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Intro: "A number of people, many of them enthusiastic supporters of President Obama, wrote in to complain about my last piece about the JOBS Act. The gist of many of these letters was that the new deregulatory law could in no way be described as 'Obama's JOBS Act. ... Okay, let's talk about that."

Matt Taibbi at Skylight Studio in New York, October 27, 2010. (photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Matt Taibbi at Skylight Studio in New York, October 27, 2010. (photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)



Yes, Virginia, This Is Obama's JOBS Act

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

13 April 12

 

number of people, many of them enthusiastic supporters of President Obama, wrote in to complain about my last piece about the JOBS Act. The gist of many of these letters was that the new deregulatory law could in no way be described as "Obama's JOBS Act."

"This was a Republican bill, birthed by Eric Cantor in the House, and driven by overwhelming Republican support," wrote in one emailer. "All Obama did was sign it. It's totally dishonest to call it an Obama bill."

Okay, let's talk about that. But first, a quick note on the bill itself, since I think some people misunderstand the objection to the bill.

No one is arguing that America's regulatory framework isn't convoluted and imperfect, or that raising money for small companies hasn't been a severe pain in the ass for quite some time. Undoubtedly this new law will make it easier for new firms to attract startup capital and go public, both good things.

But this bill accomplishes those things at the cost of slashing investor protections to a degree that isn't just unnecessary, but stone-cold crazy. It includes ideas that just ten or fifteen years ago were conclusively proven to result in wide-scale fraud.

For instance, if this bill is supposedly about increasing access to capital for small businesses, why do we also need to repeal the conflict-of-interest ban on bank analysts talking up startup firms in an attempt to gain their investment banking business? Wasn't it just ten minutes ago that Eliot Spitzer had to drag the entire financial services industry into court for pumping up worthless stocks in order to get their business?

People have apparently forgotten just how crooked the IPO market was during the tech boom. Banks and underwriters were openly, nakedly, offering to sell their research in exchange for investment banking business. Piper Jaffray, for instance, made a pitch to be the investment banker for a medical startup called TheraSense Inc. by including in its pitch materials mock copies of mock research reports – reports that included a "strong buy" recommendation. The "mock" report contained drooling descriptions of the hypothetical sales of TheraSense, calling the company's fictional sales "nothing short of breathtaking."

Piper Jaffray won TheraSense's business, pocketed $3,785,512 in investment banking fees, and promptly made good on its promise by issuing a "strong buy" recommendation on the stock.

Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Chase, Lehman, Morgan Stanley: they all did essentially the same stuff. Many of them tied the compensation of their analysts directly to their ability to attract investment banking business, i.e. how much they were willing to prostitute themselves for fees. When a Goldman analyst was asked in a questionnaire to list his top three goals for the year 2000, he answered, "1. Get more investment banking revenue. 2. Get more investment banking revenue. 3. Get more investment banking revenue."

Why do we want to go back to those days? And would anyone really argue that we couldn't come up with a way to, say, legalize crowdfunding without also legalizing the sale of financial research?

This bill is full of things like this, ideas that either have no objective justification, or are already proven losers. It also contains all sorts of lunatic fine-print items that have people in Washington in a panic (including a little-discussed section governing the SEC registration of banks). And while many of the underlying ideas in it are laudable – like for instance the crowdfunding idea – they're executed in this bill in such a way that even relatively moderate, probusiness critics worry about the potential for excesses.

Columbia Law Professor John Coffee, for instance, who's not exactly a hair-on-fire, anti-market reformer, told the Senate last year that the removal of the requirement for broker-dealer registrations for those soliciting investment on the internet was so carelessly done, you could have renamed the proposed bill the "Boiler Room Legalization Act of 2011."

"It's not even bringing us back to the nineties," says a former regulator and Washington-based lawyer. "It's bringing us back to the Twenties. It's bringing us back to the penny stock era."

One Senate staffer put it to me this way: "Even the people who are rabid supporters of this thing are saying, 'Wow, I didn't expect it to come out this extreme.'"

But the worst thing about this law is the way it got passed. It was herded into the books with great speed by key figures in both parties, sidestepping the usual process of having the more dangerous and idiotic provisions stripped out through congressional negotiations.

How that happened brings us back to the question of the bill's authorship, because this blitzkrieg passage wouldn't have been possible without the president's heavy hand.

The Republicans certainly contributed to the JOBS Act, and sponsored the original House bill, and dreamed up some of the final version's more revolting provisions. But the meat of the bill grew out of three different Obama administration working groups.

The first place to look is in Tim Geithner's Treasury Department. About a year ago, in March of 2011, the Treasury Department held a conference to discuss how to provide small companies with access to capital. At that conference Treasury decided to convene a working group called the "IPO Task Force."

The group ended up being chaired by Kate Mitchell, the former head of the National Venture Capital Association, a trade group which, obviously, represents venture capitalists.

The stated purpose of this new task force was to remedy the supposed problem of a nationwide drop in IPOs. When the group ultimately released its report later that year, it continually harped on the fact that the number of IPOs had plummeted in the U.S. since the Clinton years.

"After a one-year high of 791 IPOs in 1996," the group wrote, "the U.S. averaged fewer than 157 per year from 2001 to 2008."

Nowhere in the report did the group mention that the astronomical IPO numbers in the second Clinton term correlated to a massive spike in securities/IPO fraud, which resulted in the creation of a huge bubble of overvalued tech stocks. Nor did they mention that when that bubble eventually burst, it resulted in $5 trillion in lost wealth that mainly hit middle America (although the venture capitalists who launched all of those Clinton-era IPOs got to keep the money they made from those deals).

In any case, this powerful venture capitalists' lobby had a profound impact on the bill. In fact, the conclusions that the Treasury's IPO Task Force listed in a report released later in 2011 are basically indistinguishable from the recommendations of the NVCA.

You can see that as early as last October, when the IPO Task Force issued its report. By then, both the Task force and the NVCA were pimping some of the more controversial aspects of what would become the JOBS Act, including the "on-ramp" period of extended regulatory relief (which would later be set at five years), the lessening of restrictions on pre-IPO communications to investors. This is how the NVCA described the Task Force recommendations last October:

The task force recommends improving the flow of information about emerging growth companies to investors before and after an IPO… by recognizing a greater role for research during the capital formation process, enacting modifications to existing restrictions on banking research, and expanding permissible pre-filing communications.

The IPO group even came up with some of the key terminology that would later be found in the bill. For instance, here's one of the recommendations in its October report.

Create a new category of issuer, "emerging growth company," that lasts up to five years and is transitional…

Build on existing scaled disclosure rules to ease compliance burdens during the transition period while maintaining investor protection.

Around the same time the Treasury Department group was preparing its report, the president's much-ballyhooed Jobs Council was preparing its own policy paper. The new version of the Council, you might remember, was formed in part to answer criticism that Barack Obama somehow hated business and corporations.

Despite the fact that Obama had showered Wall Street with trillions in bailouts (and his Fed appointee Ben Bernanke had given out $16 trillion more in secret emergency lending), the president in the first years of his first term took heat for being too tough on the financial services sector, which particularly objected to the presence of grumpy, down-on-fraud ex-Fed chief Paul Volcker on the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

So Obama basically sacked Volcker to appease Wall Street and renamed the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, calling it the "President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness." He also made a key decision at that time in putting Gene Sperling, a former adviser to both Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, in charge of his National Economic Council.

Sperling was a key figure in one of the great deregulatory efforts in recent American history, serving as Summers's key negotiator during the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Incidentally, just before he took the key Obama post, Sperling earned $887,727 from Goldman Sachs in 2008 for his "advice." His deregulatory fervor would become another factor in the passage of the JOBS Act.

After changing the name of the Economic Recovery Committee to the Jobs Council, Obama made a radical switch of the group's leadership. No more would it be run by a tough-on-crime curmudgeon like Volcker, who complained about the "moral hazard" of massive public assistance to banks coupled with weakened regulation and enforcement; the new council would have a different flavor.

Instead, it would be run by General Electric CEO Jeffery Immelt, a man who basically personified Volcker's "moral hazard" concerns. Immelt collected tens of millions in salaries and bonuses for running a firm that a) came crying to the state for over a hundred billion dollars in bailouts, guarantees and surreptitious Fed support in the years after the crash, and b) was under investigation at the time of Immelt's appointment for a variety of crimes.

Anyway, some time after the crash, as Obama's own SEC was working out how much to fine Immelt's own company for (among other things) accounting fraud and rigging municipal bond bids, Obama decided to put Immelt in charge of a task force that ultimately would recommend a slackening of regulatory enforcement as a means to create jobs.

Immelt's Jobs Council would eventually make a series of recommendations to the president, including among other things a revamping (read: a weakening) of environmental laws, a slackening of immigration rules to allow high-skill immigrants to stay in the U.S., a reduction in the onerous corporate tax burden (Immelt's GE, by the way, not only paid no federal taxes between 2004 and 2009, it received a tax credit of over $4 billion, despite earning $26 billion in American profits), and a new approach to startups that would allow new companies more access to capital.

Obama was apparently lukewarm about the Council's other ideas – the consensus on the Hill seems to be that he thought shredding securities laws would upset his base less than an environmental rollback – but he went for the access-to-capital angle. And you can see the Jobs Council's impact on the JOBS Act clearly in its 2011 year-end report, for instance in this section on "crowdfunding":

Fully leveraging these "crowdfunding" opportunities will require the regulatory changes discussed in our last report, including those that will allow smaller investors to contribute small amounts through crowdfunding platforms.

Immelt's group lobbied hard for a number of other innovations that would later find their way into the intellectual atmosphere surrounding the JOBS Act, including some slackening of those pesky federal securities laws that Immelt's own company was having trouble with.

The third participant in the creation of the JOBS Act came from inside the SEC. The Commission had a task force called the "Advisory Committee on Small And Emerging Companies," which played its own role in forming the JOBS Act.

A curious feature of the JOBS Act is that many portions of this law could have been instituted unilaterally by the SEC, which has had this discretion but for years has chosen not to exercise it, because even the SEC knows many of these ideas suck. In fact, some of this new "Small and Emerging Companies" committee's ideas were actually policies that the SEC had already tried out and discarded, because they didn't work.

For instance, the committee in early January proposed rolling back the ban on general advertising of new public offerings. The SEC already lifted the ban on this sort of advertising once before, in 1992.

But seven years later, after numerous cases of unsophisticated investors being duped by misleading advertising, the SEC, at the height of the tech boom, reversed its own policy, admitting that the change had led to a surge in so-called "microcap fraud":

In some cases, Rule 504 has been used in fraudulent schemes … securities are then placed with broker-dealers who use cold-calling techniques to sell the securities at ever-increasing prices to unknowing investors.  When their inventory of shares is exhausted, these firms permit the artificial market demand created to collapse, and investors lose much, if not all, of their investment.  This scheme is sometimes colloquially referred to as "pump and dump."

It was a great time for the J.T. Marlins of the world. One securities regulation lawyer familiar with the SEC's thinking when they pulled the plug in 1999 put it this way: "They were like, 'Holy shit, we've got a lot of fraud.'"

Now, like an undead monster, the repeal of the so-called "general solicitation" ban is alive again. Some people I talked to who are close to the situation worried specifically about what will happen when you allow public offerings to be advertised "like Viagra," and that the elderly in particular will be popular targets for scammers.

One other note that ought to be of interest: Since the SEC saw fit to create an advisory committee for small and emerging companies, you might naturally assume that they would also create a committee for investors, to help look into the question of how government might better serve and protect their interests. Well, they had such a committee at one time, but it was disbanded in late 2010, after the passage of Dodd-Frank.

But it was reconstituted again. Want to guess when?

How about this past Monday?

That's right, just as the administration started taking heat for passing a law that will make defrauding investors as easy as strolling to your corner bodega, the SEC quietly reconstituted its "Investor Advisory Committee."

Throughout all of this, the Republicans did indeed have their own versions of the bill working their way through the House. Many of the Republican proposals grew out of Darrell Issa's Government Affairs Committee, which started examining securities laws and led to Issa penning a sharply-worded letter to Mary Schapiro (now known popularly as the "Issa letter") which essentially accused the SEC of stifling the growth of all small companies with its tiresome fixation on securities fraud.

The Republican ideas melded with administration ideas and led to the passage of key bills like H.R. 2930, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act, which passed in November with an astonishing vote of 407-17. The way I hear it, many Democrats in the House were either afraid to throw a "no" vote at a bill so important to the financial services industry (particularly in an election year), or else they sincerely agreed with parts of it and were just banking on the gnarlier parts of the bill getting watered down in the senate.

But sending such an important piece of legislation out the door with 400 votes behind it would prove to have serious political consequences. And the bill turned into basically a guaranteed win when the Obama administration issued its "Statement of Administration Policy" about H.R. 2930 on November 2 of last year. For those of you who complained that this is not an administration bill, here's what the White House said about the House version last year:

This proposal, which would enable greater flexibility in soliciting relatively small equity investments, grew out of the President's Startup America initiative and has been endorsed by the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. H.R. 2930 is broadly consistent with the with the President's proposal.

A lot of Democrats in the House and the Senate expected Obama to come out with something a little less slobbery in his response to the Republican bill. It seems, in fact, that this was a replay of the Health Care debate, in which the president gave away his entire negotiating leverage at the start of the fight by not threatening a veto or at least expressing serious dissatisfaction with the bill's lack of investor protections. His only caveat was a small line at the end of the statement about a hope that the bill would continue to be worked on to help guarantee better investor protection.

So the bill eventually left the House with 400 votes and the basically unequivocal rubber-stamp of the Democratic president behind it. It then goes to the Senate, where everyone expects that it will be whittled away at least a little by Senate Democrats, whose individual members have more power than House members to make changes.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Senate debate. In a last-minute change described to me as "very weird," there was basically no formal committee process for this bill. There was no committee markup at all, meaning this monstrously important piece of legislation went straight to the floor without substantive debate.

There was even talk about having the bill voted on by unanimous consent/voice vote, which is what happens in congress when you're voting on something uncontroversial, like naming a post office or adopting a national "Stan Musial Day" or something.

That didn't happen, but still: Instead of allowing the bill to go through a normal debate-and-negotiate process in the Senate, it appears someone in the administration – some on the Hill pointed the finger at Sperling – leaned on the Democratic leadership to simply ram the thing through at high speed by sending it straight to the floor, where it passed with 74 votes, splitting the Democratic vote 26-25.

So to recap: Three different Obama-created committees contributed major policy ideas to the bill. Obama himself heartily endorsed it through his Statement of Administration Policy. And the bill sailed through the Democratic-controlled Senate when someone up above decided it would be too much trouble to bother with the normal committee process of debate, testimony, and amendments.

Of course the Republicans wanted this bill, pushed for it, wrote its most piggish passages. But the Republicans always suck on these issues. The real political question, as it always is in Washington, is how much the Democrats choose to fight back and do their jobs, versus how much they choose to step aside and take Wall Street money in exchange for "letting nature take its course." And the JOBS Act is a classic example of a Democratic administration looking the other way while thieves robbed the store.

 

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+29 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-13 09:26
Matt, I think you are looking at how the bill functions, not how it sounds. Especially in a debate. Pushing the bill through before there had been any groundswell outrage gives Obama bragging rights about making it easier for small businesses to grow.

That fits in perfectly with the small business generates almost all jobs growth meme that most people never doubt.

The bill is election politics. Obama know the risks, it is pretty obvious from what he says.

For the Republicans it is part of their whack-a-mole strategy to eliminate any rules that obstruct their path to remove all wealth from the everyone but the 1%.

By the time one vacuum hole is closed off, two others have opened up. As long as one of these holes are open, the uber wealthy can keep sucking up everyone else's wealth. That is what Obama is missing, the naked egotistical "I want it all" of the 1%. (Actually 50% of the 1%, being rich does not make one one an egomaniac)
 
 
+20 # John Locke 2012-04-13 10:46
LiberalLibertar ian: Obama is not missing anything, he knows exactly what he is doing, as noted in this article he "FIRED" Volker because Wall Street objected to his anti-fraud policies... Its time to wake up, with all this coming out about Saint Obama its time to take the halo off and call him for what he is a "TRAITOR" to America and out Constitution and a limp wrist demagogue who worships Wall Street Fascism...He does whatever they and their minion Geithner says...

Voting for this fool again is like committing freedom to suicide!
 
 
+5 # jes7444 2012-04-13 10:54
Volcker still around!
 
 
+32 # NOMINAE 2012-04-13 14:38
@ jes7444

Volcker is indeed still around - he was just a guest on Bill Moyers' new show, and he is still willing to call this Government/Wall Street Crime Cabal exactly that.

As to most comments here: "There are none so blind as those who *will not* see."

It astounds me that people from Two Dot Montana, etc., think they have greater knowledge of the inside workings of Washington and Wall Street than an investigative reporter like Taibbi, who is right there on the spot watching it happen.

I feel a bit sorry for Matt in this effort to intellectually convince people who think from fear rather than with the intellect. Remember the Dot Com mess ? Hardly. All many people know is *that's* "over" and not a present threat.

People are justifiably terrified, and, for them, all of Matt's incredible research, analysis, and fact-checking is wasted while they *are* in terror and thus unable to think logically/ratio nally for themselves.

I include myself, simply by the fact of geography, among those doomed to abject personal ignorance regarding the inside machinations of D.C. and Wall Street.

Therefore, I have learned gratitude from being educated by voices like Taibbi's whom I have come to trust over the years.

For those who do appreciate your quest for excellence, Matt, many thanks. As for the rest ........ simply consider the source. {;-)
 
 
+10 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-13 10:55
John,

The alternative is worse. I hope you understand that by not voting for Obama, you are putting the country in a more precarious economic position than are on now. Also, Obama has proven that he is adept at foreign policy. Romney is take over CEO, not diplomatic bone in his body.

I do understand that sometimes you gotta blow it all up and start over. I am not ready to go there, and I do sympathize with those of you that are partial to that pint of view. (I am only talking about blowing up as reference to our economic / government relationship; no bombs needed)
 
 
+4 # John Locke 2012-04-13 11:32
LiberalLibertar ian: With no disrespect intended, what will it take for you to finally see through Obama as the traiter he is... Please look at his record against our Civil Rights and his abuse of them... I honestly don't believe Romney would be any worse, and I can not in good conscience vote for a man who has demonstrated over and over that he is my enemy!
 
 
+12 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-13 13:30
John,

No disrespect taken. I hope that what we are doing is having an adult discussion between two almost sane individuals.

I also believe Romney likely would not be any worse on Civil Rights. It is more likely, unfortunately, that he will not be any better. On the other hand, we do have Obama's Supreme Court nominations as history and both have been rather good. I doubt that Romney is truly free to nominate who he wants; he owes the far right wing Republicans tribute.

Also, as I noted before Romney's professional personality is not that of a diplomatic negotiator, and his only financial comprehension is in terms of Wall Street and instant gratification.

The worst part is, is that Romney was the only significant Republican candidate that I was confident would not totally destroy the country. That being said, your Civil Rights issues with Obama are absolutely true. I just think we do not have critical mass YET to make that into an election cause. The economic issues can be addressed in Congressional elections in 2012. I will take a small, tiny victory today if it does not jeopardize total victory tomorrow. Until I see that, I will continue to support Obama.
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-04-13 14:23
LiberalLibertar ian: "I will take a small, tiny victory today if it does not jeopardize total victory tomorrow:

I Understand your position! However, under that theory there must be at least some Victory!... What would that be?

As I see it, both Obama and Romney have the same platform regarding creating jobs and the economy, (Nothing) as for foreign policy (Similar) as for Civil Rights (The Same) as for following Wall Street's Orders (the Same)

The only difference appears to be in women's issues, and from Obama's history on caving in to the republicans we may as well have Romney at the helm anyway. I am not for Romney nor will I support Obama!

As a matter of fact Obama is losing his support base quite quickly...

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday 4-13-12 shows that 24% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -17...

In a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup, Mitt Romney earns 48% of the vote, while President Obama attracts 44%...In the past week Obama has dropped nearly 7 percentage points from a 3 point lead to 4 poins behind Romney...

History will determine which of us is correct!
 
 
+1 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-13 14:41
Fair enough, lets keep comparing notes as we go along!
 
 
+1 # RLF 2012-04-15 06:19
Obama...the best Republican president they never elected!
 
 
+7 # LstNailinDaKoffin 2012-04-13 21:27
"The alternative is worse." Really?
Jill Stein of the Green Party is worse than obama? How so? Rocky Anderson is worse than obama? How so?

Oh I get it. obama is worse than romney... maybe....

You just can't vote for any of those liberal 3rd party candidates, right? And why? Because they can't win! And why can't they win? Because you won't vote for them. The wheels of the bus go round and round... round and round...

Look I know you don't think you've been brainwashed. But you have. I'll even tell you the EXACT type of propaganda that you've been brainwashed by (even though I'm sure you'll continue to live in denial). You've been tricked by the common propaganda of the Lesser to 2 evils propaganda and Bandwagon propaganda. Most people don't realize the Lesser of 2 Evils is propaganda and pass it off as folk wisdom. It just a trick to get you to vote against your interests based on a fear of something even worse.

People like you will NEVER change this country for the better. never. never. never. You will ALWAYS be stuck in the same trap of voting democrat no matter how terrible a job they did in office because the ONLY alternative you will allow yourself to see is the republicans who will ALWAYS be worse.

Congratulations you're doing your part to keep our elections as nothing more than a ritual to perpetuate the status quo.
 
 
+1 # RLF 2012-04-15 06:24
One connection not made is that once Glass/Steagal was resended, small business had to find private capital to finance themselves and their projects. Before, it was possible to go to the bank and fund a project for a reasonable interest rate and you were watched by local bankers. After, private equity wants 30% of the business plus interest to finance anything...what a coup for Wall St. in ways yet to be fathomed! Go Matt...great article.
 
 
-17 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-13 10:20
Matt, good call...the thieves on Wall Street will certainly dupe everyone and there will be rampant fraud on the unsuspecting. Thank you Mr. Obama. Obama is so clueless and should be voted out of the White House because he has no ability to lead and every one of his policies is designed to harm America.
 
 
+20 # JCM 2012-04-13 10:40
If you don't vote for Obama and every Democrat you can you will get; the Paul Ryan budget plan, reducing the Pell Grant, deeper cuts in Social Security, deeper cuts in Medicare, cuts in the Department of Education, reduced regulation for the protection of the environment, reduced taxes for the very wealthy, reduced budget for clean energy, reduced regulation on the financial and petroleum industries and maybe all out war. Obama believes in a budget that would help restore the middle class, increased the Pell Grant, and believes in a budget with shared sacrificed. Believes in the environment, in education, in regulations for the protection of the working class and has tried to pass legislation to provide for that but “working” with the Republicans has made it impossible. This list can go on a long time and Obama is no neo-con for more war. Progressives and liberals need to fight for the Democrats with their vote and their rhetoric. If you don’t, you get the Republicans. There is no third choice for this election. If they try to tell you differently they are working for the Republicans. If you want to change politics prepare years before the election, otherwise get on board and fight for the Democrats. They are flawed but still our best chance to succeed.
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-04-13 11:34
JCM: what color are the rose glasses you are wearing? What will it take for you to see through Saint Obama?
 
 
+9 # JCM 2012-04-13 12:09
The glasses I'm wearing clearly see that if the Republicans win the Presidency and Congress our country will continue to be raped by those only interested in the very wealthiest, the Republican party. You rail against Obama with no clear or realistic alternative. Your rhetoric will only help the Republicans win.
 
 
-24 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-13 12:42
JCM, we need a patriot in the White House, not this Obama guy who is at every turn destroying the US from the top. His policies are undermining our economy and he wants to separate us by class so that nothing gets accomplished. If Obama gets re-elected he will essentially dismiss Congress and becom the Emperor and do what ever he wants to further take America down. Obama has done everything including using Executive Orders to usurp the House and the Senate to put in policies that are destructive. Along with the do nothing of his job, Eric Holder in the DoJ, Obama is rampantly destroying the framework of the US.
 
 
+6 # JCM 2012-04-13 13:04
Frankly, that is delusional Republican talking points. If you want the Republicans to win see my comment above.
 
 
+13 # BradFromSalem 2012-04-13 13:40
RobtEagle,

Can you document your repeated assertions that Obama plans a coup after the election? You sound just like a women that my wife met in line at the Supermarket yesterday. She told my wife "I am not a Rascist, but no White People are getting jobs since Obama became President"

I am guessing that while the President is running around the country telling companies to only hire Black American men (see the Mittster's comments about Women, jobs and Obama)he also arranging for is secret army to gain control of the government so we don't complain about his coup.

So, is the President a total incompetent, or an evil master mind at a level that would make Lex Luthor jealous? You have been calling him both, which is it?
 
 
-6 # John Locke 2012-04-13 14:37
LiberalLibertar ian: If I may step in here and respond to your question above?

"is the President a total incompetent, or an evil master mind at a level that would make Lex Luthor jealous"

I would have to go with both for my answer!
 
 
0 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-16 14:25
Couldn"t care if Obama was green or polka dots...his policies are a disaster.
 
 
-3 # John Locke 2012-04-13 14:34
JCM: They are winning now in the polls, and that is not my doing, that is the doing of those democrats that gave him a free pass and ignored his record...his record is his worst enemy and the people are seeing this...

I tried to wake people up here for a long time but it was impossible to open a discussion without receiving thumbs down, because they did not want to hear anything negative about Saint Obama...

Perhaps if they had attacked his record in numbers things might have worked out differently... as it is now those same die hard democrats will be his undoing! Romney will run against Obama's record and destroy Obama's credibility...
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-13 14:53
I believe criticism of your own party is essential to democracy but not months before an election. You, apparently, are unaffected or even promote the Republicans record.
 
 
0 # John Locke 2012-04-13 17:49
JCM: Quite the contrary, I don't want either a republican or a Democrat elected! I think they are one and the same today...with either we lose! I just can not bring myself to support a "man" who has alienated my rights as An American Citizen...I did not bargain for an elimination of my Bill of Rights and I consider Obama a Traitor, who if we had a real government would have been impeached and possibly tried for Treason!
 
 
+3 # JCM 2012-04-13 19:13
Historically there have been people who considered themselves Progressive and wanted to punish the Democrats for not being Progressive enough. What they got in return was more Republican control that made the country much worse. We need to learn from history and in turn fight for the Democrats. You may hate Obama but the alternative you will end up with if he and the Democrats lose will be much worse. If you consider yourself a Progressive and have been paying attention to the Republicans record then anything you hate Obama for will pale in comparison to what the Republicans will do to your rights and our country.
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-04-14 10:37
JCM, I don't believe that, the Republican agenda has been moving faster under Democrats then republicans...
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-14 12:28
If McCain won and the Republicans took over Congress they would have: let the auto industry fail, would have passed the Ryan budget destroying Medicare as we know it and probably would have crashed Social Security as well, would have decreased regulation on the petroleum and financial industries, added another two conservative judges on the Supreme Court and at this time repealed Roe v Wade and countless other beneficial rulings for the working class, would have continued health care as usual so that people could still be denied insurance when they got sick and the people with pre existing conditions would still be out of luck, would not have passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act. I have to stop here though the list could go on for a long time. In short, it is just not factually true that the Republican agenda has been moving faster. Part of the reason things have gone further to the right since 2010 was due to Democrats, Progressives and Liberals not voting for the party that most represents their interests. The Democrats in Congress see their looses and think the people that vote want things more to the right. If you don’t support them, what can you expect?
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-04-14 15:35
JCM I agree with some of what you write and disagree with some, about 50/50...we'll leave it at that...
 
 
+2 # LstNailinDaKoffin 2012-04-13 22:03
"There is no third choice for this election" Why is that? Could it be because of the propaganda you are spewing right here on this comment page?
"If you don’t, you get the Republicans" = Lesser of 2 Evils Propaganda.

People like you are the problem. You're going to vote for obama no matter what he does. You have turned our elections into a farce.

Because you will always vote for the democrats if someone else hasn't done all the work for you to make you feel comfortable voting for a 3rd party candidate when you're being told that it is "throwing your vote away" (which is bandwagon propaganda btw).
And guess what? THAT'S EXACTLY WHY OBAMA AND THE DEMS DON'T CARE AT ALL ABOUT US LIBERALS. They know we'll just turn around and vote for them no matter what like a bunch of brainwashed fools.

The teabaggers who we all LOVE to laugh at are MUCH more effective at getting policy change than us liberals. Do know why?
Because they organize to run vicious primaries against politicians who cross them. They punish politicians with their vote and aren't afraid to vote 3rd party. THAT'S WHY!

But where was the primary changeller to obama? Oh that's right. nonexistent. And the answer is to reward him with a second term after he turned into a republican right in front of your face for 3 years?
Do you even understand what kind of message that sends to career politicians about the voting public?
 
 
-3 # JCM 2012-04-14 12:44
The Tea Party people were funded by the likes of the Koch brothers. And one of the main reasons this country is going so far right is that we don't support the Democrats enough.
 
 
+1 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-16 03:58
LstNail:

Don't despair. Just keep speaking truth to power – and irrationality.

There are more and more people who aren't buying the B.S. about the lesser of two evils.
 
 
+17 # bdeja 2012-04-13 10:49
The republicans must not win any sort of control and that includes the Presidency. Fore if they and their corporate interests were to own this government we would the next day lose every decent thing just as have being doing in their mini kingdoms such as Wisconsin and Ohio. President Obama has been pretty terrible but his fall into the abyss of the right-wing corporate greed, callousness, indifference, ignorance and meanness needs our efforts to move him to change.
 
 
+18 # erogers 2012-04-13 11:38
A question for Robert Eagle. Who would you replace Obama with? Mitt Romney, who is married to Wall Street? That will be the Republican candidate come November. You continue to declare that Obama must go, but as yet you have not provided an alternative.
 
 
-4 # John Locke 2012-04-13 11:59
erogers: its down to which of the two evils you prefer to enslave us! a very pathetic choice indeed...that was a direct result of the people here defending their saint instead in looking for a real alternative...n ow indeed we are finished the rest is just window dressing...
 
 
+5 # Bill Clements 2012-04-13 12:41
A "pathetic choice," but, again, what better alternative do you have to offer?
 
 
-8 # John Locke 2012-04-13 14:42
Bill: Sitting out the election!

When the voting statistics are reviewed they will know we see through the two party scam. Meanwhile we have the next 4 years to regroup and promote a third party with a real candidate...

Whether Obama or Romney does not make much difference, surely not enough to even waste the time to vote.
 
 
+1 # 666 2012-04-13 14:51
alternative? vote 3rd 4th or 5th party. get out of this binary insanity. We'll have hell if the gop gets control, and obama will make sure we get gop hell if they can't do it themselves. when exactly has he ever stood up to the gop?! put on your glasses people, gop=dem. there's no f-ing difference. reading this list today I fear there is no hope for this country. it'll just be 8 more months of "please don't vote gop, please vote obama" blah blah blah... johnlocke paraphrases lenin's "what is to be done?" it's worth reading the whole thing.
chose your slave master or chose freedom
 
 
+4 # Smiley 2012-04-13 15:12
Speaking for myself, I'm done voting for evil. I will vote for president, but I will not vote for either (Romney or Obama) corporate pawn or willing criminal. Actually Obama scares me more just because he can speak so well. He fooled me ONCE.
 
 
+31 # HowardMH 2012-04-13 10:24
Thanks Matt, but it looks like you are wasting your time. As Forest said, "Stupid Is as Stupid Does" and we got a whole lot of stupid out there just letting this crap happen. Only after their jobs are gone, their health care is gone and the richest 400 in the US basically control everything, will enough people finally figure out they have been screwed. Go 99ers, you are the only hope we have left.
 
 
+18 # Jane Gilgun 2012-04-13 10:31
This is sad. No moral compass here. I hope investors avoid investing in start-ups. That would force a change in the bill. Fairness no longer governs politics. All we have to push back with is an argument based on money. Cry, the beloved country.
 
 
-11 # jes7444 2012-04-13 10:53
After 2008 I think the public has smartened up!
 
 
+4 # Jane Gilgun 2012-04-14 08:02
I don't understand what you mean. I wonder if people are too busy taking care of themselves and their families to realize how short-sighted fantatism based on hatred and mistrust has taken over policies that affect their lives. What is the public now smarter about? What is your evidence?
 
 
-2 # jes7444 2012-04-13 10:51
After the meltdown of 2008 it is hard for me to believe that investors will just jump into these startups - people wary of Wall Street and Brokers - I myself wouldn't believe anything a Broker would say and I am just the average investor...I believe people have smartened up....we'll see...I am sure Wall St. is chomping at the bit but don't see a success story here...just my opinion....
 
 
+8 # John Whiting 2012-04-13 11:05
Whenever I think that Obama has reached the bottom, there's still another sub-basement opening up.
 
 
+1 # John Locke 2012-04-13 11:39
There appears to be no bottom to where he can go!
 
 
+12 # AEH 2012-04-13 11:26
Thank God for Matt. The work done to compile these facts must have been massive, & the information is there to be used by ANYone interested in challenging the take-over of this government by the forces of big-money. The article is also so terribly depressing that it makes having any hope of gaining what we voted for in 2008 almost delusionary.... but what other choice is there but to work hard for Democrats this November & try to come up with new ways to convince people that, as of now, the best hope for the 99% lies with Democrats - this bill to the contrary. How the hell do you convince people when garbage like this bill contradicts everydamnthing you try to say?
 
 
+18 # seeuingoa 2012-04-13 11:28
Vote Green/Alternati ve/Third Party!

Don´t vote reps or dems they have both
totally let us down.

Better to vote for a loser than against your principles.

and then

OCCUPY OCCUPY OCCUPY

Gandhi style:

Step 1: Sit down and get arrested,
Peacefully

Step 2: When released after a few hours,
repeat Step 1.

Where will they put all these people?

Guantanamo?
Concentration Camps?

and show their true face
 
 
+6 # Doubter 2012-04-13 13:41
"Where will they put all these people?
Guantanamo?
Concentration Camps?
and show their true face"

Aren't they ALREADY screwing us baldfacedly?
Good luck on waking all the sound sleepers.
It looks like it will take hunger pangs to wake the majority, and by then they'll be too weak to act meaningfully. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but I fear I am being realistic.
 
 
+10 # cordleycoit 2012-04-13 13:21
Classic case of liberal process addiction getting in the way of the facts. We do not have to allow the banksters to benefit from every piece of legislation. Fainess does not mean being fair to the criminals playing with our money.
 
 
+4 # jwb110 2012-04-13 17:32
It's not IPO companies that will turn the nation around. It's Dry Cleaners and Markets and Liquor Stores, Tailors and Shoe Repair and the like.
The Last thing we need is more stock, i.e. risk, tied up in the Stock Market. Wholly own businesses are the only way the average American can claw his way back. If you have money in the market take it out and either start a business and lend to someone who wants to start a business. Preferably cash and carrry.
 
 
0 # LstNailinDaKoffin 2012-04-13 22:50
Hey I have a general question to any and all obama supporters which is this:

Is there any line at all that obama could cross that would cause him to lose your vote?

Seriously... anything? War with Iran? A nuclear war with Iran? Still voting for him then?
How about if he let multinational corporations and wall street bankers become the only recognized US citizens under the constitution? What you still vote for him if it was said that he did so to appease the republicans? Would that excuse still work in your minds?
What if he openly declared every member of Occupy Wallstreet to be a domestic terrorists and had them indefinetly detained? Would you then consider voting for the Green party or would you just say "Oh well at least obama ain't a republican because they would've tortured the protesters!"

I realize my examples are heavily hyperbolic but I'm seriously wondering if there is any line whatsoever.

And if anyone does reply please spare me a lecture on the republicans, ok? I don't vote based on the Lesser of 2 Evils because it's nothing more than trap of propaganda that only works because nearly everyone buy into it. No more for me. So stick to the question if you can. Where is the line that obama would have to cross that would cause to not vote for him?
 
 
-4 # JCM 2012-04-14 15:05
Just in case you missed this earlier. If you don't vote for Obama and every Democrat you can you will get; the Paul Ryan budget plan, reducing the Pell Grant, deeper cuts in Social Security, deeper cuts in Medicare, cuts in the Department of Education, reduced regulation for the protection of the environment, reduced taxes for the very wealthy, reduced budget for clean energy, reduced regulation on the financial and petroleum industries and maybe all out war. Obama believes in a budget that would help restore the middle class, increased the Pell Grant, and believes in a budget with shared sacrificed. Believes in the environment, in education, in regulations for the protection of the working class and has tried to pass legislation to provide for that but “working” with the Republicans has made it impossible. This list can go on a long time and Obama is no neo-con for more war. Progressives and liberals need to fight for the Democrats with their vote and their rhetoric. If you don’t, you get the Republicans. There is no third choice for this election. If they try to tell you differently they are working for the Republicans. If you want to change politics prepare years before the election, otherwise get on board and fight for the Democrats. In addition, another conservative Supreme Court Justice will make positive change nearly impossible. And one of the biggest problems with Democrats are the people would rather punish them and let the Republicans win.
 
 
-1 # JCM 2012-04-14 15:35
It is much more realistic to change politics by putting the right kind of people into the Democratic Party. The Tea Party people didn’t go for a third party; they got people elected into the Republican Party. The Democrats have a big disadvantage in this respect. There are few large corporations or individuals with big money willing to support people who will represent the 99%.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2012-04-17 13:56
Continueing to chant vote dem so we don't get the repubs means you will never get anything from the dems. Building a third party doesn't mean u think they could win today but, rather, that in an evenly divided body politic a serious third party with even 5% of the vote would have the power to tell the dems if you want our votes this is what we want in return...it is the threat of withholding a sizable voting block (as opposed to individuals simply saying I won't vote or will vote for one of the tiny, fractured "third parties") that matters. I agree with those that say that the dems and Obama suck...100%...i also agree with those say that the repubs (particularly if they control the presidency and congress) would be worse (though to be honest, i don't see any difference between Obama's foreign policy and Bush's and on the domestic front Obama has been able to undue civil and constitutional rights that most here would have been up in arms about if Bush had tried to get away with it). Bottom line for me is that even if you believe we have to vote for Obama for whatever reason that does not mean we need to justify or defend this guy and his policies in any way shape or form. Get over it...Obama was never going to be the Messiah so many thought he would be...he was always Wall Street's guy, Change comes when there is a mass movement or a 3rd party with clout (which doesn't mean they have to win). And change in this country comes from mass movements not elected officials.
 
 
0 # andyseles 2012-04-24 20:01
dkon, I'm soooo with you. I get a real kick out of the comments made by those who so enjoy Washington (aka Wall Street)
kabuki, as if tweedle dee and tweedle dum aren't basically twins (okay, "fraternal" twins). I'm with the mass movement...it's called "Occupy" and dear Dems, it's not for sale. 3rd party...maybe someday, but not anytime soon. Occupy something, join a working group, take over your town or city and whatever you do, don't buy anyone's new best idea or product... this is the last squeeze on the middle class.
 

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