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31 July 2011

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Charles I

Perhaps the impasse is part of the change. Get us all fed up, scared, uncertain, personally precarious, lower turnout even more, have their way, rather than just stand in everybody else's.

Arun

A new political party any time soon is too much to hope for; one has to revive the republican party by getting more centrists to vote in the primaries-in sufficient numbers to make the tea party irrelevant.

Also, it is unpleasant to hear, but a good deal of the nuttiness arises from some people's resentment at having a black president.

Bill H.

The Consumer Financial PProtection Act passed by Congress was one of the most wierd creations ever. It merely creates and funds the bureau, and leaves implementation entirely to the executive branch, including the rules under which financial institututions will be required to operate. Given that climets, if I was running a bank, I would simply close my doors, knowing the interest rates and rules governing future interaction with my clients was subject to Presidential whim.

Congress doesn't want responsibility for making decisions as to war, so they pass that off to the president. They dislike the power of the purse, so the executive branch now develops the budget.

This is how Congress works today, not willing to take responsibility for its own actions and passing more and more authority to the executive to avoud having to make decisions.

The Tea Party is actually trying to be decision makers. Unfortunately, Congress has long since forgotten how to do that, so the effort is utterly misguided, wrong headed, and a horrible failure, but there is some merit that there are members of Congress who are actually trying to do the decision-making thing. I certainly wish they weren't, but...

Sort of ironic, actually.

Ken Roberts

I watch in amazement at the willingness to engage in brinksmanship. All it takes is one mis-coordination to miss a self-imposed deadline.

One line from the WashPost article is memorable, Obama's noting that the US does not have an AAA political system to match its AAA credit rating. He is right. And it is change from the past; as the US system of checks and balances, constitution, bill of rights, etc, has been the admiration of the world.

Somewhere around here is a book with a letter of Lincoln, in 1855, to another legislator, in which he states that he does not know what party he adheres to, just that he is sure he is not a Know-Nothing.

From that sort of uncertainty the Republican party was born, I believe.

So ... what sort of re-alignment do you think is potentially on the horizon? It is amazing to me that the Rep party would frag their speaker. The whole system is based upon party loyalty, had been my belief.

Thanks!

highlander

Damn! I like that Klingon XO, analogy! I guess, I need to go buy those books of yours.

Phil Giraldi

Don't know what to believe on all of this. The tea party assertion that government has grown way too large and is running on a credit card, requiring major surgery, is certainly correct. But the leadership of both parties is addicted to big government and deficit spending.

It seems to me that both the Boner plan and the Reid plan were cop outs. Both promised to cut spending by a little over $2 trillion over ten years. But factoring in projected entitlement and other increases the actual cuts turn out to be less than half of that, meaning the it would actually work out to a little over 2% based on the current federal budget total. Hardly significant. Both Moody's and Standard and Poors are saying that there must be an actual cut of $4 trillion over ten years to have any real impact. Which means that both parties are failing to do the right thing yet again no matter what they wind up doing. They will cut a deal at the last second and it will be business as usual in Washington.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Not withstanding a few opinion pieces lately, Mainstream Media still tip toes around the Tea Party because their Corporate Bosses are financial Supporters of the Movement.

First, the media will not admit that the Federal Government does not give a damn for its citizens. The President just agreed to throw Social Security Pensioners and Medicare recipients overboard to get his Grand Compromise accepted by the GOP. Tea Partiers know this. This is why they are intent on flushing government down the drain.

Second, there is a history of hot headed radicalism in the USA. It is no coincidence that the epicenter of the Tea Party in Congress is the South Carolina delegation.

Third, the media; Comcast, General Electric, Bank of America, etc. will not admit that they are out to screw their customers out of their last dollar; anything, but taking a haircut on all of their bad debt. This includes support of radicals who are intent on destroying American democratic government and foreclosure fraud that is kicking millions out of their homes.

Finally, Neo-liberal Democrats, GOP, and Corporations are pushing Austerity. This is guaranteed to depress the economy for the foreseeable future screwing the lives of millions and millions of us for generations (or until a Peoples’ Party arises and all the neo-liberals and corporate bosses pass through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission process that is much preferable to a Second American Revolution).

ex-PFC Chuck

Meanwhile President Obama, aided and abetted by his party's faux-liberal Congressional leaders and a majority (but by no means all) of the back-benchers are destroying the Democratic Party. They are gutting their party's ability to differentiate itself from the GOP by adopting what not long ago were Republican pipedreams of dismantling the accomplishments of their genuinely liberal predecessors going back to FDR. The Dems' get-out-the-vote efforts in 2012 are going to be severely impaired because the young folks who turned out to volunteer for Obama in 2008 have been lost and not only won't show up to work the phones and knock on doors, but in many cases are too disgusted to even show up to vote. "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice . . ." Whenever one brings this issue up in meetings of progressives it's as if one farted in church. Nervous glances followed by someone saying, "Let's move on."

It's come out in the past few days that the 'think tank,' Third Way (http://www.thirdway.org/), that has the most influence on Democratic policies regarding finance and business is for all practical purposes in the pocket of the banksters (http://bit.ly/pvzZO8 and http://bit.ly/rhZy5J).

Fred

Bill H.

Credit Card rates are as high as 29.9% with an endless variation of fees. Obama hasn't made effort one to end this type of usury, why would anyone close a bank? Banks, and corporations in general, have done better than regulatory capture - they've bought two branches of government. All that remains now is the judiciary, but given that Justices like the Honorable Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia see no conflict of interest maybe it's all three branches bought and paid for.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/us/politics/20koch.html

I'm sure my money vs. the Koch brothers money gives me that fair and balanced level playing field so blathered about on the news.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/06/nation/la-na-koch-brothers-20110206

Patrick Lang

Highlander

You, in particular, will like them. pl

jr786

I don't think they're crazy. Their negotiating strategy might be to act like that in order to blackmail everybody else into giving in to their demands. If they end up getting what they want they'll just say they played hardball and that politics is a blood sport, or some other nonsense that is usually spewed out in these cases.

Fred

"Eric Cantor waits in the wings like the XO on a Klingon battle cruiser waiting to sit in the dead man's chair."

Nice analogy. What's that 'Klingon' saying - revenge is a dish best served cold? I have visions of indictments served with one's morning coffee; though I'm sure others have less legalistic visions.

Roy G.

Third parties have had many go arounds (Anderson, Perot, Nader), so why was the Tea Party successful? Because it had influential big money Republican funders (Dick Armey), and a willing propaganda outfit, FOX.

Unfortunately, most Tea Partiers' understanding of our government doesn't extend prior to 2008, so their braying ideology is all 'the government spends too much money,' instead of going back and researching why that is so (hint: 10 years of war paid for with credit cards, and the Bush Tax Cuts for the least deserving).

Bill H's comment is instructive: he broadly misinterprets the Consumer Financial Protection Act, then magnanimously puts himself in the chair of being a bank president, and deciding that any oversight is a killer – notwithstanding that the banks are currently making a killing, and getting money to lend at 0% interest from the government. Since Bill H is likely not a bank president, here he is fighting against the interests of the majority of US citizens, who do in fact need a financial watchdog agency to give them some form of protection from the rapacious financial services industry.

The problems are myriad, but the current Kabuki theatre in Congress is not helping anybody but the Corporate Masters of the World, who have managed regulatory capture of all 3 branches of our government.

Babak Makkinejad

Phil Giraldi:

The reduction of the US Federal Deficit, however desirable it might be, is not a prudent activity at the present time.

Until the private sector in the United States - both households and corporations - are in the black again Federal Deficit spending is an absolute necessity.

Drastic reduction of the Federal Deficit spending will cause another crash of the US economy; no doubt.

The way forward is to end the wars but continue deficit spending until US economy is in the black. Then you start cutting the deficit.

I should think it will take a couple of decades before US Federal deficit reduction could begin in earnest.

In the meantime, the 80 trillion dollars of derivative contracts etc. must also be handled, probably by giving their owners 0.5 cent on the dollar.

Jose

With all the problems we Americans face, our discussions centers on Klingons and Hobbits.

The present impasse will be repeated endlessly if there is not a politiccal change. pl

Respectfully, we should start by repealing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and term limiting both Houses of Congress.

If not, Vorch-doh-baghk, Cantor!

Alternatively,

Bobo

The Balanced Budget is coming, nothing wrong with that, so how will it work. There will have to be mechanisms in place when funds need to be spent for the safety of the country. The President decides when to send troops to defend the nation thus he should be able to implement a war tax on the country with the concurrence of congress. He also will need extra funds when natural disasters occur so we will need a disaster tax and so on and so on.

So in addition to our annual IRS tax we will have numerous other tax's imposed on us but our budget will be balanced. Can the Klingon's understand this? I doubt it.

As an aside, how close are we to an insurrection?

Norbert M Salamon

In a Way the Tea Party is right: The budget has to be a lot closer to balance than it is now proposed, else the pain will be lot worse in a few years.

The easiest way to achive the fabled 4 trillion in 10 years [which I think is far too modest an aim] is to close all foreign bases, and end the wars in Afghanistan, etc and Iraq - which amounts to approx 320 billion per year. Finding the other part of 80 billion per annum should not take too mcuh effort.

Social Security has to be re adjusted over a few years,l eventually raising retirement age to somewhere close to 70, giving the somewhat similar ratio to life expectancy/retirement age as was when the program was established.

It is unfortunate that the discussion on the debt ceiling has lowered itself to idiotic spin from all four sides [Obama, Dems, Reps and Tea Party] - completely neglecting reality. It seems all these actors are worried about reelection, not the beneffit of the people nor the Nation.

John Badalian


Dear Colonel:

Your fellow Virginian, Jim Webb, is indeed a fascinating and brave fellow. Early in 2009, it was he who accompanied Bermie Sanders to White House to express reservations over the chosen Obama economic team. Senator Webb reminds me of that tough Scots-Irishman, Andy Jackson. I wonder.

bth

1. Usually about this time a worthwhile governor steps forward. Still waiting on that one.
2. No one in DC seems willing to really fight the monied interests. There is no Teddy R. in the wings. What generation in memory tolerated 29% interest rates?
3. No one in DC is trying to create an environment where jobs can be created in this country and I don't think they know how with the US as a high cost producer competing against energy cartels and government driven 'free' economies like China. The high tech small businesses that create the jobs and generate wealth through innovation are the bastard step children now.
4. The parties have abandoned the middle class. The middle class has abandoned hope in DC and in themselves.

William R. Cumming

Pretty much agree with PL! But hey the Republicans and DEMS look at each other through a two way mirror. The TEA PARTY in breaking the mirror if that happens will destroy both.

As Bill Grieder stated in his book in early 90's "Who Will Tell the People"! He was referring of course to the incumbency party as the sole ruler of the USA.

R Whitman

There is a real struggle going on between alternate visions of a future USA.

One group visualizes the country becoming a semi-socialist country with the USG providing a large share of basic services.Medical, retirement, housing standards, insurance regulations, police and defense functions. Sort of like Canada, Germany or France.

The alternate vision is for there to be very little in the way of government services and everyone fends for himself or herself. Sort of like Mexico, Hati or Afganistan.

The choice is ours. The middle ground which the US has occupied for the last century seems to be dead.

walrus

By now it should be obvious to the dimmest lightbulbs that the American Experiment, if it continues at all, is going to go through a very painful and unpleasant period for the next Ten years - at least for "ordinary people".

You can just see the fangs of the Oligarchs starting to be bared. Take the Tea Party - a Koch brothers creation, and its "balanced budget" amendment.

Sounds good doesn't it? No tax increases, a sound currency, etc. etc. However, in vacating the Federal Governments power to inflate the currency, you remove one more control on the behavior of the banks and their enablers by giving them more power because it returns us to the time when cash was king, and guess who plans to have all the cash?

I guess I could dress all this up in talk of M3, etc. but I think most people would understand this. There are times when the Federal Government can and should inflate the currency - such as now.

But wait, it gets even better! We now sell the poor schmucks the idea that "Social Security is broken", we privatise it, and then sit back and rake in a percentage of everyones wages over their working lives - in cash! Medieval Kings never even had such financial power! The Federal Government, stuck with a balanced budget amendment, cannot unseat us because it no longer has absolute control of the American money supply! The most exquisite games can then be played to make bankers rich beyond the dreams of avarice. If they set it up right, they can probably arrange for every child to be born with a debit balance that will only increase over their lives. Perpetual intergenerational transmissible debt! Think of it!

As for "Big Government" Psshaw! That is simply code for removing what limited fetters still remain on American corporate behavior. Yes, we all know that government is ineffectual, inefficient and never gets it quite right, but its virtue lies in the fact that it denies its powers to others, holding them for the benefit of the community as a whole.

linda

a couple of thoughts come to mind these days:

isnt that unemployment insurance extension due to expire in the coming months. and you can bet there will not be another one with the teatards determining policy.

what does washington think is going to happen once it really dawns on people that their elected officials really and truly don't give a rat's ass about them or their future? there was a story out of boston last week about hospitals seeing an increase in underfed and underweight children showing up.

the other thought -- just imagine the lesson netanyahu is taking away from this ... 'alright, mr smartypants, either you nuke iran or we will' ...

grim days ahead, i fear.

fred

Linda, yes that unemployment insurance is going to expire, but don't worry the tea party wants a lifetime ban on recipients. Coinciding with expiration is the likely running out of 401k funds of those who tried to use them to keep their mortgages current; unlike the banks they pay a tax penalty for being in financial trouble.

Farmer Don

The Democrats & Republicans are like a husband and wife who are spending too much and want to quit. As long as the bank is willing to give them more credit at low rates, they aren't really up against the wall. When the world demands high interest on US Dollars like the Greeks then you will know it is in real trouble.
I'm betting this is all brinkmanship. A deal will be worked out, and the US dollar will rise.

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