citizens just cause trouble

Obama Installs Consumer Chief, Officially Makes Citizens ‘Consumers’

Terrible album, incredible cover art.Citing a pressing need to legally redefine Americans as “consumers” before they get any other big ideas, President Obama today appointed his choice to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The appointment bypassed the Senate, because the Republican minority there won’t allow anything but tax cuts for the rich and new War Contracts. The Senate has not officially adjourned since last year, because the GOP won’t allow that, either. So the procedural fake outrage today is about the president’s authority to make recess appointments, even though Obama is appointing someone with “bipartisan support” who has been waiting for a year to go to work. What that work will entail, however, is the formal conversion of U.S. citizens to “consumers.” Considering how quickly the rights of human citizens are being signed away by this president, perhaps it is a good thing that the American people are getting a new designation!

The Washington Post reports:

President Obama on Wednesday installed his pick to head a consumer watchdog agency on Wednesday, defiantly using his executive authority to bypass GOP lawmakers who had rejected the nomination last month.

Obama cast the move to allow Richard Cordray to begin work as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a way to protect the interests of middle-class Americans who suffered during the abuses in the financial system that led to the Great Recession of the past few years.

Poor Americans will continue to be savagely abused by the nation’s intentionally cruel society, while the richest Americans will continue to live in their own separate world, with separate sentencing laws and private jetways with no TSA gropers and basically the right to do anything they can buy their way out of. The shrinking middle class needs to be convinced that there’s a point to all of this — other than banal hassles and meaningless toil and a death prolonged by for-profit hospitals, insurers and the medical/pharmaceutical industry — and Obama’s recess appointment today is intended to show these depressed, overworked people that he cares about their Sisyphean plight.

“I will not stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people they were elected to serve,” Obama said in a speech announcing his appointment. “Not when so much is at stake. Not at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.”

He did not explicitly mention the overwhelming fear in the White House that the middle class has begun to feel affinity for the working class and the downtrodden, and that these 300 million Americans could easily overpower all the police, private security forces and military personnel combined, most likely with minimal casualties as the shaken soldiers and cops realize what side they naturally fall upon. But there was little doubt, in the fourth year of the financial collapse, that the “make-or-break moment” is less about the middle class than the continued amoral plunder and exploitation of the Earth and humanity.

Bloomberg reports:

“I am now the director and my work will be to protect American consumers,” Cordray said at the airport in Cleveland, where he was accompanying the president to a speech on the economy. “I’m going to be 100 percent focused on that.”

It was a transparent attempt to separate former Ohio attorney general Cordray’s new federal agency from the 1% which created it. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a creation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which has sought to put a few band-aids on the hemorrhaging, beaten-to-pulp 99% — while doing almost nothing to endanger the wild gambling and ill-gotten gains of the financial elite firmly in control of both houses of Congress, the White House and especially the military/industrial empire policed by the CIA, NSA, State Department and Pentagon.

Obama made clear that this executive action to officially turn citizens into consumers should not be mistaken for any kind of Ralph Nader-style interest in actually protecting people from the deadly, life-ruining manufactured bullshit they “consume” in lieu of leading meaningful lives built upon family, community, creativity, spirituality and rewarding work. The president refused to appoint establishment liberal Elizabeth Warren to the position a year ago, fearing that her patrician concern for working people would make Wall Street uncomfortable.

The Washington Post continues:

Obama nominated Cordray to lead the bureau in July, bypassing Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, who faced fierce opposition from Republicans concerned by her strong views on the behavior of financial firms. Warren had spent about a year setting up the bureau as interim chief.

Cordray attended the University of Chicago Law School and clerked for moderate Supreme Court Justices Byron R. White and Anthony M. Kennedy.

Hahahahah, “moderate Supreme Court justices.” Anthony Kennedy voted with William Rehnquist 92% of the time, and has been reliably pro-corporate, anti-labor and anti-environment, and “has reliably issued conservative rulings during most of his tenure.” You’ve got a friend in Cordray, consumers! Enjoy your new designation, and remember to do your part to continue propping up capitalism and empire for the sake of a few hundred billionaires, while the Earth dies. [Bloomberg/Washington Post/USA Today]

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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  1. BaldarTFlagass

    I also see that he is going to recess appoint 3 peeps to the National Labor Relations Board. Ha ha, suck it Republicans!

  2. SorosBot

    And this will be the worst abuse of procedure ever, even though when Bush used recess appointments to get around the Democratic Senate blocking his appointments it was perfectly OK.

  3. Callyson

    President Obama…defiantly using his executive authority to bypass GOP lawmakers
    Please tell me we will see many more news articles using this phrase…please tell me this is one of many instances of President Obama fulfilling a New Year’s resolution to bust the balls of the Greedy One Percent…

  4. BigDumbRedDog

    “Not when so much is at stake. Not at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.”

    I can never remember. Is Obama in support of the make, or the break?

  5. weejee

    I see the 8 bits of raging intense power of Intense Debate’s Comadore 64s is a little slow today. Kinda like the Retuglicons in the Senate with Barry’s appointments

  6. Callyson

    President Obama…defiantly using his executive authority to bypass GOP lawmakers
    Please tell me that President Obama is fulfilling a New Year’s resolution, and that we will see many more news articles with this phrase for the forseeable future…

  7. SorosBot

    Hey, we got the regular comments back! Sadly we've lost what I wrote about this before and I can't remember what it was; but believe me it was totally hilarious.

    1. SorosBot

      Things are still working slowly though. I think after Santorum was all over Wonkette last night some seeped into the system to mess things up.

      1. SorosBot

        It was fun to see the squiggly-lined aliens again; I just wonder why some people were able to keep their avatars and some weren't.

    2. BaldarTFlagass

      Yeah, I had some classic posts in there, couple that probably would have earned 3-digit thumbs-up and kicked me up another p or 2. But I forgot them in my frustration. Dammit.

    3. Mumbletypeg

      Best not to try and reply if you can help it next time that glitch happens. I went to reply to a comment and, in that weird interface mode, it auto-filled my info with another user's — their personal e-mail included.
      I think this has been pointed out before though, so I hope I'm not overweening in this caution. Because the user was one who had posted a comment already, I'll assume by avoiding comment within that compromised frame, one can avoid exposing one's personal info to the public at large.

  8. weejee

    Mmm, seems the 8 bits of raging power of Intense Debates Commodore 64s is back on track and all the earlier posties are toasty.

    1. jus_wonderin

      That might be best. Barb told me my email was showing. And here, all along, I thought I had it tucked up high.

        1. BigDumbRedDog

          Barb, I saw your email but I didn't write it down and now I totally forgot it. Sorry I'm such a shitty stalker.

    2. BaldarTFlagass

      I didn't see anyone's email address during the "Back to the Past" interlude. I was too busy typing in my name and email address in order to comment.

      ♪ Gonna leave a comment like it's 1999 ♫

    3. Monsieur_Grumpe

      They should upgrade to an Amiga 100. I just happen to have one for sale. No hard drive though.

  9. Mumbletypeg

    Anthony Kennedy voted with William Rehnquist 92% of the time, and has been reliably pro-corporate

    Well there is some hope at least we'll see corporate ingratiation at the campaign finance level lose some steam, as state Supreme Courts move to blunt the force of SCOTUS's whims. I heard this on Democracy Now! and had to take it as the rationed morsel of good newz allotted for today, pardon my crumb-scavenging…

    1. Huevos Ocupados

      I guess…just as long as the uniforms aren't polyester. Maybe a nice cotton jumpsuit like the prisoners get?

  10. Goonemeritus

    Mr. Layne I would like to respectfully suggest you might be in danger of being perceived as reflexively negative.

    1. TanzbodenKoenig

      Yea, I have a feeling Ken just gets up in the mornings, washes down last nite's whiskey with a handful of Valiums, reads the news with a grim smile before he climbs up on the chair, slips the noose around his neck and thinks about it for a minute before he climbs down with a sighing "not today" and writes us a post that brings us crashing back down to reality.

      1. ChuckieJesus

        TanzbodenKoenig speaks sooth; Herculean levels of cynicism require a medication of some sort, or a blog. Or both.

  11. OneYieldRegular

    I hope this means I'll get back the $6 a month I used to pay to Wells Fargo just for the privilege of having a checkbook back before I deserted them for my friendly credit union.

  12. Callyson

    President Obama…defiantly using his executive authority to bypass GOP lawmakers
    Please tell me that Obama is fulfilling a New Year's resolution, and that we'll see many more news stories with this phrase for the foreseeable future…

    1. GOPCrusher

      The Yahoo comment boards are quickly filling up with Republiklan rage over Dictator Obama.
      Good thing George Bush never used a recess appointment.

  13. BarackMyWorld

    So the procedural fake outrage today is about the president’s authority to make recess appointments, even though Obama is appointing someone with “bipartisan support” who has been waiting for a year to go to work.

    Cries for impeachment in 3, 2, 1…

    1. PocketsTheClown

      Haha special prosecutor all lined up you think? I can wait to see which flunkie gets the job of GOP Designated Patsy for Horsetrading of Senate Seats haw haw.

    2. PalinzADummy

      What planet are YOU on? They've been ongoing since Jan 21, 2009. Remember "the oath of office was not properly administered therefore John McCain actually really secretly won"?

    1. vulpes82

      HALF-empty? Son, at the Layne Desert Compound, the glass is always stone cold EMPTY (because all the booze has been downed)!

  14. fuflans

    You’ve got a friend in Cordray, consumers!

    right. and when i get some money to consume things i'll be sure to call on you.

    1. SorosBot

      What about on days we just sit around our apartment in our underwear all day, playing video games and watching TV?

        1. SorosBot

          Ah, but I already purchased the beer and don't pay for the electricity until the end of the month.

  15. BigDumbRedDog

    “Not when so much is at stake. Not at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.”

    I can never remember is Obama is for the make or the break.

    You can't delete me, intense debate. I will just keep reposting. Also, I don't like that little purple monster that you turned me into. I am a big red dog, not a weird purple monster.

  16. HarryButtle

    Shorter McConnell to Obama: How dare you use procedural wrangling to get around our procedural wrangling!?!?

    ps alt-text fail. Achilles Last Stand…terrible? I think not!

    1. SorosBot

      They thought that could copy the Democrats and skip technically adjourning to prevent recess appointments, but forgot that the Dems actually had a Senator go in and technically start a session every day.

  17. SayItWithWookies

    It used to be that regulatory agencies were formed with the intent of protecting consumers — though whether they actually did was subject to fluctuations. I guess it speaks to the erosion of that quaint little convention that we now have to explicitly state in the name of the agency that its purpose is to protect the consumers — which will add a bit of irony when the CFPB is finally retooled to work hand-in-hand with the section of the market it's supposed to regulate.

  18. DaRooster

    This is an outrage! This is like the 30th time he has done this… no other President would do something like this!
    Well except for-
    But he should definitely get in big trouble over this!!
    Although there hasn't been a filibuster in like… a week?

  19. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Here comes the whining. I cna hear it now.

    Obama is shoving it down our throats!

    Our 5% approved do nothing congress should expect a lot more throat shoving.
    Gag on this suckers!!!1111!!

  20. kissawookiee

    Coincidentally, my favorite part about weekends at the shore growing up *also* was the sitting around the bong in the marina coffee shop with the family.

  21. actor212

    "WE THE BUYERS, in order to form a more perfect souffle, establish a web presence, ensure domestic linen, provide for the common victuals, promote the general Well-Built, and secure the blessings of consumption for ourselves and our poor-house mates, do ordain and establish this Constitution Of The United States Of Amana*"

    *50% off coupon on page 3

  22. pinkocommi

    "Hahahahah, 'moderate Supreme Court justices.'"

    It does sound like an oxymoron these days, doesn't it. <<sniff. wipes tear from cheek.>>

  23. Not_So_Much

    Would've been a way better 'Fuck You!' to the GOP if he had also changed Cordray's title to "Czar".

  24. GOPCrusher

    Nancy Pelosi just called. Said she would like her spine back when you're done with it, Mr. President.

  25. UnholyMoses

    Hey now!

    Presence is easily the most underrated Zeppelin album (well, perhaps after III … and maybe In Through The Out Door, tho that has some suck on it … and Houses of the Holy was outstanding overall … but other than those … )

    1. Ken Layne

      Haha, stoners! "Presence" was one of those records that was incredibly compelling when I was a little kid, because what the fuck was going on in that picture? And then, eventually, I listened to it … I am sorry if it just sounds like generic Zeppelin to me. But don't take it personally, I also really like In Through the Out Door.

      1. UnholyMoses

        No personal offense taken!

        To be honest, I haven't listened to Presence since … well, I was a high school stoner. So maybe I'll have to give it a relisten as a 40-year-old stoner.

        I did, however, put on* Physical Graffiti the other day and forgot how much I love "Down By the Seaside." Great song.

        (* As in, put it on the turntable. Just nothin' like vinyl when it comes to the classics.)

  26. WhatTheHeck

    So, what kind of watchdog did we get? A Doberman or one of those oh-so-friendly Golden Retrievers?

  27. Golfing_OJ

    I predict that we'll see far fewer "Layne is such a pessimist!" comments when people find themselves shooting more and more cops in the face to protect their one hoarded box of Triscuits!

          1. PalinzADummy

            I took a sip once, and it tasted very bitter to me. Which is odd, because I like many bitter things, like greens, and bitter gourds, and stuff. I really like the smell of the wheat beers. They smell wonderful. I just don't like the way they taste.

      1. prommie

        I equate it with having lived through the 70s haze of heavy metal sludge. Thank God for The Ramones.

  28. user-of-owls

    I'd like you to look at this lede from the blaring headline story on Fox right now. Just look at it. The word "journalism" shrivels and dies whenever it hears the word "Fox." It just up and dies.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce may sue the Obama administration over President Obama's controversial appointment of Richard Cordray to head a controversial consumer financial board, officials from the business group told Fox News on Wednesday after an unprecedented display of executive power that is sure to poison already-strained relations with the GOP.

    1. elviouslyqueer

      Add a couple more "Nigger please" and throw in an obligatory veiled assassination threat and, hey presto! You've got Breitbart's next blogfart.

    2. UnholyMoses

      Wait — you mean Fox News really isn't … objective journalism!?!?!?

      My nuttier-than-squirrel-shit uncle who calls the Civil War the "War of Northern Aggression" and uses Fox and NRO as sources in his pretty-much-always-ignored rants will haz a sad.

      Now someone stop me before I create another dash-laden-made-up-adjective again!

      1. qwerty42

        War of Northern Aggression
        In the town my Dad was from, in upstate New York, there is a monument and a canon (pointing south) dedicated to those who fought in the "War of the Southern Rebellion". I mention it when I hear about the "War of Northern Aggression".

    3. Negligently_Joe

      It is controversial, and unprecedented, unless you are familiar with the actual precedents at work, and the fact that "pro forma" sessions almost certainly don't actually count as the Senate being "in session", because that definition has always been a practical one, not a technical one, and by definition, "pro forma" sessions involve a single senator waving a gavel and saying some magic words, alone, and they aren't actually able to do any Senate business anyway.

  29. HelmutNewton

    Maybe we Wonketeers should all move to Montana. At least *their* Supreme Court knows how to bitch-slap corporations.

  30. Chet Kincaid

    He did not explicitly mention the overwhelming fear in the White House that the middle class has begun to feel affinity for the working class and the downtrodden, and that these 300 million Americans could easily overpower all the police, private security forces and military personnel combined, most likely with minimal casualties as the shaken soldiers and cops realize what side they naturally fall upon.

    1. Hahaha! What are you smoking? The Arab Spring ain't happening over here, and sure as hell won't be for a long time to come. Because for one thing, white middle/working class people are never going to join hands with the fucking poor so long as they can imagine the poor are a different color. This is/will be true even when the white humps are/become poor themselves.

    2. For the Wonketeer who acted like I was an asshole for saying that SOME PEOPLE have the fantasy that OWS Americans will overthrow the establishment like a bunch of Libyans, here's the proof from the top.

    1. imissopus

      Ya know who else spent all his time huddled in the California desert with his Family, ranting and raving and praying for some sort of civil war in America? Spoiler alert: it wasn't Hitler.

    2. doloras

      You see, Layne gets this rap of being "all negative, all the time", and then when he says something positive and hopeful – like the quoted paragraph – the "realistic" crowd jump on him for that.

    3. carlgt1

      or to dust off that John Steinbeck quote: "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."

  31. ttommyunger

    So, did Santa bring Barry a brand-new set of 'Nads for Christmas? Let's hope so, Pilgrims; let's hope so.

  32. Guppy

    Maybe now senators will be forced to actually filibuster instead of this pro forma bullshit.

    Next thing you know CSPAN will start using wide-angle shots.

  33. Designer_Rants

    This post is amazing! I would immediately re-read, but I almost vomited. I hope (after the drone wars) when they finally stop pretending and start staking out their Lordships, that my feudal master is kind enough to let me keep enough of my wheat for the cold winter months. I don't want to eat my children, but if it's me or them…

  34. Negropolis

    Only you, Ken, would you take good political and policy news, and turn it for bad. This bureau deals with Americans in their capacity as a consumers, just like our government deals with us in different capacities are citizens and humans and whatever else the hell we are at any given time. It doesn't make us consumers anymore than dealing with Medicare makes us patients. Gawd.

    Ken, this crushing, kneejerk negativism makes you morally weak.

    How dare the president create another body for citizens to have some kind of formal redress of grievances against corporations! How dare that negrah bastard!

    Fuck it, just fuck it, already. I'm losing my shit.

  35. Tundra Grifter

    Self-proclaimed Constitutional expert Off-the-Mark Levin continues to flog this supine equine – without mentioning the simple fact that the US Senate during the pro forma session can not conduct any business.

    According to our Constitution a majority of Senators must be present to pass legislation. Assuming for a moment, of course, that is the business of the Senate.

    For my money this is proof that the pro forma stuff is form without substance. And Mr. Obama was correct in point that out.

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