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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why we should support Obama in the battle of Wall Street

Remember when the Tea Partiers talked the anti-Wall Street talk? Unlike many of my readers, I knew from the start that this rhetoric was just a gimmick designed to help Republicans get into office.

Now that the GOP controls Congress, the party of the Tea Party is doing everything it can to undermine the Dodd-Frank restrictions on Wall Street shennanigans -- even though these restrictions were far too lenient to begin with.

Why are congressfolk trying to loosen these far-from-onerous regulations? Money. Legalized bribery. It's the old story...
Lobbying expenditures by every specific industry group declined in 2014, except for the finance, insurance and real estate sector. That sector increased its spending by 2.5 percent.
And Wall Street has been a steady donor, particularly to members of the House Financial Services Committee, where the legislation typically gets started.
Congress re-authorized the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, making sure to include an unrelated provision designed to weaken Dodd-Frank. If Obama had vetoed the bill, he would have been accused of being soft on terror.

In other legislation -- to be specific, HR 37 -- Congress is trying to deep-six the Volcker Rule, which limits the degree to which banks can hold collaterized loan obligations. Those are the shady financial instruments which, to a large degree, caused the 2008 crisis.

Wall Streeters are literally -- literally -- writing these new regulations. Imagine what would have happened if Pablo Escobar had been asked to write our nation's drug laws. 

What to do? I hate to admit it, but in this case we should support the President.

To his credit, Obama has made clear that he will veto legislation designed to make Dodd-Frank die the death of a thousand cuts. He could not veto the TRIA sneaky-Pete play, for obvious reasons. Otherwise, the President is the only thing keeping 2015 from becoming 2007.

Even though lobbying (read: money) has succeeded in "turning" a number of congressional Dems, the Democrats remain our only real hope of maintaining some semblance of economic regulation. They will do so only if they are pressed by the people to do so.

At this point, some readers will note that Obama took Wall Street money in 2008 and 2012. Indeed he did, as did the Republicans; the large investment banks give to both parties. It is also true that Obama's Justice Department has protected most Wall Street miscreants instead of building cases against them. Finally, it is most certainly true that the Dodd-Frank reforms did not go far enough. Obama is no populist.

These infuriating political realities cannot change the fact that Mitt Romney would have supported these attacks on Dodd-Frank. Obama is using his veto power.

That's a fact, Jack.

I don't like Obama, but facts are facts and vetoes are vetoes. If you write "Well, both parties are corrupt, so let's do nothing," you are doing precisely what the malefactors of great wealth want you to do.
This is satire or written in humor right?
Or as Charles Péguy put it: whoever says "neither left nor right" always means right. ("Qui dit ‘ni de droite ni de gauche’ dit de droite".) (Hat tip to Loren Goldner for this quote.)

Took me a long time to understand that.
Who seriously believes that the Charlie Hebdo offices had such crap security that two masked men could walk straight through the front door and up to the main office carrying submachine guns?

Because I don't.

We're told the main 'security' measure was not to take their nameplate off the front door.

Yeah, right.

Here's the background. I nicked this list from the Daily Torygraph. Many more items could easily be added, but I think these are enough to suggest the conclusion "No security? Bullshit!"

Feb 2006: CH republishes the Danish cartoons along with its own front page of Mohammed, saying "It’s hard to be loved by imbeciles."

Feb 2007: CH sued by Muslim groups for publicly "insulting" Islam. Francois Hollande testifies in favour of freedom of expression. (I'm not sure what this means. They obviously insulted Islam. If that's against the law, they broke it.)

Feb 2009: several Danish newspapers reprint one of the cartoons.

Mar 2009: Osama bin Laden threatens EU over reprinting of the cartoon.

Jan 2010: a man enters Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s house with axe and knife. He is shot by police and later jailed for nine years for attempted murder and terrorism.

Dec 2010: Danish and Swedish intelligence services arrest five men for allegedly planning massacre of Jyllands-Posten newsdesk.

Nov 2011: CH publishes an issue naming Mohammed as "editor-in-chief". Its offices in Paris are burnt out in arson attack.

Sep 2012: CH publishes more cartoons of Mohammed, showing him in a wheelchair saying "You mustn’t mock". Another cartoon inside the magazine depicts him naked. Riot police are deployed around CH offices in Paris and the magazine’s website is attacked.

Jan 2013: CH publishes a 65-page special edition illustrated biography of Mohammed. (Notice a pattern here?)

If the French state wasn't protectin the CH offices, why the fuck weren't they?

Maybe some of the '4 million' sheepish demonstrators could tell us?

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