Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 19, 2009

Credit Card Bill Still Allows Usury

Some credit card bill passed with large majorities:

The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to put new restrictions on the credit card industry, passing a bill whose backers say will make card-issuers spell out their terms in fewer words, using plain English, and treat customers more fairly.
Credit card debt has increased by 25 percent in the last decade, with delinquency rates up by more than a third since 2006, according to statistics cited by the White House. Americans pay $15 billion in penalty fees a year, accounting for about 10 percent of the industry’s revenues. About one-fifth of those carrying credit card debt pay more than 20 percent in interest.

Before Tuesday’s vote, the senators applauded their colleague Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, who cast the 11,000th vote of his Senate career. “I couldn’t think of a better bill to cast this 11,000th vote on,” Mr. Levin said.

Well -  I for one certainly can think of a much much better bill to cast a Yea vote on.

How about one that forbids usury which I define as anything beyond a 5% margin. If the credit card companies can refinance at 0% through the Fed than asking anything beyond 5% in interest on debt is usury.

German law sets the usury limit a bit higher than that but at current refinancing rates anything above 12% "effective rate" (which includes upfront costs, credit insurance etc.) would certainly make the contract illegal. The U.S. killed any usury limit in the 1980 with the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act. The "better bill" Levin can not think of would reintroduce sharp usury limits and void such loans ab initio.

The credit card companies need higher interest payments because they have large charge offs?

Well - why do they market their product to people who abuse it? I do not lend money to people who are unlikely to be able to pay back (except of course to friends in need). The credit companies do so and make their good customers pay for it. This is an abuse of honest people.

A very simple way to cure that is to limit the amount of interest they can charge. With such a limit the credit card companies would only service customers that are likely able to pay back what they borrow. There still would be some charge offs for people who unexpectedly have some trouble and can not pay because of illness or something else. That is the normal business risk.

But what is currently allowed is for these companies to catch people through sophisticated marketing campaigns, induce them to run up debt and then charge them hellish interest rates that will never let them recover to a real life. Credit card debts have become a virtual debtor prison.

This chart tells a story about half-way decent regulation versus runaway neo-liberal deregulation. It is time for the U.S. and other countries to re-learn the decent lending lessons.

Posted by b on May 19, 2009 at 18:35 UTC | Permalink


I do believe interest rates never rose above 6% during the Dark Ages - History of Usury
& some more

Posted by: anna missed | May 19 2009 18:55 utc | 1

Couldn't agree with you more. Not only should credit card rates be capped at Libor + 3 % but bank rates, especially the punitive rates and 'hiden fees' for bank overdrafts, should also be capped.

I discovered a couple of years ago that my daughter's account was EUR 2000 overdrawn, and she remarked that she was paying interest of "only" EUR 60/month. She was shocked when I pointed out that this amounts to over 30 % per year even though her overdraft was 'approved', meaning that it was within her approved overdraft limit. I also pointed out that while the interest rate itself was officially designated as 18 % there were other 'fees' and 'expenses' surreptitiously added that boosted the 'real' interest rate to even more obscene levels.

I immediately paid off her overdraft, made sure she repaid me at the rate of EUR 60/month and forbade her from ever going into such kind of debt again.

Posted by: Parviz | May 19 2009 19:13 utc | 2

Fact is, easy credit is what keeps the people from realizing how little money they're getting for their labors. I'd bet anything that if more working folk were forced to only buy what their wages afforded them, then unions and strikes would become a whole lot more appealing. Shoot, we didn't realize just how screwed we were till we were $100K upside down in a home they probably shouldn't have sold us.

Posted by: VA Dirt Guy | May 19 2009 19:58 utc | 3

Bullshit on the LIBOR plus or Prime plus schemes, especially LIBOR. I believe it was b who asserted that the LIBOR appears to have been manipulated in the past 6-8 months, and I concur.

It's a rigged game. They make their own rules. This recent legislation is just a PR scam.

Posted by: Obamageddon | May 19 2009 20:11 utc | 4

Credit Card Changes: Make the Prudent Pay --- According to this post at Calculated Risk the credit card companies are going to start putting the screws to their best customers. If you read the comments you get the impression that the only cardholders left will be those likely to default. When the default rates get well into double digits I imagine the'll be looking for a (another) bailout.

The imbeded link doesn't seem to work so --

Posted by: Sgt Dan | May 19 2009 21:10 utc | 5

links not working, ate mine on#1 Just tried again.

Posted by: anna missed | May 20 2009 0:58 utc | 6

Sure, 99% of the population is against usury (even the dopes in Congress shop around before they get a home loan) but Washington DC is owned; lock, stock and barrel, by the Big Boy Bankers and the old money banker families.

That's why we (the taxpayers aka the suckers) have given over 12 Trillion dollars since the first 'bailout' and it has all gone to Bankers (and most of it has even left the country!). There are families in this that have wealth handed down from generation to generation - wealth that grows despite the enormous amount spent by each generation. That's because they don't pay taxes (no income) and their families are involved in banking. These are the uber-rich who now are planning what to do with the trillions of dollars we are on the hook for - more money than what is America's GDP each year.

They buy off Congress to screw us, then Congress can't find it in them to ban usury - a practice that harms virtually EVERYONE who comes in contact with it. So they write a weak bill, water it down, the pass something that's essentially meaningless. Then come home to campaign with coffers filled with banker's dollars, tell us how they wanted to fix usury, but darn it, there were just too many (fill in the blank) democrats - republicans - who wouldn't go along with them.


Posted by: KPR | May 20 2009 1:09 utc | 7

Obamageddon (#4), I'm not surprised to see that you disagree with my proposal. Now, would you please enlighten everyone with your own counter-proposal, I mean concrete recommendation as to the rate at which interest rates should be fixed on credit cards and bank overdrafts?

I wait with great interest.

Posted by: Parviz | May 20 2009 10:03 utc | 8

Simple, Parviz. No credit cards, period. Credit cards conjure impulsive and irresponsible behavior. Credit cards allow those in the West to pretend they have a higher standard of living than they actually have. Credit Cards have masked the effect of a declining standard of living (lower wages, benefits and higher prices) and have robbed the future to pay the present. Credit cards have hastened man-made climate change. In short, credit cards, and credit, in general, are in large part responsible for an inert and powerless populace in the face of this massive confiscation of wealth by the Plutocracy. Credit Cards and, once again, credit in general have mitigated any meaningful action on the part of the Masses. They have been a powerful antidote to massive reprisal. They've been both a placation and bondage, of sorts. Credit Cards have raised a population of self-indentured consumer debt serfs. Feudalism's not in our's already here.

Posted by: Obamageddon | May 20 2009 14:03 utc | 9

In the meantime, as a stop-gap, Parviz, I will settle for LIBOR or Prime plus 2-3% capped at 8%.In this day and age of such transparent financial manipulation, Prime or LIBOR should never exceed 5%, so an 8% cap is reasonable. I can concede this, whereas you would never concede my point above because it's just too impractical. Nature doesn't give a shit about your practicality, though, and Nature will be the final arbiter of this outcome. Either we correct ourselves, and our ways, or Nature will do it for us.

Posted by: Obamageddon | May 20 2009 14:11 utc | 10

Obamgeddon, please don't question Parviz and his economic prowess with your impractical sense-making. you are just one of those impatient detractors who would surely flounder pathetically if given the heady position of USA-CEO.

Posted by: Lizard | May 20 2009 14:36 utc | 11

[comment by Parviz via email - b.]

Obamageddon, I was highly amused by your 2 posts:
a) #9, you recommend the complete scrapping of credit cards based on the fact that 'credit' is immoral and destructive. Well, my friend, 'credit' is thousands of years old, like prostitution which would also be impossible to ban without boosting the incidence of rape even further. Would you then also ban 'lending' of any type whatsoever? What about barter trade? Totally impractical, not to mention that other nations that are more responsible and save far more than U.S. citizens (the Japanese, Germans, for instance) would then issue their own cards. Then some enterprising middlemen would find ways to supply European cards to debt-hungry Americans....

b) Obviously after submitting post #9 you saw the folly of your proposal and submitted post #10 which is almost identical to my proposal. I said LIBOR + 3 % and you now want LIBOR or PRIME plus 2-3 %!!!

As for a 'ceiling' of 8 %, if the PRIME rate goes to 21 1/2 % as during the Reagan years I cannot see any financial institutions committing suicide by capping rates at max. 8 %.

I also want this to be a perfect world, where lending is conducted totally fairly, but this will never happen so the best we can hope for is to eliminate those horrendous 20 % and higher lending margins (= LIBOR + 20 %), forbid 'hidden costs' which are often higher than the interest rates themselves and make lending conditions totally transparent so that every reasonably literate person can understand the terms and conditions that are currently obfuscated by pages and pages of disingenuous legalese.

Sorry I can't offer you more.

[end comment by Parviz via email]

Posted by: b | May 20 2009 16:45 utc | 12


While I agree with you that credit sucks, I'll argue a nitzy point... whatever man does is NATURE. Interest rates are as "natural" as spring water... but I guess this is a stupid point.

Credit cards are legal theft!

I've had a couple of credit cards in my life... both experiences ended badly; the last experience was so awful I'll never have another of those evil plastic cards again.

I remember talking to the landshark who was dealing with my case about the idea of usury and he laughed. He told me that the 35% that I was being charged wasn't even close to where the limit was... "46% and possibly higher," he told me while trying hard to stifle giggles (maybe he was just masturbating under his desk?)

I threatened court, and the bastards offered me one of those deals I felt I couldn't refuse... I can't remember (I don't want to remember) how much that damn card cost... I think I ended-up paying the balance well over four times before I completely washed my hands of the mess. The part that really pissed me off the most was in January of the following year I received some kooky tax form that basically said that the company wrote-off over $6000 dollars against that card. I'm still not sure if I was supposed to report this amount as income, and maybe get taxed on $6000 dollars that never existed?

As I said I don't remember what the final debt was on that card... what I do know is that the card had a $800 dollar limit; I know I paid well over $3000 dollars to the card company in principle and interest... that's $2200 paid on what was an $800 dollar loan. And I'd be willing to bet I didn't charge all $800... that a portion of that was also interest or late fees or management fees or other nonsense.

The part that made me feel even angrier was a week after this mess was resolved I started receiving offers for more credit cards in the mail; the first was from the company I'd just had all the problems with (Capitol One). I have a pile of these offers that still arrive, three years after I swore off credit. One of these days I'm gonna do something with all these offers (maybe a giant pile on Capitol One's lawn?), thankfully they've slowed down or I would have needed to started constructing a building out of the piles that are constantly threatening to overtake my office.

I have a credit card tied to my bank account that has never caused me a problem. No interest, no fees, no trouble!

The whole mess above came about due to medical problems in the first place… with a socialized health program, I’d have never felt I needed that damn card at all.

Thieves and liars… all the credit card companies are simply a mob of legalized thugs.

Posted by: DavidS | May 20 2009 17:13 utc | 13

DavidS, I sympathize with your plight (see my post #2), but if you had been taught, as most Europeans/Japanese are, to pay your monthly credit card bills via automatic bank deduction or, better still, get only a Debit Card, you wouldn't have got into this mess to begin with. It's a question of culture and upbringing, and to change the whole U.S. infatuation with debt won't be easy.

I've never paid even one cent of interest to credit card companies in over 30 years of using them. I use my credit cards only as a temporary substitute for cash I have in the bank, and the bills are settled by direct debit. I never buy what I can't afford.

Actually, the Iranian mentality is even more geared to saving than is the European/Japanese mentality. We pay everything with cash or simply suffer without. That's one thing Americans could learn from Ayatollah-land!

Posted by: Parviz | May 20 2009 17:33 utc | 14

KPR @ 7-- A watered down healthcare bill is what BHIP (Big Health Industry Players) influence will probably result in. It will be, in some way or other, beneficial to the Big Insurers, most likely by mandating coverage. The standard of care for the plans most people can afford will be miserable and miserly. It will be a mandated protections racket: Nice little house you got there, Ms. Insured; you don't pay me, you might lose it. (Just don't read the fine print or dig too deeply to learn that you're not going to be covered for a whole lot of stuff -- and might well lose your house anyway. We'll have gotten our rents, our pounds of flesh, out of you before you go bankrupt. Sucker.)

If Obama wanted real healthcare, he has had the political capital to get it done. I don't know where his political capital level is now, but some polls show it's still not down too much. People will blame the Congressional Dems first, I think.

But what I've noticed about Obama is that he doesn't show much enthusiasm in his body language about too many topics. I see real enthusiasm when he talks about digitizing medical records. Everything about him, stance, facial expressions, voice show higher enthusiasm than when he talks about healthcare or even reform of healthcare.

He also has a bit more pizazz when he's putting down single payer advocates: "The little single payer advocates are here," he said at a New Mexico town hall meeting when he got a very good question on single payer and many in the crowd applauded; or his reference at his first WH townhall meeting about healthcare, where he took single payer off the table, just couldn't satisfy those "liberal bleeding hearts." Strange wording; it's usually said as "bleeding heart liberals," but he sees the hearts of liberals bleeding....

I fear Obama is not really into progressive or liberal approaches. Strangely, for a former Constitutional law professor, he doesn't mint being fairly extreme in keeping executive power. Or perhaps not so strange; it might be why his early bankster backers wanted him to be president.

But Obama is getting kudos from the DC insiders and pundits for being "pragmatic" when he backs Bush's civil liberties abominations, etc., so at least he's doing well in their eyes.

Also, KPR, FDR used the word "bankster" to refer to out of line bankers and financiers. I love that word and use it in "Big Bankster Boiz" to honor FDR.

Posted by: jawbone | May 20 2009 17:38 utc | 15


Agreed that my credit mess was of my own making! But... and I know this is the big butt; but there was (and still is) malfeasance in the way credit card companies operate in america. As has been pointed-out there are so many fees that once you start falling behind it becomes criminal the way fees and interest are accrued. Capitol One kept my credit card "open" for a year after I'd made the last payment - this after I'd asked them if there were a way to freeze the fees. Once more a laugh from one of the company jackals as they told me that as long as I continued to pay, they'd keep the interest rolling.

In the end I'm sure I was better-off defaulting and waiting for the creeps to track me down – otherwise I might never have paid that debt off!

And the lawyer I hired to help me with this mess told me the same thing you did; that he never paid interest and managed to roll his "points" into free plane tickets and the such... Should finance be played like a game?

Another thing that foreigners forget about the wonderful USA... Paying in cash can make you appear suspicious to "authorities" because you maybe one of them terrorist/drug dealer types, have to keep the people hooked on plastic. (Yeah, I have one of them debit cards – works great, it doesn't even feel like paying)

Paying for stuff with plastic cards, whether debit or credit, gives us the illusion of not paying anything... that's why the casinos like to use cards now even more than chips... they can track how you spend and when you spend and how much you win vs how much you lose. Much like credit cards!

Posted by: DavidS | May 20 2009 18:03 utc | 16

#9, you recommend the complete scrapping of credit cards based on the fact that 'credit' is immoral and destructive. Well, my friend, 'credit' is thousands of years old, like prostitution which would also be impossible to ban without boosting the incidence of rape even further. Would you then also ban 'lending' of any type whatsoever? What about barter trade? Totally impractical, not to mention that other nations that are more responsible and save far more than U.S. citizens (the Japanese, Germans, for instance) would then issue their own cards. Then some enterprising middlemen would find ways to supply European cards to debt-hungry Americans....

A.) So, let me see if I have this straight. Because credit is thousands of years old, it is therefore with us to stay? It's just the way things always were and always will be? There are no other options? Lump it or leave it? A very tidy fatalistic approach. It's hard to argue with such a flawed philosophy.

Are you familiar with The Moken, Parviz? Look up their story, if you're not, if you're interested. They survived the tsunami because they, unlike the credit card junkie tourists, recognized that the water sucking out to sea meant imminent danger. When they witnessed the water being drawn out, they immediately fled to higher ground, and the majority were spared. Tsunami's, like credit, have been with us for thousands of years, but, ironically, The Moken don't have much knowledge of, or need for credit. There are numerous examples of cultures that have existed, and still do exist, without any concept of credit, so let's not feign that credit is necessary for our survival. It's quite the opposite. Its ubiquitous presence in the "civilized" world could very well lead, in part, to the extinction of our species. In part is the operative phrase. Of course it's not solely responsible. It's an exploitative tool used to further exploit, and a damn good one at that.

B.) Are you implying that Prostitution is Rape? If not, where the hell do you get the notion that banning prostitution will cause more rapes? I agree that banning prostitution is silly because people will find a way to do it somehow, but rape will also occur regardless of its illegality, and regardless of prostitution's illegality. Should we legalize rape based on your logic? Maybe, just maybe, it has nothing to do with legality and illegality, and more to do with our social arrangements, and this thing we call "Civilization." Maybe it facilitates the manifestation of such cruel outcomes, and so long as the arrangement known as "Civilization" continues, these outcomes will always be with us. I happen to think that "Civilization" is not all its cracked up to be and I laugh now when someone seriously refers positively to someone, or a group of people as "civilized." By the way, I never suggested banning anything. In fact, I firmly believe, considering the constructs of "Civilization" that decriminalization of many things that are currently criminalized (drugs, gambling and prostitution) is preferable. I would delight in being able to light up a doobie without fear of being ass-raped in prison.

b) Obviously after submitting post #9 you saw the folly of your proposal and submitted post #10 which is almost identical to my proposal. I said LIBOR + 3 % and you now want LIBOR or PRIME plus 2-3 %!!!

As for a 'ceiling' of 8 %, if the PRIME rate goes to 21 1/2 % as during the Reagan years I cannot see any financial institutions committing suicide by capping rates at max. 8 %.

There's no back-tracking on my part. As I said, it's a concession. Considering the constructs of "Civilization," credit will be with us for the foreseeable bleak future, so I suggested what I did as a bridge to a possible without credit. I say cap at 8% because I no longer have any faith that the financial markets will be regulated properly and without massive corruption, so to say that the market sets the rate of interest any longer is a farce. If rates climb precipitously as they did in the Reagan era, it will be because of manipulation, not because of some nebulous free market mechanism at play. If that means that no credit is offered when "market" rates rise above 8%, then so be it. It would be an incentive to the manipulators to not raise them above that point.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not a fatalist....but I am a cynic. I do hold out hope, however slim the probability is. Obama's not that hope, though.

Posted by: Obamageddon | May 20 2009 19:58 utc | 17

I don't think you understand how the American economy works.

You offer obscenely low mortgage refinancing to anyone with opposable thumbs,
and the US retail economy skyrockets. Garments, vehicles, boats, jewelry, furs.

You offer obscenely easy credit cards to even 14 year olds with opposable thumbs,
and the US retail economy skyrockets. CD, iPods, clothes, concerts and drugs.

You blowup the mortgage industry, then you illegally triple the US money supply so
the US retail equities markets stage a miraculous comeback in the middle of GD2.
A lot of that money gets recycled into credit card company equities they borrow off.
But you never, ever blow up the credit card industry, it's an invisible, illegal tax
on the rich to subsidize spending by the poor, retail junk and gew-gaws which is foreclosed and repossessed and sold back at a profit to the poor, again and again.

Kind of like bank loan leverage off fractional reserves.

If Warren Buffett wasn't so damn senile, he's quit farcking around with derivatives and Fed GOBs, and start his own credit card company only for those who own property.
Oh, boy howdie! The Berkshire Sapphire Card - "You deserve to keep your wealth."

Sigh. But Warren is a moron, and Donald is only a M'aire. We're all doomed.

Posted by: Sam Whatam | May 21 2009 1:10 utc | 18


A) I wonder whose philosophy is 'flawed'! Credit is here with us to stay because homicide is with us to stay, as are prostitution, drugs and whatever else has survived thousands of years of 'civilization'. All you can do is to 'manage' the horrors and keep them at the minimum possible level.

The Moken? What nonsense. Just because a few escaped (just as I escaped ever paying a single cent in interest to credit card companies) doesn't mean that waves, tidal waves or Tsunamis can be made to disappear. It's how you manage the danger that counts, not whether you can totally eliminate natural disasters!

B) Where did I write that "prostitution is rape"? Stop twisting or completely distorting my words. It has been proven, repeatedly in Sociological studies, that wherever prostitution has been banned the incidence of rapes has risen. Prostitution provides a relatively safe escape valve for desperate people. The trick lies in 'managing' it so that women are not forced into prostitution against their will (the sex slave trade).

Credit will always be with us. The trick is in making it less extreme, less abusive and less devastating. This can only be done by tightening regulations for credit card companies and penalizing the miscreants. If you think there's even a remote chance that credit will ever be eliminated you're nothing less than a fantasist (to put it politely).

Your penultimate paragraph shows your knowledge of economics is at kindergarten level, nowhere near Economics 101. ("Daddy, why can't the world be perfect? Daddy, why can't there be world peace? I want world peace, and NOW!").

Your totally absurd recommendations prevent us from achieving what is possible. By thinking you can legislate ridiculous extremes you're diverting attention from serious efforts to 'improve' the lot of mankind. For example, regarding car emissions, I'm sure your type of environmentalist would say: "I want ZERO emissions for ALL car manufacturers as of July 1st, 2009".

Posted by: Parviz | May 21 2009 4:48 utc | 19

parviz, i believe you are addressing the wrong person. the person who you accuse of having a "kindergarten level" understanding of economics is Obamageddon, not Sam.

parviz, let me just say i'm so glad you are here to explain to us what is practical and what is fantastical. i especially enjoyed that parenthetical comment where you snidely compare Obamageddon's not-very-practical idealism to the pleas of an innocent child who has yet to experience the unchangeable reality of credit.

thank you so very much for your insightful contribution.

Posted by: Lizard | May 21 2009 5:31 utc | 20

Thanks, Lizard. I like both Obamageddon and Sam. They argue their cases passionately, and I wish their dreams would come true. I just disagree wholeheartedly with how much they believe is possible as opposed to desirable.

Posted by: Parviz | May 21 2009 9:09 utc | 21

P.S., thanks, Lizard, for pointing out my reply should have been addressed to Obamageddon.

Sam Whatam also makes extremely valid points on how the U.S. economy works. The problem is that as soon as I mention the benefits of European-style government and economy to American acquaintances most of them react with disgust, or adopt a reflexive-defensive posture, as if I had insulted their babies. MoAers are fortunately the exceptions and are often even more critical of the U.S. on all fronts than I am. I've even resorted to defending Obama on occasion, which makes ME the outsider among all you hyper-critical observers of the world scene.

Posted by: Parviz | May 21 2009 9:17 utc | 22

Parviz, a quote for you. Mind you, I'm not a Kennedy zealous fanatic. They have their share of foibles and the stories written of them are largely myth, but I agree with the sentiment of this quote, although I don't dream. I do give the notion pause, however.

“I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Posted by: Obamageddon | May 21 2009 13:26 utc | 23

Maybe the west should just adopt sharia law?

Which, as I understand it, from a great distance and with cursory reading only, condemns interest (up to a certain point or in a particular way...others will will know better, and all the futzing about with sharia compliant financial instruments is surely a bit of a joke) as well as here is the kicker, a symbol for a symbol, a sign for a sign. Thus all derivatives, and many forms of insurance.

Symbolism and its analysis is important in Islam, and second order symbols are not permitted, afaik, in a purist tradition, so frowned upon in general. (See also cartoons re. Mohamet etc.) - Something that stand for something must be in the first order sign linked to the real world, that is, in finance, a tangible asset, such as land, metals, oil, a basket of veggies or otherwise a physical, material existing object (such as a person, a building.)

Beyond that - not permitted, within a purist view. Risk is anathema, all deals must be fixed and linked to the real world. That is what I see as the heart. Obviously it was elaborated to prevent bubbles and maintain a steady state in relation with real activity. Money can't lead to getting more money, to make it stark.

Thinking about it a little further from my pit of ignorance it seems that charity and gifts - the tradition of giving - the obligation of it - is there to compensate losses and difficulties down below. So while seeming wise in many ways the sharia system (in the abstract, etc.) nevertheless requires bail out for 40 or 50 % of ppl.

Non-Gvmt. handouts to the poor, local help, charity, feel good, etc. is offered by Hezbollah, Hamas, as examples. Trickle down, Islamic style, Saddam of course had a state system.all regulated...

just musings really

Posted by: Tangerine | May 21 2009 13:47 utc | 24

“I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Thank you for that, makes the fantasy I'm trying to live seem more real :)

Posted by: DavidS | May 21 2009 14:19 utc | 25

Tangerine, I'm sorry to contradict everything you write, especially as I know your comments are always well intentioned, but Sharia economics is a joke. All they do is to replace the word 'interest' with the word 'fixed profit' which is the same animal with a different name! Whenever I was in Dubai I used to joke with Muslim bankers about this and they simply replied: "Whatever works!"

Posted by: Parviz | May 21 2009 14:40 utc | 26

parviz, my comment @20 was sarcastic. i thought your parenthetical comment to Obamageddon was unnecessary and childish.

Posted by: Lizard | May 21 2009 15:01 utc | 27

Lizard: Got you! I recognize irony when I see it. Go on living in your fantasy world. Good luck and good night.

Posted by: Parviz | May 21 2009 16:09 utc | 28

parviz, while you preach patience and practicality, half a million jobs are being lost every month in this country. while you praise the Paulson/Geithner scams, millions are losing their homes. while trillions are being dumped into banks too big to fail, 50 million people don't have health care. while you are joking with Muslim bankers in Dubai, kids are graduating college with ridiculous amounts of debt.

Obamageddon, myself, and others make our comments based on this kind of information, this reality. you have absolutely no right to imply that our expectations of our govt' officials to DO THEIR FUCKING JOB and represent THE PEOPLE of this fucking country is some kind of childish fantasy.

if you want to persist in posting condescending comments toward people with valid points and grievances, fine. but i must warn you, you run the risk of coming off as an arrogant asshole.

Posted by: Lizard | May 21 2009 20:52 utc | 29

I knew I should never have trusted a reptile.

I have asked you, Obamageddon and others, umpteen times, to provide your own alternative proposals, explain precisely how you would solve the problem, explain the effects of your proposals (= cost-benefit) and effects on employment, inflation and what have you.

You simply can't, because the problem is so endemic that it would take 6 brilliant presidential terms, running consecutively, to solve a problem that is endemic as it has been building up over 200 years, namely, 'The American Way' of running your country and not giving a damn about the poor.

It's not I who am arrogant in explaining why Obama is doing the best possible in the worst possible circumstances, but you who whine like a little child without offering counter-proposals, which makes me conclude that you don't have the faintest idea of the depth of the problem.

I don't like American Capitalism either. but at least I understand the magnitude of the obstacles to be overcome. You clearly don't.

Posted by: Parviz | May 22 2009 4:51 utc | 30

Parviz and his Bag O Tricks. The ol "put up a solution or shut up" ploy. It goes hand in hand with the "if you don't like this country then leave" ploy.

I will say this, Parviz, and Einstein shared this sentiment. The system that created this mess cannot provide a solution to this mess. That's the part you continually fail to understand. I abhor the idiots who jump up and down and say "we have to do something, though....we can't just sit around and wait for the worst to happen." Whenever I hear that shit I think of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It's the same mentality that rationalized the Iraq invasion.

Posted by: Obamageddon | May 22 2009 17:34 utc | 31

Oh, so you're insinuating I approved the Iraqi invasion?!!! I don't have that 'same mentality', I have a 'sane mentality' which is clearly lacking among those who simply say "Let's destroy everything" and then cry their eyes out when they observe the even bigger mess they've created.

Posted by: Parviz | May 23 2009 7:32 utc | 32

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