplished decades ago. 

That’s the beauty of having a Democrat president and Republican Congress or vice versa; everyone always blames the “other” party for why nothing ever gets better. The politicians at every level go through their continual “due diligence” facade and yet nothing ever changes. Maybe they should all have performance clauses added as part of their assuming office.

It was bad enough having Clinton BS the public into thinking he had left a surplus, when all he had really accomplished was to do a shell game by taking advantage of the public’s misunderstanding of the difference between public debt and the total national debt. That little switcheroo made that a/hole come out smelling like a rose ....... at least in the eyes of those who didn’t know the difference. And while we’re on that subject, then we got Bush#2.

Ross Perot, Kucinich, Nader, Gravel, and a host of other anti-NAFTA candidates had been trying to warn us about all this, but they were drowned out by the throngs of starry-eyed political groupies still waving “Mission Accomplished” and “Hope and Change” banners every four years for their “favorite” candidate, even as they were knowingly voting for the lesser of two evils.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

JD,

“Trying to reason with cynics is as tedious as trying to reason with the mentally Ill.”

Well maybe if you tried a little reason, you’d have better luck ...

You’re done? is that a promise?

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

RE: gerard, February 3 at 3:46 pm

“JDMysticDJ:  Guess I’m too dense to get the “demagoguery” bit. As to Haiti ... when the rich white boys start really caring about Haiti, it will surely be a cold day in you know where. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it. Haiti is too small, too poor, too insignificant to be more than a minor annoyance in the march toward militant economic domination. Correct me if I’m wrong.”

I do not believe you are wrong. The people of Haiti are still suffering, but that’s not the point, is it? The point is truthdig’s frequent resort to demagoguery.

Demagoguery

The character or practices of a Demagogue.

dem•a•gogue [ démm? gòg ]
 

1. emotive dictator: a political leader who gains power by appealing to people’s emotions, instincts, and prejudices in a way that is considered manipulative and dangerous

2. popular leader in ancient times: in ancient times, a popular leader who represented the ordinary people

3. engage in demagoguery: to act like a demagogue in gaining power by appealing to people’s emotions and prejudices.

Perhaps demagoguery is not the perfect word to define my objections to truthdig’s tactics, but it’s the best I can come up with. Truthdig appeals to people’s emotions and prejudices and, if you will, cynicism by attempting to present falsehoods and half truths as being truth.

I’m done for now. Trying to reason with cynics is as tedious as trying to reason with the mentally Ill.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

JD

“Everything Obama has attempted to do in the last 3 years was obstructed by Republicans in the Senate and now, thanks to the likes of you, it is being obstructed by Republicans in the Senate AND the House of Representatives. Republicans have blocked every one of Obama’s proposals for job creation. Obama’s most shining achievement is evident in the Auto Industry but that too was obstructed and criticized by Republicans. Obama Care, if you will, was another improvement that was vehemently obstructed by Republicans and resulted in a near insurrection.”

Obama had both the House and the senate when he started out - he had a golden opportunity and he did nothing with it ...

As far as the Senate blocking - that could have easily been changed by changing the Senate rules re filibuster - which the Dem Sen refused to do.

So you are blaming the Rep House on “the likes of ” me?  Your fanciful beliefs grow by the hour ... The House was Dem ‘til ‘10 and the Dems lost the House because of - the Dems! Folks stayed home ‘cause they realized they had been snookered!

The auto industry? - “saved” on the broken backs of the union ....

Health care? sold out to private insurance ...

“In this case you do not want to believe that Obama is sincere and that is a perfect example of whacked out conspiratorial cynicism.”

No, that is a perfect example of seeing things as they are -

You are clearly a “genetic Dem” and nothing these schmucks do or could do will change that, that is clear to me, but if it is not so, what is your bottom line? What would have to happen for you to abandon them?

I was a Dem for a long time - ‘til I took off my Dem colored glasses and stepped out of the cave to have a look around ... and discovered that my standards were higher than theirs, and that’s not saying much ...

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer, if you’d read the comments under that article, you’d have seen one by Ann Arquist, explaining “...the essential difference…between the elections boycott advocate and the political engaged naysayer:

In general, the election boycott advocate’s position might be described as sociological, rather than political. That is, the arguments for election boycotts proceed from a sociological understanding of political power, while the objections generally arise from conventional attitudes associated with various modes of participation in the electoral process. In other words, the election boycott advocate believes (to paraphrase Upton Sinclair’s thesis regarding journalism in America) that elections are among “the devices whereby industrial autocracy keeps its control over political democracy… Not hyperbolically and contemptuously, but literally and with scientific precision,” the elections boycott advocate defines The Electoral Process in America as the business and practice of engineering political consent in the interest of economic privilege.

From this perspective it should be easy to see why the objections to elections boycott advocacy, and objections to the rebuttals to those objections, always fall short: They systematically fail to address the sociological perspective on political consent and its relation to political legitimacy - the sociological fact that political power requires consent to be legitimate. That’s not to say that political power requires legitimacy to exist, but political power will be maintained more easily as more claims to legitimacy can be secured. Conversely, as those in power lose legitimacy, so do they then face increasing threats of loss of power. This is the reason for elections boycott advocacy. To participate in elections is, ipso facto, to legitimize and perpetuate the status quo; to boycott elections is to delegitimize and politically starve the status quo.”

Lacking that sociological understanding of political power, you trust that, should the Supreme Court choose to allow the popular vote to be counted at all, the results announced by corrupt elections officials and the corporate media, of a secret and unverfiable vote count done by proprietary software on the central tabulators that count 92% of the US votes, are accurate. In truth you have no idea and no way to know how people actually voted.

It doesn’t require an “official” election boycott, just that enough people refuse to vote that the government can no longer claim the legitimacy of the consent of the governed. That does not, in itself, abolish a government, it simply takes away its legitimacy so that it can be replaced with a democratic form of government in which votes are actually counted, are subject to public oversight and are verifiable, and constitute a real and direct voice in government, not just a hope for more benevolent tyrants.

Since US voters currently give Congress less than a 10% approval rating, it is apparent that they are competent to do a better job. Most voters polled by Rasmussen said they felt that people chosen at random from the phone book could do a better job than Congress, and they’re right. People listed in the phone book had to have paid their phone bills, so they are better at managing things than Congress, which, even using other people’s money, can’t ever seem to pay its bills.

First insist upon an honest system in which to vote, and THEN vote. If you vote in a dishonest system like ours, you’re voting to perpetuate corruption, including torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity, so don’t claim to be shocked when a government like that lies to you. Mass murderers think nothing of telling a few lies to get people to vote for them. No decent or honest person would agree to be part of, tolerate, or vote in a system based on genocide:

http://www.theshadowworld.com/?page=5

It isn’t the parties or candidates, it’s the system.

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer

You demonstrate your cynicism and ignorance when you write:

“… in this case you do not want to believe that Obama is anything but sincere in these sentiments when just about everything he has done in the past 3 years belies that sincerity…”

Everything Obama has attempted to do in the last 3 years was obstructed by Republicans in the Senate and now, thanks to the likes of you, it is being obstructed by Republicans in the Senate AND the House of Representatives. Republicans have blocked every one of Obama’s proposals for job creation. Obama’s most shining achievement is evident in the Auto Industry but that too was obstructed and criticized by Republicans. Obama Care, if you will, was another improvement that was vehemently obstructed by Republicans and resulted in a near insurrection.

In this case you do not want to believe that Obama is sincere and that is a perfect example of whacked out conspiratorial cynicism.

cyn•i•cism [ sínni sìzz?m ] 

1. cynical quality or disposition: the state or fact of having cynical attitudes or beliefs, or a cynical character or quality

2. cynical remark: a cynical action, comment, or idea

Synonyms: pessimism, sarcasm, suspicion, disparagement, skepticism, distrust, doubt, scorn, contempt.

Report this

By gerard, February 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ:  Guess I’m too dense to get the “demagoguery” bit. As to Haiti ... when the rich white boys start really caring about Haiti, it will surely be a cold day in you know where. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it. Haiti is too small, too poor, too insignificant to be more than a minor annoyance in the march toward militant economic domination. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Report this

By norman Harman, February 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Larry Summers is a lying sack of Wall Street shit! He was always an over-rated,
overblown, over-paid ass.

The repeal of Glass-Stegal was begun by then Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin
- another free market, Wall Street vampire - at the behest of his fellow
corporate blood suckers at Citibank who were desperate to buy up a bunch of
commercial and investment banks in order to get in on the mortgage derivative
scam. Summers was merely one of Rubin’s proteges’ and the person Rubin
helped place in the T-Secretary’s seat to make sure the repeal process was
successful.

Immediately following the repeal of Glass-Stegal, Rubin stepped into the CEO
position at the newly enlarged and re-named Citigroup - with a compensation
package of $26 million.

Clinton, like every other president since the end of WWII (including the present
one) was little more than a paid flunky for the Wall Street rulers.

The whole goddamned bunch of them should be stripped naked and paraded
through the streets of America while the citizens throw buckets of human shit
at them.

Now that’s what I would call JUSTICE!

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

TAGGLINE:

Inverted Totalitarianism is a theoretical construct which might or might not define the society in which we live.

I frequently agree with Hedges’ observations but Hedges crosses the line from being productive to being counter productive with his anti-Obama anti-Liberal diatribes. Hedges frequently cites “Intellectuals” to validate his assertions without allowing for critical thinking about the assertions of said “Intellectuals.” We are expected to accept the assertions of such “Intellectuals” as being factual without analysis of what is asserted by those “Intellectuals.”

Hedges sometimes irritates truediggers with his spiritual references and his religious analogies but, all in all, Hedges is the darling of the iconoclastic cynics and chronic dissidents so evident here on truthdig.

Let us focus on real tangible progressive improvements as proposed by Obama and not get lost in the La La Land of theoretical constructs.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

mystic,

“I’m puzzled as to why you would offer such a stupid and childish comment directed at me. The irrelevance and meaninglessness of your comment should be obvious to all.”

Oh, i think the relevance is quite obvious - those who refuse to believe what they do not want to believe - in this case you do not want to believe that Obama is anything but sincere in these sentiments when just about everything he has done in the past 3 years belies that sincerity ... When so many have admitted their mistake in “believing” him the first time around, and vowed not to be taken in again, you insist in persisting in your delusion. Well I guess, as they say, you can fool some of the people all of the time ...

Yep, he “gets it” alright .... the problem is, you don’t seem to. And i am not the one who originally suggested that those who “refuse to believe (what) they do not want to believe” are “willfully ignorant and uninformed”.

If the shoe fits, as they say ...

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

gerard

I could be wrong, but I feel confident that the photograph in question was taken while the two privileged white boys were partnered in trying to alleviate the suffering in Haiti.

Truthdig editors intentionally chose this photograph in order to suggest that the two were equally responsible for our financial difficulties; that is a kind of demagoguery and the tactic of a “Rag.”

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer

“mystic,

“It’s my observation that many people who comment here on truthdig ........ people who are willfully ignorant and uninformed; people who refuse to believe anything they do not want to believe, ......”

And here is a perfect example;

“Reading President Obama’s State of the Union Address it becomes obvious that President Obama “Gets it” concerning the issue of economic injustice and Wall Street abuses and that he is doing everything he can under current political realities to correct the injustice and abuses and that he didn’t become President to help out ‘A bunch of Fat Cat Wall Street Bankers.’”

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

I’m puzzled as to why you would offer such a stupid and childish comment directed at me. The irrelevance and meaninglessness of your comment should be obvious to all. Are you so dense as not to see how retarded this comment makes you appear to be.

“I know you are, but what am I.” “What ever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

It’s clear to me that if you read, heard, or saw Obama’s State of the Union Address you tuned it out; not believing what he said because you did not want to believe it.

The following are excerpts from President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores… Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.”

“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share…”

“I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.”

“No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits.”

“… no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.”

Not to mention Obama’s proposal that people whose incomes exceed 1,000,000 dollars annually pay a minimum 30% in Federal income tax as opposed to the 13.9% paid by Mitt Romney and his ilk.

Report this
zoskia's avatar

By zoskia, February 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Corporations bear no resemblance to people. The idea that they’re persons under the Constitution and that they should enjoy the same rights to guide our political system in their direction, is no more than a call for a plutocracy, which is what we’ve got in this country now–rule by the wealthy, rather than a democracy and government in the public interest.”thanks to RockyAnderson

Report this

By Aquifer, February 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

Mark,

“If you think that this is the government that you voted for, you knowingly voted for torture, genocide, and to eliminate human and civil rights. Most people think they’re voting for candidates who might represent them on issues, and are oblivious to the fact that they are actually voting to perpetuate a genocidal system that cares only about money and cares nothing for human life.”

No, Mark it is not the government i voted for (i voted Nader last 4 times) but it IS the government that folks who voted Dem/Rep voted for. If folks are oblivious to the facts, whose fault is that? And these folks, who are not aware enough to educate themselves about a candidate - these folks you think would make better choices in a “direct democracy”, where they would have to be aware of a hell of a lot more to make good choices? Am i arguing that folks are too dumb to govern themselves? Hell, no, but what I am saying is your “system”, whatever it is, won’t work any better until folks get involved enough to participate in a meaningful manner and the way they have been “participating” in elections doesn’t bode well, as you, yourself, point out (“They didn’t care and they voted for Obama anyway”). You can say those who don’t participate don’t because they believe it is a sham, but it may well be because they don’t believe either party represents them and they have been led to believe Dem/Rep are their only choices.

“Here’s your precious Kucinich, .....”

Sorry man you are barking up the wrong tree, i gave up on him when he caved on healthcare “for the sake of the party”.  But bashing Dems and Reps is not a sufficient reason to give up on voting, just on voting for THEM

“If you’re doing something wrong, or something that is self-destructive or hurting others, stopping might be a good idea.”

Yup, stop voting for Dems/Reps

“We’ve been voting. When did the good guys win?”

Not enough of us voted for the “good guys” so how could they even conceivably win?

“If it has not, if it has instead become destructive of your civil and human rights, “...it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Declaration of Independence

Yup, I want to alter it - you, apparently, want to abolish it ...

“There are already more people who don’t vote, who either don’t think our government is relevant to them, don’t think their vote matters, or don’t think that anyone on the ballot would represent them or could,”

So they have been “boycotting” elections for some time and where did THAT get them? Unless you are claiming that it has to be an “official” boycott - It is strange, isn’t it, that in the cases you site, where you claim it was the election boycott that brought the government(s) down, the system that replaced it was constituted by - elections! Folks boycotted because the folks they wanted to vote for were not on the ballot, not because they thought voting, per se, was illegitimate, as a matter of fact, they boycotted elections to get the RIGHT to vote for the candidate of their choice ...

“Prior to the ‘08 election, when Obama had already joined McCain in supporting the bailouts that most people opposed, and had expressed his intention to expand the war in Afghanistan, I begged every progessive and peace activist I knew not to vote for bailouts and war. They didn’t care and they voted for Obama anyway.”

Yeah, so did I, but i gave them an alternative candidate, you gave them, what, precisely?

Olberman can’t get out of the duopoly paradigm, and within that paradigm voting IS pretty useless for achieving anything for the 99% ..

Report this
BR549's avatar

By BR549, February 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, February 3 at 10:06 am
“It’s my observation that many people who comment here on truthdig appear to be chronic dissidents and perpetual cynics: people who are willfully ignorant and uninformed ..........”

So, uh, JD, what then brings you here? I thank God there are enough of your so-called “dissidents” who have woken up and are able to see the larger picture instead of waiting for Hope and Change to take effect. If Obama was so interested in fixing our economic problems, why is he still dragging Summers into the equation? And if Obama was so interested in combating the evil or whatever in politics, why is he not discussing the disenfranchisement of American citizens, and the repeated decimation of the Constitution behind the public’s back?

The answer is simple; just look at how many candidates and/or members of their administration have either supported NAFTA or attended the Bilderberg meetings, because it is there that the intentional erosion of America has been planned for decades.

Report this

By gerard, February 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

The photo is perfect!—Two self-centered, spoiled little white boys smiling at us over the railings of their billion-dollar playpen.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

mystic,

“It’s my observation that many people who comment here on truthdig ........ people who are willfully ignorant and uninformed; people who refuse to believe anything they do not want to believe, ......”

And here is a perfect example;

“Reading President Obama’s State of the Union Address it becomes obvious that President Obama “Gets it” concerning the issue of economic injustice and Wall Street abuses and that he is doing everything he can under current political realities to correct the injustice and abuses and that he didn’t become President to help out “A bunch of Fat Cat Wall Street Bankers.””

Report this
TAGGLINE's avatar

By TAGGLINE, February 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

In lieu of coming off as cynical, nihilistic, bummed
out, bored or just plain stupid…may I suggest
reading pages 24 thru 26 of Chris Hedges’ “Death of
The Liberal Class”. The writing pretty much spells
out, in great detail, exactly what the USA has in place,
in terms of governance
and of the irrelevant “public discourse” we
see/hear/puke over. We are in a period of Inverted
Totalitarianism, in that ...it is not ‘conceptualized
as an ideology or objectified by public policy…’ it
is, in fact the way we live in this space in time.
Proof of this fact can be found in nearly every facet of daily life here…
and probably globally, as well. And, yes…I’m an avid fan of this man’s body of
work. It rings true and on point.

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 3, 2012 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

Aquifer, uncounted, unverifiable votes for people you can’t hold accountable, are not a precious right. We don’t have the government people voted for, we have the government that corporate money, the media, political party machines, and the privately owned central tabulators rigged the elections to “elect.”

This state of affairs did not result “from the actions of the people we voted for ...,” it resulted from a Constitution that gave nine unelected people the Divine Right of Kings to make decisions that could not be appealed, and who ruled that there is no Constitutional right for the popular vote to be counted.

The vote is not a tank of oxygen that can save us, it is a rock that is weighing us down and drowning us. It gives the illusion of democracy without the substance of a real voice in government.

Despite the millions of dollars that the Republicans spend suppressing the Democratic vote, to make people think that their votes might be valuable, they, along with the Democrats, are spending BILLIONS of donated corporate dollars getting out the vote. The corporations consider this an investment, as it gives corporate rule and their corporate puppets the facade of having the consent of the governed and makes corporate rule appear to the naive to be a democratic form of government, which it is not.

Ask voters if they approve of Congress and 90% of them will say no. Then ask them who they’re voting for, and most will name a Member of Congress. Here’s your precious Kucinich, who always talks peace but always throws his support to whatever war criminal the Democrats nominate at election time:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/feb2012/coop-f03.shtml

He’s not on the side of workers or ordinary people, he’s an oligarch on the side of other oligarchs like himself, as is every oligarch in Congress, including Ron Paul.

What responsible citizen would leave it up to Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court to decide whether or not to go to war, bail out the rich, torture and kill innocent people, or allow human and civil rights? When you vote, you are declaring yourself incompetent and asking that guardians be appointed to manage your affairs for you, so you have no right to complain when their actions are not in your interests. If you were competent, you’d insist on self-governance, direct democracy, and make your own decisions. You’d vote on wars, budgets, and all other issues, instead of delegating your power to crooks and liars.

Direct democracy is the only real democracy. “Representative democracy,” is just a euphemism for tyranny, where power is in the hands of the government, not in the hands of the people. Anyone running for office in this system, even a Green, Working Families, or other apparently decent person, is seeking power within an evil system and no honest person would do that. If it were possibly to reform bureaucratic crime syndicates from within, people would be joining the Mafia, the KKK, the police force, and the military so as to reform them from within. Everyone knows that can’t be done. The US genocide-for-profit system is just a bigger crime syndicate, currently the biggest in the world, and it must be boycotted and replaced because only genocidal maniacs would be willing to tolerate it and attempt to work within it.

If you think that this is the government that you voted for, you knowingly voted for torture, genocide, and to eliminate human and civil rights. Most people think they’re voting for candidates who might represent them on issues, and are oblivious to the fact that they are actually voting to perpetuate a genocidal system that cares only about money and cares nothing for human life.

Before you repeat all the other old canards about voting, please read why we shouldn’t vote:

http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1172

I’ve heard those myths thousands of times. They’re still myths.

Report this

By Aquifer, February 3, 2012 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Mark,

“In a democratic system, voting is a precious right. In a tyranny like ours, where the government claims the right to assassinate or disappear anyone at any time without cause or due process, it is worse than worthless—it is willing and knowing submission to, and support for tyranny.”

Voting is always a precious right - if we have a tyranny now it is because we have misused or thrown away our votes for too long - that is why we got a government who claims those rights - we voted for it!

“In an undemocratic form of government, voters can hope that their votes might be counted, can hope that their elected officials might represent them, but have no power to ensure that their votes are counted or that their elected officials actually represent them.”

Again, this resulted from the actions of the people we voted for ...

“But underwater or in a toxic environment filled with lethal gas, breathing can bring about death more quickly than holding one’s breath and trying to escape. Breathing isn’t always a good thing, it is only a good thing in an environment with oxygen suitable for human life. 

I want to try to help people trapped in an undemocratic form of government withhold their votes until they can escape.”

Well that’s fine but the problem is one can only hold one’s breath for so long, and not very long at that - so better to use the vote as a tank of oxygen to use while we swim to the bottom and pull the plug on the cesspool to drain the swamp ...

You do realize, of course, that withholding the vote leaves the field wide open for TPTB to continue controlling the system - they are quite happy that folks like you don’t vote and even more thrilled if you can convince others to follow suit ...

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 3, 2012 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Occasionally one reads a comment here on truthdig that is intelligent, well informed, and well sourced. Thanks to Bill_USA for pointing out the “Crock of %#$@”

Greg_2 writes, “The most disgusting photograph I have ever seen.” Regular readers of truthdig should have noticed by now that truthdig editors always select the most unflattering photographs available to accompany articles, such is demagoguery regardless of who the subject may be. There is a term used to describe sleazy print media; that term is “Rag” truthdig is in some respects extremely “Raggy.”

It’s my observation that many people who comment here on truthdig appear to be chronic dissidents and perpetual cynics: people who are willfully ignorant and uninformed; people who refuse to believe anything they do not want to believe, or that contradicts there dialectic of cynicism.

Reading President Obama’s State of the Union Address it becomes obvious that President Obama “Gets it” concerning the issue of economic injustice and Wall Street abuses and that he is doing everything he can under current political realities to correct the injustice and abuses and that he didn’t become President to help out “A bunch of Fat Cat Wall Street Bankers.”

Reject cynicism, become better informed, and vote Democratic in order to give Obama the necessary Congressional majorities that Roosevelt had and see what happens. We already know what will happen if the Republicans attain majority power again.

Nihilism and counter productive demagoguery born of ignorance, which will have tragic consequences, is what I see here on truthdig.

Some truthdiggers have asserted that Obama will attack Iran or collude with Israel in attacking Iran. The Obama Administration is now terrified that Israel will attack Iran unilaterally with potentially disastrous consequences.

If Obama prevails the troops will be out of Afghanistan before 2014 but the chronic dissidents will be dissatisfied with that troop withdrawal and assert nefarious intentions. If the Republicans attain majority political power the future of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan will be quite different. Hear the public pronouncements of Republicans and be afraid, be very afraid.

Report this

By Michael Shaw, February 3, 2012 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

I saw Summers this morning on the CBS Morning Show. Why these TV hacks still bring on these political hacks responsible for the meltdown to explain our economic woes and how to get out of them is beyond arrogance. They must truly believe most of us are complete idiots.

As for Obama keeping Summers on the team while bringing in Bernanke and Geithner, doesn’t that tell us enough about the so called two party system? The Clinton-Bush photo clearly explains that!

Report this

By michael8000, February 3, 2012 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Mr. Scheer for your overdue appraisal of Democrat complicity in the worst crisis of many people’s lives: financial deregulation.

“When the British interviewer reminded him of Clinton’s comment, Summers, as is his style, simply bristled: “Again, you make everything so simple, when in fact it’s complicated. Would it have been better if the whole financial reform legislation had passed in 1999, or 1998, or 1992? Yes, of course it would have been better. But … at the time Bill Clinton was president, there essentially were no credit default swaps. So the issue that became a serious problem really wasn’t an issue that was on the horizon.””

Fascist PIG!

Report this
weindeb's avatar

By weindeb, February 3, 2012 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Bill - I can feel your pain - Clinton is a con man. As bad as Boehner and Cantor
and McConnell and Bush and Gingrich and assorted malevolent GOP buffoons, I
think not. Who can ever hope to compete for First In Slime with such a lot?
However, Mr. Clinton of teflon reputation should be fully identified and rated not
on his sexual peccadilloes but on what he and his administration wrought on
Americans and their economy, with his welfare “reform” and his helping hand to
the Fat Cats of our society the keys to the kingdom of greed.

Report this
THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., February 3, 2012 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

OMFG, anybody with a modicum of curiosity knows this
shit!
I bailed years ago; you guys are going down (probably
already) and just can’t muster enough gumption to DO
anything.
I mean, a member of a cult, is the leading republican
contender for president?
Hopeless…

Report this

By ardee, February 3, 2012 at 4:03 am Link to this comment

By diamond, February 2 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

I can assure you most Americans do regard Clinton’s term of office as the good old days.

Your assurances notwithstanding, many see the Clinton administration in a similar light to the Reagan years. The balancing of the budget on the backs of those thousands kicked off welfare with no safety net for example. The ending of Glass Steigall etal.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how different America’s situation would now be if Al Gore had been allowed to occupy the White House instead of George W. Bush. Gore would never have invaded Iraq or Afghanistan but would have launched a criminal investigation into the events surrounding 9/ll (THAT would have been interesting) and he would not have run the American economy into a ditch because he wouldn’t have had two trillion dollar wars to run. The differences are obvious to those with an ounce of sense.

Really? Your conjectures notwithstanding, what you have done is assume a reality that never existed. from a candidate who never won. Considering that this is politics and not science fiction, and noting the total incompetence of the Gore campaign, one might consider reigning in such overweening loyalty to a party proven to be as bad as its counterpart, as incompetent as this candidate whose actions you fantasize about as if it was written somewhere.

Your position here is counterproductive to any solution to our problem, if only by refusing to see that our two party system is a sham and a fraud.

Report this
Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, February 3, 2012 at 12:55 am Link to this comment

Bill-USA, go back and read my comment again because it appears you missed an important part of it that outlines the repeal of Glass Steagall as the Pandora’s Box. Not the cause, but the doorway that led to the trickle down because of allowing Investment Banks to become involved in the retail side, so they could get their greedy claws on all that borrowing power to speculate with however they wanted, and the luscious Bailout Lotto that they were given for no interest from the Taxpayer and loaned directly back to the Fed at a higher interest rate! Blankfein must have thought he’d died and gone to the Great Synagogue in the Sky!
The deck has been stacked so well and for so long mate, that it’s a modern Bear Trap for anyone brave enough to have a go at these guys - for christ-sake, they’re Zionist’s!!! Cheating the game is what they do for a living - for Centuries!! 
The only way to topple this gang is to roll your sleeves up and drag the fuckers kicking and screamin off to Jail without Habeus Corpus so they can get a taste of their own Medicine! That’s what it’s gonna come down to!
For the next act - I predict Romney is going to get rolled by Jeb Bush w/ Palin as his running mate at the Convention - if the nut-job’s feel they can get away with it!  It will be another one of those ” Magical moments in American History things” that will Blow everyone away and appeal to the Evangelical crowd beyond belief!
I’m getting a keg of the worlds best Pilsner “Emerson’s” that hopefully will last from the Republican Convention until
the Election and I’m gonna laugh my ass off as the Circus Acts Come to town!

Report this

By Jeff N., February 3, 2012 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

“I think the evidence is that I am right about that. If you look at the big players, Lehman and Bear Stearns were both standalone investment banks,” Summers replied.

Wow.. the full irony of that statement took awhile to actually settle into my brain.  Did he really say that or was that quote taken out of context?  Don’t want to listen to this snake for 20 minutes to find out.

Report this
TAGGLINE's avatar

By TAGGLINE, February 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

Summers gobbledygook lingo is rife with some of his
former boss’s “..that depends on what your definition
of “is”...is” gibberish. To refuse the acceptance of
any foolish (nay, overtly rapacious, greed laden)
responsibility for the mendacious deregulation of
systems that were set in place…just to make some
“econo-growth” numbers look good from those ill
gotten gains is tantamount to treason. These assholes
have put this country at greater risk than it’s ever
been. They should all hang from the nearest yardarm.
Plus…you’d better believe that the people WILL have
their day…history has a pretty accurate record of
that fact…and the consequences. The “evils” of
Democratic Socialism are close to becoming a reality,
and I, for one welcome it ASAP. Got Kids??? Steel ‘em
up.

Report this

By greg_2, February 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

The most disgusting photograph I have ever seen.

Report this

By Bill_USA, February 2, 2012 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

CORRECTION:

I MEANT TO SAY IN THE FIRST LINE OF MY COMMENT: 

First of all, the Glass-Steagal act DID NOT CAUSE THE TRICKLE DOWN - DEREGULATION.

the statemant that follows is consistent with the assertion that the repeal of Glass-Steagle did NOT cause the Trickle Down Deregulation Disaster by itself.

I will use “preview” from now on!

Report this

By Bill_USA, February 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

This is basically a Crock of %#$@.

First of all, the Glass-Steagal act DID CAUSE THE TRICKLE DOWN - DEREGULATION DISASTER BY ITSELF.  There were other factors that were needed.  (CFMA and Bush admin hostility to regulation of predatory lenders).

I remember in the mid to late 90s how everybody was concerned about Japanese banks which were getting larger than ours on Wall street. People in and out of government were getting worried Japanese banks would begin to take business away from wall street banks. 

also, people were concerned that London was moving into electronic trading faster than we were.  THese things troubled many people.  Now, Clinton was well known to be very smart academically, but rather naive when it came to ‘street smarts’ (e.g. Monica Lewinski, the horny intern).  Clinton thought that you could repeal Glass Steagal IF BANKS WERE REGULATED EFFECTIVELY.  Actually, that is true.  the big “IF” there is “if banks are regulated effectively.”

  Clinton was naive enough to think that banks would be forever regulated.  Like he really believed you could count on Repblicans to NOT BE BOUGHT OFF?????

BUT THAT IN ITSELF (repeal of Glass-Steale) was NOT enough, by itself to cause the Trickle Down - Deregulation Disaster.

The Commodities Futures Modernization act could not get out of two committees for months.  Finally, Phil Gramm who was lobbying for it figured out the stealth way to get this bill voted on.  HE ADDED IT AS A RIDER TO THE MUST PASS OMNIBUS FUNDING BILL OF 2000. This bill had to be passed before Congress adjourned in Dec 2000 or the Government would run out of money. So he slipped it into the 11,000 page Omnibus Funding bill and NOBODY KNEW THE CFMA WAS IN THERE AND IT WAS PASSED.  Clinton signed the bill not even knowing the CFMA was in there.  see Who Wrecked the Economy: Foreclosure Phil}  http://motherjones.com/politics/2008/05/foreclosure-phil

the CFMA was key to the Trickle Down Deregulation disaster because it made trading in Credit Default Swaps legal AND UNREGULATED!!!!  This is what really made the subprime mortgage lending take off. Because banks could sell risky high rate of return mortgages (i.e. subprime) to institutional investors because they would sell them a Credit Default Swap with it and they told the investor the CDS would pay off if the mortgages defaulted.  in other words investors thought they could enjoy a higher rate of return without any risk!!! this is how demand for SUB-PRIME MORTGAGES (they wanted the higher rate) exploded. 
the demand really exploded in 2003-2004 see: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fcic/fcic.pdf#page=98 .

but even that was not enough.  When 50 States Attorneys General tried to rein in predatory lenders the Bush administration went to court to stop them!! see (Predatory Lenders Partner in Crime: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021302783.html .

Had the Bush administration NOT STOPPED these public officials form stopping predatory lenders then the supply of low-doc, no-doc worthless mortgages would have dried up and it’s hard to see how we would have had all the Wall Street banks holding trillions of worthless mortgages leaading to the credit meltdown.

Report this

By E Henry Schoenberger, February 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

I think it is ok here to be an atheist - not sure about Huff Post.

After reading all the other comments - i feel less isolated by what i have learned from 4 decades of being licensed by the SEC - and from the 2 years of research for my book in 1990 and the 2 1/2 for the new one.

Although everyone seems to know alot - Swindled is about all of the culprits—- social darwinism, schumpeter’s maximization of profit no matter what,regulators and the specific regs that have the rule of law behind them - banks, investment banks, the raters who should be in jail, appraisers, mortgage brokers (i have only recommended real estate private placements for 40 years—no financial innovation or stocks and certainly not CMOs or CDOs fictitiously backed by virtual golden crums…)the failure of the 4th Estate to have objectively created informed public opinion and even the IRS—and of course the greatest enabler of all Congress in bed with the money to let Wall St do whatever it wants. I need informed readers to help spread the truth of all the connectivity - so i hope you will read Swindled to follow all of the parts to the whole truth - and recognize that born again social darwinism has metastasized into Financial Darwinism - which is the root cause, underlying all the devaluation of ethics and the devaluation of greed. http://www.howwegotswindled.com

Report this
Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, February 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

There are 2 party’s for a reason. American’s are easily dupped into believing in
one being good and one being evil, rather than accepting that both are equally
corrupt.
As I mentioned, I agree with the premise of the article, however there were
some things missing in Mr. Scheer’s original contentions that it was through the
Democrat’s complicity (Clinton - et al) that this whole can of worms came to
be… The bottom line here is that the entire enchilada is dominated by GREED,
and allows one hand to talk to the other to fleece the sheep!
The Blindfolded Lady with the scales is the one who desperately needs to
remove the bloody blindfold and take a look around at what’s actually
happening and kick the hell out of the ones chosen to lead the Fleeced to the
Slaughter House! Only HARMONY of WILL can set a course away from the Rock’s
dead ahead. DIVISION will kill off any chance of Change, or recovery American’s
need most right now!
Any questions on the 2 Party system?? Party’s ruin any chance for Democracy to
actually work! Need further proof? Either you’re for us or against us ring any
bells???  READ PNAC and wake the fuck up!!!

Report this
Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Dave Schwab, when you’re ready to stop supporting the corporate-owned capitalist imperialist system, stop voting.

The only industry that the US has is the genocide-for-profit industry. Weapons of death and war are our biggest exports. Natural resources obtained through wars and genocide, and technology manufactured with slave labor are our biggest imports. No junior legislator can change that, and no President can change that.

But if we stop supporting the system, stop consenting to it, stop voting to delegate our power to it, we can change it, legally, nonviolently, and effectively.

There are other important forms of noncompliance, such as finding ways to simplify your life so that you don’t have to pay income tax, building and creating cooperatives and collectives to supply our own basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education, planting urban gardens, etc., but the most important form of noncompliance is withholding our consent.

When you vote to try to elect a good person to a corrupt system, you are voting to consent to be governed by a corrupt system. As the Declaration of Independence said, government derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The way that governments demonstrate that consent is by holding elections. If people vote, no matter how they vote or who they vote for, they are personally and individually consenting to the system holding the election.

Here’s a response I wrote to a Democratic Party organizer who accused me of being against voting, but it also applies to political operatives of all other parties:

The Value of Voting:
http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1189

Voting is only valuable when it is done within a democratic system of government, the votes have to be counted, and votes constitute a real voice in government, not just a preference among personalities. In a democratic system, voting is a precious right. In a tyranny like ours, where the government claims the right to assassinate or disappear anyone at any time without cause or due process, it is worse than worthless—it is willing and knowing submission to, and support for tyranny.

The problem isn’t who is in power, the problem is the distribution of power. Read the little essay I just linked and try to understand the problem. As I tried to explain earlier, a good, decent, honest person wouldn’t want to be part of the Mafia, the KKK, Congress, or any other organized crime syndicate, and would scoff at the notion of trying to reform such murderous bureaucracies from within.

Report this

By Dave Schwab, February 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

That’s the magic of the corporatist duopoly - Democrats, as the ‘good cop’, can implement parts of the corporate agenda that Republicans could never get away with.

If you are ready to stop supporting corporate-sponsored political parties, check out Jill Stein’s Green presidential campaign:

http://www.jillstein.org/

Report this
D Hardwick's avatar

By D Hardwick, February 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Thanks to the Angel Gabriel for annunciating the saga leading up to Gramm-Leach-Bliley clearly and entertainingly. That said, I don’t see that the roles played by Brooksley Born and Messrs Summers and Clinton are in any way diminished or different from their representation in Mr. Scheer’s article.

Report this
Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, February 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Cont’d -
“Meanwhile, over at the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC),
the appointment of free-market disciple Wendy Gramm (wife of then-U.S. Sen.
Phil Gramm (R-Tex.)) as chairman would result in her successful 1989 and
1993 exemption of swaps and derivatives from all regulation.
These actions would turn out to be consequential in the reign of terror that was
to come…
In 1993, with her agenda accomplished, Wendy Gramm resigned from her CFTC
post to take a seat on the Enron Corp. board as a member of its audit
committee. We all know what happened there. (Wait a minute; I did say she was
on the audit committee, right?)
Of course, Enron’s fraud and implosion became the poster child for
deregulation run amok.
It ultimately helped spawn Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, which has its own
issues, but nonetheless has prevented all kinds of fraud and inappropriate
behavior on account of the fact that top executives have to attest to the veracity
of, and sign off on, all financial documents and other “stuff.”
Now, don’t lose any sleep over the fact that of all the CEOs and CFOs and other
muckety-muck multi-multi-millionaire executives that ran and still run the
too-big-to-fail banks and the banks and investment banks that did fail or were
merged (because they failed but were valuable to banks who wanted to make
themselves bigger so they would never be allowed to fail) ever were charged
with any crime under Sarbanes-Oxley.
Why shouldn’t you worry? Because, silly, there’s a concerted effort to do away
with the law. After all, don’t you know, it hampers business from creating jobs,
which we desperately need?
Hold on.
Sorry. I just returned from the bathroom, where I was getting sick.
Anyway, the constant flow of money to lobbyists and into legislators’ campaign
coffers was paying off for banking interests.
The Fed, under Chairman Greenspan, along with Robert Rubin and Larry
Summers, was methodically deconstructing the foundation of the Depression-
era Glass-Steagall Act.
The final breaching of the wall occurred in 1998, when Citibank was bought by
Travelers.
The deal married Citibank, a commercial bank, with Travelers’ Solomon, Smith
Barney investment bank, and the Travelers insurance business.
There was only one problem: The deal was clearly illegal in light of Glass-
Steagall and the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956. However, a legal loophole
in the 1956 BHC Act gave the new Citicorp a five-year window to change the
landscape, or the deal would have to be unwound.
Phil Gramm - the fire breathing free-marketer, Texas senator, and then-
chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
(and loving husband of Wendy) - rode to the rescue, propelled by a sea of more
than $300 million in lobbying and campaign contributions.
In 1999, in the ultimate proof that money is power, U.S. President Bill Clinton
signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act,
at once doing away with Glass-Steagall and the 1956 BHC Act, and crowning
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) as the new “King of the Hill.”
From his position of power, Sen. Gramm consistently leveraged his Ph.D. in
economics and free-market ideology to espouse the virtues of subprime
lending, where he famously once stated: “I look at subprime lending and I see
the American Dream in action.”

The Italian Shoe appears to be on another foot, though all these perps are
swimming in the same swimming pool!

Report this
Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, February 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

While i agree with some of this article, I feel there is much more to the story than
we are being led to believe here. The Conspiracy for the changes in Finance Laws -
Glass Steagal, and the abolishment of controls that allowed the opening of the
floodgates of GREED for Wall Street to walk through with fear of regulation or
Censure .
This story leads back to Senator Gramm, that fine Texas Christian Soldier of the
Republican persuasion and his Dear Wife Wendy - This little snippet came via a
little bird this morning to my email Box. “Shah Gilani” who wrote this is an
Investment analyst. He sends a couple of weekly newsletters that I find helpful in
sorting the Perps out.  Here’s something that Mr. Scheere conveniently leaves out
of the background, that led to the death of Glass Steagal.
Cont’d -

Report this

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

 
Monsters of Our Own Creation? Get tickets for this Truthdig discussion of America's role in the Middle East.
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Zuade Kaufman, Publisher   Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook