Tuesday, June 16, 2009

(Plus: PUMA tea partying!)

The tea partiers who congregated last April really didn't like the notion of giving other people help with their mortgages:

And, of course, the rant that got the tea party movement rolling from CNBC's Rick Santelli, was especially focused on mortgages.

But let me predict that when it's the banks themselves that are helping out "deadbeats" -- even when they're also threatening to raise good customers' fees and reduce benefits -- you won't hear a peep out of the teabaggers. Bankers are capitalists, you see, and it's OK if they

From today's New York Times:

... As they confront unprecedented numbers of troubled customers, credit card companies are increasingly doing something they have historically scorned: settling delinquent accounts for substantially less than the amount owed.

... many credit card issuers have revised internal guidelines to give front-line employees the power to cut deals with consumers. The workers do not even have to wait for customers to call and ask for a break.

... Banks and credit card companies are discussing new programs that would, for the first time, allow credit counselors to invoke reductions of principal as a routine part of their strategy, said Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, a lawyer for many counseling agencies. In the past, counselors could persuade card issuers to adjust interest rates and modify late fees, but the balance was untouchable.

An example of how quickly the card companies are shifting their approach is in the behavior of HSBC, a major issuer, toward Mr. [Edward] McClelland [of Chicago].

He was paying fitfully on his card, which was canceled for delinquency. In April, HSBC offered him full settlement at 20 percent off. He declined. A few weeks later, it agreed to let him pay half....

At the very least, a principled anti-deadbeatism would require teabaggers to take their business elsewhere when banks impose this sort of socialist wealth-sharing, no? So there'll be a rash of angry phone calls from teabaggers demanding to know whether their bankers are Marxist bleeding hears -- right?

I'll just say I'm not holding my breath waiting for the teabags to start flying at American Express and HSBC.


Meanwhile, I see there's been an unholy marriage: the tea party movement and the PUMA movement:

On the June 15 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck hosted Nancy Armstrong -- whom he described as a "disenfranchised Democrat" who "has a blog called MsPlacedDemocrat.com" -- in order to assert that it wasn't "only Republicans" who have hosted tea parties. One topic that didn't come up during the discussion is the numerous posts on Armstrong's blog advancing the falsehood that President Obama has not released a valid copy of his birth certificate.

... A March 23 post reads:

Dr Orly Taitz, both a lawyer and naturalized citizen has personally taken on the issue of Obama's eligibility. There is nothing wrong with her questioning this issue because Obama has literally hidden every evidence of his past. What has he hidden? All school records, passport records, employment records ( forget his stupid story about ice cream and an ice cream shop....I believe it is another one of Obama's lies.) and his REAL birth certificate....

Orly Taitz is, of course, one of the most prominent (and persistent) PUMAs. As for Nancy Armstrong herself, she's an organizer of post-tea party tea parties now and was a PUMA organizer (and party-goer) last year:

DENVER -- One of the weirder soirees in the offing last night would have to be the Republican National Committee's cocktail party for Hillary Clinton supporters.

... As [a] big TV across the room showed Michelle Obama speaking on the convention floor, two young women and a young man from the College Republicans stood next to a couple of middle-aged women from Wichita. The Democrats were doing most of the talking.

"I know he's a maverick," Nancy Armstrong, a 48-year-old retired Navy veteran, was saying to the young Republicans, who nodded politely....

Now, when she's not organizing and appearing at tea parties, she's obsessed with ACORN (and trying to get Karl Rove to read her ACORN blogging).

PUMA and the tea party movement seem like a perfect match, in that they both seem to stem from the notion that anyone you disagree with on a political issue must be unspeakably, world-historically, in fact supernaturally evil, in fact the center of all evil in the universe.

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