by Lee, 01/30/2008, 7:25 PM

On my trip back east last week, I mentioned that I was heading to Philadelphia’s Drinking Liberally with an old high school friend who’d worked in the mortgage industry for most of the past 10 years. We made it down there, met up with Atrios and the rest of their DL crew, and talked a bit about the Big Shitpile, among other things. Over the years, my friend was definitely in the minority as a Democrat in the mortgage industry. In the past, he’s told me stories about meetings where he could do nothing more than shake his head over how much the standard GOP talking points on economic issues were simply treated as a religion there – as a belief system that could not be questioned. He once told me of a conference where a speaker angrily protested against the idea of giving health care to the children of illegal immigrants, as if doing something like that will somehow unravel the delicate balance that keeps our economy going. My friend just got up and checked out the hotel bar.

As we chatted last Tuesday night at Tangiers, we also talked about Jim Cramer, the host of “Mad Money” on CNBC. Networks like CNBC tend to adhere to the free market orthodoxies, and I’ve always assumed that Cramer follows along in that vein. But I shouldn’t have been so sure:

An impassioned and sometimes fiery Jim Cramer, the investing guru and host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” said Tuesday night that government deregulation was nothing short of a “covert attempt” to eliminate the federal government’s responsibilities to its citizens.

“Do not be fooled by the sirens of laissez faire,” he told a packed audience at Bucknell University’s Weis Center for the Performing Arts in the continuing national speakers series, “The Bucknell Forum: The Citizen & Politics in America.”

“Ever since the (President) Reagan era, our nation has been regressing and repealing years and years worth of safety net and equal economic justice in the name of discrediting and dismantling the federal government’s missions to help solve our nation’s collective domestic woes,” he said. “We call it deregulation … a covert attempt to eliminate the federal government’s domestic responsibilities.”

Before embarking on his talk, titled “The Capitalist Citizen and Democracy,” Cramer warned his audience to not be misled by the persona that hosts his popular CNBC program “Mad Money.”

“This is not a ‘Mad Money’ show, nor is this the man you see at 6 and 11 on TV. This is who I really am. And I’m honored to be given a chance to say who I really am and to give you a talk that is heartfelt and is not about entertainment education or making friends and making money,” said Cramer.

Deregulation
He said that deregulation is the equivalent of saying that “private industry will do it better, that volunteers will do it better, that business if left unfettered will produce so many rich people that they will do it better than the government can.”

Even the best of the nation’s private enterprises, Cramer said, citing companies like Wells Fargo, Pepsi, United Technologies, Google, and Costco, can’t meet those demands.

“You, the next generation of corporate and government leaders, should know and understand the limits of what even the best of capitalism and the marketplace can do to promote the general welfare. As future citizen capitalists you must not embrace the unrequited love of the government of the United States for private enterprise,” he said. “Be wise enough to see that government regulation is a necessary evil.”

Atrios remarks:

Perhaps he should put some of those ideas out there a bit more prominently on his cable show.

I’m not a regular viewer of his show, but his remarks certainly betray the fact that he doesn’t say that stuff on his show because his views are seen as blasphemy within the world of economic cable news. And this trend is certainly parallel to the cable news orthodoxies that still write off those who are too stridently anti-war, even though those people have often been much more accurate in their analyses. Many people see Christianity, or more specifically Evangelicalism, as the religion at the heart of the Republican Party. It’s not, and it’s never really been. The religion at the heart of the Republican Party is the belief that government is at its most responsible when it takes responsibility for nothing and becomes a vessel for the empowerment of big business (even if that involves war). That is the orthodoxy that dare not be questioned. Many people today still buy into the lingering divide from the 60s which paints the counter-culture warrior as the irresponsible counterpart to the Cold Warrior, but today the roles are reversed. Those on the right who still see the current geopolitical reality as being a mirror image of those days are the irresponsible ones, unable to come to grips with the fact that the new orthodoxies that arose in the 80s as America de-regulated and became the sole superpower were not an excuse for us to be absolved of any and all responsibility. And this failure has left us with a number of very big problems that the next President will have to fix.

25 Responses to “Blasphemy”

1. Proud to be an Ass spews:

Jim Cramer is all about entertainment and I, for one, am suprised at his remarks…never though he had it in him.

There is a reason for government regulation: To keep capitalists from destroying themselves, and allocate how the economic pie is cut up.

Don’t kid yourself otherwise.

Sorry to hear about the downsizing at KIRO. It must be tough to be outsourced to a fucking recording fer Christ’s sake. Any opportunities on the FM dial?

2. Proud to be an Ass spews:

“Kudlow and Cramer” matched the insane ideologue with the sane ‘insider’ stock trader, but that idiot Kudlow hogged the camera shamelessly. Now he gets his ravings published in otherwise staid business publications. He’s a lunatic.

Go figure.

3. Proud to be an Ass spews:

Proud to be an ass has submitted 100% of the comments so far on this thread, but Roger Rabbit has no peer when it comes to taking over a thread.

Go, rabbit, go!!!

4. proud leftist spews:

Cramer has always tilted left in his political views. When off the show, he has something to say. He is an entertainer, otherwise. I think the stock market is apolitical. The market does not react to political forces near as much as ideologues would suggest. Indeed, I wish the market had even that much rationality. Rather, we are stuck with a potent economic force that is inscrutable even to those (stockbrokers) who charge fees to help sheep like me play the market.

5. Roger Rabbit spews:

Cramer’s political insights are considerably better than his stock market advice. Cramer is an entertainer; anyone who uses his advice to buy or sell stocks without doing his own due diligicence is a fool asking to be separated from his money, because Cramer’s opinions about stocks are frequently wrong.

6. ArtFart spews:

We may be lucky if there’s anything left for the next President to salvage, if indeed there is a next President at all.

History (at least before its last rewrite) has shown over and over again that without some sort of societal or dictatorial temperance, capitalism becomes a ravenous beast that eats everything, including its own young and eventually itself. In the last half century, the system that was supposed to keep the beast in check has been turned upside down into a positive-feedback loop. At this point, there are bloody smudges all over the place, and the beast has already devoured most of its own fingers and toes, and is drooling over its elbows and kneecaps.

Today the Fed attempted to repeat its prime-rate hat trick, and the US securities markets responded with a feeble sputter that lasted about an hour. The rest of the world completely ignored it, with all international markets continuing their monotonic downward slide. Most of the big mutual funds (read that: your 401K) are about to get clobbered by the evaporation of “value” of hundreds of billions of dollars in commercial paper backed by flaky home mortgages, which under current “regulations” were allowed to be fraudently rated as high-grade instruments.

For the last couple weeks, all the big Wall Street brokerages have been busy downgrading their ratings of each other in what one writer has called a “circular firing squad”.

It’s very likely that the Bushistas don’t have any real expectation that their “stimulus” package is going to go anywhere. Monkey-Face’s declaration Tuesday that he’ll veto the whole thing if the Senate changes a word essentially signals that it’s dead as a doornail. Now, the neocons, who have no doubt moved their own assets into precious metals and overseas energy holdings, can watch the rest of the economy swirl down the crapper, kneecap what’s left of the middle class, and blame it all on the Democrats.

I don’t know if I’m sounding more like Noam Chomsky or Lyndon Larouche here, but ya’all better grab what’s yours. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

7. Roger Rabbit spews:

Nerve Gas Chemicals Found In Local Groceries

Wednesday’s P-I ran an expose about what GOP deregulation is doing to our local food supply.

“Government promises to rid the nation’s food supply of brain-damaging pesticides aren’t doing the job, according to the results of a … study … of a group of local children. The … urine and saliva of children eating … foods from area groceries contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II.”

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/349263_pesticide30.html

And a P-I editorial in today’s edition says:

“The philosophy of [our present] government amounts to: What the public doesn’t know can’t scare them out of buying products from the folks using their money to sway our regulatory decisions.”

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/349395_pesticed.html

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Another failure of laissez faire capitalism — and of the bankrupt conservative political philosophy that argues government is bad and free markets solve all problems.

The GOP consistently opposes any regulation of what big business can sell you, and also opposes labeling laws requiring them to tell you what’s in the food they sell you that you put in your body. (See, e.g., the recent controversial FDA ruling on labeling of milk containing bovine hormones.)

If you want a safe food supply, you have to vote for Democrats.

8. Roger Rabbit spews:

Dirt-Poor Haitians Subsist By Eating Dirt

“PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — It was lunchtime in one of Haiti’s worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.

“With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest … take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt ….

” … [I]n … the … slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal. …

“Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices …. The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports ….

“At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60 cents, up … 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the … [d]irt to make 100 cookies now costs $5 ….

“About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy. … Merchants truck the dirt … to the La Saline market, a maze of tables … swarming with flies. Women buy the dirt, then process it into mud cookies ….

“A reporter sampling a cookie found that it … sucked all the moisture out of the mouth …. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered. …

“Haitian doctors say depending on the cookies for sustenance risks malnutrition. … Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them. ‘I’m hoping one day I’ll have enough food … so I can stop eating these,’ she said. ‘I know it’s not good for me.’”

Quoted under fair use; for complete story and/or copyright info see http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1102ap_haiti_eating_dirt.html

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries. Overpopulated, stripped of its forests and soil, and with an unemployment rate above 80%, Haiti is a basket case. Over half of all Haitians live abroad. They have to; their own country can’t support them. Every day Haitians drift across shark-infested seas clinging to anything that will float hoping to wash up on U.S. shores.

It wasn’t always so. Haiti was once the world’s richest colony, providing France with over half of its GDP. How did it become so poor?

Haiti turned into the kind of country Republicans want America to be, that’s how. Prof. Jared Diamond, in his book “Collapse,” says deforestation is a major reason. That, of course, came about because there was no environmental regulation. Author Bob Corbett of The Haiti Project says, “The ultimate causes of Haiti’s misery are human … rooted in greed and power.” In other words, laissez faire/social Darwinist politics/economics. Other factors he lists include concentration of the country’s wealth among a tiny hereditary elite, ruthless exploitation of labor, lack of free public education, and neglect of infrastructure — all linchpins of American conservatives’ own political and economic philosophy. http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/misctopic/leftover/whypoor.htm

So, if you want your children to grow up eating dirt to survive … vote Republican.

9. THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

Pelletizer, ever been to Haiti?

No, then STFU with your useless comparisons. Such a stupid comparison even for you. You don’t understand the issues of black people yet you spout off with vacuous insipid commentary that makes no sense.

Wait a minute… This is definitely your trademark handiwork.

Puddy being a student of history…

As I remember Haiti was a product of French colonialists (your friends Pelletizer) who marketed in the slave trade.

As I remeber Papa Doc was a brutal thug and Kennedy and Johnson gave him a pass.

As I remember is was the Reagan Administration that chased Baby Doc Duvalier from Haiti.

As I remember the leftist orgs said the Duvaliers killed around 50,000 or so Haitians.

As I remember Reagan backed the populist priest.

As I remember Bush the Elder helped the populist priest overcome the military coup.

As I remember the populist priest made promises he couldn’t deliver. Kind of like what Pelosi did with her “I Will Stop Earmark Pork-Barrel Loaded Legislation”…

As I remember the populist priest disbanded the army in the mid 90s. No army no control, the masses overrun everything…

Who controls Haiti? Well let’s just say they aren’t friends of mine… They are as poor as the slum dwellers of Soweto. Been there done that!

Another good try at spewing shit from the rancid overflowing sewer called Pelletizer’s mind.

10. correctnotright spews:

@7: RR
The organophosphates such as the pesticides malathione and Parathione, among others, are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors – traces of them can be found after hydrolysis with water.

They are used to kill insects by blocking parasympathetic, ganglionic and neuromuscular junction transmission and cause tetany and muscle “freeze”. They kill by preventing the muscles that control breathing (diaphragm) from working.

Insect lack the P450 enzymes that can break down malathione but mammals have this enzyme. However, large doses can saturate these enzymes – so field workers need to water down the field after applications otherwise they could also suffer severe symptoms.

11. John425 spews:

It was the free market that made us the remaining superpower-moron!

12. Lee spews:

@11
No it wasn’t. It was our justice system, our democratic institutions, and our well-regulated economic institutions which generated the kind of wealth and prosperity that the Soviet Union couldn’t compete with.

13. I-Burn spews:

@7 Don’t be a fool, Roger. The Republicans don’t care what gets sold to the public? Who do you think created the first “consumer legislation”, if you will? TR ring a bell? Yes, it was those evil Republicans. Even the most greedy capitalist realizes you can’t sell your products if you kill your customers. Jesus Christ man, pull your head out of your fourth point of contact!

14. I-Burn spews:

@12 Please define “well regulated economic institutions”.

I want to be sure of your meaning, because if you’re saying what I believe you to be saying, then by your logic, the Soviet Union should not have collapsed.

15. Lee spews:

@14
Economic institutions that provided for economic justice for all, rather than for some. In the history of man, no country has ever been perfect about how it regulates its economic institutions, but the way our courts have handled economic justice in this country throughout the 20th century was considerably better than how the Soviet Union did. In the aftermath of World War II, Europe was divided between our way and the Soviet way and our way won our because it provided for greater overall justice.

What I take issue with in comment #11 is that he’s saying that the superior approach was equivalent to allowing the “free market” to rule. It was not. What defeated the Soviet Union was a system that still allowed for working class folks to attain economic justice when it was appropriate, but also recognized the rights of corporate ownership and to hold those two interests in balance within a well-regulated system. This is not the “free market” that many people advocate for today. The “free market” that many people advocate for would lead to some of the same disastrous results that caused the Soviet Union to collapse into itself – by concentrating too much power into too few hands and leading to the denial of economic justice for far too many.

16. rhp6033 spews:

Cramer knows that in order for the stock market to work, the public has to have faith that there is substance behind the stocks, and their trades will be made fairly. If not, the public won’t invest in the stock market, either as a personal investment device, or as part of their retirement portfolios (401(k)’s, IRAs, etc.).

Hence the security regulations commencing in the 1930′s, the Blue Sky laws, and the various rules regulating insider and broker trading.

Without public faith in the system, they would simply withdraw their money, and without the public money the system would go into shock and collapse.

But even the Republicans don’t want that. They will make a lot of noise about de-regulation, releasing the “free market” to solve it’s own problems, etc. But they don’t want the new guy down the street to become free to compete with them. They only want the government’s assistance in making like difficult for their competion (or potential competitors), and easier for themselves. If you blow past the rhetoric of most rule changes, you need only to ask yourself: “ho will be hurt, and who will be helped, by this change?”, and you will often see the truth. The current fight between the cable companies and the telephone companies over delivery of cable TV, internet, and phone service over their respective systems is a good example.

17. correctnotright spews:

@9: Wrong Puddy – it was Clinton that chased Baby doc, Reagan supported him

18. correctnotright spews:

@17: oops – got my dictators wrong – Baby doc left in 1986.

but then Aristide was ousted after being elected – by a military coup – it was clinton who restored Aristide and Reagan who did nothing to protect democracy.

19. correctnotright spews:

guess who is back to say there is no diffrence between republicans and Democrats: the spoiler himself – Ralph Nader.
The guy who stole enough florida vottes to allow bush to steal the 2000 election. the guy we can blame for putting bush in the WH and eventually cause the IOraq war.

The guy who said that Gore was against the environemnt and for corporate interests.

anyone who votes for Nader is giving a proxy vote for the republicans – nader looks old – like McCain and is just as useless.

20. THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

How did Clinton restore Aristide in 1991?

Please tell me how this is possible?

Remember who you are debating here…

21. THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

Bush stole the election correctnotright?

Again, remember who you are debating here! I deal in facts!

22. Ken spews:

I will take Jared Diamonds research over the wingnut talking points and revisionist history spewed here.

If you’re interested, you can see the damage on google earth. Check out how well forested the Dominican Republic is on the other half of the island.
This is why I stop by here rarely. The comment threads are infested with proud know nothings.
Good luck to you RR.

23. christmasghost spews:

roger…”the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II.”

it was the other way around toots. they were trying to develop new pesticides and the new pesticides were the nerve gases.so they had to rethink quite a bit.you would think the seattle papers could do a little research, wouldn’t you? if your cat was wearing a flea collar…guess what? uh huh….nerve gas.
we have to go organic completely. that’s all there is to it. there are no safe pesticides at all. period.

24. christmasghost spews:

actually correct not right….nader was right for once when he said that.gore is no friend of the environment…he is just an attention whore.

25. THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

Correctnotright@10: Thanks again for clarifying the pesticide issue. I learned something.

It’s another proof point for shit spewing from the rancid overflowing sewer called Pelletizer’s mind.