Archive for the ‘public anger’ Category

Anger, Lawlessness Fueling U.S., Global Economic Revolution?

March 26, 2009

Some might say, “The ends justify the means.”

Some might say the “anarchists” seen at global economic leadership conferences are now getting what they wanted; what they protested for.

Today two Washington Post reporters said the President of the United States is “attempting to harness public anger over the financial crisis” to pass his budget.

Obama Buys Into Anger, Fear as Political Tool

Are we setting the future course of the United States and the world based upon anger?  And if so, is that a good way to plan our future and the debt burden for our children and grandchildren?

And hasn’t the president himself fueled this anger expressing “outrage” at the AIG bonusus that were protected in his stimulus and known about for months by the Fed and Treasury (and Chris Dodd)?

So now the president wants to “bypass the traditional media and speak directly to the people?”  Why?  To fan and further fuel the anger?

Related:
Social Unrest: Hurt by Economy, Europeans Vent Their Anger

 President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

 ACORN Protesters At Homes of AIG Execs Similar To Lawlessness For UK Bank Exec?

Economy, “Foreign Forces” Trying to Destabilize Russia?

China fears recession riots

 Global Economy Weakness Leading To Social Unrest

Global Economy Sparks Protests; Governments Fear Greater “Social Unrest”

Obama: Press Conference Hints at Class Warfare

James Hill, New York Times

***************************

French Worker Release Factory Head After Lay Off Threat

French workers released a manager of U.S. manufacturer 3M held hostage for two days in a labor dispute over layoffs, the company said Thursday, amid rising French unemployment and public outrage at employers.

AP

A new poll indicated that French worker frustration remains high, with a majority of respondents predicting more violent incidents in response to the economic crisis. The hostage-taking was one of many recent efforts by French workers to protest the downturn.

Workers at a 3M factory in Pithiviers locked manager Luc Rousselet in an office Tuesday, demanding better severance packages for those laid off and better conditions for those who keep their jobs.

After discussions Wednesday that ran into the night, Rousselet was released overnight, company spokeswoman Catherine Hamon said. Rousselet, unharmed, then left the factory grounds.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009032
6/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_france_labor_unrest_7

Please Visit Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/
26/obamas-online-townhall-whats-r
eally-going-on/

President Tries To Harness Public Anger To Move His Budget

March 26, 2009

In attempting to harness public anger over the financial crisis on behalf of his budget, President Obama is confronting the politically uncomfortable fact that the success of his long-term agenda and Wall Street’s recovery are intertwined.

By Alec MacGillis and Scott Wilson
The Washington Post

That acknowledgment is reflected in the president’s shift in tone from his tempestuous town hall appearances in California last week to Tuesday evening’s more sober appraisal of who is responsible for the frozen credit markets, insolvent banks and burst real estate bubble.

He condemned Wall Street “Ponzi schemes, even when they’re legal, where a relatively few do spectacularly well while the middle class loses ground” during a March 18 town hall event in California’s Orange County, which is now closing elementary schools because of falling property tax revenue. Back inside the Beltway, the president said during his prime-time news conference that some of us “can’t afford to demonize every investor and entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit.”

In the balance as he attempts to walk this line is Obama’s long-term agenda, embodied in the budget he was selling on Capitol Hill yesterday and which a House panel passed on a party-line vote late last night. To build public support for his $3.6 trillion package of plans to reform health care, energy and education, Obama is attempting a kind of transference — persuading Americans that the excesses crystallized by bonuses for the AIG unit at the center of the financial collapse can only be fixed by the systemic overhaul of the economy represented by his budget.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2009/03/2
5/AR2009032503117.html?hpid=
topnews

Orlando ‘Tea Party’ Rally Draws 4,000; Protests Obama,Taxes, Economy

March 22, 2009

Singer Lloyd Marcus told the crowd assembled in Lake Eola Park on Saturday that he was going to give them his take on the first days of the Obama administration.

Then he shrieked.

| Orlando Sentinel Staff Writer

That pretty much summed up the mood in the park Saturday afternoon, when more than 4,000 people attended the Orlando Tea Party, a conservative rally aimed at expressing discontent with Washington.

“This is maybe the greatest single gathering of God-fearing patriots in the history of Orlando, Florida,” local conservative radio host Bud Hedinger, who emceed the event, told the crowd.

 The attendees, many of whom said they’d heard about the rally on Hedinger’s radio show, brandished flags and homemade signs bearing slogans such as “Repeal the pork or our bacon is cooked” and “Obama lied, liberty died.”

“We’re really scared about what’s happening in our country,” said Debby Whisenand, 71, of Largo in Pinellas County. She waved a sign that read “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money” on one side, and “You can’t blame Bush anymore” on the other.

'Orlando Tea Party' attendees

Valerie Rike, 52, (left) with sister Christy Bishop, 59, attend the ‘Orlando Tea Party,’ a conservative rally Saturday at Lake Eola, downtown Orlando. (Helen Eckinger, Orlando Sentinel / March 21, 2009)

Her feelings were shared by Lisa Feroli, one of the event’s organizers, who said that a similar fear motivated her to e-mail Hedinger with the idea for the Orlando Tea Party.

“The goal was to get people united, to let people know that they aren’t alone in their feelings on despair,” Feroli said. “We want to speak out against the push toward socialization that we feel is taking place in our country.”

Several speakers addressed the crowd, estimated by Orlando police and event organizers at 4,200, on a variety of topics, including gun rights, freedom of speech, the dangers of communism and, most prevalently, the economy, especially the Obama administration’s bailout plan.

“We have had enough of massive government-driven bailout using our money,” Hedinger said, prompting the crowd to start chanting “U.S.A.” over and over.

The country’s economic woes weighed heavily on attendees, such as Ed Squire, 52, of Winter Springs. Holding a sign that read “Obama — he’s robbin U.S. not Robin Hood,” he said that he was worried about the current rate of government spending.

“There’s absolutely no way as a nation that we can sustain that kind of spending,” Squire said.

Several members of the crowd said they’d recently been laid off, including Ross Iannarelli, 66, of Port Orange, who said he’d just lost his job at an electrical-equipment company.

“They need to shove that bum out,” he said, referring to President Obama. “I hate seeing them spend my grandchildren’s money.”

Read the rest:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/
local/orl-locteaparty21032209mar2
2,0,426670.story

Related:
Geithner’s Toxic Asset, Bank Plan Offers Nothing New To A Bad Idea

Sen. Gregg says Obama budget will bankrupt US

Related:
Obama Talks Too Much: Time For Action
(Fire Geithner, for one….)

Obama Overexposed

 Threat of inflation sky high

Obama’s Katrina Moment Is Here Now

Obama Administration May Not Understand Economy

 Public Outrage Could Devour Obama Presidency

Financial Advice, Recovery, Trumped by Obama, Congress, Media, Polls
(Maybe Axelrod is giving better advice than Summers, Geithner…)

Protesters At Homes Of AIG Execs
.
Obama, Biden Chat Up Economy; Congress Talking “Stimulus II”

Rosy Talk From Obama and Gang is BS

Michelle Malkin
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/21/liveblogging-the-lexington-k
y-tea-party/

Obama Overexposed

March 22, 2009

WHEN the White House announced last week that President Barack Obama will be returning to the nation’s television screens on Tuesday for a prime-time press conference that will postpone the latest episode of American Idol – the talent show watched by 25m viewers – fans of the programme were quick to respond.

By
The Times UK

“Stop, please stop, Mr O, we can’t take much more,” one angry viewer wrote on an Idol-related website. “Not again!” complained another. “It’s the same speech he’s been giving for the past year.”

There were dark mutterings that by commandeering evening programming only a few days after he appeared on Jay Leno’s popular late-night chat show, Obama was “just like Fidel Castro [of Cuba] and Hugo Chavez [of Venezuela] – always on camera, always giving speeches and lecturing”.

The barbed response to the prospect of yet another mass-media dose of Obama’s economic prescriptions underlined the dangers the president is facing as he struggles to sell his recovery efforts to a country seething with anger and anxiety over the costs, effectiveness and potential abuse of the government’s trillion-dollar bailout programme.
White House aides remain outwardly confident that Obama’s telegenic appeal will reassure Americans who were appalled by last week’s Wall Street bonus fiasco and who are becoming increasingly sceptical about the president’s so-called “Big Bang” approach to reviving a shattered economy.

Sceptics were scarcely encouraged on Friday when the main US budgetary watchdog reported that Obama’s proposals would generate far greater budget deficits than the administration had predicted. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prompted consternation with an estimate that deficits over the next decade would total $9.3 trillion (£6.4 trillion).

The deficit revelations followed the administration’s much-criticised handling of multi-million-dollar bonuses handed out to employees of the crippled American International Group (AIG) – the insurance behemoth laid low by reckless investments and propped up by taxpayers. The growing fiscal and political doubts about Obama’s stimulus programme have exposed alarming cracks in Democratic ranks only two months after he took office.

It was not just that the White House misread popular outrage at the Wall Street hot-shots rewarded for running their company into the ground; there were rumblings of discontent from a wide range of disillusioned Obama supporters complaining about everything from his lack of support for gays to his plans for a new military “surge” in Afghanistan.

Among the prominent Democrats who took issue with the White House over its failure to head off the bonus crisis was Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who tried several weeks ago to block bonus payments by firms receiving bailout funds, but failed to persuade administration officials to take the potential problem seriously.

Despite strong words about bonuses from Obama himself, the president seemed to undermine their impact when he coughed during a White House event and joked that he was “choked up with anger”. Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, was quoted as saying the president regarded the AIG scandal as merely “a big distraction”.

The suggestion that the White House never took seriously an issue that infuriated millions of Americans was supported by Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who claimed that several weeks earlier he warned Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary, that AIG was planning to use taxpayer funds to pay out $165m in bonuses.

Geithner’s failure to block the payments has sparked speculation that Obama will have to replace him, despite the president’s insistence to Leno that he is doing “an outstanding job”. James Carville, the Democratic strategist, suggested Obama needed to “give a sense that there’s much more accountability coming than we see”.

Obama said he would not accept Geithner’s resignation if it was offered. In a CBS television interview to be broadcast today the president says he would tell him: “Sorry buddy – you’ve still got the job.”

Stung by popular anger over the AIG saga, several other Democratic senators have been quietly distancing themselves from the Obama team, suggesting it may have bitten off more than it can chew. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, chairman of the appropriations committee, said: “To maintain a schedule like the one we’ve got at this moment, throughout the year, I don’t know if it will be healthy.” Even Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, was obliged to concede that the CBO-projected deficits, if accurate, were “ultimately not sustainable”.

Obama insisted yesterday that he would stick to the big-ticket items in his budget proposals, but analysts speculated that he would have little choice but to slash his spending plans and is likely to arrive close to empty-handed at the G20 economic summit in London next month, where Gordon Brown is hoping for coordinated action to stimulate economic growth.

While Obama is still greeted everywhere he goes by raucous crowds thrilled by his historic election, his poll numbers have begun to slide. A survey from the key battlefield state of Ohio last week showed his approval rating had slipped to 57%, down 10 points from February.

“Here we are six months after the Wall Street bailout began and it’s still the case that almost no loans are being made to [ordinary people on] main street,” said Robert Reich, a prominent liberal academic and former labour secretary under President Bill Clinton.

“The Wall Street bailout is beginning to look like the most expensive tax-supported fiasco in history,” Reich added. “The president cannot afford to lose the public’s confidence that his administration is a careful steward of the public’s money.”

For Howard Zinn, a popular historian, anti-war activist and early Obama supporter, an equal concern is the president’s failure to reverse George W Bush’s military policies. Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, said: “We should be informing Obama that we expect more from him than he has done so far. He shows no sign of departing from the traditional militarism of the Democratic and Republican parties. The idea of sending more troops to Afghanistan is disastrous, really absurd.”

Many of Obama’s critics recognise that the president has his hands full with an economic crisis that was not of his making and that some of his campaign promises – notably on healthcare and schools – may be receding dreams.

Yet the White House appears to be banking on Obama’s still-potent aura of promise and integrity to overcome doubts that he can pull off an economic miracle. “There are those who say these plans are too ambitious,” Obama said of his sweeping budget proposals during a visit to California last week. “They say, ‘Obama’s trying to do too much’, well, I say our challenges are too large to ignore.”

The dangers of his reliance on populist appeal were laid bare during his Leno appearance, where the easy questions lobbed up by his comedian host yielded few clues to future policy but caused a rare Obama stumble.

Deprived of the teleprompter that has become his regular travelling companion, Obama answered a question about his ten-pin bowling prowess by saying “it was like the Special Olympics” for disabled athletes. He apologised even before the recorded programme was broadcast and much of the cheerful benefit of his relaxed appearance was overshadowed by the ensuing fuss over his lapse into political incorrectness.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news
/world/us_and_americas/article5950373.ece

Obama’s Katrina Moment Is Here Now

March 22, 2009

A CHARMING visit with Jay Leno won’t fix it. A 90 percent tax on bankers’ bonuses won’t fix it. Firing Timothy Geithner won’t fix it. Unless and until Barack Obama addresses the full depth of Americans’ anger with his full arsenal of policy smarts and political gifts, his presidency and, worse, our economy will be paralyzed. It would be foolish to dismiss as hyperbole the stark warning delivered by Paulette Altmaier of Cupertino, Calif., in a letter to the editor published by The Times last week: “President Obama may not realize it yet, but his Katrina moment has arrived.”

By Frank Rich
The New York Times
.
Six weeks ago I wrote in this space that the country’s surge of populist rage could devour the president’s best-laid plans, including the essential Act II of the bank rescue, if he didn’t get in front of it. The occasion then was the Tom Daschle firestorm. The White House seemed utterly blindsided by the public’s revulsion at the moneyed insiders’ culture illuminated by Daschle’s post-Senate career. Yet last week’s events suggest that the administration learned nothing from that brush with disaster.

Otherwise it never would have used Lawrence Summers, the chief economic adviser, as a messenger just as the A.I.G. rage was reaching a full boil last weekend. Summers is so tone-deaf that he makes Geithner seem like Bobby Kennedy.

Bob Schieffer of CBS asked Summers the simple question that has haunted the American public since the bailouts began last fall: “Do you know, Dr. Summers, what the banks have done with all of this money that has been funneled to them through these bailouts?” What followed was a monologue of evasion that, translated into English, amounted to: Not really, but you little folk needn’t worry about it.

Yet even as Summers spoke, A.I.G. was belatedly confirming what he would not. It has, in essence, been laundering its $170 billion in taxpayers’ money by paying off its reckless partners in gambling and greed, from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup on Wall Street to Société Générale and Deutsche Bank abroad.

Summers was even more highhanded in addressing the “retention bonuses” handed to the very employees who brokered all those bad bets. After reciting the requisite outrage talking point, he delivered a patronizing lecture to viewers of ABC’s “This Week” on how our “tradition of upholding law” made it impossible to abrogate the bonus agreements. It never occurred to Summers that Americans might know that contracts are renegotiated all the time — most conspicuously of late by the United Automobile Workers, which consented to givebacks as its contribution to the Detroit bailout plan. Nor did he note, for all his supposed reverence for the law, that the A.I.G. unit being rewarded with these bonuses is now under legal investigation by British and American authorities.

Within 24 hours, Summers’s stand was discarded by Obama, who tardily (and impotently) vowed to “pursue every single legal avenue” to block the bonuses. The question is not just why the White House was the last to learn about bonuses that Democratic congressmen had sought hearings about back in December, but why it was so slow to realize that the public’s anger couldn’t be sated by Summers’s legalese or by constant reiteration of the word outrage. By the time Obama acted, even the G.O.P. leader Mitch McConnell was ahead of him in full (if hypocritical) fulmination.

David Axelrod tried to rationalize the lagging response when he told The Washington Post last week that “people are not sitting around their kitchen tables thinking about A.I.G.,” but are instead “thinking about their own jobs.” While that’s technically true, it misses the point. Of course most Americans don’t know how A.I.G. brought the world’s financial system to near-ruin or what credit-default swaps are. They may not even know what A.I.G. stands for. But Americans do make the connection between their fears about their own jobs and their broad understanding of the A.I.G. debacle.

They know that the corporate bosses who may yet lay them off have sometimes been as obscenely overcompensated for failure as Wall Street’s bonus babies. As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, chief executives at businesses as diverse as Texas Instruments and the home builder Hovnanian Enterprises have received millions in bonuses even as their companies’ shares have lost more than half their value.

Since Americans get the big picture of this inequitable system, that grotesque reality dwarfs any fine print. That’s why it doesn’t matter that the disputed bonuses at A.I.G. amount to less than one-tenth of one percent of its bailout. Or that CNBC — with 300,000 viewers on a typical day by Nielsen’s measure — is a relatively minor player in the crash. Or that Edward Liddy had nothing to do with A.I.G.’s collapse, or that John Thain, of the celebrated trash can, arrived after, not before, others wrecked Merrill Lynch.

These prominent players are just the handiest camera-ready triggers for the larger rage. Passions are now so hot that even Bernie Madoff’s crimes began to pale as we turned our attention to A.I.G.’s misdeeds, just as A.I.G. will fade when the next malefactor surfaces.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/
03/22/opinion/22rich.html?_r=1

Public Outrage Could Devour Obama Presidency

March 22, 2009

The president is getting what he asked for, but perhaps not what he had in mind. During the campaign, Barack Obama beckoned Americans to put aside their cynicism about politics and re-engage as active citizens. They are now doing so with red-hot anger. They are outraged by events and forcing their way into congressional affairs and behind closed doors where policy wonks discuss issues with cerebral civility. The president is now trapped between these two realms — the governing elites who decide things and the people who are governed. Which side is he on? If he does not choose wisely, the anger could devour his presidency.

By William Greider
The Washington Post

The immediate impetus is the latest outrage from the financial sector. AIG, the failed insurance giant on government life support, proceeded to hand out $165 million in employee bonuses. Because Washington has pumped $170 billion into this zombie corporation, people quickly grasped that AIG was redistributing their tax money. On March 13, the White House sent out Larry Summers, the president’s economic adviser, to explain things. Government has no choice, Summers said, because this is a government of laws and we must honor contracts. On Monday, the president scrapped that line, hoping to dodge the outrage.

Something fundamental has been altered in American politics. Encouraged by Obama’s message of hope, agitated by darkening economic prospects, many people have thrown off sullen passivity and are trying to reclaim their role as citizens. This disturbs the routines of Washington but has great potential for restoring a functioning democracy. Timely intervention by the people could save the country from some truly bad ideas now circulating in Washington and on Wall Street. Ideas that could lead to the creation of a corporate state, legitimized by government and financed by everyone else. Once people understand the concept, expect a lot more outrage.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte
nt/article/2009/03/19/AR2009031902511.ht
ml?hpid=opinionsbox1

Read the rest:
Financial Advice, Recovery, Trumped by Obama, Congress, Media, Polls

Protesters At Homes Of AIG Execs

Wall Street Journal: “Geithner Incapacitated;” President Voices Support

Government To Have Bigger Role in All American Lives; Obama Seeks to Increase Oversight of Executive Pay

Dodd Caper, House Vote on 90% Tax, Highlights Founders Hopes; Modern Reality