More scenes from the class war

Fair is a place where they have ponies and merry-go-rounds.”

“To compel a man to work for less than a Living Wage is as truly an act of injustice as to pick his pocket.”

“Had [the minimum wage] been indexed to inflation in 1968, it would be $10.40 an hour today.”

Three cents out of every tax dollar the government collects from you is pocketed by the Big Banks on Wall Street.”

The top 1 percent holds over a third of equity market wealth and the top 10 percent holds about 80 percent.”

“Folks like Peter Peterson and Washington Post don’t want us to run deficits. They would rather see workers be unemployed.”

“The difference between a natural disaster and a disaster caused by politicians is that the latter will almost always hit the poor and the obscure most heavily, while a hurricane or a flood will at least sometimes spread the suffering more evenly.”

“At this point there is overwhelming evidence that the primary effect of the austerity being demanded by the finance ministers is to slow growth and increase unemployment.”

Far more worrisome than a student loan bubble is the student loan anvil.”

“The CRL report cites the president of one of the nation’™s largest car-title lenders as saying his average customer renews their loan eight times, which means that original $951 loan ultimately costs the borrower $3,093 in total, with $2,142 of that coming from interest.”

“Number of states that currently allow payday loans with APRs of 391 percent or higher: 28.”

“Well, that sounds awful, though really, what is so bad about lying to people, giving them a bum loan, and then taking their house?

“The idea is that we can know things are really getting out of hand since even non-white people can get loans these days!

“In the modern-day insurance industry, it is illegal to redline by race and ethnicity — that is, to charge higher premiums to certain groups — but it is perfectly permissible to redline by ZIP code.”

“If our typical senior household sold off every other asset they held they would have roughly enough money to pay off their mortgage. Then they would be entirely dependent on their Social Security check to support themselves.”

“With regard to the picture It’s a Wonderful Life, [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.”

 

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Nice filename on the picture Fred!

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    “Number of states that currently allow payday loans with APRs of 391 percent or higher: 28.”

    391%? AMATEURS! Wonga.com (a British payday lender) is currently advertising loans with 4214% as the typical rate.

    Again: FOUR-THOUSAND AND FOURTEEN PERCENT INTEREST – and higher for some people. HIGHER!

    And they have the unmitigated GALL to use the catchphrase “Straight talking money”. Presumably because they put the rate in a reasonably-sized font on their website.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I thought of the APRs of UK payday lenders as well when I read that.

  • histrogeek

    Why does my church-going Episcopalian, mortgage-paying self get in touch with my inner Trotskyite whenever I listen to the financial news? Oh right there are the reasons.
    Where can I pick up a guillotine and a pike?

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Two articles here absolutely infuriated me.

    The first is the article that reveals that THREE $#%ING PERCENT of our tax dollars are going to the financial predators on Wall Street.  Yes, the very same people who point the Mile-Long Finger of Shame at all those people (especially non-white people) on Food Stamps and WIC are themselves sucking on the government’s teat.    And they seem to feel no shame at this rank hypocrisy!

    The second is the Bloomberg cover, which is the most blatantly, flamboyantly racist thing I have ever viewed.  Matt Taibbi had an excellent article (which you folks can find on his Blog at RollingStone.com) in which he dissects the reasoning that inspired this cover.  The Wall Street predators are trying very, very hard to establish a narrative that the 2008 Financial Crash happened because all those bleeding-heart, liberal Democrats in the federal government  forced them at gun-point to give home loans to black and brown people.

    As Matt points out, the home lenders themselves made millions of risky loans because of they could earn enormous profits by taking those loans, chopping them up, putting them into financial products known as “derivatives,” and then selling the derivatives to foreign banks and state pension funds.  Since those loans were only going to stay on the lenders’ books for a few hours, the financial damage when those loans defaulted would not affect them.

    Matt went on to say that the hilarious thing about this narrative is the idea of the federal government actually forcing Wall Street to do *anything* that it doesn’t want to do.  So far, most of the government has served as Wall Street’s servile lapdogs!
                                  

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Matt went on to say that the hilarious thing about this narrative is the idea of the federal government actually forcing Wall Street to do *anything* that it doesn’t want to do.

    Well, it would be hilarious, if it weren’t so tragic. Perhaps the people pushing this narrative come from a different universe, where – for example – the FDIC doesn’t have an official policy AGAINST suing people who break the rules?

    (They prefer to negotiate a settlement, so none of the poor, law-breaking bankers get their fee-fees hurt).

  • LL

    Holy shit, that picture in the first linked story … I’m a little verklempt now.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Agree with you about the first, do not agree with you about the second, which I do not see as racist.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Also, in Scene 2, the key word is “compel”.

  • TheBrett

    The heavy concentration of wealth doesn’t surprise me. Some of that is age differences, but it’s also because even middle-class households don’t tend to have any wealth of significance aside from their home and its equity. That’s why the capital gains tax being set so low is such a handout to the rich.

  • LL

    Hey, Fred, don’t you know, class warfare isn’t bad, as long as the right people are winning? I mean, c’mon, good ol’ American innovation and the “free” market are what’s made this country great. 

    So what if a bank hounds an old man to his death on a courthouse floor, as long as Wells Fargo continues to enjoy its status as a vitally important institution in our financial system? 

  • hidden_urchin

    “Fair is a place where they have ponies and merry-go-rounds.”

    Can the revolution start now? 

  • Figs

    The fact that you don’t see that picture as racist says WAY MORE about you than it does about the picture.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Also: It’s his own fault for turning up –


    In a statement to the Weekly, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Vickee J. Adams expressed sympathy over his death. However, she added that, in light of Judge Ellison’s indication that she planned to rule for Wells Fargo, “Given that there was no testimony or evidence to be presented at the hearing, there was no reason for Mr. Delassus to attend, and it is truly unfortunate that he was brought there”

     http://wonkette.com/506054/wells-fargo-bills-elderly-disabled-veteran-to-death-over-typo#Jc1GfXFsXPuqB7y2.99

  • Lori

     Man, there really is no bottom to “blame the victim”.

    It’s totally unreasonable that after literally years of fighting Wells Fargo’s error and arrogance Delassus would want to be in the courtroom to see & hear the ruling for himself. He should have just stayed home and let the important people talk.

    To Ms Vickee J. Adams I say, “And the horse you road in on.”

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m more angry about that statement or that Wells-Fargo may have been legally allowed charge him a reinstatement fee after that litany of errors.

    “Sorry we tried to steal your house, but we still need a bit of extra cash to let you keep paying for it!”

    Fat Tony from The Simpsons wouldn’t be THAT blatant! 

  • Carstonio

    The Wall Street predators are trying very, very hard to establish a
    narrative that the 2008 Financial Crash happened because all those
    bleeding-heart, liberal Democrats in the federal government  forced them
    at gun-point to give home loans to black and brown people.

    And I’ve heard that narrative from many commentators and others, but almost always in a watered-down version. They don’t come right out and say that the borrowers were brown and black, but they do claim that millions obtained  mortgages who shouldn’t have received them.

  • Fusina

    I don’t think there is anything to add to this…

    http://crooksandliars.com/nicole-belle/ryans-freudian-slip-we-are-not-going

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of. How widespread are reverse mortgages? That’s another scam someone dreamed up.

  • histrogeek

     Ever notice how banks are helpless victims to the wiles of the government and crafty borrowers who seek to scam them? Yet somehow they spend a huge amount of time vetting people, requiring a metric tonne of paper, usually three to ten copies of the same thing. What are they doing with all of it?
    And they can’t write down loans because then they would lose money. Because somehow foreclosure procedures and the inevitable below-market sale are more profitable than taking a few hundred dollars off a payment. To say nothing of the weird notion that people on the verge of bankruptcy somehow have thousands of dollars in hidden assets, but just want to get out of making a payment.
    Better stop now before I need to build a barricade.

  • Catherine

    Can someone deconstruct that picture for the non-USAians amongst us?  I get that it’s non-white folk disporting themselves with lots of dough but the iconography of the rest escapes me.

  • fredgiblet

    http://www.sca.org/

    Check the activities and events page, find one near you.  If they aren’t selling them there someone can get you touch with a manufacturer.

  • Lori

      Ever notice how banks are helpless victims to the wiles of the government and crafty borrowers who seek to scam them? 

    And yet the people who run them are so super smart and vital to the world economy that it is totally right for them to receive annual bonuses that are 2-3 times the average household income.

  • fredgiblet

    Remember, they are richer than the average family and therefore inherently BETTER than the average family, therefore they deserve more compensation.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Depicting black citizens as stereotypical caricatures is a hallmark of American racism. Compare the faces of the characters in the picture to traditional blackface comedy sketches of the early 20th century, when racism was most rampant in the United States-

    http://banshirleyqliquor.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/03/02/blackface.jpg

    http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/blackface_3910.jpg

    http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/ajolson-blackface-1909-a.jpg

    Then combine that with the fact that the mortgaging system is inherently a fraud, and the image is aiming it at three blacks and what I would interpret to be the strawman “welfare mama” and this is a nudge-nudge-wink-wink from the company to itself, saying “These here are our prime suckers, boys.”

  • JustoneK

    whomp whomp!

    whatcha wanna bet that any reference to this in the future is a vicious lie made up to demonize the Right?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Their official explanation for it was that it was just a gaffe. He misspoke and used the wrong word. That said word seems perfectly appropriate in context to his actions, well…

  • SisterCoyote

    Um. Can you… uh. How do you justify a caricature of four minorities literally stuffing a house with cash? It’s literally nothing more than racism, a la “Welfare queen” classism bullshit. A two-for-one special!

  • SisterCoyote

    For the record – I’m sitting in my sister’s cultural center/diversity center student lounge type thing, and just showed that picture to the faculty member here. Her diagnosis is that if they can get people outraged over their racism, instead of their stealing, they’re getting off easy – it’s a distraction tactic. Makes a lot of sense to me.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Can someone deconstruct that picture for the non-USAians amongst us?  I get that it’s non-white folk disporting themselves with lots of dough but the iconography of the rest escapes me.

    Bare with me, this will take a bit to explain.  

    Part of this can be traced back to political backlash against the Civil Rights Movement in the sixties, which in turn was a response to the legacy of slavery.  Anyway, the Civil Rights Movement helped to knock down several laws which legally disenfranchised African-American people in certain states, particularly in the south.  It was a contentious issue, as a lot of people (mostly either moneyed white people who benefited directly from disenfranchising black people in the form of cheap labor or conversely poor white people who because they enjoyed a privileged advantage due to being born white) and they were very dissatisfied with the federal government coming in and siding with the Civil Rights Movement to change the status-quo.  

    Anyway, this led to politicians trying to capitalize on this discontent for the sake of bolstering their careers.  However, because the Civil Rights Movement was largely successful in making overt racism unpopular, these politicians had to use dog-whistles and other coded ways of appealing to upset racists without actually sounding like that was what they were directly talking about.  Richard Nixon executed a “Southern Strategy” by campaigning on a slogan of a “Return to Normalcy”.  Likewise, Ronald Reagan later appealed to social and economic conservatives by saying that excessive government taxation and spending was due to “welfare queens” abusing welfare and other social safety-net programs at the expense of working tax payers.  As one Reagan campaign aid said later, they found that by supporting policies which caused disproportional hurt for African-Americans but giving them an economic justification, they could appeal to racists while seeming to not be necessarily racist themselves, which was a winning combination.  

    Unfortunately, this meme is still alive and well, and still used by politicians.  These days the targets have shifted slightly to include Mexican-Americans in particular, but any non-white, non-heterosexual will do.  It has become politically useful to some as the difficult economic conditions make scapegoating a lot easier.  In particular, this variation on them meme hearkens back to a George W. Bush administration policy which tried to encourage more asset building among the disadvantaged (at least that was the ostensible rationale) by releasing some banks from regulations and promising to reimburse them for taking riskier loans on low income people.  This was easily spun into a meme of “the banking crisis was caused by all those poor people reaching above their station!” which in turn can be used by politicians looking to push austerity as justification, getting “payback” on those greed poor people.  The sad part is that this works as a political appeal on other, slightly less poor people who were also hit by the crisis, blaming the even poorer for dragging them down with them.  

    Anyway, that is what the picture refers to, caricatures of African-American people “bailed out” by tax payer money as a way of stoking resentment.  Or if that was not the artist’s intent, then it sure comes across as having a lot of unfortunate implications despite that which speak to a lack of sensitivity about the issue.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    It doesn’t matter whether you see it as racist or not. It is.

  • Carstonio

    Excellent synopsis. I’ll add that the two women in the cartoon look more like anti-Hispanic caricatures to me, and not just because of the lighter skin color.

  • histrogeek

     I’m sure he did misspeak. There is no way he meant to say that. It just happens to be what he wants.

  • The_L1985

     It honestly took me a second too.  My mind read the two Hispanic ladies as “white.”

    Granted, I also live in an area where most of the Hispanics tend to be white Cubans, but still.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Three nation-wide minorities. Which, I might add, is the racial composition of several U.S. cities.

  • Lori

    What?

    You know, the next time Jeff from the other thread complains about how unfair it is that Liberals call Conservatives racist I’m pointing him to you. 

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

     I know of no truly free market. Wells Fargo’s actions in this situation were certainly unjust.

  • Kirala

    I dunno, I’m willing to buy that the (Latino) artist who drew this is telling the truth when he says he was just drawing the kind of people he knew and was surprised. More or less. At the least, I don’t think that it was the kind of conscious disingenuousness that created the Southern Strategy.

    But I can’t imagine that any responsible publication could fail to realize what that looks like. At best, it’s terrible negligence; at worst, there are several Southern Strategist-types in the editorial process.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    OK, see now I’m morbidly curious.

    @EnopoletusHarding:disqus what would you consider a racist image? What does constitute a racist message? 

    I mean, do you think that drawing African-Americans as big-lipped and money-grabbing as they lay around their house is an acceptable depiction? 

    As a thought experiment, Messier Harding, imagine that a friend tells you to read an article  titled “The Great American Housing Rebound”. Your friend says that the subtitle to the article is “Flips. No-look bids. 300% returns. What could possibly go wrong?” and it’s got a really appropriate illustration. What images would come to your mind? What sort of an illustration might you expect? 

    Bankers or “fat cats” or masked cat-burglars? 
    Maybe a literal ‘house of cards’? Or a “shell game” with a real house under one shell and something else under the other two? 

    Or is your first reaction to hearing about a housing rebound and what could go wrong to envision a house full of money-grabbing, big-lipped, wide-eyed minorities?

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    OK, see now I’m morbidly curious.

    @EnopoletusHarding:disqus what would you consider a racist image? What does constitute a racist message? 

    I mean, do you think that drawing African-Americans as big-lipped and money-grabbing as they lay around their house is an acceptable depiction? 

    As a thought experiment, Messier Harding, imagine that a friend tells you to read an article  titled “The Great American Housing Rebound”. Your friend says that the subtitle to the article is “Flips. No-look bids. 300% returns. What could possibly go wrong?” and it’s got a really appropriate illustration. What images would come to your mind? What sort of an illustration might you expect? 

    Bankers or “fat cats” or masked cat-burglars? 
    Maybe a literal ‘house of cards’? Or a “shell game” with a real house under one shell and something else under the other two? 

    Or is your first reaction to hearing about a housing rebound and what could go wrong to envision a house full of money-grabbing, big-lipped, wide-eyed minorities?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I dunno, I’m willing to buy that the (Latino) artist who drew this is telling the truth when he says he was just drawing the kind of people he knew and was surprised. More or less. At the least, I don’t think that it was the kind of conscious disingenuousness that created the Southern Strategy.

    To be fair, I have known some “welfare queen” types who had little job skills, two children to raise, and think that the government owes them a living but is not entitled to tell them what to do.  Hell, we let them stay in our house for half a year.  We eventually kicked them out when it became clear that they had only modest interest in getting their financial act together, and had only moved to our state to get away from creditors demanding repayment in their previous place of residence.  Their unwillingness to deal with any of it (even with our help) was what caused us to realize that keeping them with us was unsustainable, they wanted our help but not the conditions we set on it.  

    In any case, I recognize that is anecdotal, and not true of all welfare recipients.  I would not want to see a great amount of people suffer because of the actions of a few irresponsible people who might abuse the system.  Besides, this couple had two kids, and those kids did not deserve the destitution their parents brought on themselves.  Heck, we would have been willing to let the kids stay with us while the parents got themselves to a financially stable place, but that just was not going to happen.  

  • Lori

     

    I dunno, I’m willing to buy that the (Latino) artist who drew this is
    telling the truth when he says he was just drawing the kind of people he
    knew 

    Really? He knows that guy in the lower right? Somehow I think not. Or at least he knows that guy only in the same way that Herman Cain knows shiftless AAs who only voted for Obama to get a free phone. IOW, in his self-congratulatory imagination.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Lori

    Does the term “Uncle Tom” mean anything to you?

    ETA: I don’t know for sure that the term could fairly be applied to the artist, although obviously I have my suspicions. My point is that the notion that something can’t be racist because the person who said or did it is a member of the target race is not at all true.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think a less controversial term is “internalized racism”.

  • Lori

    I went for something I figured Enopoletus Harding might have heard of.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Thanks for linking to the artist’s (NSFW!) Tumblr account. 

    Perusing his art, it’s very obvious that the artist is entirely capable of drawing Latinos and African-Americans without resorting to racial caricatures if he wanted to. Indeed the cover art is distinctly different from the rest of his work on that page, which invites the question of just exactly what he was asked to draw, and what feedback he might have gotten before the final art was approved.

    All of which is beside the point!

    I was serious in my request to @EnopoletusHarding:disqus , but I’ll come at it from another angle, and ask that you participate in good faith.

    Imagine you are the editor for Bloomberg Business week. 

    Imagine that you have a story about the housing recovery with a subtitle of “what could go wrong?”

    You are asked what image should go on the cover with this subtitle. What images do you picture? What images do you associate with ‘things going wrong in the housing market’? What instructions do you give the artist when asking them to draw a picture?  

    What is the train of thought that associates “things going wrong with the housing market” primarily with minorities? 

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    1. An image that portrays a conflict between the interests of races (not to be confused with an image that portrays a conflict between the interests of groups associated with races, but whose membership is not dependent on race) and clearly communicates that it is racial degeneracy (or superiority) that is the cause of the negative (or positive) effects associated with those of a certain race.
    2. Yes. One black person (or a few black people) does/do not represent all.
    3. An image of a roller-coaster comes to my mind.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Thank you for responding. I do have a few quick follow-up questions. (and this is open for everyone to participate)

    1. An image that portrays a conflict between the interests of races (not to be confused with an image that portrays a conflict between the interests of groups associated with races, but whose membership is not dependent on race)

    So to be clear, your position would be that this image and this image and  this image are not racist, because there is only one race depicted, and no “conflict of interests between races”.

    Your position is that this image isn’t racist, because while it does show two races (human and ape) there is no conflict of interest between the two races. Even if it did, it’s not clear that the negative effects are a function of race versus a group associated with a race.

    Have I got that right?


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