Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 20, 2008

Pro Obama?

Waldo says:

Only cynicism could coerce a negative opinion of the idealism, honour and optimism of Barrack Obama. That this site hasn't been leading the fight for him with all of their friends still surprises me.

Obama now wants to give the war-criminal Colin Powell a role in his administration:

"He will have a role as one of my advisers," Barack Obama said on NBC's "Today" in an interview aired Monday, a day after Powell, a four-star general and President Bush's former secretary of state, endorsed him.

"Whether he wants to take a formal role, whether that's a good fit for him, is something we'd have to discuss," Obama said.

Which leads me reformulating Waldo's post:

Only cynicism could coerce a positive opinion of the alleged idealism, honour and optimism of Barack Obama. That this site hasn't been leading the fight against him with all of their friends still surprises me.

That said, I expect a more benign administration from Obama than the current one. He will probably put some decent judges into the Supreme Court and may raise taxes on the richest 5%.

But apart from that, I do not expect less lies or less belligerence in foreign policy from an Obama administration than from Bush.  I hope that financial constrains will limit his abilities to wage wars.

Posted by b on October 20, 2008 at 17:17 UTC | Permalink


Watch it, waldo! Be sure to follow the new rules!

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 20 2008 17:48 utc | 1

I'm not voting for either, but where the two-party game is played, about half the war criminals will support each side.

Posted by: biklett | Oct 20 2008 18:11 utc | 2

slothrop #1, seems likely these are old rules, just unstated before, like "don't pick your nose while addressing your sighted grandma."

b, I think if Obama is chosen, and not soon offed, that's a good sign for 99.9% of the US and the global population, but seems likely apparently idiotic wars will continue, for they are profitable (and I think delightful)for those who call the shots and supply the ammunition. (Also thank you for site, and your sensibleness.)

Posted by: plushtown | Oct 20 2008 18:28 utc | 3

I suddenly live in a swing state, and so will vote for O.

I cannot survive 4 years+ of ignorant, dangerous redneck triumphalism.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 20 2008 18:39 utc | 4

I think that it would be very tough to be as belligerent than the Bush administration - and I don't see much scope or appetite for further US military adventurism in the medium term given current circumstances. Obama doesn't strike me as someone who would instinctively clutch at the "war-presidency" straw that has so animated Bush and his cohorts.

More truthful - again, I doubt that Obama would emulate the Bush administration's addiction to mendacity, and don't, at this stage, see any reason to believe that he would repeat the mistake of losing every round in a 15-round truth-telling competition with Saddam Hussein ( you really can't get much lower than that ).

Posted by: dan | Oct 20 2008 18:49 utc | 5

imperialism is suffering its defeat at home - it has brought the war to the motherland. the concentration of wealth will become more absolute

obam, clearly cannot change the form or the substance of this imperialism. at most, he can perform some windowdressing but they are so close to capitulation that i imagine the very opposite will occur. i expect for example - for there to be more intense coflict with the chinese

they have lost afghanistan but they will not leave. they have lost iraq but they will not leave. they have lost latin america but they will not leave. they have lost in africa but they will not leave

you'd assume a humane face to imperialism under obama but i think the opposite will be true - as the class struggle intensifies at home - it will intensify its wars against others

i'm not optimistic at all

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 20 2008 18:59 utc | 6

if Obama wins i'm afraid of four years of ignorant scapegoating an Obama administration for all the ills of the past eight years. I got a glimpse of this visiting my grandma, who is eating up the coded racism of the McCain ticket via Fox News and Pat Robertson, and already blaming Obama's "socialism" and acorn for everything that's going wrong right now. it's dumbfounding how impossibly stupid people can be.

If Obama wins it will be a national game of pin the tail of blame on the democrat donkey, paving the way for an eager acceptance of a blatantly fascist GOP ticket in 2012.

despite those concerns, i do hope Obama wins, if only to just redeem our image in the world a little bit, and to prove that we're not all ignorant, racist rednecks voting idiotically against our interests.

Posted by: Lizard | Oct 20 2008 19:32 utc | 7

I wish I could have faith in what you said about the class struggle intensifying at home giap, but I suspect an Obama election (which is a 100% certainty now as it was 12 months ago)will actually cause the opposite.

Most amerikans have been trained from birth to believe that voting dem is about the most powerful shot they can fire in the class struggle.
When they have done so (voted for Obama), and found that nothing substantial has changed, they will dismiss the class struggle as pointless and 'old fashioned' (after receiving heavy coaching on that from 'commentators' along the way) and then go back to blaming their problems on arabs, non-xtians and teenage pregnancies.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 20 2008 19:43 utc | 8

@ slothrop #4 I suddenly live in a swing state, and so will vote for O. I cannot survive 4 years+ of ignorant, dangerous redneck triumphalism.

I find myself in the same position. I just couldn't stand 4 years with a second angry, half-senile old man. I already have one of those in the other room taking his nappy-poo. (grin)

I just can't justify the luxury of voting for a third-party candidate as I originally planned when so much is at stake. Although there is hardly a shred of difference between Obama and McCain, Obama seems to be much more intelligent, patient, and far less belligerent than McCain.

Posted by: Ensley | Oct 20 2008 19:55 utc | 9

yesterday i made reservations to visit one of my favorite barmates to help bring in a swing state for obama. every little bit helps.

Posted by: annie | Oct 20 2008 20:04 utc | 10

" not expect less lies..."

Lying is the standard political methodology, you are right. We noticed the lying increase after repugs gained WH in 2000, and grow from there to a desperate level, especially to cover 9/11 and a couple of new unwarranted invasions. Plus huge payouts of public money to Halliburton and other friends.

There was/is a deadline to be met by the political class; no failure, no excuses. So the lies became open, shameless, right out in the open for everyone to see. Perhaps, as some have said, this was in part a program to silence complainers, as it becomes apparent that truth has no meaning in public discourse, and therefore cannot be used to make a point. It could be said that this program has worked; for many, truth is what the boss says it is, and for the rest, protests are ignored.

Is an Obama administration likely to do the same? I hear you saying yes they are. I don't think so.

1) Repugs missed or are in the process of missing their deadline, with deadly (for them) consequences. No I don't claim to know exactly what the deadline represents specifically, but it was/is there and has caused great fear among those charged with meeting it.

2) IF Obama wins the presidency and keeps it (isn't assassinated) he cannot achieve a fraction of his campaign promises, if only for a lack of money and cooperation, but he will not have a similar agenda to that of Bush&Cheney. His facial expressions tell me he is not part of the cabal, not that he won't be pressed and threatened to go along, keep it in power.

3) The cabal will certainly remain organized and powerful even out of power, as Rummy and Dick have so ably done in the past.

4) The deadline is past or nearly so, meaning that our old system of power, war, diplomacy, exchange has reached its end. Maybe next we will see acknowledgement of higher power ETs, rendering our institutionalized human power structure obsolete, ineffective. The people may assume their own improved powers of self-direction and to hell with government.

Either way, with Obama as president (next four years) life will not be anything like it is now, even if he were to try and make it so.

Posted by: rapt | Oct 20 2008 20:13 utc | 11

My narcissism wants McCain to lose. It also wants Obama to win. It's been starved for eight years, and needs a hit of uplift.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 20 2008 20:21 utc | 12

I still wonder, with the advent of e-voting, whether or not our votes really matter. Until they change the voting methods, I'll continue to be very pessimistic of the voting process.

Posted by: Ben | Oct 20 2008 20:28 utc | 13

Actually, the the specter of class conflict here has never been more obvious. MSM cynosures include such things as the usual notice of contradiction of the TARP and bank bailouts, the government healthcare subsidies McCain enjoys, and the corporate welfare energy giants routinely receive from state and nat'l government.

The most recent polls prove American voters overwhelmingly blame the repubs for the recession. They blame deregulation. They blame. They believe the repub politics disproportionately favor the rich.

The problem is the articulation of class position. poor people think they're middle-class, people in the middle-quintiles think they're rich. Also, there is a disconnect between ideology--articulation of class conflict as such and what to do about it--and political affiliation. Few democrats consider themselves to be "liberal." The problem is one of articulation of ideology, which Obama has predictably failed to do. One wishes Thomas Frank would write O's speeches.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 20 2008 20:29 utc | 14

Also strange that the phrase and concept of 'class warfare' has been co-opted by McCain, surreally, as a sort of populist appeal to working Americans. One awaits lawn signs outside battered double-wides reading "Eat the Poor."

Posted by: Tantalus | Oct 20 2008 20:43 utc | 15>Here's a big pdf from pew worth perusing.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 20 2008 20:43 utc | 16

Who is Colin Powell?

Colin Powell claims Scottish coat of arms

Tania Branigan
Wednesday May 12, 2004

The Guardian

He is known as a dove among the hawks of the Bush administration. But Colin Powell has chosen an eagle and a lion in his application for a coat of arms to mark his Scottish ancestry.

The US secretary of state has petitioned the heraldic authority of Scotland for the right to bearings, joining a growing and disparate band of Americans keen to lay claim to their roots in the old world.

A researcher recently claimed that Elvis Presley's family originated in Lonmay, a hamlet in Aberdeenshire, while Johnny Cash insisted he descended from the family of a 12th century Scottish monarch.

Heraldic bearings cannot be granted to non-citizens, but Mr Powell has applied on behalf of his late father Luther, who was born in Jamaica and therefore a subject of the crown. The secretary of state would inherit the right to use the bearings.

He wanted a Scottish coat of arms as his mother Maud McKoy's family was originally from Scotland.

Elizabeth Roads, Lyon clerk at the court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, said applicants had to be "virtuous and well deserving persons" who fell within the court's jurisdiction.

"His father was a subject of Jamaica and of course he is an honorary KCB, so a worthy individual," she added.

Mr Powell received his honorary knighthood in 1993, his last year as chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff.

As a four-star general, it was perhaps inevitable that Mr Powell's coat of arms would include the trappings of a warrior. But Ms Roads ruled out the prospect of humvees and grenades. "We try to use symbols rather than specific things," she said.

Accordingly, the shield will feature four stars and two swords as well as a lion, commonly used for arms holders with the surname Powell. The crest will be an eagle, in reference to America and the badge of the 101st Airborne Division, in which he served and which he later commanded. The motto - in English, rather than Latin - will read: "Devoted to public service."

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

(Sorry b, lost the link. Please truncate as appropriate)

PS the device of awarding to the father for the benefit of the son is how Sir Mark Thatcher got his honour!

Posted by: john C | Oct 20 2008 21:08 utc | 17

yes, it is well worth perusing, slothrop

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 20 2008 21:09 utc | 18

Serious questions- Has Obama promised to eliminate signing statements? Has he stated that the Iraq SOFA should be ratified by the Senate?

Posted by: biklett | Oct 20 2008 21:29 utc | 19

when the ceo of j p morgan chase says war over, the active u.s. administration will make it so. otherwise, business as usual.

Posted by: stumblewire | Oct 20 2008 21:52 utc | 20

As one who has supported and will vote for Obama, permit me to say:

Fuck Colin Powell.

Thank you, that is all.

Posted by: EGrise | Oct 20 2008 22:06 utc | 21

here here,
obama puts a 'smiley' face on empire and is
facism lite.
that gives empire a few more years
before the boot comes down.

cause its over. since the 60's.

mc same is so unabasedely boring and predicatable.
all they have are the dubes waiting for divine

so let us all sing 'transformational being 108 "

or we can huddle in groups discussing the exact time of
day or night for that matter.

i wonder if billmon tosses and turns all night with his
scapel insight. oh the burden of having a mind.

oh for sure powell is due for a haig apointment thingee,
the list is pretty big.

Posted by: binko | Oct 20 2008 22:24 utc | 22

yo annie! @ 10


I told annie I wouldn't discuss the election here anymore but I have to say that when I was at the h.q. in my city yesterday morning, they were training seven Brits who just walked in off the street to volunteer.

They spent their own money to come over here and chose Virginia because they decided it was where they were needed most. They don't know anyone here and are staying in a hotel. They canvassed all day and didn't return until almost dark. And are doing this for a week.

just sayin'

Posted by: beq | Oct 20 2008 23:26 utc | 23

Over at TPM, JOSH MARSHALL posts, Palin 5.0: Palin calls reports of hollered threats at rallies "atrocious and unacceptable." meanwhile take a look over at the posts at DK today, over half about violence, including this:

Dead Bear at WCU with Obama signs around neck!

Cullowhee, N.C. -- The carcass of a black bear that had been shot in the head was found wrapped in Barack Obama campaign signs on a North Carolina campus on Monday.

This is the same area they hid the abortion bomber Rudolph back in the day. Wonder what the helicopter-wolf hunter, moose gutter, has to say about this?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 21 2008 0:15 utc | 24

I have said many times including here that Obama will be different than what is portrayed in the election. He must run as a centrist or be labeled a radical black. My daughter works at an assisted living home and the old persons believe if Obama is elected the US black population will take revenge for "whitey keeping them down".

I don't believe that but I do believe Obama will use a more Keynesian view on economics with person like Stiglitz and others advising him. Its the Rubins that should be left out. I do think he will make government a more important part of his economic policy than rethugs ever would. He come from a poor background and I believe his wife will have much influence and not let Obama get to off the reservation when it comes to remembering where he came from.

I also saw Barney Frank on CNBC today and pulling from Iraq is his suggestion for saving federal dollars. I believe a very profound direction change is about to happen and much of it may be due to pressure from other countries (G7 ?) to change course. We are broke and we must create more wealth. Stimulus into the economy from green jobs and infrastructure is the only course we have right know. The housing bubble busted so building is in a depression, manufacturing has been killed, finance is bankrupt, and people are broke so service jobs are hurting, so the government must do it. There are no sectors left but government.

Posted by: jdp | Oct 21 2008 0:18 utc | 25

awww, beq that's great news. I regret for my part, you feel you can't speak on the elections here anymore. I hope you reconsider. I feel awful now, but can't hide my feelings either.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 21 2008 0:21 utc | 26

Slothrop has a good point about how Americans overestimate their economic standing. By the same token, there is also the same myopia that denies that America is not itself a welfare state. Its part of the exceptionalist myth that paints the U.S. as somehow in extreme contrast to its "socialist" European counterparts. And while the U.S. does lag behind Europe in some respects (nationalized resources, health care, transportation, etc.) fully 50% of spending in the U.S. is on dependent on the government and 65% of the national budget is spent on entitlements. So its pretty stupid to think the U.S. is not involved in or is outside the realm of being itself a "socialist" welfare state. It is, more so than not. Calling Obama a socialist, in distinction to the Bush administration - who has borrowed more cash for the government than all previous presidents combined, and has now de-facto nationalized the financial system - is a joke.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 21 2008 1:43 utc | 27

anna missed, i was just responding to something copeland said on another (the billmon) thread that resonates w/your post, so i will post it here.

The exceptionalism with racial overtones and the idea of God's sanction, and the infantilism that entitles a nation to economic entitlements across the planet, through military violence, is at the root of the present political/religious hysteria.

for the most part, i completely agree. however those infantiles you speak of, do they really comprehend the nation receives economic entitlements across the planet? this is the 'pull em up by their own bootstraps' crowd. this is the crowd that doesn't acknowledge we are fighting wars for oil. they think we are 'fighting terror' and that 'terror' is clothed in a crusade mentality, is it not.

as for the root of the hysteria...the seed is there. the seed of racism, the seed of exceptionalism, the history you speak of that keeps the dixie flag clutched tight. but it takes lots of nurturing to turn that seed into a strong root. you have to feed it , stroke it, water it, keep it alive in churches, surmons, jesus camps, rovian politics, atwater politics, palin speeches. you have to weave the unborn child in the flag of america's potential and assign it to a party. once you make that bond all other attributes of that party fall in line. i bet you not 10% of the crowd screaming 'socialism' understand the military, police, fireman, post office, schools are all economically socialist. many don't grasp the bailout is socialist. the ptb host off this tribe. so call it the root is you must. but that root could not exist if it wasn't well fed.

Posted by: annie | Oct 21 2008 1:48 utc | 28

I think the issue is not so much is the U.S. a socialist country, but what kind of socialist country. Corporate socialism or people socialism, thats the question.

After the last eight years, and particularly the last month the demonization of the word "socialist" has lost its ability to stick, just like "terrorist", and before that "communist". Which is why the republicans are left out in the cold - without a believable monster to scare the people into their extortion racket.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 21 2008 2:02 utc | 29

Oh Uncle, no harm done. At my age I should be more cynical. I'm glad I'm not.

Now an endorsement from Colin Powell may not be worth much but one from this guy is a whole
'nuther thing.

over and out.

Posted by: beq | Oct 21 2008 2:08 utc | 30

Most amerikans have been trained from birth to believe that voting dem is about the most powerful shot they can fire in the class struggle.

And, in this respect, America is exactly like most of the other parts of Euro-world - the original pirate states in Western Europe and their white colonial spawn overseas. The alternative of authoritarian kleptocrats and mild mannered "social democrat" mediocrities is what is on offer - except in the UK where the labor party moved far enough right as to become nearly indistinguishable.

Posted by: | Oct 21 2008 2:46 utc | 31

i figure a good part of the fearmongering casting broadly against the meme of 'socialism' is due to the crisis the elite understand their country is in right now. very much closer to three days (nine meals) away from revolution & they know it. so they'll attempt whatever social engineering tricks they can think of to offset losing control. manufacture hate as a way to check the pending hate that directly threatens theirselves.

Posted by: b real | Oct 21 2008 5:16 utc | 32

war criminal powell's spokesperson larry wilkerson

I was fully expecting the grand wiz of the Klu Klux Klan to arrive from Maryland and endorse McCain. I was becoming frightened that we were returning to 1968, when they assassinated Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Those were bad times.

One of the most dramatic moments for me was when I was watching McCain on television, and I thought I saw in McCain’s eyes himself, when someone yelled something out, a recognition of, ‘Oh, God, what have I done?’ This is not McCain; he doesn’t cater to this. But for the first time in his political life, I think he realized that there are some strange people in the Republican tent. My father used to say, ‘Larry beware of the left because they will bankrupt you; beware of the right because they will kill you.’

Posted by: b real | Oct 21 2008 5:30 utc | 33

Colin Powell stands for all those Americans who bought the Bush Gulf War II package lock, stock and oil barrel. Colin was a good soldier did his duty, presenting the case for the UN Security Council. Which he later referred to as a "stain on my career".

A lot of Americans supported the war, even if they thought it was a mistake; but based on the evidence presented, they saw it as erring on the side of security.

Now that the extent of the deception has come out everyone has a right to be really outraged.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 21 2008 9:55 utc | 34

First, fuck Colin Powell, war criminal, water carrier for Republican scumbags, liar, hypocrite.

Still... b, thanks for the mention but you forgot this from my post: Given that the US military is so huge that any civilian Govt. will have it's hands full trying to rein it in...

Nobody here is more aware of the criminal behaviour of the US military and clandestine services, and of the absolute need for them to be brought to heel. I know that Obama isn't going to do that by himself. He certainly can't even speak about it whilst campaigning for president. To illustrate:

John Kerry is a good man. His list of achievments in Congress is extensive. To all intents and purposes he served with merit and bravery in the American war on Vietnam, a war I regard as another act of criminality.
He was a prime motivator of the investigations into the Bush 1/BCCI scam with all of it's sinister tentacles and did such good work that he was threatened and warned off.

He was defeated in a presidential race not only by his opponent, not only by the media, not only by the foul Swiftboaters but by the absolute incompetence and intransigent thick-headedness of the American electorate. According to recent surveys, between 19 and 26 percent of the American electorate self-identify as liberal, versus moderate or conservative. Throw religion and neocons into the mix and intelligent electoral results are almost impossible.

When Obama captures the presidency, he will not succeed as president unless he has the absolute support of the electorate. The intense campaigns waged by the web so far will have to be repeated incessantly to help Obama achieve success in delivering a fairer, more democratic, less war-oriented society, to rein in the criminals who are so thoroughly entrenched in American society and who act with such impunity.

Obama voted against the war. He doesn't approve of Colin Powell. He's striving for the presidency and as everyone here knows he has to compromise in order to have some semblance of a chance at achieving first the presidency, then the rest of the sorely needed change in American society.

No-one here, including me, knows what he will do when he becomes president. Will he betrayed, like Clinton, by his own party? Will the power of the office corrupt or pervert him as it has so many others? Is he a the new representative of the amoral secret oligarchy that controls all branches of the US govt?

I say no.

I want to believe he is honest, that he will succeed. I want to believe that America can succeed and once again be a good example for the rest of the world and a fair and just democratic society within itself.

Chris Floyd recently wrote to me in reply to my comments at his page, thoroughly demonstrating with unassailable logic that Obama is a coward and hypocrite who will continue the endless wars and calumnies perpetrated by US governments for most of the last century. I have no empirical logic to offer in contest apart from Obama's words: "We must remember that ideology is not a foreign policy. We must not embark on war based on untested theories, political agendas or wishful thinking that has little basis in fact or reality. We must focus our efforts on the threats we know exist, and we must evaluate those threats with sound intelligence that is never manipulated for political reasons again."

Indeed, if I was as rigorous here as I am with say, religion, I would consider my own point of view contrarian, even mischievous.

Nevertheless, I'm being honest when I say I trust my experience and intuition in arguing the opposite. I trust Barrack Obama and there's only one way to find out who's right.

First the presidency, then the rest.

Posted by: waldo | Oct 21 2008 10:59 utc | 35

Oops! McCain asks Russia’s U.N. envoy for money

UNITED NATIONS - John McCain’s U.S. presidential election campaign has solicited a financial contribution from an unlikely source — Russia’s U.N. envoy — but a McCain spokesman said on Monday it was a mistake.
Moscow’s mission to the United Nations issued a terse statement on the Republican presidential candidate’s letter, saying that the Russian government and its officials “do not finance political activity in foreign countries.”

InnerCityPress has links to the McCain solcitation and the Russian press release.

Posted by: b | Oct 21 2008 12:54 utc | 36

Wonder if Mohammad Khazaee also received such a request...

Posted by: estouxim | Oct 21 2008 13:54 utc | 37

waldo: you forgot one major factor that weighed heavily in the defeat of that "good man" john kerry: the electoral theft of ohio.

other than that, your post @35 is one of the more sensible posts i've seen from you. and i really hope you're right.

the only problem i have is the persistent tendency to put democrats on a pedestal and republicans in the pit. the polarization of the electorate always plays poorly for the people, and at the national level there is little difference between the slightly left of center dems and the extreme right rethugs.

this might come as a surprise, but i have good friends who are republicans, and they are just as enraged at the neocon hijacking of their party as i am. in local govt, national party lines create detrimental fissures that are often insurmountable, especially during national election cycles. that needs to stop.

i can't stand hearing local officials parroting national talking points. if they could only get past their stupid tribal affiliation maybe local govt could get more done.

the manipulation of the amerikan psyche is so pervasive most have no idea how effectively they're being herded. but the corruption and deception is becoming so blatant, even members of my extended family are beginning to arrive at the conclusions i've been gently pushing for years.

like you said, waldo, there's only one way to find out if your vigorous faith in obama is justified.

Posted by: | Oct 21 2008 15:47 utc | 38

me @38

Posted by: Lizard | Oct 21 2008 15:48 utc | 39

#1 Reason not to vote for Obama! (PLEASE READ!)


Today at 12:26am


Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all
ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the we pay our taxes, it would go something
like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing The fifth would pay
$1 The sixth would pay $3 The seventh would pay $7 The eighth would
pay $12 The ninth would pay $18 The tenth man (the richest) would pay

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar
every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day,
the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers, he said, I'm going to reduce
the cost of your daily beer by $20."

Drinks for the ten would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so
the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could
they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share"?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they
subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the
sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar
owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by
roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts they
would pay!

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth man now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh man now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth man now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth man now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth man now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four
continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men
began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He
pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!!!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only got a dollar,
too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!!!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back
when I got only two?"


"Wait a minute", yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get
anything at all. The system exploits the poor!!!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine
sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the
bill, they discovered something important: They didn't have the money
between all of them for even half of the bill!!!!


And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how
our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the
most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for
being wealthy, and they just might not show up anymore. In fact, they
might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

(For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For the
Democrats who do not understand, I guess no explanation is possible.)

Posted by: Jason | Oct 21 2008 21:06 utc | 40

Reinvestment Act

The following is a condensation of a series from the Investor's

Business Daily explaining "What Caused the Loan Crisis":

1977: Pres. Jimmy Carter signs the Community Reinvestment Act into

Law. The law pressured financial institutions to extend home loans to

those who would otherwise not qualify. The Premise: Home ownership

would improve poor and crime-ridden communities and neighborhoods in

terms of crime, investment, jobs, etc.

Results: Statistics bear out that it did not help.

How did the government get so deeply involved in the housing market?

Answer: Bill Clinton wanted it that way.

1992: Republican representative Jim Leach (IO) warned of the danger

that Fannie and Freddie were changing from being agencies of the public

at large to money machines for the principals and the stockholding few.

1993: Clinton extensively rewrote Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's rules

turning the quasi-private mortgage-funding firms into semi-nationalized

monopolies dispensing cash and loans to large Democratic voting blocks

and handing favors, jobs and contributions to political allies. This

potent mix led inevitably to corruption and now the collapse of Freddie

and Fannie.

1994: Despite warnings, Clinton unveiled his National Home-Ownership

Strategy which broadened the CRA in ways congress never intended.

1995: Congress, about to change from a Democrat majority to

Republican, Clinton orders Robert Rubin's Treasury Dept to rewrite the

rules. Robert Rubin's Treasury reworked rules, forcing banks to satisfy

quotas for sub-prime and minority loans to get a satisfactory CRA

rating. The rating was key to expansion or mergers for banks. Loans

began to be made on the basis of race and little else.

1997 - 1999: Clinton, bypassing Republicans, enlisted Andrew Cuomo,

then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, allowing Freddie and

Fannie to get into the sub-prime market in a BIG way. Led by Rep.

Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, congress doubled down on the risk by

easing capital limits and allowing them to hold just 2.5% of capital to

back their investments vs. 10% for banks. Since they could borrow at

lower rates than banks their enterprises boomed.

With incentives in place, banks poured billions in loans into poor

communities, often "no doc", "no income", requiring no money down and

no verification of income. Worse still was the cronyism: Fannie and

Freddie became home to out-of work-politicians, mostly Clinton

Democrats. 384 politicians got big campaign donations from Fannie and

Freddie. Over $200 million had been spent on lobbying and political

activities. During the 1990's Fannie and Freddie enjoyed a subsidy of

as much as $182 Billion, most of it going to principals and

shareholders, not poor borrowers as claimed.

Did it work? Minorities made up 49% of the 12.5 million new

homeowners but many of those loans have gone bad and the minority

home ownership rates are shrinking fast.

1999: New Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, became alarmed at

Fannie and Freddie's excesses. Congress held hearings the ensuing year

but nothing was done because Fannie and Freddie had donated millions to

key congressmen and radical groups, ensuring no meaningful changes

would take place. "We manage our political risk with the same

intensity that we manage our credit and interest rate risks," Fannie

CEO Franklin Raines, a former Clinton official and current Barack Obama

advisor, bragged to investors in 1999.

2000: Secretary Summers sent Undersecretary Gary Gensler to

Congress seeking an end to the "special status". Democrats raised a

ruckus as did Fannie and Freddie, headed by politically connected CEO's

who knew how to reward and punish. "We think that the statements

evidence a contempt for the nation's housing and mortgage markets"

Freddie spokesperson Sharon McHale said. It was the last chance during

the Clinton era for reform.

2001: Republicans try repeatedly to bring fiscal sanity to Fannie

and Freddie but Democrats blocked any attempt at reform; especially

Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd who now run key banking committees

and were huge beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the mortgage


2003: Bush proposes what the NY Times called "the most significant

regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings

and loan crisis a decade ago". Even after discovering a scheme by

Fannie and Freddie to overstate earnings by $10.6 billion to boost

their bonuses, the Democrats killed reform.

2005: Then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan warns Congress: "We are

placing the total financial system at substantial risk". Sen. McCain,

with two others, sponsored a Fannie/Freddie reform bill and said, "If

congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed

to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the

housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a

whole". Sen. Harry Reid accused the GOP ;of trying to "cripple the

ability of Fannie and Freddie to carry out their mission of expanding

home ownership" The bill went nowhere.

2007: By now Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee over HALF of the

$12 trillion US mortgage market. 20The mortgage giants, whose executive

suites were top-heavy with former Democratic officials, had been

working with Wall St. to repackage the bad loans and sell them to

investors. As the housing market fell in '07, subprime mortgage

portfolios suffered major losses. The crisis was on, though it was 15

years in the making.

2008: McCain has repeatedly called for reforming the behemoths, Bush

urged reform 17 times. Still the media have repeated Democrats'

talking points about this being a "Republican" disaster. A few

Republicans are complicit but Fannie and Freddie were created by

Democrats, regulated by Democrats, largely run by Democrats and

protected by Democrats. That's why taxpayers are now being asked for

$700 billion!!

If you doubt any of this, just click the links below and listen to

your lawmakers own words. They are condemning!

Postscript: ACORN is one of the principle beneficiaries of Fannie/

Freddie's slush funds. They are currently under indictment or

investigation in many states. Barack Obama served as their legal

counsel, defending their activities for several years.

Please share this with everyone you know. Send it. Print it. Talk

about it.

America needs to know!!!

Posted by: Jason | Oct 21 2008 21:16 utc | 41


Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 21 2008 21:17 utc | 42

ô b how do cretins like this find us

i have three words for you, jason

burn, baby burn

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 21 2008 21:31 utc | 43

regurgitating GOP propaganda doesn't help anyone.

fuck off Jason

Posted by: Lizard | Oct 21 2008 21:32 utc | 44

one of the standard features of the right wing is an unstable oscillation between feelings of omnipotence and powerlessness. They are, in their own minds, both tough, rough, realistic ubermenschen and the hapless victims of the inferior races whose trickery has bound them. What else can be expected from these wounded people for whom politics is just a stage on which to play out their sado-masochistic conflicts?

So for "jason", Barney Frank and black "activists", a gay man and dangerous black men, have had there way with him, something he both longs for and fears.

Posted by: | Oct 21 2008 22:03 utc | 45

I was imagining a coda to Jason's touching scene of the drinking life wherein the other drinkers, after having kicked the shit out of their rich mate, follow up by robbing his house and clearing out his bank accounts. But I don't expect that's what Professor Kamerschen had in mind, so I'll keep it to myself.

Posted by: Tantalus | Oct 21 2008 22:33 utc | 46

(the richest) would pay $59

ok, just for the heck of it lets pretend instead of beer they are spending their money on, its war (what most of our taxes pay for anyway).

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing because 2 of them had a dads who died in the last war and their single moms didn't make enough to put them thru college, the 3rd got assaulted by one of the first, and the forth is caring for the 3rd who has stress syndrome from serving in the war.

The fifth would pay $1 because he fought in a war and lost a leg, so why the hell should he have to flip the doe for it, he paid his dues.

The sixth would pay $3 because he makes a decent living selling food he grows.

The seventh would pay $7 because he makes a good living at the post office, off the fed budget.

The eighth would pay $12 because he works for a bank that doesn't have to pay any money to the feds, in fact the feds pay his bonuses.

The ninth would pay $18 because he lobbies the government for the drug companies who in turn get massive amounts from the fed budget and can afford to pay him a very devent salary thanks to the taxpayers.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay
$59 because his company makes the bombs the government buys to fight the war, and he's hella rich. he also hasn't had to pay any taxes for the last 8 years while sucking off the fed teet. he would also be out of work if we didn't have to pay taxes to support his industry. in fact, if we didn't have a war all that money the others paid in taxes could go into buying them all health care, sending all their kids to college and building roads or whatever it is people can spend money on when they are supporting the guy who bitches about having to pay for the war that is making him rich.

Posted by: annie | Oct 22 2008 0:16 utc | 47


Posted by: beq | Oct 22 2008 1:00 utc | 48

Jason reminds me of an argument a wingnut I know made once - that taxing the rich, against their will, was actually a form of legalized slavery. That liberals pass laws that enable open theft from the rich, which are then left with no recourse - to their enslavement. He was also fond of Jason's fantasy that the rich should simply divest in any system that doesn't praise their capital contribution, and move to where its appreciated.


Posted by: anna missed | Oct 22 2008 2:11 utc | 49

The> Albatross eating John McCain alive.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 22 2008 2:19 utc | 50

I read that Joke of the Day as well, Jason (#40). I just didn't cut and paste it (your version is verbatim except for the inclusion of the word "Democrats" in the final sentence.)

While you appear to be using the material from that popular site for precisely what it was designed for, you might want to keep it over there. Word is, it'll make you go blind.

Posted by: Monolycus | Oct 22 2008 3:49 utc | 51

since i am in the mood i will spread a little more cheer. excuse me if i have already related this story.

this summer while driving up to my families land, 10 acres in the middle of no where surrounded by national forest they bought 40 years ago back when land was practically free. while driving on the freeway i start to notice these huge buildings and i think to myself 'what the hell does barnes and noble need a huge building out here in the middle of nowhere, and who the heck has enough dogs and cats to support this mammoth petco for heaven sake. and what is this spanking new shopping center doing out here.. and then i saw the sign for the air force base. aha i thought, corporations sucking off the fed teet. they know where the flow never stops.

after hanging out at the land for a week in a cabin we built with all the neighbors for next to nothing back in the old days (cuz we worked on their cabins too) we headed into town about 1/2 hr away to find the blacksmith and i hardly recognized the place. down town was dead. but on the approach to town there was a new walmart and riteaid and the parking lot was packed. i asked my sister 'what the hell is a walmart doing out here?'. she told me a few years ago they put in the new prison complex just outside of town w/thousands of workers and a new development to house them all. low and behold, corporations following the fed money. so all these taxes go into the crime/war industry and the corporations follow, hollowing out the old town and feeding the people crap from china.

now why should the owner of those corporations have to pay taxes when they provide a service supplying all the people who work for the feds? free enterprise. righto.

who's the welfare queen sucking off the people? queen wallymart and her king mcDonald. the other night i was watching the news and they had a story about how recruitment is up (finally) because people were finding it hard to get jobs. isn't that loverly.

round and round it goes and where it stops nobody knows.

and they complain about socialism AS IF they aren't sucking off the big teet day in and day out.

Posted by: annie | Oct 22 2008 5:57 utc | 52

annie: we can watch quality documentaries, like the high cost of low price, but we don't really understand what's being lost until terrain we've known for decades gets assimilated by the corporate borg.

for me, the spread of suburbia is synonymous with "the nothing" from a movie that stimulated my young mind: the never ending story

i can't help but think that the power of the imagination has been explicitly targeted for assimilation. kids are powerful, because magic is an unquestioned aspect of their existence, and the advertisers who realize how valuable winning over the tween demographic can be should have a special circle of hell reserved just for them.

for all the posturing that goes on here at MOA, i wonder how many of us think back to when the enormous issues we dwell upon were eclipsed by the simple pleasures of childhood.

let's make it simple: the future depends on the vitality of the imagination, and the escalation of authoritarian control depends on the suppression of that vitality.

it's a timeless story.

we should remember that.

Posted by: Lizard | Oct 22 2008 7:33 utc | 53


“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.”
– Walt Disney

Posted by: b real | Oct 22 2008 14:25 utc | 54

annie @ #47:

Best thing you wrote, ever! Second post wasn't far behind.

Of course, our troll Jason simplifies taxation to the only true progressive tax -- income -- neglecting all the regressive taxes the poor are forced to pay: tolls, payroll, sales tax, etc.

Rarely have I seen an intelligent ()non-ideological) discussion of the real purpose of taxation: Representing the means for government, acting as the representative of the people they represent, to use policy to modify behavior for the greater good or commonweal. It is obviously in someone's interest to mystify the masses.

Posted by: Malooga | Oct 22 2008 15:42 utc | 55

mark crispin miller on wednesday's democracy now

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Mark Crispin Miller, the Bradley Effect that is being discussed, explain what it is and how you feel it’s being used.

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: The Bradley Effect is a theory which holds that African American candidates do better in pre-election polls than they do in elections, because white racists are shy about admitting to pollsters that they wouldn’t vote for a black man. So they will tell pollsters, “Sure, I’ll vote for him.” Then they sneak into the polling booth and listen to the inner Klansman, you know, they vote as racists.

Now, the problem with this theory is that there are almost no examples of its having happened. It’s named for Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles, who ran for the governor of California and did much better in polls beforehand than he did on Election Day. Well, it turns out, if you study that race, that the reason why he lost was that a lot of bad news about his tenure in Los Angeles came out just before the election. That’s the reason why people often lose elections. There are only two races that we know of where the Bradley Effect may arguably have obtained, both in 1989: Doug Wilder’s run for the governor of Virginia and David Dinkins’s first run for the mayor of New York, where Dinkins didn’t do as well as we thought he would. Well, in his second run, the polls were dead on.

The point is, we’re talking about two races that may form the basis for this idea that Barack Obama, with his enormous lead, may lose because of millions and millions of closet racists, you know, who will say one thing to pollsters, out of a fear of not seeming politically correct, and then vote a different way. I’ll tell you why I worry about this. Something that you very, very badly need to steal elections, aside from the apparatus and the volunteers and all the money and everything, is a narrative. You have to have a convincing rationale to explain an upset victory. Four years ago, the rationale was millions of values voters materialized on the horizon at the end of the day, and like Jesus with loaves and fishes, they suddenly multiplied and voted for Bush, and then they disappeared. Well, there’s no evidence that that actually happened. But it served as a narrative. This time, I’m afraid the primary narrative will be racism: Barack Obama actually lost, despite all predictions, because so many Americans are racist.

I think that this is, first of all, unverifiable. We don’t know that it’s true, whereas we do know all the stuff about vote suppression and election fraud. But I’m afraid that people will be encouraged to accept this line to prevent them from taking a hard look at the real reasons why Obama may have “lost”—and I put “lost” in quotation marks.

Posted by: b real | Oct 22 2008 16:35 utc | 56

thanks malooga, i consider that a real compliment coming from you.

lizard, i missed that movie. what a great trailor. i have lots of faith our (speaking globally) youth will find solutions we haven't even imagined yet. thank goodness.

Posted by: annie | Oct 22 2008 16:41 utc | 57

b real, of course it is the narrative. this is all they need to perfect. it is even more important for them than the narrative from mcCain why we should elect him.

Posted by: annie | Oct 22 2008 16:59 utc | 58

annie@ #2 excellent commentary...

grrrr... I just saw this due to the HTML/Typepad crap... I kept clicking names and getting the reload page. I hope this isn't the new format.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 22 2008 23:55 utc | 59

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