Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » America at the Crossroads of Change

America at the Crossroads of Change

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Last November, the country elected Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States. His election victory was won mainly on his promise of change, and the nation was more than ready for that change, particularly after eight years of George W. Bush and all that it meant: incompetence at the highest levels of government, unprecedented government spending which wiped out the budget surplus left over from the Clinton administration, an imperial presidency (or vice presidency), assaults on civil liberty and wanton abuse of power. The collective euphoria, both here at home and abroad, could only have been the result of the relief felt by those who saw the end of the Bush presidency as the beginning of a new era which would usher in that change in all its ramifications. Mostly, the change would reassert America’s ideals and its standing as the bastion of freedom and democracy. The expectations of Americans and the rest of the world for the Obama era were as high as the euphoria over his electoral victory.

It is now a little over six months into the Obama presidency and there are signs of an ebbing of the euphoria and enthusiasm that followed his election as the Commander-in-Chief. One can argue that this was not entirely unexpected, given the enormity of the problems he inherited from the Bush administration. At the top of the list of the problems was the economy. America was on the brink of economic disaster, comparable to that of the Depression era. The widespread bank failures, the crash of the housing market, AIG near collapse and the intervention by the government to bail out Wall Street with taxpayer money combined to present an unprecedented challenge to the new Obama administration. Compounding these were the protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and yes, Pakistan too. The jury is still out on how well the president is handling these enormous and formidable problems, despite recent polls that indicate a decline in his job approval rating, particularly over the recent added problem of health care reform. His personal popularity, however, is scarcely diminished.

What is now clear is that the change promised by Obama during the campaign is proving to be easier said than done (or delivered). The president is clearly the object of attacks from all quarters, particularly from the GOP and the vociferous right wing faction of the party. Some of these attacks, granted, were evident during the campaign but have intensified lately amidst the president’s struggle to get his legislative agenda to pass through Congress. He is accused of trying to achieve too much at once, of plunging the nation further into debt with his unfettered spending (mostly from the Wall Street and auto industry bailouts). His attempt to reform health care is being assailed by special interest groups from the insurance industry and big pharma, whose proxies in Congress are working surreptitiously and sometimes not so subtly to thwart his efforts. The cruel irony is that some of these industry proxies are from the president’s own party. The attacks on the president have also turned personal, ranging from those who question his legitimacy as a citizen of the US to those who accuse him of being a socialist, a Muslim and an enemy of the American tradition of free enterprise.

America is now at the crossroads of change and deeply divided over the type of change to live with. Clearly, there are those who would prefer the status quo or worse; a return to the era of white domination, Reagan-era conservatism marked by the theme of less government, deregulation of commerce and industries, tax cuts and unchecked military spending. It matters not to these people that these are the very things that have brought us to this economic disaster threatening our standard of living and the rest of the globe. Trickledown economics has failed miserably and yet proponents of its other component, disaster economics, as promulgated by Milton Friedman, continue to preach its virtues unabashedly. Liberalism, for reasons not easy to understand, continues to be on the defensive in spite of its obvious ideals and historical benefits to the ordinary citizens of this country.

Many years ago, I was fortunate to read a book by Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom. I have since read another book, The Shock Doctrine, by Naomi Klein. These two books provide a profound insight in different ways into what is at the core of the cultural, political and ideological split we are witnessing today. It is ironic that a new president who won an election on the promise of change in a bold attempt to unify the country has, through no fault of his own, merely seen his efforts further widen the schism in all these areas.

Powered by

About Charles Euchay

  • Baronius

    “Clearly, there are those who would prefer the status quo or worse; a return to the era of white domination”

    Really? Is that clearly true? You might want to back that up with evidence and names.

  • Dan

    Interestingly, I find the philosophical foundations of “Ecape from Freedom” and “Shock Doctrine” to be at odds.

    In “Escape” the author describes how the fear of the demands and responsibilities of individual freedom most often lead people to conformist thinking and a desire for authoritarianism.

    The author of “Shock” seems to fall into this category in that she blames societal failures on free markets. Such as the failure of post apartheid South Africa to live up to expectations.

    Historically, it seems evident that free market capitalism has been such a constant force for economic prosperity to all class strata that it is hard for me to relate to terms Naomi Klein uses, like “imposing free market capitalism”.

    Clearly though, as you say, this is the “core of the cultural, political and ideological split we are witnessing today.”

    As witnessed by the last election, many Americans seem to court authoritarianism. This seems alien to traditional Americans. Many who predicted that changing demographics would alter the national character but were told that diverse people were a strength, and they aspired to assimilate to the free market capitalism that worked so well for previous generations.

  • zingzing

    baronius: i think the point is that you DID like it better when a white man ran the game. you’re unhappy now, and there’s a black guy running it. i don’t think you prefer the white man over the black, but you certainly don’t like the way the black man is running it, do you? one’s got nothing to do with the other, but there’s a truth in it.

    dan: “As witnessed by the last election, many Americans seem to court authoritarianism. This seems alien to traditional Americans.”

    where’s the authoritarianism? you going to jail? your taxes go up? what’s a traditional american? you? (of course.)

    “Many who predicted that changing demographics would alter the national character but were told that diverse people were a strength, and they aspired to assimilate to the free market capitalism that worked so well for previous generations.”

    what does that mean? it kinda trails off without a point. looks kinda like you don’t like the fact that this nation isn’t as white anymore. i could be wrong. really. explain.

  • Clavos

    …you certainly don’t like the way the black man is running it…

    Which statement, in and of itself doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like it because he’s a black man (which, btw, he isn’t — I’m neither Irish nor Swedish, I’m half of each, much as I hate to admit to either.)

    You libs are so pissed that libertarians and conservatives don’t like what your guy is doing, that you’re all trying to pin the dislike on racial motives.

    I have no problem whatever with his being black — I greatly admire Thomas Sowell, he’s a conservative/libertarian like me; what bothers me about Obama is he’s a liberal democrat, not his “blackness.”

    It’s not racial with most folks, zing, and it’s a specious tactic to try to make it about race.

  • zingzing

    “Which statement, in and of itself doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like it because he’s a black man”

    read the rest of what i said before you hurt yourself.

    “You libs are so pissed that libertarians and conservatives don’t like what your guy is doing, that you’re all trying to pin the dislike on racial motives.”

    which i BLATANTLY DIDN’T…

    “It’s not racial with most folks, zing, and it’s a specious tactic to try to make it about race.”

    and i didn’t.

    i just said the following, if you care to ACTUALLY READ WHAT IS WRITTEN: “i don’t think you prefer the white man over the black, but you certainly don’t like the way the black man is running it, do you? one’s got nothing to do with the other, but there’s a truth in it.”

    see that?

    i was running it from the angle that baronius doesn’t like IT the way IT’s being run, and IT is not being run by a white man, IT is being run by a black man. and now he don’t like it. has nothing to do with his race, just the fact that he (looks) black and he’s running it, and baronius doesn’t like it. i was very careful to point out that baronius probably doesn’t prefer it one way or another when it comes to color, because i know him better, but the fact is that we do have a black president. even if he’s not black.

    so people can get away with saying “it’s not because he’s black!” and i know that both you and baronius are honest when you say that. you don’t like his policies. i know that.

    but there are some out there who don’t like his policies and don’t like his skin.

    and there are some out there who plainly don’t like his skin.

    and there are some out there who plainly don’t like his name.

    and don’t deny it.

  • zingzing

    and then dan went and proved my point, i think. i can’t tell because he can’t write a sentence properly. but you, clavos–grammar queen–didn’t point it out.

    it’s been a while since i’ve been here. maybe i missed out on your resignation of that crown.

    i swear there’s another phrase that has to be added to his sentence for it to make sense. comma splice or something. it’s fucked.

  • zingzing

    and yeah, i missed a “‘s” in there. so don’t start up again, ms. queen.

  • Clavos

    but you, clavos–grammar queen–didn’t point it out.

    Heh. when I do, everyone jumps on me. When I don’t — I still get jumped on.

    Gringos…

  • zingzing

    i’m white! you hate me! xoxo, i love you more than you love me, i love YOU more than YOU LOVE ME…

  • zingzing

    the capital letters are where neil tennant comes in.

    if you don’t get the reference, you weren’t there, in england, in 1989.

    not that i was.

  • Dan

    “where’s the authoritarianism? you going to jail? your taxes go up? what’s a traditional american? you? (of course.)”–zing

    Why would my going to jail represent authoritarianism to you? I’m specifically speaking of government control and regulation of previously private sector enterprises. Yes I’m a traditional American.

    “what does that mean? it kinda trails off without a point. looks kinda like you don’t like the fact that this nation isn’t as white anymore. i could be wrong. really. explain.”

    Simply stated, (as before) many non-white people did not assimilate to a preference for a free market capitalist system. It was promised by politicians that diversity would be a strength, and would not compromise the fundamental character of the Country. One fundamental character of the Country was a successful free market capitalist system. Diversity has not been a strength, and the free market capitalist source of Americas wealth is being scrapped because of the changing voter demographic that helped elect Obama.

  • zingzing

    so you don’t like minorities coming into the american voter block? good for you!

    and authoritarianism to me means that you can’t say what you want. so, you say what you want, obviously, and you aren’t taken away. therefore, i don’t see authoritarianism yet. maybe you’re too small yet. i’d bet that’s the case. yep.

    you represent all that is left behind (oooh) in america at this point. if that’s “traditional,” i want it gone. the real tradition of america is inclusiveness and freedom to be who you want to be, not “i’m american if i can make money and the gov’ment won’t tax me.”

    grow old with us. we’re in our growing pains, and it might hurt, but you’ll walk again.

  • Baronius

    “one’s got nothing to do with the other, but there’s a truth in it”

    Quoted for Gibberish

  • zingzing

    that’s what i’m here for.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Bailouts. You do understyand that the recovery has started and ther only reason it has is that the Obama administration – like every other major western government – pumped in truckloads of money to ensure we didn’t have a repeat of the Great Depression, when nothing was done.

    If Americans are becoming disillusioned with Obama over that, they don’t know shit from clay. If they want to be disillusioned, it should be with the deregulated Wall Street shysters who did whatever they needed to do to line their own pockets in what amounted to a giant, corporate ponzi game.

    Obama inherited the problem.

    Down here in Oz, there are still tough times but we are starting to come out of it. The economy grew slightly last month and there are positive signs.

    Except it wouldn’t have happened had the government here not guaranteed savings, bailed out various institutions left, right and centre and launched a number of multi-billion stimulus packages aimed at getting Australians spending and keeping people in jobs.

    I’m sure the situation is the US is identical.

    Don’t make the mistake of pointing the finger at governments, unless you are going to point the finger at previous US administrations’ belief in near-total total deregulation in an industry that needs more regulation than most.

    The tsunami has an epicentre: Wall St, New York, and their mates in the City of London.

    Credit where credit’s due, please. Pun intended.

  • Dan

    If banks were not forced to make housing loans to unqualified people, the credit crisis would never have happened, and we would still be enjoying the 2.5% average economic growth throughout the Bush term.

    Few people understand this, and that’s by design. Easy credit was a result of Government regulation intervention.

    “you represent all that is left behind (oooh) in america at this point. if that’s “traditional,” i want it gone. the real tradition of america is inclusiveness and freedom to be who you want to be, not “i’m american if i can make money and the gov’ment won’t tax me.””—zing

    If I decipher you correctly, “freedom to be who you want to be” is not inclusive to traditional americans that want to make money without excessive taxation.

    I’d prefer to be left behind.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Dan: “If banks were not forced to make housing loans to unqualified people, the credit crisis would never have happened.”

    Sorry, with respect: That’s ridiculous. They were partly behind the drive to sell more credit derivatives that had parcelled up tranches that included sub-prime loans.

    The more mortgages the mortgage brokers sold, the more the banks made and the more credit derivatives the shysters and fast talkers on Wall St were able to sell, which created ever more demand for more mortgages.

    It was all about a select few making money at the expense of the rest of us, with little thought of the consequences should it all turn pear-shaped: the consequence turned out to be toxic debt that almost – almost – brought the global financial system to a grinding halt.

    What they had invented on Wall St: shonky debt packaged up as safe investment, all sprinkled in magic golden fairy dust, and in this case predicated on the idea that housing prices in the US would never fall.

    The banks in the US (and in Britain, and much of Europe) were at the very least complicit in this process. That’s why you’ve all had similar problems, especially the US and UK.

    And Iceland’s crisis is a classic example of what happens when there is no prudential regulation.

    We were spared the worst of it in Australia compared to much of the western world precisely because sensible regulations applied to the banking and finance sector.

    When everything went arse-over-tit up there, at least the banks here didn’t need huge bailouts and managed to a) keep operating, b) keep lending and c) keep their good credit ratings.

    Those regulations (APRA) were introduced by a conservative government, too. Very smart, even if I didn’t agree with their black-shirt politics.

    If America had regulated to stop the worst of the financial-sector excesses, you wouldn’t be in the knee-deep sh.t you’re in at the moment.

    And it has nothing to do with Obama.

    Like I say, anyone who doesn’t know that doesn’t know sh.t from clay.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Except it wouldn’t have happened had the government here not guaranteed savings, bailed out various institutions left, right and centre and launched a number of multi-billion stimulus packages aimed at getting Australians spending and keeping people in jobs.

    I’m sure the situation is the US is identical.

    Hardly. I’ll read up on what Australia has done for stimulus, but the Obama stimulus has not been directed at productive programs that help people out and create jobs and most of the money has not even been put into play yet. If there is some recovery in the near future it has nothing to do with the stimulus because for all intents and purposes the vast majority of stimulus will not hit for 2 more years.

    Dave

  • hsr0601

    The ‘innovative’ idea of a ‘pay for value / outcome’ pack came after the CBO had previously pointed out this health care reform wouldn’t work without ‘fundamental’ change in the out of date system. It is said that as much as 30 percent of all health-care spending in the U.S. -some $700 billion a year- may be wasted on tests and treatments that do not improve the health of the recipients, and this 700 billion dollars a year can cover a lot of uninsured people.

    The expected Benefits of this ‘innovative idea’ are as follows ;

    1. Meet the objective of revenue-neutral.
    Supporters of the agreement say it could save the Medicare System more than $100 billion a year and ‘improve’
    care, that means more than $1trillian over next decade, and virtually needs no other resources including tax on the
    wealthiest. Supposedly even the ‘conservative’ number of such savings might be able to meet the objective of
    revenue-neutral.

    2. Quality and affordability.
    If you are a physician, and your pay is dependant upon your patient’s outcome, you will most likely strive to
    prescribe the best medicine earlier in the process, let alone skipping the wasteful, unnecessary treatments.

    3. No intervention in decision-making.
    The innovative idea of ‘a pay for outcome’ will more likely prompt team approach and decision, as at Myo clinic.
    Under the ‘pay for outcome’ pack, for good reason, best practices as ‘recommendations’ would simply help them
    make a better decision, and the government won’t still have to meddle in the final, actual decision-making
    process as a non-expert.

    4. Speed up the introduction of IT SYSTEM.
    The pay for ‘Outcome’ pack is most likely to expedite the introduction of Health Care IT SYSTEM.
    The synergy effect of the combined Health Care IT & a pay for ‘outcome’ system may allow the clinicians to
    ‘correctly’ diagnose and effectively treat a patient earlier in the process so that it can measurably scale back the
    crushing lawsuits and deter the excuse for unnecessary cares to make fortunes.

    5. Accelerate the progress in medical science, in return, it saves more cash.

    6. Settle the regional disparity.

    7. Reduce the emergency room visits & save immense costs.
    Public health insurance plans such as Medicare and Medicaid paid for more than 40 percent of U.S. emergency
    room visits in 2006, according to government figures released recently. Many experts say reducing these hospital
    visits would be an important way to lower the enormous, and growing, expense of U.S. health care.

    I share the opinion that unlike the insurer-friendly senate plan by ‘some’ members, only a strong public option will be capable of getting the premium inflation under control and saving the U.S in turbulence.
    To my knowledge, a dual system tends to deliver better results than a pure single payer system. Supposedly, to be or not to be might be up to the innovations like a pay for value program, otherwise, the forthcoming start-ups may fill the void with competitive deals. The competition based on ‘fair’ market value would be a beauty of true capitalism, not monopoly, an objective for anti-trust.

    Thank You !

  • Bliffle

    Dan says:

    “If banks were not forced to make housing loans to unqualified people, the credit crisis would never have happened, and we would still be enjoying the 2.5% average economic growth throughout the Bush term.”

    Who ‘forced’ banks to make bad loans?

    The actual ‘average economic growth’ was mare like 1.5%, and most of that due to increased productivity.

    But that was swamped out by a 50% decrease in the value of the dollar and $4.5trillion increase in national debt.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    The attacks on the president have also turned personal, ranging from those who question his legitimacy as a citizen of the US

    That is not a personal attack at all. The faker who occupies the oval office has refused to produced a long form birth certificate (his opponent did) to demonstrate he is a natural born citizen of your country.

    Instead he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to prevent such release, and acts like a man with something to hide. Even those of us who wanted to see him elected (like me) can smell a rat.

    I you Americans accept this faker without demanding proof and being outraged at his refusal to provide it, you may as well burn your constitution and bow to any warlord who seizes power in your land.

    And this is what you will wind up doing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Ruvy,

    All I am saying – if this is an issue, it should be the issue prior to elections.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Who ‘forced’ banks to make bad loans?”

    HUD, through the CRA.

    From Wikipedia:

    “The CRA is a United States federal law designed to encourage commercial banks and savings associations to meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods”

    AND

    “To enforce the statute, federal regulatory agencies examine banking institutions for CRA compliance, and take this information into consideration when approving applications for new bank branches or for mergers or acquisitions.”

    In other words, you bank is not allowed to grow/expand/merge unless you give enough loans to low/moderate income people (who are less likely to be able to pay you back). I’m not claiming this is the sole cause of the crisis but it certainly contributed. If this is an example of how the government felt about the issue, I don’t know how more of the same bad regulations would have helped.

  • Baronius

    “Even those of us who wanted to see him elected (like me) can smell a rat.”

    Ruvy, you wanted him elected *because* you smelled a rat.

  • Baronius

    Doug, City Journal did a great article on the subject of government-enforced bad loan practices over the past century.

  • Dan

    “The more mortgages the mortgage brokers sold, the more the banks made and the more credit derivatives the shysters and fast talkers on Wall St were able to sell, which created ever more demand for more mortgages.”—STM

    The demand for mortgages was created by the lax lending standards Fannie/Freddie were mandated to by liberal Govtards. Credit derivatives are just a way for banks to manage their risk without losing all upside. People don’t have to buy them, if they don’t want. It’s a risk. If there was some sneakiness or “fast talking” going on, that wouldn’t play a part in why the assets were toxic in the first place. Which was: people did not repay loans that banks would not have made to them if it weren’t for gov’t intervention.

    “In other words, you bank is not allowed to grow/expand/merge unless you give enough loans to low/moderate income people (who are less likely to be able to pay you back).”—Doug Hunter

    Also, people like Janet Reno, Obama, and ACORN, were actively pursuing and litigating against mortgage lenders that did not make risky loans because the people they were turning down were not white. This amounts to yet more government regulation.

    This redlining hoax is one of the more transparant manipulations of liberal race hustlers that I know of. If lenders were actually racist they should love to make money from people they don’t like.

    Now, after Fannie/Freddie under writ and mandated they loan to them, with the forseeable result, the lenders are now sued for predatory lending.

    “I’m not claiming this is the sole cause of the crisis but it certainly contributed.”—Doug H.

    It was the sole cause of the ignition point of the financial crisis. Government sponsered easy money loans meant increased demand, increased demand led to artificial inflation of the housing market. And that puts inflationary pressure on commercial, condo’s, everything.

    When people stopped paying, the market deflated. It’s true that derivatives were overextended. That didn’t help. But when those who never would have gotten loans walked away from houses inflated 3 or 4 times there realistic value, the cascade was on.

    All because of government intervention in the free market.

    An interesting note on this recession: Usually, well, always, a credit crisis, or “crunch” follows a recession. Times turn bad and people who normally would repay their loans cannot.

    This time the crunch precipitated the recession. The fundamentals of the economy were fine.

  • Arch Conservative

    Now the white house is asking citizens to spy on each other and email king Barry about any acts of sedition such as asking how we would pay for universal health care.

    Barack Obama is the enemy of freedom. Anyone that can’t see this is a fucking idiot.

    Down with the king.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Now the white house is asking citizens to spy on each other and email king Barry about any acts of sedition

    Do you have a citation to back up this rather disturbing allegation, Archie?

  • Arch Conservative

    Yeah the white houses own website….[personal attack deleted]

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Common, Archie. He asked you a simple question.

  • Baronius
  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank you, Baronius.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Thanks, Baronius. I did look at the White House website and couldn’t find it – and I don’t think, going by Archie’s Big Brother-esque language, that I would’ve.

    As for Archie and his – to put it mildly – unhelpful conduct, I think it may be time he took another little vacation. I’ll consult the Oracle.

  • Baronius

    The jerk was right about the White House site, though. And a lot of people are livid. I even used my birth name (which I never use online) when I complained at flag@whitehouse.gov.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, I fail to see how a request for a heads-up on ridiculous rumours (like the one where everyone over a certain age is going to be euthanized) amounts to spying on your neighbours. It’s not like they’re asking for names and addresses.

  • Baronius

    Dread, someone somewhere is going to be hesitant about criticizing the health care proposals, out of fear of being reported. That’s fact. It doesn’t matter if I think the White House will do anything with those forwarded emails. The administration made a move that will stifle debate. Any presumption of good faith is lost. This is something bigger than the health care debate, and if the administration makes moves like this they’re going to be facing a backlash that even Nalle can’t imagine.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Come now, Baronius. You really think that this stacks up against some of the Bush administration programs – warrantless wiretapping, for instance, or the quietly-buried Operation TIPS?

  • Baronius

    Dread, if you see someone doing something suspicious, it’s your duty to report it. If someone calls overseas phone #s on a watch list, it makes sense for the government to listen in. If someone’s email gets forwarded to the White House because he thought something that the administration doesn’t approve of, that’s a violation of our national principles.

  • Clavos

    Come now, Baronius. You really think that this stacks up against some of the Bush administration programs – warrantless wiretapping, for instance, or the quietly-buried Operation TIPS?

    Biggere. Because more ominous in terms of its potential for even further divisiveness.

    Ratting on each other about rumors isn’t such a big deal, but it does establish a precedent and a sense of it’s being OK.

    Once we’re all used to it, what will they ask for reports on next?

    At the very least, it’s beneath the dignity of the Office, but come to think of it, the dignity of the Office has never seemed to be of much concern to BHO.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Right. Think of Nazi Germany when citizens regarded it their duty to report all non-conformists to the authorities.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Ratting – or dobbing-in, as we call it – is regarded as just about the most un-Australian thing you can do.

    However, there’s one area where it wouldn’t bother me: I wouldn’t think twice about dobbing to the feds on some lunatic I thought might want to blow the sh.t out of me or my countrymen.

    The Poms used the same tactic way back to stop the IRA in the UK, and it worked up to a point: encouraging people who think they’ve seen something suspicious to let someone know.

    If it turns out you were wrong, too bad. All’s well that ends well.

    And if you were right, you just stopped a London tube station getting bombed to kingdom come and 200 people got to go home to their own beds that night.

    There’s worth in citizens keeping their eyes and ears open.

    Of course, the UK is full of nosey-parkers so there were a lot of false alarms, but it still was -and is – a worthwhile exercise.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Also, how come Archie doesn’t like Mr Obama?

    What’s he ever done to Arch?

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Doug, while there’s no doubt some loans were made to fulfil ridiculous PC obligations, that’s a small part of the story and certainly not the whole of the story. I think you need to do more reading on credit derivates, tranches and sub-prime.

    Sub-prime and falling house prices was the spark, toxic debt was the cause. But the onus is on Wall St, not Washington.

    In the years leading up to the crisis, most sub-prime loans were made through brokers desperate to meet the demand from Wall Street investors who wanted to package them up with AAA rated debts as nice little bizarre parcels of investment.

    Then there were the Credit Default Swaps, which are basically investments that were almost a bet predicated on whather a third party would welsh on their debt obligations.

    Clever idea that one and dreamt up by the smartest guys in the room.

    To meet the demand for CDOs, mortgage brokers and banks had to keep lowering their lending criteria. If you can put your Coke-bottle anti-liberal spectacles to one side for a moment, the whole thing’s pretty well documented for those who might seek to look for the truth without any political agenda.

    A lot of Wall St employees who sold them have admitted they had no idea how they could work. It was, truly, like a giant corporate ponzi scheme.

    Prudential regulation, BTW, which is what I was talking about and which the US now needs, does not mean regulation that urges lenders to give money to people who can’t pay it back. It kind of means the opposite. It’s about everyone in the finance/banking being responsible at every level. It also stops the shysters.

    Those benefiting would include the US government, which is currently many trillions in debt to China, Japan and the oil-producing nations.

    Do Americans understand how much US debt is owned by China?? Which is why China always gets its way.

    The only way out of that is the imposition of higher US taxes. There’s no other way. However, the US might start thinking about doing what it’s good at: making and selling stuff, and letting the dollar fall to realistic levels that encourage exports and create a competitive environment for US goods, which can be marketed at slightly higher prices because of their quality.

    Like the old Levi’s ad says: “Quality never goes out of style”.

    That should start filling the coffers. Free-trade agreements are already in place to benefit the US around the world and the US should be looking to take advantage of them. It’s the ideal time.

    Start selling stuff other than scrap metal for Chinese and Japanese foundries.

    Anyway, back to the debt: So every good debt parceled up in a package that was exposed to debt that couldn’t be repaid became toxic too.

    Which is really where the problem lies.

    Don’t let the corporate shysters run America. They’ve taken you down the gurgler.

    Corporations have their place, but putting them in de facto charge and letting them do whatever they want is a mistake.

    That way you are no better than an oligarchy and a faux democracy (in the modern sense, not the ancient Greek).

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “The administration made a move that will stifle debate.”

    Read more like it made a move to stifle bullshit, but, if lies and paranoia work for you, enjoy.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So the White House is asking people to forward emails that muddle the health care discussion to a certain web address and that’s “spying” and worse than wire-tapping?

    How so? It seems to me that the White House and the Obama Administration is actually utilizing modern technology properly to see where these things come from and how so much misinformation spreads. Why is this considered a danger by anyone? How is this “spying?” This is about misinformation on the web, not about tapping someone’s phone and following them in a black car.

  • http://euchay.blogspot.com Charles Euchay

    It’s a pity that some of us here are more interested in hurling insults at the new President instead of posting comments that encourage serious discoourse. It’s beginning to sound like a verbal bar room brawl. We need to talk about healthcare plans that cover every American, how to curb corporate greed and avarice, an end to the outsourcing of jobs to foreign lands and how to bridge the wide split in race relations in America.

  • Cannonshop

    #45 No, Jordan, it’s Exactly as Bad, the “Wiretapping” occurred on international calls-and the loose standards for warrants were already disgustingly loose before hand (Omnibus Crime Bill of ’88 allows some pretty shady warrants in drug cases).

    Notably, nobody in Congress is willing to put forth a bill to limit the Wiretapping-not even the Liberals.

    THIS is something worse-see, there’s a fixed limit on the number of FBI/NSA/DHS operatives who can run a Wire-Tap, Wire-Tapping requires specialized training, security clearances, and if political winds change, can result in firing or jail time.

    Ratting out your neighbours for seditious speech doesn’t. When government encourages this, it is, in effect, trying to shut those people up, or identify them for harassment later. You remember HUAC? Yeah, just like that.

  • Arch Conservative

    What we need to talk about Charles is how everything Obama has done so far has been an effort to give the federal government more control over people’s lives and take more money from us.

  • http://euchay.blogspot.com Charles Euchay

    Arch, yes we can talk about that even though I disagree with you on that. I think this President, like every other President before him, is not going to please everyone with his decisions. But no one can rightly accuse him of lack of empathy for the concerns of ordinary Americans. The last Administration under Bush did far more to control people’s lives and to squander our tax payer money. Remember the Patriot Act, the Iraq war and the boon that provided the contractors, most of whom were cronies of Bush and Cheney. The gross acts of malfeasance in the Bush/Cheney White House are just now being uncovered in addition to what we already knew. Think about that. The final cost of the Iraq invasion and occupation, in terms of dollars and human toll, will pale in comparison to what you and your ilk are pillorying Obama for over his attempt to provide affordable healthcare for you and me.

  • Clavos

    Remember the Patriot Act…

    How could we forget? Obama has kept it.

    It’s not going to go away, either, it gives the government, as Arch said, more control over the people, which is what those who work in the government (including this and every president) hunger for most.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    All I am saying – if this is an issue, it should be the issue prior to elections.

    No,Roger. Every day this phoney “citizen” stays in office in one more day you are being deprived of “legitimate constitutional government”, and are being defrauded by a liar and a faker. That this doesn’t bother you tells me you do not deserve the little liberty you still have, and if it brings about a dictatorship in your country (which I think it will), you will richly deserve it..

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The issue resurfaced prior to the election. It should have been raised then if it was deemed important enough.

  • Bliffle

    STM, #43 is right.

    None of the fiscal hawks here at BC seemed to notice or care that Bush increased the National Debt by $4.5trillion. Gee, you’d think someone would have noticed.

    I suppose that about $2trillion is for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, about $0.5Trillion for tax gifts to the rich, but what was the rest for? Did GWB take a cash advance on the national credit card just for pocket money?

    Not one of our Fiscal responsibility neo-Republicans here on BC seems to care. BUt, boy, are they livid about a health insurance plan that may cost $1trillion. Of course a healthcare plan would only help the millions of US citizens and wouldn’t have the regal cachet that goes with expensive pointless foreign wars.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    It should have been raised then if it was deemed important enough.

    Roger this issue was raised long before the election and everyone tried to quash it and ignore it. Just like Watergate was in 1972. Like Watergate, this is going to grow and grow. But, as I said, Nixon rose to prove himself a giant of a man – he resigned rather than be thrown out of office by the Senate.

    Obama already showed his stripes in Honduras, and would consider any effort to impeach him rebellion – and quash it as such.

    For my sake, I hope this issue does not toss out Obama too early (for my purposes), and that he does not bend, but continues to pour more and more of his money (and his attention) into defending his legitimacy. His judgment will be impaired over time (as was Nixon’s) and eventually, he will break. When Nixon broke, he became a depressive addicted to a bottle. I’m hoping that Obama will react differently.

    But now I’m way out in speculative territory….

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    #50 What Clav said.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Thanks, Baronius. I did look at the White House website and couldn’t find it – and I don’t think, going by Archie’s Big Brother-esque language, that I would’ve.

    I believe that the white house request for people to contact them and inform them of people voicing dissenting opinions was taken offline sometime yesterday, but it did exist. There’s been plenty of news coverage of it.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Jordan – STM is right. Surveillance over security concerns is completely different than surveillance over policy disagreements.

    Dave – I just clicked on the link, and the site is still up. That means your comment #56 is false information. I may have to report you.

    Charles – I don’t believe in hurling insults either. So please justify your implication of racism among the president’s critics or withdraw the statement.

  • zingzing

    you guys are fucking ridiculous. i’m reporting you to the guvment for this. and you know what will happen? nuthin. and you ain’t even scared that anything will happen. and the white house won’t give a shit. and i ain’t even gonna send the fuckin’ email, because it’s not worth the trouble.

    but i will tap your phone. and abduct your wife. and pet your cat.

  • Clavos

    …pet your cat.

    Just try it — she’ll rip you from asshole to appetite.

    I raised her.

  • Baronius

    Zing, I ain’t afeared that nuthin’ll happen neither. But some people will be. Governments have investigated political enemies before. Our government has. I’d love to write off the WH web page as tactless misphrasing, but this is the WHITE HOUSE WEB PAGE we’re talking about! I can’t make a good faith assumption on this one.

    Up until now, I’ve considered Obama to be a dope: our legitimately-elected dope, worthy of every respect. I would have disagreed with Clavos’ comment about Obama disrespecting the office. This web page shook me.

  • doug

    Isn’t ruvy the guy who says stay out of israel’s affairs, yet can’t keep his mouth shut about america? Let me guess, you don’t believe the moon landing either?

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Just try it — she’ll rip you from asshole to appetite. I raised her.”

    i’m sure. it’s a euphemism, clavos. and if you can train a cat, i’m impressed. that you raised a mean one doesn’t speak to your character very well, however.

    baronius: “But some people will be.”

    yeah, but like the birthers, etc, they’re paranoid already.

    “This web page shook me.”

    well, that’s just dumb. they just want to be in touch with what the people are saying about it. they aren’t going to come knocking on your door. and you know that, so stop acting like a fool.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stan, Baronius:

    There’s nothing wrong with reporting suspicious activity to the police or the Feds and never was. That’s just good citizenship.

    But the Bush White House cynically used the overinflated threat of terrorism to get people twitching at every little thing. It led to ridiculous incidents like the kid in Arizona (IIRC) who got a visit from the sheriff’s department because his Mom bought him Microsoft Flight Simulator.

    Again, the White House is not asking for names and addresses. Just a bit of help so that it knows which bits of nonsense to counter.

    Oh, and zing, Clav is just bullshitting. The cat owns him. I reckon she’s got him quite well trained! ;-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    We’re not talking about terrorism, Dreadful, but political opposition. It promotes the atmosphere of suspicion – the idea of ratting on people. The White House should have sufficient resources to ascertain foul play without soliciting citizens’ help. It’s the kind of polarization we don’t want.

  • zingzing

    yeah, that’s how the tyrants take over… by BLOG POST. we must be ever vigilant. rss the whitehouse blog now! i didn’t even know they had one, and now it’s being used to enslave me!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Roger,

    Scenario: Dude receives a chain e-mail claiming that under Obamacare, all Americans will be legally required to buy pet insurance even if they don’t have pets. He forwards the e-mail to the White House.

    Who is being ratted on?

  • zingzing

    the most likely scenario is that, if i were to receive such an email, i go over to that mother fucker’s house and shit on his lawn, because if you fuckin foward me one more god damn chain email, i’ll fuckin do much worse, you little fucking worm.

    then i’d email obama and tell him what i’d done and he’d congratulate me, and we’d have a beer and talk about you.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Isn’t ruvy the guy who says stay out of israel’s affairs, yet can’t keep his mouth shut about america?

    I’m an American citizen, Doug. I lived in the States for almost 50 years. While there are plenty of threads about America that I stay out of, simply because I do not know enough to comment intelligently anymore, I’ve been an activist in American politics for many years. I know both sides of many issues that get discussed here and know them well.

    By contrast, most of you could not tell Jaffa from Jiffy, or Bethlehem Pennsylvania from Bethlehem Israel. Most of you haven’t a clue about Israel.

    Roger lived here for two years and has some understanding of what I talk about, even though the country he knew and left doesn’t exist anymore. Dave Nalle, grew up in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and also has an understanding of what I’m talking about. You’ll find that in practical terms, he agrees with what much of what I suggest for solutions here – while firmly being on what he views to be the Arab side.

  • zingzing

    “You’ll find that in practical terms, [dave nalle] agrees with what much of what I suggest for solutions here – while firmly being on what he views to be the Arab side.”

    like nuking a few cities here and there? i don’t think he’s agreed with that.

    and i think your last phrase should be “firmly being on what [i] view to be the arab side,” which, to you, is nearly everyone.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Still, Dreadful. The very fact that the White House would solicit information is disturbing enough. Aren’t they confident enough they’re doing the right thing?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Besides, you can’t keep tab on all the nuts. First, they’re too many of them. And second, why would you bother if they’re harmless?

  • zingzing

    “The very fact that the White House would solicit information is disturbing enough.”

    what a strange statement.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Take it in context, zing.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “if it brings about a dictatorship in your country (which I think it will), you will richly deserve it..”

    ha. you’re a nut. birther, paranoid about a dictatorship, wanting to throw nukes around the planet, hoping for the apocalypse, blathering about torah codes…

    i really don’t know how you survive in that mind of yours. i’d be stark raving mad by this point. which, i guess, you are a bit. but you’re holding it pretty well together for someone so whacked out.

  • zingzing

    you take it in context as well, roger.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was referring to Dreadful’s scenario, nothing else.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    ha. you’re a nut. birther, paranoid about a dictatorship, wanting to throw nukes around the planet, hoping for the apocalypse, blathering about torah codes…

    i really don’t know how you survive in that mind of yours. i’d be stark raving mad by this point. which, i guess, you are a bit. but you’re holding it pretty well together for someone so whacked out.

    So, in other words, you can neither reason nor think, zing, but you are good at slinging names. Slinging names gets you nothing and gets you nowhere with people who actually do think, zing.

    I’d sling names too, but I might get a tad nasty – and cut you below the belt….

    I really would rather not, though. It leads to bad habits, and gets me upset, leads me to forget my promises to not lose my temper on sites like this and brings all sorts of other problems that I do not need.

  • zingzing

    i already am cut below the belt. i don’t remember it.

    i THINK you’re crazy and i have my REASONS, so obviously i can do those things at some level. i also believe that your beliefs are dangerous, especially to yourself. so maybe it’s because i care. meh. it was a good-natured jibe, as all i was really doing is marveling at your ability to hold down a job and keep a family with all that stuff going on up there.

    and you’re pretty good at throwing names around too, so don’t get all up on your high horse.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    here’s why clav’s cat is so mad.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You, too, Cindy – is everything OK?

  • Clavos

    TC #79,

    That’s hilarious!! I loved it!!

    Where did you get the dresser pic? I don’t remember posting it?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    i THINK you’re crazy and i have my REASONS….

    More name-calling: again with no reasons given. You display your huge intellectual capacity more and more, zing…. A twelve year old kid can reason better.

    Tempted as I am to comment further, I won’t…

  • Arch Conservative

    “i THINK you’re crazy and i have my REASONS….”

    Rahm Emmanuelle whispered in his ear and told him you were Ruvy.

    Honestly there are no words that can accurately convey the joy I feel in seeing Barry exposed for what he truly is, and that it’s coming so soon. That’s just the icing on the cake.

    Democrats in Congress are committing trillions of taxpayer dollars to a government takeover of healthcare and they’re getting upset because peopel are being mean to them by shouting at them? Give me a break!

    It looks like………..

    OBAMA’S CHICKENS………….HAVE COME HOME TO ROOST!

  • Clavos

    BTW, Cindy,

    Every single one of those papers on that table in the cat pic is a medical bill or statement.

    Every. Single. One.

  • zingzing

    “More name-calling: again with no reasons given. You display your huge intellectual capacity more and more, zing…. A twelve year old kid can reason better.”

    hypocrite much?

    i gave you my reasons above, if you care to read them again. i think they’re fairly easy to see. we disagree on so many things, and i can’t imagine why you think the way you do. well, i can, but if i found myself with your thoughts, i don’t know if i’d like myself all that much. what’s so difficult about that? where’s your “huge intellectual capacity” now?

  • Lumpy

    I have to correct somethingSTM said earlier. It is not true that all western nations have responded to the economic crisis with stimulus spending. Sweden stands out as having not taken that route and the result was not disaster.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A commentary on Ruvy’s “nuke Tehran” policy,
    by Ted Sorensen.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Dan writes:

    “One fundamental character of the Country was a successful free market capitalist system. Diversity has not been a strength, and the free market capitalist source of Americas wealth is being scrapped because of the changing voter demographic that helped elect Obama.”

    Could you please point out to me WHEN America was a “free market capitalist system?” Please use times and dates.

    –Cobra