Another Summer of Discontent; Another Summer of Stupid

Before the deep freeze starts here in the East-
A  brief summary of  another bummer of a summer…


By John Tully

The New York Herald Sun


Summer is just the perfect time to see just exactly what the heck is going on out there in “America”.

The first thing I remember was British Petroleum destroying the planet and our Leaders sitting on their thumbs.

All of a sudden I’m sitting in a hotel room in Florida after a friend’s wedding and watching a humongous plasma television. A woman named Trish Regan from CNBC declared: “the stimulus didn’t work”. I wondered what had happened and how she knew and what had happened so I quickly switched the channel and witnessed ABC News’ Jonathan Karl file a brave and hard-hitting four-minute “piece” on the cost of the road signs that tell citizens about stimulus money being used for infrastructure projects.

Brave Jonathan Karl.

It reminded me of that George Stephanopoulos fellow on World News Tonight. Less than two months into President Obama’s term, immediately after the Stimulus Bill was finally passed with all kinds of silly concessions to the fiscally illogical demands of the Say No Republicans (already in full Waterloo-mode) the TV Star declared gleefully “Now, Barack Obama owns the economy….”

Those ABC boys sure are wankers.

Jake Tapper much?

The next thing I know I’m in South Jersey watching CBS News’ Bob Schieffer indignantly imploring Bloggers to “pick up the phone next time and do some reporting”

Mr. Schieffer’s lazy network, lead by Fox News, had been fooled by a well-known fraud named Andrew Breitbart into covering the story of how every major news gathering organization in the U.S. had failed to investigate an obvious right-wing smear job that lead the cowardly Obama administration to fire an employee of the Department of Agriculture for doing the right thing and speaking the truth about Racism.

Schieffer’s wise and sage shtick is utterly revered in the District but this completely backwards, twisted and wholly illogical pooh-poohing/blame shifting was truly a Spin of epic proportions. He’s got BS right there in his initials after all.

That began a second straight summer of Red-Herring Race Babble.
Remember last summer’s “Beer Summit”? Months of wasted time and newsprint on distractions from the real problems in this country and it happened again this year. Halliburton and Blackwater were relieved I’m sure.

I met sweet and dopey 80 year-old Democrats who think that President Obama was still just swell; never mind his continuation of all the most heinous policies of  Bush-Cheney: “State Secrets” to defend endless imprisonment, renditions and assassinations in the War on Terror-coupled with no intention to prosecute the definitive War Crimes of the former administration.

The next thing I remember Fox News is on in some restaurant.
There is a weepy, pinkish, Morning DJ on the screen and he’s assembled a bunch of Libertarians who listen to bad music cry about God and Gold on the anniversary and location of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
The stupid hurts.

For some reason, all this kvetching about Obama reminded me of long-time DC columnist and television commentator Mark Shields and his outrage three years ago about that famous Move-On Ad questioning General Petraeus and his leadership.
Betray Us?
Perish the thought.

I was so mystified at the time that I called Shields on the phone. He nicely and politely explained to me that basically the Move-On folks and their approach was not only disrespectful but highly arrogant. He made a lot of very reasonable points about Generals and War.

But then I saw the same Mr. Shields this summer on Television- making sure to declare that he “liked” House Minority leader John Boehner before politely and gently criticising his newest nonexistent policies.

This is a politician, Mr. Boehner, who has so little respect for his opposition that he routinely uses the derogatory term “Democrat Party” to describe his critics. He and most of  his fellow Republicans just love to throw that phrase in every chance they can get. Guess what? Np one in the mainstream media calls them on it. Not even good ol’ Mark Shields.

I spoke with a 40-something Republican woman who asked me about Obama. She railed against “all these people being on the dole” and all this darn “spending” in Washington. I started to argue that taxes have never been lower and that TARP was Bush’s plan but it seemed to be a losing proposition. She looked me dead in the eye and politely informed me that pesky facts and hard-truths about politics and Glenn Beck and Obama were merely my personal opinions.

Well, you were just asking me for them.

I decided not to mention Al Gore’s Global Warming Hoax.

The summer was almost over but a plan to build a Muslim community center took center-stage in the American News Soap Opera.

Plans for the “9/11 mosque” in a neighborhood sort of close to the place where mostly Saudi Arabians flew planes into buildings, where it’s taken 10 years to rebuild anything– has unleashed the pure stupid.

TV anchor Brian Williams, who wears excellent ties, threw to the next commercial, intoning: “the mosque that is proving to be Too Much for some people”

I’m just glad that the rational and reasonable Jon Stewart has identified the problem in America and has planned a rally in DC for later in the month to address it.

I mean, really, the Democrat Party needs to stop being so gosh-darn harsh and mean and partisan.

Love, Peggy Noonan

Elizabeth Warren on Bill Maher

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Wall Street’s Bailout Hustle

Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren’t just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy – they’re re-creating the conditions for another crash

MATT TAIBBI

Posted Feb 17, 2010 5:57 AM

On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America’s pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman’s role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a “bailout tax” on banks. Maybe this wasn’t the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. “In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines,” he said, “I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative.”

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Translation: We made a shitload of money last year because we’re so amazing at our jobs, so fuck all those people who want us to reduce our bonuses. [Read more…]

How Goldman Secretly Bet on the U.S. Housing Crash

McClatchy Washington Bureau

tongue

Sun, Nov. 01, 2009

Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers

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November 01, 2009 01:17:44 AM

WASHINGTON — In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.

Goldman’s sales and its clandestine wagers, completed at the brink of the housing market meltdown, enabled the nation’s premier investment bank to pass most of its potential losses to others before a flood of mortgage defaults staggered the U.S. and global economies.

Only later did investors discover that what Goldman had promoted as triple-A rated investments were closer to junk.

Now, pension funds, insurance companies, labor unions and foreign financial institutions that bought those dicey mortgage securities are facing large losses, and a five-month McClatchy investigation has found that Goldman’s failure to disclose that it made secret, exotic bets on an imminent housing crash may have violated securities laws.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission should be very interested in any financial company that secretly decides a financial product is a loser and then goes out and actively markets that product or very similar products to unsuspecting customers without disclosing its true opinion,” said Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University economics professor who’s proposed a massive overhaul of the nation’s banks. “This is fraud and should be prosecuted.”

John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who served on an advisory committee to the New York Stock Exchange, said that investment banks have wide latitude to manage their assets, and so the legality of Goldman’s maneuvers depends on what its executives knew at the time.

“It would look much more damaging,” Coffee said, “if it appeared that the firm was dumping these investments because it saw them as toxic waste and virtually worthless.” [Read more…]

Dylan Ratigan Breaks Down the TARP Fiasco

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