Tag Archive | "Republican Party"

Both parties are complicit in our economic collapse


No, that can’t be, some say. The recession is clearly all the fault of the other political party. They are the evildoers. We are the good guys. Actually, no. When it comes to our economic crisis, which was triggered by the cratering of the subprime market, both parties share much blame. The policies and actions of both parties, along with their deep coziness with the financial sector, created a bubble that was destined to explode. Garbage securities were sold with no accountability or regulatory oversight. Long-standing laws limiting bank power were repealed. Federal entities guaranteed mortgages that should never have been issued. And now, with the foreclosure debacle upon us, it’s clear that fraud and corruption are rampant.

Regulatory agencies were gutted and rendered as ineffective as possible under both Bush Administrations. They cut budgets so the agencies would be understaffed and made it clear that ambitious prosecutions would not be welcome. This was done in the Randian belief that markets, if only left alone by an interfering government, would regulate themselves. Can we please throw this bizarre belief in the scrap heap of history? Markets, if left alone, do not play nice. Rather, they turn into pirates. The events of the past few years conclusively demonstrate this.

Under Clinton, the Department of Housing and Urban Development undertook to increase home ownership from 60% to 70%. Subprime mortgages were the vehicle for this (by a bizarre coincidence, these were also the mortgages that Wall Street made the most money from.) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backstopped the mortgages by guaranteeing them. Clinton cheerfully presided over repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a law which had been in effect since the 1930′s and which prevented certain types of bank mergers. These two actions led directly to the creation of the subprime bubble.

The floodgates opened. All manner of NINJA (No Income, No Job, and No Assets) mortgages went flying through the system, were bundled together and securitized. Wall Street made billions. Since the regulatory agencies were snoozing, no one cared much that the foundation for all of this, subprime mortgages, was made of sand.

Financial bloggers like Calculated Risk and Mish were way ahead of the mainstream media and the government on predicting the collapse of subprime. They were early and right. Subprime imploded and took the economy with it. The states where the real estate bubble was the most extreme, like California. have suffered the worst, with high unemployment and foreclosure rates.

Obama was backed early and with huge contributions by Wall Street. He was their guy. Hillary was too independent for them. McCain thought them to be “spoiled brats and ruthless opportunists” who would take bailout money, keep it, and then pay themselves huge bonuses. (He was right.) ┬áThis is from Charles Gasparino’s new book Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street.,He details the decades-long alliances of both parties with Wall Street. And if you’re a liberal who thinks the book must be suspect because Gasparino is a conservative, then you don’t get the point. Both parties are culpable.

Obama had no such qualms about with Wall Street. He told them their mortgages were swell and then, after the economy collapsed, asked them for advice on how to fix it. Did he understand he was asking the architects of the disaster how to rebuild what they previously destroyed? Apparently not, because he bought several of them, Geithner and Summers among them, into his administration. Obama also allowed accounting rules to be neutered so banks no longer had to mark-to-market. They instead are now permitted to price their holdings as they deem fit. They then book illusory profits and pay themselves more huge bonuses. You and I have to mark-to-market. The big banks don’t.

The financial blog Zero Hedge has done a superb job of exposing financial fraud and criminality. They say The fraud started at the very top: With government leaders of both parties. So, what do we do? Yelling that the other side is to blame is pointless and self-defeating. Instead, citizens on all sides of the political spectrum can educate themselves on these issues, insure that the issues stay in the public spotlight, organize in their geographical areas, and then maybe gain real political power. This is precisely what the Populist Party did in the 1890′s. They were farmers who were losing their farms to predatory banks and being gouged by crop speculators. They joined together to form co-ops to buy their goods at a fair price, and then became a national force. The trust-busting of Teddy Roosevelt was certainly influenced by the populists.

We’re seeing an upsurge of populism now. As far as I’m concerned, bring it on. Because something needs to be done.

(Crossposted from CAIVN)

Posted in News

The next two years: war between the parties, and war within the parties

Major schisms are forming within both major parties, and last night’s election makes this all the more obvious. There will now be open warfare within both parties, as the factions vie for dominance.

On the Republican side, Tea Party candidates did well enough that they can no longer be ignored, denigrated, or cynically exploited by party insiders, much as they might want to. Instead, GOP leaders now want to stop Palin, and by association, the rest of the Tea Party. It’s not just that Palin is unelectable as a presidential candidate; it’s more that her insurgency, along with the Tea Party, is a direct threat to the power base, funding, and influence of the Republican elite. A rambunctious Tea Party simply cannot exist within the current confines of the Republican Party. Something will have to give. What Palin is attempting is precisely what netroots wants to do too: storm the citadels of their party then seize control. But, the Empire will strike back, make no mistake about that. (So far, Palin has been more successful in her attempts than netroots, why is this?)

Progressives and the left are in revolt against Obama. This is certainly a major reason the Democrats did badly in the midterms. “The base was demoralized, not because the Dems went too far left, but because they went too far right.” says Ian Welch. The Democratic Party abandoned, ignored, and back-stabbed its left flank only to find they needed those votes. Oopsie. So what did they do to win them back? Why, they insulted progressives and mocked them for their supposed stupidity. Bizarrely, this tactic appeared to have alienated those it wished to attract. Who could have predicted such a thing could happen? Certainly not the Democrats. On the other side of this are those who want the party to be ever-more centrist and accommodating. As with the Republicans, these two factions can no longer co-exist, even semi-peacefully.

The battles within the parties will likely lead to splits and to the formation of third and independent party runs in 2012. This will happen on all sides of the political spectrum, and maybe in the center too, if Bloomberg runs for president. We are living in highly unstable political times. The implosion of the economy and the resultant unemployment and anger will not be going away soon. That’s what’s fueling the schisms in both parties, along with the belief that elites in both parties are remote, isolated, and don’t have much of a clue about what to do, and that they’re old and in the way.

Of course, with the Democrats getting clocked in the House races, it’s a whole new gridlocked-filled day in Congress. There will be much sound and fury, signifying nothing, as the parties go at each other. Well, the Republicans will certainly go at the Democrats. Whether the Democrats will ever learn to return a punch remains to be seen. But they still control the Senate and Obama has veto power, so in all likelihood, not much will be accomplished in the next two years. But it needs to be. The economy is ailing, the infrastructure crumbling, and can you hear it in the distance, the sound of peasants with pitchforks?

So, what changed in this election? Sure, the Republicans picked up a big victory, but whether they will be able to get a legislative agenda through remains to be seen. Both parties will have to deal with internal revolts. Given such an unstable landscape, long-term predictions are pointless. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

(crossposted from CAIVN)

Posted in News

Palin storming Republican Party barricades

She’s threatening to do to the Republican Party what netroots wants to do to the Democratic Party. Storm their citadels and then take over.

Republican Party insiders are determined to stop her. It’s not just that she’s unelectable, she’s also a direct threat to their power base, influence, and money stream.

So why has she been much more successful at this than netroots has on their end of the spectrum?

GOP elites now appear determined to destroy her, which should be a cautionary note to netroots, should they ever pose a similar threat to Democratic elites.

Posted in News

Republican Party cites Taliban as role model

taliban nrcc

From the LoneStarProject

Apologize Pete!
Pete Sessions praises the brutal Taliban citing them as a role model for Congressional Republicans.

In a bizarre and offensive interview with the editors of the Hotline, Dallas Congressman and newly elected National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) described the Taliban as a “model” for the Republican insurgency in the U.S. House of Representatives

No, this is not satire. Sessions really did say that.

Oh heck, let’s bring back waterboarding for any of those Taliban-loving Republicans. I mean, we’re trying to kill Taliban over there, thus we can certainly waterboard their mini-Me’s here. Besides, Republicans have been yapping about how waterboarding isn’t torture at all – why it’s just like taking a bath, they say – so they shouldn’t mind, right?

Posted in News


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