"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cheating The Honest Men


Originally posted at Hullabaloo

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cheating The Honest Men

by digby

Matt Taibbi watched an exchange between Janet Tavakoli and Rick Santelli in which the former tried to explain why the financial crisis wasn't precipitated by a bunch of poor people illegally obtaining loans and observed that Santelli wasn't having any of it:

While she’s saying all this stuff, Santelli, who is one of the fathers of the Tea Party movement, is shaking his head furiously, video-scoffing at everything she’s saying. When he finally does get a chance to speak, this is what he says:

Here’s my problem with this. It takes two to tango. You can’t cheat an honest man.

You can’t cheat an honest man? What the fuck does that mean?

That one's a doozy, for sure. Have you ever heard that before?

Taibbi then gets to the heart of the problem with the tea partiers and their cheerleaders like Santelli:

This whole scene sort of encapsulates what’s wrong with the Tea Party movement. The movement, and let’s admit this, has some of its roots in legitimate grievances about government waste and some not-entirely-inaccurate observations about what’s left of the American welfare state. Of course what resonates most with the suburban whites who mostly make up the Tea Party are stories about minorities and immigrants using section 8 housing, food stamps, Medicaid, TANF and other programs, with the Obama stimulus being for them a symbol of this ongoing government largess. The heat of the Tea Party movement comes from the racial frustrations that actually exist out there, in the real world outside New York and LA, as urban expansion and immigration increasingly throw white and nonwhite communities together, with white Tea Party types more and more often blowing gaskets over increased crime rates, declining school standards, and mislaid or wasted tax revenue.

That this perception that minorities are the prime or sole consumers of government entitlement programs is absurdly inaccurate — white people, for instance, are overwhelmingly the largest nonelderly recipients of Medicaid, making up 42.8% of the program’s rolls nationwide, compared to 22.2% for blacks and 27.9% for Hispanics — is beside the point. The point is that the Tea Party is built largely on this narrative of “personal responsibility,” where the central demons are unwed black and Hispanic mothers and absent black and Hispanic fathers, who are, let’s face it, not uncommon characters in the American melodrama.

Which is another subject for another time, but let’s just say this: the Tea Party movement contains a lot of people who are far more impressed by what they can see with their own eyes than with what, for instance, they read about. I’ve been to Tea Party events where global warming was dismissed by speakers who, without irony, pointed to the fact that there was snow on the ground outside. And while very few people have ever actually seen a CDO manager or a Countrywide executive, or were aware if it when they saw them, the Tea Party folks sure as hell have seen who their neighbors in foreclosure are.

The Fox/CNBC types have very cannily latched on this narrative to rewrite the history of the financial crisis. They know that Tea Partiers will go for any narrative that puts blame on poor (and especially poor minority) homeowners, because the idea of poor blacks and Hispanics borrowing beyond their means fits seamlessly with their world view. But this is a situation where poor minorities were really incidental to a much larger fraud scheme that culminated in a welfare program — the bank bailouts — that dwarfs the entire “entitlement” infrastructure. But the millions of people who are actually in the Tea Party movement seem to have absolutely no idea that their so-called leaders, the Santellis of their world, are shilling for tax cheats and crooks and welfare bums of the sort they would despise (perhaps even more than their black and Hispanic neighbors), if they could actually see them.

Unfortunately all the elites, political and otherwise, have a vested interest in keeping the rubes focused on the blacks and browns so it's hard to see the mechanism by which they will be revealed. And that's the whole purpose of right wing populism.


  1. I agree and I'll add that there is a saying that, drunks, children and LOCOS, always tell the truth.

    Hurray for the LOCOS of this world, I'll say, Dear God, send us more of them.


  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Matt Taibbi and Bill Black are being very blunt in telling us about the Wall St Frauds. Many of us who worked in large corporations knew things were very wrong since about the mid 80s. These two are telling it as it is and allow us to see we were right in what we thought was happening, "escalating fraud". I also noticed the Iraq death counter on the blob. 4 of those deaths were do to fraud by the Raytheon Corporation fielding the Patriot Missile System with a non functional IFF radar and then claiming that they did not know why 3 jets were shot down and 4 pilots were killed or what was wrong until Dec 2007 when forced to confess at the Naval Pilot Nathan White Family Lawsuit.

  4. Thank you for taking the time to comment Thomas, you said a lot and insofar as I know, all true.

    This is the saddest part, that so many knew it, so many of us knew it.

    Do you blog somewhere? I'd like to read what you have to say, you have first-hand info.

    Again, thank you for your comment and visit to his humble blog.


    PS: I changed the comments setting to 'Moderation', have been getting regular spam in the form of sales pitches, so I'll not let these be posted, but in terms of comments, I'll approve all comments, including the very negative ones, the only exception will be where there is a crossing of a legal line

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.


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Fare well,

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