about foxes and henhouses....

34 posts / 0 new

Robert Reich said this week, "The only way to make sure no bank it "too big to fail' is to make sure no bank is too big. If our current leaders fail to do this, you have every reason to believe it's because Wall Street has paid them not to." Meanwhile, the largest recipients of campaign contributions from banks and financial services companies - Barney Frank and Chris Dodd - are responsible for legislation that looks like it'll be relatively toothless, and will place oversight of the banking system with the Fed, an institution that has never, since its creation in 1913, been audited and which, when asked by Congress to tell them who it was giving money to last year, flatly refused to answer. There's a story in here somewhere about foxes and henhouses. And a Great Recession that could flip into a Great Depression if Dodd and Frank fail to follow Robert Reich's wise advice.

Thom's picture
Thom
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

"Business is business, and business must grow."

I think that's where the Big Bang Theory got its start.

....Kate's picture
....Kate
Joined:
Mar. 31, 2010 2:30 pm

"regardless of crummies in tummies you know"

link

....Kate's picture
....Kate
Joined:
Mar. 31, 2010 2:30 pm

Seriously, though, what is the cause for a systemic breakdown? Or, why does the government authorize big dollar bailouts?

....Kate's picture
....Kate
Joined:
Mar. 31, 2010 2:30 pm

Because the government is in the business of staying in business instead of letting it all crash in the hopes it will still be here to start again, the banks get bailed out.

Seriously, I like your Big Bang reference because it is clear we cannot just keep doing this and have things work out well. But it is also clear to some of us that even "fixed" it is not well. "Growth" in a finite world is more like cancer than a metaphor for a healthy economic system. The accounting is also ignorant of time and finitude.

What is the cause? Human sin. Always. But is it the lust for power or the fear of not having enough this time? I think it might be better to blame the false god of the economy for our enslavement to a path of desperation leading to extinction. Why do we want to serve this "economic realism" or the lusts of empire?

In the meantime, unless we are ready change pardigms, politicians and leaders of commerce will use bailing wire and duct tape if it gets to that to keep things from falling apart, until the fall apart.

What makes you ready to change?

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What kind of meglomaniacs build big businesses anyway? Maniacs is what they are as they demonstrate they can't manage a big business. Corporations indeed should be limited in size. Banks are definitely an example of meglomaniacs on their power trip. And how about cable companies. Do we really need Comcat having a cable monopoly in many areas. The Roberts family is just another group of meglomaniacs as are the Walton family. And the conservatrons want to grow up to be like them.

captbebops's picture
captbebops
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This stinks. Is this Dodd's parting gift? I trust Frank more than this. Greed is overwhelming us.

What if, once a person made 50 million, they had to pass on their business and retire?

Arrgy's picture
Arrgy
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This why I listen to you Thom. You have no problem calling out two big time Democrats and pointing the guilty finger at them. It's abosolutely amazing that during this financial disaster we are living through our Washington politicians STILL won't get tough on the guilty parties.

We all need to realize that "the man" is "the man" whether there is a "D" or an"R" after their name. Big time politicians bow to the whims of the highest bidder, and none of them will learn until we start voting them out of office.

Join me and vote on issues not on politics.

stereosteve's picture
stereosteve
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote ....Kate:

Seriously, though, what is the cause for a systemic breakdown? Or, why does the government authorize big dollar bailouts?

The bankers, Wall St. and industrialists have run our govt since the inception of the Fed in 1913 as Thom pointed out above. The bankers called for deregulaion in 1999 and got it, then they proceeded to gamble with money not their own. When you can gamble with money that you don't have and can risk it all because you know you don't have to pay it back, then that is a certain recipe for disaster. The question, I humbly submit, should be, why do the people allow big business to own and operate our govt for their own benefit?

Choco's picture
Choco
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

[quote=Thom]

Robert Reich said this week, "The only way to make sure no bank it "too big to fail' is to make sure no bank is too big. If our current leaders fail to do this, you have every reason to believe it's because Wall Street has paid them not to." Meanwhile, the largest recipients of campaign contributions from banks and financial services companies - Barney Frank and Chris Dodd - are responsible for legislation that looks like it'll be relatively toothless, and will place oversight of the banking system with the Fed, an institution that has never, since its creation in 1913, been audited and which, when asked by Congress to tell them who it was giving money to last year, flatly refused to answer. There's a story in here somewhere about foxes and henhouses. And a Great Recession that could flip into a Great Depression if Dodd and Frank fail to follow Robert Reich's wise advice.

What I find so disappointing in comments such as "its too big to fail" is that those who are supposed to be in charge form the largest special insterest group in America; "We The People."

American will never have a transformative change in this country brought about by people. Transformative change will only come from an exogenous source such an the failure to produce basic life giving commodities; food, water, shelter, oil, civil order.

Obama was not and is not change. He is a hope monger. He is a poltician. He is like all other politicians, and all politicians form the second largest special interest group; their own, it about power and money, period.

The newest drug on the political market is "hope" and this is what is being sold by this administration. It is a cruel irony that such a scam has so many entralled by "what could be" and the fact administration continues the same practices as the previous dolt.

So "we the people" the sit on our hands and wait for manna(hope) to fall from heaven whlie people like Robert Reich spout obvious platitudes.

It's dishearting in America today.

GAR's picture
GAR
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

If a business is too big to fail -- then it's too big to exist.

Not just banks, but all businesses. The right amount of regulation is necessary to cap size. Without that, taxpayers occasionally pay some enormous bills.

The hypocrisy is incredible: the pro-business ideology preaches self-reliance, while they are the least self-reliant members of society.

Tony Sorelle
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I sort of see Obama as a band aid placed on a festering sore. It's still oozing puss.

Retired Monk

"Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It's The Big Bank'Theory and I'm stil tryng to figure out how to light a fire under Barney and as for Dodd? He's feathering his nest for his departure from The Senate. That's his angle.

JCastron's picture
JCastron
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It's the old proverb BS walks and money talks. Until they take the money out of our political system. Money not Americans will determine their future.

uncbros's picture
uncbros
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote GAR:

[quote=Thom]

Meanwhile, the largest recipients of campaign contributions from banks and financial services companies - Barney Frank and Chris Dodd - are responsible for legislation that looks like it'll be relatively toothless, and will place oversight of the banking system with the Fed, an institution that has never, since its creation in 1913, been audited and which, when asked by Congress to tell them who it was giving money to last year, flatly refused to answer. There's a story in here somewhere about foxes and henhouses.

I agree.

slabmaster
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 11:12 am

Let's see if DeFazio can get his transaction tax into the bill. That would deal with a lot of the speculation.

I agree that the bills coming out of the committees are weak. What will Congress do?

In the present Money Cannon electoral mess, we, the public, will have to show that the ads don't work anymore. To get to that place, we will need to have our own narrative grounded to deflect and interpret the propaganda with hermeneutical skill. The Russians learned how to interpret Pravda and Tass. When people begin to "read' FAUX to see what they are selling instead of buying it like eager puppies, we will be able to stand up to the power of the propagandists.

It ought not be impossible to convince people who have been sold a load of fear that the people doing this to them are to be feared. Discovery of deception usually leads to a pretty strong reaction against the deceivers. Being used and betrayed hurts. This is what they are trying to do about hope and change with Obama. Even if Obama fails to fix the problem, who caused it? You can be disappointed in small change and still blame the people who screwed you in the first place.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
What if, once a person made 50 million, they had to pass on their business and retire?
The personal income of executives is not the issue. Businesses should not be earning excessive profits. The Dodd/Frank bill is a paper tiger.

Why have we heard not a single peep from our Government about enforcement of anti-trust laws?

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The central premise of econimics has always been to just 'grow the pie'. The problem with this is that nothing in the known universe exhibits sustained growth, nothing. The pie may continue to grow, but the pan remains the same. Maybe this is why the Noble prize for economics is awarded on a different day and in a different building from all other prizes.

SKI's picture
SKI
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Amen to the transaction tax!

SKI's picture
SKI
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story' is out on DVD. I'm one of over thirty people who reserved 'Capitalism: A Love Story' at my public library. I hope this is a good barometer for the very grassroots efforts (like that "collective conscious" that supported Barack Obama to the Presidency) to start "putting teeth" into fianacial/economic reforms.

Hartmann mentions past examples e.g., the Glass/Steagall Act, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Anyways, 'Capitalism: A Love Story' is worth seing again...for the first time!

Semantic Monitor's picture
Semantic Monitor
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

'Can' is trademarked, Tony Robbins(TM), it's just the secret of success

http://web.archive.org/web/20021203130105/http:/www.lynxfeather.net/nest...

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Naw, it's Tony's high cheekbones that make his smile so selling. Pump up the enthusiasm and we'll buy anything.

In the "branding" department, Obama has played the game better than the cons. Now the question is can the brand stand being in power instead of the rhetorical alternative and public Rorshock sp. ink blot for our interpretation. We all see Obama as our own "hope and change," and when he does not do what "we" expected, we question it. There is strength and weakness in playing the brand game.

The strength is that it allows "the message" to be fuzzy and inspirational rather than specific and wonky. I think the rope a dope is about letting the GOP brand itself with the Palin fringe while Mr. Cool looks very presidential while he deals with world leaders. The Tea Party crowd draws its GOP base and may go or stay depending. Meanwhile, sorry friends, we really don't have anywhere to go electorally. Damn it, but it is true.

Issue advocates need to appreciate the game being played so we can advocate effectively. It does us little good to undermine the Obama brand if it only leaves disappointment and the rabid Right. Developing a Progressive Brand in the hopes of a friendly take-over down the line or a way to get the Anti-Wall St./Bankster Populism focused where it belongs.

Maybe we are moving to cane sugar soda and off high fructose coke, and it is not much more than switching brands to less toxic. Too much sugar is still like coke, the real thing. A truly healthy alternative brand of fruit juice or even the healthy alternative, beer, could be a metaphor for how to think of packaging a Progressive Agenda in a brand.

Moore is very good at telling these stories in this mode. A love story, indeed. Not always a bed of roses.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Perhaps if McCain had been elected, progressives would have come together to protest against the rising inequality we all face from the rule of the plutocracy/corporatocracy, rather than being split in bowing allegiance to the face of change that isn't.

Pres. Obama was never my beacon of "hope and change," although I did make an error in my calculation that change would be easier to effect with him as president. I was wrong.

norske's picture
norske
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Both parties adhere to neo-liberalism....they just have a differing means of implementing it.

Trickle down : Bail the financiers, banksters and derivatives players....the obscenely wealthy... and wealth will trickle down. Bailing Main Street is irrelevant to that.

The productive economy is irrelevant. Outsource productivity to other nations to increase profits...and the corporate profitability will trickle down to the unemployed. and create new, higher paying jobs. Nonsense.

As long as both parties cling to that, there can be no substantial change. Note Obama's economic advisors are all out of the Chicago School of Economics...neo-liberalists.....same as Bush's. He even re-appointed Bush's Head of the Fed...Bernanke...the maestro of the meltdown.

Not all economists are fools. Obama could have tapped the talents of Nobel Laureate Stiglitz, or world class economist Hudson. However, neither are neo-liberal twits.

"Hope and change"? Bad joke. Both parties cling to the same ideological core. Diffrences are in the means of implementation. Neither party gets that it doesn't work for the majority of the population...or maybe they do. That would be the tragedy in all of this..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Hey guys, Obama is still the better poison. We can hold more than one idea in our minds at once. Nader is correct about the duopoly and the cash to play campaign finance bribery. He just has no political plan to get there.

And who else has put together any political movement with strategy instead of "conscientious principle" as its organizing base? Some Greens have done some things locally. I am not condemning those who are trying to work at the problem, but the problem may be that tough, so we need to think about how to use Obama while going for the bigger agenda and target.

The idea that we are better off in opposition to another Bush/Cheney than disappointed in not enough from Obama does not compute with me. I don't think the organizing potential is better either. The Right is not exactly healthy even if the Dems have their afflictions. They will destroy in office and only deny and delay where they are.

My point is only to make the organizing about the big story of the Corporate Dominance and its structural issues and not how bad or just like the Dems Obama is. You don't have to believe that he will bring us anything, so it is not about how wonderful he is. But it is good to avoid that debate while we focus on the structural evils.

This is not about relying on the Democrats to bring change. Attacking the Obama brand does not build your own. If Tea is not the answer to the Coke/Pepsi duopoly, what do we offer the thirsty public?

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Nobody's going to have a coherent political plan, DRC. The system is self correcting. It's like a giant piece of malevolent software with self correcting redundencies built in at various levels. Correction from the top involves a dictator. Correction from the bottom (Nader's original position as a consumer advocate) has all these self correcting redundencies to deal with, and before the proposed change accomplishes anything the system is back up and running.

The system essentially neutered Nader when he became too big a thorn in its side. Then he went after political office to try to deal with it. He found himself locked out. Then, utterly frustrated he wrote a fantasy novel about rich, well intentioned people taking charge. I don't know if he was serious or if it was some sort of self parody of his ultimate failure to change the system.

How the Corporations Broke Ralph Nader and America, Too

By Chris Hedges

Ralph Nader’s descent from being one of the most respected and powerful men in the country to being a pariah illustrates the totality of the corporate coup.
.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Nader is being ignored - he's far from broken. He, like Thom and a few others, are toeing a line they dare not cross. Nobody with any kind of influence wants to admit that the economic system is as bad as the political system, which is as bad as the justice system, which all no longer serve the interests of the country or the people residing therein.

With the help of seemingly insane republicans, the democrats appear to be reasonable adults, but that's the ruse, you see, for Obama is not doing anything that McCain would not be doing had he gotten the nod. In fact, in too many cases Obama has trumped what Bush had put into motion.

Why doesn't everybody here already know there is no longer a mechanism available to us to influence government. All the rationalizations in the world will not stop the continuing slide into an American 21st Century form of fascism - although life in 'merica is already fascista. Even Howard Zinn has mostly resigned himself to our living in a form of police state - so what's left to fear?

There is absolutely no accountability among politicians and their friends for even the most egregious violations of law. What passes as the US government is determined to rule the world - and there isn't a damned thing anybody can do about it.

So, why not stop pretending Obama is "playing chess - not checkers". If the cavalry arrives, it will be used against us. Call out these bastards by name. Cite the facts and not meaningless hope. There is very little left to lose.

Dusty's picture
Dusty
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kate:Seriously, though, what is the cause for a systemic breakdown?
I think it's "too much, too fast". America is in the midst of an Icarus moment, and it all started with Ronald Reagan. Basically, All of the structural elements that kept the upper 10% from having too much of the country's wealth were stripped away. The wealthy quickly acquired much more money than they could spend in the marketplace, and it all got tied up in the stock market, which grew too much, too fast to maintain. Big moves in one direction are inevitably followed by big movements in the opposite direction. That's where we are now.

I really do believe that it's just that simple.

Art's picture
Art
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Art, I think your Icarus Moment is an apt image. Ideological hubris is a bad drug, part of Ren's systemic self-correction. If power did not corrupt, tyranny would be the natural form of human government and philosopher-kings would abound.

We are creatures easily tempted by magic when reality appears daunting or the system's toxic elements get in the way of the appetites of the powerful. It is not always true of those whose lives are empty of meaning in the daily grind at the bottom where economic misery is assuaged by belonging to the big myth of power and destiny. It is equally true for those who see their positions of power as a mandate to "save the world" or run it like a business.

Greedspan is one example of imperial hubris and economic magic thinking. He belongs to a chorus in DC.

I am of the Homer Simpson school of political realism. Homer tries every nutbrain scheme he can imagine to become a hero to his family. They all go awry, and at some point Homer must face desperation and do the right thing that restores him to his family, apologize and seek their grace.

Add that to the famous Churchillian premise that democracy is the worst of all possible political systems, except for all the others. This is about the failure of tyranny and all the magic plans to avoid having to govern ourselves with all the ordinary messiness that means. It is cold water on big dreams of glory. It is a reminder that if we do not govern ourselves and thereby insure our freedom, others will rule over us.

This is why the Icarus image is great. It points us to the over-reach at the top where power and hubris go toxic. That ought to provide some compassion for those whose dreams of glory are compared to real misery instead of too much power and glory to handle and keep one's soul.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kate - Seriously, though, what is the cause for a systemic breakdown?

Excellent question. The obvious answer is that it is not a breakdown at all, it is the way the rulers intend it to be. For the rank and file the perception is that the system is broken because it is no longer representative - unless, of course, you are a member of that elite class.

All the confounding things we observe, that make no sense and cannot be explained in the context of what we have been taught about our government leaves us in a wilderness of uncertainty. Perhaps a psychological self defense mechanism is to rationalize the absurd into some sort of grand scheme that is so complex we cannot figure it out, but then, that is the kind of wilderness the Founders cautioned us to be wary about.

Oddly, the nation as a whole is liberal minded - socially and politically. Economically we are more conservative. Unfortunately, our centralized and detatched government is conservative to the point of fascistic. As absurd as it sounds that is precisely why so much does not compute.

What has evolved is a centralized government so powerful it has stripped individuals of privacy rights, right to own property or even an expectation of justice. Who would pervert American Constitutional law to the point of quietly suspending that constitution? Who would want to? And to what end?

Dusty's picture
Dusty
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"The obvious answer is that it is not a breakdown at all, it is the way the rulers intend it to be." Dusty

Bingo

norske's picture
norske
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote norske:

"The obvious answer is that it is not a breakdown at all, it is the way the rulers intend it to be." Dusty

Bingo

Dusty hit the nail on the head. The "breakdown", to some, was the middle class flexing its muscle. Uncle Ronnie fixed that. What we have now is an intentional opposition to that. For the majority, its a breakdown, for a few its merely a correction.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't think I have ever confused the reign of the elites with their idea of a social breakdown.

They justify it and claim that it is the natural order. The power of their memes is that it sells as reality what is only their creation. We are powerless to change a hostile system, so they offer a way to swim to the shore if you can make it, and as the story reveals, it is a crock compared to reality.

The Empire is filled with strutting and posing to show how powerful it is. Its awesome violence tells us who is the boss. Do we really want to be out of favor with the Divine Leader or with "the System" if we have a less obvious form of national cult life? It will cost a lot not to be on the team.

For "the principalities and powers of this world," this is the "natural order." But it is not in the real world. It cannot sustain. It does not keep good books or respect fundamental realities, so hubris will take it where hubris always does. They will seek course corrections, but only as they continue toward the falls. At some point, we will recognize the disaster and who is piloting us in the wrong direction. Until then, the authorities of empire will indeed proclaim that all the economic indicators are healthy and the rumors of waterfalls purely fantasy from the paranoid.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

DRC - We all see Obama as our own "hope and change,"

Oh, fer crissakes! Stop it. I read your posts because you do have legitimate ideas, but this is complete bull shit.

Please identify, if you can, those issues Obama has given you that would cause you to make such a ludicrous statement? I would bore you with a long list, but then I wouldn't be looking at the man as the second coming.

On second thought:
What did Obama do to garner your support on the so-called "Health Care Bill" (sic)?
Is Obama's escalation of military violence in Afghanistan the nexus of your support?
Do you get all goose bumpy over continuing renditions?
How about Obama's continued government secrecy?
Maybe you like Obama's campaign to justify attacking Iran? You're in favor?
Maybe Obama abandoning the plight of citizens because of Wall Street crimes warms your heart?
Obama's determination to stay in Afghanistan and Iraq must garner your support - yes?
Maybe you're shocked and awed by his stellar support for Wall Street and big banks?
Giving financial aid to Israel, Egypt and Columbia indicates some kind of progress?
I know, you admire him because he refuses to investigate or prosecute political crimes?
Could it be his lackadaisical approach to restoring the Bill of Rights?

The man is a bloody stooge of somebody because he sure as hell is not the guy who ran for office. Now don't you feel even a little betrayed?

Dusty's picture
Dusty
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Currently Chatting

The GOP war on workers has killed again...

It’s time to stop the conservative's war on working people in America.

Since the birth of our nation, conservatives have always been wary of average working-class Americans having too much political or economic power. John Adams, the second President of the United States and a Federalist (precursor to today’s Republicans), was very wary of the working class, which he referred to as “the rabble.”

Powered by Pressflow, an open source content management system