This is part of a mass emailing I received from Dylan Ratigan today:
In my last piece, I talked about how Tim Geithner’s job over the past five years has been to (a) print money, (b) give it to rich friends, and (c) deny everyone else legal and financial rights. This shows up everywhere, from the 0% you get on your savings account versus the insider information the rich get, to your lack of access to the Fed discount window. It’s a symptom of bought government, which I try to expose on our show every day. . . . I find it laughable to hear President Obama’s spokesperson talking about how his campaign represents the 99%. For starters He’d have to fire Geithner, to prove he’s not the leader of a bought government. After all, it is Geithner who took a system indirectly rigged to profit the 1% at the expense of everyone else, and institutionalized and formalized it during a crisis.
The article Ratigan wrote at Huffpo reads like a long detailed indictment of Wall Street, but the word “indictment,” when used in the context of Wall Street, is always and only metaphorical, as Ratigan points out:
It’s not the scandals that matter, or rather, it’s that the scandals are the new norm that matters. The larger context here, what the Occupiers are protesting, is that Tim Geithner formalized a financial elite and gave them special rights they had not previously had, notably a government guarantee for their investing, rights which ordinary people don’t get. You can see this in bank borrowing spreads; large banks get a subsidy of $34 billion of dollars a year, simply because investors think their bonds are backed by the US government. This is now written into law – Dodd-Frank requires regulators to draw up a list of systemically significant firms. These are pretty explicitly firms that are too big to fail. Behind these investing advantages are legal advantages. No elite bankers have been prosecuted for the financial crisis, or the foreclosure crisis. NONE.
For Barack Obama to regain some of my trust, yes, he should immediately fire Tim Geithner and replace him with someone who will make Wall Street scream. And then Obama should do everything in his power to see that the big banks Ratigan describes as being on the “systemically significant firms” list are thoroughly investigated by funding hundreds of financially sophisticated investigators. To top it off, Obama should do everything in his power to effect thorough annual audits of the Federal Reserve. If he will do all of this, I’ll start listening to Obama once again, though it will still be with considerable apprehension.
And for all of you tried and true “Democrats” out there who still believe that Barack Obama is a President that is on your side, it’s time for all of you to closely consider the damage this President has done to our country (by judging him the way you would judge him had he been a Republican) and to start spending some time on the streets with the Occupy protesters.
Linguist George Lakoff has set forth frames for American conservatism:
Conservatives have figured out their moral basis and you see it on Wall Street: It includes: The primacy of self-interest. Individual responsibility, but not social responsibility. Hierarchical authority based on wealth or other forms of power. A moral hierarchy of who is “deserving,” defined by success. And the highest principle is the primacy of this moral system itself, which goes beyond Wall Street and the economy to other arenas: family life, social life, religion, foreign policy, and especially government. Conservative “democracy” is seen as a system of governance and elections that fits this model.
Versus that which appears to be the frame of the Occupy Wall Street movement:
Democracy starts with citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly on that sense of care, taking responsibility both for oneself and for one’s family, community, country, people in general, and the planet. The role of government is to protect and empower all citizens equally via The Public: public infrastructure, laws and enforcement, health, education, scientific research, protection, public lands, transportation, resources, art and culture, trade policies, safety nets, and on and on. Nobody makes it one their own. If you got wealthy, you depended on The Public, and you have a responsibility to contribute significantly to The Public so that others can benefit in the future. Moreover, the wealthy depend on those who work, and who deserve a fair return for their contribution to our national life. Corporations exist to make life better for most people. Their reason for existing is as public as it is private.
About a year ago, I was speaking to man whose son was serving in the U.S. military in Iraq. Without any provocation the man announced to me that we ought to simply drop a nuclear bomb on Iran and “take care of that problem once and for all.” I was not surprised to hear such a blunt call for such widespread sterile violence. I’d heard talk like this before on AM talk radio, and I’ve heard it since. I’m well-aware that many of our conservative citizens and politicians are wired up in this Manichean/essentialist way, where all people residing in the Middle-East are suspect (or worse) and America is the greatest nation in the history of the entire galaxy, no matter that it refuses to take care of its own while burning $2 billion/week in Afghanistan. I’ve heard far too many people speak simplistically of burning millions of Iranians in a nuclear fire, all the while racking up such a proposed mass-murder with a shrug after labeling it “collateral damage.” This is what it’s now like in the horror-carnival that much of America has become. For those of us who are able to pull our minds out of tribal mode even a bit are witness to hordes of blindered fellow citizens who have been turned intensely incurious by a mass media obsessed with conflict pornography and urged on by psychopathic politicians.
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Herman Cain is not a nitwit. Really. He’s not a nitwit, even though he claimed that people seeking to audit the Federal Reserve were ignorant. Rather, Herman Cain, formerly a board member of the Federal Reserve, is thoroughly corrupt, as demonstrated by the fact that a recent partial audit of the Federal Reserve revealed $16 trillion in secret loans. Check out the following short video:
I was running work errands yesterday and happened to snap on the radio. The NPR feed wasn’t my style the music so I punched the last button on the radio, 97.1 Talk, the Fox affiliate in St. Louis. Sometimes I listen in to “The Dave Glover Show,” where Mr. Glover liked to opine how badly he sucked as a lawyer when he previously had pursued that career. I wish Mr. Glover had let me know that before we had become law partners.
Immediately, the screaming was shrill and studied; it was as though a playbook were being read from by yet another cog in the anti-Obama hate machine. Apparently, Andrew Breitbart, who brought us edited films of ACORN folks and federal employees and criminal cronies in search of edited films, had the goods on Mr. Obama.
It seems that in a celebration of the “March on Selma” in 2007, some of the members of the three member New Black Panther movement showed up and spoke at an event which also had then-Senator Obama as a speaker. Bill and Hillary Clinton were also speaking at another location for the event. Other major civil rights figures were in attendance and they gave speeches. There was a grainy photograph of Mr. Obama somewhere near a guy from the new Black Panther Party, so Mr. Breitbart’s photographs were proof positive, according to Dana Loesch of “The Dana Show,” of Mr. Obama’s “racism!!!”
WTF? I got home, went to the trusty computer and Googled the issue. Sure enough, it appeared that the New Panther Party folks appeared at the same event. The story didn’t tell us that Mr. Obama organized the event, supported any of the viewpoints of any of the other speakers at the event, or that Mr. Obama was even aware of any of the other speakers at the event. Mr. Obama just happened to speak at the same event along with a bunch of other folks in commemoration of the sacrifices of a past generation of brave Americans seeking racial justice in America.
What was the flap?
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently gave a speech at the historically Catholic Duquesne University School of Law. According to this article at Think Progress Justice, “Justice Antonin Scalia urged the university not to stray from a religious identity hostile to gay and lesbian students.” That fact that Justice Scalia was recently irked by the the topic of gays reminded me of a talk he gave in St. Louis about three years ago (to the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis) where he displayed a condescending tone while mentioning gays and the law on several occasions during a single speech.
Back when I heard his St. Louis speech, it seemed to me that Justice Scalia merely had an ax to grind based on his belief that gays don’t have a protected place in the law under his pet theory of “originalism.” This Think Progress article reminded me of his tone at the St. Louis lecture three years ago. The comments to the Think Progress article repeatedly returned to the topic of reaction formations. Perhaps that is unfair, because I’m sure he discusses other topics at his many lectures. There is also a fascinating literature suggesting that conservatives are susceptible to inviting disgust into their moral arsenal (and see here). On the other hand, Scalia is one of many conservatives out there who burn considerable frustrated energy on this topic, tempting me to do some arm chair psychoanalysis. And I must say that his tone at the St. Louis lecture was permeated with condescension, arguably disgust. I would normally think armchair psychology to be inappropriate except that it seems so utterly invited in this case. Further, Scalia’s long slow burn on this topic might well be invading his analysis of the law. And he is a very powerful man, apparently with many years yet to serve on the Supreme Court bench.