What We’re Up Against

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross-posted from Daily Kos

One of my co-workers was very happy Bear Stearns got bailed out.  She is nearing retirement and cares ferociously about her pension.  She is not a wingnut nor a Republican.  She will care more about what happens to her pension than whether or not a bill gives the Secretary of the Treasury power to rival that of Louie the XVI, or whichever Louie had a whole lot of power (I’m a blogger, damn it, not a French historian!).

Me?  Well I’m a blogger, as referenced above, and a member of the Democratic base.  My passion for the issues I care about is as strong as my co-worker’s passion for her hard earned pension.  I’m not going to judge her badly, we just feel passionately about different things.

By using Hank Paulson and his crew’s “plan” (and I use the term ironically) as the starting point for any fix of our economy, the Democratic base has, once again, lost.  Period.  See, I’m used to that, it ain’t the first time.

Fact is, we don’t know how much time is necessary to look at what has happened in our economy before some dread cascade of economic devastation hits our country.  We do know that the incompetents in power are happy to let everyone go to hell before they’ll do the right thing.

The right thing is, of course, completely scrapping Paulson’s plan and starting from scratch.

That isn’t going to happen.  The Bushies only know how to communicate in threats and act in such a fashion that because they possess so much stolen power, they can limit the choices of lawmakers to respond.

So before we can solve any economic problem at all, we have to deal with the politics, and we are beginning to see how politics can obscure, rather than solve, problems.  The economic problem will not change, it is real and solid, but the political manipulations are very fluid and rarely confront the reality of what has happened.

In NLinStPaul’s essay, Level with us, she says:

I’ve been reading alot today trying to understand the proposed bailout. And I have to admit that I still don’t know what to think about it all.

I don’t really give a shit if these individual companies fail or even if the stock market fails. But if we’re talking about a global economic collapse, that’s not something I think we can risk.

What I can say with confidence is that, once again, this country has waited until the peak of crisis to take action. We seem to not have the capacity to evaluate risk and take preventative action…no matter what the issue.

She goes on to quote Bill Moyer’s interview with Kevin Phillips, wherein he speaks of seven “sharks” in the economic tank, which bears repeating, even though I don’t want to rip off any more of this great essay.

NL asks the question of whether anyone will level with the American people about what is actually going on.  The consensus in the comments is that will not happen.  So we are going to have to navigate this maze by ourselves — not a new task for a blogger.

I’ve been reading about folks trying to “remember” (though most of us are too young) the Depression and posting old timey “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” songs.  That only interests me insofar as seeing what a deep fear this present situation is causing throughout our country.

There’s a lot of folks who will be too worried about losing their jobs or their homes to care about politics.

And because the American public has not been leveled with as to what the crisis is, how long do we have to fix it, to make a decision, it will be very easy politically to exploit this situation.

It has already been exploited in that Paulson’s plan is even being considered at all, no matter with how many amendments and changes.  It is also being exploited by the passions of all the politicians in D.C., whichever party, passions no less real than mine for the issues that concern the Democratic base and my co-workers passion for saving her pension.

And Americans like my co-worker will act on poor and inflammatory information.

In a sane world Paulson would immediately resign and so would Bush and Cheney.  In times like this competence and confidence are essential as so much of the market fluctuations are irrational and very dependent on the mood of the people.

We know this is not a sane world as long as stupid crooks who have stolen power are still making big decisions.

So that is what we are up against, in my opinion.  That is the starting point.

I have confidence in our side, I do.  We members of the Democratic base don’t give up easily.  I just like to know what and who I’m dealing with, is all.


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  1. … not everyone here is a member of the Democratic base and that’s fine with me.  I am willing to work in solidarity with anyone who wishes to fight what we’re up against, regardless of their political affiliation or non-affiliation.

  2. In a sane world Paulson would immediately resign and so would Bush and Cheney.  In times like this competence and confidence are essential as so much of the market fluctuations are irrational and very dependent on the mood of the people.

    • Edger on September 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    are up against is that Paulson is losing the election for them.

    They’ll have to steal it. Too.

    • jessical on September 23, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    …I think on some level it doesn’t matter how america finishes going broke.  I mean, if we could win this one outright, that would be great, but…  What matters, as NLinSP was saying, is going to be more what we do during and after…

    And, yeah, this sucky dog of a plan will get approved with a bow around it and a little designer sackcloth vest.  Another reason to love Barney.

    • Robyn on September 23, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    …is that the profession has survived even the worst of times.  We traversed the Dark Ages and I know deep in my heart that somehow we will traverse this.  It will probably be in some form unrecognizable to us at present, but we will survive.  As long as we can keep the flame of learning alive, I’ll have someplace to be.

    I’ve always suspected that retirement is an illusion held up to keep me busting my butt and this is probably just the last shoe dropping to ensure that is the way of things.  When retirement funds are just theoretical, they are just too damn easy to misappropriate.

  3. over what happened to her or his pension, none of us do. Me I opted out of the corporate world so fast that it is a blip on my life story, smart no, not in the American Dream way. I still eat and live off corporations as all our clients and all of us are hooked into the global system one way or another. Our work in this country mainly consists of marketing the shuffling around of both slave labor and fake profits.

    People need to realize that this is not working there is no such thing as security in any form and in a world like ours we need to stop listening politically to the purveyors of global piracy, turning to them for the brass ring or the ‘bail out’. Our only security is in us. There are more of us and we really have the same goal a life without this shit.

    The fear that comes at me is bi partisan it all is cooked up. It refuses to deal with the reality and seeks to continue the most destructive myths all marketed politically as the American Dream. Dreams of retirement or flipping houses for a get rich scheme still linger in peoples mids as real. There not. I used to get all weirded out at people that opted out of electoral politics as useless but I at this point see no point in them.

    Obama will reap what he has sown, he talked a good talk but now he has power and he is as beholden to these bastards and the fake dream as much McCain is. He kisses the ring. For me I just say let the damn thing collapse. Life will continue and pensions that never where will collapse. Dependence on a system which long ago lost all semblance to real dreams is long gone.

    Sorry to be so negative but it wasn’t the collapse that was inevitable it’s what the government is doing, both parties, that makes me think we may lose pensions and fake security but better to let it fall. Gangsters all of them and perhaps if they lose their cover of being business men or politicians were better off. May only then will people realize no help from either side exists. We are their prey.    

  4. One thing that has been consistent in these past eight years is that things just GO DOWN and WE are always left to figure out what happened and why!  That pattern has not changed/does not change, no matter the scenario.

    I got on the phone this afternoon to my Senators and Congressman.  And I let go:  “Let these greedy b’s pick up their own pieces from what THEY created.  No bailout for them period.  Who picked up the pieces for “Katrina” victims, homeowners, etc.  Who bailed out the American people, I’m talking about the hard-working Americans!!  How much more are they going to attempt to throw on the backs of the American people?  How much do you think Americans can stand?  There’s been no consideration for Americans right down the line — just the rich!  So, tell so and so to say, NO, emphatically NO — NO BAILOUT for these scheming crooks!  ETC.  (One staffer was chiming in with me — all staffers took it in and said they would make sure so and so got the message — all took my name and zip code).  Anyone wishing to call their representatives on this must do so within the next 24 hours.

    Here is a short editorial from Alternet.org with an action page:

    Editorial: Time to Act Now! Stop the $700 Billion Blank Check

    In the next 24 hours, Congress could shape America’s financial well-being for decades. Make sure your voice is heard.

    The following appeal from the Campaign for America’s Future is a great way to add your say to the snowballing resistance to an attempt to steal hundreds of billions from the public purse.

    Within the next 24 hours, we expect Congress will make an historic choice to address America’s financial crisis: Cut the Bush administration a $700 billion blank check for Wall Street OR demand sensible public checks and balances in the $700 billion bailout. Write an emergency letter to Congress now, and tell them: No $700 Billion blank check to the Bush administration for Wall Street . . . .

    and this: Let’s Stop the Greatest Theft in the History of Humankind

    Why should American taxpayers give US Treasury Secretary “Hank” Paulson a blank check to bail out the shareholders of busted banks? Why should the Treasury turn itself into a toxic waste dump for their bad loans? Why not let other banks join the unlamented Brothers Lehman in bankruptcy court, and start a new bank with taxpayers’ money? Or have the Treasury pay interest on delinquent mortgages, and make them whole? Even better, why not let the Chinese, or the Saudis or other foreign investors take control of failed American banks? They’ve got the money, and they gladly would pay a premium for an inside seat at the American table.

    None of the above will occur. America will give between US$700-$800 billion to the Treasury to buy any bank assets it wants, on any terms, with no possible legal recourse. It is an invitation to abuse of power unparalleled in American history, in which ill-paid civil servants will set prices on the portfolios of the banking system with no oversight and no threat of legal penalty.

    Why are the voices raised in protest so shrill and few? Why will Americans fall on their fountain-pens for their bankers? If America is to adopt socialism, why not have socialism for the poor, rather than for the rich? Why should American households that earn $50,000 a year subsidize Goldman Sachs partners who earn $5 million a year? . . . .

    • A Siegel on September 24, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    In a “sane world”, Bush and Cheney would not resign, they would be impeached.

    By the way, re your example. I have someone I know who is (far) wealthier than I.  Both in 2000 and 2004, he basically said “I know Bush is an idiot and I don’t think that he can govern, but there is no way that I will vote for someone who will raise my taxes.” And, that vote went R.  And, he considers the past seven years to be basically a total failure in governance and a disaster to the economy (including his stock holdings). And, he’ll vote R this November.  

  5. as their shirts are being stripped from their backs!

    • dkmich on September 25, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Ohh, so that’s it.   Well I am more in the process of retirement than not, as well; and I’ve saved my whole freaking life so I could securly retire.  As a result, I have lots of assets that I am desperately concerned about, too.  But, I figure I’m screwed no matter what; so if I’m going to die, I would like it to do some good.  I have grandsons.  Bottom line is that people like your co-worker ought to be able to walk and talk at the same time.  Regardless of who we are, the world doesn’t revolve around us.  I really think it is hopeless.  

  6. Emergency! Emergency!  Please to get from street!  Emergency!

    Sept 11, 2001

    Terror!  Terror!  Please to give up rights so we can “protect” you.

    Same shit, same day.  What was that Tom Hanks movie?  Oh, Ground Hog Day.

  7. and again, and again, until people see the connection. I know Buhdy gets it because he wrote the Green Revolution.

    All the rules of capitalism and the economy depend upon growth, investment, and debt and speculative investment in financing debt in hopes that growth will pay off that debt. But what happens when the rules change. When growth is no longer possible. All those rules go to shit.

    Our economy DEPENDS upon cheap energy to create growth. The days of cheap conventional energy ARE OVER. 2006 was peak oil. Demand for petroleum outpaces supply.

    Because of this fact, we are now in days of economic contraction.

    Moreover, restated the two questions are:

    “Who do we fight?” and “How do we fight them?”

    And the answer is…. removing capital from the Oilmen by forcing the decision to become a renewable energy society.

    (The real meat of the video starts around the 35 min mark and extends to the end of the first hour.)

    Energy Autonomy will free us from these chains. It is also something that the conventional energy companies must resist in order to extend their own existence and influence.

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