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Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout

 
DaJavoo
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12/12/2009 09:12 AM
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Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Obama's Big Sellout
The president has packed his economic team with Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into an all-out giveaway

MATT TAIBBI
[link to www.rollingstone.com]
Posted Dec 09, 2009 2:35 PM


Barack Obama ran for president as a man of the people, standing up to Wall Street as the global economy melted down in that fateful fall of 2008. He pushed a tax plan to soak the rich, ripped NAFTA for hurting the middle class and tore into John McCain for supporting a bankruptcy bill that sided with wealthy bankers "at the expense of hardworking Americans." Obama may not have run to the left of Samuel Gompers or Cesar Chavez, but it's not like you saw him on the campaign trail flanked by bankers from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. What inspired supporters who pushed him to his historic win was the sense that a genuine outsider was finally breaking into an exclusive club, that walls were being torn down, that things were, for lack of a better or more specific term, changing.

Then he got elected.

What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.

How could Obama let this happen? Is he just a rookie in the political big leagues, hoodwinked by Beltway old-timers? Or is the vacillating, ineffectual servant of banking interests we've been seeing on TV this fall who Obama really is?

Whatever the president's real motives are, the extensive series of loophole-rich financial "reforms" that the Democrats are currently pushing may ultimately do more harm than good. In fact, some parts of the new reforms border on insanity, threatening to vastly amplify Wall Street's political power by institutionalizing the taxpayer's role as a welfare provider for the financial-services industry. At one point in the debate, Obama's top economic advisers demanded the power to award future bailouts without even going to Congress for approval — and without providing taxpayers a single dime in equity on the deals.

How did we get here? It started just moments after the election — and almost nobody noticed.


Finish reading the Rolling Stone article here:
[link to www.rollingstone.com]
:DJrebelli:
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 09:13 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
good article!
Avian

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12/12/2009 09:21 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
if any of you guys/gals out there are waiting for things to get better...you might as well forget it...we are being systematically gutted and dismembered...its every man for themselves

if you dont understand that...you will be meeting in the processing plant

good luck folks
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
- Frédéric Bastiat

food, water, ammo, weapons, battery back up solar, hand well pump, wood stove and 1 year of food...oh yeah PM's too...good luck
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 09:32 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
change .......LOL

bush-lite
DaJavoo (OP)

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12/12/2009 09:54 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
change .......LOL

bush-lite
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 839221

:DJobabush:
:DJrebelli:
DaJavoo (OP)

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12/12/2009 09:59 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
DJthanx DJpin

This is a long, irreverent read, but a good one. It follows the Presto! Change-o! That this administration pulled off.

:DJrebelli:
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 10:02 AM
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ALL PART OF THE PLAN to destroy the middle class.

The middle class MUST BE DESTROYED
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 10:03 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
change .......LOL

bush-lite

:DJobabush:
 Quoting: DaJavoo


True dat, Bro.

We have exchanged one dancing monkey for another.
Enaid

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12/12/2009 10:03 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Excellent read. Thanks. We be sharing it.

FINALLY - people can comment on Obama withOUT being considered racist.
Personal responsibility - try it sometime. Quit blaming others for your bad choices. Consequences happen.

:enaid11:
FN Amazed

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12/12/2009 10:04 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
change .......LOL

bush-lite
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 839221


If you really think this started with Bush, do some homework...when did the economic boom start? Greenspan/Clinton, I'm big on capitalism and free market however, what has happened is so onerous and in your face and for some reason, America hasn't woken up yet.
It really is!

I never drink water, fish fuck in it.
W.C. Fields

Ignorance and obscurantism have never produced anything other than flocks of slaves for tyranny...
Emiliano Zapata
DaJavoo (OP)

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12/12/2009 10:09 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
change .......LOL

bush-lite


If you really think this started with Bush, do some homework...when did the economic boom start? Greenspan/Clinton, I'm big on capitalism and free market however, what has happened is so onerous and in your face and for some reason, America hasn't woken up yet.
 Quoting: FN Amazed


Fer reel.


DJmarket
:DJrebelli:
Floewwhatdochnot
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12/12/2009 10:09 AM

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Did somebody mention the Strolling Bones?


The chariots of God are tens of thousands, and thousands of thousands.
DaJavoo (OP)

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12/12/2009 10:10 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Excellent read. Thanks. We be sharing it.

FINALLY - people can comment on Obama withOUT being considered racist.
 Quoting: Enaid


DJbigwink

After a wasted year.
:DJrebelli:
DaJavoo (OP)

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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Did somebody mention the Strolling Bones?


 Quoting: Floewwhatdochnot


Appropriate. chuckle
:DJrebelli:
Drakensang

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12/12/2009 10:23 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
True dat, Bro.

We have exchanged one dancing monkey for another.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 5668


otrike

"I can also ride my red
trike and chew bubblegum
at the same time! Sweet!"


yankeemofo

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12/12/2009 10:29 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
I can't believe this came out of that liberal rag! That's what happens when you piss off your anti-war supporters!

PS - He ain't Bush-lite. Bush was Obama-lite!
Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

Trust in those that seek the truth. Doubt those who find it.
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 10:29 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
change .......LOL

bush-lite


If you really think this started with Bush, do some homework...when did the economic boom start? Greenspan/Clinton, I'm big on capitalism and free market however, what has happened is so onerous and in your face and for some reason, America hasn't woken up yet.
 Quoting: FN Amazed



This started with Nixon. Look who worked for / with Nixon. Paulson, Cheney, Rumsfield, Kissinger, more. They tried this all back then, swine flu, vaccines, didn't work out. They learned quickly that they need to own all the press which took another decade. Bush Senior was the next big batter. From there, it was the gathering of the sinners in DC.
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 10:34 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
I'm sending this "Rolling Stone" article to some of my "Liberal" friends.

If a "cool" rag like Rolling Stone can criticize Obama, then maybe some of them will stop the semi-hero worship and wake the fuck up that he's a fucking idiot, and not good for this country.
Queen

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12/12/2009 10:37 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Excellent read. Thanks. We be sharing it.

FINALLY - people can comment on Obama withOUT being considered racist.
 Quoting: Enaid

It is time to awaken to your real purpose. It is all up to you.
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 10:37 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
change .......LOL

bush-lite

:DJobabush:
 Quoting: DaJavoo
Queen

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12/12/2009 10:38 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
People really need to realize that MSM is a poison to your mind and it is rags like this that stand up to the status quo.
It is time to awaken to your real purpose. It is all up to you.
snark

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12/12/2009 10:43 AM

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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Taibbi nails it again. Best reason to read RS, IMO. For those who have missed his past excoriations of Goldman Sachs...stop whatever you're doing and go read now.
T For Texas, T For Tennessee!


The virtue of courage is a prerequisite for the practice of all other virtues, because otherwise one is virtuous only when virtue has no cost. There are times when something needs to be done, and yet we know that if we step up and do this needful thing, we will pay a heavy personal price. -C.S. Lewis
yankeemofo

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12/12/2009 10:44 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
change .......LOL

bush-lite


If you really think this started with Bush, do some homework...when did the economic boom start? Greenspan/Clinton, I'm big on capitalism and free market however, what has happened is so onerous and in your face and for some reason, America hasn't woken up yet.



This started with Nixon. Look who worked for / with Nixon. Paulson, Cheney, Rumsfield, Kissinger, more. They tried this all back then, swine flu, vaccines, didn't work out. They learned quickly that they need to own all the press which took another decade. Bush Senior was the next big batter. From there, it was the gathering of the sinners in DC.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 550635


Republicans? Control the media? You just lost any credibility you may have had! Pay attention!
Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

Trust in those that seek the truth. Doubt those who find it.
DaJavoo (OP)

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12/12/2009 10:51 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
I'm sending this "Rolling Stone" article to some of my "Liberal" friends.

If a "cool" rag like Rolling Stone can criticize Obama, then maybe some of them will stop the semi-hero worship and wake the fuck up that he's a fucking idiot, and not good for this country.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 734630

DJthumup
:DJrebelli:
DaJavoo (OP)

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12/12/2009 10:52 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Taibbi nails it again. Best reason to read RS, IMO. For those who have missed his past excoriations of Goldman Sachs...stop whatever you're doing and go read now.
 Quoting: snark



A link would be helpful.
DJbbkiss
:DJrebelli:
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12/12/2009 11:05 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
The Great American Bubble Machine


[link to www.rollingstone.com]
Enaid

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12/12/2009 11:06 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
People really need to realize that MSM is a poison to your mind and it is rags like this that stand up to the status quo.
 Quoting: Queen


re MSM - I see the story here first. Then I count the days to see how long it takes for the same story to make the news on various outlets.

The evening national news is such a friggin joke.
Personal responsibility - try it sometime. Quit blaming others for your bad choices. Consequences happen.

:enaid11:
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 11:09 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
People really need to realize that MSM is a poison to your mind and it is rags like this that stand up to the status quo.


re MSM - I see the story here first. Then I count the days to see how long it takes for the same story to make the news on various outlets.

The evening national news is such a friggin joke.
 Quoting: Enaid



+1
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 11:11 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Like it is a big surprise.
Anonymous Coward
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12/12/2009 11:25 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Another perspective....

[link to www.prospect.org]

The Errors of Matt Taibbi.

Matt Taibbi has done it again -- written a nightmare of a story for Rolling Stone on Obama's economic sell-out of his campaign. The piece is a factual mess, a conspiracy theorist's dream, doesn't even indict Obama for his real failures (which I'll discuss in a post later today) and of course invokes the cold hands of Bob Rubin like a bogeyman at every turn. This is pernicious for a lot of journalistic reasons, but politically it's bad for progressives beacuse conspiracy theories stand in the way of good policy analysis and good activism, replacing them with apathy and fear. Here we go:

* Jamie Rubin. James P. Rubin is a former Assistant Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration and not Bob Rubin's son. He informally helped Hillary Clinton transition into her role as Secretary of State. James S. Rubin is Bob Rubin's son, and had a similarly unofficial role in the economic transition. Neither were on staff, on the advisory boards, or on an agency review team.

* Austan Goolsbee "didn't make the cut." Goolsbee remains one of Obama's key economic advisers and has the president's ear from his posts on the National Economic Council and the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He skipped transition work and went to work immediately in those posts.

* "Neither did Karen Kornbluh, who had served as Obama's policy director and was instrumental in crafting the Democratic Party's platform." The reasons why Kornbluh didn't get a job remain unclear, but she lost her influence earlier in the year while Obama campaign and she remained in Washington as his Senate Office policy director and later at the DNC, where she played an important role by crafting the 2008 Democratic platform. She currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. [Updated]

* Michael Froman. His connection to Obama is through their time together on the Harvard Law Review, not through Rubin. He did indeed once work for Rubin, and was a member of Obama's transition advisory board; he was not on the transition staff. His portfolio is international economic policy, he does not participate in domestic financial policymaking except in that strategic role; of late his main focus has been managing economic negotiations with China.

* "Geithner, in other words, is hired to head the U.S. Treasury by an executive from Citigroup — Michael Froman." Froman didn't hire Geithner, Obama did, and the move had been expected long before Froman came on board the transition -- Froman had little to do with it other than aiding in vetting. Geithner had impressed Obama while briefing him during the crisis when he was President of the New York Fed and had been a senior Treasury official during the Clinton administration. He has never worked for a bank.

* "Jacob Lew, a former Citi colleague of Rubin's whom Obama named as deputy director at the State Department to focus on international finance." Lew is the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, who in fact works on State Department reform and, lately, the civilian surge in Afghanistan. He is responsible for operations, not policy, and doesn't really focus on international finance. He used to head up the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration.

* Over at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is supposed to regulate derivatives trading, Obama appointed Gary Gensler, a former Goldman banker who worked under Rubin in the Clinton White House. Gensler was a failure in the late nineties, but in his new post he has been fighting alongside Senator Maria Cantwell to close the loopholes in derivatives regulation that Taibbi complains about later in the piece.

* The lone progressive in the White House, economist Jared Bernstein, holds the impressive-sounding title of chief economist and national policy adviser — except that the man he is advising is Joe Biden, who seems more interested in foreign policy than financial reform. Bernstein is certainly the most progressive economist on staff. He is also in the room and involved in all major policy debates and decisions. Biden has taken the lead on the stimulus and jobs efforts.

* "Rubin was the man Barack Obama chose to build his White House around." Or maybe he merely built his White House around economic policy experts who had been mid-level officials in the previous Democratic administration? To my knowledge, Rubin has not been involved with policymaking efforts.

* "Neil Barofsky, the inspector general charged with overseeing TARP, estimates that the total cost of the Wall Street bailouts could eventually reach $23.7 trillion." It could, if every single loan guaranteed by the Federal government failed at once and all of the assets bought with those loans were destroyed -- and many of those loans are to homeowners, including low-income homeowners, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or to small businesses. Some of that money went to Chrysler and GM in what was primarily a job saving move. TARP's actual outlays are only $518 billion (still nothing to sneeze at), including foreclosure relief for homeowners. More money has been actually allocated so far on fiscal stimulus, including funds to reinforce the social safety net, than on the bank bailouts.

* "It's the sweetheart deal of the century, putting generations of working-stiff taxpayers on the hook to pay off Bob Rubin's fuck-up-rich tenure at Citi." Actually, the U.S. structural deficit and resultant national debt is mainly a hangover from the Bush Administration, with economic remedies to the financial crisis and the recession making a relatively small piece of the pie. Obama will be rolling back most of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, but Taibbi deigns not to mention that.

* "In the end, Frank not only agreed to exempt some 8,000 of the nation's 8,200 banks from oversight by the castrated-in-advance agency, leaving most consumers unprotected." The CFPA, while somewhat compromised, remains a strong agency that will protect consumers. In particular, all the banks in the country will be subject to the CFPA's rules, and they will be able to inspect any bank they identify as problematic. You can also ask Elizabeth Warren, who came up with the idea, what she thinks of Frank's proposal. Oh, I did.

* "A masterpiece of legislative chicanery, the measure would have given the White House permanent and unlimited authority to execute future bailouts of megaconglomerates like Citigroup and Bear Stearns." Er, no. It allows the government to liquidate megaconglomerates like Citigroup and Bear Stearns, just as the FDIC dissolves failing small banks. It's not quite what we're looking for, yet -- there is a lot of legislating left to do -- but here's what the measure really does.

* "The new bailout authority also mandated that future bailouts would not include an exchange of equity 'in any form' — meaning that taxpayers would get nothing in return for underwriting Wall Street's mistakes." No, that means we won't be injecting capital into banks anymore. No more buying AIG shares. But if the government loans money to these banks, taxpayers could still get a return on those loans.

* "Even more outrageous, it specifically prohibited Congress from rejecting tax giveaways to Wall Street, as it did last year, by removing all congressional oversight of future bailouts." The legislation actually only allows federal regulators to use funds taxed from banks to assist them in a crisis; if they want to use taxpayer money, Congress can say no.

Phew. That's just after a skim. Things he doesn't mention: Actual administration policy failures, like not fighting for cramdown, the slow-moving foreclosure mitigation program, or the fact that the stimulus was too small. He doesn't mention the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce or the Financial Services Roundtable to defeat financial regulatory reform, which are much more pernicious than anything the Administration has done. He doesn't mention key economic adviser Christy Roemer, Assistant Treasury Secretary Alan Krueger, a highly regarded labor economist, or Larry Summers' strange journey to the left. It's almost as if he cherry-picked what he thought would fit with his narrative.

Is it disconcerting that employees of the financial industry make a ton of money? Yes. Is it the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street problematic? Yes. Does the Administration take it too easy on the banks? Absolutely. Are White House advisers too centrist for progressive tastes? Sure. But when you try and tell that story with a lot of lies and innuendo, and misunderstand the basic policies that these people are producing, you don't hurt them. Now anyone who criticizes the Administration will just be lumped in with Taibbi's meandering conspiracy. (Sidenote, I thought it was Goldman Sachs we all had to be worried about?) The problems Taibbi tries to describe aren't some kind of ridiculous cabal. They come from group-think and structural influences and as a result of a complex interplay of interests and institutions; the policies they produce aren't either good or evil, they're in need of analysis to determine which help regular people, which hurt them and how to change the latter into the former.

Doing the work is hard. But if you want to make a dent, you have to do it.

-- Tim Fernholz

Posted by Tim Fernholz on December 11, 2009 2:15 PM
DaJavoo (OP)

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12/12/2009 11:40 AM
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Re: Rolling Stone ~ Obama's Big Sellout
Interesting read, thanks for posting. bcheers

I'm sure they could run out of ink before every single aspect of this clusterfuk gets exposed.

:DJrebelli:

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