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Obama Wins, the System is Broken

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This interview with Rob Johnson of the the Roosevelt Institute, Marc Steiner of WEAA, and Lester Spence of We are Many gives a sobering view of election results. Readers may quibble with one of Steiner’s remarks, that Obama likes building bipartisanship. It’s striking the way even people on the left who are disillusioned about Obama don’t get that he goes very ruthlessly after opponents (just look at the kneecapping of critics on the left, or his drone policies, or his new “disposition matrix”). There is a reluctance to recognize how large the gap between Obama’s persona and his mode of operation is, and there is a similar failure to appreciate what most of his compromises are about. Like Br’er Rabbit’s pleas not to be thrown in the briar patch, concessions for Obama are typically a vehicle to get him where he wanted to go anyhow.


More at The Real News

This is the money quote from this interview:

JAY: So what does the U.S. economy look like in four years? Whoever is the presidential nominee for the Democrats, it seems the plate gets set for a far-right candidate of the Republican Party to say, look, you had eight years and couldn’t do it.

JOHNSON: It looks like Brazil before Lula. It looks like it’s heading in that direction—in other words, favelas. You know, Lula’s made some strides in reversing—Lula and his successor, excuse me, have made some strides in reversing the inequality and alleviating poverty and invigorating education there. They were in a deep ditch of violent inequality of income and wealth, and they’ve made some positive strides. We’re going in the other direction as—faster than they turned things around.

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143 comments

  1. capitalistic

    Ehhh, if you drill down a bit further, and actually take a look at his policies, he’s been fixing the issues that GWB dumped on the US economy.
    Tell me what policies of his you don’t like. Actual policies. Was it bailing out WS? Was it ensuring that our bank holding companies did not succumb to a bank run? Was it extending Bush tax cuts? Hmmm. Maybe it was his decision to use US technology (provided by our defense industry) to eliminate terrorists.
    If you think BO is a socialist, what would you call GWB sending out checks to Americans during the last year of his presidency?
    Ehhh, the GOP has become irrelevant.

      1. skippy

        Gender Male

        Occupation Investor

        Location Boston, Massachusetts, United States

        Introduction As a sponsor, I partner with investors and financial institutions, and invest in lower middle market telecom, tech and logistics companies in the US. My strength lies in reading between the numbers and data. My dual citizenship helps ;) . I’m also an avid blackjack and spades player.

        Skippy… Upton strikes again!

        PS. capitalistic blog

        Reading the Fine Print in Abacus and Other Soured Deals – NYTimes.com

        I always wonder why Very Serious People hammer Goldman Sachs and friends with their lack of disclosure as a market maker. The last time I checked, market makers buy and sell products/services at approximately “fair value”. What does fair value mean?
        Fair value means liquidation value at a certain date. Now, if an investor is offered a home to purchase at a $100 price, but a similar house nearby is being offered at $90, what is the fair value of the asset? The fair value is the actual price paid for the asset. Period.
        So, why are people mixing market makers with advisers? Advisers are retained to walk in their clients shoes, while market makers make a living by buying AND simultaneously selling assets – to ensure that they are always involved in the trade.
        Now, if a sophisticated investor read the Abacus pitch book, invested in the CDO, and lost a substantial amount of capital, who is at fault?
        It’s time to allow IB’s do what they do best, which is market making and advising. Both can lead to sticky conflicts of interest, but hey, caveat emptor…

        http://fundless-sponsor.blogspot.com.au/

        ??? ^^^^com.au/ – http for Boston bloke ??? Caveat emptor for “Abacus and Other Soured Deals”? Hay kids we have a live one!!!!!!!! FFS LMMFAO……

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You appear to still think you are getting a pony. I can come up with 8 without thinking hard.

      And the GOP is not irrelevant. They have a majority in the House, and 45 seats in the Senate, which is enough to filibuster.

      1. Refusal to take up Paulson (as in Hank Paulson) offer to do mortgage mods. Obama chose to favor bailing out Wall Street over ordinary citizens, when Bush actually was willing to do MORE

      2. Appointing Rubin stooge and “bailouter in chief” Geithner as Treasury secretary and following his lead 100%

      3. Reappointing Bernanke over considerable opposition (Obama had to whip personally to get him back in)

      4. Refusal to prosecute bank execs who played a big role in the crisis

      5. Refusal to restructure the financial services industry or implement serious reforms. We’ve discussed at length how ineffective Dodd Frank is

      6. Conning people like you on who Obama is serving. Inequality grew MORE under Obama than Bush, and you can’t blame that on the crisis. Obama continued bank favoring policies and propping up asset values

      7. Stealth bank bailouts via the servicer and mortgage “settlements”

      8. Merely handwaving about the preferable tax treatment of private equity carried interest. Oh, he makes noises about not liking it, but there is absolutely no serious carry through. And it’s obvious why. His major NYC fundraisers were hosted by PE guys.

      1. bmeisen

        Thanks for the clip Yves. Great to listen to Johnson think. A clearing in the jungle, like Augstein’s piece at Der Spiegel which I also found through NC.

      2. Finnucane

        re: #1 above

        I advise everyone to read the chapter in Neil Barofsky’s Bailout on “foaming the runway.” Obama’s/Treasury’s handling of HAMP was a vicious, cynical con job. Reading that chapter, I was shaking with rage.

        Where is the opposition? Why is Bruce Springsteen hugging the guy who hired Tim Geithner? When will I wake up from this nightmare?

        1. Bev

          http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/11/what-really-happened-in-ohio-on-election-night/

          What REALLY happened in Ohio on Election Night

          snip

          From Cliff:

          Some hackers/spooks hacked Romney’s computers, which crippled his election day get out the vote activity.

          snip

          A successful hack of the Romney campaign computers would have affected all of the operation, would have been illegal, and would have been known to Rove early on election day. So, it does not explain Rove’s dramatic disconnect over Fox’s calling Ohio for Obama at the 11 PM (EST) news hour.

          The hack we discovered was limited to Ohio. Its use was coming from Bob Urosevich the same guy who personally delivered a malicious patch in Georgia 2002 which flipped the votes and outcome in their governor and US Senate races. Our exposure of the problem in court through one of the top cyber security experts in the world (so certified by NSA) occurred at about 3:15 PM on election day.

          Urosevich would have been informed that the fix had been exposed and that an Ohio judge with jurisdiction had expressed willingness to adopt the corrective action recommended by our expert. He and the one operative who would have been positioned pull the trigger, instead nixed the operation. Neither of them would have been so foolish as to contact Rove to inform him that the Ohio fix was off. Rove’s communications were surely being monitored by law enforcement authorities.

          Thus, Rove’s mistaken rant over Ohio being prematurely called for Obama.

          Cliff Arnebeck

      3. Bev

        “We can no longer accept the government under these circumstances, the money in politics, the rule by special interest, the war for profit and the imposed third world slavery that the American people are expecting their grandchildren to face.

        Obama doesn’t get off the hook. He is now free to do all those thing he promised.”

        - Gordon Duff, Senior Editor Veterans Today

        ……..

        The runway has been cleared for Obama to keep his promises. We need to keep up with the pressure to make sure he does.

        Meanwhile, the voters won.

        I thank everyone here and the election integrity people and Veterans Today whose insider contributors provided background information so important to the public.

        Post election Update:

        http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/11/06/romney-landslide-loser-refuses-timely-concession/

        Romney, Landslide Loser Refuses Timely Concession

        GOP Retains Control in the House, Dems Sweep Senate

        …by Gordon Duff, Senior Editor
        _

        America does some really dumb things but running an organized crime boss for president, and a bumbling wimp of one at that, this had gone too far.

        What we can tell you is that the senior active and retired intelligence and top law enforcement and DOJ professionals, the drug enforcement officers, they are the ones that beat Romney, not the Obama campaign.

        They wouldn’t allow Romney to turn America into something even worse than the seemingly hopeless mess we have now and moved.

        Probably the worst scam in the entire election was the accusations made by a few stooges, some former military, sold out to organized crime, that accused the president of murdering an ambassador in order to try to lose the election.

        Add to that a phony corporate media who never attempted to dig out who paid for ex-CIA Rev. Terry Jones’ all day Muslim rant webcast that cost millions of dollars.

        This was a smoking gun that the whole thing was the expected October surprise, and took us only a day to find out who all was involved. Data mining is a wonderful thing.

        These stories need to be kept and whenever one of these phony military fatass types tries to cash in, they need to be shut down. Veterans Today’s archives are backed up on proxy servers off shore and can never be ‘disappeared’, hacked or firebombed.

        Then we have Hannity, Dick Morris, George Will, Newt, and, don’t forget poor Sheldon “Kiss of Death” Adelson who thought he bought five states for Romney and got none.

        Then we can see how well the Israel lobby did, New York is solidly Obama and, as of this writing, Florida is in play, a state that was supposed to be solid Romney territory with his Cuban connections.

        Oops, we forget. Romney got burned for his Castro meetings.

        The other upside is that the Israel lobby is now where it belongs, toothless, its massive influx of illegal cash into race after race and voters in almost ever case went the other way.

        Cuba, the recent revelations, burned Romney more than we suspected. We ran the story, pushed to do so at the last minute but didn’t think it would get solid distribution.

        We were wrong. We simply published, others put it in the hands of key political figures and squashed Romney’s backing in several key political and ethnic groups.

        Our intel friends were busy in more areas also.

        They leaked Romney’s ties to blood diamonds, money laundering, his ties to Castro and the cartels in Mexico and Columbia.

        They even leaked his mistress, a Russian/Cuban spy name Maria Perez Andropov.

        A few days before the election, what may actually be the best we have, a flawed lot I admit, but including key members of our military, moved on Romney and Netanyahu and, and, and…

        snip

        We can no longer accept the government under these circumstances, the money in politics, the rule by special interest, the war for profit and the imposed third world slavery that the American people are expecting their grandchildren to face.

        Obama doesn’t get off the hook. He is now free to do all those thing he promised.

        snip

        The fun followup will be the wild conspiracy mongering that has already begun on Fox News, claiming ACORN and the Black Panthers rigged the election.

        It is a reasonable estimate, not without some backing, that 5 million votes were flipped to Romney through software hacking, ballot box stuffing and simply destroying ballots.

        He still lost big.

        snip

        …here…despite the fact we are the largest active veterans group and, by miles the most politically effective, we continue to be minimized.

        Veterans don’t need cigarettes, booze and bingo. Americans don’t need a police state. If government doesn’t want to hear the unpleasant truth, it can change or we will find a way of removing it. We didn’t take down the criminal cabal around Romney and his Bush associates by ourselves but we were a third of that effort, done without one cent of fund raising.

        We had Americans with us. Again, my thanks to all that stood with us at VT, numbers I would never have imagined. I am humbled. Please post all election conspiracy theories in the comment section.

        ……………

        And, and another update:

        http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/11/score-one-at-last-for-the-election-integrity-movement/

        Score one (at last) for the Election Integrity movement!

        Late last night, after Obama took Ohio, Karl Rove was on Fox News, doggedly refusing to concede. He insisted that Ohio was still in play, as Romney was going to win in Hamilton County—where the votes were “counted” on machines made and maintained by Hart InterCivic, a company effectively controlled by Romney’s family. (The same machines were also used in Williams County.)

        So it’s not surprising that the GOP’s Lord Voldemort foresaw an “upset victory” in that county. It is surprising that he said it on Fox News, and when the game was obviously lost, so that a sudden Romney “victory” in Ohio would have seemed especially suspicious—even in the eyes of Rove’s old allies on Fox News (or those not in the loop).

        To those of us with vivid memories of Election Nights 2000 and 2004, it was a creepy moment—and things got even creepier when Brad Friedman reported that the website of the Ohio SoS had suddenly gone down, which had also happened at that very hour eight years before; and when it had come back on, Kerry, who had been ahead, was now behind. And—horribly—the rest was history.

        But that didn’t happen this time, as Rove had obviously lost control—of himself (his recklessness in mouthing off like that was staggering), and, infinitely more important, of his well-oiled, fabulously subsidized election-theft machine. For all his plans, and all the preparations made by Ohio SoS Jon Husted (among others), Rove was clearly overruled on this Election Day, as cooler heads prevailed.

        The fact is that, this time, yet another late-night “upset victory” would have been too risky—for the US press had finally done its job, enough to make a lot of people conscious of what’s happened to our voting system, and, therefore,of what could happen to let Romney “win.”

        The honor roll includes, among many others, Harper’s (for publishing Victoria Collier’s brilliant overview), the Atlantic, Esquire, the Christian Science Monitor, Forbes (which came out with a killer piece about Ohio’s voting system early on Election Day), Huffington Post, and even DailyKos (which had been fervently denialist since 2004).

        This time, such organs, and others, played up news that most of them would once have buried or ignored—especially the news of what was happening in Ohio, broken by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis in the Columbus Free Press, and carried even by such unlikely outlets as Fox 19 in Cincinnati.

        In short, our work online was finally resonating through the mainstream press—not the New York Times or CNN, of course, but others numerous and respectable enough to give some traction to the questions we’ve been raising for so many years. Thus the old smear of “conspiracy theory” finally sounded not like common sense but like the mere ad hominem evasion that it’s really always been; and so those few who used that smear this time were shot to pieces for it.

        When NBC’s Chuck Todd compared concerns about e-voting to “birther garbage,” Brad Friedman cleaned his clock, with a devastating catalogue of proven instances of fraud that didn’t just expose the ignorance of NBC’s so-called “elections expert,” but which can now be used by anyone who wants to fight for fair elections.

        And, as usual, that tired old slur came not just from the corporate media but, even louder, from the left—ThinkProgress and Alternet both coming out with marvelously stupid pieces whose effect, potentially, is so destructive that Karl Rove himself might just as well have written them. (In its error-riddled item calling the Hart InterCivic story “FALSE,” Snopes.com used Alternet as a source.) And yet the dozens of smart, angry comments posted in response to those outrageous screeds make clear that leftist pundits can no longer get away with laughing off this all-important fight for real elections in America.

        It’s time to put an end to such complacent jeering; because people need to know—and want to know—what’s happened here, and what they can do about it. That growing public interest is the reason why our work has finally broken through, with Brad, Victoria, Bob, Gerry and Harvey Wasserman, Jonathan Simon, Sally Castleman, Richard Charnin, Michael Collins, Greg Palast, Bev Harris, John Ennis, Sheila Parks, Paul Lehto, Marta Steele and so many others (and please do forgive me if I didn’t name you here—I’m really tired!) finally seeing, if not their names in lights, their vital findings resonating through the public sphere. In my own case, that broad public interest recently came home to me when my half-hour interview with Heather Wokusch on MNN (NYC’s public access channel) instantly went viral up on YouTube, getting over 80,000 hits in just four days.

        And it’s because our work has reached so many people that it’s not just we ourselves who spread the word, but countless others who aren’t activists. As Rove and his confederates mulled their options yesterday, who knows how much they fretted over that explosive bit of video posted by “centralpavoter,” showing that an ES&S iVotronic e-voting machine had repeatedly flipped his Obama vote to Romney? (The Raleigh Telegram reported that the same thing was happening on machines in North Carolina.) The fact that it went viral—vividly disproving the GOP’s propaganda claimsthat Democrats were somehow flipping Romney votes—had to help decide them not to rip off this election after all.

        So while this day after is a thrilling time for Democrats, it is a moment of rare triumph for those fighting for legitimate elections in America. We’re feeling this elation not because Barack Obama won, but because we’ve helped prevent the right from pulling off another “win” despite the will of the electorate. And—despite that Democratic sweep—we will keep up this fight to realize American democracy itself, which must be saved not only from Karl Rove, the Kochs and Sheldon Adelson, but from the long joint grip of both the parties, and the money flooding through them.

        MCM

        *****

        From Victoria Collier:

        THANK YOU TO THE ELECTION INTEGRITY MOVEMENT!

        The awareness of potential GOP vote rigging was unprecedented leading up to the 2012 November election, and it made a difference. Many within the election integrity movement – Progressives, Libertarians and even Republicans – did not believe that Mitt Romney could win in honest elections.

        Election Day 2012 did see break-downs of electronic voting machines all across the country, enormous lines in African-American districts, and we will probably end up tallying millions of likely-Democratic votes lost in voter roll purges, discarded ballots, and other votes lost to GOP robo-calling and other dirty tricks.

        Which means that, as in 2008, it’s likely that Democratic wins are much larger than officially recorded.

        But the alarms had been sounded presidential vote-rigging was unprecedented and MILLIONS of eyes were on Ohio and Florida.

        Though we still have a task in front of us – instituting election reform; clean elections, the end of corporate campaign financing, and transparent vote counting – we must count this election in many ways as a victory for our movement.


        Victoria Collier
        Editor: VoteScam.org

        ……….

        1. Bev

          Because of the hurricane in New York, I want to post here some important and wonderful news:

          via:
          http://maxkeiser.com/2012/11/09/this-is-a-simple-powerful-way-to-help-folks-in-need-to-free-them-from-heavy-debt-loads-so-they-can-focus-on-being-productive-happy-and-healthy/

          This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy.

          linked to:

          Wil Wheaton

          http://wilwheaton.tumblr.com/post/35309150177/the-peoples-bailout

          The People’s Bailout

          howtosharpenpencils:

          This is a long post but it’s about something pretty interesting so I hope you’ll indulge …

          Like many folks, Occupy Wall Street has been some doing good work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, helping people on the ground.

          Now OWS is launching the ROLLING JUBILEE, a program that has been in development for months. OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT. (If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME GAME.)

          This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy. As you can see from our test run, the return on investment approaches 30:1. That’s a crazy bargain!

          Now, after many consultations with attorneys, the IRS, and our moles in the debt-brokerage world, we are ready to take the Rolling Jubilee program LIVE and NATIONWIDE, buying debt in communities that have been struggling during the recession.

          We’re kicking things off with a show called THE PEOPLE’S BAILOUT at Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday, November 15. It will also stream online, like a good ol’-fashioned telethon!

          Friends, the line-up is insane. Performers include:

          – JEFF MANGUM (Neutral Milk Hotel)

          – JANEANE GAROFALO

          – GUY PICCIOTTO (Fugazi)

          – LIZZ WINSTEAD

          – HARI KONDABOLU

          – TUNDE ADEBIMPE and KYP MALONE (TV on the Radio)

          – members of DAS RACIST

          snip (important to click link above, since I left out important info)

          Okay, that was a really long tumblr post. I feel very vulnerable right now. Thanks for reading.

          Bye!
          —David Rees

          ……..

      4. Teejay

        Yves, what Obama policy action or inaction resulted in or exacertbated the widening of the income inequality? I’m not disagreeing. Extending the tax cuts, perhaps?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Prioritizing saving the banks over saving ordinary citizens. If he had done the latter, he would have gone a big way towards doing the former. But because of the deep Rubin connections to the Dems, Citi could not be allowed to fail, or even dealt with harshly, and the overt and stealth measures to prop up Citi and BofA ripped off retirees, and took political capital that could have better been used for other ends.

          See longer form discussion in this post:

          http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/03/the-empire-continues-to-strike-back-team-obama-propaganda-campaign-reaches-fever-pitch.html

      5. Bev

        Just wanted to let everyone know that if anything happens to me…I have been visited by Mormons, and so the people who back them.

      6. Bev

        Though repeat, thought it should be here too.

        http://www.velvetrevolution.us/newVR/index.php?q=node/41

        Karl Rove Loses Election After Being Checkmated By Cyber Sleuths?

        Last month, we offered a million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who rigged a federal election on November 6th. We urged computer experts to contact us with information about any election manipulation of the tabulation results.

        We Received A Letter

        On November 12th, we received a letter from “The Protectors,” apparently a group of white hat cyber sleuths, mentioning our reward and stating that two months ago, they began monitoring the “digital traffic of one Karl Rove, a disrespecter of the Rule of Law, knowing that he claimed to be Kingmaker while grifting vast wealth from barons who gladly handed him gold to anoint another King while looking the other way.”

        “The Protectors” said that they had identified the digital structure of Rove’s operation and of ORCA, a Republican get out the vote software application. After finding open “doors” in the systems, they created a “password protected firewall” called “The Great Oz,” and installed it on servers that Rove planned to use on election night to re-route and change election results “from three states.”

        The letter indicated that “ORCA Killer” was launched at 10am EST and “The Great Oz” at 8pm EST on November 6th. “The Protectors” watched as ORCA crashed and failed throughout Election Day. They watched as Rove’s computer techs tried 105 times to penetrate “The Great Oz” using different means and passwords.

        snip

        At VR, we have spent the past decade exposing flaws in the election process, especially the use of electronic voting, secret software and cyber attacks on tabulation systems. Princeton computer scientists, Argonne Laboratories experts, GOP insiders, and even the CIA have shown that electronic election manipulation is both possible and occurring.

        snip

        We hope that those cyber sleuths will provide that evidence to the FBI, post it publicly or send it to us to do so.

        snip

        As far as lessons learned, we are hopeful that those who have been skeptical and opposed to greater security in elections will now get on board in a bipartisan manner to, as President Obama said, “fix” the broken election system.

        …..

        via:
        http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/11/links-111812.html

        http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/11/17/anonymous-saved-the-election-text/

        Anonymous Saved The Election? (TEXT)

        Posted by
        Nathaniel Downes

        snip

        While some might consider this a random letter, or a jump to claim responsibility, if you step back and study the letter carefully a very clear message comes out.

        They cite specific numbers. They state precisely how many tunnels are there. They cite how many passwords were attempted. But, there are key words which look innocent but, to a computer engineer, are very much a trigger.

        These phrases are (our emphasis):

        We noticed these tunnels were strategically placed to allow for tunnel rats to race to the sewer servers from three different states.

        Now, to a normal person a rat is just that: a furry animal or a slang term for a scoundrel. But to a computer person, a rat is something radically different, a r.a.t. hack. The Remote Administration Tool hack is a method of remotely accessing a machine as if it were local. Using such a hack, you would have full access to the machine, at a level someone physically at the machine may not have. A “sewer server” is a term used to denote a hack over a secured tunnel, known as a Secured SHell (SSH), using a form of encryption designed to make it appear to be innocent background traffic.

        This is not some general discussion, making claims in order to claim. They have released clear and specific details on what exactly was done, information which the people behind Orca can verify. Even more telling, however, is the name the group used for their denial of service attack:

        The Great Oz

        “Oz” refers to the land in the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz; more currently, it refers to the television show Oz, which is about a prison. And the actions the group took was to attempt to hack the election into jail, locking it away. It broke, absolutely. We reported on the failures of Orca and its public face earlier. What Anonymous is claiming is that Orca’s public face was a farce, a lie. It was not to coordinate poll challengers so much as to steal the election.

        more
        ………….

        http://truth-out.org/news/item/12845-anonymous-karl-rove-and-2012-election-fix

        Anonymous, Karl Rove and 2012 Election Fix?

        Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks

        If this is true, then the implications are enormous and could take down the entire Republican Party and finally wake Americans up to the fact that our privatized vote system is shockingly flawed and insecure.

        ……

        http://wonkette.com/489966/anonymous-claims-it-stopped-karl-rove-from-hacking-the-election-by-hacking-orca-we-think

        Anonymous Claims It Stopped Karl Rove From Hacking The Election By Hacking ORCA, We Think

        by Rebecca Schoenkopf

        …..

        http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/11/19/press-tv-coup-and-counter-coup-in-washington/

        Coup and counter-coup in Washington

        Webster G. Tarpley and Press TV

        ORCA: Why the Pro-Romney Vote Fraud Did Not Materialize

        Tagg Romney and his associates, many of them investors in Bain Capital, had notoriously bought control of voting machines in almost a score of states, including Ohio. What frustrated the design to steal the election? Perhaps this operation was disrupted and aborted by investigations conveniently timed and targeting some of the main pro-Romney intelligence and military figures in the rogue network.

        The answer may also be related to the apparent failure of ORCA, Romney’s data-mining and data management operation, which was supposed to help GOP volunteers get out the vote, but which may have possessed additional and more sinister dimensions. But, as David Gewirtz of ZDNet wrote on November 13, ORCA “got harpooned. ORCA beached. It flopped. It died in the sun. It failed oh-so-bad.” And with it failed the hope of Romney’s backers that they could seize the White House.

    2. K Ackermann

      Eliminate terrorists?

      He eliminated the big one. Can we stop now? The accepted definition of a terrorist now is any male of military service age?

      He appearently has a vendetta against whistleblowers, allowing the torture of one American in particular who exposed a war crime.

      His justice department is the new standard for a banana republic.

      He has done nothing to check the financialization of our nation, and it’s eating us like cancer. TBTF is actively being encouraged as a way to run a company.

      He was elected with a mandate his first term, and he blew it.

      Don’t get me wrong… I like him better than Romney… but that doesn’t mean Obama is good or even not bad – he’s bad. I’m not happy if my kid comes home with a D- just because it wasn’t an F.

      1. pws

        “The accepted definition of a terrorist now is any male of military service age?”

        I think it’s more like the definition of terrorist in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

      2. Crazy Horse

        You are sitting down with your family in Afghanistan to a family dinner— the Afghanistani equivalent of Thanksgiving dinner. Your uncle Mohamed joins you just as you are about to begin. Moments later there is a blinding flash, and your entire family is killed along with four children playing in the neighbor’s yard.

        Define terrorism.

        By any definition of the word Obama is the world’s chief terrorist.

        His assassinations by remote control are not even a topic worthy of debate among the citizens of the USA. Out of sight out of mind–go buy a new I-Pad Mini loaded with digital war games and contribute to the Gross NP.

      3. Crazy Horse

        The “Big One” Obama eliminated was so important that the body had to be spirited away in the middle of the night and ostensibly fitted with concrete boots and buried at sea. If you believe that story I’ve 100,000 shares of Las Vegas real estate derivatives I’ll sell you at face value—.

        Funny how the Osama that was used by Cheney/Bush to create orange alerts grew younger over the years, developed much more muscular shoulders and neck, different nose, grew darker and thicker hair, and recovered from terminal kidney failure while living in a compound down the street from the Pakistani secret service. Or could Benazir Bhutto, prime minister of Pakistan, have been correct when she said that Osama bin Ladan died of kidney failure in 2002?

    3. citalopram

      You forgot to add quotes around the word “terrorists”. We don’t know those people he blows up without so much as a trial are terrorists.

    4. steelhead23

      Dear Lord, you cannot be serious. I am not going to provide you a list of his failures or his ugly successes. Rather, I will state succinctly why this king must not stand. Our king has placed himself above the law. As evidence, I offer up Anwar al Alwaki, an American citizen, killed in Yemen at the order of one Barack Obama. When was he tried for his supposed crimes? The king also killed Alwaki’s teenaged son. From where I sit, the king has committed murder – a high crime in anyone’s book. But there is more. He continues to support extraordinary rendition of foreign nationals to locals where they will be tortured. More? He spies on Americans without court order. Enough.

      I encourage you to read Thomas Jefferson’s list of grievances sent to King George III in the Declaration of Independence. About half of those same grievances could be attached to our current king, including his economic favoritism shown his friends (e.g. Goldman Sachs). To suggest that Obama has done much to reclaim democracy from the likes of GWB is laughable, he merely stood in the line of succession, usurping the power of the people. Viva la 99!

    5. Doug Terpstra

      “Tell me what policies of his you don’t like. Actual policies.” Sorry, not enough space, but here’s a start

      Gitmo
      NDAA
      Drone war(S) war crimes
      Amnesty for torturers and other war criminals
      DOJ negligence
      Fraudclosure Amnesty
      NAFTA/SHAFTA/NPP
      The Dream-on Act (immigrants as cannon fodder)
      Death Panel-Pharma Profiteers Bailout Act (aka Obamacare)
      Grand Bargain (Cat) Food Stamps
      Billionaire tax cut extensions made permanent
      FICA tax defunding
      Monsanto
      Campaign Finance
      Palestine
      Gulf and arctic drilling
      Cap and Fade
      Libya
      Afghanistan
      Honduras
      Syria
      Iran
      Cuba

      etcetera…
      ad infinitum

      The better question for you would be, which of his actual policies do you like? …

      (crickets)
      (ribet…croak…ribet)

      1. redleg

        Yup. It has a name too – fascism.
        Before it’s too late, we can deal with it via decentralization of both government and economy.
        The upcoming battle over cannabis legalization in CO (and WA) will be a bellweather.

        1. Carol Sterritt

          Hey Redleg – you used the “F” word. Now: How can you use that word when his wife is so sweet, sort of glamorous also. And the kids and the dog are so cute.

          This is America – you can’t use the “F” word unless the person you attribute that word to happens to speak loudly and act impolite. If they qualify as one of America’s top celebrities – why, heavens to Betsy,you need to find a different word!

    6. nonclassical

      …let’s begin with DRONE STRIKES-NDAA, breaking of campaign promises-”public option”, refusal to hold Wall $treet perps accountable for “criminogenic accounting fraud” (WK Black), cutting deal prior to election with bushshitters to NOT do accountability for WAR CRIMES, continuation of bushit surveillance LIES..the nerve of bushbama-lecturing Wisconsin denizens-stating he had long stood WITH them, when not even showing up during Scott Walker debacle…stifling transparency, oversight, truth regarding much of above, throwing grassroots under bus after 2008 elections…could go on, and on…

    7. Carol Sterritt

      Here is a nice fun way even for you to get the education you so desperately need so you can intelligently discuss these things with the rest of us. Rent the DVD “Inside Job”

      It will let you understand where most of us who really and truly “get” Obama are coming from.

    8. Carol Sterritt

      Well, Capitalist, since you don’t seem too aware of the actual manner by which Obama has screwed us up and over, here’s the easiest and most fun way to help educate yourself – rent the DVD “Inside Job.”

      The trillions that Obama let Geithner/Bernanke offer up to the Bigget Financial Firms in the world are all monies that came from the Middle Incomed and from Small Businesses on Main Street. And since usually Obama supporters don’t understand what a trillion is all about – here’s one way to view the roughly 4.6 trillions of dollars that we are being told the Big Finance people now have but will never repay – that 4.6 trillion could operate the state of California for 66 years. Without a single penny of money coming from us citizens. (And California is home to thirty seven million people.)

  2. CB

    Correct me if you think otherwise, but given Obama’s history and the disposition of Congress, I believe a fast slide into full out, big D Depression is the only thing that could break the (perverse) current economic policies. Either fast or slow, a lot of people are going to lose everything and I’m thinking fast might get a turnaround started sooner. No guarantees, of course, but prospects now are frightening: a slow grinding into the worst of wage and debt slavery for most Americans. Narcissistic sociopath, indeed. With lots of well placed and eager accomplices.

  3. psychohistorian

    We are talking to the wall until significant personal pain is felt by enough people that the brain washing by the media stops working.

    I had hope that more people would be past the brain washing but the election results paint a pretty ugly picture. Without some electoral challenge to the existing structure, “it” will continue to assume a social mandate.

    I think we are about to see what that social mandate means to our reelected president and hope I am wrong. Does government exist to serve the greater populace or the global inherited rich.

    The money quote from your posting Yves is, “….concessions for Obama are typically a vehicle to get him where he wanted to go anyhow.”

    NATIONALIZE THE FED !!!!

    1. K Ackermann

      Nationalize the Fed? If the roll of the Fed is to serve the banks, then it already is nationalized.

      The Fed sure as hell has no roll serving anything else.

      1. psychohistorian

        The point I am making is that the Fed is not public but private.

        I am proposing a banking/monetary system that is sovereign, not private…..and where the profits accrue to the public commons by my slogan:

        NATIONALIZE THE FED !!

  4. Mary Bess

    Welcome to the Last Colony, populated with muppets whose minds are so f**ked that they’re out in the streets celebrating the electorial triumph of their executioner.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Indeed, OWS was a MASSIVE FAIL, MASSIVE. The electorate has proven to be 98.5% captured by the duopoly charade — just rolled over in terror and exposed its underbelly in total submission. Have your way with us. The fear-induced mind-washing is apparently so far advanced, even total collapse is unlikely to wrest control from the kleptocracy. This inflicts a critical dose of reality. It’s ugly, very ugly. But it is the world as it is.

      The Prophet Chris Hedges’ pre-election article “The S&M Election” reveals the perverse dynamic and its inescapable results.

      “The elites know, as Canetti wrote, that once we stop thinking we become a herd. We react to every new stimulus as if we were rats crammed into a cage. When the elites push the button, we jump. It is collective sadomasochism. And we will get a good look at it on Election Day.”

      http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_sm_election_20121105/

  5. athena1

    I’m unhurting my feelers with the notion that someone, somewhere, thinks I’m an imposter of myself. That whole notion is making me giggle. I’m easily amused like that. lol.

  6. Middle Seaman

    Several point that are significant in my opinion: Obama doesn’t have what it takes to be president. Giving decent speeches is not enough. A lot of the problems he has are due to ineptness. The health care reform fight was way too long, Obama too passive and the result too meager. Obama lacks vision and therefore adopted the vision of his sponsors, the 1%. Cutting the social safety net will cause terrible damage to the poor and the lower middle class. That, however, is what the 1% want. We don’t have a progressive movement. Progressives are an intellectual version of the Tea Party. A hate machine that brought us Obama because they hated Clinton, they hate uneducated people, hate right wingers, etc.

    Basically, we are rudderless directed therefore by the 1%.

    1. K Ackermann

      Hold on… are you saying we are rudderless because of an inept president? We just need the right person to lead us in the right direction?

      The president can’t write laws. We need to stop the influence of money, and a president can’t do that. Only laws can do that, and money is making sure that won’t happen. That’s the conservative vision.

      1. No Know

        “…only laws can do that”. Did you just forget to mention the enforcement part? Given recent history, that is not a trivial omission.

      2. ambrit

        Dear KA;
        I must respectfully disagree. Looking back at how FDR saved capitalism from itself in the thirties, you have a primer on how a competent, clear sighted executive handles a crisis. Obama shows almost none of the qualities that earned FDR his well deserved beatification. Indeed, Middle Seaman is too easy on Obama, but his core complaint against the POTUS is valid. Obama seems to function on the method of “going along to get along.” Whether or not he is truly evil, I don’t know yet. Unfortunately, the evidence is trending that way.

    2. Aquifer

      Hmmm – it seemed to me that Obama beat Hilary in the primaries in ’08 because he was a better Clinton than she was …

      Well if they picked Obama because they hated Clinton – boy were they in for a surprise

      1. different clue

        If blogposts about Grand Theft Nomination 2008 by Riverdaughter at the blog The Confluence are indeed correct,
        Hillary won most of the primaries and that is a fact which needs accepting and pondering . . .

        1. Lambert Strether

          I don’t recall the whole list, but the entire Democratic caucus process was deeply flawed, and there’s well-attested evidence (two separate films with interviews of poll workers) that the Obama campaign committed fraud in TX, and that’s before we get to the Rules and Bylaws Commission (chaired by James Roosevelt of Tufts Health, which benefitted so handsomely from ObamaCare). The Clinton campaign didn’t challenge the results, out of party loyalty, but those who were watching closely at the time saw it.

          1. Aquifer

            Hilary/Obama – teedlededee, tweedlededom – that primary, IMO, was not about “the soul of the party” or “different visions for the future” but about who would be the titular head of the vast money producing/distributing DLC (controlling) faction of the party – though Obama “won” that round, the Clinton’s never gave up and it became clear they “needed” each other –

            Obamacare/Hilarycare – hey folks, don’t you remember, those “debates” had as much “substance” to them as the recent Pres. ones. Wow, the big choice – a (1/2)black man or a woman! As for policy? Eh ..

            All politics is personal …

  7. Paul Tioxon

    The broken system they are referring to is Capitalism. By any standard of valid comprehension as to what that means, the trans-national market mechanism of capital accumulation and capital flows and the nation state system, operating as a unitary whole, provide the 2 main institutional structures of the current global social order.

    Growing economically may not be a solution, other than ideally. Operationally, the hierarchy set up to extract the vast majority of wealth from the working populace of the industrialized nations can no longer find enough wealth to support the class of people at the top 20% or so of the income stratification. At the same time, the logical place to go is where ever the biggest pile of money is, e.g. The Social Security Trust Fund and the dedicated FICA tax which creates a huge flow of cash and is currently $2.5TRILLION in the black. However, this may solve one problem for the market mechanism component of Capitalism, it creates a problem for the other component, the nation state.

    As a safety valve against disruptive political violence against the state, against society, and then, against the social order as a whole, for all of capitalism, the looting and destruction of Social Security as a real policy objective creates a conflict of interest between the political class and the aristocratized high net worth families of America. And among the wealthy class, there is not only economic competition in the marketplace between competing economic interests, there are diverging analysis and conflicting opinions on the best way to retain power and wealth. Certainly, the route of blunt violent oppression, economic privation and brutal mental and emotional attacks is one way. But that is costly and not very stable. Garrison states with large scale policing policies have large scale payrolls. The liberal welfare state was a solution which allowed enough buy in for the populace to become loyal to the state, with an appropriate level of prosperity without dampening aristocratic hierarchies. The social order was stable. The social order, as codified by the Treaty of Detroit and transmitted through the antiseptic PR meme, “The American Dream”, was bought and maintained by the growing wealth of America.

    Since that is no longer economically viable from the aristocratic viewpoint, what then will take its place and how will these new terms be negotiated.

    President Obama has 2 competing ruling class ideologies to contend with. The wealthy are no more a monolith, all on the same page than any other social group. And war, as a simple solution, just have one, like a baby, then you’ll be all grown up, is a joke. The problem with war is that someone loses. It is not a kubuki theater or a potemkin village. We could lose!
    That would ruin the whole plan to silence the masses. Going to war, as in FDR had one, look at the wonders it worked for us, is almost too simple minded to have to break down. There was no guarantee of success then. Today, we are in a constant state of low level war and actual attenuated warfare around the world. This is another institutional feature of the US. The National Security Act formalized it legally by an act of Congress, that is renewed with each generation since 1947. It is the de facto 4th Estate, housed in its own icon, The Pentagon.

    So, war is an ongoing enterprise. We occupy the globe with over 600 dedicated military bases, outside of embassies. And the price to pay to get willing, loyal citizens to defend our way of life depends, on a large part, on having a way of life worth defending. Bradley Manning is an instance of someone in the military saying it is not. There are others who refuse orders as well, where NATO or International Forces insignia are required or refuse to obey commanders from other nations, because they are not US Constitutionally approved but World Government forces. The social contract, as to what constitutes what it is to be an American and what is Constitutionally American has already been shredded in the eyes of many citizens. The bright line that Social Security represents, could be the last act of transforming the USA into something completely alien and this is a MAJOR POLITICAL problem that can not be danced around with TV commercials and calls for doing what your country requires of you.

    President Obama is not a wealthy man nor does he come from wealth. He was socialized to be comfortable in the presence of powerful, wealthy people, but that does not make him powerful or wealthy. Today, he has a chance to be powerful by virtue of his office. He knows what the policy choices are for Social Security.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijxf3NN1B_s&feature=related

    There is a real opportunity for the Democratic Party to hold onto power for a generation, due to the real demographic shift away from the rugged individuals of the WWII generation who are shrinking in relative size as a part of the citizenry. Social Security will stabilize the social order during a period of disruptive discontinuity, at a cheaper price than becoming a garrison police state. Positive trends are: Legalizing pot, recognizing new citizens and selling fossil fuels for export while switching to electricity for cars will reduce health care costs by cleaning up the air. The Health Care Act will send over 30 million people into medicaid in the coming years because there is no affordable private insurance alternative. Even the working middle class with subsidies will find their way into Medicaid, due to stagnant wages and hyper-inflating health insurance premiums. It makes no sense that this policy initiative, now law, which formally reduces the health insurance industry into a regulated utility by defining the legal profit margin at 15-20% of every premium dollar paid and no more, would then be destroyed by the same president who lead its passage, and at the threat to his re-election.

    There is an ideal set of policies, the single payer system for health care that would be better, and may yet be enacted within a decade. But right now, with people being driven out of private health insurance due to high cost of premiums, the legal requirement to place them in Medicaid will see a 10s of millions enter the Federal Social Security System for all intents and purposes. This will take an terrible burden off the books of the private sector, especially among smaller business that still provides the benefit and ensure loyal voters with an interest in the continued maintenance of the political party which provides this benefit. The social order will be well served.

    The political opposition, lead by Mitt Romney, hates this path, but just had the political beating of a lifetime handed to them. They will only get worse beatings as each their aged supporters passes and the young growing Black, Hispanic and other groups grow in number. It is not The Great Coalition of labor, Jews, Catholics, small farmers and business of FDR, but it is the Obama Correlate to that. It is structurally a shift in electoral power and to feed the need to retain that power, these programs, the safety net must expand.

    This is a political opportunity to demand in no uncertain terms and with no restraint on how we demand. The alternative, not only for republicans but dems, is younger, disaffected and disillusioned voters striking out in their own direction, towards new parties, such as the Greens, disrupting the social order, the economy and the public institutions during a time of regular crisis.

    1. I Don't Know

      Well, that’s certainly one take on it Paul. I’d like to believe Obama is that sharp and politically calculating, but somehow I doubt it. I just don’t see a narrow 2% victory over a laughable caricature of a conservative candidate whose own party had to hold their nose to support as signalling any sort of historical shift in and of itself. The proof will indeed be in the pudding. Obama’s now got four more years to do even a fraction of the stuff he should have got done on any front in his first four. Even money that if he doesn’t we’ll be lamenting the end of the “late, great, liberal opposition party” or some such nonsense in 2016. Can’t come soon enough IMO. Democrats – The More Effective Evil.

      1. sleepy

        Yes, I agree that Obama has shown no evidence of being a president who would upset the trajectory downward. Whether it’s lack of leadership, or basic policy preferences (which is what I think) doesn’t much matter.

        Beyond all the instant punditry that the gop is sunk by demographics, how will that play out when the dems run an old white man or old white lady in 2016, and the repubs run a more youthful Hispanic or other minority? It’s not hard to believe that much of that demographic simply voted for Obama because of his generated PR as someone “different”, regardless of his actual politics.

        1. K Ackermann

          The GOP is not sunk by demographics, it’s sunk by a flawed ideology based on conflicting axioms and beliefs.

          The GOP doesn’t do demographics – it does types. It panders hard to types, sharply defining them and then establishing purity tests for inclusion. It’s not enough to be pro-life, you have declare rape as God’s will, and soon menstration will be under attack.

          They forget they are just saying crap and become unreasonable, and their positions untenable. When was the last time a GOP-led congress passed a law banning abortion? They don’t even try once they are elected.

          Their only natural demographic now are the people known as corporations.

        2. diptherio

          “Whether it’s lack of leadership, or basic policy preferences (which is what I think) doesn’t much matter.”–Sleepy

          Any good politician (so far as I can tell) doesn’t actually have policy preferences as such. Like any good debater, they can make a (reasonably) convincing argument for any policy. And like any good piper, they know enough to let the guy with the dough call the tunes. That guy, of course, ain’t any of us :)

      2. dirtbagger

        Have to to agree that Obama has been a mediocre President his first 4 years, but the daily nastiness slung at him is unprecedented. The attempt to depict Obama as a master chess player with the grand scheme is just plain BS, as the only time he seems to exert leadership is when it is thrust upon him by outside events. In these cases, his staying power is short and the bold ideas quickly fade into obscurity – prosecution task force for mortgage fraud, case in point.

        This is a difficult time for any President to govern. There is a very good reason why Congressional approval is sub 30%. They cannot even pass a highway bill or airport projects to allocate funds that have already been collected in gas taxes and fees. Can anyone remember a time when this has been the case? Usually congress members are salivating at the prospect of returning money and projects to their districts.

        Outside of the Newt era, when has there been such a problem raising the debt ceiling? This is money that has already been spent and the credit card bill has come due – not new appropriations. Yes, Obama has mostly kicked the can down the road, but without congressional cooperation(including Dems – witness Dodd-Frank) on nearly any issue outside of defense, continuation of the status quo has been pretty much the only option.

        With Obama’s re-election, it will give me perverse pleasure to witness so many people going absolutely crazy because a black man is occupying the White House for a second term. Given the choice between a mediocrity and a genuine duche bag, I opt for mediocrity.

    2. Susan the other

      I think your reasoning, that the right wing is bereft of viable social solutions, is solid. The bit about working people unable to afford health insurance and so they will be helped via Medicare/Medicade and thus small business, and medium business, will also be helped, etc. is a good long view of how things will turn out. And the whole idea of making health insurance a utility with a guaranteed 15% profit margin cannot survive for long. Pharma is crashing already. (Testosterone pit today) How long term is the question. Right now, in the medium term, we are all threatened with cuts to entitlements that are already cut to the bone. The irony being that this in turn cuts into the profits of the Medical Industrial Complex. And every other capitalist enterprise which itself relies on social well being to provide company profits.

    3. nonclassical

      Paul,

      ..while I largely agree with synopsis delivered, people are missing what is actually being done with tripled under bushit “military-surveillance budget”-towit, weapons-suveillance in space.

      Throw that method of “control” into your equation, albeit together with drones already operational in U.S….and potential for “control” of masses equivocates…

      1. Carol Sterritt

        It is being said that drones could blip an Electro magnetic pulse at a home, and destroy the computer’s HD. Then once you factor in things like chem trails and HAARP, and we are living in very scarey times. (And perhaps the scariest part of all of this – no one can even admit to believing in chem trails or HAARP, without the “tin foil hat” analogy being thrust on them.) Patent number for device that was precursor to HAARP: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=4%2C686%2C605.PN.&OS=PN%2F4%2C686%2C605&RS=PN%2F4%2C686%2C605

  8. sleepy

    Thanks for the link. A depressing future, yet spoken with great clarity.

    A note-amidst the doom and gloom, a rat ran across the wall just to the right of Mr. Johnson @ c. 12:27.

    1. Schtumb

      The camera is angled low and pointing up at the speaker; I think that is the top of someone’s head walking past, showing above a low wall.

      Try watching it again a few times. Rats don’t have foreheads…

    1. howard hughes blues

      what’s the point of this article? no politician is perfect. they all fight dirty or they’d never get elected. do you think mitt romney would be better? is that what you’re saying?

  9. MacCruiskeen

    The problem with your headline is the suggestion that Obama’s win is a sign the system is broken. If Obama had lost, would the system be fixed? Given that the most likely alternative to an Obama win was a Romney win, the answer to that is clearly no. The correct headline would be “Election held, broken system still broken.” The system is still very, very far from being able to produce any other result.

  10. McWatt

    Okay everybody get over it. Stop with the Romney/Obama

    bashing, enough already. This site needs to get down to the hard work of

    making non-politcal recommendations to get the finances of the country

    back on track. I agree about the past, let’s move on and talk about the future.

    Let’s start with helping find a new treasury secretary.

    1. Noe G

      How about taxing the MAKERS when the take their companies over seas?

      But that requires advocacy from the very party that betrayed Americans in black face

      1. Noe G

        or how about this?

        Make it illegal for sharks like romney and Icahn to bankrupt a company with debt after they’ve siphoned off all the cash.

        oh yeah… same problem

        high rhetoric in black face… but owned by the same 1%

        1. CB

          Boooorrrrrring gasbag. I call him Windy City. If you can listen to more than a few minutes, you’re made of sterner stuff than I.

    2. MacCruiskeen

      “This site needs to get down to the hard work of making non-politcal recommendations . . . Let’s start with helping find a new treasury secretary.”

      Finding a new Treasury Secretary is nonpolitical? I guess, if that position were assigned by random lottery.

    3. nonclassical

      nooooo; let’s “start with” finding a non-DLC dem to empower vs. Chris Christie,
      2016…bushbama is leading nowhere, which WILL empower repubLIEcons 2016..
      and they know it. Too soon-too little experience (did bushbama have better?),
      but let’s find-support an Elizabeth Warren ethical candidate…

  11. Quintus25

    Yves,

    Per usual, your analysis is sound and as insightful as ever. I do have one quibble and it’s not directed at your blog post. I’m a twenty something year old who reads this site daily. It’s great remedy against the misinformation found in MSM and supposed progressive outlets. The only thing I find wanting is possible steps to redress some of the issues covered in this blog – income inequality, the corporate plutocracy, the housing crisis, job crisis, etc.

    It’s clear by his policies that President Obama is not this “pragmatic progressive” individual in the media. We all know he sucks and it’s not him but the corporate and political elite as well. My question is what is to be done? I don’t want to become cynical and bitch about Obama’s betrayal of working people. I want to move in a direction where we pressure the Democractic party in a similar fashion as the radical labor movement did in the 1930s. We need to raise these issues into the general population’s conscience and somehow change the discourse in public policy. Similarly, to what Occupy did in 2011.

    I understand this is hard and requires intense motivation and perseverance. I’m hoping we can discuss practical steps to move the conversation and effect change. One of Yves’ ideas is making TBTF banks into public utilities. This is a great idea and a rational response to the financial crisis! How do we move in a fashion where this becomes a reality? Obama is a disappointment and I’m hoping we can have this conversation in the comments section.

    1. ambrit

      Estimable Quintus25;
      One thing going on now is a nascent ‘wildcat’ strike being organized for ‘Black Friday’ against Wal Mart. Early days yet, but the Wobs could become a force to be recogned with yet again. (If you have doubts, look up their participation in Mexicoes 1910 Revolution.)

        1. ambrit

          Dear docg;
          Well, well, let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, shall we?
          Hah! Without, “Impossible Remedies” we shall not know the true limits to the system, or even if the “system” itself is worth saving.

          1. docg

            If you read my blog, you’ll see that I have indeed proposed a remedy. The only remedy that could work: LET THE SYSTEM FALL OF ITS OWN WEIGHT.

          2. Quintus25

            Thank you all for your comments and I am humbled by them. I’m working class kid and no one special.

            I had never heard the fable of the bell and the cat but understand why it resonates with people. I am not naïve about the difficulty in achieving systemic and substantial change. In response to the worst crisis in global capitalism since the 1930s, it is realistic to demand the impossible. The status quo is unsustainable and untenable. What world will I grow up over the 21st century? My fear is my friends and loved ones will live in a dystopian corporate and environmental nightmare a la a Philip K novel. Dick novel.

            Yes, it is easy to demand the impossible but we need to take steps to address our problems. I realize this takes many years and will have its share of many setbacks and defeats. I acknowledge the moral of the story but refuse to do nothing. The stakes are too high to become complacent.

            Change is hard and defeat is always near. I’m hoping we can take practical steps to find solutions to the many issues addressed in this wonderful blog. Is it solidarity, institution building or collective action? I don’t pretend to have the answers but it’s worth changing the current discourse.

            Thanks for everyone responding. I eagerly await further discussion on this topic.

          3. docg

            Cat vs. mouse-wise, that would read:

            When you see the bloody cat having a bloody heart attack, do NOT call the doctor, do NOT call an ambulance, do NOT regulate, do NOT resuscitate, do NOT come up with all manner of cleverly contrived remedies his doctors might be too timid to attempt, just let the bloody monster DIE DIE DIE. (Sorry, Yves, I know you have a thing for cats. :-)

            That is not an impossible remedy. While it might seem cruel, for mice like us it means: survival.

            (Actually I too have a thing for cats. But NOT capitalism, no. No no no.)

          4. Nathanael

            Here’s a remedy: get your local governments thinking the right way and doing the right thing. Organize your local businesses as co-ops and patronize them. Build from the ground up.

    2. sierra7

      Quintus25:

      Historically the only way “change” comes to any society (some bad, some good) is for that “society” to take to the streets.
      There is no easy way.
      Then, the “guillotine”!

      Seeking any “easy” way is futile……you will be crushed!

    3. nonclassical

      25,

      first battle began yesterday-John Boehner LYING=”Entitlements are the CAUSE of our economic problems”…take this to where it leads-bushbama “reach across the aisle” to phony “end partisanship”, to “fix the fiscal cliff”…and it WILL be a battle…it’s battle by battle…all life long…best would be to gain PROactive, over REactive…

      takes great education, which you are gaining here…and self-discipline-all discipline is SELF-discipline…”wisdom” could be said to be PROactive self-discipline…

  12. docg

    “Obama wins. The system is broken.” Wow. How about your credibility, Yves? Maybe that’s what you should be worrying about right now. Because from where I sit, that’s what’s broken.

    I’ve been wondering about this blog for some time. Too many of your “loyal followers” sound like Tea Party trolls, posing as progressives seeking to siphon off as many votes as possible to an irrelevant pretense of a “third party.”

    So what are you telling us? Is this a confession? You’re one of them? You actually wanted Romney/Ryan to win? You voted fascist? To save the country from being “broken”????

    Stick to economics, Yves. You have no idea what politics is all about, not a clue!!!!

    1. Valissa

      Hmmm… this verbal attack feels familiar… oh, yeah, I remember… the witch trials. Obviously anyone who isn’t appropriately adoring the Lord must be consorting with the Devil.

      There is no other reality to so many partisans, there is only a Manichean duality formulated and perpetutated by those addicted mainting and recreating it.

      I am so ready to see this L-R/L-C paradigm and all the related propaganda for the true believers decay even faster than it already is.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Sir, you are a good American! I salute you.

      Reapeat after me:
      “Obama is not a fascist”
      “Obama is not a war criminal”
      “Obama is a man of peace”
      “Obama protects and defends the Constitution and the rule of law”
      “Obama supports and protects the middle class”
      “Obama will save Social Security”

        1. docg

          No need to repeat any of that. Obama is not a king! He is not a dictator! He cannot perform miracles at your request. He has to work through our system, which is admittedly very close to being broken, yes. But NOT because Romney wasn’t elected, my GOD, where does THAT come from?

          Nor do I have any desire to defend him. He’s a wishy washy Clinton style “compromiser.” Except Clinton actually did manage to compromise, while Obama has no idea that in order to strike a deal you actually have to take a position first, not begin by accepting the other side’s demands ahead of time.

          He’s been captured by Wall St. He’s been captured by the military and the military-industrial complex that feeds all these bloody wars. And he’s come close to being captured by the Republican House.

          That said: he is NOT Romney, no. He is NOT a fascist, no. There IS some hope for him, yes. At least I think so. And in the political climate as it now exists in this country, it looks as though he might be the best we can do — for now.

          Romney is NOT the best we can do. He may well be the worst, because he really cares not about anyone or anything but his own investment — in himself.

      1. docg

        Not true, m. sereno. I know of many clues to (fill in the blank). For example:

        Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

        Another example:

        When the nun Chiyono studied Zen under Bukko of Engaku she was unable to attain the fruits of meditation for a long time.

        At last one moonlit night she was carrying water in an old pail bound with bamboo. The bamboo broke and the bottom fell out of the pail, and at that moment Chiyono was set free!

        In commemoration, she wrote a poem:

        In this way and that I tried to save the old pail
        Since the bamboo strip was weakening and about
        to break
        Until at last the bottom fell out.
        No more water in the pail!
        No more moon in the water!

        And if you want to learn, for example, how to (fill in the blank) by fixing the system, you should read my post on that topic, which will set your heart at ease: http://amoleintheground.blogspot.com/2009/06/fixing-system.html

        Or perhaps not.

        1. charles sereno

          Hi m. docg. I did want to learn and set my heart at ease by reading your blogs. As you anticipated, what happened was “perhaps not.”
          What I got out of them (and I’m no genius) was this, in your own words: “And when it comes to belling these particular Fat Cats, the remedy may well be just that: impossible.” And, after some passable Poetry, “Let it fail.” In my opinion, a lot of notes, no melody.

          1. docg

            “A lot of notes/ No melody.” A veritable Haiku. I like it! Hah! Good.

            What I meant by “impossible” was the task of belling the cat, aka fixing the system. ALL else is in fact possible. That melody is for YOU to write . . . (plural you, natch. In Pgh. we say “yins”)

          2. charles sereno

            docg: In reply (temporally, not spatially) to you — Will you grant US that “fixing the system” itself is possible, even though unlikely?
            To whom it may concern: Why is the REPLY option not always available?

    3. nonclassical

      sir,

      Yves is NOT “the problem”..some of us here have fought this battle since RFK assassination-having met him only days prior-viewed his assassination on television, following acceptance speech-California primary…some of us did university level Philosophy (history of human conceptualization-thought) and Poly-Sci, attempting to comprehend what we were witnessing…and did so. Some of us recognize “Yves Smith’s” non-lineal fact based reality…perhaps INductive, (female?) process, rather than DEductive..(authoritarian). TRUTH is the issue, and you appear to prefer lineal black-white dichotomy…you need to rise above good-bad, right-wrong, black-white, to truth…none of the above..

      It would be wise to consider more than dem-rep…perhaps aide empowerment of 3rd, 4th, 5th political parties…no matter how frustratingly slow the process..
      some of us have been doing so (Jill Stein) for nearly all our lives..

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      docg,

      It is remarkable to see you take the position that you are a political expert when you’ve made statements about Obama like this:

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/11/obama-wins-the-system-is-broken.html#comment-900069

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/11/should-people-vote-for-obama-or-third-parties-in-swing-states.html#comment-894525

      I’ll just deal with the latter, since it reveals your failure to do basic homework. Obama did not “foolishly offer” to make cuts out of some sort of political necessity. He has WANTED to cut Social Security and Medicare, dating back to BEFORE he took office.

      You are simply dead wrong about Obama’s policies and his mode of operation. He governs as a center-right winger, with emphasis on the right. He is an authoritarian. He needs to pretend to be liberal to appease (fool) his base, so his “compromises” aren’t out of need or character defect, they get him to where exactly he wanted to be, but allow him to shift blame to those big bad meanie Republicans.

      If you can’t grok something that basic, you have no business opining on politics.

      And separately, the tone of your comments is an assisted suicide request. Commenting here is a privilege, not a right. Attacking the readership as “followers” is getting you troll points. They may be energetic and engaged, but they are diverse and varied in their views.

      1. Lambert Strether

        On “foolishly”–

        Obama, in 2007, putting Social Security “on the table” before the Iowa primaries in 2008.

        Seriously, I thought the “He had to say that” talking point had died back in 2008. Guess not.

        Like the musical says, “You gotta know the territory.”

      2. docg

        Yves, when you produce a blaring headline implying the system is broken because Obama defeated Romney, I’m sorry but that is EXTREME. And you deserve to take some heat for it. It may reflect your ideology, but that ideology places you in a very narrow corner of the political spectrum, as the election results have revealed. Jill Stein’s party garnered .3% of the national vote. Clearly she is no Henry Wallace.

        And sure, when every statement Obama makes is interpreted according to your very narrowly framed ideology, then how does that distinguish you from the ideologues on the right? Who are making many of the same claims, by the way.

        Judging from the extremity of your views, which often do echo those of the Tea Party, I must once again ask the all important question: “which side are you on?” Because sometimes I wonder.

        1. docg

          Lambert, it may come as a surprise to you, but a great many people have been following the various debates over Social Security for many years. And as one of them, I suggest your view is strongly colored by your ideology, NOT by the facts. Sure, Obama put Social Security on the table. So what? How does willingness to negotiate over such a complex and controversial issue amount to a sellout? It’s an issue that has to be addressed, whether you like it or not.

          He’s made it clear he does not want to privatize it. It’s true he is more concerned about deficits than you, or Yves, or Paul Krugman, but he’s not alone in this concern and that certainly does not make him a sellout to the right. As I see it, the current deficits are way beyond anything we’ve ever faced in the past, and so references to Keynsian economics don’t necessarily hold. An economy that depends on ever greater borrowing not only to pay its bills but pay back its loans is very close to being a Ponzi scheme and that must be addressed.

          If this means adjustments in Social Security, then so be it. In my view such adjustments need not involve cuts. If SS were turned into a progressive rather than a regressive tax that could solve it. And I feel sure that’s the sort of thing Obama would want to see — if he thought he could get it passed, which he probably can’t.

          Sorry if that upsets you. It upsets me as well, but I see no reason for blaming Obama for the fix we’re in. We are living in a deeply divided country, which also happens to be a Democracy — at least to the extent that we all still have to abide by what the voters want, like it or not.

          For my views on Social Security, I’ll refer you to the following blog posts:

          http://amoleintheground.blogspot.com/2011/07/them-danged-entitlements.html

          http://amoleintheground.blogspot.com/search?q=social+security

          You can see from what I’ve written that as I see it Soc. Sec. need not be a problem. And I would hope that the remedies I’ve proposed would be the ones Obama would propose. But he’s the one in the line of fire, not me, and he is in a much better position to evaluate what will fly and what will drop dead on the ground in a heap.

          Maybe that distinction offends you, but I’m sorry, it’s an essential part of politics — which is a very different thing from economic theory, despite the considerable overlap.

        2. Lambert Strether

          You feel, then, that the idea there are only two sides (“which”) is an original contribution?

          Daily Kos is that way.

          For myself, I take a monstrously large Gini ratio (increased under Obama) as an excellent sign that the system is broken, as does the interviewee. This is hardly an extreme view among social scientists; the Gini ratio was devised to measure exactly this sort of problem.

          Perhaps your perception of “narrowness” is produced by narrow reading, conbined with partisan tendentiousness?

          1. docg

            Lambert, if you ever take the time to read in my blog, you’ll see that my views are hardly typical of either side of the political spectrum. I enjoy rattling anyone and everyone who, as I see it, hasn’t thought things through carefully and critically enough.

            That said, sooner or later one must take sides. This is certainly not an original thought, but nevertheless one well worth reiterating. I side with the left. What side are YOU on?

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          docg,

          You continue to stick your foot in mouth and chew, which is largely the result failure to do BASIC research.

          1. The headline is the same as the one from Real News Network. That’s Web etiquette when cross posting. And RNN has at LEAST 3X my following on its site, and its videos are also cross posted more widely than my blog’s are, meaning they have more reach. So why aren’t you trying to hector them? Hint: it won’t go over well there either.

          2. If the views of this blog are so fringe, why are you bothering with thought policing? Please quit bothering us with your attempts at Manichean re-education, particularly since you can’t muster adequate information to persuade anyone here. Asserting that we are like the Tea Party is counterfactual and discredits you.

          3. And you are also wrong re the “fringiness” of the views expressed. If you were as knowledgeable about politics as you say you are, you’d know Rob Johnson is a heavyweight behind the scenes player in the Democratic party.

          1. docg

            Yves, often when I read here, or watch RNN, I find myself both learning and enthusiastically agreeing. So when I see a headline of that sort on your blog, it seriously alarms me. Just as you wonder what Obama really thinks, right now I’m wondering what you really think. I know you’re busy so I’ll understand if you prefer to move on from this thread. But if you do have the time I’d appreciate your answer to the following questions: do you really think a Romney victory would have been preferable to the Obama victory? do you really think the system would somehow be less broken if Romney had won?

            Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood you. I hope I have.

      1. MLS

        Further modified (to borrow from an oft-used line around NC):

        The result of the election is a feature, not a bug.

  13. Susan the other

    We need to change the Fed’s mandate: The Federal Reserve, which is nothing more than the National Reserve, needs to be able to create concrete fiscal solutions to unemployment by funding jobs programs put together by the administration and/or congress. What we have now is the equivalent of the ECB – paralysis, unemployment, a budget-by-austerity-rule which has reached critical mass, etc. All of this is not only irrational, it is illegal. The Fed doesn’t have the legal authority to pour our money down the rat hole of a derelict private banking system and then look up sheepishly and say that it is a private matter. Right. We are paying for the private banking system to pig out and suck all the money out of the system while it refuses to create jobs. Even if it wanted to create jobs, it can’t because it doesn’t have the organisation to mobilize such an effort. Private banking self-interest needs to be untangled from our national wealth and politics. Nationalize the banks into a new system of sovereign money.

    1. Susan the other

      We need 25 million jobs. First nationalize the banking system. Then spend money into the economy like there is no tomorrow: There are more than enough projects to fund: Divert the Military/Navy to hire civilians to do a long term clean up of the oceans; Create two million more preschools; Create two million more subsidized day care centers for preschoolers and old folks; train sufficient teachers and nurses to staff them; Create five million more teachers for elementary and secondary schools; Create excellent on-line, inexpensive universities. Create a new non-prescription drug industry of standardized and regulated herbal remedies and pot; Fund every promising research project out there and then fund applied research for new environmentally and socially valuable enterprises; Retool the rust belt not for cars but for public transportation vehicles and trains; Fund a new agriculture by subsidizing decentralized permaculture agriculture; Fund a new justice system which is legally accessible to all citizens and fund legal education centers and self-help centers; Fund big recycling projects; Fund the decommissioning of old nuclear reactors and building new thorium reactors; Require our manufacturing base to switch from a planned obsolescense model to a durability and repairability model, create trade schools to train workers; Decentralize commercial banking; Fund new innovative products that conserve energy on a basic level – cooking, heating, clothing, gardening. Fund mitigation projects for sea level rise and moving people inland. If the “free market” doesn’t find all this exciting enough, no problem because the people to be helped are the already unemployed. And they’ll all be paying FICA. Happily.

        1. Aquifer

          This sounds very much like the Green Party platform – even in most of the particulars …

          The problem seems to be everybody likes the ideas but when it comes time to actually vote for those who would put them in practice, too many folks seem to have a brain fart …

      1. Quintus25

        This is a bold idea Susan. How do we act to make it a reality? What are the steps needed to pressure political actors to achieve this? I agree we need millions of jobs to alleviate the jobs crisis. The question is how can this be done?

      2. Crazy Horse

        Spot on Susan!

        Add:
        “Decommission the Imperial Military and cut its budget to the same per capita level as that of Canada.”

        “Try all banksters and imprison for life all found guilty of financial terrorism.”

        “Legalize all recreational drugs and break the economic power of the Pusher Man.” (The Zetas, CIA, and other agents of the Devil).”

        “Seize all foreclosed homes and make them available for Homesteading with previous owners holding first priority.”

      3. Thisson

        Consuming more resources is not a viable solution to the problem of insufficient resources.

        Nor is it possible for the state to correctly allocate capital. This is Ludwig von Mises’s economic computation problem: centrally planned economies collapse because of it. The correct solution is to shrink government resources so there is more for consumption, savings, and especially investment, as it is investment in capital goods that results in increased production and thus more wealth to spread around.

        1. nonclassical

          thisson,

          ..the “government is the problem” crew have no idea…all governments in the world did not control enough $$$$ to destroy U.S. $6.5 trillion, world $16.5 trillion per year economies for over 5 years already, on the way to 10-20 more.
          PROBLEM: Americans can’t FOLLOW THE $$$$…here’s Robert Johnson 5 years ago, teaching them how to do so:

          http://www.nextnewdeal.net/what-congress-did-not-want-you-read-robert-johnsons-testimony-otc-derivative-market

          and here:

          http://www.nextnewdeal.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/raj-revised-testimony1.pdf

          TRUTH is the issue…learn to find it..

      4. Darren Kenworthy

        It is possible that the patient is too fragile for the treatment you propose. What the founders called “domestic tranquility” has been rigorously bound up with militarism and empire, and the empire grows fragile. When the tribute stops, domestic policy possibilities will contract, and the social and political situation will become truly fraught. We need a way to come down from our addiction without dying of the withdrawal symptoms. I think the proposals you outline are sound treatments, but exhibiting them will require great delicacy, and a realistic understanding of the role our empire plays, and what it’s end will mean.

  14. JS

    The Dems are approaching the point where they will have an electoral lock on the presidency, regardless of how they perform on the economy. Check the exit polling numbers, there are 3 big factors working against the Rs. 1) the percentage of Hispanic voters continues to increase, 2) single women continue to vote heavily for the Ds (probably in large measure due to the Rs position on abortion), 3) the percentage of single people in the voting population continues to increase (67% of single women voted D while 60% of single guys voted D). The Rs are becoming the party of white married people; those folks as a group are becoming a smaller proportion of the electorate.

    1. nonclassical

      Chris Christie will absolutely win 2016 election, and it will be bushbama’s fault..
      we can see “fiscal cliff” bushit already…bushbama “compromising”, for his Wall $treet constituency..AND read history of great depression..blame was passed back and forth, back and forth, and having no other “choice”, Americans threw the bums out again and again..that’s where U.S. is headed, and we all know so.

    1. sierra7

      Athena1:

      One of my last letters to editor of my local paper:

      America’s major political parties’ hegemonic foreign policies can only ultimately result in total failure, because those policies are based on the unrealistic attempt to limit the global spread of scientific knowledge, and the foolish objective to crush the resolve of peoples around the world to take charge of their own destinies. The historic record on this latter point is clear to anyone interested in American foreign policy research. (EX: see: “Killing Hope” William Blum 2004)
      The US looks out on the world and sees limitless “evildoers”; the world looks on the US as an hypocritical power that wishes to maintain its own nuclear weapon superiority to deny to others what it has in abundance. It preaches “democracy”, “rule of law”, but sets itself out as the ultimate arbiter of what is “just” or “unjust”. “You are with us or against us”. (Bush 2) This simplistic mantra is totally empty of furthering any progress on a more peaceful world. So is carrying around in your back pocket a “kill list” of those we wish to eliminate without the “rule of law” or “due process”. (Obama)
      Others also see the transparent idea that if one possesses nuclear weapons and the systems for ultimate delivery they essentially immunize themselves from further destabilization attempts by the US.
      The corollary to this terrible policy is that in order for the US to further its own “interests” abroad with such unrealistic policies it must further undermine the basic constitutional rights here at home of its own citizens. (Example: The American Defense Authorization Act 2012)
      This is a recipe for national and ultimately global disaster.
      We are destroying our Republic for Empire.

      1. nonclassical

        Blum is an internet friend…do you get his anti-empire report? I think it is not
        “scientific knowledge” being exploited; rather “financial sector”, U.S., Britain,
        calculatedly attacking “financial sectors” (ruthless “competition”)…

        ..obviously, rise of “disaster capitalism” is being turned upon Americans, having
        already exploited (Naomi Klein) rest of world…but that’s just here and now, and foreseeable future. Check out TPP=Trans-Pacific Partnership, to see where this leads, and how:

        “The TPP has been cleverly misbranded as a trade agreement (yawn) by its corporate boosters. As a result, since George W. Bush initiated negotiations in 2008, it has cruised along under the radar. The Obama administration initially paused the talks, ostensibly to develop a new approach compatible with candidate Obama’s pledges to replace the old NAFTA-based trade model. But by late 2009, talks restarted just where Bush had left off.

        Since then, US negotiators have proposed new rights for Big Pharma and pushed into the text aspects of the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would limit Internet freedom, despite the derailing of SOPA in Congress earlier this year thanks to public activism. In June a text of the TPP investment chapter was leaked, revealing that US negotiators are even pushing to expand NAFTA’s notorious corporate tribunals, which have been used to attack domestic public interest laws.

        Think of the TPP as a stealthy delivery mechanism for policies that could not survive public scrutiny. Indeed, only two of the twenty-six chapters of this corporate Trojan horse cover traditional trade matters. The rest embody the most florid dreams of the 1 percent—grandiose new rights and privileges for corporations and permanent constraints on government regulation. They include new investor safeguards to ease job offshoring and assert control over natural resources, and severely limit the regulation of financial services, land use, food safety, natural resources, energy, tobacco, healthcare and more.

        The stakes are extremely high, because the TPP may well be the last “trade” agreement Washington negotiates. This is because if it’s completed, the TPP would remain open for any other country to join. In May US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he “would love nothing more” than to have China join. In June Mexico and Canada entered the process, creating a NAFTA on steroids, with most of Asia to boot.

        Countries would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP’s rules—in effect, a corporate coup d’état. The proposed pact would limit even how governments can spend their tax dollars. Buy America and other Buy Local procurement preferences that invest in the US economy would be banned, and “sweat-free,” human rights or environmental conditions on government contracts could be challenged. If the TPP comes to fruition, its retrograde rules could be altered only if all countries agreed, regardless of domestic election outcomes or changes in public opinion. And unlike much domestic legislation, the TPP would have no expiration date.

        Failure to conform domestic laws to the rules would subject countries to lawsuits before TPP tribunals empowered to authorize trade sanctions against member countries. The leaked investment chapter also shows that the TPP would expand the parallel legal system included in NAFTA. Called Investor-State Dispute Resolution, it empowers corporations to sue governments—outside their domestic court systems—over any action the corporations believe undermines their expected future profits or rights under the pact. Three-person international tribunals of attorneys from the private sector would hear these cases. The lawyers rotate between serving as “judges”—empowered to order governments to pay corporations unlimited amounts in fines—and representing the corporations that use this system to raid government treasuries. The NAFTA version of this scheme has forced governments to pay more than $350 million to corporations after suits against toxic bans, land-use policies, forestry rules and more.

        The slight mainstream media coverage the TPP has received repeats the usual mantra: it’s a free-trade pact that will expand US exports. But trade is the least of it. The United States already has free-trade agreements that eliminated tariffs with most TPP countries, which highlights the fact that the TPP is mainly about new corporate rights, not trade. Besides, under past free-trade agreements, US export growth to partner countries is half as much as to countries with which we do not have such agreements. Since NAFTA and similar pacts went into effect, the United States has been slammed by a massive trade deficit, which has cost more than 5 million jobs and led to the loss of more than 50,000 manufacturing plants.

        How could something this extreme have gotten so far? The process has been shockingly secretive. In 2010 TPP countries agreed not to release negotiating texts until four years after a deal was done or abandoned. Even the World Trade Organization, hardly a paragon of transparency, releases draft negotiating texts. This means that although the TPP could rewrite vast swaths of domestic policy affecting every aspect of our lives, the public, press and Congress are locked out. Astoundingly, Senator Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate committee with official jurisdiction over TPP, has been denied access even to US proposals to the negotiations. But 600 corporate representatives serving as official US trade advisers have full access to TPP texts and a special role in negotiations. When challenged about the conflict with the Obama administration’s touted commitment to transparency, Trade Representative Kirk noted that after the release of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) text in 2001, that deal could not be completed. In other words, the official in charge of the TPP says the only way to complete the deal is to keep it secret from the people who would have to live with the results.”

        http://www.thenation.com/article/168627/nafta-steroids

        1. Aquifer

          And Katrina and her ilk tell us we must vote for the dude that will sign this ….because if we don’t we will get – a dude that will sign this ….

          Ah, pity the nation ….

  15. Nathanael

    Things are happening at the state level. Pay attention. I know several people who agree that the federal government is an unfixable disaster right now.

    However, if things change for the better at the state level, that creates a situation where we can ride out the collapse of the existing federal system relatively comfortably. It matters a lot. I see reasons for optimism in all of New England, along the West Coast, and in Minnesota. And even a little in New York (where the process of unjamming the state legislature is going to be the hardest).

  16. Hugh

    Of course, the country is broken. It has been broken for years, even decades. That’s what 40 years of kleptocracy will do. The great and rising wealth inequality that we see was not the result of an impersonal process but criminality and looting. So if we want to unbreak the country, we are going to have to go after those who broke it, the rich and their servant elites.

    1. CB

      Perfectly summarized. And the middle class mostly supported it–in the belief they would “get theirs.” They did, actually, but not in the form they expected.

  17. John Lenihan

    Interesting after-election news item:

    Press reports: Very shortly after his stirring acceptance speech (about 2AM EST), the President called both the speaker of the House and the Senate Minority leader. He didn’t get them because they were sleeping.

    Why the urgency in the wee hours? Probably the details of the sellout! Get it done as quickly as possible while the celebration is still going on, and people are happy. It will always take time, especially the spin, so do it now!

    I’d like to be wrong, but experience is the best teacher, and everybody’s experience with this guy is “Up yours, pilgrim!”

  18. Tom Denman

    “Like Br’er Rabbit’s pleas not to be thrown in the briar patch, concessions for Obama are typically a vehicle to get him where he wanted to go anyhow.”

    Now that we’re at the start of a new election cycle I dread the prospect of the Obama apologists simply repeating the litany of pathetic excuses they’ve made over the past four years (“He’s playing 11 dimensional chess,” “those Big Bad Republicans made him do it,” “white liberal racism,” “SCOTUS,” etc…).

    It puts me in mind of the sales clerk’s dissembling in Monty Python’s Dead Parrot Sketch. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npjOSLCR2hE)

    “Pining for the fjords” indeed!

  19. ambrit

    Sweetcheeks;
    I believe the terms ‘Gentlemen” and ‘teen escorts’ constitute an oxymoron. Perhaps ‘horneymoron’ would be more apropos.

Comments are closed.