it's morning in america

Congress Yells At Its Bank (China)

  • The Chinese tire of our 'stimulus plans.'You know how when you’re low on money and payday is still forever in the future and yet you’ve got to pay for food and gas and your apartment and your old parents and your occupation armies in Afghanistan and Iraq? Sometimes it just feels good to yell like a crazy person at your bank. Just walk on in there and start jabbering enraged nonsense at the branch manager: “This is an ugly and stupid bank and it sucks! Bet you don’t even pay your employees enough! And what about those billion-dollar bonuses you give to the CEO and then you have the nerve to charge me $36 for one stinkin’ bounced check? And then you don’t clear that Verizon rebate check I put in the ATM like a year after they sent it, because it got lost, because it’s supposedly not good? So money’s not good now, American money? You’re a freakin’ dictator is what!” Well that is exactly what Republican and Democratic members of Congress will do today when Chinese President Hu Jintao arrives at the Capitol to take a look at his possession, America. The excitable Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) already called Hu a “dictator” on some hate-radio show, and damp douche pad Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) went on CNN to tell its seven viewers that China was a “gangster regime that murders their own people and should be treated in that way.” There was a State Dinner at the White House, too. [New York Times/Washington Post/Guardian]
  • Gabrielle Giffords continues to amaze as she is now standing (with assistance) and will be transferred tomorrow to a rehabilitation hospital in Houston that’s well known for its work with brain injuries. [AZ Central]
  • Only 404,000 lucky ducks filed for new unemployment benefits last week! That’s on the low end of what economists expected, so, hooray? Any other good news from the business desk? “Those who’ve used up their traditional benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments increased by about 29,000 to 4.68 million in the week ended Jan. 1.” Uhh. Oh yeah, and Morgan Stanley’s “wealth management services” division had HUGE growth and profits in the last quarter, it was announced this morning. Huge. A net income increase of $272 million, which is a 68% jump over the previous quarter. [Bloomberg/Reuters]
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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne

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110 comments

  1. Barbara_i

    Hey, let's not piss China off. We may need a loan to be able to pay $25.00 on E-Bay for a box of OB tampons.

        1. charlesdegoal

          With all due respect, this has got more to do with palindromes than baseball. Only Cambodia can claim to have had two palindromic leaders in Lon Nol and U Nu. I'm eagerly waiting for the Chinese Communist Party to do what is right and give us a top official with not just a backward view of human rights but a name to match.

          1. V572625694

            Murderous despot Lon Nol was our puppet in Cambo for a while. Pretty sure U Nu was Burmese/Myanmarese, but too lazy to google. Just trying to help out here.

          2. DoktorZoom

            It was a pun.

            A pun?!

            No, no … not a pun … What's the other thing where it reads the same backwards as forwards?

            A palindrome?

            Yeah, that's it–one of those.

            It's not a palindrome! The palindrome of "Bolton" would be "Notlob!" It don't work!!

            Well, what do you want?

            No, I'm sorry! I'm not prepared to pursue my line of inquiry any longer as I think this is getting too silly!

    1. GregComlish

      No Xiang is on first. Hu's on Second.

      Nothing is on First?

      I said Xiang is on First.

      Huh?

      Third Base!

    2. Negropolis

      I just realized that Hu Jintao is the chair of all three leadership posts in China, at the moment in their very confusing system of government. This guy is the shit when it comes to China, not just some figurehead president.

      So, Hu's on first, second, and third all at once. Damn.

  2. Texan_Bulldog

    Good luck, Gabby. If you can survive a bullet going through your brain, you should be able to handle Houston's humidity, traffic, smog, general overall suckiness and, oh, according to Babs, all those brown Katrina survivors.

    1. charlesdegoal

      Another caveat to keep in mind is that, regardless of how good they claim to be at fixing brain damage, they could do nothing for a long line of Texans exhibiting symptoms of same.

  3. SorosBot

    Good idea, Senate, deliberately antagonize the foreign leader who holds much of our debt and whose country builds all of our stuff.

    1. Negropolis

      That's right, just bend over and enjoy it.

      I, for once, don't welcome our amoral, asshole overlords. Oh, I mean our new amoral, asshole overlords.

  4. x111e7thst

    Those LOSERS who’ve used up their traditional benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments clearly just need to avail themselves of Morgan Stanley’s wealth management services. WTF is their problem? Are they lazy? Stupid?

    1. LesBontemps

      Yet another reason the long-term unemployed don't deserve any "help." They're just squandering that money on food and rent and heating oil, probably.

  5. BaldarTFlagass

    I hate banks…
    I just can't stand 'em.
    Gimme a shovel & man I'll plant 'em.
    Six feet under thats where they belong…
    I hate banks is the name of this song.
    I think I'll rob myself one or two…
    Yeah I hate banks, yeah, how 'bout you?

    Well…lend me a nickel & lend me a dime,
    repossess my house any old time.
    Financial institutions think they're so high faluting…
    Just a bunch of fruits in three piece suits,
    trying to steal all my loot.
    Things are smelling pretty rank,
    We must be near a stinking bank.
    Smells worse than Rockefeller's feet,
    Wall Street can eat my meat

    Thanks, Mojo.

      1. horsedreamer_1

        Exactly how old are you? That Mojo album lists a 1987 release, but, then, your album is from 2003. Were you just a precocious pre-teen in the late eighties, or a late-bloomer in the Noughties?

        1. Ken Layne

          Ha ha it is all part of a very long conceptual art project that is, I hope, only about halfway finished. I was, however, a teen-aged drunkard when the wise & kind Mojo gave my shitty band some legitimacy by being its guitarist until we could trick somebody else into doing it full-time, and Mojo was also responsible for my first record contract with a little label in Austin. He is a national hero and his afternoon radio show on Sirius/XM is mighty good. A month or two ago I sat in the driveway of a motel late at night, listening to Mojo and Steve Earle talk for an hour about various Springsteen shows they went to in the '80s, and I remembered an epic 1984 LA sports arena show I went to with Mojo — you go to a Bruce concert with him, and you get Mojo performing every Springsteen song while doing the pogo for three hours.

          1. TheHigherSpread

            I wouldn't expect Mojo to be into Springsteen! Hmm. I guess that makes sense, now that I stop and think about it for a moment.

            Saw him at the Covered Dish in Gainesville in the early '90s. His performance of "Bring Me The Head of David Geffen" was the first time I ever heard the Keanu-married-David rumor. Mojo Nixon is a treasure.

          2. horsedreamer_1

            Cannot say for all the punkers, particularly those still kicking out the jams while being my stepbrother's age (45), but of late, it seems all the indie-rockers (cough, Arcade Fire, cough) have been arena-rock minded & somehow Bruce got lumped in with that. I think because he's anthemic?

          3. TheHigherSpread

            Yeah, Springsteen became this touchstone (not just Arcade Fire, but The Hold Steady was the big one), which seemed to embody indie's rock search for Absolute Earnestness. In terms of stage presence, no one will be or has been more earnest than Springsteen. I'm not a fan of the music myself, but I can definitely see how he became an icon for people who just wanted to Touch People Through Music.

          4. horsedreamer_1

            While Gary Glitter & Pete Townsend are icons for Musicians Who Want to Touch People.

            Seriously, though: it makes sense. Even if, prior to learning of the indie-rock Springsteen love, the biggest Springsteen booster of whom I knew was a late-afternoon sports-talk jockey with a decidedly Falangist bent. (By & by: big ups, Steve "The Homer" True.) The juxtaposition of "The Homer" & his politics with Winfield Butler & his trust-fund & taking advantage of that to leave a country he disdains jarred me.

            Also: can we agree that before Springsteen, Tom Petty was getting a lot of the indie-rock love for his earnestness?

          5. Ken Layne

            There's a stretch of Bruce that reaches almost to Nebraska that is this huge American Loser romantic/beat West Side Story/Badlands two-dollar opera, and it's very appealing to the teen-aged sensitive male mind of the late '70s/early '80s, which is why all these punk & hillbilly poets — Joe Strummer, Steve Earle, Patti Smith, Warren Zevon, Tom Waits, Emmylou Harris — all dug Springsteen so much. I didn't listen to him much again after that period and it doesn't appeal all that much to me as an adult, but every now and then I put on Darkness … when I'm doing a late-night drive alone.

          6. BaldarTFlagass

            Wow, the guy that edits my favorite webpage is an associate of one of my favorite musicians. It's like, suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly, somebody says: plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp. No point in looking for an explanation. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.

            Plus, Mojo at Continental Club in Austin, February 25th.

          7. FNMA

            Mojo's show is the tits. I like the promo that Lyle Lovett recorded for him, says "You're listening to that booger-eating retard, Mojo Nixon. I can't believe I just said that."

  6. PsycWench

    This is kinda like saying that you're going to take your bat and ball and go home and then when you turn, you realize that the bat and ball aren't exactly yours anymore.

  7. PsycWench

    Also: Gabrielle Giffords for President in 2016. Anyone who can pull off such miracles when she's been sedated much of the time is sorely needed in the White House.

  8. Terry

    "Morgan Stanley's (MS.N) global wealth management division added $14 billion in net new client assets during the fourth quarter, bringing the division back on track to meet ambitious growth targets set by Chief Executive James Gorman."

    "Morgan Stanley's ranks of financial advisers continued to fall, down 76 advisers during the fourth quarter to 18,043 worldwide. But its advisers were more productive, generating an average of $742,000 in annualized fees and commissions, up 8 percent from the third quarter."

    Fewer staff working longer and harder. That's a pattern we've seen more than a few times. In a year or two, if they stick with the pattern, they'll lay off all their US based employees and have all their staff based somewhere like China.

    All to meet "ambitious goals" set by their chief executive, who will then accept a huge golden parachute and move to another company.

    1. GOPCrusher

      Sadly enough, I think we may be closing in on the Second American Revolution, where the rich are dragged out into the streets and guillotined by the starving masses.
      Reports of the corporations recording record profits while Electrolux (insert name of any corporation) is closing plants here in Iowa (insert name of any state) and putting 500 people out of work, so they can move production to Mexico are not going to be tolerated for much longer.
      Wonder if the Tea Baggers will be willing to stand along side their Republiklan overlords once the shit hits the fan?

  9. charlesdegoal

    You lose if you call them dictators and you lose if you don't. Everybody here is "shocked" by the fact that Ben Ali was kowtowed to for 25 years by an assortment of French officials. Difficult to play it right, to know when to hold or fold. Saddam was famously a friend once, as were countless tyrants the world over. The lesson may be that it's easier to insult bankers (landlords, dealers, etc.) if you don't need what they have.

  10. BaldarTFlagass

    I fully expect one of the Republican Senators to break into that old childhood favorite
    Ching Chong Chinaman, sitting on a fence,
    Tryin' to make a quarter out of fifteen cents

    Without seeing the irony that, in fact, said Chinaman has figured out how to do just that, to our expense.

    This is not the guy that built the railroads.

  11. baconzgood

    Cuba=BAD commies
    China= Good Commies!!!

    "I like Chinese, I like Chinese
    There's over one billion of them in the world today
    you better learn to like them that's why I say
    I like Chinese, I like Chinese"

  12. Serolf_Divad

    I have a hope that the bullet will have unlocked Super Powers in Gabrielle Gifford's lizard brain that will give her super strength, allow her to fly, see through solid objects, and crush the GOP agenda through mind-control techniques (imagine every GOP congressperson and senator rising to the podium and announcing the names of their mistresses and illegitimate children to the country live on C-Span)..

    1. KochFembot

      Then everyone with a gun will try to get those same superpowers and shoot themselves in the head. WIN!!

  13. Barbara_i

    Oh, and a shout out for Vera Wang and Jackie Chan for showing up to take one for the team to be diplomats. Snookie's calendar is free if the Premier of Dumbfuckistan ever shows up.

    1. Negropolis

      Snookies calender is actually freed up for Berlusconi. He likes pretty(?) young things, especially of (partial) Italian descent, you know.

  14. Serolf_Divad

    Oh yeah, and Morgan Stanley’s “wealth management services” division had HUGE growth and profits in the last quarter, it was announced this morning. Huge. A net income increase of $272 million, which is a 68% jump over the previous quarter.

    Repeat after me: Barack Obama is the most anti-business president this country has ever seen.

    1. DoktorZoom

      No kidding–just imagine what they could have achieved if they hadn't had him holding them back like that.

  15. arihaya

    “gangster regime that murders their own people and should be treated in that way.”

    then why don't they started bombing Beijing like they bombed Baghdad? are they afraid?

    these politicians behavior remind me of kindergarten bully

    1. Negropolis

      America's equal opportunity when it comes to killing. China kills it's own, but we kill just about everything else, Americans, Iraqis, gay, black, brown, yellow, Mexican, etc..

      1. zhubajie

        Probably the US will have it's next war/struggle/whatever with China. Probably not directly, but by promoting independence movements in Tibet, Xinjiang, Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, the Zhuang Autonomous Region, etc. It won't help the people being "liberated" but it'll probably employ a lot of mercenaries and profit "defense" corps.

        At least some End-times Idiots have already discovered a nuclear war between the US and the PRC in the book of Revelation (www.endtime.com/ )

        G-d forbid that the US not be fighting an evil empire somewhere or other at all times!

  16. mavenmaven

    They say all those things about China because, you know, they don't want people to know who the real "foreign investors" now paying for their election campaigns are.

    1. horsedreamer_1

      You mean to tell me the to-do over Bill Clinton not actually taking campaign monies from Chinamen was just a smoke-screen for the Republicans doing exactly that.

  17. BklynIlluminati

    How pissed off do you think the USSR oldies are? Wait what we could have won just by lending them money??!!

  18. harry_palmer

    While our paragon of a government was trying to decide whether to send that thug Hu to Gitmo or Bagram, hit him with a predator drone, or disappear him via extraordinary rendition like we do to most Asiatics who oppose our efforts to democrarize them, Hu calmly informed him China would switch to the Euro as exchange currency and cut their losses if anything happened to him. Obama stamped his foot impotently, Boner put on a panda suit, and Morgan Stanley transferred all its remaining assets to the Bahamas.

  19. The Fiddler

    Congress should be nice to Hu so we can ask him for a PayDay Loan. I hear those are a really good deal.

  20. V572625694

    Can I just tiresomely point out once again that Chinese purchases of our government bonds are an investment by them in us, and thus an expression of trust in our system over their own, and not an equity investment with voting rights, wingnut whining notwithstanding?

    Apparently I can. Learn some finance, Memestream Media. The bonds aren't callable.

    1. SorosBot

      Shh! If the American people were to learn this they might start blaming our corporate overlords for high unemployment and stagnant wages instead of the yellow peril.

      1. V572625694

        I knew that you, Ken, as a former business reporter, would have a deeper understanding of the complexities these matters. China’s a totalitarian dictatorship, sure, but lookit how cheap these sneakers are! If more people smoked cigars, we’d be tradin’ w/Cuba!

    2. zhubajie

      It's a gamble. China is a civilization of gamblers, always willing to take a chance, not thinking ahead too far. Probably buying all the US debt will turn out to be a bad bet!

  21. CapnFatback

    The only problem with denouncing China is that an hour later, you want to borrow 500 billion dollars from them.

  22. WhatTheHeck

    I hope Hu brought a Toaster oven to give to his biggest customer – The U.S. Congress. Its what banks are supposed to do.

    1. V572625694

      Your stockbroker's job is to transfer your wealth to him, slowly, incrementally, relentlessly. Then at 3:00 PM: off to the course!

  23. Troubledog

    Also, Hu, WTF on Chinese shoe companies signing dudes like Steve Nash to wear their gear?

    Americans insist their Chinese-made athletic shoes be sold to them by American-owned companies as the founding fathers intended.

  24. ttommyunger

    How can our Media report with a straight face that we are lecturing China on Civil Rights Abuses? Arrest without warrant or charge, no Habeus Corpus, no phone call, rendition, torture, massive indiscriminate electronic eavesdropping, indefinite detention without due process, etc. etc. ad infinatum, ad absurdum, ad nauseum.

    1. zhubajie

      The whole alternative system which Bush invented and Obama is keeping, is very similar to the Chinese system. The irony is that the Chinese involved keep trying to reform it! Get judges who know some law, cut back on death penalties by 40%, reduce the number of death penalty crimes, etc. Educated people in China really think the US lives up to it's ideals, that the US really has honest elections, honest officials, equality, etc. It's amazing for someone from the lower levels of US society like me.

      1. ttommyunger

        It simply proves the power of propaganda, writ large. Too bad you and I are wise to it, we too could be fat, dumb and happy.

  25. thefrontpage

    It's long past the time to simply end these unneeded, expensive, ridiculous, moronic, dumb and stupidly over-hyped dog-and-pony shows known stupidly as "state dinners" that are held moronically at taxpayer expense. There is literally zero reason–none–for these asinine, offensive poseur shams to continue to be held on the taxpayers' dime. They are expensive, they are unneeded, they serve no real purpose, politically or diplomatically, on any level. None. During a time when an estimated 1 million people are expected to lose their homes in 2011, during a time when unemployment is sticking steadily at about 13 percent, during a time when people are losing their houses and their jobs, when people are living in despair, and when our cities are literally crumbling, and we're wasting billions on overseas wars, that is no time to be holding these idiotic dog-and-pony shows. They were never really popular with most people, they still aren't, and no one–no one–has ever produced a good reason for these moronic things to be held. If some rich folks want to get together, then pay for it yourselves. Otherwise, the stupid tradition of "state dinners" should come to an end, effective immediately. There's no other real answer.

    1. DoktorZoom

      And by eliminating these ridiculous displays (which happen fairly rarely; this is only the third for this administration), we could cut almost as much from the deficit as we would by reducing paperclip and rubber band waste by the Defense Department.

      Not that I'm really a fan of lavish state dinners, but in the big scheme of things, they're a pretty minor thing, and the cost of taking some kind of action to bring them to an end (meetings, figuring out alternatives that wouldn't cause a diplomatic kerfuffle, even paying the costs of laying off the chefs and staff and all that) would eat up a good chunk of any savings. It's sort of comparable to the notion that if Bill Gates drops a $20 dollar bill, it makes more sense for him to not pick it up, since he could make more money in those two seconds by continuing to whatever meeting he's headed to.

  26. mumbly_joe

    Wow, so all it takes to be a dictatorial gangster regime is to operate a massive surveilance state where members of religious minority groups are entrapped and then arrested as potential dissidents, where torture is sanctioned, but euphemized, so it's okay, and that is one of the biggest polluters on the planet, but at least all that money is making it into the hands of the already-wealthy and politically connected.

    Oh, and you have to have those slanty oriental eyes, also, otherwise it doesn't count.

  27. zhubajie

    China has no need for fat lazy whiny people. Since they can also get their soybeans and pork from Brazil, Argentina, etc., they do not really need to own the USA.

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