Monday, November 07, 2011

Ron Suskind and those wacky liberals at the Obama administration

Aaron Task and Henry Blodget again, via Yahoo Finance:

above: "No Change: 'Fat Cats' Still Winning Despite Obama's Tough Talk"

Does Blodget really believe that Obama offended Wall Street by calling them fatcats? Me kinda skeptical, but I suppose he may. The last time I speculated about the inner broilings of somebody out there in the big world, a certain commenter scolded me, so maybe I better not.

However I remember in May of 2010, Obama said he was going to "put his boot on the throat" of BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and some other pol denounced him for it, but the Justice Department or the EPA or whoever behaved as if their hands where tied when the administration discouraged BP from using Corexit as a dispersant. (Incidentally use of Corexit is banned altogether in the British Isles.)

According to Wikipedia:

On May 19, the Environmental Protection Agency gave BP 24 hours to choose less toxic alternatives to Corexit from the list of dispersants on the National Contingency Plan Product Schedule, begin applying the new dispersant(s) within 72 hours of Environmental Protection Agency approval or provide a detailed reasoning why the approved products did not meet the required standards.[203][204] On May 20, US Polychemical Corporation reportedly received an order from BP for its Dispersit SPC 1000 dispersant. US Polychemical said that it could produce 20,000 US gallons (76 m3) a day in the first few days, increasing up to 60,000 US gallons (230 m3) a day thereafter.[205]

Also on May 20, BP determined that none of the alternative products met all three criteria of availability, toxicity, and effectiveness.[206] On 24 May, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Jackson ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct its own evaluation of alternatives and ordered BP to scale back dispersant use.[207][208] According to analysis of daily dispersant reports provided by the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, before May 26, BP used 25,689 US gallons (97.24 m3) a day of Corexit. After the EPA directive, the daily average of dispersant use dropped to 23,250 US gallons (88.0 m3) a day, a 9% decline.[209] By July 30, more than 1,800,000 US gallons (6,800 m3) of dispersant had been used, mostly Corexit 9500.[210]

So maybe an Obama boot on the throat means, "I want you to fear my wrath up to nine percent of the time."

Likewise, Obama sounds a bit silly when he calls people fatcats. Frankly it's embarrassing. It's reminiscent of a drunk who threatens a much bigger guy when he knows his sober buddies are holding him back and the other guy isn't particularly interested.

In the 1st video clip, above, Aaron Task suggests that BHO wanted to be much tougher with the bank in early 2009, but Tim Geithner and Lawrence Summers talked him out of it, so I guess they qualify as the two sober friends who prevented the fight in question. Blodget starts things off by suggesting that fight would have involved "coming down hard" on Wall Street, and Task chimes in by suggesting that could've meant nationalizing the banks, although he stumbles and says privatizes for a moment. And yes, I'm tempted to read into that, that it was one of them Freudian slips, but what do I know about what people may really be thinking?

Incidentally, Jonathan Schwarz of Tiny Revolution recently mentioned the same book that Task refers to, Confidence Men by Ron Suskind. His discussion suggests a different conclusion, and it didn't go along with the Obama as impressionable naif theme at all. I haven't read it, although it sounds interesting.

Here's a quote from Suskind, via Schwarz:

According to one of the participants, he then said, "I'm not out there to go after you. I'm protecting you. But if I'm going to shield you from public and congressional anger, you have to give me something to work with on these issues of compensation."

No suggestions were forthcoming from the bankers on what they might offer, and the president didn't seem to be championing any specific proposals. He had none; neither Geithner nor Summers believed compensation controls had any merit.

After a moment, the tension in the room seemed to lift: the bankers realized he was talking about voluntary limits on compensation until the storm of public anger passed. It would be for show.

Is this what happened? Even if it isn't, and is just what Suskind's source said, it certainly doesn't square with Aaron Task's interpretation of the book. Maybe Task is a slower reader than Jon Schwarz, and hasn't gotten that far.

Below, Blodget says some sensible things here about infrastracture spending, then he sneaks in the usual bit about unsustainable entitlements needing to be cut, and says nothing about taxes. It reminds me of how Alan Simpson said some sensible sounding things to the lady from Reuters in the interview clip I posted the other day, but also snuck in a similarly themed swipe regarding those supposedly unsustainable entitlements.

Henry Blodget | Daily Ticker – Mon, Oct 3, 2011 2:13 PM EDT

see also The Promiscuous Reader, "The Protection Racket"


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At November 08, 2011 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What they do


what they say...

Giving a bailout


calling them fatcats...

Giving govt contracts


talking about waste...

At November 08, 2011 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, why even give legs to the theme of

Obama = professional naif

It doesn't fit, it can't fit, it won't fit... unless the assessor in question knows nothing of how the world works because the assessor has spent a life confined in perspective like a bowling ball is confined to its lane by gutters.

A person whose life has been devoted to making good money to support his family, or keeping a tidy house to make her family feel warmly loved... likely neither person spends much time wondering about how people go from little boy to POTUS and the various waypoints on the journey, what any thinking person would learn at each waypoint, what the waypoints do as shaping events or periods...

Obama's CV suggests cold calculated self-serving by serving the uppermost tier of American and, at times, global financial interests.**


** the phrase "at times" to suggest that sometimes Americans care about the foreign lands, and sometimes they don't, depending mostly on the opportunities for fiscal benefit or social advantage-taking leading to eventual fiscal benefit.

At November 08, 2011 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Final "also" --

Good to remember Suskind as the guy that ...errr... ...aaaahhh... "broke" the Karl Rove perspective about "creating our own reality" being the theme of Bush/Cheney's main players.

...though Suskind doesn't name Rove, it's pretty well considered the case that Rove was the source, and the idea is definitely consistent with Rove's personality as publicly shown, spoken, written.

At November 08, 2011 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...although I'd say Suskind misses the mark when he's taking seriously, and reporting back seriously, the idea that Dubya Bush was a Super Christian.

Pretty much the only foursquare/pentecostal/creepy Christian in Bush-Cheney was John Ashcroft.

Dubya used Xtianity like a boys' treehouse club handshake/password, to access more public support (ideological, rhetorical, tribal, and financial support). The Bush/Cheney Admin was not Christer (or whatever) as much as it claimed to be that, in order to have more cover for its ploys.

There hasn't been a Secretly Christian Whackjob presidency in my lifetime nor in any other part of the 20th C before my birth.

Unless, of course, you identify among those who see all forms of organized religion as tantamount to Fundie Whackjob stuff, in which case you could even claim Jimmy Carter was a dunce of determinism etc. But seriously... Dubya was no Christer by nature or deed, only by word.

At November 08, 2011 7:10 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...


Like I said in my previous post about BHO calling 'em fatcats, it suggests he sees ordinary people as exceptionally impressionable and stupid, and while it's discouraging how often this seems to be true, I tend to think increasing numbers of people see the two-party system as a con.

As you probably know, grifters use a term, "the short con" to describe certain kinds of deceptions. Maybe the democratic-republican divide and the phony baloney two party system is best understood as a long con, as in a long-term project that has to be perpetually maintained and reinforced, otherwise the mechanics of it become too apparent.

At November 09, 2011 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Long Con is the only thing that describes most of American culture and a good portion of human advantage-taking since human societies began. I've never formally researched the origins of confidence scams to learn where they supposedly originate, but I'm pretty sure they preceded our modern Repub vs Dem divide and could be traced back to the 12-year Long Con that happened between the Declaration of Independence and the "agreement upon" the Constitution.

But I'm pretty sure confidence/bunko precedes even the Noble United States of America.

At November 09, 2011 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also if I had to Armchair Shrink Diagnose mister Barry O'Barmy, I'd say he was raised to think himself special, got lots of confirmation on that by virtue of who schooled him and where, got ahead thanks to his "exotic" name and parentage and thinks his "exoticness" makes him extra-special, believes that his Meritful Schooling and Fancy Parchments entitle him to lord his wishes over others -- entitle him in the same way Bill Gates is entitled to be a billionaire, or George Soros entitled to be a billionaire -- assuming, always, that Life is a Game that Rewards The Special and he sees himself as The Special.

There's a wee, small bit of House Negro in him but I really think he doesn't identify as Black at all -- except for political expediency's sake, where being The First Black POTUS makes him proud of his daddy's racial origins... because it helps the grift!

I'd wager I'm at most 25% wrong here.

At November 09, 2011 10:34 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

25% wrong? You really should be more confident. I say you're no more than 15 or 16% wrong. I majored in wrongness in college, so I know stuff.

As far as Gates and Soros, et al, I don't see how somebody can objectively say anybody is entitled to be a billionaire.

At November 10, 2011 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I have quite a few family members, friends and acquaintances who would be happy to inform you on just why a billionaire got that way by merit and hard work.

At November 10, 2011 12:22 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Well KFO, if they are happy believing those things, who am I to tell them they're wrong?

There are many other clever (or supposedly clever) things I could say about this, but at this point maybe I'm just beating one of those whatchamacallits.

At November 11, 2011 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On behalf of Equus I demand you stop using the disparagement known as "whatchamacallit", you Speciesist!


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