Feb
4

Unbelievable




Posted at 23:52 by Brad

Are you effing kidding me:

The Bad Bank Assets Proposal: Even Worse Than You Imagined

Dear God, let’s just kiss the US economy goodbye. It may take a few years before the loyalists and permabulls throw in the towel, but the handwriting is on the wall.

The Obama Administration, if the Washington Post’s latest report is accurate, is about to embark on a hugely expensive “save the banking industry at all costs” experiment that:

1. Has nothing substantive in common with any of the “deemed as successful” financial crisis programs

2. Has key elements that studies of financial crises have recommended against

3. Consumes considerable resources, thus competing with other, in many cases better, uses of fiscal firepower.

The Obama Administration is as obviously and fully hostage to the interests of the financial services industry as the Bush crowd was. We have no new thinking, no willingness to take measures that are completely defensible (in fact not doing them takes some creative positioning) like wiping out shareholders at obviously dud banks (Citi is top of the list), forcing bondholder haircuts and/or equity swaps, replacing management, writing off and/or restructuring bad loans, and deciding whether and how to reorganize and restructure the company. Instead, the banks are now getting the AIG treatment: every demand is being met, no tough questions asked, no probing of the accounts (or more important, the accounting).

In case you had any doubts, propping up dud asset values is a form of forbearance. Japan had a different way of going about it, but the philosophy was similar, and the last 15 year illustrates how well that worked.

What we have from Team Obama is a bigger abortion of a :”throw money at bad bank assets” plan that I feared in my worst nightmare. And (when we get to the Post preview), they have the temerity to invoke triage to make what they are doing sound surgical and limited.

Obama — although I didn’t think you were some Messiah when I voted for you, I at least thought you had the sense to stay away from BUSH-QUALITY PROPOSALS. This is some serious bullshit that you’re about to lay down and it will destroy your presidency. I’m being totally serious. What’s more, it will destroy the Democratic Party’s reputation as being the party that does a better job of taking care of the middle class and the poor. You will be spending God-knows-how-much of our money on trash. If you value your country and your legacy, you will throw this proposal straight down into the shitter where it belongs.

203 Comments »

  1. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    February 4, 2009 at 23:55

    The things, you say
    Those untold billions you’re giving away
    The things, you say
    They’re [Post Title]

  2. D.N. Nation said,

    February 4, 2009 at 23:57

    What a Blartastrophe.

  3. handy said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:00

    Boo.

  4. Rusty Shackleford, Now Virtually Blart-Free said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:01

    Yeah, but he’s going to limit CEO pay to $500,000. Although frankly I’d be willing to run a bank into the ground for half that.

  5. Blart Heston said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:02

    You did it you damn dirty blarts! You blew up the blart thread.

  6. Christopher said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:03

    I didn’t vote for Obama and I have to say, I am surprised at how quickly he’s working to justify that decision.

  7. laym said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:05

    Don’t blame me, I voted for Christopher.

  8. Leon Trotsky, Exile-in-Mexico said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:06

    Yeah, imagine that, a moderate-left figure is only going to fix most of the problems, but will continue some of the same exact shit that was already going on since the 1980s.

    Holy shit, it’s like he’s an American politician.

    Incidentally, if you can honestly say this:

    What we have from Team Obama is a bigger abortion of a :”throw money at bad bank assets” plan that I feared in my worst nightmare.

    You are fucking nothing at having nightmares about politics in this country.

  9. Me said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:07

    Shall we wait to see what Geithner has to say on Monday?

  10. PaminBB said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:08

    “…if the Washington Post’s latest report is accurate…

    Pretty big if. Try not to panic, Brad.

  11. actor212 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:09

    What’s the alternative, tho?

    Let the entire American banking system fail?

    You guys think this is bad, wait until that happens. China will own us.

  12. tigrismus said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:09

    Yeah, this was one deeeeepressing post.

  13. Leon Trotsky, Exile-in-Mexico said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:09

    Also:

    if the Washington Post’s latest report is accurate

    That is probably one of the biggest fucking “ifs” in the newspaper industry today.

  14. Me said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:10

    Try not to panic, Brad.

    You might just as easily have said, “Try not to write anything, Brad”.

  15. John D. said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:12

    I’ve never viewed Obama as being anything but a smooth-talking corporate hustler who technically happened to be “less bad” than the two certifiably insane people he was running against. (But then, it’s not difficult to at least look respectable compared to the likes of St. McCain and Sara “Moose Meat” Palin.)

    My one realistic hope was that reality would force his hand into taking actions the average current day Democratic Party “leader” wouldn’t otherwise go near if his life depended on it, that circumsatnces were so bad, standards had deteriorated so much, that he’d have to govern responisbly because he literally had no choice. Now? I’m wondering whether we’ll be seeing a repeat of Germany in the 30′s or of France during the Revolution. Neither prospect seems terribly appealling, somehow…

  16. PeeBlart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:12

    Umm, time for a reality check.

    Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner warned Wednesday against rushing out incomplete plans to fix the U.S. economy, saying that could add to financial market uncertainty.
    [...]
    He said the idea of creating a “bad bank” to soak up assets that are difficult to price or sell was enormously complicated and government needed to tread carefully to minimize the risk to taxpayers. “It is possible that something there will be part of the solution going forward. But I don’t want to today provide any more details about how best we can navigate this position,” he said.

    Most of what I’ve seen describes Geithner as “cool on the idea” if not downright chilly. And chill is what some folks around need to do a lot more.

  17. actor212 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:14

    My one realistic hope was that reality would force his hand into taking actions the average current day Democratic Party “leader” wouldn’t otherwise go near

    You mean like nationalizing the banks?

    Cuz that’s my guess as to what’s ultimately going to happen. But he can’t come right out and say that. He has to rally roughly 3/4 of the country behind him. Right now, he’s lucky if he has 60%.

  18. PeeBlart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:14

    erm, “cool to the idea”

  19. Watcher of the Skies said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:16

    Who do you think are the shareholders of these banks? Big rich tycoons lighting money with $100 bills? Do you have a 401K? I do, and it’s tanked enough as it is. Middle class people will get screwed over if the banks fail.

  20. Candy said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:17

    Krugman is worrying about deflation*, but he doesn’t seem to think the sky is completely crashing down around us. When Krugman totally freaks out, then I’ll worry. He is more worried about nothing being done.

    *I say that like I understand the issue, but I will be the first to admit that I have a tenuous at best understanding of economics.

    You guys think this is bad, wait until that happens. China will own us.

    Yep. This is what I’ve been fretting about for the last few years. I’ve never understood why so many people have just been all “Ho hum, so we’re paying for everything by borrowing money from China? What could go wrong? Pass the sports section, honey.” I thought maybe I was just missing something, some reassuring element perhaps, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t.

  21. John D. said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:19

    “Cuz that’s my guess as to what’s ultimately going to happen. But he can’t come right out and say that. He has to rally roughly 3/4 of the country behind him. Right now, he’s lucky if he has 60%.”

    Actor, I hope you’re right. I freely admit I’m not exactly an optimist. (Hard to tell from my “non-wacky” posts, huh?)

  22. Leon Trotsky, Exile-in-Mexico said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:20

    I thought maybe I was just missing something, some reassuring element perhaps, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t.

    Ignorance is a hell of a reassurance.

  23. actor212 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:21

    John,

    It’s about the only sensible solution I can see, but look around you, even in this “safe haven” for progressive thinking. The second he goes “Sweden”, he’s going to get hammered from the right. He has to do it when he has a critical mass of the people behind him and I don’t think 53% counts as a critical mass.

  24. stryx said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:23

    CalculatedRisk has the solution

    “Get in there and find out what they are holding. If the banks are insolvent, Nationalize Preprivatize them.”

  25. PeeBlart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:27

    First, China already owns us. Our options are limited in no small part by what China might do with their umpteeen gazillion US bonds and dollars tucked away over there.

    Second, Candy is watching the right barometer. Stay current with Krugman – he know his shit and he’s pretty open and honest with his opinions.

    Third, watch Rep. Ackerman rip the SEC a new one; it might amuse you up.

    Fourth, Candy?!? WTB girl?! How’d the interblart go?

  26. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:30

    Krugman is worrying about deflation*,

    Yup. The push from the big assholes will be towards it – if they can’t bully Obama into shrieking at the peasants about terrists, they can at least manhandle him into keeping their debtors well-fucked – but that’s a major political problem, worse than the ‘socialism’ one. People cry ‘socialism’ so much it’s lost all meaning, that Bush can start nationalizing shit without anyone saying anything outside of straight-up irony. But inflationary politics are a no-go, and it’s really difficult to explain to the public why it is that fucks them over – why it is that, when they’re in debt and their payroll is funded with debt and the prices of their consumer goods are kept low with debt, making the principal of that debt less valuable is good for them. They just hear “Hyperinflation! Germany! Germany!“, and because they’re not idiots but they have a horrible education in history and almost none in economics, they flip a shit.

  27. Megann McAlthouse said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:30

    I’ve met you sir, and you’re no Leon Trotsky, said: “Yeah, imagine that, a moderate-left figure is only going to fix most of the problems, but will continue some of the same exact shit that was already going on since the 1980″

    He’s nothing like “moderate-left” unless the Overton Window has one edge at Mussolini and the other at David Broder.

    They think the system is fucked and they’re ripping out the last few bucks. That’s all it is. Geithner has been pretty clear. He wants the system to stay in private hands (for reasons he’s not willing to give) because if the people were to benefit, well, that would just be socialism, right? Can’t have that.

  28. 109 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:30

    At least the Bush Administration, as obvious as its propaganda was, appealed to the stupid masses with its cutesy names: “Shock and Awe” etc.

    “Bad Bank” is like ANTI-propaganda. The worst possible thing to call this.

    It’s like the Obama Administration is saying “Here’s a hammer, now hit us with it!”

  29. Candy said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:31

    PeeBlart, I got the internship! Sadly, there’s no money involved, but it’s within walking distance and the connections and references will be priceless. I’m pretty happy. I’m just gonna have to sit down tight on the student loan money and leave cheap for three more months until I get my degree. Yay! I’d like to celeblart tonight, but I have math class.

  30. stryx said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:32

    Middle class people will get screwed over if the banks fail.

  31. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:34

    “Bad Bank” is like ANTI-propaganda. The worst possible thing to call this.

    This is a good thing. Orwellian language is the business of vile shitheads.

    If we’re going to create a bank to absorb poisonous assets to reduce wider economic damage, calling it something nice would just be a foul lie that debases anything else we say.

    The reason I voted for Obama, and I’d say the reason behind most leftists voting for him, is that we’re no longer going to have to argue with our rhetorical opponents about whether shit is nasty or delicious. We don’t fucking need our leadership trying to rewrite reality so it’s nicer to him – that’s why we voted the party which still thinks Bush is President out.

  32. Mark D said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:34

    “Let the entire American banking system fail?

    You guys think this is bad, wait until that happens. China will own us.”

    The system has already failed! If it weren’t for the initial $350 billion, we’d already be moving forward. Instead, we’re just postponing the inevitable.

    Oh, and China already “owns” us — they just haven’t called in the debt. Yet.

    Who do you think are the shareholders of these banks? Big rich tycoons lighting money with $100 bills? Do you have a 401K? I do, and it’s tanked enough as it is. Middle class people will get screwed over if the banks fail.

    Investing in the market contains an element of risk. To think that risk shouldn’t be burdened by those who took it doesn’t make much sense, IMHO.

    Besides, last I checked, a 401(k) wasn’t guaranteed. It is an investment in the market just like any other.

    Don’t get me wrong, here. I’ve seen my 401(k) get cut in half in less than six months (not like I had a lot anyway), and understand the importance of keeping our banking system working. I’ve worked in the financial services industry now for five years, so I get it.

    But I don’t recall the government rushing to cover everyone’s asses when the IT bubble burst. I don’t recall anyone suggesting the government rush in make sure those who took risks on, say, Pets.com, so why this?

    My simplistic solution:

    ** Nationalize the banks — Why give them billions without any say? That’s the real problem so far with the bailout, and we could solve that by making them fully nationalized. Not a great option, but better than what we’ve got.

    ** Tell shareholders, “Tough shit. You should have made sure the company was ran better.” There is ZERO reason to worry about them. Again, they took the risk. Deal with it.

    ** Tell bank execs that if they don’t like the $500K salary cap, get a different job. I know thousands of people who could do just as good (or bad) a job and be ecstatic to make that kind of money.

    ** Tell all owners of toxic assets, “So sorry, but since you loved the profits, but didn’t share them, you can deal with the losses without help. So no money for you!”

    Four quick things that are better than this clinically fucking retarded “Bad Bank” idea.

    At least, in my blarting opinion …

  33. Leon Trotsky, Exile-in-Mexico said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:34

    He’s nothing like “moderate-left” unless the Overton Window has one edge at Mussolini and the other at David Broder.

    Sooooo, like the past eight years, then?

    Yeah, you’re just as fucking dumb as your namesakes, apparently.

  34. Mark D said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:35

    Damn … sorry for the thesis.

    I will blart myself blart times for that blarting screed …

  35. stryx said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:36

    FYWB

  36. ctg said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:36

    Harry Markopolos testifies on the Madoff/SEC fraud.

    http://tinyurl.com/chgwrs

    The most fascinating testimony of the decade.

  37. Smut Clyde said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:36

    Who do you think are the shareholders of these banks? … Middle class people will get screwed over if the banks fail.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but surely the problem is that the banks have failed, although they are trying to spackle over the fact with the help of Gubblement money.

  38. Zandar1 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:36

    actor212 said
    What’s the alternative, tho?

    Let the entire American banking system fail?

    Shit., it’s going to fail anyway. The only question is who’s going to get the blame for it, Bush or Obama, when we end up having to print million-dollar bills like f’in Zimbabwe.

  39. M. Bouffant said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:37

    Ha ha ha. Couldn’t happen to a nicer, more deserving nation (or species). You create a financial system built on a house of cards, supported by “faith & confidence,” you should be rooting for grubs & living in mud huts.

    Have many of these boom/bust cycles do we have to go through before one or two of you learn anything? What’s it been, almost four hundred yrs. since the tulip bubble?

    Fucking lazy, ignorant morans.

    Schadenfreude, baby! I’m lovin’ it!!

  40. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:40

    hen we end up having to print million-dollar bills like f’in Zimbabwe.

    Not gonna happen. The only reason that the US’s nominal inflation hasn’t caught up to the inflation on daily good is that it’s pegged to the price of oil – so firmly, in fact, that the response to the US financial crisis has not been to dedollarize oil sales but to reduce the price of oil.

    The US dollar trading at its local market value would result in OPEC / gulf-state action. Hyperinflation, even if we have the historical prerequisites for it, is off the table.

  41. PeeBlart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:49

    Way to go Candy! And don’t feel bad – math is FUN!

  42. Candy said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:50

    I have a feeling that if nationalizing the banking system was presented to people in the right way it might have a surprising amount of support. People are scared and hurting, and by almost all accounts things are just going to get worse. If shown a clear benefit they might approve. I do agree that there’s probably not quite enough support to actually get it done, not yet anyway.

  43. Candy said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:51

    Math is not fun for me, sadly. I like plain old arithmetic, but anything algebraic . . .

  44. Tommmcatt said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:53

    So once everything falls into rubble, what horrendous, inhumane government will rise in it’s place? I’m betting on a repressive communal state…the American right wing is far too stupid, powerless, and fractured at this point to organize anything more than a lynch mob, and while I’m sure a few thousand abortion doctors, brown people, and homosexuals will be hung from trees I think it entirely more likely our new masters will arise from the extreme left, which has been organizing in the margins for years now. Plus, how perfect is the current populist anger for fomenting an uprising of the proletariat, right? Sure, they may get bogged down in ideology, but really, all it would take is a modern-day, cut-rate, Huey Long and BANG! A brave new wold, tovarich.

    Or maybe just a massive bloodbath and an abrupt slide into falangism, I could see that happening from the right, maybe. They’re incompetent enough.

    Choices, choices….Democracy was fun, though, wasn’t it? Turn off the lights on your way out….

  45. stryx said,

    February 5, 2009 at 0:57

    Bouff, “faith and confidence” was the subject of a post at Risk.

    It seems that senior fund managers were selected and investment decisions were made based on “graphology.”

    And this from 2005.

  46. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:06

    It seems that senior fund managers were selected and investment decisions were made based on “graphology.”

    To impose science-based reality on the market would be to compromise its efficiency.

  47. You Can't Put Lipstick On A Repig Or A Blart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:07

    The meme that “China owns us” is only about 10% true. The reality is that each country (USA, China) owns each other.

    WIthout the insatiable market-for-crap that the USA represents, China would have joblessness thru the roof. Did you think that 10%+ annual growth was free? China’s economic system is in thrall to the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people over there who expect that kind of prosperity to continue.

    Thus, China and the US must keep the squirrel-cage-wheel illusion going. The USA buys craps and pays for it in IOUs. The IOUs fund American ability to “buy” the crap.

    In fact, this has gone on too long while rich fatcats skimmed enough off the top to make their personal fortunes. Now they are willing to let the world go Mad Max, as long as they are safe, so they can swoop in and buy assets for pennies.

    Same thing happened during the Depression. The really cagey guys kept their dough, waited for really low prices, and bought up Serious Assets cheap. There was less “Mad Max” back then because people had manners – you see all the pix of apple sellers with tie & jacket on.

    The truth is that the Smart Guys don’t have a clue how to solve this. I would suggest 100% taxes – both income and capital – on anybody with >$10 million, but Fatcat assets would just get buried if it came to that.

  48. Twisted_Colour said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:12

    The banks are gonna be laughing all the way to the bank.

  49. Twisted_Colour said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:13

    end up having to print million-dollar bills like f’in Zimbabwe

    A million-dollar bill won’t buy anything in Zimbabwe, they’re already printing trillion-dollar bills.

  50. PeeBlart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:16

    The meme that “China owns us” is only about 10% true. The reality is that

    Blart you, you blartstard! The interducts is no place for even-handed, calm, rational discussion. Sheesh, howza guy gwinna get riled up you iz doon dat shit?

  51. islmfaoscist said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:17

    I’ve never viewed Obama as being anything but a smooth-talking corporate hustler

    That’s nice, dear.

  52. Jrod said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:18

    Sure Tommmcatt, that populist anger is so fervent that several people wrote sternly worded letters-to-the-editor when the government made a trillion-dollar gift to the people who ruined the world economy with their boundless greed.

    I like the paranoia about the far-fringe left that’s lurking in the shadows, just waiting to pounce. Lemme guess, they’ll call themselves the Red Soros Brigade and their flag will be Che Guevara smoking a doobie. In order to prevent such a catastrophe, we should abolish social security, welfare, and food stamps, just to make sure those dastardly reds know that this is not their nation! Yeah, that’s the ticket…

  53. PeeBlart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:19

    Might as well take this interblartssion to flog one my favorite academics, Paul Bloom.

  54. PeeBlart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:19

    erm, “flog for…” aw you get the blarting idea

  55. You Can't Put Lipstick On A Repig Or A Blart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:23

    > Might as well take this interblartssion to flog one my favorite academics, Paul Bloom.

    Religion and human instinct is one of my favorite subjects. My recommendation for a book (does anybody read them anymore?) is The Denial Of Death by Becker. This is a once-a-decade book of brilliance. They even made a Kindle edition for you lazy blarts.

  56. Tommmcatt said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:29

    I like the paranoia about the far-fringe left that’s lurking in the shadows, just waiting to pounce…

    Wow, you got me all wrong. I just think that of all the possible fringe groups that could conceivably seize power the far left is likely the most organized and capable, barring a military coup- which I don’t think is likely as the military runs on cash just like everything else in this country. And as for populist anger, wait until people start having to feed their children on roadkill while Paris Hilton goes around buying whole restaurants just to feed her entourage on trips…then you’ll see some rage and marching in the street, and rightly so.

    Plus, I think a flag with Che Guavarra smoking a doobie would be awesome. That is a movement I could get behind….

  57. Smut Clyde said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:29

    The Denial Of Death by Becker. This is a once-a-decade book of brilliance. They even made a Kindle edition for you lazy blarts.
    There’s also the movie version, though in my opinion the adaptation takes liberties with the plot.

  58. tigrismus said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:32

    erm, “flog for…” aw you get the blarting idea

    Yes, I believe I do, but either way it is HOT.

  59. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:37

    Way to go Candy, as others have said. If you need any help wit’ der maffs, at least such help as can be got via email over the inner tubes, my email account is always open – alison at unstuffed dot com dot au. Got an honors degree in maffs, which has got to be some use (other than to make me a social pariah). Anything for a fellow Sadlynaut.

  60. You Can't Put Lipstick On A Repig Or A Blart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:38

    > There’s also the movie version, though in my opinion the adaptation takes liberties with the plot.

    Thanks for the tip. I wasn’t aware of it. The DVD is in my Amazon shopping blart now.

  61. Djur said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:43

    The greatest thing we have to fear is that China will do to us what we have been doing to the rest of the world for half a century.

  62. Candy said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:44

    Just Alison, you are very kind to offer. I may do that at some point. Thanks!

    Fortunately, right now we are doing something fairly simple in class. I’m actually enjoying it. I’m pretty sure that won’t last, though!

  63. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:47

    By the way, someone posted here a few months ago with a link to a youtube-ey clip of a couple of British comedians holding forth about credit derivative swaps and such like. From back about 2006 or thereabouts, I think.

    Would some kind soul care to provide a linky? I promise to love you forever if you do.

  64. Djur said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:51

    Tommmcatt, have you ever talked to an extreme leftist? Hell, I am one, and I’ll tell you: there’s just about enough of a cohesive radical left in the United States to organize a bookstore Starbucks. Any popular movement that grows out of a social and economic collapse of the United States will be right-wing, even if it takes a page out of the Nazi playbook and adopts some of the trappings and slang of leftism.

    But I don’t personally foresee that kind of collapse occurring.

  65. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:54

    Never mind, I found it, with my awesome google fu. Not actually that awesome, actually – just had a bit of time on my hands and the boss is out of the office, so I’m faffing about.

  66. Department Of Corrections said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:56

    “, so I’m faffing about.”

    I believe the correct term is “blarting about”.

  67. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:56

    No worries, Candy. I spent about 10 years tutoring at the university, so although I’m not too startling academically (in a research sense), I can manage at teaching.

    And always glad to help a fellow Sadlynaut (and to try to lure someone else into the social wilderness of maffs appreciation).

  68. Jrod said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:59

    Naw, when the coup comes it’ll be fascists taking over, though it will likely be flavored with populism and fake-socialism. After all, that’s how the Nazis did it.

    I’m not seeing any evidence that the fringe-left is any better organized than the fascist-right, which I can’t exactly call the fringe because they’ve controlled the fucking government for the better part of the last thirty years. Also, the private armies and citizen militias lean far, far right, while the radical left has, like, Bill Ayers I guess.

    I’m open to being convinced otherwise, if you have some links.

  69. Smut Clyde said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:03

    The greatest thing we have to fear is that China will do to us what we have been doing to the rest of the world for half a century.
    Heh. Here in the South Pacific, the Australian and NZ social-conservative parties* like to appeal to a fear of the pullulating Asiatic hordes, who will swarm in (given a chance) to dispossess the current occupants. This is why we need strong armies and strong immigration barriers. Apparently the p.A.h. will neither recognise our prior claim to the land, nor share our preference for a relatively low population density.
    Feel free to ask rhetorical questions about the precedents that inspired this fear.

    * As opposed to the economic-conservative parties, who believe in weak immigration barriers, as long as the new arrivals are good consumers and pay for their citizenship in cash.

  70. Stephen Ockham said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:10

    Just Allison: here it is
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzJmTCYmo9g

    Bird and Fortune: Subprime Crisis.

    I didn’t see it here, but a prof played it for the class a few weeks ago, I wonder if he’s a lurker here perhaps…

  71. Stephen Ockham said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:12

    Heh, nm, I see the matter is already closed. I should read ahead before I pipe up next time.

  72. WereBear said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:14

    The Denial Of Death by Becker: intriguing. I must have heard these ideas discussed without knowing who had sparked them.

    Pretty solid premise, since we’ve amply seen here how the more fundamentalist the religion, the more they hate the thought of someone else thinking differently.

    I see that as the tremendous effort required to keep one’s mind focused on the truly ridiculous things fundamentalists have to believe; any doubt strengthens their own doubt, which is what they have to guard against at all costs.

  73. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:15

    believe the correct term is “blarting about”.

    Down here in the antipodes, we faff. Someone has to balance all that northern hemisphere blarting, after all.

    And thanks to Stephen Ockham – yah, reading is good, but leaping in to offer help is also good.

  74. D.N. Nation said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:24

    I didn’t vote for Obama and I have to say, I am surprised at how quickly he’s working to justify that decision.

    Who did you vote for? Because I’m in the mood to laugh at someone.

  75. El Cid said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:28

    I really don’t know how much more urgently to say “WTF?”

  76. henry lewis said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:33

    Who did you vote for? Because I’m in the mood to laugh at someone.

    Secret ballot, dude. Foundation of democracy and all that.

    You shouldn’t even be asking.

  77. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:33

    …the precedents that inspired this fear…

    wouldn’t start with a “g”, perchance?

  78. Crissa said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:34

    Excuse me, but what is your solution?

    It’s nice to be pretending to be scientific and all, but the assets don’t just fall on the floor. Either fat cats get to rebuild our economy after our banks fail and many of us are out of work, or we try to sift things apart while fat cats try to loot our pockets.

    Come up with a solution which doesn’t involve some banker knocking on the door of each and every american with debt, please, Brad.

  79. Tommmcatt said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:35

    Tommmcatt, have you ever talked to an extreme leftist?

    Actually, yeah, I’ve talked to several at various rallies, etc., here in L.A. and I found them pretty smart but more than a little moored in fine points of ideology. It occured to me at one of these events that if these guys actually got together and decided to iron out their differences….watch out.

    I was being tongue-in-cheek, of course, with my first post…didn’t mean to suggest that collapse was actually imminent, or that extreme leftism would naturally lead to a police state, but you have to admit that historically Poverty+Rage+Badly-Applied Collectivism tends to equal some terrible repression and bloodshed. The same is true, of course, of far right thought…which is why I tend toward a moderate left position in my own personal politics.

    As for a collapse not being around the corner, when you are talking about the collapse of the banking system of the United States of America you are talking about possible worldwide depression and unrest…and yes, the collapse of our own government. I’ve long held that we are in the early stages of a Falange-style government in the United States– all it would take is a crisis that involved enough bloodshed for an empowered coalition- say, the Republican Party and the Army- to legitimately seize emergency control, and voila- this country would run like Chile in 1980 within a few short years. I’m a bit mollified by the election of Obama and the current trend of our legislative bodies…but hey, Chileans elected Allende, right? Look what happened there….

    Gah, sorry, went on too long. But I am afraid…very afraid, to tell you the truth, and very unsure where I should be putting my political energies next. The Democrats, even under Obama, just don’t seem to be able to escape the pull of the way things have always been…

  80. Another kiwi who would like ot pullulate said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:35

    NY Review of Books article about books about FDR might be interesting. There are some parallels to what is happening today.
    It’s a little early for Turfing Obama out of the office, just yet.

  81. Righteous Blarta said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:37

    Come up with a solution which doesn’t involve some banker knocking on the door of each and every american with debt, please, Brad.

    Jesus Christ, Brad, FIX IT ALREADY.

  82. Djur said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:38

    It occured to me at one of these events that if these guys actually got together and decided to iron out their differences….watch out.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  83. Me said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:40

    The Democrats, even under Obama, just don’t seem to be able to escape the pull of the way things have always been…

    Kiwi beat me to the punch with the FDR post, but do you think that FDR really escaped that pull? The system was kept more or less intact, with modifications.

  84. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:49

    Smut Clyde said,
    February 5, 2009 at 0:36

    Correct me if I am wrong, but surely the problem is that the banks have failed, although they are trying to spackle over the fact with the help of Gubblement money.

    Yep. It’s time to stop pretending that there’s not a buttload of naked emperors standing on the deck of the Titanic rearranging the deckchairs.

    And I like the spackle analogy – I get this image of pin-striped bankers with a tray and trowel, madly applying wet, drippy plaster to the side of a volcano. While We The People debate the colour.

  85. Tommmcatt said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:53

    do you think that FDR really escaped that pull?

    Look where we are again…FDR was a great man, but…fundamental changes needed to be made, then and now, that just weren’t. Obama..also a great man, and I look forward to seeing his solution, but unless we somehow get the fundamental justice of this system solved…

    …and before you ask, I have no idea how to go about it. None. Politically involved as I am, I am flummoxed as to how we should fixing this big shitpile…

  86. Smut Clyde said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:56

    Down here in the antipodes, we faff.
    “Farfing about” is an acceptable spelling. Or perhaps it’s a Kiwi-accent thing.

  87. Leon Trotsky, Exile-in-Mexico said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:57

    Well, that’s the rub, isn’t it?

    The fundamental justice of this system went away long long ago, before any one of us was born, if it was ever there to begin with.

    So, we can either continue cycling through modern history, hitting the recession every single time the wheel turns around, or we can let it all crash through the floor and return to smashing babies on rocks because we can’t feed anymore and regressing to feudal lairdship.

    Frankly, as the original mentions Japan’s problems, I’d note Japan’s still there at least, and didn’t turn back into Imperial Japan when the country went ass-over-kettle.

  88. Smut Clyde said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:58

    Also “arsing about”. It is not generally known that NZers have at least 40 words for describing different ways of wasting time.

  89. Me said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:04

    Look where we are again…FDR was a great man, but…fundamental changes needed to be made, then and now, that just weren’t.

    Well sure, we’re back to 1929…eighty years later. That’s not a bad run. And if Roosevelt’s reforms had been left intact, as opposed to steadily eroded over the past 30 years, we might not find ourselves in the current predicament.

  90. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:05

    Either fat cats get to rebuild our economy after our banks fail and many of us are out of work, or we try to sift things apart while fat cats try to loot our pockets.

    perception problem 1 – banks = economy
    perception problem 2 – out of work = without power

    …tough to deal with these perception problems, especially if you’re out of work, or in hock to a bank, but the facts are that labor (work) is power, and banks (stock markets, etc.) are secondary (some might say parasites), and fat cats, if they want to stay fat (without getting eaten), need to recognize the difference.

  91. M. Bouffant said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:11

    Also “arsing about”. It is not generally known that NZers have at least 40 words for describing different ways of wasting time.

    Is there a word/phrase for wasting time discussing how many words/idioms there are for wasting time?

  92. Me said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:11

    The fundamental justice of this system went away long long ago, before any one of us was born, if it was ever there to begin with.

    I don’t think it was there to begin with. What we’ve got is a capitalist system, and it ain’t going anywhere, short of a bloody revolution that will probably result in something just as bad or worse. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be reformed to make it at least decent for most people. Yeah, that might be shitty and fatalistic attitude, but I honestly believe that’s the best option available.

  93. M. Bouffant said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:14

    the facts are that labor (work) is power

    And where does political power come from?

    The Barrel of a Gun!

    [Repeat 5x, then all fire their weapons into the air]

  94. another dan riehl said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:23

    Please back away from the cliff. That bank assets program appears to be going nowhere, and (hopefully will) continue to go nowhere.

    Not that there isn’t and won’t be a lot to criticize Obama for – and if he is stupid (let alone reckless and beholden) enough to push such an idea, he’ll deserve all our ire and then some.

    But he seems to be doing at least 70% of the things right. Let’s see what actually comes out as a final proposal before we hoist the jolly roger.

  95. noen said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:25

    The Naked Capitalism blog, along with Calculated Risk are both bearish. I hope I’m not mistaken on that. I think they have an important viewpoint that should be paid attention to but you really should take their advice in moderation.

    Calculated Risk especially was terrifying to read these past few months. While they got a few things right the world didn’t end and they were pretty much predicting it would.

    The Market is a rollercoaster ride and some people are addicted to that. It’s in their vested interest to scream doom at every twist and turn. One should keep that in mind.

  96. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:28

    And where does political power come from?

    The Barrel of a Gun!

    well, assuming this is not ironic, we’ve all seen how successful this approach to power (political or otherwise) is, long term.

  97. George Washington said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:30

    ckc (not kc), I agree. Violence is completely unsuccessful in achieving long-term political goals.

  98. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:31

    the facts are that labor (work) is power

    Maybe before Reagan, sure, but it seems to me that we’re in a situation where labor has to be power of its lonesome instead of having supporting institutions designed to channel that power to constructive ends. We need to bring back the big unions, but trust me, you don’t want to live through what the original organizers did – a lifetime of toil, Haymarket, a pauper’s grave.

    The guns tend to accumulate on the side of those who own rather than those who work – at least partially because it’s a lot easier to keep what you’ve already stole than go out and liberate some more. So if we decide this by shooting, eventually our side’ll win – numbers and all – but we are just gonna be bones in a ravine long before that. You don’t want to decide shit by shooting.

  99. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:36

    George Washington said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:30

    ckc (not kc), I agree. Violence is completely unsuccessful in achieving long-term political goals.

    Well, we’re good with that, then.

  100. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:40

    (ps – run this by your first nation folk)

  101. protected static said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:44

    ckc (not kc), irony doesn’t preclude truth… Some societies make that connection a little more explicit than others, but behind every nation-state stands at least one more-or-less organized armed body sworn to serve the interests of the state.

  102. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:46

    behind every nation-state stands at least one more-or-less organized armed body sworn to serve the interests of the state

    I’m not sure whether you’re offering this as a plus or a minus.

  103. protected static said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:53

    I’m not sure it easily comes down to plus or minus. It’s a feature, not a bug.

  104. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:55

    …depends whether you think the “state” has any real “interests”

  105. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:59

    (and to tie back to the economy, labor, banks, etc., whether the interests of the workers and their “financial advisors” are the same as the interests of the “state”)

  106. M. Bouffant said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:00

    It’s true, & it’s sad & wrong. Is that ironic?

  107. protected static said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:03

    Any group, once it gets big enough, is going to need some kind of coercive power to enforce its norms. I don’t care if it’s splinter Mormon polygamists, hippie wannabees in a commune, or a troop of bonobos.

    Most groups regard self-preservation as a real interest. A state just happens to be really big fucking group.

  108. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:04

    true, sad, and wrong. (and ironic – for some).

  109. protected static said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:05

    [Are ]the interests of the workers and their “financial advisors” [...] the same as the interests of the “state”[?]

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

  110. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:05

    …is going to need some kind of coercive power to enforce its norm…

    Well, good luck with that. Just to let you know, I’m on the other team.

  111. protected static said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:09

    ckc (not kc), your choice of the word ‘team’ is interesting. How does a team stay together? Any number of possible ways: by collectively agreeing to play by the same set of rules, by following an autocrat’s orders, by taking advantage of a charismatic leader… What happens when a team member stops going along with it? They’re kicked off the team.

    Coercion. Macro or micro, but it’s still coercion.

  112. PeeBlart said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:11

    As opposed to the economic-conservative parties, who believe in weak immigration barriers, as long as the new arrivals are good consumers and pay for their citizenship in cash.

    Sounds like they want everyone to prosper. Co-prosperity might be a good way to put it. You say “‘Australia” and “New Zealand” and also “South Pacific.” Like it’s a whole zone (sphere, if you will) of co-prosperity. What’s so bad about that?

  113. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:12

    coercive power to enforce its norm

    ..perhaps team is the wrong term, but whatever term you wish to choose to describe a “group” of people who oppose the quote above, feel free to apply it.

  114. M. Bouffant said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:13

    It doesn’t have “Greater East Asia” in it yet. But you’re on the right track. (Or sea lane.)

  115. David Ben Gurion said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:14

    Terror doesn’t work either, you know.

  116. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:16

    (and, in fact, I have no problem with coercive power per se – I stop at red lights, wear a seat belt, pay my taxes, etc. My resistance is to coercion by violence – a la “George Washington” – as a long term solution)

  117. Simba B said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:18

    Name changing is not inherently funny. And when it’s unfunny it tends to be annoying.

    Just thought I’d put that out there.

  118. Me said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:19

    Completely OT, but Christian Bale is a dick. Get over yourself, douche.

  119. Smut Clyde said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:19

    Is there a word/phrase for wasting time discussing how many words/idioms there are for wasting time?
    I would love to answer that, but FYWP does not support the special characters I would need to convey the phrase in question. Also I have this game of Minesweeper to finish.

    Like it’s a whole zone (sphere, if you will) of co-prosperity.
    Your ability to channel the reasoning of our “pro-business” politicians and pundits is uncanny.

  120. Djur said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:20

    ckc, do you have a counterexample of any kind of large, cohesive grouping of humans forged without the help of coercion? I’ve never actually heard of one or an argument for how one can exist; the end result always seems to be endorsing coercion “for the right reasons” or rejecting centralism entirely. I’m honestly curious. Or, hell, can you cite any major political achievement which was free of violence or the threat thereof?

    Also, did George Washington achieve his political aims? I don’t think he cared about the First Nations, so how they fared is irrelevant to the question.

  121. Me said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:22

    Name changing is not inherently funny. And when it’s unfunny it tends to be annoying.

    I was just thinking the same thing. It’s pretty much why I skipped the previous thread.

  122. D.N. Nation said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:26

    Secret ballot, dude. Foundation of democracy and all that.

    You shouldn’t even be asking.

    Fuck that.

  123. Djur said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:30

    Ah. I (and my alter-ego George) am not advocating violence as a long-term solution to anything. I don’t think Gandhi, for instance, had any illusions as to the political power of violence (and, to be clear, both violence and threatened violence played key roles in the Indian independence movement).

    Violence is an incredibly potent tool for political change, and it isn’t a rejection of nonviolence to assert so. Any nonviolent movement needs to understand that or else they’re going to wind up under the treads of a tank.

  124. Djur said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:31

    henry, don’t be a cocktease. You know yelling at a Nader voter is the only thing that gives D.N. an erection.

  125. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:31

    Secret ballot, dude. Foundation of democracy and all that.

    You shouldn’t even be asking.

    Fuck that.

    The secret ballot means we cannot ask our friends in the local courthouse how you voted. There’s nothing wrong with asking; it isn’t a wish on a birthday cake.

  126. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:33

    …can you cite any major political achievement which was free of violence or the threat thereof?

    Coercion is a slippery term – no human group is without coercion (just ask my daughter). Major political achievements free of violence or the threat of violence? I don’t know – I’m not a historian or political scientist (and I’d like to hear your definition of “political achievement” to see how it compares with “human achievement”). Maybe not, but I hope for the best. When it comes to the economy, banks, labor and achievements, I’m not sure how violence enters into it, but coercion is definitely an element, and the power of labor is obviously coercive (if not necessarily violent).

  127. Tommmcatt said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:39

    ckc, do you have a counterexample of any kind of large, cohesive grouping of humans forged without the help of coercion?

    The League of Nations? The United Nations?

    Uh…The Legion of Superheros? The X-Men?

  128. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:39

    Also, did George Washington achieve his political aims?

    George Washington’s aims were everything but political. On a national level, he was the largely libertarian (but generally better at it than ours) proto-Americans’ willing, overpowering daddy figure; he wasn’t much of a general and less of a politician, but his goals always revolved around bettering himself.

    Ultimately, most of what he did as President was to ensure that America and its Presidency would continue to exist that he would be received favorably by history. He had little to no concern for the actual ideals behind the Revolution; he was a triumph of style over substance and an early managerial President.

    And any particular political aims he held were subsumed to the personal aim of doing well by George, so…

  129. protected static said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:40

    I stop at red lights, wear a seat belt, pay my taxes, etc.

    But what happens when you refuse to do so?

    Blow through a red light, and get stopped by a cop. With a gun.
    Refuse to wear your seat belt, and get stopped by a cop. With a gun.
    Refuse to pay your taxes, and civil servants will send you threatening letters. Ignore the letters, and they send cops. With guns.

    I didn’t say I like it. I said it’s a feature.

  130. Djur said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:41

    ckc, I generally consider causing other human beings to die of starvation, exposure, or disease to be as violent as putting a gun to their head and pulling the trigger. The history of siege warfare should demonstrate the effectiveness of that kind of violence in achieving one’s ends. Labor and capital both have economic power to be used against the other, but capital’s economic power tends to be far more destructive.

    I actually think we’re on the same side here, just arguing semantics. So I’ll cut it out.

  131. laym said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:47

    Way way way off topic, but Letterman tries to make up for that old deep-sixed Bill Hicks appearance.

    Link

  132. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:47

    I actually think we’re on the same side here, just arguing semantics. So I’ll cut it out.

    …and I’m much more willing to be violent in a “good cause” than my arguments suggest. Let’s not let the bankers/brokers win the (non-violent) struggle.

  133. protected static said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:50

    When it comes to the economy, banks, labor and achievements, I’m not sure how violence enters into it, but coercion is definitely an element, and the power of labor is obviously coercive (if not necessarily violent).

    Then again…

  134. Djur said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:52

    Alec, Alec, I was sloppy and I apologize. I’m using George Washington as the ideal American revolutionary, and by his political goals I mean the goals of the revolution.

    Revolutions are always ideological in justification but never ideological in practice. They generally consist of an ideological core more or less infiltrated by nonideological power-seekers; as you spread outward into the rank and file, you have a great reactionary multitude energized and controlled by what I would generally term a bunch of fucking dupes. And the power-seekers will always outmaneuver the ideologues in the end. Stalin will always beat Trotsky.

    Beyond that, the loyalty of large mobs is easily transferred to a fundamentally different ideology. Look at the Fascists and the Nazis — over a brief period they both shifted from left-populist “nationalist socialism” to right-populism to fascism, without losing most of their followers. Dumb shits like Jonah Goldberg will use this as proof that socialism and fascism are joined at the hip; the actual lesson learned is that most popular ideologies boil down to “They’re lookin’ to fuck you over,” and the identity of “they” is extremely malleable.

    I really will shut up now, I promise. I’m sorry for annoying you, Simba B.

  135. Boutros Boutros-Ghali said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:52

    But my name is, per se, funny.

  136. Simba B said,

    February 5, 2009 at 5:04

    Ah, Boutros Boutros. The man so nice they named him twice.

  137. jim said,

    February 5, 2009 at 5:17

    Sheesh, this is hella hard to call – or even understand.

    Right now a lot of EC countries are getting ready to set up their own “bad banks” despite their total lack of either popular confidence-building appeal or utility in solving the financial crisis ASAP. I think those DC wonks need to talk to the Japanese about how much they “enjoyed” the similar course they set out on to get out of their hole in the late 1990s – it’s more than 15 years later, & they’re still not doing great.

    Unbelievable is right … I don’t believe it. I’ll change my tune when I actually see it.

    Our trolls all seem to have caught the STFU virus … perhaps on some level even they know just how nakedly culpable their heroic GOP has been in spawning this economic clusterfuck – unless one of them wants to remind us about the benefits of creating our own reality again. “Nobody could have anticipated that paybacks were such a bitch” just won’t go over very well at this point, let alone “Clinton/Congress/DFHs did it!!11!!1!”

    Everyone thought the real output of trickle-down economics for ordinary Americans was mere piss – turns out it’s sulfuric acid.

  138. Adolf Hitler's Ghost said,

    February 5, 2009 at 5:17

    I am rubbing my hands in gleeful expectation
    Of mein own eventual reincarnation!

  139. The Late Dr. Jazs said,

    February 5, 2009 at 5:21

    Yeah, would all you people quit changing your fake names to different fake names?

    In the violence/non-violence realm:

    “I’m non-violent, but if you touch me I’ll break your arm!”

  140. ckc (not kc) said,

    February 5, 2009 at 5:25

    …if you touch me I’ll break your arm

    but in a nice way!

  141. Fats Waller said,

    February 5, 2009 at 5:39

    “If you break my heart, I’ll break your jaw…”

  142. Gary Ruppert said,

    February 5, 2009 at 5:42

    The fact is, whatever Obama does will fail without bipartisan support. America is right wing, especially here in the Heartland.

  143. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 5:55

    So here’s a little hedge: take out between $50 and $100 in BoA/Citi stock, each of which traded at $50 in the beginning of the current meltdown and closed today at between $3 and $5.

    If Obama does good, you lose almost nothing (even a shrink of stock values to 1980-ish would still only be half a loss of value) and if he delivers the fucking meat to the fucking shareholders, the temporary bump in confidence allows you to sell at a tidy profit.

    Kind of a win-win situation. I’m not a stockbroker so I don’t know if this is actually a good idea – don’t bet the house on it – but it seems like a reasonably safe risk, and if you’re gonna get reamed you might as well profit from it.

  144. Megann McAlthouse said,

    February 5, 2009 at 6:17

    Only five miles to the right of Leon Trotsky said:
    “Yeah, you’re just as fucking dumb as your namesakes, apparently.”

    Not dumb enough to be taken in by a smoothtalking corporate shill just because he says he’ll buy me a pony.

    noen said:

    “The Naked Capitalism blog, along with Calculated Risk are both bearish. I hope I’m not mistaken on that. I think they have an important viewpoint that should be paid attention to but you really should take their advice in moderation.

    Calculated Risk especially was terrifying to read these past few months. While they got a few things right the world didn’t end and they were pretty much predicting it would.”

    It’s not over yet, and it’s quite possible you’re not all that clear on how bad it currently is.

  145. Blartrat Love™³²®© said,

    February 5, 2009 at 6:44

    What’s all this about fake names?

  146. noen said,

    February 5, 2009 at 6:46

    You could be right Megann McAlthouse. I’m sure it is very bad and has yet to work it’s way through the economy. But CR and similar blogs were hyperventilating last fall. Like I said, these are short sellers, bear market investors. They were right in part but they and many of their commentators made some very dire predictions that didn’t happen.

    It’s a mistake to believe too much in either the Bears or the Bulls.

  147. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 7:11

    ckc, do you have a counterexample of any kind of large, cohesive grouping of humans forged without the help of coercion?

    The anarchists in Spain? Well, okay, they had a lot of violence directed against them, and ultimately responded, but it does give me an opportunity to link to The Clash. Which is always a good thing.

  148. Not Sure said,

    February 5, 2009 at 7:22

    Brad, I’m not sure you should look at this table of finacial sector contributions to Congress for the last decade. It will only worsen your mood.

  149. Lesley said,

    February 5, 2009 at 7:37

    I thought the banks and financial institutions might have to pay for their crimes, but it seems we pay and they get paid.

  150. jim said,

    February 5, 2009 at 7:46

    I’ll just leave this here.

  151. The Late Dr. Jazs (Hey, guess that means I could be a zombie, if I'm Dead yet typing said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:27

    Here’s a more detailed (well, longer & localer) version of the Zombies in Austin.

  152. Anonymous said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:51

    February 05, 2009
    Save The Children (From Global Warming Propaganda)
    By Marc Sheppard

    He alone, who owns the youth, gains the Future
    – Adolf Hitler, 1935

    No regime in modern history exploited propaganda as diabolically and successfully as did the Third Reich, thanks, in large part, to its focus on those most vulnerable to their ideological manipulation — children. And with more American adults seeing the cold truth behind warming misinformation, alarmists are stepping up efforts to brainwash our schoolchildren using a playbook that would have impressed Joseph Goebbels himself.

    Of course, green schooling was surreptitiously introduced years ago when teachers began espousing benign environmental distractions like “Earth Day.” But trendy nontoxic slogans like “reduce, reuse, recycle” eventually opened the door to the destructive propaganda of teaching Al Gore’s scientifically-challenged movie in science classes. Which soon facilitated a California Law mandating unbalanced Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theories be included in public school curricula. And that paved the way for today’s second installment of a malignant little program cleverly crafted to indoctrinate our impressionable youth on a chillingly massive scale.

    It’s called the “National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions,” and one need read no further than the “about” page on the planners’ website to understand just who they are and what it is they intend to “teach” our children on a national level. For crying out loud, they lead with this hyperalarmist quote from “science’s” leading and most disproven hyperalarmist, James Hansen:

    “Continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions, for just another decade, practically eliminates the possibility of near-term return of atmospheric composition beneath the tipping level for catastrophic effects.”

    And they follow that already over-the-top declaration from a man recently declared an “embarrassment” by his former NASA supervisor with this from their own equally overactive imaginations:

    “We stand at a unique moment in human history. The window for action on global warming is measured in months, not years. Decisions that we make-or fail to make-in 2009 will have profound impacts not only for our children and grandchildren, but for every human being that will ever inhabit the face of this earth from now until the end of time.”

    Until the end of time! Scary stuff — but these guys are just getting warmed up.

    Next, they urge fellow warmists to help “enlist” thousands of colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools and faith groups to host “educational events” in which over a million Americans might join “in solutions-driven” and “intergenerational” dialogue. Of course, a quick glance at the site’s recommended teach-in “models” confirms that “dialogue” will be in short supply, as each and every curriculum involves force-feeding AGW to young minds as a fait accompli, while ignoring glaring growing evidence to the contrary.

    Indeed, the only “intergenerational” communication these ideologues intend is purely upstream in direction. As Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis pointed out last year:

    “Global warming activists understand that children’s opinions are easily swayed, and that the most effective way to proselytize adults is to indoctrinate their kids.”

    And sway they will, as it appears that schools from across the nation have heeded the false alarm, and plan to participate in today’s trans-American propaganda session.

    Step 1: Teach the Children That Carbon Emissions are Destructive and Unjust

    The focal point of the event is the airing of the National Teach-In webcast [video] — a turgid amalgam of alarmist exaggerations, scare stories, unsubstantiated projections and outlandish conclusions, all dosed out with a spoonful of socialism disguised as kid-friendly sounding “fairness” and “justice.” [Note: emphasis added throughout]

    Program Co-Director Eban Goodstein opens with the spectacular and unauthenticated announcement that if you’re under 30, then “over your lifetime the planet is going to heat up somewhere between 4 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit,” then offers the vexed kids salvation in that “by the time you reach my age, you will bring an end to the fossil-fuel era.” He then rattles off a flighty laundry list of ways their generation “will lay the foundation for a just and sustainable world.” Read that redistribute wealth and technology on an international level.

    PCAP advisor David Orr adds more liberal fantasy, claiming that proper energy and climate policy will somehow solve crime, foreign policy, poverty and yes — fairness issues. And activist Dianne Dillon Ridgley also supplements the class struggle appeal, praising future good climate policy for “bringing equity and justice into the entire workings of this country.”

    Fairness? Equity? Justice? Surely, these are words more suited to chic anti-establishment “back-to-nature” 60′s leftovers than modern climate experts.

    But National Wildlife Federation Policy Coordinator Ragini Kapadia baits a different hook, attempting to tap youthful pride by crediting the young with driving historic social changes like civil rights, women’s suffrage and ending the Viet Nam war. And for those children hip to the dazzling disconnect between those genuine issues and hyped AGW, her boss sits ready to exploit another kid-friendly issue — animal welfare. NWF president Larry Schweiger makes the outrageous, and again — unsubstantiated, claim that scientists “have told us that we’re going to lose somewhere between thirty and even upwards of seventy percent of the total species of life on the planet” if we don’t act quickly. Seventy percent? Which scientists? Have these people no shame?

    Goodstein returns to tell young viewers — with a straight face, mind you — that for the past 30 years scientists have been “desperately searching for some other explanation than the blanketing effect of Carbon Dioxide to explain the rapid warming of the planet.” But, asserts Goodstein:

    “It’s not solar variations, it’s not natural cycles, and the simple carbon blanket story explains the data with frightening elegance. The IPCC has shown that to hold global warming to the low end, we must act in the next year or two.”

    Such a classic alarmist fusion of two Goebbels techniques: one asserting that successful propaganda “must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over,” and the other exemplified by these words spoken during a speech intended to reinvigorate Nazi resolve after the devastating Battle of Stalingrad: “Danger faces us. We must act quickly and decisively, or it will be too late.”

    Notice how as recent cooling threatens warmists with their own philosophical Stalingrad, they sound increasingly similar to the Nazi Propaganda Minister? How ironic that it is they who’ve exploited Holocaust allegory in calling skeptics “deniers” and coal trains “boxcars headed to crematoria.”

    For his grand finale, Goodstein adds a stunningly egocentric new twist to the old logical fallacy of appeal to authority by claiming that “while many Americans, including many political leaders, do not understand the profound risks posed by the nonlinear dynamics of the climate system, as educators, students, and informed citizens — we do.” I invite you to read those words again, this time aware that they were spoken by an Economics Professor.

    Sadly, the children will be exposed only to the professor’s solipsistic it’s true because I say so scientific method, and, short parental intervention, will learn nothing of the 650-plus and growing number of international scientists challenging AGW.

    Step 2: Teach the Children They Can Solve The “Carbon Problem”

    The MTV style High School model suggests organizers “plan a cool event,” which includes airing Gore’s eco-sci-fi flick and holding forums with hysterical titles like Meaning of Mass Extinction and The End of Suburbia?, and such activities as having a Climate Friendly Dance and holding a Car Bash. For those not green-savvy, the latter is when you “allow students to pay a few dollars to take a couple good whacks at a donated SUV or other inefficient vehicle.” No methane fermentable feces.

    But it’s the Kindergarten through 8th grade model these dread-o-philes have concocted that’s the more disturbing. It augments its unilateral rhetoric with two dubiously conceived hands-on science projects, one which claims to model “the effect of CO2 and other ‘greenhouse gases’ on the Earth’s temperature.” Young students are instructed to divide an empty aquarium into two equal parts and to create CO2 on one side using vinegar and baking soda. Light sources of equal brightness and distance are then shone into both sides, and their temperature is documented for ten minutes in sixty second intervals. The project instructions state that:

    “CO2 is heavier than air, so will stay in the chamber if undisturbed. This demonstrates the effect of CO2 hanging in the atmosphere. The students should be able to show that the CO2 remained in the chamber, and at the end of the experiment, the temperature was higher in that compartment than the one only filled with air.”

    Given their confidence in the outcome, and the false impression it might leave on developing minds, I wondered whether the experiment actually provided valid evidence of any greenhouse effect driven by CO2 concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Smelling a big green rat, I posed the question to climate expert Dr. Roy Spencer, who was gracious enough to reply:

    I discussed the experiment with a couple of other experts, and it seems to us the experiment is not well designed. The warming effect from the extra CO2 would be so small that other differences between the two sides of the aquarium in the experiment would probably dominate. For instance,

    1. How do you make sure you have exactly the same light intensity going into both sides?

    2. What about the chemical reaction on the side the CO2 is generated on? Does it generate heat, or absorb it?

    3. What about the extra water vapor on the CO2 side? The chemical reaction that produces CO2 also produces water, which means there will be more water vapor on that side, and water vapor absorbs visible light and that might make it warmer.

    All in all, the experiment gives the impression that the warming effect of CO2 is large, when it is really quite small. But probably 50% of the people who do the experiment will get the CO2 side warmer just by chance…like flipping a coin.

    Any doubt that 50% will be spun as anything short of conclusive?

    So then, wrongly convinced that they’ve just verified AGW, the children are asked to ponder sources of “human-induced creation or release of greenhouse gases.” And in an effort to inflict maximum asinine “carbon footprint” shame on these poor kids, they’re taught that “even though a thing may not require energy to work, the creation of the thing may have taken a lot of energy and contributed to global warming.”

    So virtually everything they and mommy and daddy do that requires energy is bad.

    Stopping The Hansen-Jugend Blitz

    Between 1936 and 1945, German boys 13 and older were forced to join a paramilitary group known as Hitler-Jugend (Hitler Youth), where they were indoctrinated early into the Nazi belief system, most notably eugenics and its cousin — anti-Semitism. They, too, were taught that their parents were potentially ideologically dangerous. And they, too, were expected to proselytize their elders. Adolf Hitler was well aware that many adults saw right through Nazi propaganda, and his remedy was disturbingly similar to that of climate alarmists described by Marlo Lewis in the first section of this piece.

    But Hitler Youth also acted as clandestine thought police, denouncing anyone criticizing party doctrine – often including their parents. And while books like James Russell’s How to Turn Your Parents Green currently provoke children to only “nag, pester, bug, torment, and punish people who are merrily wrecking our world,” what might the future hold for these Hansen Youth as green regulation and legislation spew from the deranged warmists in Congress and our new Administration?

    So how do we save our kids’ minds from these eco-fascists? Sure, we retain some control over the green nonsense our kids are exposed to on TV and online. And should we choose to send them to a University or church that preaches this baloney, well, that’s our decision. But the public schools are another matter. To me, teaching AGW dogma to my children is no different or less outrageous than training them in another man’s religion. In fact, AGW has become such a pagan creed that a case might one day be made that such instruction violates the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment.

    But until then, it’s up to us to loudly discourage our school districts from such “teach-ins” and to remove any green mush that nonetheless finds itself between our kids’ ears.

    And to teach our children well.

  153. jim said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:17

    Anonymous said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:51

    Yeah … & you’d think with all that money pouring in from all those deluded naive sheeple, “Teh Global Warming Lie Inc.” could get better actors for propaganda like this! But damn, y’gotta hand it to the special-effects guy, huh?

    OT: Valentine’s Day is right around the corner – & what says “I love you” more than something you made yourself?

  154. Smut Clyde said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:25

    If that was NOT a rhetorical question, then the answer is “Noisy morning sex, even before the first coffee”.

  155. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:53

    I’m with Smut – what could be better than screaming sex?

    With another person, that is. If you can make yourself scream, then I do not wish to know about it.

  156. pedestrian said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:54

    If that was NOT a rhetorical question, then the answer is “Noisy morning sex, even before the first coffee”.

    If he really loves me, he finds a way to incorporate the first coffee into the noisy morning sex.

  157. Another Kiwi said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:59

    And to teach our children well scare the crap out of children with bullshit about Nazis.
    FIFY

  158. Another Kiwi said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:01

    if you can make yourself scream

    That’s the first coffee incorporated into the sex.

  159. Smut Clyde said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:03

    Among my Scandiwegian forebears, a pre-warmed mouth is considered the ultimate compliment.

  160. Lesley said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:05

    All that typing for naught.

    Anonymous is either too cowardly to stand behind the gibberish he writes or he has enough presence of mind to realize identifying himself will only incur more embarrassment than he already has to live with in real life.

  161. Another Kiwi said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:20

    Anon has even tossed those particular cookies on the BLART thread as well.

  162. M. Bouffant said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:22

    If it’s the Marc Sheppard I used to know, the bastard has owed me $62.00 since about 1994.

  163. ?F said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:26

    Not much typing there, Lesley. Simple ^c^v from http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/02/save_the_children_from_global.html

  164. Another Kiwi said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:30

    M. Bouffant, I think that this M. Shepherd has less than two cents worth.

  165. justme said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:37

    deblarting

  166. M. Bouffant said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:44

    As gawd is my witness, I shall never go blart again.

  167. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:18

    Copypasta troll is copypasta.

  168. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:20

    Just moved to Oz! Woohoo!

    Aussies and Kiwis who need a place to stay in Sydney just let me know.

    Smut Clyde: I don’t know if you remember, but I once accused you of being form Oz. Just beginning to realize what an offence that is. Sorry. My bad.

    Also, Obama sux. Just not as bad as Bush.

    Also also, blartblartblartblartblartblartblartblartblartblartblartblartblartblart.

    Also also also, go ‘Tahs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  169. alec said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:35

    Just moved to Oz! Woohoo!

    Dude, you accuse us of ignoring Black Osama’s perfidy and then you subject yourself to Kevin Rudd?

  170. The whole 'Blart' joke thing said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:40

    PLEASE LET ME DIE

  171. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:57

    “Dude, you accuse us of ignoring Black Osama’s perfidy and then you subject yourself to Kevin Rudd?”

    Don’t know quite what to make of that. Obama’s race has nothing to do with the fact that he sux.

    What I do know is this: politicians are all straw men who deserve nothing but our contempt, ridicule and constant vigilance.

    Need proof? Got it right here.

    Here’s the previous day’s Lincoln (Lincoln) elaborating on race relations during the 1858 campaign in which he was elected to the Senate:

    “Abraham Lincoln, July 1858, Chicago Illinois:

    Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man, this race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are equal.

    Abraham Lincoln, September 1858, Charleston Illinois:

    I will say, then, that I am not, nor have ever been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races (applause from audience); that I am not, nor have ever been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people…

    And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of the superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

    A People’s History Of The United States, p. 188.

    Abe Lincoln, ladies and gentlemen, expounding upon how he would never think of letting black people vote. Good man.

    Mohandas Ghandi watched his wife die of pneumonia, knowing that penicillin could save her life:

    “Mahatma Gandhi and his son Devdas Gandhi had a fight over the treatment. Devdas had arranged for penicillin from Calcutta, but Mahatma Gandhi refused to give it to Kasturba as it had to be injected. “Why do you want to prolong your mother’s agonies after all the suffering she has been through?” Bapu asked. Then, with utmost compassion, he said, “You can’t cure her now, no matter what miracle drug you may muster. But if you insist, I will not stand in your way.” Devadas bowed his head. He had no further pleadings to offer. The doctors looked relieved.

    After a short while, Kasturba stopped breathing.”

    Manas: History and Politics, Kasturba Ghandi pp 126-7

    Utmost compassion. You bet.

    He later took quinine to save his own life when stricken by malaria.

    They’re all monsters. It’s why we are where we are.

  172. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:03

    Watching Windies/England Test Day One live.

    Bliss.

  173. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:03

    Dwayne Bravo might be the best name ever.

  174. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:12

    Windies 3rd slip just dropped Andrew Strauss on 2-0.

    Nightmare.

  175. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:13

    Strauss edged to wicketkeeper 8-1.

    Brilliant.

  176. Just Alison said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:28

    Among my Scandiwegian forebears, a pre-warmed mouth is considered the ultimate compliment.

    Smut, if you’ve watched as many Hong Kong movies as I have, you’ll be familiar with the Hongkie special known as “fire and ice”. I’ll say no more.

    Comsympinko – welcome to the antipodes. And ahhh, cricket. What a marvellous game. How can one not love a game with position names like slip, fine leg, and silly mid-on?

  177. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:28

    46-2 with Cook down c Sarwan.

    Guess this isn’t live. Oh, well. England finish Day One 236-5.

  178. M. Bouffant said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:32

    To sleep … perchance to, well, you know.

    W/ dreams of wickets through my head.

  179. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:33

    “Comsympinko – welcome to the antipodes. And ahhh, cricket. What a marvellous game. How can one not love a game with position names like slip, fine leg, and silly mid-on?”

    Yank who got hooked while living in the UK. Full disclosure: love the Pommy bastards except when they’re playing the Windies.

    Southampton can be a cruel place for anyone, but our Windie friends made us feel like we were a part of their community.

    They even introduced us to the curried goat. We forgave them anyway…

  180. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:37

    I also was priveleged enough to watch every minute of Brian Lara’s 400 not out against England in 2004.

    Greatest athletic achievement ever.

  181. Anonymous said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:38

    Oooooh, that does it. Anti-Podeans. I’m a ghost.

    [Door slams]

  182. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:48

    Kevin Pietersen’s pretty fucking good.

  183. comsympinko said,

    February 5, 2009 at 13:54

    It’s bloody hot down here in Oz. And the bats…what’s up with the bats in the middle of the city???

    Sounds like a Britney Spears concert out there!

  184. Leon Trotsky, Exile-in-Mexico said,

    February 5, 2009 at 15:09

    Only five miles to the right of Leon Trotsky said:

    Y’know who does that “tee hee, I’ll make a cheap joke out of the quotation, that way I’ll control the conversation” thing? The troll. I’m just saying, it’s a kind of circumstantial thing but which few other commenters utilize aside from it.

    But anyway:

    Not dumb enough to be taken in by a smoothtalking corporate shill just because he says he’ll buy me a pony.

    No, I was promised he’d buy two children a puppy. Entirely selfless motives, here.

    And yes, taken in means that I’m not going to wail and gnash like a true leftist at the immediate point a politician in this country is proved to be a politician from this country. Because frankly, the ashes and sackcloth look doesn’t appeal to me.

    Now, you’re totally free to go fucking off to some other land like comsympinko, secure in the idea that Obama is just as bad as Bush, and that all other politicians the world over are somehow not beholden to global corporate interests, and therefore are not going to engage in the exact same bullshit.

    Me, I’m gonna ride this out. I was born during Reagan’s reign, so I’ve got a, how you’d say, low bar of expectation for corporate shills. So far, Obama seems to be the very best one we’ve ever had.

    But I’m sure that doesn’t gel with the gnashing and rending you want to do, tearing out your hair, grinding of your teeth, trying to prove just how much more left you are than anybody by saying you hated Obama before hating Obama was cool.

    So, I’ll just stay over here, acting in weary resignation to the idea that I have to interact with reality, and dragging Leon Trotsky’s pseudonym along for the ride.

    Because that’s funny to me now. Every hyperventilating jackass, left and right, since the inauguration has become like a comedic buffet. Every single one that seems almost *personally* hurt that he’s a politician, not a superhero…

    You’re fucking hilarious.

    Me, I know who and what I voted for, and I’m not going to bitch when he behaves exactly in the manner I expected.

  185. Aaron said,

    February 5, 2009 at 15:57

    They’re all monsters. It’s why we are where we are.

    That’s because they’re human, just like us. We’re all fucking monsters – maybe not in the same ways, but we’re all basically a bunch of clever hairless chimps with way poor impulse control. Sometimes things go well for a while, but it’s not the way to bet.

    So far, Obama seems cleverer and better-controlled than most of us, and I’m personally willing to wait and see what he actually does before deciding he’s just the same as the Previous Occupant.

  186. actor212 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 15:57

    The meme that “China owns us” is only about 10% true. The reality is that each country (USA, China) owns each other.

    Thanks for pointing that out. I didn’t hang around long enough last night to defend my comment. There is a balance (ask WalMart). The banking system crash would tip the scales.

    As for any major political change only coming about with the threat of violence, I have one word: Bhutan.

    Google it.

  187. D.N. Nation said,

    February 5, 2009 at 16:00

    You know yelling at a Nader voter is the only thing that gives D.N. an erection.

    If it has to be done, then it happens to be done.

  188. actor212 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 16:05

    Aaron,

    I agree to some degree with you. The old saying is “We get the government that we deserve”.

    The problems in America are immense and only really revealed in the economics. I would argue in return that, if Americans really knew the extent of the problems that face us, we’d probably get together and work towards a solution.

    But we have a complicit media that won’t tell us what their corporate overlords want us to hear. The whole “liberal/conservative MSM” fallacy is just that: a fallacy. We are under a corporatocracy. We, the people, have to learn to use that in order to effect real change.

    Until then, we’re going to have to rely on government to provide us protection from the unified monster known as corporate America.

    The great tragedy of the Bush administration is the abandonment of this end of the social contract: in exchange for our tax dollars, government is supposed to protect the least among us, and that means the individual. (S)he doesn’t have to be black or disabled or female, just one single person.

    Prima facie evidence can be found in the absolute abominations FEMA, the FDA and SEC became under Bush. And I can assure you, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and we may have ducked a bullet by sheer dumb luck that the financial crisis held off until Obama, because who the fuck knows how badly the FDIC was being run?

    This argument isn’t about left or right, which is why I can stomach some conservatives: this is about us versus them. People versus organizations whose very efficiency, very existence, demands as little consideration for the human element as possible.

  189. actor212 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 16:06

    To sum up that one long post with one short post:

    If Obama does one thing in office, he’ll be remembered as a great President: ban corporate political contributions.

  190. Legalize said,

    February 5, 2009 at 16:52

    Dude, enough of this silliness. Lux Interior died yesterday.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/feb/05/lux-interior-the-cramps-dies

    :(

  191. kenga said,

    February 5, 2009 at 16:54

    Would it be impolite to start talking about asset forfeiture?
    Still?
    Good. Time to start speaking loudly and insistently about it.
    At the very least we’ll stimulate some spending on antacids and hypertension and ulcer meds. And some of those recently dis-employed attorneys could resume making payments on their bimmers and homes.
    I’m sure the NSA can make transcripts of the conversations that transpire in the mad scramble to move assets offshore, too – which, while Constitutionally sketchy, would certainly bolster the case against the tax evaders and could reveal yet more assets that could be forfeited.

    So, anyway, back to my point.
    We’ve got a lot of people who’ve been given enormous amounts of money during the process of running the financial industry into the ground. Whether per contract or not, they’ve made fortunes for no demonstrable cause.
    So, it’s time for the gubmint to take their stuff. Everything that they can’t demonstrate that they have earned.
    Like the poor guy with the flower import business, who had his entire capital investment budget, in cash, confiscated from him at the Miami airport because it was cash and he couldn’t prove then and there that it wasn’t from or for drugs.
    I think it would help our current economic mess.
    1. the folks who were steering the handbasket would be spending more time trying to get some of their $ back than cadging more
    2. it would provide the gubmint with assets to sell to fund stimulus
    3. Scalia, who authored the decision that the gubmint could keep the flower dealers $ even though it had been established that he was an honest flower broker who operated on a cash basis, would have a stroke.
    (that might not directly help the economy, but it would be good for the country as a whole – I’m sure that importers and producers of sparkling wine would see an uptick in business.)

  192. MzNicky said,

    February 5, 2009 at 16:56

    Random words and actions that have been plucked out of perhaps apocryphal context, of Lincoln, Gandhi or anyone else, cannot be realistically judged through the prism of 21st century political sensibilities. It’s ridiculous, as is making such sweepingly general statements as “all politicians are ____” — evil, corporate shills, supported only by “dumb” people, liars, monsters, etc., etc. What is that? Does that make you feel politically sophisticated, too above-it-all to be so uncool as to believe someone may acquire power in order to make things better? And that if he/she does, but doesn’t do it according to your superior sense of time, circumstance, and expediency, then he/she is “just like all the others”? Good grief.

    You can support the representational perspective of one politician over another without being “taken in” or immaturely expecting magical overnight corrections of all the things you think are mean and bad. Jeezus H. Christ grow the fuck up already, some of you.

  193. The Goddamn Batman Is Ready For The Collapse, Although He May Have To Pay Alfred In Hardtack For A While said,

    February 5, 2009 at 17:11

    My last shreds of hope lie in this: “if the Washington Post’s latest report is accurate”.

  194. Rusty S., Recovering Blartaholic said,

    February 5, 2009 at 17:27

    Economics and the bailout are worthy topics of discussion, no doubt, but I must point out that Big Hollywood is shitting pure gold on a daily basis and it’s just lying there.

  195. henry lewis said,

    February 5, 2009 at 17:29

    I have one word: Bhutan.

    Or you could look northward.

    Not that Canucklevania’s history is without violence (1759, <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebellions_of_1837, 1885 for example) but the country’s founding from 1864-67 was all negotiation and consensus.

  196. henry lewis said,

    February 5, 2009 at 17:32

    I closed that tag, for fuck sake.

    FYWP!!

  197. actor212 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 18:05

    Rusty,

    Better hurry over there. I made a comment that’s bound to get deleted.

  198. Dreamweasel said,

    February 5, 2009 at 18:48

    Wow. Jon David sounds like he’s got about as much firsthand knowledge of liberals as he does with dating women.

  199. protected static said,

    February 5, 2009 at 19:33

    Yes, Bhutan has transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy – but only after a prolonged campaign to create a sense of national identity and unity, as well as a brief episode of ethnic cleansing against Nepalese nationals.

  200. actor212 said,

    February 5, 2009 at 20:53

    Protstat,

    I’m not going to hold the democratic people of Bhutan responsible for something their king did.

  201. AlanSmithee said,

    February 5, 2009 at 21:36

    Or what?

    No, seriously, or fucking what? What do you think you’re going to do Brad? Vote republican? Bullshit. Come on, you’re not going to vote republican. You’re not going to do jack-fucking-shit and everyone on the planet knows it.

    Look, just go back to making fun of conservitards and rightwing nutcakes and such. There’s lots of humor there and you’re much better at it. Nobody expects you to stand up it your political masters – and you only look foolish when you try.

  202. RobW said,

    February 6, 2009 at 2:14

    jim said,

    February 5, 2009 at 7:46

    I’ll just leave this here.

    Thanks jim. This is one of those things that restores my faith in this country.

  203. Christopher said,

    February 6, 2009 at 4:55

    Who did you vote for? Because I’m in the mood to laugh at someone.

    Well sir, I voted for Nader, because why the fuck not?

    I also seriously considered writing in Jello Biafra.

    Honestly, why is that funny? I live in Portland, OR. It’s not like fucking McCain was going to win the state without me there, bravely manning the trenches.

    How would I have benefited by voting for Obama? People in my family were horrified that I didn’t but none of them was able to actually answer that question.

    And yes, taken in means that I’m not going to wail and gnash like a true leftist at the immediate point a politician in this country is proved to be a politician from this country.

    I will never understand this attitude as long as I live.

    Now, by “this attitude’ I don’t mean a person saying “Given the choice between the imperfect and the appalling, I’ll support the imperfect’. That’s a perfectly reasonable and rational choice to make.

    No, the part I don’t get is when that same person starts yelling at everybody who doesn’t praise the imperfect side at every opportunity.

    You’re pretty much saying “Imperfect is the best we’re ever going to get! How dare you ask for more, you upstart!”

    First of all, Obama’s not the king. He’s not endowed with the power of god and it’s not blasphemous to criticize him. Second, random kvetching on obscure comedy blogs is not likely to bring on the collapse of the Obama administration.

    I mean, Obama has some pretty awful qualities. He voted for telecom immunity. He’s incredibly pro-Israel and that’s probably going to scuttle any chances for peace. These are pretty big issues. Is it really so unreasonable for people to find them important?

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