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A Pre-Offyear-Election Day Request To All the Condescending Beltway Hypocrites

November 2, 2009

Here are some things I’ve been festering about over the weekend which indicate that those who ostensibly represent We the People aren’t really even trying.

This Bradblog post which has some good links to articles by David Swanson mentions that the most recent health care legislation proposal would not only allow states to opt out of any weak tea public option Congress may deign to offer as some sort of palliative, but it strips an amendment by Dennis Kucinich with the result that states couldn’t offer universal single payer health care to their own residents even if they wanted to.

As we noted at the time, “If it survives a House floor vote…the Kucinich amendment would insure that efforts to secure single-payer systems at the state level would not be preempted by federal law.” The measure would thus allow advocates of a single-payer health care system to pursue the same local democratic strategy used in Canada, where single-payer was achieved first at the Province level; then extended nationally.

On Thursday, the Pelosi-led House Leadership unveiled their so-called health care “reform” bill which presents an emasculated public insurance option to provide a populist fig-leaf as cover for what David Swanson aptly described as “a catastrophically bad law” and as a “Healthcare Hoax from Hell.” Not only does this legislative obscenity permit states to deprive all of their citizens of even this watered-down version by opting out of the public option, but these Democratic “leaders” stripped the Kucinich amendment out of H.R. 3200.

And then there was this post by Ken Silverstein on derivatives “reform” where the only person at a recent committee meeting who wanted any real reform at all was grudgingly invited at the last minute, was not allowed time to make his points, and then couldn’t even get his testimony on to the government website where it could be read. And the House committee in question was led by Barney Frank who has been making lots of little peeps lately about making sure any future bailouts like TARP came with full transparency, evidently hoping people wouldn’t notice shenanigans like this and that they’d forget he was one of the main legislators who pushed for the original bailout with no transparency in the first place.

…Congressman Barney Frank (D-Wall Street), invited a panel of eight guests who were distinguished by their uniformly pro-industry positions.

~snip~

In response to complaints from Americans for Financial Reform, which represents hundreds of consumer groups and labor unions, the committee issued an invitation—the night before the hearing was held — to Rob Johnson of the Roosevelt Institute.

~snip~

Johnson, who came last, offered the only serious critical viewpoint, saying that the American public had been “quite demoralized by…the bailouts that we experienced last fall.” After about five minutes of his testimony, Congresswoman Melissa Bean—another industry-funded committee member who chaired the hearing because Frank was absent—had heard enough. “I’m just going to ask you to wrap up because we’re running out of time,” she told Johnson.

~snip~

About five days later Johnson submitted his full testimony to the committee, to be included on its website along with the statements of the other eight panelists. When it wasn’t posted, Johnson asked Lynn Parramore, editor of the Roosevelt Institute’s blog, to see what was up. Parramore emailed and spoke to staffers at the Financial Services Committee, and received a number of explanations for why Johnson’s testimony had not been posted: first she was told it hadn’t been received, then that it had to be submitted as a PDF, then that the committee was having IT problems. “I couldn’t decide whether it was incompetence or mischief, but I began to suspect the latter,” Parramore told me.

Finally, she was informed that the committee’s general counsel would not allow posting of the testimony because Johnson had not submitted it during the hearing.

So to all you bought-off corporate whores who think you’re so goddamn clever that you can fool people into thinking you’re actually helping them with your grandstanding public pronouncements even as you continue to take away everything you promised once you meet with your fellow hustlers behind closed doors in a year when you have nothing to fear because none of you are up for re-election and we can’t vote your sorry asses out, please take the words in the video above to heart and go fuck yourselves eight ways to Sunday.

And I mean that sincerely, earnestly and without equivocation, forever and ever Amen.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    November 2, 2009 1:04 pm

    When I ran across the song in the video attributed to Frank Zappa I was surprised I hadn’t heard it before so I did some searching. I was from a Steve Vai album from the early 80s. It isn’t Zappa singing and I didn’t see that Zappa was credited with the lyrics on the album either. But I did see a couple other instances where the lyrics were attributed to Zappa, Zappa was playing with Steve Vai at that time and it certainly is Zappa-esque. The thing that struck me was that this came out in 1984 and one of the lyrics is “fuck yourself with the world wide web”. Zappa and associates always were way ahead of their time :)

    • Stemella permalink*
      November 2, 2009 1:46 pm

      I hadn’t heard that one either. It sure sounded like Frank’s voice to me. I particularly liked this section. The whole thing is very cathartic.

      “Fuck yourself with politics
      Ahh they’re full of fuckin’ fuckin’ shit
      I mean you know we’ve been lied to ever since we were born
      It’s amazing that we’ve been getting fucked that
      long
      Fuck yourself with the world wide web
      Man you could ride that sucker right from your bed
      You may even meet a Tom, Dick, Jane or Billy
      Then grab onto your modem and fuck yourself silly”

      Here’s a vid of Frank and Stevie on stage circa early 80’s

  2. cometman permalink*
    November 2, 2009 1:12 pm

    While in the US dozens of smaller banks continue to fail so they can be gobbled up by the too-big-too-fail behemoths that Geithner et al insist on propping up, in other countries steps are being taken against those who were bailed out by their governments.

    According to this brief Boston Globe article, the Royal Bank of Scotland may be broken up by being forced to sell off some of its subsidiaries.

    British regulators have stepped up pressure on the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC to sell off assets in the wake of its massive government bailout, and the bank could be forced to sell Citizens Financial Group Inc. here in the United States.

    The Scottish banking giant, which is 70 percent owned by the British government, is expected to announce its forced divestitures Tuesday, according to UK press reports. In a statement, the company said its decisions “will include some divestments not initially contemplated.”

    Hopefully there will be some stipulation that it can’t just be sold off to the rat fuckers on the other side of the pond because I’m sure the likes of BofA are already licking their chops.

  3. cometman permalink*
    November 2, 2009 1:38 pm

    Here’s some more on the idea of state-run banks that I linked to a week or so ago. Looks like the only state that has actually increased jobs this year is the only state that has its own bank – North Dakota.

    Why is North Dakota doing so well, when other states are suffering the ravages of a deepening credit crisis? Its secret may be that it has its own credit machine. North Dakota is the only state in the Union to own its own bank. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) was established by the state legislature in 1919, specifically to free farmers and small businessmen from the clutches of out-of-state bankers and railroad men. The bank’s stated mission is to deliver sound financial services that promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota.

    ~snip~

    …a state-owned bank has enormous advantages: States own huge amounts of capital, and they can think farther ahead that their quarterly profit statements, allowing them to take long-term risks. Their asset bases are not marred by oversized salaries and bonuses; they have no shareholders expecting a sizable cut, and they have not marred their books with bad derivatives bets, unmarketable collateralized debt obligations and mark-to-market accounting problems.

    ~snip~

    The BND’s populist organizers originally conceived of the bank as a credit union-like institution that would free farmers from predatory lenders, but conservative interests later took control and suppressed these commercial lending functions. The BND is now chiefly a “bankers’ bank.” It acts like a central bank, with functions similar to those of a branch of the Federal Reserve. It avoids rivalry with private banks by partnering with them. Most lending is originated by a local bank. The BND then comes in to participate in the loan, share risk and buy down the interest rate.

    Un-suppress the commercial lending functions and you might really have something and if you read the rest of the article, that is exactly what a candidate for governor in Florida is proposing to do.

    Sounds pretty good to me. Not only would this allow credit to get where its needed and contribute revenue to state coffers which would presumably mean lower taxes, it would also provide much needed stability to financial markets.

    It isn’t like we need to come up with all new ideas to fix the financial system – simply using some of the existing ones that have proven successful and re-instituting some of the old regulations that were stripped but worked well in the past would be a huge help. But the banksters are still too busy trying to figure out how to re-inflate their bubble economy and bend us all over again to even consider any of these ideas.

  4. artemis54 permalink
    November 3, 2009 6:43 am

    I first saw Zappa at the Paramount in Seattle in 73 or so. By that time Mud Shark had become something of a cult in the area. Zappa was long since bored with it and wanted to do a kind of free jazz set. He wound up – understandably, thought I – getting quite hostile, berating the audience and delivering a lecture about musical exploration, respect, etc.

    Zappa for Treasury. Then maybe we could get somewhere. I know I’ve said it before, but little Timmy G’s habit of mumbling below his breath in response to questions is the exact opposite of reassuring.

    OFF TEH TOPIC: Endosulfan: one step closer to a global ban

    • cometman permalink*
      November 3, 2009 10:31 am

      Ha! The Edgewater seems to have been a popular spot for rock stars to stay back in the day. I used to hear about the Beatles staying there and I also remembered some shenanigans by Led Zeppelin there too. Just looked it up and evidently it was the same incident.

      I saw Zappa when I was in college in about 1988. I’d heard Valley Girl on the radio but that was about it, I’d never listened to any of his albums. During his tour that year a lot of the songs were ripping into Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, etc who were in the news at the time. Since I couldn’t stand the fundie church I’d gone to through high school, I was hooked and have been a fan ever since. Well, that and the fact that I used to play in some bands myself and Zappa and his entourage impressed me by being tremendous musicians.

      And yeah, Zappa for Treasury. A dead iconoclast rock star can’t be any worse than what we’ve got now.

      • artemis54 permalink
        November 3, 2009 1:10 pm

        Yeah I had to bail out a couple girlfriends that got in a jam at the EW in their relentless pursuit of David Bowie. I don’t think they even had the right floor. I saw him out smoking in the parking lot when I went to retrieve them.

  5. cometman permalink*
    November 3, 2009 7:34 am

    Nice profile of Elizabeth Warren in the Boston Globe today. Hilarious that the republicans who oppose her are such one trick ponies.

    “I have dubbed it the ‘Restrict the American Dream and Job Destruction Act,’ ’’ Representative Tom Price of Georgia, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of 110 GOP House members, said in an interview about Warren’s proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. “I have no doubt that as a Northeast elite academic it is difficult for Ms. Warren to appreciate that, but that’s exactly what it will do.’’

    Of course Warren grew up in a lower middle class family in Oklahoma, but don’t let that stop you Tom Price.

    • artemis54 permalink
      November 3, 2009 7:37 am

      Every time I hear her she sounds like the only person who knows anything at all and the only one who can explain anything so I can understand it.

      • cometman permalink*
        November 3, 2009 10:32 am

        She is very good at making things easy to understand. That and the fact that all the banksters seem to despise her makes me think she must be doing something right.

  6. cometman permalink*
    November 3, 2009 1:24 pm

    Matt Taibbi has a couple good posts up about Goldman Sux and in one of them he mentions he has a book coming out about the subject.

    He tears into ex-Goldie Stephen freeman in this one – Forget Galleon: What about Goldman’s ex-boss?

    Friedman surely had information about key moves involving the bank — like Goldman getting paid off at par in the AIG bailout, or Goldman getting a federal bank charter overnight so that a mountain of cheap Fed money could save it from bankruptcy — before the market got it. That he bought 50,000 shares in Goldman after the AIG bailout and is not in jail right now is sort of amazing, until you consider that it will be a cold day in hell before a former head of Goldman Sachs is arrested for insider trading, even when he gets caught doing it red-handed.

    In this one he describes Goldman’s latest lobbying efforts where they argue that disclosing their trades publicly would keep them from fleecing the rubes and making huge profits – Goldman Lobbies Senate, Says Full Transparency Sucks

    …the bank argues that an over-the-counter market in which big traders like Goldman get to do deals in the shadows in “dark pools” without the retail investor having any knowledge of what the hell is going on is somehow better for everybody, that this somehow produces better prices. Of course the reality is that the two-tiered system creates one pool of fools whose every movement is visible to every animal on the Serengeti, and another pool of giant bloodthirsty carnivores who get to walk around invisible, picking off the dik-diks one by one.

    And then there was this hilarious post about the Killa from Wasilla – Palinoia.

  7. cometman permalink*
    November 3, 2009 2:00 pm

    More stupid on the health care front. A Mormon, a milquetoast, and a mort want to make sure xtian science prayer treatments are covered.

    Backed by some of the most powerful members of the Senate, a little-noticed provision in the healthcare overhaul bill would require insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments as medical expenses.

    The provision was inserted by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) with the support of Democratic Sens. John F. Kerry and the late Edward M. Kennedy, both of Massachusetts, home to the headquarters of the Church of Christ, Scientist.

    The measure would put Christian Science prayer treatments — which substitute for or supplement medical treatments — on the same footing as clinical medicine. While not mentioning the church by name, it would prohibit discrimination against “religious and spiritual healthcare.”

    Great. I mean, we wouldn’t want to pass any legislation that doesn’t make Hank Paulson happy. But the fact that Paulson is a Xtian sci guy goes a long way toward explaining his policy that the economy will get fixed if we all just believe it will really really hard.

  8. Stemella permalink*
    November 4, 2009 7:23 am

    Another example of empire felled by over harvested forests

    Peru’s Nazca culture was brought down with its trees

    The Nazca people of Peru — famous for their huge line drawings on an arid plateau that are fully visible only from the air — set the stage for their demise by deforesting the plain, allowing a huge El Niño-fueled flood to ravage the Ica Valley about AD 500, researchers have found.

    “They died out because they destroyed their natural ecosystem,” said archaeologist Alex J. Chepstow-Lusty of the French Institute of Andean Studies in Lima, coauthor of a paper in the current issue of Latin American Antiquity. “As the population expanded, they put in too many fields and didn’t protect the landscape. The El Niño wiped away society.”

    • cometman permalink*
      November 5, 2009 9:04 am

      Just got a chance to read this one. Pretty amazing how they can reconstruct what happened. I’m sure there will be people who question the research, but this part at the end was important I think.

      The last few huarango groves on the southern coast are being cleared for illegal charcoal production.

      This is the same thing which is happening on Hispaniola in Haiti right now. The country is so dirt poor that people have denuded the landscape to make charcoal out of the trees since it’s the only way they can make money. The photo in this post makes it very clear. The Dominican side is still relatively green and the Haitian side is brown and turning to desert. And that’s just one small island – terrible farming practices all over the world are doing the same thing in much larger areas. I saw a documentary recently called The Sands of China or something like that which showed how huge swaths of land are being turned into desert every year.

      Modern agricultural practices in the industrial era have allowed huge amounts of food to be produced but it has become increasingly clear that while that may have kept billions fed for a few decades, it is simply not sustainable in the long term. The question is will we smarten up in time? Right now it doesn’t look like it.

  9. Stemella permalink*
    November 4, 2009 7:29 am

    Vincent Van’s letters are now available on line from Amsterdam with English translations.

    Vincent Van Gogh letters

    Great educational tool

  10. Stemella permalink*
    November 4, 2009 7:42 am

    Goldman Sux invokes Jeebus. God is on their side, not Satanic Vampire Squids. Whathefuckever.

    Profit `Not Satanic,’ Barclays Says, After Goldman Invokes Jesus

    Varley joins Goldman Sachs International adviser Brian Griffiths and Lazard International Chairman Ken Costa as London bankers who’ve gone into London churches in recent weeks and invoked Christianity to defend a banking system that critics say has created wealth and inequality in the U.K.

    “The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,” Goldman’s Griffiths said Oct. 20, his voice echoing around the gold-mosaic walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral, whose 365-feet-high dome towers over the City, London’s financial district. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.”

    I wish these fuckers the harshest of retribution equivalent in pain to the quantity of the giant bonuses they will steal this year.

    • cometman permalink*
      November 4, 2009 8:30 am

      WTF!?!?!?!?! I gotta agree with you and this guy from the article:

      “It’s terrible to say things like that in a church,” Neil Jameson, executive director of London Citizens, a non-profit that campaigns on issues from low pay to crime, said of Goldman’s Griffiths. “He should be condemned,” Jameson said.

      Which freaking bible is it that the GoldSuckers are reading? In the one I read jeebus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get through the pearly gates. jeebus said give away everything you have and follow him. jeebus wasn’t real fond of the moneychangers in the temple at all from what I remember and fucked ’em up pretty good and it’s high time the rest of us followed that example.

  11. Stemella permalink*
    November 4, 2009 8:15 am

    Barbara Ehrenreich discusses the snafu of poor govt reponse to H1N1 and lack of availability and distribution of the vaccine. Hope ain’t gonna get it done.

    The Swine Flu Vaccine Screw-up

    • cometman permalink*
      November 5, 2009 9:09 am

      Hear hear!

      On the public health front, we need to socialize vaccine manufacture as well as its distribution.

      Like the article mentions, it’s government research which develops a lot of these vaccines in the first place. Why does the distribution of it have to be a for-profit enterprise?

  12. Stemella permalink*
    November 4, 2009 11:16 am

    Long overdue justice coming not from home, but from abroad, if only symbolically at this point.

    Italy convicts former CIA agents in renditions trial

    An Italian judge sentenced 23 former CIA agents to up to eight years in prison Wednesday for the abduction of a Muslim cleric in a symbolic ruling against “rendition” flights used by the former U.S. government.

    The Americans were all tried in absentia after the United States refused to extradite them. But the verdict, the first of its kind, was welcomed by rights campaigners who have long complained the renditions policy violated basic human rights.

    Unfortunately, our country is obstructing this justice, so it is doubtful it will ever be served. Sort of a metaphor for our entire state of the nation, this psychotic crumbling spoiled brat bastard child of several empires.

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