Elite Panic and the Tea Party

Rebecca SolnitNew Orleans In an excellent book on community building in the wake of disasters of historic proportion, A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit raises a number of insightful points about what she refers to as “elite panic.”  In post-Katrina New Orleans we saw this all the time, the predictions of dire consequences and the frenzied mobilization of self-appointed big whoops running around trying to take charge, create emergency committees composed mainly of themselves, fund apocalyptic plans and studies tailored to their interests, and other such wildness in the name of protection, advancement, and the future of the city.

Reading past the marionette string pullers among big business donors and the professional Republican party operators shrewd and skilled enough to take advantage of the alienation, racism, and desperation at the base, the same “elite panic” in the wake of the Obama election and its administration over the last two years seems to be the driving force.  The fears triggered by race, “otherness,” and the sense of having been displaced and losing control setting off critical elites in a panic at what might come next and how it has to be stopped.  The Tea Party is one of the sharp points of a stick being wielded and thrashed about by the elites.

A recent story about Obama’s lost support on Wall Street, even after essentially betting and mortgaging the whole national farm on the bankers and brokers who hover there is more than ample evidence of my case in point.  All of this is bitter irony given how regularly Obama and his minions including the Wall Street apologists like Treasury’s Geithner and the White House’s Larry Summers, have done pretty much their bidding while millions have traveled the crowded road in the hand basket to hell.

I had a moment’s surge of hope reading a blog by a Chicago Sun political columnist who  parsed an Obama quote yesterday that might be construed as indicating he was ready to throw those fellas out finally, but that was, as usual, quickly dashed by among other things the administration’s recoiling from a Times story that had indicated that finally they might be ready to strap it on and go after the right wing coup that has manipulated the Tea Party so that the Republicans have been taken over by more extremists than is even usual for them.  Eventually, they are going to have to realize that this is a real fight and the elite panic that is driving this fight will not be assuaged by compromise but only by total victory.

We have to oppose that fiercely.

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New Program: More Bailout, More Drowning

geithner-protest_1389447cNew Orleans President Obama, Secretary Geithner, and the rest of the hapless pickup crew that flubs around in the housing and foreclosure crises came together to “repurpose” yet more of the TARP money that was set aside for home mortgage modifications that might prevent foreclosures and threw $15 billion of the total at some homeowners whose houses are underwater, meaning they owe more than the value of the home.  These homeowners are a rarefied bunch.  They are underwater, but still up to date on their mortgage, bailing the water out of the bottom of their houses.

Make no mistake though.  This program is basically another $15 billion bank and Wall Street investor bailout.  The best that one could pretend about this program is that with 6+ million homes facing foreclosure and almost double that many (11.3 million!) underwater that it might prevent the “500,000 to 1, 500,000” the government is spinning who might be miraculously helped by the program avoid foreclosure or maintain their existing modification, if lightening had struck them and they had been able to win one.

I say miraculously, because there is no indication that this program will work any better than the other loan modification disasters the President has had to bless, except that since this is once again a Geithner and Treasury bailout, maybe the banks will actually do some mods in order to actually get the cash.  Only banks and investors are eligible for this bailout program, and once again, repeating the mistake they have made in every other loan modification effort, participation is 100% voluntary.

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