Tucker Carlson Tears into Vulture Capitalist Paul Singer for Strip Mining American Towns

In a bit of synchronicity, Lambert gave a mini-speech tonight that dovetails with an important Tucker Carlson segment about how hedge funds are destroying flyover. As UserFriendly lamented, “It is beyond sad that Tucker Carlson is doing better journalism than just about anywhere else.” That goes double given that Carlson has only short segments and TV isn’t well suited to complicated arguments.

Lambert fondly recalled the America he grew up in in Indiana, before his parents moved to Maine, where most people were comfortable or at least not in perilous shape, where blue collar labor, like working in a factory or repairing cars, was viewed with respect, and where cities and towns were economic and social communities, with their own businesses and local notables, and national chain operations were few. Yes, there was an underbelly to this era of broadly shared economic prosperity, such as gays needing to be closeted and women having to get married if they wanted a decent lifestyle.

I’m not doing his remarks justice, but among other things, the greater sense of stability contributed to more people being able to be legitimately optimistic. If you found a decent job, you weren’t exposed to MBA-induced downsizings or merger-induced closures. Even in the transitional 1970s, Lambert got his first job…in a mill! He liked his work and was able to support himself, rent an apartment, and enjoy some modest luxuries. Contrast that with the economic status of a Walmart clerk or an Amazon warehouse worker. And even now, the small towns that remain cling to activities that bring people together, as Lambert highlighted in Water Cooler earlier this week:

Please watch this clip in full. Carlson begins with an unvarnished description of the wreckage that America’s heartlands have become as financial predators have sucked local businesses dry, leaving shrunken communities, poverty and drug addiction in their wake.

Readers may wonder why Carlson singles out hedge funds rather than private equity, but he has courageously singled out one of the biggest political forces in DC, the notorious vulture capitalist Paul Singer, best known for his pitched battles with Peru and Argentina after he bought their debt at knocked-down prices. Carlson describes some US examples from his rapacious playbook, zeroing on Delphi, where Singer got crisis bailout money and then shuttered most US operation, and Cabela’s, where a Singer-pressured takeover wrecked one of the few remaining prosperous American small towns, Sidney, Nebraska. Not only are former employees still afraid of Singer, but even Carlson was warned against taking on the famously vindictive Singer.

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  1. Sound of the Suburbs

    It is in my self-interest to make as much money as possible doing as little work as possible.

    I can live a very comfortable life of leisure with a BTL portfolio extracting the hard earned income of generation rent.

    What would be the best thing to do?
    1) Work really hard to build up a company myself
    2) Asset strip a company that has been built up by someone else

    It’s not even hard.

    1. Kevin Hall

      “it’s not even hard”

      And also very, VERY short sighted. Sure, it will make you an easy buck today.

      It will also slit your throat tomorrow.

      Just like Omar, winter 1789 is coming.

      1. jef

        Kev said; “It will also slit your throat tomorrow.”

        This, aggressive mergers and acquisitions, has been going on for a very long time and everybody always says that but I have yet to see any wealthy person suffer more than a small loss of a point or 2.

        The fact is thats where we are at with capitalism. Money MUST become more money. There are no outside considerations not even human life.

        We all talk about robots going rogue and killing off humanity. Well money is already doing that.

      2. Sound of the Suburbs

        This was the lesson Alan Greenspan learnt after 2008.
        He hadn’t realized bankers would bring the whole system down for personal gain, but they did.

    2. Starrman

      Sound of the Suburbs, your comment suggests that this is the way things are and that there is nothing to do about it, but that is wrong. It’s not inherent to markets or to nature. In fact, “it’s not even hard” because we have agreed to it as part of the social contract, and created policies that enable it. We can reverse the calculation by changing the tax rules, accounting rules, and legal liability rules and this calculation reverses. TLDR; vote Bernie.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Which “we” are you talking about? You assume an entity with agency, when there is no such thing. How do YOU suggest “WE” rewrite the non-existent “social contract?” Or change the tax rules, the accounting rules, the Delaware corporations law, the Federal Codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure, the current contents of the Code of Federal Regulations, the United States Code and all the other trappings of legitimacy that give “us” the looting we suffer and remove any access to ‘agency” to re-fix things? I hope Bernie wins/is allowed to win, but he would need the skills of a Machiavelli and Richelieu and Bismarck to “drain the swamp” of all the horrible creatures and muck that swirls there.

        Not to say it’s not worth trying “our” mope-level damndest to make it happen.

  2. Mr Broken Record

    I can’t believe this is Tucker Carlson… wow

    That said – it doesn’t seem to me that Cabelas was ‘forced’ to sell. Singer owned less than 12% of the stock. Is he to blame for either managerial greed, or lack of cojones? I’m not praising Singer, just saying ISTM that he had couldn’t have succeeded there without the greed or cowardice of management. I could be wrong.

    Carlson said this behavior is banned in the UK, how does that work?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Tthis is standard operating procedure for takeovers and greenmail in the US. First, 11% is going to be way way above average trading volumes. Second, unless management owns a lot of shares or has large blocks in the hands of loyal friends, many investors will follow the money and align with a greenmailer.

      When a hostile player is forced to announce that he has a stake >5% by the SEC’s 13-D filing requirement, managements start sweating bullets. “Activist” hedge funds regularly make tons of trouble with 10% to 15% stakes. CalPERS was a very effective activist investor in its glory years (not even hostile but pushing hard for governance changes) with much smaller stakes.

      The New York Post, which is very strong on covering hedge funds, confirms Carlson’s take. From a 2016 article:

      Hedgie Paul Singer hit another bull’s-eye with his Cabela’s investment.

      Singer’s Elliott Management bought an 11 percent stake in the hunting supply chain last October and pressed the Springfield, Mo., chain to pursue strategic alternatives — including a sale.

      On Monday, his suggestion was heeded as the 55-year-old company said it agreed to a $5.5 billion, $65.50-per-share takeover offer from rival Bass Pro Shops.

      For Singer, who purchased much of his Cabela’s stake at between $36 and $40 a share, Monday’s news means that the fund gained roughly 72 percent on its investment.

      The same story depicts Singer as able to exert pressure with even smaller interests:

      The hedge fund had an 8.8 percent stake in the company and was expected to net $58 million in profits, The Post reported.

      Elliott, which in June announced a 4.7 stake in PulteGroup, named three board members to the Atlanta-based homebuilding company.

      Last Thursday, it readied a new target, taking an 8.1 percent stake in Mentor Graphics, a Wilsonville, Ore.-based developer of electronic design automation software.

      Since then, shares of the company have risen 6 percent, to $26.24.

      Mentor represents a “classic” Elliott investment, a source close to the matter told The Post, adding that it is a “perfect time” for the company to sell itself.


      1. Joe Well

        You have a gift for explaining these things to people with a lot of education but not in finance. I was confused by this, too, until I read your comment.

      2. Danny

        “CalPERS was a very effective activist investor in its glory years (not even hostile but pushing hard for governance changes) with much smaller stakes.”

        Does that mean they pulled the same parasitical stripping of companies to raise money to help pay pensions?

        But, since it represents public employees and their paymasters, the taxpayers, couldn’t CALPERS be forced to only effect deals that create the most employment, ideally in California, rather than destroy it? i.e. a ban on job destroying deals.

        That would be a long term investment in California, rather than a short term means to raise cash, no?

    2. anon in so cal

      Tucker Carlson has taken remarkably courageous positions on a number of issues, including Syria, Ukraine, Russia, etc.

      Matt Stoller tweets praise of Carlson’s report on Singer:

      “There is a real debate on the right.
      @TuckerCarlson just guts billionaire Paul Singer over the destruction of a Nebraska town through financial predation. And Carlson is merciless towards Senator @BenSasse for taking $$$ and remaining silent.”


  3. YankeeFrank

    I get the sense sh_t’s gonna get biblical soon. Its long past time for people like Singer to reap the whirlwind.

    1. Ramon Zarate

      I have noticed a considerable uptick in comments across a whole range of sites about things “going to get biblical”.
      When the next downturn happens there seems to be every indication that it’s going to be on an unprecedented scale.
      Traditionally that’s always seem to be time to have a good war, you can get the country to focus on an external common enemy, you can ramp up industrial production providing full employment and you can use national security to clamp down on dissent. Nuclear weapons seems to have put paid to that idea unless our leaders convince themselves that they can survive and flourish in their bunkers (while simultaneously relieving themselves of a large surplus of global population)
      The populations willing embrace of the security state through all our electronic devices will be a large hurdle for revolutionary elements as well as the crushing of dissent via institutions like the FBI and the mainstream media.
      The French and the Russians succeeded in the past. I doubt if I will either live long enough to see it (being old) or even less likely to live through it.

      1. Synoia

        Biblical in the OT sense. In the NT going biblical was a sacrifice.

        I’m not fond of the phrase as it is a euphemism for violence or war. Under that definition, the US, through declared and undeclared wars, has been going biblical for most of my life.

  4. Boris

    In the Jimmy Dore show this is almost a running joke now: He shows a clip with Tucker Carlson, where Tucker is doing what you would expect the “liberal” media to do, like going against the deep state, criticizing regime change wars (a few times with Tusi as his guest), or something like this great piece against Singer and the hedge funds. Jimmy Dore then, each time, shakes his head in disbelief and asks, “Why the hell is Tucker Carlson the only one who is allowed to say things like this? Its a mystery! I dont get it!”
    —indeed: Why, and why on Fox News?

    1. Isotope_C14

      Why is he allowed?

      Because it sells. Can’t let RT steal all the money with anti-war voices, Watching the Hawks, Jesse Ventura, On Contact with Chris Hedges, these shows have viewership, and the Fox news owners know it.

      Perhaps they’ll have to make Tucker Carlson FOX, the TCFOX news channel. An anti-establishment, pro-capitalism libertarianesque program experience, where they can decry all the pro-war democrats, and RINO’s, while making a case that capitalism isn’t working cause of “big government”.

      Of course “private property” requiires state enforcement, which, when you remind libertarians that they are “statists”, they don’t like that too much…

      1. funemployed

        It sells, but also doesn’t pose a real threat to the powers that be. He creates very accurate, specific, personally moving, well-produced, diagnoses of problems (he even names names!)…

        Then he and his ilk imply that the only solution is to magically create a government free white Christian ethnostate where the good non-corrupt capitalists (like, as he states in this video, the rockefellers and carnegies apparently were) will bring us back to the good ol days.

        I strongly recommend sitting down for a good long policy discussion with a Tucker Carlson fan. In my experience they will, without exception, go to great lengths to convince you that a vote for Bernie will, undoubtedly, make all the problems Tucker describes worse, cuz gubmint bad and racist dog whistles.

        I suspect absent Carlson and his ilk, Bernie would actually have an easier time making inroads into the republican base.

        1. John Wright

          I heard no Carlson mention of “magically create a government free white Christian ethnostate where the good non-corrupt capitalists (like, as he states in this video, the rockefellers and carnegies apparently were) will bring us back to the good ol days.”

          Carlson seemed to suggest that prior US capitalists “felt some obligation” while, to me, implying that current US capitalist versions do not feel this obligation.

          Bernie could show he will listen to good ideas from all sides, even when the ideas surface on Fox.

          Carlson did mention some “countries have banned this kind of behavior, including the United Kingdom” which suggests legislative changes are possible.

          If Bernie were to pitch a legislative fix, he might pick up some Tucker Carlson fans.

          Maybe Bernie might get mentioned favorably by Carlson.

          1. Danny

            “a government free white Christian ethnostate”

            Carnegie built hundreds of public libraries, Rockefeller donated thousands of acres of land, Sears founder
            Julius Rosenwald funded the beginnings of the NAACP.

            1. funemployed

              Well, we can agree to disagree on whether or not Carlson’s regularly invoked vision of deserving Americans is racist or ethnocentric, and I’ll admit his view of the role of government can seem a bit schizophrenic at times – as far as I can tell he has strongly libertarian sensibilities but in recent years figured out that “free” markets do, in fact, require government regulations.

              But I do strongly recommend reading a few social/economic histories of the US from the industrial revolution through the beginning of the great depression.

              I promise those fellows you mention were not quite so swell as Tucker makes out, and that the relationship between philanthropy and capital hasn’t changed as much as you seem to think.

    2. Roquentin

      I’ll just say this, if I were playing for the other team so to speak, and I were a GOP strategist trying to secure a future for the party, the easy move would be to adopt a degree of populist rhetoric and at least make some gestures towards easing the pain of towns which have been rendered post-industrial wastelands by people like Singer and acknowledge what’s been done. It would be almost comically easy to paint the Democrats as the political party of globalized capitalism (because they are), even more so because most of the places that are key liberal constituencies are also centers of the financial industry (Manhattan and San Fransisco, for example). It wouldn’t take much to graft the loathing of “urban elites” in these communities onto PE and hedge funds. This, combined with toning down the nationalist rhetoric, cutting back on the racism and homophobia (hell, even just keeping your mouth shut about it) would pretty much build an unstoppable electoral majority.

      Back in the days when I was more optimistic about the Democrats, I always tried to warn people that if the Democrats (and other center left parties) waited too long and let the GOP be the first ones to the lifeboats when neoliberalism started to sink, they’d get stuck holding the bag even if the GOP had more to do with those policies historically. But pursuing this strategy would imply that the GOP is somehow less beholden to its donors than the Democrats, which it isn’t, but maybe Tucker Carlson is the canary in the coal mine. Even people on the right realize the jig is up, and that they better start trying to cut some kind of deal with the rising populist currents in US politics if they want to stay in power.

  5. divadab

    Tucker Carlson on Fox is making sense, while MSNBC and CNN peddle nonsense. What better reason to cancel your cable and say adios to the fakery and programming.

  6. The Rev Kev

    In other unrelated news, Paul Singer has announced that he is providing funding to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research to try and understand why so many “flyover” Americans give their votes to Trump. “It’s a mystery. I have no idea why they would not vote for a good Republican candidate instead – like my boy Mitt Romney” he stated. “Why would they do that? Maybe I should run for President like my buddy Mike. Then they could all vote for me. Or else!”

    Reading his Wikipedia page, I notice that he only donates money to things that effect him personally. He went to Harvard so he gives to Harvard. He lives in New York so he gives money to the Food bank and the Police – which both serve to keep the place calm. He is Jewish so he gives a ton to money to pro-Israel causes. He votes Republican so he helps fund Republicans that will defend wealthy people like him. One son comes out as gay so he gives to same-sex marriage & LGBTQ causes. He provides money to organizations that fight taxes being imposed on wealthy people like himself. It is a very narrow circle of concerns that he has. And the vast bulk of Americans are outside this circle I note.

    But of all people to call him on his part in destroying the real economy of the United States. That which actually makes stuff and does stuff instead of financial bs. Of all the people to do so it is Tucker-goddamnn-Carlson. And on Fox News to boot. The same person that “liberal” protesters were demonstrating outside his home with his family inside because they did not like his beliefs. It is kinda funny when you think about it. A right wing commentator is attacking the Left. But from their left.

    1. Jane

      It is kinda funny when you think about it. A right wing commentator is attacking the Left. But from their left.

      What better proof that there is no Left left in the Left any more? Today’s Left is to the right of what used to be the Centre, Liberals are what used to be Conservative and Conservatives have moved into “here there be dragons” territory. .

      1. jrs

        This is nonsense, the DSA for example is to the right of what used to be the Center? They aren’t left enough for some, including some of their members I suspect but .. But the left period has little actual power is the thing. And it’s all about taking power.

      2. polecat

        Like I’ve mentioned previously – politically .. our society has gone through a phase-shift. Mr. Carlson is but just one example. So are those of us who held our noses, after seeing how transparently conniving the DNC et al were, and voted for the Julius de Orange !

      3. Math is Your Friend

        “the crushing of dissent via institutions like the FBI and the mainstream media”

        This will be unnecessary. Recent research indicates that when people feel like they are being watched, they self-censor.

        The growing number of activist special interest groups with a myriad of hot topics and disparate worldviews and interests just about guarantees that anything you say other than parroting the current majority opinion will offend someone.

        Couple that with murky legal powers, the unpredictability of the Twitter/Instagram mob, doxing, and the expansion, both in extent and number of players, of ubiquitous surveillance, and significant dissent becomes more and more a thing of the past.

        I wonder if this has anything to do with the growing unreliability of political polls?

      4. SB in StL

        There is a populist Left. Its figurehead is Bernie but there are growing local/state organizations like the DSA that may become relevant nationally in the not-too-distant future. AOC is a current/future leader for this faction.

        There is a populist Right. Its figurehead is Trump. From what I can tell, they’re primarily online but are also gaining strength in traditional conservative institutions like churches, community orgs, etc.. Tucker appeals to this group. Josh Hawley is a Senator from MO with presidential ambitions who I expect will lead this faction after Trump is gone. He is the slick-but-folksy and deadly serious neo-Fascist type many on this board worry/warn about taking power if a real Left does not arise to counter it/him.

        Then there is the establishment elites (or ruling class, or deep state, whatever), which are primarily Neoliberal (domestic policy) and Neoconservative (foreign policy). There have long been these types in both parties, differing only by degree, but Trump has forced most of the “liberal” Republicans into the D party. This group controls the money and most of the key institutions, particularly the major media, tech, energy, and financial corporations, but their grip is slipping and the mask is falling off. Some will side with the populist Left, but most will welcome the new Fascism, i.e. the DNC apparatchiks who would rather lose to Trump than win with Bernie.

    2. Danny

      Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, another species of parasite, sucking some of the last marrow out of the bones of America. Beware of billionaires who demonstrate that they are aliens to our society.

  7. Tom67

    I read Tucker Carlsons book “ship of fools”. It is all in there: criticism of the war fare state, Wall Street, TBTF bail outs a.s.o. He spares neither Republicans nor Democrats. Kinda crazy but he voices more or less exactly what Sanders is saying as well. Except he doesn´t get “Medicare for all” and he is social conservative. Still you might think that there is enough common ground to work together. Instead we get crazy idendity politics. I more and more believe that it is indeed so that the people on top have realised that “identity politics” is the best thing that ever happened to them: divice et impera. Divide and rule as already the Romans knew

      1. GramSci

        And the biggest threat from Tucker Carlson is that the lower orders will believe that Carlson-cum-Trump are as much their friend as Sanders. One of the longest-standing Idpol divisions in US history has been unions vs. scabs. Over the past half-century, the Democratic Party has realigned its public image in favor of the scabs. The union leadership stayed with the Dems, but the rank-and-file long ago moved over to the Repubs. Old wine, new bottle.

        1. JBird4049

          Unions were weakened and made easier to destroy using IdPol. First by encouraging banning, sometimes expelling, blacks from the various unions and secondly getting rid of first the communists, then the socialists, and finally those deemed too liberal (not conservative enough).

          Although the efforts by business interests, often helped by government at all levels, to segregate unions was mainly in the 19th century and the “Better Dead Than Red” campaign was in the 20th especially after 1947, the use of racism and anti-leftism was done in both centuries.

          You can see similar successful splintering of the Civil Rights Movements. First separating the Suffragettes from from the anti-racism efforts. Then later the efforts to unite the Women’s Rights Movement with the successful efforts against racism was the 1960s were thwarted.

          Let us just say that reform movement of the past two centuries has been splintered. The earlier women’s rights and the abolitionists, blacks and whites throughout the unions, suffragettes and the anti lynching efforts, communists from everyone else, anti poverty from equal rights ( MLK did get lead poisoning when he tried) and so.

          So when I see the latest efforts to use IdPol to split poor people from everyone else or blacks from whites, and see people falling for the same tactics… I just lose my mind. Obviously.

    1. Carolinian

      You might think but you’d be wrong. St Clair in Counterpunch calls hims Tuckkker Carlson–apparently because Carlson agrees with Trump on things like immigration. I read Carlson’s book too and would say only about half of it was material I would agree with. But the notion that anyone who doesn’t stand up to IDPol standards is a villain is crushing the left. They obsess over Trump while the wealthy of both parties wreck the country.

      1. workingclasshero

        Yeah.those crazy folks who believe a sovereign nation might just have a right to control it’s borders.

      2. Carey

        I’d go along sooner with Tucker Carlson than Mr. St Clair, whose CP smeared both Caitlin Johnstone and CJ Hopkins. St Clair and CP are controlled “oppo”, IMO.

        The commenter you were replying to had it right: divide et impera is the order of the day; sometimes from unexpected sources, like the one mentioned above.

  8. ex-PFC Chuck

    Great post! TC has strode out of the Fox News subset of the Overton window a number of times in recent years.

    PS: Yves, some introductory text to the part about Lambert’s speech apparently didn’t make it into the post. It would fit between the 1st and 2nd paragraphs.

  9. Fox Blew

    In my opinion, Tucker Carlson represents a very real and very active right-libertarian view that has been consistently present within the Republican Party for decades. Anti-war, anti-imperialist, anti-big business/pro-small business, and of course, anti-big union. Robert Taft comes to mind. I don’t share their “ideologies” but as a self-described socialist, I am deeply attracted to their criticisms. And criticisms ARE important and necessary, even if the solutions are left wanting. I dearly hope that his popularity is a sign of the realignment of politics, where issues of class and war become commonplace and issues of “to impeach or not to impeach” fall by the wayside. I recognize that my hopes may not turn to realities.

    1. jrs

      But for an employee it makes no difference if they work for a big or small business (only big business on average is LESS exploitative if anything – if for no other reason but they can afford to be – some of the worst exploitation out there is employees working for small business owners).

      1. Carey

        That has most emphatically *not* been my experience.
        With small business there is someone to talk to / point at.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I’m having trouble discerning whether it’s Carlson’s propertarian views that are driving his dissent or paleo conservative views. After all, if your concern is the conservation of traditional values, it’s about time that you realized that neoliberalism is your enemy. As Carlson’s piece points out, neoliberalism is destroying communities right and left, and those are communities filled with churches and American Legion halls, just the kind of places the paleos treasure.. Even worse from a paleos point of view, it’s destroying families as well with its long work weeks, the necessity of two workers to support a family with children, privatization of services, etc. It’s also true from the paleo perspective that people like Singer are often pushing the IdPol projects, probably with divide-and-conquer as at least a partial goal.

      I don’t see why a pure propertarian would give a damn about a little town in western Nebraska.

      Whatever it is, I welcome allies on the war/peace and neoliberal exploitation fronts.

  10. tegnost

    I have long thought that paul singer is representative of the worst people in the world (argentina wtf)
    and I’m glad carlson put his face up there so many times for his victims to see, in case he ever ventures out of mordor undisguised. For all the money he has, a truly worthless pos, as the closing comment made so clear. Good for Carlson, though, almost seems like actual journalism. Kudos.

  11. James

    If we assume that good mergers achieve cost savings which ultimately benefit the consumer (they very often do, assuming a good merger), is it better that a relatively large number of people save money on goods, or that a relatively smaller number of people keep duplicate, unnecessary jobs?

    1. Grebo

      Can you name such a good merger? Mergers by definition must reduce competition, and by classical Liberal theory competition is what reduces prices for consumers.

      In Neoliberal theory monopoly is the just reward for beating the competition. Sorry consumers! Bad luck workers!

      By what criteria do you deem a job unnecessary? Neoliberal criteria.

    2. John Wright

      Here are some ways a merger can be bad for the US consumer.

      If a merger results in employee pensions being transferred to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (US government funded) then employee pension costs are being transferred to the US taxpayer/consumer.

      Or consider that a merger might create a monopoly that can raise consumer prices.

      How does one determine that a proposed merger will be a good one that will “ultimately benefit the consumer.”?

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      It is better that a relatively smaller number of people keep duplicate, unnecessary jobs. The more money we thereby spend on goods is a full employment privatax that we pay to keep society stable.

  12. Memphis Paul

    Good morning Yves.
    Tucker Carlson invoke Paul Singer noted ultra vulture as vehicle to transport Yves, others to Fox News Commentary!
    Seems the Good Night and Good Luck segue from Edward R Murro via Keith Olbermann to… Tucker Carlson is complete.

  13. pjay

    Thank you for this. It is a story that has been repeated countless times across the country, including the midwestern town where I was born and raised.

    As for Carlson being the only source of occasional light in the MSM — the clarification continues. It has truly become Bizarro World.

  14. Bushwood

    I wonder if the powers at be at Fox News allow Tucker to go on these rants because they know two things:
    1.) 99% of bought and paid for Republican politicians will never do anything about this except perhaps some lip service here and there.
    2.) The fact that it’s on Fox News will cause the Vichy left to not believe it’s real or perhaps a Russian phy op against American capitalism. Thus outside of the Sanders camp there will be no push/support for any change.

  15. Dalepues

    Glad to see someone in the MSM point out the obvious….Carlson called out Singer, but in doing so he also called out the Republican Party, specifically Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska. It will be interesting to see if Sasse is reelected.

    1. Mike Mc

      Nebraskans – R and D both – should toss Sasse to the curb. He’s angered regular bat-poo crazy Republicans by his “never Trump” blather, then angered Nebraska Democrats (both of us) by voting Trump/GOP well over 90 percent of the time.

      Add to this his folksy BS appearances in the media and his execrable books, and he’s a classic empty suit. Closer to a straight Republican Mayor Pete than any thing else – over-credentialed, over-ambitious and under performing.

      Our Nebraska Democratic Party problem is two-fold: incredibly thin bench for decent candidates and preponderance of Clinton/Obama/HRC leftovers running the state party. Will be knocking on doors for Bernie come 2020 but state races are iffy at best.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        . . . ” a classic empty suit” . . .

        Another case of ” the clothes have no emperor”?

  16. Brian (another one they call)

    In a wacky pre apocalyptic world, truth and justice is pined for by many. Conservation is a critical requirement. I now look at what is true and what is not, I know, very subjective. Those folks that tell us to do things that harm us are transparent. We follow them at our peril.
    I consider Sanders the most conservative option we have for the nation. He intends to ‘conserve’ our nation and the people first. Something we have not had for decades, or ever, perhaps. Giving the people with the most to lose a voice in how things move forward is a critical point of distinction from the rest of the field.
    so vote conservative. Protect that which makes us whole. Stop the looting and take back what has been stolen to benefit all instead of a small clique of criminals.
    But I’m an optimist.

  17. Susan the Other

    Tucker has good sense. Perhaps Paul Singer is probably retiring from vultury. He’s old and it’s a nasty fight. Singer is at the end of a 30 year stint of dispossessing other people. Being vicious really isn’t enough to keep the federal government at bay. Nor are his bribes. There has been an unspoken policy of dispossessing poor and middle class people. Why? Is the United States actually looking at a specific future? That wouldn’t align with the free market – tsk tsk. Or would it? Live free, die free. Somebody needs to define the word “free”. Did TPTB decide to deindustrialize this country that long ago? That’s when they attacked the unions. And the consensus might have been, “Go for it; get it while you can.” So Paul Singer did just that, along with other creepy people like Mitt Romney. Because once the country has been hosed out by these guys we won’t be pushing the old capitalist economy at all. We will be pushing a globally connected, sustainable economy. Paul Singer is just a dung beetle. And our government didn’t want to discuss it because they would have had to create a safety net. If we despise Singer, we must also despise Congress.

    1. Sancho Panza

      If we despise Singer, we must also despise Congress.-Susan the Other

      Agreed. I think you can argue Congress (and the Executive Branch) have done more to help the Chinese middle class than the American middle class over the last 30 years. Co-locating our industrial base with the CCP on communist soil should be looked upon as the most radical policy in our history…but is not. Imagine if at the height of the Cold War we had told Kruschev…hey..how about you make all the stuff we need…and we’ll pay you $20 or $30T in trade surplus over a number of years in hard currency which you can then parlay into geopolitical power in Africa, South America, the ME and else where. What would the America of the fifties think of this policy?

      1. Carey

        >Co-locating our industrial base with the CCP on communist soil should be looked upon as the most radical policy in our history…but is not.

        Truer words were never spoken. And that in a period of less than thirty

        “our leaders™”

    2. Carey

      >Because once the country has been hosed out by these guys we won’t be pushing the old capitalist economy at all. We will be pushing a globally connected, sustainable economy.

      Can you expand a little on this?

  18. Cafefilos

    Tucker Carlson has been making comments like this for a long time. And he’s not a libertarian. He believes in regulated capitalism.

    What we might be seeing is a the beginning of the two parties flipping from left to right on economic issues. The social issues just obscure it, as they were designed to do.

    1. jrs

      the only question then is to what extent social issues DERAIL the economic issues then. If social issues mean paid family leave must be opposed for example because women oughta be barefoot and pregnant, then that’s derailing of real concrete material benefits period. Of course progressive socially is where demographics trend.

      But of course using the example of paid family leave, we’re starting from a country with almost no safety net to begin with, and there are bigger problems with the labor market as well (people having gig jobs with NO benefits, they aren’t going to be helped by policy changes to job provided benefits period).

    2. GramSci

      Medicare for All is the issue that most incisively cuts through this ruling-class kayfabe. Both the top-dog Dems and the top-dog Repubs get their jollies having their boots licked by workers in abject fear for the health and life of their families. It is a neon testosterone line that neither Carlson nor Trump will cross.

  19. Synoia

    I find a good explanation for many behaviors is the human practice of favoring people in their circle of acquaintances, friends and families, and showing some degree of contempt to others.

    Some phrases

    He (She) is not one of us! (Typically in an upper class UK accent)
    The Others (Typically in a string ulster accent)
    Not on our team (US)
    He’s a Catholic
    He’s a peasant

    The attitude of “them and us” coupled with Greed, appears to drive many bad Human behaviors.

    1. HotFlash

      Indeed! My libertarian friend* is all about helping friends and family, I have seen him do it many times. I totally agree with him, but I have concluded that his definition of “friends and family” is just somewhat more restrictive than mine.

      * True convo: “What about if listeria in the bologna at the nursing home kills your granny?” “Ah, a whacking great lawsuit!”

  20. heresy101

    Paul Singer is leading the hedge fund group that is trying to take over PG&E from the existing stockholders/hedge funds through the bankruptcy process. He even offered more money to PG&E fire victims ($2.5B), that PG&E almost met (they want to pay part of the funds in stock).

    Does anyone have an idea how he plans to make money by taking over PG&E? While the stock is very low, its chance of going back to where it was is very low. Besides, PG&E is under pressure to actually maintain and fire proof the distribution/transmission system and that won’t be cheap.

  21. Summer

    If Singer tries to sue T.C., Tucker should have John Oliver write him a musical roast of Singer…
    Like the on Oliver did of coal baron Bob Murray.

  22. YY

    Tucker went after Singer and this time also Koch as well as the problem that they represent for the GOP the next night, worth watching.

  23. Montanamaven

    Tucker has CHANGED his views on lots of things. Like I have. To be able to admit you were wrong is a big deal. He supported the Iraq War. I didn’t. In retrospect, he realized he did this because of group think cool kids thing. Then he realized that he had been conned, He doesn’t like being conned. I thought Obama’s speech was the opposite of John Edwards “2 Americas”. Obama was delivering a “con” I.e. “We are all One America”. So now Tucker and I, from different sides, are more skeptical. I started questioning my groupthink Democratic viewpoint in 2004. Slowly I realized that I too had been conned. So some of those on the “right” and Some of those on the “left” have sought other ports to dock in as we figure this all out. Naked Capitalism is one of those docks. So soon we should introduce Tucker to Yves.

  24. mrtmbrnmn

    As I have frequently pointed out to my once-upon-a-time “liberal” friends, Tucker Carlson is often these days a worthwhile antidote to the collective yelpings & bleatings of the brain-snatched amen corner on MSNBC & CNN. In this instance (and others) his observations are rational and clearly articulated. He makes sense! And he is on the correct (not far right) side of the topic. The continuing Iraq/Syria catastrophe, PutinGate and the hedge fund hooligan Paul Singer are just three recent examples. His arguments (and his snark) are well played. Alas, following these sensible segments, he is still a Fox guy and is obliged to revert to Fox boilerplate for most of the rest of the night. But in our present crackbrained media environment, be thankful for small mercies such as Tucker’s moments.

  25. DSB

    Thanks for the post. I probably would have missed this without you.

    There are a couple things that are interesting to me. First, why does Tucker Carlson call out Ben Sasse for accepting a maxed out campaign contribution from Paul Singer? The Governor of Nebraska then and now is Pete Ricketts. His father (Joe – TD Ameritrade, Chicago Cubs) is a “very good friend” of Paul Singer. Everyone believes Pete Ricketts wants to run for US Senate and the nearest opportunity is Ben Sasse’s seat. More than meets the eye?


    Two, a longtime director of Cabela’s is Mike McCarthy of McCarthy Capital. [Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel worked for McCarthy.] ES&S (electronic voting machines) is owned by McCarthy Group, LLC.

    More here than just money?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Because a Senator would probably be in a better position to intervene than the Governor. He’s on the Banking Committee, including its subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment.

  26. cnchal

    Hmmmm. After destroying tens of thousands of jawbs for profit, grabbing a massive bailout from the GM bailout, sending Delphi’s work overseas (to China of course – ever wonder why cars have gotten moar crapified as time went on?), killing a small town in Nebraska to gain a paltry $90 million, and generally being one of the greediest people on the planet, Paul Singer has amassed a fortune somewhere around three billion dollars, according to Tucker.

    As a hero of capitalism, this guy scrapes the bottom of the billionaire barrel. For every dollar gained, a hundred were destroyed.

  27. Lee Christmas

    I think Paul Singer is the main financial backer the Washington Free Beacon.

    It was revealed by the Washington Post that the Beacon was the original funder of the opposition research done by Fusion GPS, the origins of the dreaded Steele dossier.

    It’s no secret that Tucker Carlson humps for Trump, so his attack on Singer probably has less to do with Singer’s professional record and more to do with his opposition to Trump.

    But then again, as stated above, maybe people do change?

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