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Tuesday, May 05, 2009


the chicago way

more from clusterstock on the unveiling of the obama administration as more of the same old degeneracy.

Creditors to Chrysler describe negotiations with the company and the Obama administration as "a farce," saying the administration was bent on forcing their hands using hardball tactics and threats. ...

The sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed to cajole them into acquiescing to plans to restructure Chrysler. One person said described the administration as the most shocking "end justifies the means" group they have ever encountered. Another characterized Obama was "the most dangerous smooth talker on the planet- and I knew Kissinger." Both were voters for Obama in the last election.

One participant in negotiations said that the administration's tactic was to present what one described as a "madman theory of the presidency" in which the President is someone to be feared because he was willing to do anything to get his way. The person said this threat was taken very seriously by his firm.

of course there are agendas and counternarratives being represented here. but i think washington and wall street are discovering what few americans yet know about the obama administration. this is politics the chicago way -- roll over or we'll roll over you. there is nothing admirable, democratic or particularly lawful about it. while it shouldn't be surprising, i'm sure for many naive voters (to the extent that any of them ever find out about it or would listen if they were told) it may be shocking. perhaps as a result, to dyed-in-the-wool supporters of obama specifically or the democratic party generally even admission of the possibility is anathema. well said by henry blodget:

It boggles the mind to see progressives deciding that because the White House and a corporation deny a charge, that the charge must be false. Imagine, for instance, these folks accepting a version of events simply because it had been put forth by the Bush White House and Halliburton. ... It's as if their cognitive critical apparatus had simply stopped functioning sometime in January.

but barack obama is a product of the chicago machine. don't expect decency.

UPDATE: calculated risk with a great find on the bankruptcy litigation blog. what's happening with chrysler is part of a long and litigious history of bankruptcy and the absolute priority rule.

UPDATE: via clusterstock -- it is also beginning to appear that treasury either doesn't know the law or is trying to violate the law as regards repayment of TARP funds.

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Obama thinks he's Tony Soprano now-

The White House says there’s “no evidence”- note that Hitler was careful to only give verbal orders, too... and Obama's not new to this sort of thing.

It’s plenty clear what really happened- Obama knows he owns the press corps… and he now even treats them with arrogant contempt, like children- hectoring reporters to “not waste their question”, telling them when they’ve “got enough pictures”, and even to “get back on the bus” in - ouch.

He wouldn’t call on Fox News after the TEA parties, and skipped the NYT at his presser a couple days after a reporter asked Obama if he was a “socialist”. Since when is a refusal to answer legitimate questions and explain your actions to the American people acceptable in a US president?

Like most narcissists, Obama has no use for The Contstitution, law, religion, ethics, or anything else that gets in his way-

The idea that he’d sic his MSM sycophants on some bank that isn’t willing to do as he says doesn’t surprise me one iota.

Obama's completely out-of-control. But what did anyone expect with a neutered press, compliant congress, and cabinet full of sycophants?

As far as "farcical negotiations" go... just ask Eric Cantor, he can tell you how it works with this White House.

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rrr -- you don't do yourself any favors when you can't get twenty words without violating godwin's law.

a lot of threats get made in negotiation. it isn't at all clear that rattner could deliver the white house press corps, but you don't need to be able to to make the threat. it's also worth noting that, for all the threatening, chrysler is in bankruptcy and dissident bondholders are getting their hearing.

i frankly suspect the reason obama wouldn't talk about the tea parties is because the people in the tea parties are a bunch of crackpots, zealots and sheep well beneath presidential comment. hell, beneath even my comment. and neither do i blame him for not catering to the whims of opposition spin doctors masquerading as press. these republican hucksters are having difficulty adjusting to the fact that most decent and sensible americans wouldn't cross the street to piss on them if they were on fire, and have in order to compensate gone off the deep end into a political death spiral of self-parody and conspiratorial fantasy. have fun immolating yourselves on the sharp spike of rush limbaugh, GOP.

now i think it's quite clear i'm far from a worshipper of obama -- i find his failings glaring at times. but i'm also faulting him for not being the exception to a pattern that has held, more under republicans than democrats of late, since at least the presidencies of teddy roosevelt and woodrow wilson, if not abraham lincoln, if not andrew jackson, if not thomas jefferson. indeed i think it's a very valid question to ask if america has ever existed without feeling the gravitational impulse of an imperial president, whether if in fact constitutional government wasn't always doomed by man's ambitious weakness and perhaps fortunate to see even tatters and shreds of the original conception survive two centuries. for obama's part, he's at least getting the main thrust of policy right, which is something the republicans couldn't seem to manage at any point in eight loooooong years -- indeed seemed like something dick cheney and karl rove spent their waking hours trying to deliberately avoid. whatever i grouse about, know that i cannot be shaken -- as what i like to consider a circumspect conservative -- from the knowledge that the alternative simply wasn't. the GOP isn't fit to run the local PTA at this point, and i pray god to herald the day of their creative destruction.

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clive crook with more, and pitch perfect.

One thinks of the British Labour party’s reaction to Margaret Thatcher’s victory in 1979. Labour lost because it had not been socialist enough, was the party’s diagnosis: it needed to be truer to itself. Having forgotten how you win elections – namely, by occupying the middle ground – the party then lost its desire to win them. Better to be true to your principles and out of power than to compromise. True to its principles, it was out of power for nearly 20 years, and the Thatcher revolution transformed the country.

The Republicans’ emulation of this proven model of political failure takes on an even more farcical aspect when you consider the conservative ideas to which party purists say they want to return. Labour under Michael Foot at least had an alternative programme of policy and a leader – almost any is better than none – to enunciate it. Republicans have neither. Their platform, if you can call it that, is a compendium of slogans and prejudices, bound together by disgust at the Obama administration. With the economy in its present state, this is no time to be saying “government is the problem” – especially if you have nothing further to add and the economy’s troubles are universally understood to be the legacy of a Republican president.

The party needs to frame practical, coherent, and above all centrist alternatives to what Mr Obama and his congressional allies are doing. Instead, it wants to shore up its base, chant its slogans and purge its moderates. You have to laugh. Yet this gleeful suicidal tendency is sad as well as funny. There is plenty of scope for calm, centrist criticism of Mr Obama’s bold progressive agenda. The country needs exactly this.

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from perrone: gm, did you ever see "Matewan?" (yeah, I'm a huge John Sayles fan, ever since "Brother from Another Planet") the police chief, played by the inimitable David Strathairn, has decided to protect the striking coal miners from the goons the big coal boss has hired to bust them up. one of the goons gets in Strathairn's face and spits out "do you know who we work for?" Strathairn stares the guy down, spits slowly, without moving his eyes, and says "yeah, I know him. I wouldn't piss on him if his heart was on fire."

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