Neil Barofsky: Why Naked Capitalism Matters

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By Neil Barofsky, Adjunct Professor of Law and Senior Research Fellow at NYU Law School, former Special Inspector General of the Troubled Assets Relief Program, and author of Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street

I first became acquainted with Naked Capitalism while I was still at Treasury as the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Like many government agencies, we had a clip service that scoured the Internet for news reports related to the financial crisis, and rarely a week would go by where it would not feature a posting from Yves that would provoke a Whoa! moment. This is the moment — well familiar to NC readers — when you are assaulted with a well thought out and often meticulously sourced argument that turns the established orthodoxy on its head with irrefutable logic. My mind is often changed by the force of Yves’ arguments, and even on those occasions when I still disagree with her conclusions, I am grateful for the deeper understanding that I will inevitably gain from her work.

Yves brings remarkable insight and a tireless commitment to unmasking the truth to Naked Capitalism. When she speaks to truth to power, power has to listen, and she serves as a vital counterbalance to the forces that so often dominate the public narrative of finance: powerful financial institutions, the government officials who so eagerly serve their interests, and so many of the captured superstars of the media who have long ago transformed their brand of journalism into an access-based celebration of the elites and the status quo.

I contribute to Naked Capitalism because it is often a loud but solitary voice of reason that can pierce through the cacophony of the day, and I strongly encourage you to do the same. Yves’ independence is what makes her so valuable, and let’s face it, when you attack the most powerful of the powerful, as Yves does every single day, it’s not going to garner a lot of financial support from the usual suspects. So instead of wasting your money on one captured politician or another, please join me in helping to preserve one of the most important and truly independent voices on the Internet.

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  1. Mark P.

    “When she speaks to truth to power, power has to listen.”

    Pretty to think so and NC is a Good Thing. Still, let’s keep this within the bounds of reason: if the likes of Tim Geithner and Hank Paulson ever happened to get their attention called to NC by underlings, I’m sure — while they might be irritated — that they aren’t exactly trembling in their booties.

    1. JGordon

      You bring up a good point that I happen to agree with. What good are truth-speakers when society is irredeemably corrupt? While I still enjoy reading Nakedcapitalism (and in fact I began my journey of opting out of the corrupt system thanks to the permaculture videos that were sometimes posted here in the past), I have little hope that much meaningful change will be enacted because of it.

      Instead we will just end up being depressed with the knowledge that the criminals in power can get away with anything today, even when information about their criminality is widely available on the internet. No one cares anymore; people are just too deluded and braindead. And that’s why I say: sit back and relax and wait for this pig to go under. And in the meantime, work on being self reliant. Buy your solar panels, ammo and rabbits while there’s still time, and be thankful that the criminals are managing to keep this thing together as long as they have. No reason to get stressed out trying to salvage something that can’t be salvaged.

      1. timotheus

        Don’t succumb to political paralysis or the illusion of failure just because no immediate effects are visible. THEY do fear NC and other dissident voices, and we can perceive the exact degree of that fear by their (over)-reactions, e.g., the assault on Occupy. Many, many people are imprisoned (or worse) throughout the world because the powerful are terrified of them. We do them and ourselves a disservice every time we throw up our hands and say, I give up!

        1. JGordon

          Paralysis? I beg to differ. Those who are futiley raging against the tyranical and implacable status quo are the truly paralized. They are standing up, making themselves heard, and being mowed down. And the net result is that soceity will collapse anyway, regardless of the suffering they invite onto themselves.

          I however have recognized where my efforts are being wasted and have moved on to doing things that actually have a chance of improving my life, and the quality of life of the poeple around me. And it’s working. Now when the wider society goes under I know how to get by. And that’s pretty empowering when you think about it.

          1. direction

            I applaud your move toward self reliance, but having been down that path and seeing others a generation before me, I feel like there is a danger to going inward. The sustainability movement is wonderful. Nevertheless, I can speak for my partner (56 yrs old) who lives off the grid still. He had goats and donkeys and killed rabbits for meat waiting for the system to collapse 30 years ago. You can’t time it. Rome took a long time to Fall. In the meantime, people in power take advantage and people get screwed. Active organized resistance is needed as much or more than self sufficiency.

            It’s like in the 90s when the New Age people thought they would change the world by changing themselves individually and meditating on crystals. That’s great if it helps you…but going inward only goes so far. Self sufficiency is one step better, for sure, and networks of self reliance are great, but this is not a substitute for trying to have a greater effect.

            There was a commenter a few days ago, Quintus25, who asked about practical steps to effect change. i love commentary but he’s right. all this clever cynicism gets us nowhere. Quintus, if you’re still out there, you (or i) need to create a spinter blog where this can happen. I’ve put it to Lambert before: he and Yves are busy doing what they do here. If you want to create the discussion about change, I encourage you to do so, and would be happy to support it. I can’t read this blog daily, so as to create an effective commentary, and it’s not really set up for such a discussion. but it would be great to create a place/forum and a day to host such a discussion. anyone who is interested (and sees this late post) can try to contact me at my yahoo account. I’m assuming a bot can’t parse the address with a sentence inserted like this. My handle is GutReflex.

        2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

          I was reflecting on the relative authoritarianism
          within the U.S. today.

          On balance, I think that it’s a democracy
          under the influence of special interests.

          Which is to say, pretty far from totalitarianism.
          Freedom of expression is strong, although
          some contend with verbal attacks,
          career “finished”; secondly, the media
          that cater to the powers of the status quo
          will pay little attention to Naked Capitalism
          and similar voices.

          The electorate: they have real power, but
          people need to make the effort to read
          SIGTARP reports and other “heavy” reading.
          effort, effort, effort.

          So, it’s more like the masses are busy
          watching MTV, soap operas, prime time
          tv, catching up with sports, etc.

          So, the US appears to me a bit icy, but not
          totalitarian …

          1. JGordon

            The electorate has the real power eh?

            Between the two status quo candidates you had to choose from a few days ago, which one could you have voted for who would have gone against the interests of Goldman Sachs? Which one would have ended all our multiple voluntary wars? Which one would have stopped slaughtering innocent civillians with drones?

            Oh that’s right. Neither of them would have. And thanks to the corporate media that are all wholly owned subsidiary of the same Wall Street banks and corporations that own both candidates, most Americans are too braid dead from watching MTV, soap operas, prime time tv, catching up with sports, etc to even know that there is something extremely dispicable about not having a candidate whou would offer that choice.

            But it does not matter. The wheels are already coming off the bus. And all that’s left is the feeling schadenfreude we’ll experience when we see the elites start knifing each other because they’ve run out of peons to rob.

          2. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            Addendum, to the attention of JGordon.

            I’m still not sure how I would have voted,
            given new Intel/analysis I got on the neocons …

            I’d argue that the USA is freer than Iran was
            under the last Shah (which rhymes with ‘cat’
            in French).

    2. Stephen Zielinski

      Evidence and the better argument seldom overcome self interest and inertia.

      I’d bet that the work that appears on NC only puts the authors, Yves Smith especially, on the “to be jailed once the military dictatorship is in place” list.

    3. ScottW

      You are wrong. The Government is hyper paranoid about dissenting opinion. During the Vietnam war protests the FBI infiltrated Quaker meetings and non-violent protests. Recently, OWS has brought out a full-spectrum anti-dissent response to non-violent protesters. It is the masses who believe their opinions don’t matter, or it is all futile, while the elite understand small kernels of truth eventually destroy their power.

      I was thinking about how people support a sports team, yet have absolutely no effect on its success (or failure). They invest hours a week to a futile activity, and support losing franchises year after year. If we could only view politics as a diversion change could take place. Historically, evil eventually loses. Always has and always will. Off to donate now.

      Thanks for your great work.

      1. Susan the other

        Good comment ScottW. Also thank you Mr. Barofsky. I follow you here and on Moyers. That was a good interview. It is encouraging to know you put your money where I put mine.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Thanks for the suggestion, but I already take 4-5000 IU a day….My fridge has more dietary supplements in it than food.

        There has been a super bad bug going around this year. Seems to make you sick for about a month. You think you are better sooner but try going back to your normal life and it hits you again.

        1. Paul P

          You do everything to get rid of a cold, it goes away in two weeks. You do nothing and it goes away in a fortnight.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Did I ever say this was a cold? I have no upper respiratory or chest congestion, no sore throat, none of that. I know you mean well, but I tell you this is a nasty new virus and you keep trying to tell me it’s a cold. Mono is a virus and it takes a year to get over it. This is a virus that seems to take three weeks to a month to beat.

          2. skippy

            Yves same bug made the rounds down-under, 3 to 4 weeks of roller coaster good times.

            skippy… felt like the opening chapters of the Stand. BTW China will pop out a few good ones this year, so I’m informed. Sorry to say but the Sandy thingy will exacerbate these matters, hope there on it already.

        2. craazyman

          holy cow is that what this is?

          I’ve had it for 2 weeks now, wanted to go to OWS alt banking but haven’t left the apartment for 2 weekends, hardly. That’s why I’m up at 5:24 am. If you go to bed at 5 pm that’s what happens. and I’m still tired like a wrung out dish rag.

          This maaybe from outer space but I’ve felt this way before, several years ago. I bet Sisyphus had weeks like these.s
          Mr. Barofsky when are you going to run for president? either that or get on a horse with a badge and a couple pistols and ride into town. you did that, already, that’s right. I used to think the Aztecs under Montezuma were in a “pre-conscious” state, frozen like 100,000 deer in front of Cortez and his 18 gang bangers, waiting for the signal from the Big Man before they could even sneeze. But now I realize it’s possible to go backwards from consciousness to “pre-consciousness” narcotized into a drugged out dream by fantazies of domination and the delerium of affirmation around you. It takes a village though — for all the minds to join up into a pool of stupidity. One person can’t do it, it’s just too dumb for one person to believe on their own. It’smore than sad. What would Jefferson and GWashington say about this? probbly not anything vvery good. forget Andrew Jackson.haahah. Some of these people, when you watch them on TV, it’s scary. they move their mouths and faces but there’s nothing there behind their eyes except an infinite loop. they could be on their own planet in Star Trek and you could write a whole show around it. it’s like my electric fire log. but at least that’s pretty and warm and when you see the flame repeat itself the same way over and over, it’s OK because it means well and you know it’s just a machine.

        3. ian

          Yves, there’s an Indian medicinal herb called tulasi (aka ”holy basil”). Available at whole foods. Great for cold symtom reduction.

        4. Bill

          Just an important tip: If your immune system becomes weakened by any longish illness, you could get SHINGLES ! particularly if you are older, 60 and up, but people younger than that get it too.

          Get the vaccine, you don’t want to have shingles; it can leave permanent impairment (particularly in eyes or ears), or permanent pain. And it’s extremely painful. I actually had it in my throat (quite rare) and lost much of my sensee of taste.

          Of course if you didn’t have chicken pox, you needn’t worry.

        5. Jerry Denim

          Yves posts regularly hit the NC blog site at ungodly times of night/morning. Her problem is sleep, or a lack there of. Too dedicated to the cause.

      2. psychohistorian

        I have found the Chinese herb Ying Chiao to be very useful. I don’t get sick as often, actually rarely and then it can be mitigated.

        YMMV but the Chinese are not dumb and have been at medicine a lot longer than others.

        1. MRW

          I ABSOLUTELY SECOND THIS SUGGESTION. Yves, you have nothing to lose.

          The official title is Yin Chiao Chien Tu Pien (Although the box says Chiehtupien). Check the ingredients. If you see one that has acetaminophen listed as an ingredient, you have the wrong box (there was a scandal of someone making fake Chinese medicines about 10 years ago). Get the Chinese version. Go to Mott Street.

          It’s a $4 box of 12 vials. Each vial has 8 pills.

          Here are the instructions for taking them, from the ‘barefoot doctor’ who turned me onto them three decades ago when I got some form of viral pneumonia and bronchitis three times a year, and had for years before.

          Further, the Harvard Medical newsletter that my father ordered for me said this is one medication that should be in every medicine chest.


          1. The moment you feel something coming on, wait until that night and take one vial (eight pills) before bed. If you are sick, you will feel worse and miserable. You will probably curse me. You’ll feel sleepy. Take a hot bath and go to to bed. Consider this day one.

          2. The following morning, take four pills from the second vial as soon as you get up. Put a vial by your sink so you see them.

          3. The night of the second day, take the other four pills from the second vial.

          4. Repeat #2 & #3 for day three and day four.

          As my barefoot doctor warned me, if I miss any dosage after feeling better on the second or third day, the illness will return. Do. Not. Miss. Them. This is a four-day treatment.

          I have not had viral pneumonia nor bronchitis since I started taking these pills. Nor a cold, nor anything else. In 30 years.

          I’ve given these pills to all my freelance friends who refused to listen to me until they were on death’s doorstep and couldn’t work or pay their bills.

          Cured them every time.

          1. Lord Koos

            I will add to the chorus of Yin Chao users. I discovered this herbal medicine courtesy of my former wife, who is from Beijing. It is a preventative, however, not a cure. It is meant to be taken at the very first sign of a respiratory virus, I don’t think it has much efficacy against other types of illness such as full-blown flu. I’ve learned to start taking a few right away if I find myself sneezing more than normal, especially if I have become run down and tired. If you can be aware enough to do this immediately, Yin Chao can really help. I also wash my hands a lot more often these days.

          2. direction

            me too. yin chao iz da bomb. It makes my whole body heat up. It’s useless after you’re sick. Take it once you realize that you’ve started feeling a cold coming on and it can stop it completely. I have not been sick in a few years. (and yesterday I felt a cold coming on but took Yin Chao)

          1. LeeAnne

            MRW -I’m on my way to Mott St. Does your ‘barefoot doctor’ have a solution for neurological symptoms. I’ve learned how to avoid the stress that brings it on for about 4 years ow -but it happens (other people) -it’s extremely uncomfortable -debilitating, not painful. The smptoms have progressed this time. Everything has progressed since I got H1NI -debiiltating fatigue until I was treated with antibiotics with a non-specific diagnosis.

            I’ve been to all the specialists and spoken about it to every other health care professional who’s seen me -MRI, the whole protocol for neurological problems -NO DIAGNOSIS -NO REMEDY. In the past, it would clear up after 6 weeks of fatigue. but this time its taking longer and isn’t clearing up.

            Last February I was diagnosed with pneumonia after 5 days of extreme chills, absolutely no upper respiratory symptoms -kept myself under the covers and finally went to the ER after making an appointment with my internist (hard to imagine what they could have done) because I took a fall. At the ER they found a small dark spot on my lung. A friend I hadn’t seen for some time was diagnosed at exactly the same time with pneumonia with the same symptom -just debilitating chills. And, we had each taken the pneumonia shot recommended for seniors. No more shots for me baby. After the flu shot in 2008, I got HINI in the spring April. Health care professionals eyes glaze over at the mention.

            Go to the ER –avoid the ER on 5th Av/upper 90s -its a nightmare– the ER at Lenox Hill gets high marks. Also St. Luke’s Roosevelt on W59th. Go early in the morning. And if the Riverdale area is convenient for you, The Alleen Pavillian is reported by a friend treated there as excellent after a nightmare experience at Columbia Presbyterean uptown. I don’t know about NYPresbyterean Cornell on York/68th. I’d like to have an opinion from someone who has been treated there.

          2. subgenius

            There are over 10,000 individual materials in the full Chinese herbal materia medica. The medicines given to patients functionally approach infinity in terms of specific characteristics.

            But the herbs are rarely (read: almost NEVER) used individually.

            The decoctions, pills, powders, poultices, etc are carefully mixed and rely on interactions to bring out or suppress certain aspects of the individual herbs.

            Yin Chiao is one of few things that you can basically take as you start coming down with flu symptoms. Hot and sour soup is another, and any soup made with a lot of scallions and garlic tends to have a similar effect. Any time later than that (ie full-blown illness) you should consult a practitioner, as the specific nature of the progress of the disease indicates where the most effective treatment lies.

            One of the more interesting comments I have heard on the subject is this:

            In most medical traditions there is a search for a “magic bullet” substance that effects cure. In classical Chinese herbalism you determine the specific properties that the “magic bullet” might have (according to the theories of Chinese medicine), then use knowledge of herbal interactions to craft a very specific bullet for that patient’s very specific manifestation of illness.

          3. subgenius

            Just to clarify – most traditions look for a single substance with a specific set of properties. Chinese medicine tries to craft that set of properties from a “parts bin”!

    1. Chris Rogers

      I’m very happy to do jail time if it means a better tomorrow – not so keen on firing squads though, particularly if the crosshairs happen to be pointing at me.

  2. fairleft

    This great site is perhaps the prime storehouse on the nets of abandoned yet essential political economic wisdom. Secular monks in a new dark age …

    1. Aquifer

      Oops, rats, i guess “crusader” is now politically incorrect … Oh well, so what term is the acceptable replacement …

  3. LucyLulu

    Not that your readers hadn’t already reached the same conclusions, mind you, but considering the source, that’s some mighty high praise.

    It’s okay, Yves. You can have a big head (for a while). You’ve earned it.

  4. Chris Rogers

    There are two sites that presently require funding from its user-base, these being Naked Capitalism and CounterPunch – hopefully once my own meagre income arrives towards the months end I can donate some well needed funds to both organs of reason in a sea of madness.

    I all also reminded from teachings from the Bible that even though many of us may be economically stressed, our small financial support, will no doubt be welcome, much as the old woman who could only offer a small coin to the temple – it being all she had, was worth more in the eyes of the Lord than all the coins from the rich.

    That’s about the only moral tale you will hear me usher inspired by The Bible.

    Its wonderful to note that some of our masters still visit this website and learn that Mr. Barofsky is passing on his knowledge to future generations.

    Well done to all of us, and please do remember the saying that ‘from small acorns great oak trees grow’.

      1. Chris Rogers

        A wonderful link, make poverty history, if only Obama had the courage to be true to his roots and embrace that motto there would be no use for blogs like NC – one can dream I suppose, but its nice to aspire to something that does not entail ripping each other off, destroying our planet and killing innocents where ever they may be.

        Time for a change me thinks!!!!!!!

  5. Skeptical

    We live in the age of The Big Lie–(e.g. WMD in Iraq, a mortgage crisis caused by people buying homes they could not afford, robo-signing is a thing of the past, Obama is too tough on banks) and NC is one of the few anti-dotes to the CNBC narrative.

    I may not agree with every single thing

  6. Skeptical

    We live in the age of The Big Lie, (e.g. WMD in Iraq, a mortgage crisis caused by people buying homes they could not afford, robo-signing is a thing of the past, Obama is too tough on banks) and NC is one of the few antidotes to the CNBC narrative.

    Capitalism is based on the rule of law, which means fraud vitiates all contracts and for every right there is a remedy. NC is one of the few sights to unflinchingly address the magnitude of this crisis inflicted by MERS, robo-signing, etc.

    As Martin Luther King said, “Silence is betrayal.”

  7. GuyFawkesLives

    Pretty sure Yves will understand my support has to remain non-monetary. Especially knowing this is my second major lay-off in this crisis (first from residential construction crash, now from commercial construction crash), that I am having to fight my foreclosure pro se (due to loss of job), and lastly, just picked up my Xanax prescription from the local drug store.

  8. Doc Holiday

    … loud but solitary voice of reason

    Ahh, the good ol’ days! I miss feeding in my late-night metaphorical reactions to the late night animal pixs. Seems like only yesterday that I was bitching about The Pension Reform Act and doing so, with no one caring … How’s your pension doing lately?

    1. skippy

      “How’s your pension doing lately?” – Doc Holiday

      Well Doc, down under the – Well Heeled – are finding out its a bit of a wildebeest river crossing event. Those that thought themselves impervious to little global financial fracases, now find themselves lucky to make it across… with at least – half an ass – left… for the effort. Many in fact don’t make it across at all, devoured on the spot or worst yet… stuffed under a submerged tree / rock, so as to be – softened up – for later consumption.

      All whilst the lower classes – that still have – income streams are buying new cars with 0%/1.9% finance or low Klm Euro Luxury cars!

      Its gets even better for the Gov…
      BrisConn admits to “significant uncertainty”

      “The traffic on the 6.7-kilometre toll road which connects Brisbane Airport to the central city is half what Brisconnections was projecting it to be – even without full tolls in place.”

      Read more:

      Ummm… wonder how much pension money went there? PE goodness abounds!!!

      Skippy… Btw how many times can you chew gum and still blow a bubble?

  9. Brooklin Bridge

    A well deserved compliment, plus, it’s always nice when they are accurate. I’ve sent in my contribution, but many many thanks Yves. I know your work is important, but I hope it’s also enjoyable at some -hopefully not too gluttonous for punishment- level.

  10. Brooklin Bridge

    A question to Professor Barrofsky; Aren’t some of the people in the administration aware of how nasty and vile what’s going on with the cutting of the safety net is? History is going to positively crucify Obama and the Democrats.

    1. JEHR

      Yves, you deserve all the credit that others have given you–and more. This blog is so important as the information presented here does not appear in the MSM and television is just commercials now.

      Thank you so much for your integrity, your hard work and your courage. It is most appreciated.

    2. TK21

      That’s an excellent question. I keep hearing that Obama wants this deal to be his legacy; that probably won’t work out well for him, will it? What is he thinking?

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I don’t know what Obama is thinking but I do know his influence over how history is rewritten will wane, like that of his predecessor, and at that point his name will be synonymous with betrayal of the American people on a grand scale. Nor will his dispicable treatment of the constitution, and our complete unwillingness to hold him accountable for those travesties, be overlooked.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Also, I have a harder time imagining that as one moves down the ranks of his administration, people are not more likely to be aghast at what is transpiring with 80 years of the Democratic soul – poof like that. Are they all speechless with fear? It seems as though more of them should be vocally “bailing out”.

  11. kevinearick

    incresing weather variability and pharma inelastic immune response makes the bugs more virulent, another positive feedback signal. It lasts longer individually, so it lasts longer socially; it lasts longer socially, so it lasts longer individually. FIFO-LIFO

  12. BobW

    I promise I will donate Real Soon Now…have gone from being unemployed & homeless to underemployed – and meeting with transistional housing tomorrow morning at 7 Hills Homeless Center (a place worthy of support for those of you in funds). In the 20s last night in NW Arkansas (home of Wallyworld). Nice and warm inside the sleeping bag but sooner or later you have to leave the tent. Inside sounds better. Good work on this site, I have learned so much. The guys getting senior coffee at McD’s kid me about always reading this site, but are often interested in the links.

      1. BobW

        Yes, a McD with wifi…and only one outlet near the tables. My laptop (from FreeGeek) is great but battery life only in minutes. Still waiting for the pony. We were promised ponies, weren’t we?

  13. Paul Tioxon

    Naked Capitalism is a teach in, a form of participation in building the alternative institutions that are critical in times of crisis. The old rules do not work. If they did, banks would not need the government to print money so it could be spent onto their insolvent balance sheets. The Fed would not have to buy the toxic assets and become the bad bank repository of the “just got big enough to collapse in the pursuit of profits” banking frauds. The government would not own AIG, General Motors and kick the banks out of the cushy student loan business. If capitalism worked in the service of the people, we would not be coming out en masse in front of the NY Stock Exchange and then out in front of every too big to arrest banking firm from coast to coast.

    If the old rules worked, we would not have over 20% de facto unemployment. If the old rules worked, voter suppression would not be used in half of the states of the union to shut up the citizenry from complaining. Voting is now so scary, that the powerful ARE making it illegal to vote for millions of people. It is where much of Obama’s support disappeared to this time around. The old rules have gone out the window because voting is now effective and consequently is the source of political panic over non-existent voter fraud. However, banking fraud, so completely and thoroughly documented here on Naked Capitalism, is denied. Banking fraud and illegal foreclosures are politically protected while formerly legal voting is suppressed.

    It used to be that the personal was political, but now, with a cultural revolution overthrowing the old rules that kept Blacks, Women and Gays in their place and silent, NOW, it is the financial which is political. Wage suppression, income inequality, the undermining of the rule of law to protect banks and investors at the expense of homeowners and retirement funds. Students forced to go into debt to become equal opportunity candidates for a shot at the American Dream, lives lost and health sacrificed due to impossible to afford insurance premiums to pay the doctor and the hospital. Naked Capitalism once again shows that even the president of the United States sometimes has to stand naked before the world. The process of capital accumulation and capital flows stand naked before us as well. The commanding heights of capitalism where policy is decided that affects us each and all, stands naked. And we do NOT like what we see. And we have VALID options to provide as better POLICY ALTERNATIVES. And we are building a community that will construct a network of power to execute these policies in the face of organized opposition. People are picking sides. People are standing up to be counted. And we will not be found wanting in the force of our intent or substance of our ideas.

    An invading army can be stopped, but not an invading idea.

  14. barrisj

    Well, I contributed last fundraiser and will do it again; however, I remain under no illusion that anything and anyone can take down the venal, fraudulent, and essentially evil system that now has its Doc Martens astride the neck of US society. Read the account of an insider who first that that “he could make a difference”, then became co-opted by the machine, joined big DC law firms, became a highly-paid lobbyist, later regained his sense of serving the “real” public, and worked on the staff of Sen. Ted Kauffman to try to get meaningful financial reform legislation through the Senate post Bailout, and saw firsthand how the wide-boys, spivs, and fat-cats can easily gut reform.
    Jeff Connaughton’s story in the recent New Yorker is a perfect antidote for “we can change it!” populist nonsense, and he has summarised it all in “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins”.

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