Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, April 23, 2010

Swift Boat Veterans for Wall Street

If you liked Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — who transformed John Kerry from a Vietnam war hero into a flagburning deserter — you’ll love their newest stepchild.

If Linda Richman (Mike Myers) was still on Saturday Night Live, s/he would probably say “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth contains neither veterans nor truth. Discuss.”

Mentzer Media is the ad agency that manufactured a few “veterans” out of thin air so they could slander John Kerry in 2004. Mentzer Media’s newest sleaze venture is a “grass roots” organization called Stop Too Big To Fail.

You guessed it. What they really want to stop is the proposed financial reform that would PREVENT another meltdown requiring a billion dollar Wall Street bailout. Stop Too Big To Fail is spending $1.6 million (so far) on TV ads. The ads will warn viewers that the proposed financial reform is a “bailout fund” and they’re telling Congress to “vote against this phony financial reform.”

Now this probably has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but the Stop Too Big To Fail ads are only running in three states: Nevada, Missouri and Virginia. And these three states just happen to have a Democratic senator who's being targeted by the Right. (Harry Reid, Claire McCaskill and Mark Warner, respectively.)

The co-founder of Stop Too Big To Fail is also the leader of another Astroturf group, “Consumers for Competitive Choice.”

Get ready for the next round of spontaneous demonstrations. Soon your town will have throngs of Wall Street lobbyists and their gullible sycophants, yelling and carrying signs saying “Keep the government out of my bank account!” and “Your money, your problem.”

Here’s another link with more information on Stop Too Big To Fail and other rightwing stealth groups.

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Blogger T. Paine said...

I won't even bother re-hashing the "American war hero" John F'ing Kerry's being "slandered" issue.

However, if anyone actually cares to look at the other side of the financial reform issue without all of the hoopla and demagoguery, the Heritage Foundation has some very interesting points on the subject.


April 23, 2010 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

The Heritage Foundation, eh? I'll check out the link, but I'm guessing ahead of time that their take would be sort of like getting Timothy Leary's take on the War on Drugs.

April 23, 2010 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

The average television watcher is an easy target because of the lack of critical thought and their inability to think beyond the ten second sound bite.

April 24, 2010 at 4:48 AM  
Blogger Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Heritage Foundation - may as well turn on Fox.

With ad campaigns like that, and considering so much ass-backwards vehement prattlings from the right wingers against it, the financial reform bill out there right now might be OK.

April 24, 2010 at 6:18 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Tom you would be correct about Heritage. It's good if you run out of toilet paper though. They have print too.
There attack campaign might work in Nevada,must be the booze there.
That is unless the advertisement is paid with chickens.

I do read and listen to a lot of right wing opinions and comments.
Then I take a shower and drink heavily.
The republicans are going to loose this fight too. Democrats have learned their lesson from HCR.Hit back as your being hit. Their coming back at them with the truth..No death panels this time.

April 24, 2010 at 6:21 AM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Of course, it's a lame corporate friendly wall papering where a solid wall is needed. The banks own Congress as much as the insurance companies do. We will not see real financial regulation any more than we saw health care reform.

And of course, the Republican answer is even less regulation and reform. So here we sit, between the right wing and the radical right wing of corporatism.

There can be no reform of the corporate/government nexus without public campaign finance and ending corporate "personhood". We KNOW what is at the heart of all the corruption, but the politicians, corporate media and Big Money all conveniently ignore what real change requires.

April 24, 2010 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

The Heritage Foundation? Those pantywaists? If you want the truth, The American Enterprise Institute is the nonthinktank for America. It even has America in their title. Why does the Heritage Foundation hate America?

April 24, 2010 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

T: Well, after all that, the Heritage link didn't work. (I didn't do much web surfing yesterday after I finished this post.)

But I'm going to guess that if an organization sides up with Halliburton/KBR over their employee who got raped on the company premises, I'm probably not going to agree with this same organization on Wall Street reform.

(That linked post has several links, including one to the Heritage Foundation.)

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you -- that Communist Big Brother requirement for everybody to purchase health insurance was originated by (better sit down for this) the Heritage Foundation. Here's the link. Don't shoot the messenger :)

Lew: But those pictures are so mesmerizing, and they use little words that I can understand. Can't wait 'til the next commercial so I can go get another pitcher of beer and another bowl of chips.

Bee: They use bigger words than Fox, but they're saying pretty much the same thing.

Tim: "Paid with chickens" LOL. Nah, that's only for those lowly peons who need health insurance.

I hope you're right that the Democrats have learned their lesson and are no longer bringing a pocket knife to a gun fight.

Dave: You're right about banks owning Congress. With all the gazillions of dollars Wall Street throws around, they make the HMOs and oil companies look like poor little street urchins. Whatever reform we get will be symbolic -- like the health reform bill -- but at least it's a start.

There's no doubt that legalized bribery and that retarded "corporations are people" bullshit are the underlying culprits. But I don't see any way out of that. Like they say, once the toothpaste is out of the tube you can't get it back in.

Randal: All these sissy foundations and institutes are pantywaists. Give me the Minutemen and the Army of God and Chuck Norris [genuflects]. Real Men who will take our country back.

April 24, 2010 at 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Heritage foundation, hell I'll call Liz Cheney or $ister $arah, Our Lady of Perpetual victimhood, when I need to know about all the inside scoop on the financal reform.
I think it was Dick Durbin(D-Ill) a couple of months back being honest saying, the banks own congress. Probably the truest statement ever from a politician of any party.
Luntz has already been busted as the one that gave them the whole "this wil be a bail out for the banks bill", much like he did with HCR. It is like they only have one record and they keep playing the same song. The only thing they do differently is sing different lyrics. You know, they think they know the lyrics but they really have no clue. I saw somewhere, during the week, that there are about 1500 banking lobbyists there. Now if we do the math, we have 538 elected people right, between the house and senate that is almost 3 lobbyists per official. Something needs to be done about all that money going to our gubmint. Hell they could take it and create jobs or something in their industries. Maybe in healthcare they could actually use that money for, I dunno, health care for patients. This is my rant and it is all done now. Thanks for listening :)

April 24, 2010 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

If The Heritage Foundation did indeed support the idea of mandatory health insurance being purchased by every citizen then I am indeed shocked and they are WRONG!

Believe me, I have no problem disagreeing with any group or person if they are wrong when it comes to Constitutional matters. (And that goes doubly for groups I more often than not do agree with in principle.)

By the way, as per your link, Mr. H, Romneycare is a mess and a huge reason why most hard-core conservatives are very cautious towards him as a presidential candidate, not to mention his flips on some major core values in the past are reminiscent of Gore or Kerry.

April 24, 2010 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Do you know whom I respect? He is a moonbat of the first degree, but he has the intellectual honesty to stick to his guns and you definitely know where he is coming from on issues. Dennis Kucinich.

That being said, his constituents should vote the nut-job out of office, but I at least admire his guts to tell it like he sees it. (his flop on the healthcare vote being the only abberation in recent memory to this rule.)

April 24, 2010 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger Mike V. said...

as soon as I see a group called " “Consumers for Competitive Choice.” I know it's best to run for the hills..

April 24, 2010 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger Mike V. said...

I've spent the last 25 years studying (and participating in) the financial markets and studying economics.
I can tell you right now without a doubt that what the average person is hearing in the MSM is nothing. The outright fraud perpetrated in the last decade has been staggering.
One easy one is the latest thing about GSachs. We're hearing a lot about whether or not this is a political hit job, but when was the last time anyone read the exact SEC filing on the subject? It's pretty clear and easy to read and it spells it out. It's called failure to disclose. Not that difficult.
Whatever becomes of what winds up through Congress as reform is anyone's guess. But there are WAY too many people that are trying to frame the recession and the collapse in the financial markets as some sort of "business cycle" which is complete fucking horse shit.

April 24, 2010 at 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

By the way, as per your link, Mr. H, Romneycare is a mess and a huge reason why most hard-core conservatives are very cautious towards him as a presidential candidate, not to mention his flips on some major core values in the past are reminiscent of Gore or Kerry.

The right wing is suspicious of Romney because (1.) he has been a pragmatist for much of his career, and (2.) he's a Mormon. His health insurance plan is a sort of icing on the cake, but basically irrelevant when the knuckle-draggers look at Willard.

April 25, 2010 at 12:06 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Well, even in these troubled economic times we've got a growth industry. Republican noisemakers branching out into manufacturing Astroturf groups, feeding the right-wing noise machine, manipulating public opinion. You can be sure the owners/executives of these outfits are getting richer in the process.

After the Citizens United decision, I'm sure we're in for a lot more of this.

April 25, 2010 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Mike V: I'm in real estate (banking now), have been for 15+ years. The housing "bubble" wasn't a "business cycle" either, although I've heard plenty trying to push that dead dog around, as well. It was just as manufactured as the wall street implosion.

April 25, 2010 at 4:53 AM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Mr. Anderson, I would submit to you that the groups of people you see assembling against the current administration's policies are NOT "astroturf".

The reason why many of the TeaPartiers tend to be older Americans is because they are retired and scared of the direction that our government is taking us.

There are a lot of other people that feel exactly the same, but they must work for a living.

It is the drummed up rent-a-mobs on George Soros' credit card that tend to be "astroturf", sir.

Further, while I don't necessarily agree with the Citizens United decision, I can appreciate the fact that it levels the playing field finally.

Prior to then the government and unions could through bombs of innaccurate rhetoric at businesses and the businesses legally had no vehicle with which to respond.

How many useful industries have been negatively impacted because of reckless charges from Reid, Pelosi, Obama et al? Big pharmaceutical? Big tobacco? The auto industry? etc.

Granted some of the criticism of these industries is well deserved, but it strikes me as un-American to not allow these industries to at least defend themselves.

April 25, 2010 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Beekeeper, the housing bubble implosion was caused largely due to government-sponsored agencies Freddie Mac and Fannnie Mae, under the asinine corrupt tutelage of the idiots Barney Frank and Chrisopher Dodd.

When such huge entities lend to millions and millions of people to buy homes when they have no collateral or even means to pay for the loans they were not qualified to have, then the results were inevitable.

No, the real estate collapse was not a result of the business cycle, rather it was the result of corrupt government trying to provide something for nothing to constituents. (just like health care).

The ironic thing is that the fool McCain saw this coming and offered legislation to regulate Fannie and Freddie. Barney Frank and the Democrats said it wasn't necessary and that they were solvent. They cried racism against McCain for not wanting poor miniorities to be able to have the American dream of homeownership, never mind the fact that many of these people did NOT qualify for the loans under normal lending standards.

Democratic demagoguery at its best!

April 25, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Beekeepers Apprentice said...

T, I've worked in real estate for 15 years, therefore I feel qualified to tell you that you have not the first clue what you are talking about.

Got news for you buddy, the whole damned industry from top to bottom was dirty and wheeling'dealing like there was no tomorrow, and they didn't need the big bad gubmint's help creating that nasty little crisis. No siree, they did a fine job of that by themselves.

Funny how you tell people to read outside their comfort zone...all that was a rush/beck/fox news talking point, and totally missed the mark.

April 25, 2010 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: The HMOs using some of their jillions of dollars to actually care for patients??? That's the most communistic un-American idea I've ever heard :)

T: I'm glad you admire Dennis Kucinich. You've gotta respect somebody who sticks to his guns and doesn't flipflop whenever a new poll comes out.

Mike: That's the truth. The more flowery and "of the people" a group's name is, the deeper the corporate pockets.

I agree that the financial fraud has been staggering in the past decade. For the same reason, whatever reform we get will be too little, given Wall Street's incredible clout. We need to reinstate the laws that protected us from the time FDR started them to the time Reagan started dismantling them (and Clinton and Dumbya finished the job). But it will have to be done piecemeal, since Wall Street will be fighting it every step of the way.

JR: That's two strikes right there, being a pragmatist and a Mormon.

SW: Yup, Citizens United sure did open the floodgates. Brace yourself for more astroturf groups and more intelligence-insulting TV ads.

Bee: I'm sure you're right that the housing bubble was not just a "business cycle" or "the invisible hand of the marketplace."

T: Big Tobacco is a "useful industry?" Well, it keeps the cancer farms thriving; I guess that's a "use" :)

The rest of your comment (and the next one) opens the door to a zillion other posts and debates, and right now the sun is out and there's a world out there :)

April 25, 2010 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: I guess our comments crossed in the mail, so to speak. I agree with your take on the real estate mess. The whole housing crisis kind of fell off my radar, with HCR and financial reform and other news items taking up all the room. But I did some posts on the housing crisis when that was the raging issue. There was some incredible sleaze and deceit taking place among lenders. Some homeowners created their own problems by buying a house they couldn't afford, but sleazy bankers and loan sharks were helping them every step of the way.

April 25, 2010 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Harper, perhaps I should have paid more attention before labeling Big Tobacco as a useful industry. That being said, it is still a legal industry (for now)and should be allowed to operate in a legal fashion accordingly.

Beekeeper, I am certain you are correct that there was, and probably always been corruption with greedy lenders, bankers, and buyers. There always will be too.

The huge catalyst however was the mismanagement of Fannie and Freddie though. Considering the significant percentages of people that had their mortgages through them, how could their collapse not have a huge impact on the housing industry and the national economy accordingly?

If you are saying otherwise, regardless of your industry expertise, I would say that YOU are the one that's wrong and just too damned partisan to look at the facts, my friend!

April 25, 2010 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...


Good judgment stating T.'s baited string of Fox droppings "opens the door to a zillion other posts and debates".

His litany of groundless right wing talking points is nothing but the same old regurgitated koolade. It' their oldest trick. Splattering the BS is intended to distract us and waste our time. We can tell him all day long that the Tea Baggers were herded like sheep by their Fox/Republican masters. He won't hear of it. And besides, he'll have to tell ua all about the "liberal media" then.

Demagoguery at its best!

April 25, 2010 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Mike V. said...

Dammit, TP, you have no idea what you are talking about. Fannie and Freddie issues were NOT the impetus of the housing crash. This was a MANUFACTURED bubble with roots that go right at the heart of two serious problems in that real estate/mortgage markets.
One, the changes in liquidity rules (which are now the cause of SOLVENCY problems due to the banks' own mismanagement) and two, the FACT that mortgage sellers on the front end were purposely pushing paper through that had no business being pushed through. And they knew it. The paper sellers were falsifying loan docs and creating loans ON PURPOSE for people they knew would not be able to pay them back. And that's just on the front end.
On the back end these loans were packaged and sold (not uncommon) as instruments on the market. The problem was that these instruments were being sold as A rated debt instruments. And I'm just getting started here. We've not even touched on what happened even further in the chain.
You do not know anything about these markets and it shows painfully. Stop talking about things you have not a clue about.
Banks are right now still actively working with very creative financials that is not appropriately telling of the real story. That they are fucking INSOLVENT.
Jesus H Christ, there's nothing I hate more than people talking about things they don't understand as if they can shoehorn their simplistic "free market" and other pie in the sky ideas to everything without understanding the basics.

April 26, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Dave: Good point; that's exactly what rightwing commenters do. Whether the person is a troll or offering a constructive opinion, they always leave a slew of talking points covering at least five other subjects.

Mike: Excellent. I can't think of anything to add to that. I can't believe how much I've forgotten about the whole housing bubble issue. Not that I knew a lot, but I was following it closely and did quite a few posts on it. I guess all the subsequent furor over health care reform, Wall Street reform, the nightmare of having the Republicans take back Congress this November -- has pushed out everything I knew about the real estate crisis.

April 26, 2010 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Mike V. said...

The two are tied together, Tom.
Matt Taibbi on GS and Wall Street:
"Great American Bubble Machine":
And this most recent:

April 26, 2010 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mike: Thank God for Matt Taibbi. He's one of the few people who's brought the whole GS/Wall Street mess out of leftwing blogs and into the mainstream (Rolling Stone, the Guardian).

April 26, 2010 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Mike V, good analysis.

Basically, the system was rigged from top to bottom. On the bottom you had real estate agents (many of whom were only in the job for a quick buck because they couldn't do anything else) telling borrowers "no prob! Your property values will continue to go up, so by the time you need to get out of that interest-only 150% LTV mortgage, you can refinance without a problem!" The problem was: the bubble busted.

Then you had mortgage brokers making shit up out of broadcloth with "stated income" loans. Meaning, loans where no tax returns, no W2's, no financial statements, no nothing were collected. Just a "yeah, you think you'll have a raise next year, right? You'll go from making 35K a year to 60K, right? Sure, we'll say you'll be making 60K next year. And don't worry, property values just keep going up (god ain't making any more land, don'tchaknow) so you can refi easy when you need to get out of that interest only that will change over to P&I in 5 years and triple your monthly payments." The problem was: The bubble busted.

Then you had builders building bigger and bigger and more expensive houses, many of which were specs which now sit empty and/or foreclosed on, because you know, property values just keep going up...and then the bubble busted.

Don't forget the appraisers, some of whom were told quietly they wouldn't get business if they didn't play ball, some of whom were made to produce appraisals on a BANK's proprietary software, which btw, the BANK could change at will, and did.

Then you had the BANKS which bought into the stated income loans with joyful glee because they'd made a bundle, and would make more...and then the bubble burst.

And here's the kicker: There were plenty of people in the business (mostly those bundling these POS mortgages into securities wrapped in enigmas) who knew the score, knew it would fall apart, and just wanted to break the house before they left figurative Vegas.

It really would make a good mafia movie, wouldn't it?

T. Paine: Sure, it can be an ugly business at times, and sure there will always be sharks, which is why REGULATION is necessary. Simple concept, really.

April 26, 2010 at 4:55 PM  

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