doctorow at April 23rd, 2014 10:01 — #1
euansmith at April 23rd, 2014 10:14 — #2
It is disappointing when your heroes turn out to have feet of shit.
dioptase1 at April 23rd, 2014 10:34 — #3
won't work in my White House.
True in many ways:
- It's not his White House.
- They don't work there. They run the place.
- They don't work there. They work down the street.
See, he's still the honest guy you thought he was.
lolipop_jones at April 23rd, 2014 10:44 — #4
Not to worry. Hillary will put it all aright.
boundegar at April 23rd, 2014 10:53 — #5
I am shocked to find gambling in this casino.
hurleyef at April 23rd, 2014 10:57 — #6
It's okay guys. This isn't direct quid pro quo, so it doesn't appear corrupt.
gabe_oakes at April 23rd, 2014 10:57 — #7
It's not just in the copyright sector, either. Matt Taibbi's articles at Rolling Stone mentioned a few cases where people from investment firm to the regulatory bodies meant to keep those companies in line, and vice versa.
jandrese at April 23rd, 2014 11:07 — #8
Regulatory Capture is endemic in the US Government, and the problem is only getting worse over time. I really wish there was a party that believed in the power of the government as an advocate for the people and a check on corporate power, but given our money driven elections this is basically impossible now. You simply cannot get elected anymore unless you've got deep pocketed (corporate) interests backing you, and then you are indebted to them.
We can't even have a proper great depression anymore to shake up the old powerbase. The government is more than willing to throw money into companies to prop them up when their own malfeasance comes back to bite them in the ass.
dustin_potter at April 23rd, 2014 11:14 — #9
To be fair, the fact that this is so readily visible to all of us at least fulfills his promise to be more transparent... in terms of whose pocket he's in.
gideontjones at April 23rd, 2014 11:51 — #10
Most of us knew it was bullshit from the outset. It's one of those populist policies that sounds great, until you actually have to start hiring these untainted and yet highly skilled and knowledgeable people. It's like all these states that enacted term limits for their state legislatures, and then realized their legislators stopped knowing anything afterwards.
squidfood at April 23rd, 2014 12:09 — #11
I find it hard to believe, given the profile of this issue, that there aren't talented people on "the other side". I mean hell, the least they could do is pick someone from a different revolving door (you know, like those big internet companies that also have deep pockets and made their websites go black for a day).
mrharley at April 23rd, 2014 14:05 — #12
Affordable Care architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job. Few people embody the corporatist revolving door greasing Washington as purely as Elizabeth Fowler
cowicide at April 23rd, 2014 15:04 — #13
In other news, corporatists have no shame.
andy_hilmer at April 23rd, 2014 15:14 — #14
A good thing, too. You know what the oligarchs did in Europe with the Great Depression of the 1920s, right? Oh, you don't think the Great Depression happened in Europe in the 20s? It was a wonderful time when things were shaken up, of course.
When things are "shaken up" due to economic turmoil it is the oligarchs who continue in comfort while the rest of us starve and fight each other and die. People in the libertarian movement think this is good because it "motivates" the little people into giving oligarchs and warlords—who brand themselves libertarians or socialists or Christians or communists or whatever label is convenient to the time—the power they ask for.
I'm amazed at how people who call themselves libertarians today try to turn every conversation into nihilist, genocidal propaganda to serve the master-owners. If there's a weak point in regulatory capture, it is in government-issued global monopolies granted in the form of exclusive patent rights, but in the propaganda produced by all the oligarch-funded "libertarian" institutes and racist conspiracy websites you'll never see exclusive patent rights mentioned at all, except as a historical footnote. Why is this? Because patents and market power are how their masters leech rents out of the economy. Monopoly rents are why they are able to buy lawyers and officials and politicians. If they had to compete in the marketplace they wouldn't have the spare cash to waste on their vanity-project political jihads.
If we stop granting (and protecting) exclusive market power for people wealthy enough to buy and sequester the ideas that markets trade in, the oligarchy will lose a fundamental prop to their power. Bitching about bailouts and regulatory capture is just a stalking horse for getting rid of democracy altogether. We do need a shake-up, but the shake-up we need is in the special protections in the law for the rich, not the ability of the economy to function.
ygret at April 23rd, 2014 17:47 — #15
I believe the original point was that without the bankruptcy of the financial oligarchy there can be no shake up and no way for the people to establish a power base within the government. This is completely true. It doesn't mean we need 10 years, or even 5, of grinding depression. The irony of guys like Ben Bernanke is that they took the exact wrong lessons from the Great Depression: instead of saving the banksters, which he did, he should've saved the real economy and let the banksters collapse. The payments systems and other integral parts of our financial system should've been nationalized (frankly they shouldn't be controlled by private companies in the first place because they are too important to all of us to entrust to companies that can go bankrupt), and the banksters left bankrupt in the dirt where they belong. Bernanke's ilk see everything through the lens of the financial industry, as if the real economy is secondary to finance when its the reverse. So yes, we need a collapse where the banksters are allowed to fail, with the government providing fiscal stimulus and (gasp!) price controls and international transfer controls for a short time if necessary while there is a reorganization of the financial sector so it actually serves the real economy.
andy_hilmer at April 23rd, 2014 19:43 — #16
What you describe isn't a depression, then. If people want to nationalize the banks and overnight lending and payment systems in a responsible way, that's a different conversation than "let the banksters collapse." It also doesn't address the reason why the financial industry became the place to make fortunes in the first place, given that all the other big markets came to be locked up with IP and market power and multi-generational dynasties like the Johnsons or Kochs. The issue of banking is pretty straightforward: make the private side of banking transparent, bureaucratic and require so much financial security and insurance as to make it only marginally profitable, and only allow "innovation" at the Fed as necessary to respond to crisis.
Instead people seem to think that banking will forever be the center of everything bad in the economy, that inequality stems from banking, that corruption stems from banking, that... zzzzz. That kind of discussion makes the oligarchs very happy. McDonalds isn't a bank. Walmart isn't a bank. General Mills isn't a bank. Lockheed Martin isn't a bank. Why do you think the German industrialists and war profiteers funded the far right and allowed the demonization of Jewish bankers? It deflects responsibility very effectively. The message of antisemitic bigotry doesn't resonate in this century (much), but the message that still works is the easy deflection to banking, to the central bank, and away from true power.
The true power of oligarchs and the money they pull out of the economy resides in industry. True power rests on removing competition, underproducing, overpricing, and maximizing monopoly rents. Patents. Licensing. Land and actual rents. Mining and drilling concessions. When moderately rich people argued for more "innovation" in banking, that was a symptom of the lack of innovation allowed by the top players in the rest of the economy. Making big money, global money, in industry is restricted to a very few in a very limited club.
So with power concentrated in the pointy end of the industrial pyramid, any discussion of copyright or patents is deflected into ludicrous conspiracy bullshit about the bankers and how the economy should be stifled to match the stifled pace of corporate "innovation." Banking will always cause problems, but deflecting away from the arrogance of the most powerful claiming to "own" ideas, that's the real scam.
pjcamp at April 23rd, 2014 21:25 — #17
So start one of those Whitehouse.gov petitions to answer the questions: 1. How many former lobbyists have jobs in the executive branch? 2. How many people who have previously had jobs in the administration are now lobbyists?
I'll sign it but I have no way to publicize it.
hungryjoe at April 23rd, 2014 23:12 — #18
I don't think those White House petitions work very well.
ygret at April 24th, 2014 02:48 — #19
I agree that the real economy is also thoroughly corrupt and in the hands of an oligopoly. But industry and finance are fist in glove, and in many cases, e.g. GM, GE and now potentially even Google, large parts of these behemoth "industrial" companies are actually financial firms. Monopoly/oligopoly and corrupt finance/banking are the two-headed hydra of corporate domination. They both need to be divided and conquered.
I personally find it interesting that the industrial side of the economy did not rebel against the financial side after they nearly destroyed the world economy in 2008. They could've pushed for greater regulation and a break up of the big banks, which could lead to greater stability and thus steadier sales and demand in the real economy, which would benefit the industrial companies. The fact that this did not happen leads to the conclusion that they are two sides of the same coin. Put another way, they have an ideology they are jointly pushing that benefits both in the longer term, and for one part of the beast to criticize and diminish the other might result in them being viewed with the same anti-trust/anti-corruption lens as their counterpart.
andy_hilmer at April 24th, 2014 02:52 — #20
That's pretty much all I have to say, apart from noting that the industrial corruption is the bigger and more vicious dragon.
next page →