Let Them Eat Clarity!

capitalist_pig Hold shares in a crashed bank, hedge fund, or major corporation? Here’s your bailout check, sir!

Live down the social ladder and hold a credit card you struggle to pay? Will you get some bail-out money? Nope. Maybe a mandated reduction of your interest rate? Nope. A cap at least on your present rate? Nope again. You get this instead:

The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to put new restrictions on the credit card industry, passing a bill whose backers say will make card-issuers spell out their terms in fewer words, using plain English.

And this:

Among other things, the Senate measure would prohibit companies from raising interest rates on existing balances unless a card holder was 60 days behind, and then it would require the rate to be restored to its previous level if payments were on time for six months. Consumers would have to be notified of rate increases 45 days in advance. And companies could not charge a late fee if they were late processing a payment.

Statements would have to be mailed 21 days before a payment was due. It would be harder for companies to issue cards to people under age 21. Rates could not be increased within the first year, and promotional rates would be in force for at least six months.

Oh, huzzah! Now — oh, glorious day! — it will be slightly easier to know exactly how the bailed-out class is using its publicly-provided do-over to continue raping you. And they will, of course, have to rape you according to some new, very slightly slower timetables. With the Democrats in power now, that much goes without saying, you see.

Why? Well, this is capitalism. Our overclass needs a chance to over-accumulate some more capital, so they can fuel their next “investment” bubble. Will it be in tulips? Stocks? Collateralized debt claims? Survival shelters? That’s for them to say, and for us to bend over and take.

To make a long, sickening story short: You know any new law is a disaster when it passes the Senate, as this great fart-in-your-face did, 90-to-5.

Obamanocchio #2

The editors of The New York Times on Tuesday declared that, “In his Inaugural Address, President Obama gave them the clarity and the respect for which all Americans have hungered.”

And in that Address, there were these words from the new President himself:  “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”

Given all this emphasis on clarity, ideals, respect, and making honest choices, consider the grayness and evasion we’re getting instead:

First, take the case of the promised closing of Guantanamo.  Below the headlines, that is being described in these terms by the Obama Administration:

When he ordered the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to be shut down, Mr. Obama put off the tough decision of what to do with the terrorism suspects there, a delay that his senior adviser, David Axelrod, attributed to the complexity of the issue — the same argument Mr. Bush used to keep the prison open.

“That is an enormously complicated situation,” Mr. Axelrod said Friday afternoon in an interview in his West Wing office, adding: “Obviously, you can’t solve problems overnight. But what you can do is signal a sense of motion, a sense of ferment and activity and direction. And I think that he is doing that.”

Of course, there is nothing complicated at all about Guantanamo. The United States illegally abducted scores of people it thinks are prone to terrorism and has illegally warehoused them for years, in the starkest possible contradiction to our alleged ideals and the simple rule of law.

Now, in order to live up to the rule of law, somebody has to admit that past violations of it have heightened ordinary Americans’ chances of being victims of future terrorism. Being illegally arrested and imprisoned does not generally calm one down.

Is Obama willing to show us clarity and respect and tell us the simple truth here?

Obviously not. Instead, we’re getting promise about the future designed to “signal a sense of motion, a sense of ferment and activity and direction.” Below the signals, there lies “the same argument Mr. Bush used to keep the prison open.”

And what about the appointment of a Raytheon Corporation lobbyist as the #2 overseer at the Pentagon?

“It appears to be a black-and-white case. I am unaware of what makes it so gray in the mind of President Obama,” said Winslow T. Wheeler, a former congressional budget staffer now with the Center for Defense Information, on the president’s choice of Raytheon lobbyist William J. Lynn to serve as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Wheeler said it would take a “gigantic loophole” to squeeze Lynn, a top executive for defense giant Raytheon who registered to lobby for the company as recently as last June, into the office.

Obama’s executive order, which he signed Tuesday, would appear to ban lobbyists like Lynn from working in executive branch jobs related to the work of their former employers. Moreover, it would force appointees to recuse themselves from any business their former employers might have an interest.

Yes, it “would appear.”