First, what Mr. A swears made him finally understand what in the unholy blue hell is going on in the economy and why what looks to outsiders like a bunch of banker schmoes losing their shirts has become a problem for everybody. My opinion remains that action at any point in the past two decades to unfuck this country of ours might have averted the current crisis, and thus I have little patience for the present sense of urgency, ie, welcome to the partywhere the HELL have you been? As I said in comments to another post a few days ago, I am willing to believe that something should be done to repair our economy. I am not willing to believe that the current crop of fascists and fools in Congress has any idea what it is, or can carry it off successfully. Reassure me on the latter, and you’ll have me on the former, but good luck with that, really.

Digby offers something else that makes me profoundly tired:

The congress is going back to the drawing board. And maybe they’ll hammer out another plan. But the political question is who is in the driver’s seat this time. Clearly, the country is operating without a president right now — he has absolutely no juice to get anything done and his administration is so discredited that they can’t rally the public. Leadership on this is left to the Democrats. ( Republicans are going to go on strike just like the bankers and leave the whole thing in their hands.) If that’s the case, then the Democrats should set forth a real progressive plan — a New Deal for the 21st century.

Because I’m sorry, but we have seen this before. We have seen world event after world event after domestic horror after domestic horror offer the party the opportunity to stand up and say, “Not this time. Just this far, and no farther, and it stops right now.” We saw it in 2004 with Kerry and we saw it in 2005 with Katrina and we saw it in 2006 with the new majority and we saw it this year with FISA, the turning point at which no one turned. The place to make a stand, at which everyone remained sitting right where they were. I mean, I’m sorry, I know he’s a wacky little elf and all, butDennis Kucinich has been screaming this shit since 2003, when I first became aware of him:

Yet the most impassioned applause of the day was reserved for Kucinich. Introduced by Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers of America, as “the only vegan in Congress,” Kucinich took the stage to John Lennon’s “Imagine” and proceeded to conjure the heyday of American progressivism by promising a new version of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. “We’re gonna rebuild America’s cities, and we’re gonna do it with America’s steel,” he roared, his voice far larger than his elfin frame. In his spellbinding speech, Kucinich laid out a lefty’s dream platform: Medicare for all, money pulled out of the Pentagon budget to pay for schools and other domestic programs, and “total nuclear disarmament.” He spoke to the crowd’s fury over the war in Iraq, getting a screaming standing ovation when he cried, “This war was wrong! This war was fraudulent! We must expose this administration!”

And you couldn’t pay the Bush Dogs and the other ten-a-penny hacks to listen, much less care.

I wrote thisback in 2005:

I think we run by saying we are going to physically, with our hands and with hammers and nails, put right what went so wrong. I think we start right now, today, by calling for a comprehensive reconstruction program, with deadlines, goals, benchmarks to be met, with a built in Truman Commission to prevent no-bid contracting to companies like Halliburton. I think we start calling for that, as one, with one voice. I think in the face of terror and tragedy we become the people who say, you can overcome this, we will help you, have courage, have hope. Have hope.

The room for action has been there over and over and over again. For years now. Years. We are arguing with ourselves about something so completely self-evident that it should be classified a sin, that we can’t recognize it by now.

That I am supporting Obama, is in the hope that with a White House in their control, they’ll be less cowed. That with the example of what someone can do to inspire Americans to move, they might realize we’re all here, we’re all ready, we’re all hungry for it. We’re listening. All they have to do is speak. That I am supporting Obama, it’s in the belief that the simple “whoa, holy, shit, look at all those people who arefucking pissed off at stuff” will finally sink in.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though. This isn’t exactly the first big opening they’ve had to do something. This isn’t their first chance to fail. They’ve had chance after chance, and they’ve never missed a single one yet.


11 thoughts on “Opening

  1. NPR had a great explanation of the financial meltdown Friday afternoon and why it amounts to the world’s credit system seizing up. I was fuzzy on why it was such a crisis until I heard, as part of the piece, an interview with a financial guy from ServiceMaster explaining that the commercial paper market had ground to a halt and it was scaring him to death. He needed to do some short term commercial borrowing for cash flow purposes, but there was no money available to be loaned. He said without prompt action from Congress, things were going to get very bad indeed for anyone who needs to borrow to keep cash flows positive, from farmers to manufacturers. Now I read that hedge funds are due to reset (whatever that means) on Tuesday which could lead to a “cascade” of failures with no action by Congress.
    I don’t know a lot about this stuff, but just like that finance guy from ServiceMaster, it’s starting to scare me.

  2. The major problem is, as A. said, we have no president now. No one in their right mind, except Democratic congress folks, believes a word anyone in this administration says. So, these tales of how the world will end in 5 minutes if we don’t hand over a trillion dollars in ransom, are utterly unbelievable.
    Congress, which means the Democrats, needs to convene a real fact finding hearing. Economists who can explain what is wrong, what can be done, and the consequences of doing any of the options, need to be given an opportunity to speak. Unless there is consensus that paying the ransom is the only rational thing to do now, nothing whatever should be done.
    At most, an economic stimulus plan, preferably a universal health care plan (which is a stimulus plan), and beefing up the existing safety nets for the financial markets should be the tactics to use now. It is going to be a very rough few years no matter what Congress does now, so lets not compound it by paying a ransom.

  3. things were going to get very bad indeed for anyone who needs to borrow to keep cash flows positive, from farmers to manufacturers
    Well, there’s part of the goddam problem right there: the entire world runs on credit and nobody’s even stopping for a moment to contemplate thatthis is a problem?!
    On the other hand, I think there are sometakeaway lessons to be had, if anyone were listening.

  4. the Democrats should set forth a real progressive plan — a New Deal for the 21st century.
    its too early, not enough shit has been flushed down the crapper yet, Americans aren’t scared enough yet to support a New New Deal, we have way too much active republican virulent cancer coursing through the system. Democrats would just get further punked if they tried a New New Deal now. Give it another year or so after widespread suffering has been around awhile.

  5. I finally that we had no hope for a progressive (read effective) solution to this problem last weekend when the Demslet the GOP silently filibuster the bill that would gave brought relief to millions and a real boost to the economy. It would have meant extending Unemployment Insurance benefits and expanding food stamps – the two things we all know do the most the fastest to stimulate the economy. They let that die. There is no hope for a progressive (read effective) solution to our current problem at this time. There is almost no hope for a progressive solution if Obama gets elected. It would depend on how active people get on the ground. How many stand outside their congresspeople’s offices and make (peaceful, legal) trouble for them. How many are willing to write op-eds, letters to the editors, stage and participate in (peaceful, legal) rallies. Without all that and more peaceful, legal action, nothing will change and it will only get worse. Be sure tocall your Congress members today.
    That said, when I want to be reassured that this crisis is the creation of people who want to be handed a trillion dollars of our money and that it’s possible to ride it out smartly (in a progressive way) then I readIan Walsh andDean Baker. (both links go to my blog where I wrote about Ian and Dean.)

  6. It has become abundantly clear to me that the Congress has a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome. I really, really hope that when Obama gets in, all will be well, but I’m not counting on anything.
    As for the financial crisis, I would hope that Congress would consider consulting with economists who are not people who CAUSED THIS FUCKING PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!
    Does anybody else remember when Greenspan was at the Fed, and he had to be SOOO careful what he said because the markets would go wildly up or down depending on how he scratched his nose? And did anybody else find it utterly appalling that a week ago the Treasury secretary and the chairman of the Fed came out and said *in public* that the financial sky would fall and crush us all if a bailout bill wasn’t passed?
    What the flying fuck did they think was going to happen? That everybody would just go, “Oh, well, the bill didn’t pass. Let’s go have a beer”? The reckless irresponsibility of making those kinds of statements is mindboggling to me. Whether there was a real financial crisis or not, that’s the sort of thing you say in back rooms, not in fucking public. Our entire financial system is based on public confidence in it, and they just pissed that down the drain.
    I think that’s the most important question that needs to be asked. Right now.

  7. Buggy, yeah. They manufactured this shit – by calling it out loud and in public a crisis that had to be dealt with NOW, they created the panic and destroyed the fragile confidence.
    They walked in and fucking smashed it like it was a piece of ancient Persian pottery and they were wielding sledgehammers. And now, the country is in Shock.
    Which tells you the why. We’re in shock and something must be done NOW without thinking about it first. So or course the solution is to hand MORE MONEY to the Freidman-corpse-humping fucktards that created this mess. Give them all that money, and their precious free market might bounce back and even better, there won’t be any of that money available to do those things that they don’t think govt. should be involved in.
    Top of her 3rd hour yesterday, Randi Rhodes had a very interesting interview with Rep. Pete DeFazio of Oregon. He voted against this thing. I recommend it.

  8. I listened to FDR’s inaugural speech yesterday, from 1933, when he said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” And I realized the reluctance of the Dems to do anything is not a bug, it’s a feature.
    I’m supporting Obama for the same reasons Athenae is, but I’m not hopeful he’ll bring any real difference to the table. When Lloyd Doggett and Dennis Kucinich and John Culberson agree on something, I expect to see pigs flying. Instead, I get the still, calm voice of Obama arguing for the status quo, which is to give Paulson essentially what he asked for so there are no political repercussions that Dems have to deal with or worry about or politic on, so they can win the White House and then…do what? Do what, except continue to promote the status quo because that’s what the people want? (Except they don’t, which is the House voted against the bill yesterday, albeit barely.) Do what, except continue to be in the pockets of Wall Street (yeah, the Dow dropped almost 800 points yesterday. It’s a marketing gimmick, not an economic tool. Hell, even the GOP Representative on NPR this morning understood enough nuance to argue that Dow had no relevance to the issue of legislation, and he wouldn’t be scared or buffaloed by it.)
    FDR took on the status quo, because he knew it was needed. He had fights in his own Cabinet over what to do, and despite the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, he had a fight in the first 100 days to get his New Deal enacted, a fight that lasted long after the 100 days, and included a battle royal with the Supreme Court. Can you imagine any Democrat, even Obama (especially Obama!) doing that come February?
    I can’t. Still, McCain would be so much worse…

  9. FDR took on the status quo, because he knew it was needed.
    FDR took on the status quo to the extent that he did b/c he had actual rebellions in the streets. Labor was striking and wildcatting. People marched – police fought back and people died. I’m not advocating for violence by any stretch of the imagination, but FDR had real pressure to deal with and he had real Communists on his Left pushing him. We the people don’t provide that pressure now, when we’re about to have a trillion dollar stolen from us and they (Dems included – no, Demsespecially b/c they are in power) can’t find their way to hand over a few billion that would actually help us and the economy at the same time. And I’m losing the little bit of hope I had that we will have it if Obama gets elected.
    FDR made hard choices – nobody makes hard choices unless they have to.

  10. Bought and paid for, bought and paid for. The lobbyists who have been calling the shots have got to be very surprised that they can’t just demand what they want, because legislators are actually afraid of the citizen anger that they have been ignoring for so long. Why can’t it be like the good old days for our lobbyists? You know, like those big credit card hearings last year, when the banking industry basically said (dictated) to Chris Dodd & Co., “ok, here’s what we’re willing to do, we’re not going to stop what amounts to usury but heck, we’ll give up that whole universal default thing, for awhile anyway.” For some reason it’s not working anymore for them! Sorry, but considering that for a change we are really and truly all in this together, any catastrophe will affect us all; the repubs will not be able to use one group against the other because everyone will be in credit hell; and the people who have been smugly assuming that anyone with credit problems deserves what is happening to them may finally, finally wake up. At this point I’m just curious to see what happens next.

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