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Are the Banks Running America?
Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis, right, leads the way as chief executives leave the White House in Washington, Friday, March 27, 2009, after a meeting between chief executives and President Barack Obama. From left are: Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf; Morgan Stanley Chief Executive John Mack; US Bank Chief Executive Officer Richard Davis; and Lewis.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Chief executives of major U.S. banks leave the White House on Friday, March 27, 2009, after a meeting with President Barack Obama. From left: Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf; Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack; US Bank CEO Richard Davis; and Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis. (AP)

Simon Johnson is raising hell over our response to the economic crisis so far. The former chief economist at the IMF says it’s been half-measures and soft steps and hasn’t gone nearly far enough to break up failed banks and knock back the Wall Street lords of finance.

The reason, he says, is that a financial elite has quietly taken over this country and its assumptions — sewn up power, he charges, as surely as in any banana republic — and barred the way to real change.

These are hot words from a top scholar and economist.

This hour, On Point: Simon Johnson on where we stand now in the economic crisis, and why.

You can join the conversation. Does Johnson’s analysis sound over-the-top to you? Just right? Are we taking the right steps to reset the American economy? Does the U.S. really deserve the label “banana republic”?


Joining us from Washington is Simon Johnson, professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, he’s now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. His new article in The Atlantic, “The Quiet Coup,” argues that “the finance industry has effectively captured our government — a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets.” He co-founded the widely read blog The Baseline Scenario, where you can read his latest commentary.

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  • Mike

    yep, we went from the industrial industry running America to a financial system which creates no tangible good running america.

    Where the stock market was once a place to invest in a company have the ability to vote in the company and want the company to succeed.

    Know it is and was for the last 10 years the other direction trying and make a quick buck buying and selling trades shorting trades, creating complex ways to cheat people out of money, as which most normal people dont have the expertise to do or understand so they listen to these experts who in fact are gambling your money for high gains for themselves not to u.

    what these banker and the financial industry did is lossen credit, yet make it hard to defend yourself against predatory lending, sky high interest rates, while switching your pensions to 401k(got u in the market) Create a only consumer/service economy promoting spending even when u cant afford, anti-effort on saving, loosening the laws on what they can do, loosen leverage, buy off politicians, create big enough investment vehicles that are able to move the market or distort it for personal gains. stamp in American mines nationalization is bad (causing us to suffer while there losses are soften), deregulate and drain the resources of the people who suppose to be regulating them. outsource most of industry while at the same time bringing in cheaper labor to replace workers.

    So yes bankers are running america and they will try and hold america hostage like in Andrew Jackson’s time if they dont get what they want,

    lets hope someone like Andrew Jacksons can stand up to them but its doubtful both on the dem’s side and Republicans

  • Lilya Lopekha

    The answer is simple… let us just reverse the trend and show them who the boss is… us or them.

    Here is the solution:

    Obama administration (Timothy Geithner) is still talking about giving more money to the banks so that they can lend it back to us.

    Daaaa, it is Our Money. It is just we don’t show enough anger. They will cave in if we revolt.

    Example: One constable in Illinois was refusing to evict victim families due to foreclosure.

  • Eric from Providence

    Please get Mr. Johnson to answer this.

    Why not restructure the banks like the White House is forcing GM and Chrysler to do before giving anything else? As it is they have recieved hundreds of billions more than the big three.

    Of course, this would include getting rid of the CEO’s who seemed to have a nice lunch at the White House at our expense.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    I see some sort of a carefully crafted connection over the years between the War on Terror, Iraq/Afghanistan, Profiting from Weapons Trade and the fact that Banks own us.

    When we were trying to pronounce arabic names of neighborhood in Iraq, we lost focus and we gave away our wallet.

    Example: Richard Halbrook. His mission is to keep War on Terror alive. Who appointed him? Why not appointing Richard O’Conner (just made up the name in order to make a point) whose Mother is Irish and Father is Scottish vs. Halbrook having strong ethnic ties to the single cause of the Jihad.

    Look at ties between Edward Liddy and Rumsfeld.

    While we were surrendering our kids to the Bankers, the neo-con enablers kept our focus on Security and Fear.
    Neo-cons and Bankers have only one loyalty: Money (not America)

  • jeffe

    It seems that we the people have lost. We don’t count.

    Wall street and the banks control the strings of government with the vast amounts of money they can donate and to keep “their politicians” in power. It does not matter if it is the democrat’s or republicans, they seem to me anyway to be calling the shots or at least using their power to influence the outcomes. How else can one explain the Paulson plan from last year.

    If government, and in this case a democrat controlled congress was serious about helping our country back to some kind of equitable based system then they would bring back enforceable usury laws, the Glass-Steagall act and anything else to help control these greedy people.

  • jeffe

    Further proof that Obama is not thinking about change as he promised.

    Read Robert Scheer’s article: Obama’s Toxic Advisers


    After reading this I am now inclined to say that president Obama has lied to me, I fell for his brilliant rhetorical style and charm like millions of others. What I am seeing now is not the same man I voted for. I feel cheated. I e-mailed my senator the other day, senator Kerry, it’s been a few days and I did not even get one of those form thank you notes.

    They are wind bags, power hungry, contemptible people in my view. They are worse than the republicans, at least with them I know were I stand, these guys tel you what they think you want hear and then just do what they want. As far as I’m concerned Obama has lost not only my trust but I’m now thinking of never voting for another democrat again. Which in my state means never voting.

  • steve m

    Financial services are both necessary and valuable. You can not have tangible goods without “intangible services”, so I wish people would stop saying that.

    I also wish people would stop blaming homeowners for the financial crisis. Home buyers who didn’t know the mortgage terms at least could assess their risk–they knew they could lose the house and many did.

    The prevailing wisdom was that derivatives were beneficial. When something becomes an industry standard there’s not much anyone can do about it until catastrophe strikes. There are always some people who can see through the hype, but the problem I see with financial services is they didn’t understand the tools they were using and in many cases didn’t want anyone else to know either. The problem of opacity needs to be addressed. This includes stock market transactions, too.

  • Kash Haffa

    We probably won’t solve the financial crisis. I say just print some more money and give it to whomever needs it (unless they are car companies). $100 is only worth $100 because we collectively believe it does…

    We’re too busy answering are cell phones every 30 seconds to actively solve problems like these.

  • J. Deepears

    While in West Africa a few years back I was ranting to a (very, very poor) local man about my country’s international behavior. I was angry at my country. He listened patiently. Then took my hand and said, “When you point at others, blaiming them, remember. . . “, and he opened my hand. He showed me the one pointing finger; he rotated my hand. “Remember there are three fingers pointing back at us when we point at someone else.

    When we rant on about others, bankers, Holbrooke, what have you, remember our own place.

    Scale back. Too big to fail? Growth for growth’s sake will be the end of us. Keep it real.

  • bob

    I totally agree with Mike. The government was bought and we got the “worst” government money could buy. The only solution is for us to go back to the mood of the sixties and get all this cleaned up and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it happened. All we have to do is look at out 401K’s. Does anyone honestly believe the 401K revolution will really go anywhere? Weren’t company pension plans much better? Of course they were and where we have ended up has proven it!

  • LinP

    “I am now inclined to say that president Obama has lied to me…I fell for his brilliant rhetorical style and charm like millions of others. What I am seeing now is not the same man I voted for.”

    Sadly, jeffe, I am now coming over to your side of the table. That sentiment took root with me during the campaign, and really took hold when he appointed Geithner and Summers. I still cannot believe that. As much as the Bush years were anathema to me, this banking situation feels the same.

    I’ll be at A New Way Forward demonstration on April 11 protesting the bank bailout. Protests are scheduled around the country. They say–”12 million unemployed. Foreclosures up 81%. Wall Street has taken over. We must break up the banks and never again let them get so big that they distort our politics and take down the economy.” See more at http://www.anewwayforward.org

  • Lilya Lopekha

    OBAMA’S TOXIC ADVISORS – What a great phrase!!!

    Ok, That’s it. I am eMailing the PIN for my ATM to Goldman Sachs. Enough is enough.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Would Obama ever ever ever appoint these scums, if he were his own Chief of Staff?

    I think… the Backroom Operator of this mis-directed policies, from Banks to Afghanistan, is……

    RAHM EMANUEL (there may be a bit of Axelrod, but not sure)

  • Lilya Lopekha

    To the Producers of OnPoint and Tom

    What a great topic. Thank you, thank you, thank you

    Time for Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney – possibly in the same show titled: “We told you so!”

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Simon Johnson is brilliant, both here and on The NewsHour. The clearest thinker (and talker) about this stuff around.

  • Alec

    Finally I hear discussion which is on a right path to root causes of our country’s biggest problems. Many thanks to Tom Ashbrook for choosing this topic. Please ask your guest who are the people who owns Federal Reserve? This is a private institution and surely have owners. Why this information is not available to public?
    What happen to gold standart? Lots of questions that you never hear on mainstream media.

  • Anita Baldari

    I disagree with Mr. Johnson’s comments on today’s show 3/31/09. Nouriel Roubini, economics professor NYU, predicted and spoke about all of the specifics of the current crisis in Sept. 2007 (see Dr. Doom, NYTimes 8/15/08). Other experts have predict dire consequences for the future about segments of the different parts of the financial markets. Thanks you. Anita

  • Marty, Brentwood NH

    Many years ago the social critic Paul Goodman wrote about how our Economy was “out of human scale”. I paraphrase: Unless this huge complicated machine, the financial industry, is kept working, it’s impossible for someone to buy bread. Comment?

    I read your blog daily and rely on your work to understand what’s going on.
    (As well as Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, Dean Baker, Michael Edesess and a few others.)

    Dean Baker lately has been very sharply criticizing how Bankers are being coddled and subsidized in every sense, compared to the union workers of the auto industry, and given an “unfair trade advantage” compared to other international banks because ours have US backstopping.

    And the populist anger against paying the AIG “bonuses” seems to be spreading to saying that NO MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR salaries for financial industry executives is worth it. After all, ordinary salaried US Govt. workers handle billions of dollars, and they don’t get a percentage!

    Thanks for any comments you have.

  • chitra

    Dear Tom: appreciate if you cld forward my comments to your speaker:

    1. I am frm an emerging mkt, and democracy, free press (incl all this mud slinging), rule of law, open markets equals solid recovery at some pt. Nonsensical to compare us to russia, indonesia etc.

    2. Technological innovation is worth nothing with financial innovation. It’s easy to do all this mud slinging, but all the egalatarian wealth creation we have seen in the world in the 1000 years (starting with the creation of the merchant class in the old world), to global trade and labor mobility, to asset monetization has occured due to financial innovation. so who’s been screwing around with us? Have capitalists ever NOT tried to make money? So who shd be the voice of sanity? THE REGULATORS!!! When we stand up and point the finger where it shd be?

    3. Case in pt: our own chris dodd of CT gleefully wanting to expand Fannie mae/freddie mac during the boom years. Clinton and repub congress signing glass-steagell that allowed IB and Commercial banks to merge. TIM GEITHNER and LARRY S actively working to stymie any regulation of the derivative/CDS mkts in 1998-1999 when brooksley borne of the CFTC wanted them to…

    Wall street is the middle man. It helps people monetize assets, who’s responsible for allowing buyers to make foolish decisions? The buyers and the policy makers. have you heard the tern “buyer beware”!!

    4. When will main street stand up and take its shareof the blame? The country lives off credit! Have you seen the debt to income ratios for US households. Generations of americans are brought up with a philosophy that you can borrow for anything. This is cultural and is nurtured by a reactive politic.

  • Andrea Chasen

    It’s been evident for years that the financial sector has been viewed as the “celebrities” of the day. And the American public has been brainwashed into thinking that our system is the best way to support the costs of college, retirement, and medical care. So we have been pushed to invest in the stock market to reach these goals. Other developed countries provide health care, education and support for retirement through the tax system. This method is demonized by “capitalists” insisting that this is unthinkable for Americans. Well, as one person who followed all the advice of saving for retirment, college etc, (from the age of 29) as of today when I am five years away from retirment, my retirement acccounts are so far down that I can’t afford to consider retirement. The only ones who have appeared to benefit from this system are the money managers at the top.
    We need a better way.

  • Susan

    The States agreed not to use paper money and incorporated this into the law by which they created the federal government.

    In spite of this, the federal government has declared paper money to be legal tender.

    Please read “Fiat money Inflation in France” by Andrew Dickson White – available online. A short book that explains exactly what it going on. There is nothing new under the sun.

    Also, an excellent 5-part video series “Collapse of the Dollar…” presented by Dr. Lawrence Parks PhD

    See also bills HR 1207, HR 833, S 513 and S 604 which have been introduced in the House and Senate.

    Also, Constitutional Tender Acts are being considered by some states, listed here: http://www.constitutionaltender.com/

  • Bernard B

    This discussion suggests a look at Hamilton’s ideas about how to preserve economic elitism (which is probably necessary at some level for an high power economy). One element was the use of the churches to keep the masses in line. An aspect of the Republicans’ resurgence was the outreach to fundamentalist Christians. (Indeed, there is evidence that the US is the most superstitious of the first world nation states.)
    Leaving aside the economic aspects of this, I found the intrusion of religion into the recent presidential campaign both breathtaking and disheartening.

  • Mari McAvenia

    A banana republic? At least the Central American countries from which this term derived grew some bananas to export for capital- on “master” owned plantations, powered by slave laborers.
    What have we got? Oh yeah: fake plastic bananas imported from China!
    With only a sliver of wry humor,I submit that a banana shaped cellphone/iPod that the user can ingest when a newer unit comes out (shaped like a mango, perhaps)is
    not a bad idea. Edible blackberries, anyone? Now, that’s a revolutionary concept.

  • Charlie Mc

    The oligarchal world we live in judges EVERYTHING according to what it terms “the bottom line”. According to that ethic, profit is heaven and getting caught is hell. Guess where we are now? Yet the “wise” keep telling us that they understand the problem and its resolution.
    In the writings of the desert fathers(ca. 300 AD),
    “Abba Antony said:’A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, You are mad; you are not like us!’”

  • BRR

    Does anyone have a link to the Wall Street/Banking and Capitol Hill network diagram Simon Johnson referred to as evidence of the oligarchy? He said it was similar to a social networking diagram … was it in the NYTimes Magazine? I can’t find it.


  • Bernard B

    Do remember that the capitalist Joseph Kennedy, who was smart or lucky enough to get out before the ’29 crash was appointed by Roosevelt to help clean up the mess — and contributed to the fairly stable system that was ruined by Phil Graham and many others. (Set a thief to catch a thief actually worked — by the way, according to Gloria Swanson, Kennedy was a thief.)
    Thus we probably need some of the gang (seems like there are a lot of less than evil, but discredited, Goldman Sachs alum involved) who facilitated this mess on board. Geitner and Summers may not be the worse choices for this role… better than Rubin and Paulsen. Trouble is, smart and well meaning as they are, I worry that they are a bit to imbued with the world view that created this mess and they will do a patch rather than deep reform (a test is whether they get rid of those credit default swaps that are not true insurance and, more broadly, shrink the derivative world radically). Volcker and Buffett are about the only ones whose judgement I trust. I doubt whether Obama has the vision and power to manage this and Congress is probably hopeless.

  • Hafiz R

    The banking industry owns and runs more than America! It Owns and runs the world! All the markets with no allegiances to any country, any people or the health of our planet… just self interest… a bulging pocket of gold for themselves and their buddies.

  • Walter

    Good show. We need to hear more from Mr. Johnson.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    We need anger, angry radio shows, angry hosts, angry listeners. We cannot solve these problems who are making money and fame from the problems (ie. retired generals, professors, smiling/funny hosts on MSNBC).

    Enough of talking heads with steady paychecks.

    We need unemployed, underemployed, repossesed and foreclosed, poor and homeless people be part of the solution.

    We need anger!!!

  • Tim Shates

    Love this program.

    I don’t remember the name of the book or its author, but there was a book published back in the 90s predicting the coming depression based upon a macroeconomic study of the distribution of wealth. The essence of the study was that just before the Great Depression the concentration of wealth was at a high point. Since the Reagan years, the distribution of wealth began to become more concentrated again. It appeared to me that the concentration of wealth reached a crescendo during the Bush years, with tax cuts for the wealthy like never before.

    My point: If the producers want us to buy their products, they better learn how to play fair and share the wealth. They seem to have forgotten that their employees are also their consumers. Ford understood this, but today’s oligarchs have forgotten it.

  • Deborah Sharpe

    Tim, Could you be referring to one of these books written by Kevin Phillips? The following is from Amazon: In his acclaimed book AMERICAN THEOCRACY, Kevin Phillips warned of the perilous interaction of debt, financial recklessness, and the spiking cost (and growing scarcity) of oil— warnings that are proving to be frighteningly accurate. Now, in his most significant and timely book yet (BAD MONEY), Phillips takes the full measure of this crisis. They are a part of what he calls “bad money”— not just the depreciated dollar, but also the dangerous attitudes and the flawed products of wayward mega-finance. His devastating conclusion: In its hubris, the financial sector has hijacked the American economy and put our very global future at risk—and it may be too late to stop it.

  • Wilson Samuel

    Boy, Lilya is really angry!!

    I wonder where were people like you during the so-called “boom” time. How come we missed messengers who were for the truth!!

    Secondly, for me it never made sense to buy high and sell ultra high (at such a highly unsustainable levels, and I’m talking about the real estate), so I guess during the fall of 2006, a colleague of mine had told me “prophetically” about the coming “bust” which everyone laughed at that time.

    Lilya, do u have a blog?? would love to follow your blogs to get any alrams that you will tip off, atleast for the future.

    God Bless America!!

  • Lon C Ponschock

    I have recently read nearly all of Kevin Phillips books on economic subjects. Perhaps most significanot oif these for the current discussion is called Arogant Capital. Written in 1996, the early chapters are like reading today’s headlines.

    What Phillips has done is give an historical perspective on the financialization of imperial economies as the final phase before decline. He cites Hapsburg Spain (the gold conquest era,) The Dutch Republic, and the British Empire in comparison with modern day imperial America.

    Will Durst said that history repeats but only in outline. What Phillips has done is to show the touch points of the rise and decline of empire and how America is seen in that mirror.

  • Wavre

    So “they”—Summers, Gensler, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and their über mentor, Rubin—were as wrong as anyone could be. Perhaps such error is human, but aren’t there folks out there with a better prospect of getting it right that Obama can rely on?

    Maybe this almost unknown, not that connected, ex-first black senator of Illinois, is kind of held hostage by the real rulers of this capitalistic society? Thru theirs “hit-men”(Rohn Emmanuel, Geithner, Sumers,Bernanki,Paulsin ect…)And firing one CEO could be just for show? Instead of working for a dollar a year like he said he would do, he is “let go”with 23 millions dollars!!
    Give me just 30 thousands dollars and i will quit my job and look for another one right this instant!
    Maybe the poor man has finally met the “powers”behind the power?

  • jeffe

    “Elizabeth Warren, in charge of oversight of the financial industry bailout, told a congressional panel Tuesday that the Treasury Department has not been cooperating with her efforts to oversee the project.”


    What! oh shock of all shocks, the Treasury Department has not been cooperating with her…

    This spells one thing to me, these guys are selling us out. Remember Elizabeth Warren is one of the advocates for reform of the credit card industry which is out of control in this country.

  • lois scribner

    Why advertise this in such shocking terms when Johnson has gone out of his way to emphasize how establishment oriented he actually is — would we not see academia as part of this elite? I would welcome some further breakdown sociologically in terms of WHO this elite consists of. I suspect it reaches more widely than he implies and hence it is very resistant to change.

  • http://CDW11@aol.com Clifford D. Worden

    Simon Johnson is really “On Point” in stating that our nation is functionally an oligarchy. Since the mid to late 70′s subtle, but effective changes have occurred in undermining the principles on which democracy depends. Our market economy, based on competition, has also evolved into institutions and businesses too big to fail, benefiting fewer consumer/citizens. The departments of government have been stacked with special interest Chairpersons/board members. Elected leaders are “owned” by special interest as the result of campaigns financed by financial interests. Unregegulated capitolism encourages greed and the concentration of economic political power. Our current population has become separated by class which adds to the formation of an oligarchy.
    Radical reform, a return to publicly financed elections, verifiable voting records, regulation of lobbyist, citizen appointments to government agencies and rigious laws encouraging market competition will be required for democracy and market ecomomy to exist together.

  • http://CDW11@aol.com Clifford D. Worden

    Simon Johnson is really “On Point” in stating that our nation is functionally an oligarchy. Since the mid to late 70′s subtle, but effective changes have occurred in undermining the principles on which democracy depends. Our market economy, based on competition, has also evolved into institutions and businesses too big to fail, benefiting fewer consumer/citizens. The departments of government have been stacked with special interest Chairpersons/board members. Elected leaders are “owned” by special interest as the result of campaigns financed by financial interests. Unregegulated capitolism encourages greed and the concentration of economic political power. Our current population has become separated by class which adds to the formation of an oligarchy.
    Radical reform, a return to publicly financed elections, verifiable voting records, regulation of lobbyist, citizen appointments to government agencies and rigious laws encouraging market competition will be required for democracy and market ecomomy to exist together.

  • Nai Hak

    At 60 I am old enough to remember the government stepping in to break up industrial monopolies like At&T for exactly the reason that such concentrations in any sector of the economy can wield dangerous political influence. I simply cannot buy that no one saw the current situation coming. I think, rather, that members of government turned a blind eye to developments over the last decade or two because they became increasingly loathe to give up the the personal monetary benefits available from the new “financial monopolies.” If Mr. Obama pushes for REAL change, he will be in danger from some very powerful interests.

  • lois scribner

    ps I just started to read Newsweek with the article about Krugman’s critique of the current government policies and there are echoes of the same analysis taken a bit further.
    I wonder if I am alone in wishing there was more sense of outrage and some degree of moral anger about these socio-economic trends?

  • Ellen Dibble

    How will we know if our anger permeates through? Obama calls for it. As I recall he said it was an essential ingredient without which he could not gain the cooperation of the bankers.
    If people “got through,” For one thing I believe we’d find there would be enough tax on oil/gas (and I suppose emissions, cap in trade) to really shift the kind of houses we want to live in and the kind of vehicles we want to drive. (Our pain; their total redirection.) But auto companies couldn’t then say well, Americans buy more vans than Priuses, so we build them.
    In terms of health, again there would have to be a clear monetary reward for keeping people healthy at less cost, not stringing them along where the most money is to be made.
    All the lobbying money in the US would be risen up against such change, so an awful lot of anger would have to come to bear.
    And who exactly would rise up in anger and ask for higher costs for (taxed) energy, for instance? But if the entrenched monied interests apparently blindsiding Americans are to be uprooted and replanted, then the sources of their wealth have to be considered.
    I wonder if overcharging for credit card services — the way the banks have been trying to get oxygen from us to survive — could be kneecapped (figuratively) by some tax. I have no idea.

  • Mark Benedict

    Finally, someone in a position of authority (and w/amplified voice) who understands that the USA has been and is being run largely by a corporate oligarchy. When I have told people that (for years now) many think I’m a wacko. The solution: ELIMINATE corporate participation in our democratic election processes. Frankly though, you really need to focus a radio program on the emergency need to begin implementation of Ecological Economics, that is redesigning our economic system as a sustainable part of the earth ecosystem. MB

  • Robin

    I agree with Eric…it’s hard to hear the President give it straight to GM and Chrysler and not do the same with the banking industry.

  • Arnold

    Politics is corrupted by corporate, labor and trial lawyer self-interests. Their participation should be abolished or real change will forever escape us.

    All debt should be forgiven and no more issued; that is, no more credit cards or mortgages. People are incapable of using either responsibly. Mortgage interest deductibility is a huge scam created by the realtors and real estate attorneys. We would be better served forcing people to live within their means. Life is not about a giant flat screen TV.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Nai Hak is right. Obama could very well be one of the protestors in London.

    He personally, understands the whole picture. It is “our” job clean the idiot neo-con money-loving idiologs around him.

    If he does the real change thing, they will bring him down.

  • jeffe

    Lilya your still drinking the Obama kool-aid.
    I voted for him and I believed in all the eloquent rhetoric that he is so good at. However he is a centrist and not a progressive as I mistakenly thought.

    He wont ask Summers or Geitner to step down and has in fact added more players from the group that were part of the Clinton administration.

    I’m not sure what “neo-con money-loving idiologs” mean in this context other than it’s an attempt to use as many adjectives as you can in one sentence.

    I really wanted to believe in Obama but he is proving week after week that he is no different than any other politician. As for congress, I hold them in contempt.

  • Rachel

    ***Scale back. Too big to fail? Growth for growth’s sake will be the end of us. Keep it real.***

    Can’t agree more.

  • Lynne

    Amazing show. I tuned in thinking that the “Quiet Coup” would be about the wholesale socialization that is and will be going on for some time to come. Imagine my surpise when the ‘worse [socialism]had become the better’ (Socrates was accused of corrupting the Athenian youth by making the ‘worse argument appear the better’). Still, it is interesting to see how un-repressable state-ism is and how consistently characatured those evil capitalists are.

  • Mike

    Hi jeffe,

    i think your partly wrong about obama, everyone must know or have a reasonable guess that, obama cannot get everything done the way u like it or the way he himself would like. (cant win every battle pick and choose)but u can the war.

    I believe that the real push for reform from obama will be after his second term in office. but still a better pick than mccain and palin,

    As for lynne, when captilism is feeding on itself in order to make great wealth for a few,while taking away from others it is a problem..025 percent loans from the government(tax payers money)to 20 to 30 percent to the public.

    As in the past like AT&T and Oil, railroads and such it was always safe-guards in place to stop meagers that would give them the to big to fail mentality and too much consolidated power. yet was systemitically reversed for banks, and this is what happen because of this. they use the whole of americans to get want they want against the common good for all. one goal was to move our pensions to the market inwhich they did. we see the results.

  • millard-fillmore

    When in doubt, I just go to youtube and watch a video of Obama’s speech from last year, and loudly chant 20 times “Yes We Can.” That seems to soothe me down and take all my troubles away. Blind belief in Obama’s rhetoric works like magic and never fails to give me confidence. You guys who are having doubts about him should give it a shot. ;)

  • Lilya Lopekha

    To Jeffe:

    I’m not sure what “neo-con money-loving idiologs” mean in this context other than it’s an attempt to use as many adjectives as you can in one sentence.

    I would love to use the right adjective, but I cannot use in this forum – nothing dirty, though. It is one of those “taboo” things that we cannot talk about publicly.

    Wondering if you figured out why Richard Halbrook is “the wrong” pick for that Afghanistan/Pakistan Post?

  • Rachel

    ****Lilya your still drinking the Obama kool-aid.
    I voted for him and I believed in all the eloquent rhetoric that he is so good at. However he is a centrist and not a progressive as I mistakenly thought.****

    You sound just like the product of this American society, NO PATIENCE, FAST TURN AROUND FROFIT! People like you, saying “well, I also voted for him”, sound like you did him a favor to do “everything” based on your agenda. But you can’t see a bigger picture, which he has done A LOT since he took office.

    You imagine he will just go into white house to sweep every bad things away overnight, without considering all the risk and opponents force pulling from all directions. He is trying very hard to battle this “deep rooted” problem, people like you judging his work so early are BLIND. He is in the Washington “jungle”, it is so naive not to see he also has to play their games at times to get things done.

    Obama use a really good analogy for what he’s trying to do —– it is a OCEAN FREIGHT LINER, you don’t turn it around instantly, but it is geared toward the right direction, so please have some “wisdom” like Obama processes.

  • Rachel


    so please have some “wisdom” like Obama possesses.

  • jeffe

    Rachel I’m basing my ideas about Obama on his actions.
    He has appointed the worst people to run the economy in this time of crisis. He is expanding the war in Afghanistan and just wait and see, he will leave a substantial amount of troops in Iraq.

    Insulting me for having an opinion shows me that your kind of needing some wisdom yourself, grow up.

    I voted for Obama because I thought he was a progressive who would work hard to change this countries health care debacle. He is not even going to deal with it. Single payer is not even being discussed. They will not get it solved.

    His Treasury Department has not been cooperating with Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to oversee the project of investigating the financial collapse.

    I voted for him because I thought he would work to bring back some kind of regulatory sensibility to our financial system.

    Did you read Robert Scheer’s article? Are so blinded by your zeal that your going to be saying this mantra over and over again? It’s only been 4 months give him a chance. When we get to 18 months and we have a larger mess then we have now and your still telling people to “believe in him” what then?

    I’m not asking him to move mountains, I’m only asking him to hire the right people for the job.

    Lilya I never said I like Richard Halbrook, in fact he is arrogant and probably the wrong man for the job.
    I was only trying to point out that most of these people are dirty and up to their waist in cow poo.

  • millard-fillmore

    jeffe, single payer health-care? When did the Democrats ever have that on their agenda/platform, or when did Obama ever mention (while campaigning) that he’d even consider it as an option? You should’ve voted for the Greens or Nader – assuming you’re in MA, it wouldn’t have affected Obama’s victory at all.

    We need to start voting for those who reflect our views, instead of this disconnect/dissonance between our views and who we vote for. Some consistency and alignment between thoughts and actions will go ways to change this world for the better.

  • jeffe

    Your right I should have voted for Nader, and I almost did. I admit I was caught up in all prose that Obama is so good at. It remains to be seen if he will be a great president, I think he will be a good one in relation to recent history. However if he and congress do not completely redo our health care system from the bottom we as a nation are doomed to keep 45 million with no coverage and another 40 million more with coverage so bad as to be useless in a medical emergency.

    I know Obama never promised a single payer system, however he did promise to fix the health care mess. He has also said that single payer is of the table recently. Wen during the campaign when asked about single payer he was more inclined to say he would look at all options.

    Of course fools like me read this as a maybe or a yes.

    We can sit at our desks and post and counter-post all day long. The issues as I see them, and most progressives is that Obama has set himslef up for a huge failure on two fronts. One is health care and the other as we can see is the economy.

    Summers and Geitner were, are the wrong picks for this crisis.

    Read today’s Washington Post:

  • Rachel


    Whom do you think he should have appointed for all the positions that you don’t agree with?

    Again, patience and wisdom go together, like Calcium and Vitamin D.

  • jeffe

    Robert Reich would have been a better choice than Summers.
    Bottom line Obama is a centrist not a progressive.
    He wont take on the corporations or deal with health care the way it needs to be dealt with. You watch, 4 years from now we will have the same dysfunctional health care market in which people die from lack of insurance and go bankrupt from the bills generated from illness.

    He is listening to Summers how is giving all the wrong advice on hoe to deal with wall street and the banks.

    Read Robert Scheer’s article.

  • Rachel

    ***Read Robert Scheer’s article.****

    I did, and I don’t totally agreed with his article.

  • Mark

    I laughed when I watched all of those young men and women who were so happy when Obama won the election.

    Now, I laugh even harder when I watch the disappointment in their eyes as they realize that voting doesn’t matter. Your puppet leaders are chosen for you and you are to decide betweem the lesser of two evils.

    All I can say is: I TOLD YOU SO!

    America cannot free itself from tyranny from voting. War is the only thing that has brought down tyrannical governments in the past.

    The pen is NOT mightier than the sword when those who are holding the pen are being controlled by their rich leaders.

    Vote all you want. Protest all you want. Show anger with your words as much as you want.

    You are helpless.

  • Paxtriot

    Mission accomplished! I am glad to report, Master, that we silenced the voices of reason like that guy. We outspent them, discredited them, or assassinated them. Listen now in 2012 and all you hear is “Deregulate” and “Tax Cuts for Job Creators”. Master, did I do my job well? Please pay me now so that I can run.

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

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