Velvet Fascism under Obama

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Sometimes it would seem that the more things change, the more they stay the same,

Obama got the American People many things under Health Care Reform, some arguably good, some arguably bad, but more than anything he got all of us the obligatory right to pay for health insurance no matter what the cost. A portion of the proceeds will go to the actual providers of the medical services themselves. <*yawn*>

Now we have Financial “Reform”. Too-big-to-fail wasn’t addressed. Technical solutions will be “dealt with” by wall street and we continue on really no better off than what we were, waiting for the next big meltdown. <*yawn*>

Then there is Elena Kagen. Not qualified – period. She wouldn’t be put on the Supreme Court to serve the interests of the people. <*yawn*>

And how about that WWC like “smack-down” on Citizens United v. FEC,…yea, right, not from where I am sitting. <*yawn*>

BP continues to basically set the terms of the fiasco in the gulf they created with the department of minerals management – being careful to avoid additional financial uncertainty (stock market is more important than the peoples rights to the commons) in reaching a paltry $20 B settlement. <*yawn*>

Global Warming still lacks a sufficient response and today’s Holocene Mass Extinction is raging on to the tune of killing off 75 to 85% of all living biomass on the planet. (the ratio of number of species to their percent of all living biomass is not one-for-one (1 species represents 1% of all living biomass) e.g. just a couple species of plankton comprise a disproportionate percent of the planet’s total living biomass). <*no yawn here, you should be VERY worried*>

All incumbents need to be voted out and comprehensive campaign finance reform to the point of 100% publicly funded elections need to be instituted,….until then, in my opinion, who’s President and what Party is in power really doesn’t matter all that much.

Anybody?

Have a nice day

telliottmbamsc's picture
telliottmbamsc
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May. 20, 2010 4:06 am

Comments

Just how to you expect a dysfunctional system to address dysfunctions?

When government has to negotiate with "special interests" to get legislation passed, viable solutions are off the table from the start.

Negotiating with health insurers and drug co.'s so their Congressional surrogates will pass legislation probably isn't the best way to solve health care problems.

Negotiating with the financial sector as to what may be acceptable isn't the best way to address problems caused by finance.

Negotiating with the energy sector probably isn't the best way to address energy problems.

Negotiating with polluters probably isn't the best way to address impending environmental collapse.

A dysfunctional system can't address dysfunctions. That's like asking cancer to cure cancer.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Ah yes, the age old question brought up by the original post, "who is really running the show"? I think by now its become very obvious that the president and the congress are limited in what they can do. I think it is also very obvious that large corporations are less limited in what they can do. In other words they can get away with just about anything. Whenever something like the incompentance of BP and the oil and methane gas leak hits the press, there are hundreds of other shady and under the table deals that go on that the average citizen never hears about. This also happens in government but I believe corporations have almost zero transparency where government has some mainly because certain government people are not very good at keeping their traps shut.

I am in the middle of a 1970's novel, The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth. It is a story of the head of a large British (ironic) corporation that discovers precious minerals (also ironic, think recent story about Afghanistan) in a small African country run by an insane dictator. The head of the company desides to remove the leader of the country using mercenaries thus starting a war to secure the country and it's minerals. As maligned as Hollywood and the artisic community is, I think books and movies on this subject are created for a reason. Situations and people like that exist in the real world. Characters like Gordon Gecko of the movie Wall Street or Mr. Burns of the Simpsons or even Mr. Howell of Gilligan's Island all amused us in one way or another but you have to admit they were based on a composite of real life people. When you think of it in that way, that's a frightening prospect. The Dogs of War is a work of fiction but who's to say that recent wars haven't been started by corporations for purposes of profit and not the old fashioned reasons we think a war begins. Thom recently commented on George Bush Sr.'s comment of a New World Order and how it has arrived. I agree that it seems in this country at least we are under the thumb of corporations.

I snicker everytime I see a comment on a blog or You Tube that accuses President Obama of being a socialist or advancing his "socialist agenda". Oh no, its much worse Virginia. Much, much worse. Its corporatism and its not Obama thats behind it. We should be afraid, very afraid.

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Captain Hiltz
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May. 28, 2010 9:31 am

Well, Capt.,, the fear is, nothing can be advanced to address approaching critical problems until we're forced to. At that point, it may be too late too resolve solve of them....like global warming, the unsustainability of U.S. agriculture and reliance on disappearing, reasonably priced energy sources, etc.

When there's a warning a severe storm is approaching, it's usually wise to shut the windows rather than leaving them open and hoping for the best.

The U.S. Senate alone is so dysfunctional, one head of a committee can block legislation wanted by the entire nation. He does, afterall, have his campaign donor constituency to consider...or perhaps his own investments to protect. The Millionaire's Club, otherwise known as the U.S. Senate, has become just one failed institution among many others.

Solutions are?????.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What we need to do is to vastly increase the number of representatives in the House. And I mean VASTLY. If we could amend the constitution to do it, I actually would implement Direct Democracy. We have the technology to allow every single citizen to participate, just like in the Greek democracies. Prior to communications, we could not have true democracy, but not it is just as feasible as a representative republic.

Barring a constitutional amendment, I would recommend that we increase the house to somewhere around 1 representative per 100 constituents. That would mean that your rep would be a personal acquaintance, and would know you. You'd be able to bust his balls at the local high school football game, or at your local tavern is he sold you out to Corporate.

It would be the closest thing to direct democracy as possible without an amendment. And direct democracy is the overall goal, which would make We the People the actual rulers of this great Nation.

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Jacques Roux
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Jun. 20, 2010 3:33 pm

I have to ask why anyone would think that things would change much as private money from special interests (corporations and businesses) still pays for campaigns, especially when the right suceeded in lurching the Supreme Court to the right?

Rather than blaming Obama, look at those that support the current system to see who are the problems. Congress writes the laws and the Supreme Court decides cases resulting from them. So long as corporatists control Congress and the Supreme Court, don't expect any change to happen. Who supports business interests to the point that campaign finance reform to become public-finance only is impossible?

Our system is fascism in that the business elite run our government. With that being reality, even an FDR would have an impossible task to change anything of a fundamental nature. Focusing on Obama misses the point, private money, and is misdirection, which is the point.

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

I have to ask why anyone would think that things would change much as private money from special interests (corporations and businesses) still pays for campaigns, especially when the right suceeded in lurching the Supreme Court to the right?

Rather than blaming Obama, look at those that support the current system to see who are the problems. Congress writes the laws and the Supreme Court decides cases resulting from them. So long as corporatists control Congress and the Supreme Court, don't expect any change to happen. Who supports business interests to the point that campaign finance reform to become public-finance only is impossible?

Our system is fascism in that the business elite run our government. With that being reality, even an FDR would have an impossible task to change anything of a fundamental nature. Focusing on Obama misses the point, private money, and is misdirection, which is the point.

I AM blaming the system. I blame the whole notion of representative government. In this age of technology, why do I need a representative? So he can get bought by Corporate and then sell out my interests? Why can't I represent myself if I wish?

We should have a system of direct electronic democracy. One person-one vote. That's the ONLY way to eliminate corporate control of our representatives - Have NO representatives.

And don't say that some people are too busy to participate in democracy - if I get too busy, I'll give a REVOCABLE power of attorney to someone I trust and let them vote for me. But if I don't like what they're doing, WHAM I revoke the power of attorney right there.

No more corporate shills in congress.

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Jacques Roux
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Jun. 20, 2010 3:33 pm
I AM blaming the system. I blame the whole notion of representative government. In this age of technology, why do I need a representative? So he can get bought by Corporate and then sell out my interests? Why can't I represent myself if I wish?

Well, for one, our constitution mandates that we operate as a republic with our government set up as a triumverate, with the Congress set up as two houses. This would have to change.

We should have a system of direct electronic democracy. One person-one vote. That's the ONLY way to eliminate corporate control of our representatives - Have NO representatives.

You must know that the reason our government was set up as it was, was to minimize the tyranny of the majority. A direct democracy creates the very tyranny the founders sought to avoid.

Actually the only way to eliminate corporate control of our government is to publically finance our elections and not allow politicians or their staff to accept private sector jobs in the industries/businesses that they operated on.

And don't say that some people are too busy to participate in democracy - if I get too busy, I'll give a REVOCABLE power of attorney to someone I trust and let them vote for me. But if I don't like what they're doing, WHAM I revoke the power of attorney right there.

Actually, most people are too busy to participate in our democracy as our low voter turn outs show. You can get mad at that statement, but it's true. Also, go to the next council meeting at your city hall and see how many people, and who they are, show up at a council meeting. chances are, there are few and those that show up are directly affected by something and chances are they are business owners.

No more corporate shills in congress.

As far as I'm concerned, that can only be accomolished by public funding of elections and making it illegal for pols and their staff to accept jobs in the industry/business they affected.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote jeffbiss:Well, for one, our constitution mandates that we operate as a republic with our government set up as a triumverate, with the Congress set up as two houses. This would have to change.

First solution, increase the representation in the house, and vastly, I mean VASTLY, increase the size of the House. My preference would be for every voter to actually be a member of the house. This would not be direct democracy. This would still be within the framwork of our republic. No constitutional amendment necessary, just the ratio of representatives, and that just gets changed to 1 representative per 1 citizen.

And even, worse case scenario, we can't do 1 rep per 1 citizesn, how about 1 house member per 10 cizitens, or 100, or even 1000. That would mean that one's representative would be much more intimate with his neighbors who voted for him than any corporate lobbyist.

Also, with an electronic system, House members would not really need to move to Washington, and would not be handily assembled for Corporate. They would be spread out in every Town, village, and hamlet across the country. Let's see Corporate try to bribe 50 million House members.

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Jacques Roux
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Jun. 20, 2010 3:33 pm
First solution, increase the representation in the house, and vastly, I mean VASTLY, increase the size of the House. My preference would be for every voter to actually be a member of the house. This would not be direct democracy. This would still be within the framwork of our republic. No constitutional amendment necessary, just the ratio of representatives, and that just gets changed to 1 representative per 1 citizen.

And even, worse case scenario, we can't do 1 rep per 1 citizesn, how about 1 house member per 10 cizitens, or 100, or even 1000. That would mean that one's representative would be much more intimate with his neighbors who voted for him than any corporate lobbyist.

This seems like the House would become unwieldly and power would become entrenched with a few, thus resulting in less democracy than the current configuration. Humans are social animals and we always create a hierarchy, which is seen in the House currently. However, the size may be large, thus requiring committees composed of a small subset of membership, but it is still small enough to allow members to interact within their caucuses. If the size were to grow past a certain point, then those committees would begin to operate as Houses within the House and they would essentially become the House. Of course, the Senate would provide a balance, if we de-corporatize our politics, to the House.

Also, with an electronic system, House members would not really need to move to Washington, and would not be handily assembled for Corporate. They would be spread out in every Town, village, and hamlet across the country. Let's see Corporate try to bribe 50 million House members.

That could provide some sort of control of power, but I think that power would still be assumed by a small subset, thus resulting in a House within the House.

I see more to gain from allowing only public money in our politics and making it illegal for poiticians and staff to become employed by the industry or businesses they affected while in office.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The title of this post refers to "Velvet Fascism" yet there is not one single reference to, or explanation of, velvet fascism in the post. What kind of propagandist crap is this?

kwikfix
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Apr. 9, 2010 1:51 pm
The title of this post refers to "Velvet Fascism" yet there is not one single reference to, or explanation of, velvet fascism in the post. What kind of propagandist crap is this?

Just because "velvet fascism" isn't defined doesn't make this propaganda.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Madison especially had a problem with an assembly that was too big which reflected the early American thinkers' fear of mob rule. As Akhil Reed Amar quoted James Madison from Federalist 55 in Amar's book, The Bill of Rights concerning the need for a maximum number of representatives:

"Sixty or seventy men may be more properly trusted with a given degree of power than six or seven. But it does not follow that six or seven hundred will be proportionably a better depositary. And if we carry on the supposition to six or seven thousand, the whole reasoning ought to be reversed....In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the scepter from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob."

As I've said before, I would be all about government 'for minority rights'--and recognize that the ultimate minority is 'the individual'....but, I've even heard that Obama recently is extolling the 'roll of organization' against 'individual values'.....'Original Sin' as the preemptive force in political power (instead of 'innocent until proven guilty'..) is coming back....with a bang......maybe a big bang.....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Well, we have government that's concerned primarily with minority rights. Financiers, the financial industry, CEO's, and corporate treasuries. They take priority over majority rights and interests. That shouldn't be difficult to understand. Legislation reflects it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Yeah, and then claims that 'reflects individual rights just like the Constitution intended'. Then, you have people like Orin Hatch in the Kagan confirmation hearing claiming that Thurgood Marshall was an 'activist judge'--perhaps the entire Warren court was an 'activist court'. But, what I see that the Warren Court was trying to do with all its judgments on 'individual rights' (in things like interracial marriages, school integration, and abortion) was actually place those rights to 'the individual'--not 'the individual of corporations' like the activist court today does....

I think that Thom Hartmann has that right--'corporations' should have never been judged as if 'individuals'.....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:I think that Thom Hartmann has that right--'corporations' should have never been judged as if 'individuals'.....

There really is only one solution to the USA's problems. Outlaw corporations. Would not require any constitutional amendment - the power is already there under the general welfare clause, or interstate commerce clause. Take your pick. Corporations have a negative effect on interstate commerce. Bam! Done. No more problems for the USA.

They would be replaced by small businesses and workers' cooperatives.

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Jacques Roux
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Jun. 20, 2010 3:33 pm
Quote Jacques Roux:

There really is only one solution to the USA's problems. Outlaw corporations...

I guess that's one way. The other way would be that since corporations have been granted 'personhood' then make all the actions of corporations be as 'persons'. In other words, have their decisions (and 'decision-makers') suffer the very consequences that real persons without 'limited liability' suffer--when their decisions go bad, they loose everything....I think that might be better than outright 'outlawing them'.

But, for now, corporations not only get rights as individuals, thanks to their separate laws that limit their liability, they don't have to take the responsibilities as individuals.....THAT is what I see as the real problem in this....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:
Quote Jacques Roux:

There really is only one solution to the USA's problems. Outlaw corporations...

I guess that's one way. The other way would be that since corporations have been granted 'personhood' then make all the actions of corporations be as 'persons'. In other words, have their decisions (and 'decision-makers') suffer the very consequences that real persons without 'limited liability' suffer--when their decisions go bad, they loose everything....I think that might be better than outright 'outlawing them'.

But, for now, corporations not only get rights as individuals, thanks to their separate laws that limit their liability, they don't have to take the responsibilities as individuals.....THAT is what I see as the real problem in this....

Okay, if simply eliminating limited liability is easier, then I say we just do that. Then we wouldn't have to outlaw corporations - they would simply fade away. With no limited liability they would be, what, just some sort of big partnership or something. And then the first big lawsuit hits, and wham, we take the houses from the CEO all the way down to the guy who owns a single share. A lot of stock would be sold, and these businesses would die on the vine.

Then worker cooperatives would take their place.

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Jacques Roux
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Jun. 20, 2010 3:33 pm
Okay, if simply eliminating limited liability is easier, then I say we just do that. Then we wouldn't have to outlaw corporations - they would simply fade away. With no limited liability they would be, what, just some sort of big partnership or something. And then the first big lawsuit hits, and wham, we take the houses from the CEO all the way down to the guy who owns a single share. A lot of stock would be sold, and these businesses would die on the vine.

Well, I doubt that that will happen as corporations control our politicians and too many Americans support "laissez-faire" pro-corporate ideologies. It takes political will and that simply doesn't exist.

What's really more realistic, is that a future Court will overturn/overrule Citizens United v FEC because it is severely flawed. This does happen, see Lawrence v Texas in which Bowers v Hardwick was overruled.

Then worker cooperatives would take their place.

I think that they will result in pretty much what we have today, a few people will assume power and run everything for their benefit.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

the health bill sucks too

i think it was democrats who mandated oil wells be built far out and harder to cap or am i mistaken?

not really rocket scinece

FoxMulder's picture
FoxMulder
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Apr. 22, 2010 11:15 am
the health bill sucks too

Because corporations run our government and the Republicans refused to act as legislators to make the Democrats and Obama look bad.

i think it was democrats who mandated oil wells be built far out and harder to cap or am i mistaken?

You're wrong.

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jeffbiss
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 cannot be the last word when it comes to addressing the sins of Wall Street and the big banks. Because if it is, then Feingold will surely be right when he warns that the American people will not be spared “the pain of another economic disaster.”

According to Feingold:

“At the outset of the debate over the financial regulatory reform bill, I made clear that my test for this bill would be whether it prevents another economic crisis,” explained Feingold. “Unfortunately, this bill falls short. The reckless practices of Wall Street sent our economy reeling, triggered the worst recession since the Great Depression, and left millions of Americans to foot the bill. Despite these cataclysmic events, Washington once again caved to Wall Street on key issues and produced a bill that fails to protect the American people from the pain of another economic disaster. I will not support a bill that fails to adequately protect the people of Wisconsin from the recklessness of Wall Street.”

Sanders offered a nuanced take on the measure, which went through the legislative wringer before emerging in final compromise -- and compromised -- form. The Vermonter called the overall legislation a “positive step forward” but said that much more must be done, in the words of a statement released by his office, “to end the greed and recklessness by the Wall Street financiers responsible for the worst economic collapse since the 1930s.”

Sanders complained that:

• The bill does not break up banks deemed “too big to fail.” Incredibly, three of the country’s four biggest banks are larger today than before taxpayers bailed them out.

• The bill fails to impose a cap on runaway credit card interest rates. Senators rejected an even more modest proposal to let states enforce their own usury laws.

And how about regulating other forms of bail-outs to the financial industry at the Taxpayer’s expense? Did The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 push government aid to the financial industry underground? For instance consider the implications of the following list taken from “Bad Money, Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of America Capitalism” by Author: Kevin Phillips.

U.S. Financial Mercantilism: Bailouts, Debt and the

Socialization of Credit Risk, 1982-2007

Year

Rescue

Government methodology

1982-92

Mexico, Argentia, Brazil debt crisis

Federal Reserve and treasury relief package to avoid domino effect on U.S. banks.

1984

Continental Illinois Bank aid

$4 billion Fed, Treasury and FDIC rescue package.

Late 1980s

Discount window bailouts

Fed provides loans to 350 weak banks that would later fail, giving big depositors time to exit.

1987

Post-Stock Market dive rescue

Massive liquidity provided by Fed, and rumors of Fed clandestine involvement in futures market.

1989-92

S&L bailout

U.S. spends $250 billion to bail out hundreds of S&Ls mismanaged into insolvency.

1990-92

Citibank and Bank of New England bailouts

$4 billion to help BEN, the government assistance in arranging a Saudi infusion for Citibank

1994-95

Mexico peso rescue

Treasury helps support the peso to backstop U.S. investors in high-yield Mexican debt.

1997

Asian currency bailout

U.S. government pushes IMF for rescue of embattled East Asian currencies to save American and other foreign lenders.

1998

Long-Term Capital Management

Fed chairman Greenspan helps arrange bailout for shaky hedge fund with high-powered domestic and international connections

1999

Y2K fears

Liquidity pumped out by Fed to ease Y2K concern helps fuel final NASDAQ bubbling.

2001-5

Post-stock market crash rate cuts

Fed cuts U.S. interest rates to 46-year lows to reflect U.S. financial and real estate assets and protect the U.S. economy’s newly dominant FIRE sector.

2007

Structured investment vehicle and subprime mortgage bailouts

Treasury Secretary Paulson proposes super-SIV fund to rescue top banks and negotiates subprime mortgage relief mechanism.

So long as the lobbying money continues to flow from Wall Street to Washington the aid will come.

Worse still, regardless of this Reform legislation the sentiment to enforce it and other laws appears to have stayed the same. At the center of the financial crisis was the conduct of Goldman Sachs. After The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 was passed it was announced that the government’s investigation into Goldman Sachs resulted in Goldman paying $300 million to the SEC and $250 million to investors. In 2009, Goldman paid its employees around $18 billion in bonuses, alone. In one backdoor transaction alone, AIG helped siphon off $13 billion in bail-out proceeds to Goldman in a manner in which they wouldn’t have to repay it. All told the financial crisis and resulting responses cost the Taxpayer’s easily in excess of $2 trillion dollars. Goldman’s fine to the SEC and payments to the investors for shortcomings in marketing material is miniscule in comparison.

Apparently laws are put on the books to pacify the people, their interpretation and use (if any) is at the discretion of law makers. The Clinton’s unseemly pandering to Wall Street still dominates the Democratic Party and the fact that Joe Liebermann was chosen by Barac O’bama to serve as his mentor has never been clearer. So once again under the guise of incremental change or compromise we are served up another helping of Velvet Fascism.

Banks are acting in a way that understates home mortgage failure’s by households. The difference between a homeowner being “In default” and “In foreclosure” is largely up to the bank’s willingness to recognize a bad asset and the attendant loss. The recent report of a record 1 million homes in foreclosure is probably true but remember it is very likely much lower than the number of homeowner’s who are behind on their payments by, say, 60, 90, or 120+ days. The amount and direction of this number is probably much more depressing, as well as, a better indicator of the current state of the economy.

Finally, congratulations to Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase for a year of record breaking profits. Let the bonuses flow! (and a portion flow back in the form of political contributions).

Vote ALL incumbents out.

telliottmbamsc's picture
telliottmbamsc
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May. 20, 2010 4:06 am

The meaning of the title can be reasonably inferred from the content of the post as well as the choice of the word "velvet".

telliottmbamsc's picture
telliottmbamsc
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May. 20, 2010 4:06 am

Does the Financial Reform recently excreted by Washington address the disparity in the cost of funds between Wall Street banks and Main Street banks? Wall Street banks borrow, including from the government, at a rate that is about 0.75% less than Small banks.

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telliottmbamsc
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