See, there is justice.
See, there is justice.
In his Wonkblog at The Washington Post today, Ezra Klein takes a look (great read) and notes that while McConnell weeps upon the sacred steps of the Senate decrying any changes to the rules (as did the Dems before him) and claims the filibuster to be a historical sacrament . . . well, here’s some real history:
The American system of government was built to protect minority voices, but the Founding Fathers explicitly rejected designing the Congress around a supermajority requirement. In Federalist 22, Alexander Hamilton savaged the idea of a supermajority Congress, writing that “its real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of government and to substitute the pleasure, caprice or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent or corrupt junta, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority.”
VOTER ID: I have absolutely no problem with voter ID. My problem is with 1) making it difficult, and 2) rushing it. Voter ID? Not a bad idea. The way they’re doing it? That’s suppression.
NEW STUPID GOP MEME: “In 1962, six percent of Americans got federal entitlements. Now, it’s 35 percent.” Clever. Of course 1962 was before there was Medicare.
CYNICAL MUCH?: Our Congress Critters have made clear once again that they are incapable of acting, even to save the nation from the bullet they themselves aimed directly at 320 million Americans - the one that requires automatic spending cuts of $900 billion in January 2013. So, diversion is called for. Time for a shiny new thing. What to do? Why, pass a new bill, The Sequestration Transparency Act. A Nebraska newspaper describes it thusly: “having proven incapable . . . they now indignantly demand to know how the President plans to cut spending.” Not them, the President. Neat.
From The Hill just now . . . someone should take this gentleman into a quiet corner and calm him down. Maybe give him some milk and cookies.
Report: Rep. Steve King mulling bill to repeal everything Obama has signed
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an outspoken critic of just about everything President Obama supports, is considering introducing a bill that would repeal everything Obama has signed into law.
I was just reading my way around Under The Mountain Bunker (‘Come for the apocolypse - stay for the coffee’) and came upon this Tom Tomorrow panel.
A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the highway outside Washington DC. Nothing’s moving. Suddenly, a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls it down and asks, “What’s going on?”
“Terrorists have kidnapped Congress! They’re asking for a $100 million dollar ransom. Otherwise, they’re going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire. We’re going from car to car, collecting donations.”
“How much is everyone giving, on average?” the driver asks.
The man replies, “Roughly a gallon.”
(Thanks to friend Jane.)
Members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 total, according to a Roll Call analysis of Members’ financial disclosure forms
The surprise $5.00 debit card fee banks recently imposed on their customers is going away. Bank of American, Sun Trust, JP Morgan Chase and others are now trying to tiptoe off the front pages.
“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” David Darnell, the bank’s co-chief operating officer, said in a statement.
JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co last week decided to cancel test programs, while SunTrust Banks Inc and Regions Financial Corp said on Monday they would end monthly charges and reimburse customers.
For most Americans, the fee was a step too far from those ‘job creators’ who earlier wallowed in ugly, amoral behaviors screwing not just us but each other, and sent us into a four year trailspin of a recession that could take as long as a decade to repair.
This time, I think those ‘bankers’ peeked out their windows and were a bit frightened by what they saw. So I’ll call this a victory for Occupy Wall Streeters around the nation and around the world.
Thomas Friedman (forever the inspiration for the wartime Friedman Unit, or the F.U. for short), reminds us this week about one Citigroup transgression for which they’ve just been fined $285million (chump change these days), a transgression emblematic of the duplicitous and amoral behavior that hurt us all so badly.
. . . with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.
According to the SEC complaint:
. . . Citigroup exercised “significant influence” over choosing which $500 million of the $1 billion worth of assets in the deal, and the global bank deliberately chose collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s, built from mortgage loans almost sure to fail. According to The Wall Street Journal, the S.E.C. complaint quoted one unnamed C.D.O. trader outside Citigroup as describing the portfolio as resembling something your dog leaves on your neighbor’s lawn. “The deal became largely worthless within months of its creation,” The Journal added. “As a result, about 15 hedge funds, investment managers and other firms that invested in the deal lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits.”
For decades we’ve let them indulge in the worst form of crony capitalism without the rule of law that should govern such institutions. Unbridled greed took hold. And it’s been destroying capitalism. It is anti-capitalist.
Friedman goes on:
. . . .what happened to us? Our financial industry has grown so large and rich it has corrupted our real institutions through political donations. As Senator Richard Durbin. . . bluntly said in a 2009 radio interview, despite having caused this crisis, these same financial firms “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they, frankly, own the place.”
Our Congress today is a forum for legalized bribery. One consumer group using information from Opensecrets.org calculates that the financial services industry spent $2.3 billion on federal campaign contributions from 1990 to 2010, which was more than the health care, energy, defense, agriculture and transportation industries combined.
We can’t afford this any longer.
Indeed we cannot. We now stand witness to the destruction of what it took us 250 years to build.
I don’t see anyone with power stepping up, leaving it up to the people. And, no matter the tired 1960′s stereotypes the right is so enthralled with, that is why we have Occupy Wall Street.
It’s mere hours since I posted Uncle Jay and his delightful video mocking the House Calendar (from 2010), and here comes Majority Leader Cantor, of the United States House of Representatives with the official 2012 House Calendar. Looks like our congress critters are going to be in session a full 109 days. This is sadly par for the course and we know there’s no reason to work a little overtime.
Oh well, at least that means more cool CSpan programming.
We need to fix this or it’ll ruin us.
WASHINGTON — The top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday . . .
In this report, the budget office found that from 1979 to 2007, average inflation-adjusted after-tax income grew by 275 percent for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income. For others in the top 20 percent of the population, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent.
By contrast, the budget office said, for the poorest fifth of the population, average real after-tax household income rose 18 percent.
And for the three-fifths of people in the middle of the income scale, the growth in such household income was just under 40 percent.
Thanks Earl and Gene
Just added these to my QUOTES page:
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a
shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress. John Adams
I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. Will Rogers
Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it. Anonymous
There is no distinctly Native American criminal class…save Congress. Mark Twain
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop
There’s a wee flaw in designing an economy which requires people to spend a huge amount of money to purchase and maintain a giant metal box in order to be able to drive to minimum wage jobs.
POSTED BY ORHAN
Here’s another quote from the article by Mike Lofgren referenced earlier by Moe. It’s significant because Lofgren was a longtime Republican operative and Congressional staffer with a lot of street cred:
A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.
So there’s method in the madness.
In a thread downstream, ojmo linked to an article by Mike Lofgren, a 30-year Republican congressional staffer. Lofgren doesn’t like what’s become of his party and chronicles their 40-year cynical campaign to discredit government for political advantage. And he doesn’t see Democrats stepping up either.
He touches too on something I’ve despaired about:
Democrats . . . do not understand language. Their initiatives are posed in impenetrable policy-speak: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The what? – can anyone even remember it? No wonder the pejorative “Obamacare” won out. Contrast that with the Republicans’ Patriot Act. You’re a patriot, aren’t you? Does anyone at the GED level have a clue what a Stimulus Bill is supposed to be? Why didn’t the White House call it the Jobs Bill and keep pounding on that theme?
You know that Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy when even Democrats refer to them as entitlements. “Entitlement” has a negative sound in colloquial English: somebody who is “entitled” selfishly claims something he doesn’t really deserve. Why not call them “earned benefits,” which is what they are because we all contribute payroll taxes to fund them? That would never occur to the Democrats. Republicans don’t make that mistake; they are relentlessly on message: it is never the “estate tax,” it is the “death tax.”
While congress refines its performance art and the media take to their fainting couches, the overlords of our brave new world share a smug smile and head out to their summer houses. Their work is done. For now.
We elected them, but how do we unelect them in a gerrymandered
nation world owned by a multinational meglithic oligarchy? (h/t friend Shep)
CLARIFICATION: My words above (unlike the cartoon itself) are actually not directed at the newly elected Tea Partiers, who may be the least ‘owned’ members of Congress. My words are directed at the majority of our Congress Critters, all too many of whom daily do the bidding of their Galtian overlords. (hint: that’s not us)
And our entirely broken government, now wholly owned by those who created it all. Bill Mahar explains some of it:
. . . .a shrieking, destructive, primal, feudal, apocalyptic, wasteland of partisan banshees . . .
I would add ‘tribal’. And maybe ‘wholly owned’.