New Civilization News: Learn To Play Ball    
 Learn To Play Ball77 comments
picture20 Sep 2008 @ 16:54, by Richard Carlson

Butterfly listens
at the flowerpot:
true teaching.

---Issa

And do not change. Do not divert your love from visible things. But go on loving what is good, simple and ordinary; animals and things and flowers, and keep the balance true.

---Rainer Maria Rilke

Old gnarled trees
darken the trail:
Where is the temple bell?

---Li Po

The drawing by Luis Quintanilla in Barcelona, 1938
Today's headline: Bush asks Congress for $700 billion for bailout

Growing up from boy to man: play some kind of ball and watch cowboys. Those were the keys to American success in my childhood. Eventually become fulfilled in business was what a guy was supposed to do, to be. I took one course in economics at Bates. The prof was young, bald and interesting, but I don't remember any of it. Not a word. It was a foreign language...without translation. There was a girl in the front row, beside his desk, I found fascinating...and so I spent the semester staring at her, until finally she noticed. I do remember Kay, from Springfield.

Baseball I liked and still do...sorta. I have to say when the Dodgers left Brooklyn, the very heart of the game cracked somehow. Now, I don't know how all the leagues work even, and I never liked pinch hitters to say nothing of these designated hitter dudes. The sound of an aluminum bat makes me sick. I never was very good at playing it, but I had some cherished moments doing so. I connect baseball more with jazz than selling cars, I guess because of the notion of teamwork...which seems to be for the support of the individual rather than the other way around---on top of which sits the owner. Or at least it used to SEEM to be like that, before football became America's preferred sport. Jazz players remain on the economic edge, but baseball stars make millions.

I went to the movies most Saturday afternoons, and usually one of the double features was a Western. Cowboys I got to know---oh, not the ones that actually herd cows: I mean the cleancut nice guys with a beautiful horse and powerful punch, who had to leave Melody Ranch (or whatever) to clean up the town and toss the rich saloonkeeper and his gang into the hoosegow. Or as we moved into the "adult Western," Shane alone and haunted keeping the open range safe from the greedy cattleman and available to the average guy like you and me and Brandon de Wilde. And Jean Arthur.

But Joe Biden said yesterday No more cowboys on Wall Street! Ronnie Reagan made Westerns and he was a favorite actor for me. I had his autographed photo on my wall. But he and his boy companion, George Bush, have ruined economics for cowboys I guess. McCain's got his maverick uniform on, six-shooter ready...and his pretty granddaughter back at the ranch...but Joe wants to send these cowboys off to the big roundup. And I believe he's probably right. We should have known it wouldn't work out, letting them ride roughshod.

Bill Moyers went after the new-time baseball zillion dollar contract guys last night, and he doesn't think Wall Street greed has trickled anything on us but waste product. Moyers looks at the facts and of course sees moral failing at the center, a betrayal of American values. Playing ball with the big boys means something entirely different on Wall Street than it did in the sandlot. [link] So now what? Boys have it tough these days looking for a hero. It may be even more complicated for girls and their role models.

I was glad to receive an email from Bob Sheak yesterday, containing a new essay he's written and is offering up. Bob probably is the best-read fellow I know, besides being a highly decorated officer on the academic front. Professor Emeritus in both sociology and anthropology, he's got to understand statistics better than ever I could. I realize economics is another field, but here he doesn't attempt to analyze all the factors of this crisis. He's looking at what the 2 major candidates have to say and their plans thus far. Bob is good at that~~~

Different Approaches to the financial crisis:
Obama versus McCain
Bob Sheak
September 19, 2008

Through the last twenty years or so, McCain has continued in the Republican tradition of giving strong preference to powerful special interests in the corporate-dominated American economy on the assumption that profit and wealth will in time generate investments that create opportunities for other Americans. Small government, except when it comes to the interests of large corporations, Wall Street, and an increasingly privatized military, is the goal. It turns out that one recent consequence of this tradition is that there is a massive trickle-down debt that taxpayers and the next generations will have to live with for far into the future or as long as the economic system doesn’t collapse.

McCain is enmeshed in this tradition. He has referred to himself as a “foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution,” when during the 1970s the national debt began soaring. Far from being a “maverick,” FactCheck found that, when voting in 2007, “McCain voted with his party 90% of the time,” and “voted in support of President Bush’s position on legislation 95% of the time.”

As presidential candidate, McCain favors further tax cuts for the wealthiest and for corporations, and a continuation of the Bush administration’s anti-labor stance. He also has consistently supported at least the partial privatization of Social Security, which would be a financial boon to Wall Street, cuts in spending on domestic programs, shifts in the sky-rocketing health care costs to individuals, and support for more corporate trade deals.

Along the way, Senator McCain has voted, as Robert Scheer reminds us, for the abolition of all “of the significant rules put in place at the time of the Great Depression.” And, absurdly, until September 16 of this year, McCain was declaring that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

Modifying his free market positions on this past Tuesday, September 16, in the face of a spiraling financial crisis, McCain took the position that the government is now forced to take emergency measures, including the bail-out of large banks. He blamed the crisis on “reckless conduct, corruption, and unbridled greed on Wall Street,” not on a broken financial system, and offered a plan to set up a commission to study the problem and to make recommendations about it when he is president.

Then, on September 19, under pressures stemming from the turmoil in the financial sector, McCain offered a new plan to deal with the financial crisis. Departing from his previous positions, it is a plan that calls for more government regulation and a new government entity to identify “institutions that are weak and fix them before they become insolvent” (sounds close to a bailout). His plan also calls for new laws to ensure the transparency of financial firms, clarification of regulatory standards, protection for consumers and investors against “individuals who engage in fraud, break contracts, or lie to customers,” consistent policies for guaranteeing loans, and the end to government bailouts. This amounts to some increased scrutiny by the federal government of the financial institutions

The problem is there is no systemic reform. There is nothing here to separate commercial banks from the myriad types of investment (often speculative, increasingly unregulated) banks. There is nothing in McCain’s plan to deal with the anticipated four million foreclosures yet to come or the related economic calamities that will affect local governments. There is nothing on how the government will recover the taxpayers’ money from hundreds of billions of dollars in bad debt it has assumed from the bailouts. There is nothing to prevent appointments of people from the financial sector (special interests) from heading up key government agencies, like the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

What about Obama? He has espoused the position all along that there is a need to buttress, rather than further weaken, the government so that the public interest is not so increasingly subordinated to corporate- and wealth-interests. His position is reflected in his campaign tax proposals, which focus on eliminating tax breaks for families with incomes of $250,000 or more and additional corporate tax breaks. His concern about the fragility and recklessness of the financial sector is reflected in his recent efforts in the Senate. Two years ago, he introduced legislation to “stop mortgage transactions that promoted fraud, risk, or abuse.” In 2007, Obama asked the Federal Reserve Chairman “to bring every stakeholder together and find a solution to the subprime mortgage meltdowns before it got worse.” Then in March of this year, he advocated a “new, 21st century regulatory framework to restore accountability, transparency, and trust in our financial markets.” He stated, further, “It’s time to get serious about regulatory oversight, and that’s what I’ll do as President.” On September 19, he said that there should be a bipartisan effort to “find a systematic solution to our deepening crisis” based on four principles, and said that it should be based on the following four principles.

(1) “…we cannot lose sight that we are in the midst of a broad economic crisis that also requires immediate action to create jobs and help support distressed homeowners and communities….
(2) “any taxpayer-funded support must have as its focus protecting our nation’s long-term interest in a stable financial market and a growing economy rather than rewarding particular companies or the imprudent decisions of borrowers or lenders….”
(3) “this plan must be temporary and coupled with tough new oversight and regulations of our financial institutions. There must be a clear process to wind down this plan and restore private sector assets into private sector hand after restoring the stability to the system. Taxpayers must share in any upside benefit that such stability brings.”
(4) “this plan should be part of a globally coordinated effort with our partners in the G-20. We are facing a global financial crisis and the United States can take a leadership role in coordinating a global response to the present crisis, as well as greater regulatory cooperation and alignment to prevent future crises.”

With respect to the first principle, Obama has already advanced proposals to assist people who are harmed by the reckless and unregulated pursuit of profit in the financial sector, but he has not specified how those facing foreclosures may be assisted. Nonetheless, in a speech given on September 17th, Obama proposed “a $50 billion Emergency Economic Plan that would save 1 million jobs by rebuilding infrastructure, repairing our schools, and helping our states and localities avoid damaging budget cuts.” In the same speech, he made three proposals to help people stay in their homes. He proposes to change bankruptcy laws and “offer a tax credit to struggling families that will take 10% off your mortgage interest rate. He will “crack down on predatory lenders with tough new penalties that will treat mortgage fraud like the crime that it is.”

The second of Obama’s principles is unclear as to how the “national interest” would be defined. The third principle implies that corporations that caused the problem may in time be rewarded. The fourth principle, that goes beyond McCain’s vision, goes in the right direction and calls for attempts to build a system of international cooperation in financial institutions. At the same time, however, US foreign policy may undermine the basis for such cooperation.

Overall, Obama’s plan appears to be better than McCain’s plan, but it doesn’t go far enough to deal with the systemic problems of the financial sector and the people negatively affected by them. My fear is that, as long as profits are the overriding goal of financial corporations, the public interest will be at best secondary.

In the meantime, the principal solution offered so far by the Bush administration is to socialize the bad investments of Wall Street. Both McCain and Obama feel constrained to go along with the process. The upshot is taxpayers and future generations will be burdened with an enormous increase in the national debt, a debt that was already approaching $10 trillion and now is adding trillions.

As Michael Hudson said on the radio/TV program Democracy Now on Thursday (September 18), there are no “free markets” in the conventional sense of the term. Rather, what we have is a “guaranteed gamble for Wall Street against industry and against labor.”


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21 Sep 2008 @ 09:14 by jazzolog : The Sound Of Golden Parachutes
I'd like to preserve that Moyers essay~~~

September 19, 2008

BILL MOYERS: From our offices here in New York, we look out on the tall gleaming skyscrapers that are cathedrals of wealth and power — the Olympus ruled by the gods of finance, the temples of the mighty, the holy of holies, whose priests guard the sacred texts of salvation containing the secrets of sub-prime lending and derivatives as mysterious and elusive as the grail itself.

This last couple of weeks, ordinary mortals below could almost hear the ripcords of golden parachutes being pulled as the divinities on high prepared for soft, safe landings. All this while tossing their workers into the purgatory of unemployment, like sacrificial lambs. Yes, the billionaires who fed during the fat years of speculation are long gone, to their yachts and offshore islands.

During the last five years of his tenure as CEO of Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld's total take was $354 million. The current chairman of Merrill Lynch, who's been on the job just nine months, pocketed a $15 million signing bonus. His predecessor, Stan O'Neal, retired with a package valued at $161 million after the company reported an 8 billion dollar loss in a single quarter. And remember Bear Stearns chairman James Cayne? After the company collapsed and was up for sale at bargain prices, he sold his stake for more than $60 million. And the former heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the gods who failed, are fighting to keep severance packages of close to $24 million combined on top of the millions in salary each earned last year while slaughtering the golden calf. As it is written in the gospel according to me first, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

But let's change our metaphor for a moment. Let's go to our sports desk. Because if religion is no longer the soul of capitalism, we have to look somewhere else to understand this new gilded age. And there it is, just a few miles north of Wall Street, the "House that Ruth Built". Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, who ruled Yankee Stadium and sired generations of princes after him: DiMaggio and Gehrig, Mantle, Maris, and Jackson. Yankee Stadium, as fabled a place to Americans as Ilium was to the Greeks.

But believe it or not, this Sunday — weather permitting — the Yankees will play their last game here. The stadium's being demolished, to be replaced next year with a brand new one. What a history to disappear down the memory hole.

On opening day, in 1923, New York Governor Al Smith threw out the first pitch and John Philip Sousa led a big brass band playing his famous marches. It was the roaring Twenties, when the money flowed like bootleg whiskey, the pride before the fall. The year after the market crashed, as the Great Depression began, Babe Ruth was taking home $80,000 a year, more than the President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. "Why not?" Ruth asked "I had a better year than he did."

Yankee star Alex Rodriguez had a better year than both of them. This season, A-Rod is making $28 million. Just part of an annual Yankee payroll of $200 million-plus, the richest in baseball. Their owner, George Steinbrenner, is one of the country's richest tycoons, among the Forbes 400. But when it came to paying for the new pleasure dome costing $1.3 billion, the millionaires on the field and King Midas in the skybox came up with some razzle-dazzle plays to finance their wealth machine. Tax-free bonds, requiring ordinary citizens to subsidize the construction, and hundreds of millions more for new parking garages, a train station and parks. Those parks, by the way, will supposedly replace the ones seized by the city to make room for the new stadium. The little league games that used to flourish on sandlots just outside the old ball park have been moved miles away, sent down to the minors on a long road trip.

That's okay, you may think, there will be plenty of room for the tax-paying public to come root, root, root for the home team — even the coliseum in ancient Rome had bleachers, for the commoners. But in fact there will be 5,000 fewer seats in the new stands.

And while the Yankees reportedly have promised that half of what's left will cost $45 apiece or less, those seats that used to cost $250, right behind the dugout, will cost you $850. And if you want to be near home plate, you'll have to cough up $2,500...per game.

Meanwhile, there will be more luxury suites and party rooms where the fat cats gather, safely removed from the sweaty masses. Corporations and wealthy individuals will be able to rent the luxury suites for anywhere from $600,000 to $850,000 tax deductible dollars a year, assuming they haven't filed for bankruptcy this week.

GEORGE STEINBRENNER: "We are all here today to celebrate the new Yankee Stadium. It's a pleasure to give it to you people. That's what we're doing. This is for you people."

BILL MOYERS: Why aren't the fans and tax payers giving the Yankees a Bronx Cheer? They are. But city officials rolled over them while making sure local politicians stay in the line up. The pols are getting their own luxury suite at the new stadium for free and first shot at buying the best available seats.

And so this Sunday evening we will bid farewell to dear old Yankee Stadium, and await the new colossus to rise from its ruins. It will cast its majestic shadow across one of the country's poorest neighborhoods, whose residents will watch from the outside as suburban drivers avail themselves of 9,000 new or refurbished parking spaces. Never mind all the exhaust, even though in this part of town respiratory disease is already so high they call it "asthma alley."

Not that the well-to-do in the infield seats will have to hear that wheezing. They'll have access to a private club, a private entrance and a private elevator. Totems of this Gilded Age. Let the games begin.  



21 Sep 2008 @ 10:05 by vaxen : .
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21 Sep 2008 @ 21:25 by vaxen : .
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21 Sep 2008 @ 22:21 by vaxen : .
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22 Sep 2008 @ 09:36 by jazzolog : Authorization for Use of Financial Force
Four-thirty Monday morning. I awoke a bit after 2, and thought I should get up to see what analysts have made of Bush's Saturday sneak attack. Only the crappiest bosses save Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to give you weekend homework! The summaries were there and Democrats have responded appropriately. There are petitions to sign...and I did---but being an economics ignoramus, I was not prepared for the Big News~~~

"Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the last big independent investment banks on Wall Street, will transform themselves into bank holding companies subject to far greater regulation, the Federal Reserve said Sunday night, a move that fundamentally reshapes an era of high finance that defined the modern Gilded Age."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/22/business/22bank.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

I'm not sure what that means for Main Street, but at first glance it appears those investment banks either are not buying or going to wait for Bush's remodeling of the debt ceiling. The party's over. All the financial papers this morning read like sad obits: it was so much fun...and gee, wasn't he just a regular guy? Who knew that cancer was eating him up inside? Well, for their information, some of us decided 20 years ago we didn't want to be what-came-to-be-called "players." We do appreciate living in the United States of America, but we despise having constantly to clean up after the capitalists! Will they ever come to believe that competition also involves maintenance? Not everything in life is stuff going into your mouth. Neatness counts...especially with your elimination functions. Did their mothers teach them nothing?

Radical lefties responded immediately to Paulson's idea, even on Friday~~~

"Financial-market wise guys, who had been seized with fear, are suddenly drunk with hope. They are rallying explosively because they think they have successfully stampeded Washington into accepting the Wall Street Journal solution to the crisis: dump it all on the taxpayers. That is the meaning of the massive bailout Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has shopped around Congress. It would relieve the major banks and investment firms of their mountainous rotten assets and make the public swallow their losses--many hundreds of billions, maybe much more."

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081006/greider

Bob Sheak wrote some of his friends here in Athens yesterday morning, "Just a couple of weeks ago, maybe one week ago, I was - and have been - concerned about the national debt approaching $10 trillion by the end of the Bush administration. Notice in what (Glenn) Greenwald writes (at Salon.com) that without any fanfare the national debt ceiling has just been raised to $11.3 trillion. This more than doubles the debt we had when Bush first entered the White House - and 11-times more than when Carter left office back in 1980. The interest we'll pay on this debt will show up as the third largest line-item, well over $400 billion, on the federal budget. As I recall, only Social Security and money allocated for 'defense,' are larger. This will limit what Obama, if elected, will be able to do in the way of social, health, environmental, global warming, infrastructure, and other reforms, especially since Obama himself plans to increase military spending, send more troops to Afghanistan, and target (if not invade) Pakistan."

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich got after it too yesterday afternoon~~~

"The public doesn't like a blank check. They think this whole bailout idea is nuts. They see fat cats on Wall Street who have raked in zillions for years, now extorting in effect $2,000 to $5,000 from every American family to make up for their own nonfeasance, malfeasance, greed, and just plain stupidity. Wall Street's request for a blank check comes at the same time most of the public is worried about their jobs and declining wages, and having enough money to pay for gas and food and health insurance, meet their car payments and mortgage payments, and save for their retirement and childrens' college education. And so the public is asking: Why should Wall Street get bailed out by me when I'm getting screwed?"

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/21/what_wall_street_should_do_to/index.php
A hundred and sixteen comments there so far.

Paul Krugman calls his column this morning Cash For Trash...and concludes like this~~~

"But Mr. Paulson insists that he wants a 'clean' plan. 'Clean,' in this context, means a taxpayer-financed bailout with no strings attached — no quid pro quo on the part of those being bailed out. Why is that a good thing? Add to this the fact that Mr. Paulson is also demanding dictatorial authority, plus immunity from review 'by any court of law or any administrative agency,' and this adds up to an unacceptable proposal.

"I’m aware that Congress is under enormous pressure to agree to the Paulson plan in the next few days, with at most a few modifications that make it slightly less bad. Basically, after having spent a year and a half telling everyone that things were under control, the Bush administration says that the sky is falling, and that to save the world we have to do exactly what it says now now now.

"But I’d urge Congress to pause for a minute, take a deep breath, and try to seriously rework the structure of the plan, making it a plan that addresses the real problem. Don’t let yourself be railroaded — if this plan goes through in anything like its current form, we’ll all be very sorry in the not-too-distant future."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/22/opinion/22krugman.html?th&emc=th

There's a very good petition to Congress you can sign at CREDO Action~~~

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/no_blank_check/?r_by=912-599290-VgXe3ex&rc=confemail

But let me suggest a couple things to do before you go. First of all, take a look at an excerpt from Molly Ivins' last book, on which Louis Dubose put the finishing touches, and which will show up in paperback next month. The book is called Bill of Wrongs: The Executive Branch’s Assault on America’s Fundamental Rights. The Texas Observer was kind enough to give us all this big boost, with a heartbreakingly beautiful picture of Molly, on Friday~~~

http://www.texasobserver.org/article.php?aid=2848

And finally, the English teacher in me vibrates inevitably with Garrison Keillor's poem for today~~~

Windows is Shutting Down
by Clive James

Windows is shutting down, and grammar are
On their last leg. So what am we to do?
A letter of complaint go just so far,
Proving the only one in step are you.

Better, perhaps, to simply let it goes.
A sentence have to be screwed pretty bad
Before they gets to where you doesnt knows
The meaning what it must be meant to had.

The meteor have hit. Extinction spread,
But evolution do not stop for that.
A mutant languages rise from the dead
And all them rules is suddenly old hat.

Too bad for we, us what has had so long
The best seat from the only game in town.
But there it am, and whom can say its wrong?
Those are the break. Windows is shutting down.

"Windows Is Shutting Down" by Clive James from Opal Sunset: Selected poems, 1958–2008. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. Reprinted with permission.  



22 Sep 2008 @ 13:14 by quinty : We've gotten to
know this story well since the "greed is good" days of the 80's.

First they deregulate, then they speculate, the bubble finally bursts, and the taxpayer picks up the pieces. Over and over again.

My memory is incomplete and shaky (ah, how American) but first it was the S & Ls, then it was Enron and the energy industry, then the Dot Com Boom, now (with the help of McCain's top economic advisor, Phil Gramm, and the President of the United States, Bill Clinton) it's the current financial crash.

We also enjoy the unregulated pleasures of modern air travel, contaminated food, unsafe toys, Big Pharma run amuck, nearly two million bankruptcies a year over sky rocketing medical costs, and a national healthcare system which often puts the insurance industry first.

We certainly know what our priorities are in this country.

I can remember the real estate speculators in San Francisco and how housing costs sky rocketed in the Bay Area. (This was the "free" market at work, of course. A natural and good thing. Never mind there is a large segment of society which also needs roofs over its collective heads.)

The BS has been with us for a long, long time. BS is the patina you put over your real intentions, which are to get rich quick, pollute without paying the piper, pay lower taxes, while exploiting markets, the environment, workers, or anything which benefits you.

If you do not believe in this unfettered game then you are obviously a Communist, the soulmate of Joseph Stalin.

There has also been a trend over the past twenty or thirty years (natural to Capitalism as Marx pointed out more than a 160 years ago) to consolidate and become far bigger. So that some corporations are so big that if they fail they could bring down a major segment of the economy. This is something else we have to watch for.

Excellent pieces again, Jazzo.....  



22 Sep 2008 @ 16:02 by Quinty @68.9.133.5 : McCain on health care

Health care of the insurance industry, by the insurance industry, and for the insurance industry....

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/19/mccain-on-banking-and-health/?ei=5070  



22 Sep 2008 @ 16:16 by Quinty @68.9.133.5 : Whenver
McCain, Phil Gramm and the like begin to talk about individual freedom and responsibility I'm reminded of....

"The law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

He only left out "health care".....  



23 Sep 2008 @ 00:10 by jmarc : The (CODE)Writer's Notebook
McCain says fundamentals of the American economy are strong.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush Administration sent a $700 billion plan for a U.S. government bailout of
bad mortgage debt to Congress on Saturday, seeking extraordinary authority as it tackles
the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

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U.S. Treasury statistics indicate that, at the end of 2006, foreigners held 44% of federal debt held
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23 Sep 2008 @ 09:42 by vaxen : .
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23 Sep 2008 @ 09:48 by jazzolog : Welcome Again To Shock And Awe!
Now is the Time to Resist Wall Street's Shock Doctrine http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/site_imagery/naomi_klein_140x140.jpg
By Naomi Klein - September 22nd, 2008

I wrote The Shock Doctrine in the hopes that it would make us all better prepared for the next big shock. Well, that shock has certainly arrived, along with gloves-off attempts to use it to push through radical pro-corporate policies (which of course will further enrich the very players who created the market crisis in the first place...).

The best summary of how the right plans to use the economic crisis to push through their policy wish list comes from Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. On Sunday, Gingrich laid out 18 policy prescriptions for Congress to take in order to "return to a Reagan-Thatcher policy of economic growth through fundamental reforms." In the midst of this economic crisis, he is actually demanding the repeal of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which would lead to further deregulation of the financial industry. Gingrich is also calling for reforming the education system to allow "competition" (a.k.a. vouchers), strengthening border enforcement, cutting corporate taxes and his signature move: allowing offshore drilling.

It would be a grave mistake to underestimate the right's ability to use this crisis -- created by deregulation and privatization -- to demand more of the same. Don't forget that Newt Gingrich's 527 organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future, is still riding the wave of success from its offshore drilling campaign, "Drill Here, Drill Now!" Just four months ago, offshore drilling was not even on the political radar and now the U.S. House of Representatives has passed supportive legislation. Gingrich is holding an event this Saturday, September 27 that will be broadcast on satellite television to shore up public support for these controversial policies.

What Gingrich's wish list tells us is that the dumping of private debt into the public coffers is only stage one of the current shock. The second comes when the debt crisis currently being created by this bailout becomes the excuse to privatize social security, lower corporate taxes and cut spending on the poor. A President McCain would embrace these policies willingly. A President Obama would come under huge pressure from the think tanks and the corporate media to abandon his campaign promises and embrace austerity and "free-market stimulus."

We have seen this many times before, in this country and around the world. But here's the thing: these opportunistic tactics can only work if we let them. They work when we respond to crisis by regressing, wanting to believe in "strong leaders" - even if they are the same strong leaders who used the September 11 attacks to push through the Patriot Act and launch the illegal war in Iraq.

So let's be absolutely clear: there are no saviors who are going to look out for us in this crisis. Certainly not Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the companies that will benefit most from his proposed bailout (which is actually a stick up). The only hope of preventing another dose of shock politics is loud, organized grassroots pressure on all political parties: they have to know right now that after seven years of Bush, Americans are becoming shock resistant.

http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2008/09/now-time-resist-wall-streets-shock-doctrine

Dear Vax, I believe the correct word is "hanged." Afterwards, I suppose the bodies could be hung out for display.
jmarc scores again! For the thrill of true risk, tweak your system with an automatic registry cleaner. Or how about an optional new driver for something or other?  



23 Sep 2008 @ 22:26 by vaxen : .
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23 Sep 2008 @ 22:50 by vaxen : .
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24 Sep 2008 @ 23:13 by quinty : McCain' suggestion
on postponing the debates and taking leadership in the Senate...

At the risk of shooting from the hip (Hey, McCain shot first!) I would like to remark upon McCain’s bipartisan proposal to fix the current financial mess.

First, McCain is not the leader of his party. The president is. Whatever we think of George Bush he is still the president of the United States. McCain does not lead his party yet or define national policy.

Second, John McCain and Barack Obama are, at this time, only United States Senators, members of the larger body comprising the Congress of the United States. Their votes remain only one each in the Senate. In the entire Congress there are 535 votes.

Third, as United States Senators their roles in the Senate have been defined. There are standing Senate committees with chairs (Christopher Dodd is the Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, for example) who have been working hard for the past several days on this crisis. Negotiations are underway and the 98 Senate colleagues of these two senators have ideas of their own. Leading a cavalry charge into their midst in an attempt to “take over” and “fix” the problems may be foolhardy at this time. Upsetting the progress that has already been made.

Now perhaps the news media has misrepresented McCain’s intents. This would not be first time this has happened. But McCain has shot from the hip before, and appearing to be decisive and strong in this emergency may impress some of the voters. But as a practical consideration, assuming the news media got it right - and it may not have - McCain’s suggestion to go to Congress to “fix the mess” appears more like grand standing than wise leadership.

Politically will it work? Well, look at what Palin did for McCain in the polls.  



25 Sep 2008 @ 07:50 by vaxen : .
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25 Sep 2008 @ 08:45 by vaxen : .
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25 Sep 2008 @ 16:14 by jazzolog : Surprise! It's October (almost)

http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/uc/20080925/stt080925.gif  



25 Sep 2008 @ 21:23 by vaxen : .
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26 Sep 2008 @ 08:03 by jazzolog : Washed Away
I've been trying to get my feet under me to put up a new entry around possibilities the whole bailout is a hoax cooked up by Wall Street and the Repubs...but new developments keep coming too fast. Wouldn't be the first time some mysterious economic crisis set up a fat cat coup: strange, devastating inflation hit the country months prior to the 1980 election that took out Carter and brought in Reagan. The true takeover began then. Then there was talk of something known as the Trilateral Commission, which was so far out at the time that many of us didn't believe it even existed. This time we know there are such groups that meet secretly to discuss our fate. Fortunately enough Americans are clued in now to overwhelm Congress with protest. I got up early expecting gloomily to read Congress had reached agreement and were ready to send the huge check to the White House for the Bushies to spend as they please. But it appears talks have fallen apart. There still is time. And the laughs are so helpful. Letterman's rip of McCain Wednesday night has gotten a million and a half views at YouTube. Don't miss it: television at its greatest~~~

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3090122709758972346&hl=en

And Garrison Keillor, appropriately merciless~~~

{link:http://www.startribune.com/opinion/29631709.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiUBP7hUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU}

And of course Tom Tomorrow~~~

http://action.credomobile.com/comics/TMW09-24-08orig_image.jpg  



26 Sep 2008 @ 15:22 by vaxen : .
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26 Sep 2008 @ 16:03 by jazzolog : Actual, Real Economists Check In
Economists Urge Congress Not to Rush on Rescue Plan (Update1)
By Matthew Benjamin

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- More than 150 U.S. economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, urged Congress to hold off on passing a $700 billion financial market rescue plan until it can be studied more closely.

In a Sept. 24 letter to congressional leaders, 166 academic economists said they oppose Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan because it's a ``subsidy'' for business, it's ambiguous and it may have adverse market consequences in the long term. They also expressed alarm at the haste of lawmakers and the Bush administration to pass legislation.

``It doesn't seem to me that a lot decisions that we're going to have to live with for a long time have to be made by Friday,'' said Robert Lucas, a University of Chicago economist and 1995 Nobel Prize winner who signed the letter. ``The situation may get urgent, but it's not urgent right now. Right now it's a financial sector problem.''

The economists who signed the letter represent various disciplines, including macroeconomics, microeconomics, behavioral and information economics, and game theory. They also span the political spectrum, from liberal to conservative to libertarian.

Some lawmakers are already citing the letter as reason not to endorse Paulson's plan. Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, said yesterday he has ``five pages of the leading economists in America that wrote to me and the leadership saying the Paulson plan is a bad plan. It will not solve problems. It will create more problems.''

Negotiations over the plan stalled yesterday after Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives undercut the Bush administration and left it to congressional leaders to hammer out a compromise.

`How Capitalism Works'

The letter, initially conceived by economists at the University of Chicago, was signed by professors from dozens of American universities and several outside the U.S.

David I. Levine, a professor of economics at University of California-Berkeley, says the current plan being discussed has the wrong structure.

``The structure is designed for the Treasury to be the first line of defense,'' said Levine, who studies organizations and incentives. ``A whole lot of people made money supposedly by putting their capital at risk, and those are supposed to be the first line of defense, that's how capitalism works.''

Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University professor and self- described libertarian, objects to what he says is ``a stunningly broad, aggressive government intervention without appropriate precedents.''

He advocates allowing the normal process of business failure and bankruptcy to run its course. ``It's just nothing like the calamity the administration is making it out to be,'' he said.

Unprecedented Power

Erik Brynjolfsson, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School, said his main objection ``is the breathtaking amount of unchecked discretion it gives to the Secretary of the Treasury. It is unprecedented in a modern democracy.''

Advocates for a rescue plan this week point to a seizing up of credit markets, reflected in elevated inter-bank lending rates, as reason for action. Some economists are unconvinced.

``I suspect that part of what we're seeing in the freezing up of lending markets is strategic behavior on the part of big financial players who stand to benefit from the bailout,'' said David K. Levine, an economist at Washington University in St. Louis, who studies liquidity constraints and game theory.

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Benjamin at mbenjamin2@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: September 26, 2008 07:23 EDT

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aNhbZSQz2Vws&refer=us  



26 Sep 2008 @ 16:24 by quinty : I liked
the Garrison Keillor piece, Jazzo.

Those of you who don't have the stomach to listen to the Creatures of the Night (right-wing talk radio) might be interested to know that they have begun to blame Democrats for the current mess for having greatly reduced home mortgage requirements in the past to make housing available to the poor and minorities.

Right, it was that "nanny" state Big Government liberal kind heartedness that brought us to this.

We know that's jive, of course. And it appears that many souls are avoiding the fact that a far right-wing tenet of faith has always been - deregulation. Let the free market have it's way.

This is faith based ethics. Permitting complete laissez faire would be akin to suspending all criminal laws and everyone would begin to operate on the honor system from now on. According to this philosophy there would be no murder or theft but only a great enhancement of freedom. For big nanny government, with all its oppressive rules regarding such criminal activities as theft and murder, would finally, finally be off our backs.

Let's also quickly examine the motives (it doesn't take long) for these powerful expressions of deregulatory fervor. Greed? Power? Environmental abuse? Exploitation of labor? There is a long history there, and the numerous rationalizations have been with us so long that they have entered into the national orthodoxy as maxims. I think we are unique in the world in that regard.

The problem we face today is macro in scope. I’m no economist (took a course once with a Keynsian - it made sense) but the ship has to be righted once again or it may flounder. What stands most in the way , perhaps, are the long standing Capitalist theological maxims emerging out of the Land of Sarah Palin.

For a while I thought I may have been wrong about Palin being dumb. Uh uh. Her performance last night with Katie Kurick (sp?) confirmed she is not merely ignorant. But never mind, if she becomes president we should be accustomed to a regency. We more or less had one for the past eight years.  



27 Sep 2008 @ 06:24 by vaxen : .
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27 Sep 2008 @ 14:57 by Quinty @68.9.133.5 : Here's an interesting idea
from Thom Hartmann

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/09/26

Published on Friday, September 26, 2008 by CommonDreams.org
How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar
by Thom Hartmann

For Grover "Drown Government In The Bathtub" Norquist, this bailout deal will work out very well. At a proposed cost of $4,780 per taxpayer, it'll further the David Stockman strategy of so indebting us that the next president won't have the luxury of even thinking of new social spending (expanding health care, social security, education, infrastructure, etc.); taxes will even have to be raised just to pay for the bailout. It'll debase our currency, driving up commodity prices and interest rates, which will benefit the Investor Class while further impoverishing the pesky Middle Class, rendering them less prone to protest (because they're so busy working trying to pay off their debt). It'll create stagflation for at least the next half decade, which can be blamed on Democrats who currently control Congress and, should Obama be elected, be blamed on him.

But there's another way: Create an agency to fund the bailout, loan that agency the money from the treasury, and then have that agency tax Wall Street to pay us (the treasury) back.

It's been done before, and has several benefits.

In the United Kingdom, for example, whenever you buy or sell a share of stock (or a credit swap or a derivative, or any other activity of that sort) you pay a small tax on the transaction. We did the same thing here in the US from 1914 to 1966 (and, before that, we did it to finance the Spanish American War and the Civil War).

For us, this Securities Turnover Excise Tax (STET) was a revenue source. For example, if we were to instate a .25 percent STET (tax) on every stock, swap, derivitive, or other trade today, it would produce - in its first year - around $150 billion in revenue. Wall Street would be generating the money to fund its own bailout. (For comparison, as best I can determine, the UK's STET is .25 percent, and Taiwan just dropped theirs from .60 to .30 percent.)

But there are other benefits.

As John Maynard Keynes pointed out in his seminal economics tome, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money in 1936, such a securities transaction tax would have the effect of "mitigating the predominance of speculation over enterprise."

In other words, it would tamp down toxic speculation, while encouraging healthy investment. The reason is pretty straightforward: When there's no cost to trading, there's no cost to gambling. The current system is like going to a casino where the house never takes anything; a gambler's paradise. Without costs to the transaction, people of large means are encourage to speculate - to, for example, buy a million shares of a particular stock over a day or two purely with the goal of driving up the stock's price (because everybody else sees all the buying activity and thinks they should jump onto the bandwagon) so three days down the road they can sell all their stock at a profit and get out before it collapses as the result of their sale. (We ironically call the outcome of this "market volatility.")

Investment, on the other hand, is what happens when people buy stock because they believe the company has an underlying value. They're expecting the value will increase over time because the company has a good product or service and good management. Investment stabilizes markets, makes stock prices reflect real company values, and helps small investors securely build value over time.

Historically, from the founding of our country until the last century, most people invested rather than speculated. When rules limiting speculation were cut during the first big Republican deregulation binge during the administrations of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover (1921-1933), it created a speculative fever that led directly to the housing bubble of the early 20s (which started in Florida, where property values were going up as much as 70 percent per year, and then spread nationwide, only to burst nationally starting in 1927 as housing values began to collapse), then the falling housing market popped the stock market bubble and produced the great stock market crash of 1929. That speculation aggregated enormous wealth in a very few hands, crashed the housing and stock markets, and produced the Republican Great Depression of 1930-1942.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, as part of the New Deal, put into place a series of rules to discourage speculation and promote investment, including maintaining - and doubling - the Securities Transaction Excise Tax. Other countries followed our lead, and the UK, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Greece, Australia, France, China, Chile, Malaysia, India, Austria, and Belgium have all had or have STETs.

Perhaps the most important benefit of immediately re-instituting a STET in the USA, however, isn't that it would raise enough money to bail out the banks and billionaires (and after that crisis is covered, could pay for a national health care system), or that it would encourage investment and calm down markets. Those are all strong benefits, and absent the current Republican Administration bailout proposal would stand-alone strongly.

But the Republican Bush Administration is currently suggesting that we borrow $700 billion (or more) from China and Saudi Arabia and other countries and investors, add that to our national debt, and repay it with interest (making the actual cost over the next 20 years over $1.4 trillion). This is what Republican Herbert Hoover tried in 1931 when he first created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (later totally reinvented by FDR) to bail out the banks in 1931. Hoover's RFC bailed out the bankers, paid off huge salaries in the banking and investment world, bought him a few months (maybe that's the real goal of the Bush/McCain Republicans now - just hold things together until after the elections), but ultimately led to the failure within two years of virtually all the banks in the United States. The bailout failed.

Similarly, in 1998 the Japanese banks were facing a serious crisis of liquidity as the result of a bursting housing bubble in that country. The Japanese government used public funds to re-float a number of large banks that year, and it similarly failed. In one example out of dozens, in 1998 135 billion Yen were given from public tax funds to Ashikaga Financial Group, but the company limped along for a few years and in November of 2003 collapsed again, requiring a second infusion of a trillion yen from public coffers. And, as the BBC reported in a 30 November 2003 article ("Japan Bank Bail-Out 'A One-Off'"): "But experts warn that Ashikaga could be just the tip of the iceberg." Professor of Finance at Tokyo University Takehisa Hayashi said, "It will come as no surprise if we see another Ashikaga case in the near future." And they did.

Japan continues to limp along, as a result of bailing out banks rather than fixing structural problems. (At least the Japanese had enough savings to use their own money, instead of debt, to bail out their banks.)

So bailouts don't work, and never have. And they also have the side effects of damaging a nation's credit, sucking up its taxpayers resources, and (when done with debt) weakening its currency.

So let's go back to what we know works. After Hoover's 1931 bailout of the banks failed, FDR did a cold reboot of the entire system, putting into place strong rules to prevent speculative abuse. And he doubled the STET tax, both producing revenue that more than funded the Securities and Exchange Commission and further prevented a repeat of the speculative bubble of the 1920s that led directly to the Republican Great Depression.

We've done it before. We financed the Spanish American War and partially financed the Civil War, WWI, and WWII with STETs. We stabilized our stock market with a STET from the mid-30s to 1966, and other nations are doing it today. It's time to do it again, this time using the STET so tax Wall Street can pay for its own bailout.

Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It," and "Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion."  



27 Sep 2008 @ 20:44 by vaxen : ,
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28 Sep 2008 @ 07:48 by vaxen : .
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28 Sep 2008 @ 10:16 by vaxen : .
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28 Sep 2008 @ 11:18 by jazzolog : Debate To Bailout
It all is so shabby. I couldn't write yesterday, as I drove to a retirement pension conference down in Waverly, Ohio (south of Chillicothe). I got to hear that this agency, for a relatively small number of state employees in education, is paying out $4 million dollars a week for medical expenses to under a hundred thousand retirees. The soaring prices of post-retirement medical insurance is making contemplation of retirement impossible for all of us. You'll pay over a thousand dollars a month for your insurance if you're under 65. Campaign issues anyone?

As for the debate, everybody panned it pretty much. Maureen tried a column this morning, but attempted too much. Even she can't touch on all the news items of last week. Frank Rich is better than she today, because he ferrets out the show biz so easily. And he slams McCain so well. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/opinion/28rich.html?th&emc=th

Tom Wolfe invented Masters of the Universe in reference to all the young dudes who loaded up at Reagan's party in the '80s. He writes in today's Times about how they're doing now~~~

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/opinion/28wolfe.html?th&emc=th  



28 Sep 2008 @ 15:31 by quinty : Ah, Capitalism!

Does Wolfe gloat? (He’s reputed to be a Republican, you know?) Or is he merely the wide eyed inside observer of the passing American scene? His style is as sharp, vivacious and beautiful as ever. (Though I didn’t like The Bonfire of the Vanities: it read like the treatment for a Hollywood movie. And he wrote it at a time when the novel was still considered superior. Was he ahead of us too in that regard?)

But boy can Wolfe brings things to life. And when I came upon your reading list this morning (which is always excellent) I went to the Wolfe first to see what he had to say. Would he give himself away, somehow? Would he actually chastise these “masters of the universe?” No, instead he praises them. And apparently admires their smarts and agility to leap ahead. Speak of elitists!

No morbid, sorry liberal whining about economic injustice for him. Not when there’s so much life to be lived.

But hedge funds?

About Dowd’s post mortem, I become tired of comments such as, “the candidate should have parted his hair on the right instead of the left...” kind of thing. Can’t they simply ever be themselves? This only goes to show how far theatrics influence our national elections.

Though she’s right, I think, about O’s bringing up Kissinger. Presenting him as being on his (Obama’s) side on an issue could never work. And K has already reaffirmed his support for McCain.

Rich, as usual, is brilliant. Too bad the entire nation can’t read his column this morning. But, unlike Wolfe’s world, the humdrum probably dominates many a household this morning. Wolfe’s right, of course: we should glory and live. But hedge funds?  



29 Sep 2008 @ 03:21 by vaxen : .
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29 Sep 2008 @ 09:50 by jazzolog : Trimming The Hedges

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/staticfiles/NGS/Shared/StaticFiles/Photography/Images/POD/l/lhasa-stenzel-646568-sw.jpg

Emerging at 12:28 a.m. from a nine-hour meeting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office, principal negotiators said they expect to put the finishing touches on a deal later in the day.
The breakthrough was announced in a mostly-deserted Capitol and accompanied by smiles, handshakes and hugs.

(OK, I accept critique for a cheap shot...but I am not demeaning this Tibetan celebration of a new year: I continue Tibetan practice begun 30 years ago, though only slightly compared to Christian worship.)  



29 Sep 2008 @ 10:00 by jazzolog : Krugman: The Next Time Treasury Calls
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
September 29, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
The 3 A.M. Call
By PAUL KRUGMAN

It’s 3 a.m., a few months into 2009, and the phone in the White House rings. Several big hedge funds are about to fail, says the voice on the line, and there’s likely to be chaos when the market opens. Whom do you trust to take that call?

I’m not being melodramatic. The bailout plan released yesterday is a lot better than the proposal Henry Paulson first put out — sufficiently so to be worth passing. But it’s not what you’d actually call a good plan, and it won’t end the crisis. The odds are that the next president will have to deal with some major financial emergencies.

So what do we know about the readiness of the two men most likely to end up taking that call? Well, Barack Obama seems well informed and sensible about matters economic and financial. John McCain, on the other hand, scares me.

About Mr. Obama: it’s a shame that he didn’t show more leadership in the debate over the bailout bill, choosing instead to leave the issue in the hands of Congressional Democrats, especially Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. But both Mr. Obama and the Congressional Democrats are surrounded by very knowledgeable, clear-headed advisers, with experienced crisis managers like Paul Volcker and Robert Rubin always close at hand.

Then there’s the frightening Mr. McCain — more frightening now than he was a few weeks ago.

We’ve known for a long time, of course, that Mr. McCain doesn’t know much about economics — he’s said so himself, although he’s also denied having said it. That wouldn’t matter too much if he had good taste in advisers — but he doesn’t.

Remember, his chief mentor on economics is Phil Gramm, the arch-deregulator, who took special care in his Senate days to prevent oversight of financial derivatives — the very instruments that sank Lehman and A.I.G., and brought the credit markets to the edge of collapse. Mr. Gramm hasn’t had an official role in the McCain campaign since he pronounced America a “nation of whiners,” but he’s still considered a likely choice as Treasury secretary.

And last year, when the McCain campaign announced that the candidate had assembled “an impressive collection of economists, professors, and prominent conservative policy leaders” to advise him on economic policy, who was prominently featured? Kevin Hassett, the co-author of “Dow 36,000.” Enough said.

Now, to a large extent the poor quality of Mr. McCain’s advisers reflects the tattered intellectual state of his party. Has there ever been a more pathetic economic proposal than the suggestion of House Republicans that we try to solve the financial crisis by eliminating capital gains taxes? (Troubled financial institutions, by definition, don’t have capital gains to tax.)

But even President Bush has, in the twilight of his administration, turned to relatively sensible people to make economic decisions: I’m not a fan of Mr. Paulson, but he’s a vast improvement over his predecessor. At this point, one has the suspicion that a McCain administration would have us longing for Bush-era competence.

The real revelation of the last few weeks, however, has been just how erratic Mr. McCain’s views on economics are. At any given moment, he seems to have very strong opinions — but a few days later, he goes off in a completely different direction.

Thus on Sept. 15 he declared — for at least the 18th time this year — that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” This was the day after Lehman failed and Merrill Lynch was taken over, and the financial crisis entered a new, even more dangerous stage.

But three days later he declared that America’s financial markets have become a “casino,” and said that he’d fire the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission — which, by the way, isn’t in the president’s power.

And then he found a new set of villains — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored lenders. (Despite some real scandals at Fannie and Freddie, they played little role in causing the crisis: most of the really bad lending came from private loan originators.) And he moralistically accused other politicians, including Mr. Obama, of being under Fannie’s and Freddie’s financial influence; it turns out that a firm owned by his own campaign manager was being paid by Freddie until just last month.

Then Mr. Paulson released his plan, and Mr. McCain weighed vehemently into the debate. But he admitted, several days after the Paulson plan was released, that he hadn’t actually read the plan, which was only three pages long.

O.K., I think you get the picture.

The modern economy, it turns out, is a dangerous place — and it’s not the kind of danger you can deal with by talking tough and denouncing evildoers. Does Mr. McCain have the judgment and temperament to deal with that part of the job he seeks?

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/29/opinion/29krugman.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin  



29 Sep 2008 @ 12:14 by Quinty @68.9.133.5 : The Republicans
live in the age of 33 RPM when the world is going digital. And the needle is stuck.  


29 Sep 2008 @ 21:09 by vaxen : .
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29 Sep 2008 @ 23:02 by quinty @68.9.133.5 : More from Thomas Frank
reminding us of some basic history.......

Wrecking, Wrecking, Wrecked

by Thomas Frank

The great fear that hung over the business community in the 1970s was death by regulation, and the great goal of the conservative movement, as it rose to triumph in the 1980s, was to remove that threat--to keep OSHA, the EPA, and the FTC from choking off entrepreneurship with their infernal meddling in the marketplace.

Defunding those agencies was one way to stop the killer bureaucrats; another was to stuff them full of business-friendly personnel who would go easy on regulated. The signature conservative regulatory idea became "voluntary enforcement", because everyone now knew that efficient markets regulated themselves. Bad practices or tainted products drove away consumers; therefore firms had an incentive to behave, an incentive far more powerful than some top-down scheme in which big brother told them what to do.

Whether people ever truly believed this nonsense or not, its application over the years makes up the basic story of conservative governance as I tell it in my book, The Wrecking Crew. This is the philosophy by which conservatives gutted the EPA and the Labor Department, turned over the Interior Department and the FDA to the industries they were supposed to regulate, let the CEO of Enron advise the vice president on energy policy, and generally came to regard business, not the public, as government's "customer" (a word that crops up with disturbing frequency in conservative regulatory history).

But it is only now, as we watch the financial system crumble around us, that we can really see the devastating consequences of this folly. It turns out the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which was responsible for regulating investment banks, did a significant part of its job through a voluntary program which firms could participate in or not as they saw fit. As the New York Times told the story on Saturday, this system had--of course--been pushed for by the investment banks themselves, who wanted it in order to avoid the stricter rules from European governments that they would otherwise have had to obey.

And now, as a consequence, the SEC has almost no industry left to regulate. Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley: All of them are gone or restructured. At business's urging, business was left up to its own devices; its own devices turned out to be precisely the things that our grandparents set up regulatory agencies to guard against: euphoria that leads to panic; perverse incentives that lead to fraud; boom that leads to bust.

As you watch the world crumble, try taking your Armageddon with this sprinkling of irony: Over the last three decades, business has got virtually everything it wanted, and its doomsday scenario from the 1970s has come true because of it. The regulators have indeed killed the regulated--not by intrusive meddling but by doing nothing, by taking a nap while the financial sector puffed up the bubble and blew itself to pieces.  



30 Sep 2008 @ 10:05 by jazzolog : Why We Voted It Down
Here are a few questions we would have liked answered~~~

The $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, is driven by fear not fact.
This is too much money in too a short a time going to too few people while too many questions remain unanswered.

Why aren't we having hearings on the plan we have just received?

Why aren't we questioning the underlying premise of the need for a bailout with taxpayers' money?

Why have we not considered any alternatives other than to give $700 billion to Wall Street?

Why aren't we asking Wall Street to clean up its own mess?

Why aren't we passing new laws to stop the speculation, which triggered this?

Why aren't we putting up new regulatory structures to protect investors?

How do we even value the $700 billion in toxic assets?

Why aren't we helping homeowners directly with their debt burden?

Why aren't we helping American families faced with bankruptcy?

Why aren't we reducing debt for Main Street instead of Wall Street?

Isn't it time for fundamental change in our debt based monetary system, so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks?

Is this the United States Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs?

Wall Street is a place of bears and bulls. It is not smart to force taxpayers to dance with bears or to follow closely behind the bulls.

Who composed these questions...and asked them on the floor of the House Sunday? Dennis Kucinich.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/campaignmatters/365657/an_appropriately_populist_anti_bailout_rant  



30 Sep 2008 @ 10:11 by vaxen : .
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1 Oct 2008 @ 08:02 by vaxen : .
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1 Oct 2008 @ 10:05 by jazzolog : Joe Wide Open? And Other Facts
Jonathan Tasini wrote yesterday at WorkingLife.org, the blog of the Labor Research Association, of which he is executive director~~~

There is a great economic emergency looming in our country. But, it seems to me that we—or at least our elected leaders—have only looked at one side of the crisis, that of the housing bubble-inspired financial credit crunch. By doing so, we’ve missed the bigger picture and the solutions needed. So, here is one person’s take on the Emergency Economic Bailout package that will heal the economy.

As quick background, let’s consider this:

24.5 all Americans earn poverty wages (9.60 or less)

10 percent of all Americans—15 million Americans—earn 6.79 or less

33.3 percent of African American works and 39.3 of Hispanic workers earn poverty wages.

The share of our entire national income hoarded by the top one percent is, as of 2005, 21.8 percent. The last time it was that high was in 1928 (23.9)—just as the Great Depression was about to hit with its full fury.

We accept poverty as a fact of life in this country—partly because workers have not gotten the fair share of their hard work over the past three decades (in Republican and Democratic Administrations). If productivity and wages had kept their historic link (meaning, as workers were more productive, that translated into higher paychecks), the MINIMUM WAGE in the country would be $19.12. Yes, $19.12.

At the recent new minimum wage of $6.55 an hour, if you worked every single day, 40 hours a week, with no vacations, no holidays, no health care and no pension, you would earn the grand sum of $13.624. The POVERTY LEVEL for a family of three is $17,600.

47 million Americans have no health care and tens of millions more have inadequate or costly health care that can bankrupt them.

Since 1978, the number of defined-benefit plans—that means, pensions that give retirees a promised monthly amount—plummeted from 128,041 plans covering some 41 percent of private-sector workers to only 26,000 today. It’s a Dog Food Retirement future for millions of people.

All those numbers above do relate to the more narrow crisis in a very specific way: without being able to rely on their paychecks to survive, a lot of people got sucked into the housing bubble mania as an economic coping mechanism. Home equity credit lines substituted for decent pay, retirement and affordable, quality health care. And we know the rest.

http://www.workinglife.org/blogs/view_post.php?content_id=9646

And Ray McGovern wrote an open letter to Joe Biden, also yesterday, which gives him fair warning about attacks to expect tomorrow~~~

--For some reason, you were calling for an invasion of Iraq and making unsupported claims about its “weapons of mass destruction” even before President George W. Bush came into office.

Later, on Aug. 4, 2002, after it had become clear to many of us that Bush was intent on attacking Iraq, you declared that the U.S. was probably going to war. That was three weeks before Vice President Dick Cheney voiced his spurious “intelligence” and set the terms of reference for the war. And it was a month before the administration launched its marketing campaign for the new “product.”

--You became the administration’s most important congressional backer of Bush’s preemptive-with-nothing-to-preempt war advocated by neoconservatives and various oil-thirsty functionaries.

Former U.N. weapons inspector and ex-U.S. Marine Major Scott Ritter was correct in describing the hearings you chaired during the summer and fall of 2002, from which you were careful to exclude Ritter and other expert witnesses, as a “sham…to provide political cover for a massive military attack on Iraq.”

What the country needed was an appropriately skeptical Sen. William Fulbright who listened to dissenters after he got burned on Vietnam. Instead, you took unusual pains to ensure that those dissenting on Iraq would not get a fair hearing.

http://consortiumnews.com/2008/093008a.html

I can almost hear Palin already putting the bite on him. Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He worked as a CIA analyst for 27 years and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).  



1 Oct 2008 @ 18:01 by vaxen : .
.  


3 Oct 2008 @ 18:11 by jazzolog : Get Out The Rose Petals

http://harpers.org/media/image/blogs/misc/liberator_1.jpg  



8 Oct 2008 @ 11:44 by jazzolog : Palin Inciting To Riot
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Learn To Play Ball":

I saw last night (Oct. 5) on the news a disturbing clip of Sarah Palin's campaign speech in Clearwater, Florida, and clearly heard a man yell "Kill him!"---it was in reference to Barack Obama and Governor Palin clearly heard and enjoyed the remark....the video is available in several places on the web. I don't know. It seems to me that anyone inciting hatred and violence, and certainly anyone running for higher office who instigates this type of hatred should be held accountable under federal law.

I am somewhat taken aback that a self-proclaimed "Christian" woman would incite a crowd to such hatred. But, then again, the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who depicted himself as the defender of "Christian Europe" against "atheist Communism," also thought of himself as a Christian, didn't he?

I don't know if McCain and Palin think they are "Playing Ball," or what it is exactly they think that they are doing here, but they sure are playing with fire.

As a fellow blogosphere traveler recently put it:

"It is one thing to criticize your opponent, it is another thing entirely to goad audiences into thinking your opponent is the ENEMY.

The latter has no place in a civil democratic society. Of course some would argue that this nation is slowly abandoning the principles that make it a civil democratic nation.

White supremacy, Dominionist Christian theology, hatred/distrust of government....all the ingredients are there for something quite ugly."

Posted by Anonymous to jazzoLOG at 3:26 PM
http://jazzolog.blogspot.com/2008/09/learn-to-play-ball.html

And this at The Guardian~~~

Flirting her way to victorySarah Palin's farcical debate performance lowered the standards for both female candidates and US political discourse
Michelle Goldberg
guardian.co.uk, Friday October 03 2008 18:30 BST

At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.

By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering the queries put to her. "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also," she said.

And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own pseudo-folksy authenticity.

It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely described as such is that too many American pundits don't even try to judge the truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric they are paid to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as interpreters of a mythical mass of "average Americans" who they both venerate and despise.

In pronouncing upon a debate, they don't try and determine whether a candidate's responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished.

There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic beaming and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her personality managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her answers last night. It's worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden's comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush's policies:

Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? ... My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

Evidently, Palin's pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of speaking on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to simply disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points or cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick - and dishonesty. Asked what her achilles heel is - a question she either didn't understand or chose to ignore - she started in on how McCain chose her because of her "connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?"

None of Palin's children, it should be noted, is heading off to college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described "fuckin' redneck". Palin is a woman who can't even tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn't show how high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/oct/03/sarah.palin.debate.feminism  



8 Oct 2008 @ 17:58 by quinty : Ah, the Creatures of the Night

how sweetly they sing.

Anyone who ever listens to rightwing talk radio (they dominate the airwaves) knows that hate and anger are very much a part of the mix.

They have been calling progressives “the ENEMY” for years.

And always burning just beneath the surface of their flights of fancy there is an enormous amount of fury. Combine that with ignorance, jingoism, fear of the other and all the other ingredients which go into that cocktail you’ve got quite a powerful punch brewing there.

McCain has been courting the moron vote for several months now, and Palin proves it. If McCain truly believes Palin is an adequate pick for vice president he himself is woefully inadequate. If not he has demonstrated a cynicism and lack of regard for the good of the American people which is staggering.

Palin does remind us of Bush. He too, if you remember, “won” the debates in 2000 because he didn’t “drool all over himself.” It’s curious that McCain is trying to distance himself from Bush and picks a candidate like Palin who’s so much like him.

This time, at least, there has been a powerful reaction to the Rovian/Schmidt antics. And Obama and major parts of the mainstream print and cable media are striking back hard.

Maybe the infection will be limited this time, just to those who already believe in the message of the Creatures of the Night. There may be millions of angry rednecks but they don’t constitute an American majority. At least we hope not, and the Bushingus, a tropical disease which affects the brain, causing a swelling, giddiness, and reflexive impersonations of chimpanzees, hasn’t infected the entire nation yet. Though at times its spell has been so heavy upon us all it has been hard to tell.  



8 Oct 2008 @ 21:37 by jazzolog : Anonymous Continues
Dana Milbank (The Washington Post) highlights another incident from Monday:

...Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/06/AR2008100602935.html

In Mussolini's Italy, the fascists deployed "blackshirts" thugs to intimidate the Press and any opposition figures, and those who questioned the policy of their leader were denounced as as traitors.

Sounds familiar?

In the latest instance of inflammatory outbursts at McCain-Palin rallies, a crowd member screamed "treason!" during an event on Tuesday after Sarah Palin accused Barack Obama of criticizing U.S. troops.

"[Obama] said, too, that our troops in Afghanistan are 'air raiding villages and killing civilians,'" Palin said, mischaracterizing a 2007 remark by Obama. "I hope Americans know that is not what our brave men and women in uniform are doing in Afghanistan. The U.S. military is fighting terrorism and protecting us and protecting our freedom."

Shortly afterward, a male member of the crowd in Jacksonville, Florida, yelled "treason!" loudly enough to be picked up by television microphones.
http://jazzolog.blogspot.com/2008/09/learn-to-play-ball.html

More and more blogs and media are picking up the incidents to which Anonymous refers. However, I have yet to find any video of the guy yelling "Kill him!" Surely everything Palin does in public gets recorded. I'm beginning to think the anecdote, which now the Secret Service is investigating, is apocryphal. However, this article provides links to the Clearwater rally~~~

http://minnesotaindependent.com/12076/wapo-tough-times-for-mccain-rough-stuff-from-palin  



9 Oct 2008 @ 06:18 by vaxen : .
.  


9 Oct 2008 @ 08:01 by vaxen : .
.  


19 Oct 2008 @ 11:50 by jazzolog : Money & Insurance Stores Unite!
Our payday loan advocate, who will bet you your next paycheck for a loan right now, probably would cheer this letter to the editor from the W.J. Cox CEO. According to its website, Cox provides "risk management services for forest industry clients". His letter in the current issue of Business Insurance defends entirely the $440,000 AIG junket to the spa~~~

TO THE EDITOR: It's easy to understand the public outrage over the American International Group Inc. "executive retreat" to the tune of $400,000, but it's not so easy to understand a like reaction within the insurance industry.

Firstly, it wasn't an executive retreat after all, but rather an incentive reward for top-producing agents in the life sector. Driven by our customers, those of us on the production side, whether life or property/casualty, are facing the question of whether to renew existing and/or place new accounts with AIG. A significant downturn in the flow of new business will undoubtedly sink any effort to stabilize the company. If I were in AIG's shoes and had an opportunity get in front of 100 of my top-producing agents to reassure them of our future, I would do so in a heartbeat—and at the reported cost, which frankly is miniscule for a company its size.

Certainly AIG could have done a better job explaining this to the public and their new government partners. This type of event is a common industry practice and has been analyzed from a cost/benefit stance ad infinitum.

In addition, the participants likely qualified contractually for this event last year. In my opinion, the event and the expenditure were not only justified but warranted.

Edward G. Wright, CPCU
President and Chief Executive Officer
W.J. Cox Associates Inc.
http://www.businessinsurance.com/cgi-bin/article.pl?article_id=26215

It's how you do business, folks. American International Group. I love corporate names like that! Faceless, apparently unassuming. Actually, according to the 2008 Forbes Global 2000 list, AIG was the 18th-largest company in the world. They sell insurance and have done so since 1919, when AIG's founder sold his first policy in Shanghai, thus becoming the first American to introduce insurance to the Chinese. The Federal Reserve Bank's rescue package of 85 billion dollars is the largest government bailout of a private company in U.S. history. On October 9, 2008, the company borrowed an additional $37.8 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_International_Group

So how do I get cozy with this company I now own apparently, and which may hold my retirement pension---providing of course I ever can afford to retire? Since my problem with retirement has to do with paying for insurance, maybe I should get a job with them. And as Maureen Dowd shows us this morning, the perks still are terrific~~~

The New York Times
Op-Ed Columnist
After W., Le Deluge
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: October 18, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/opinion/19dowd.html?th&emc=th

Just when we thought executives of A.I.G., the insurance giant bailed out by taxpayers for $123 billion, had been shamed into stopping their post-bailout Marie Antoinette spa treatments, luxury sports suites, Vegas and California posh resort retreats, we were dumbfounded to learn that some A.I.G. execs were cavorting at a lavish shooting party at a British country manor.

London’s News of the World sent undercover reporters to hunt down the feckless financiers on their $86,000 partridge hunt as they tromped through the countryside in tweed knickers, and then later as they “slurped fine wine” and feasted on pigeon breast and halibut.

The paper reported that the A.I.G. revelers stayed at Plumber Manor — not the ancestral home of Joe the Plumber, a 17th-century country house in Dorset — and spent $17,500 for food and rooms. The private jet to get there cost another $17,500, and the limos added up to $8,000 more.

In an astonishing let-them-eat-cake moment, the A.I.G. big shot Sebastian Preil held court at the bar and told an undercover reporter, “The recession will go on until about 2011, but the shooting was great today and we are relaxing fine.”

There were at least three New Yorkers bagging birds — Jeffrey Malkovsky, a senior director at A.I.G.’s Manhattan office, Hilary James, the general manager of the Bristol Plaza Hotel, and her friend, John Roberts, an A.I.G. adviser.

Who are these looters of our loot? The New York Times should follow up the excellent Portraits of Grief it did after 9/11 with Portraits of Greed.

Payback doesn’t have to go as far as the French Revolution. The grifters shafting us don’t have to shed blood, but they do have to give the money back. As far as these self-serving corporate con men and short-selling traders are concerned, off with their headsets.

John McCain wasted his last-chance debate Wednesday by trying to stir up faux class rage against Barack Obama with Joe the Unvetted Plumber instead of tapping into the real class rage the country feels over bailing out ungrateful financiers who gambled away the life savings of working people.

’Tis a far, far better thing that New York’s attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, did when he demanded that A.I.G.’s former executives who were trying to abscond with many millions in severance payments, bonuses and golden parachutes surrender the swag. He set a good example for the feds, who slapped Mr. (Richard) Fuld (Lehman Brothers C.E.O.) in the face with a subpoena.

Cuomo got A.I.G. to instantly reverse itself and cancel 160 conferences and other events that would have cost more than $8 million, as well as give up information on compensation, bonuses and other payments to determine whether they were fitting. (How could they be?)

“We stopped a $10 million severance payment to Stephen Bensinger, the chief financial officer,” Cuomo told me Friday. “Just look at the words chief financial officer. There’s a phenomenon when senior management sees the corporation deteriorating and they concoct a version of looting the company to take care of themselves.”

Even Cuomo, who has been locked in battle with A.I.G. for a long time, was stunned when he learned of the British hunting folly. At first he thought it could not be true.

“That was our partridge hunting trip,” he said. “The partridge paid the ultimate price, but the taxpayer came close.”

He is using a state “claw back” law, which he says allows him to recover contracts and rescind payments if there was unjust compensation.

Great. Now can he find the $123 billion lost by A.I.G. that we now have to plug with taxpayers’ money?

Let’s hope that if Barack Obama becomes president, the first thing he does is keep his promise to make the junketeers come to Washington (preferably by bus or carpooling) and write the U.S. Treasury a check, after which he will fire them on the spot.

Heads must roll.

http://www.soxfirst.com/50226711/aig.jpg  



19 Oct 2008 @ 17:51 by martha : I completely agree quinty
Self regulation doesn't work. You left out the medical profession and congress. hahaha
To me it is lack of integrity, no common sense and greed. We live in a society where we have politicians that lie, news manipuilated by corporations, teachers no longer allowed to teach properly and taxes gone amuck just to name a few problems...hahaha
Regulation is necessary unfortunately. And could someone please explain to me why corporations get tax breaks for setting up business in other countries?  



19 Oct 2008 @ 18:47 by mortimer : Free to be Responsible

Laws are made for lawless people! Turtle Island is occupied territory and the current laws are made by lawless people for lawless people.

Your concerns about America are legit and by UN (United Nations) definition of ‘refugee’, you are American Refugee.

Your friend,
Mike  



19 Oct 2008 @ 19:55 by martha : Which turtle island
are you referencing Mike?
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Island)

Sorry Jazzy we might have gone a bit off topic. (hard to believe at NCN...LOL)  



19 Oct 2008 @ 20:04 by ursula : Friends
are not abusive and disrespectful. Laws are created for people who will not be personally responsible and respectful of others.  


19 Oct 2008 @ 20:35 by mortimer : abusive and disrespectful

{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Island_(North_America)|Turtle Island (North America)}

The treaties with the Indians are proof that the Indians never lost the war.

"Laws are created for people who will not be personally responsible and respectful of others" - gee, lawless people - Like the colonist who invaded Turtle Island and did not honor the treaty agreements they submitted?

Lakotah territory (11 states) under the 1851 treaty. Lakotah as an Indian tribe in the United States, the Lakotah were already and always have been a Sovereign Nation as guaranteed under Article Six of the United States Constitution, bound to the United States Federal Government by treaty.

(Not to mention the other 500 Indian Nations that were cheated)

It’s not really off topic Martha, why would American Refugees vote? ...You admit (concern) they lie, news is manipulated by corporations, teachers are no longer allowed to teach properly and taxes gone amuck. By UN definition of refugee, you are American Refugee.

"Abusive and disrespectful" ~ Rusyn mirror-image

your friend,
mike  



20 Oct 2008 @ 11:13 by martha : The problem mike
Is that one can be an island until they are invaded. I agree that the native americans were treated shamefully. But we now live in a world of bombs and if we don't have a strong govt. to protect us we will be destroyed and that includes the native americans. We are one nation regardless of the treaties. I believe the native americians certainly have a right to have their independent nations but how will that protect them from the terrorists NOW?
But make no mistake I am against the war in Iraq and we never should have gone there. I am talking about a strong govt. for ALL the people that live in America and that is why I vote.  



20 Oct 2008 @ 22:36 by mortimer : The problem is the facts
Martha I hear you but did you hear me? I repeat..."Lakotah as an Indian tribe in the United States, the Lakotah were already and always have been a Sovereign Nation as guaranteed under Article Six of the United States Constitution, bound to the United States Federal Government by treaty."

It’s the Law Martha. Or do you want to disregard the Law, well that just proves my point...current laws are made by lawless people for lawless people.

your friend,
mike  



20 Oct 2008 @ 22:40 by mortimer : Triple Feature (the "red pill")

Which pill would you take, the red or the blue? The question of which pill to take illustrates the personal aspect of the decision to study philosophy. Do you live on in ignorance (and potentially bliss) or do you lead what Aristotle called 'the examined life'.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a0/PowerNightTitle.jpg

The Power of Nightmares -- subtitled The Rise of the Politics of Fear, is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. Its three one-hour parts consist mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis's narration. The series was first broadcast in the United Kingdom in late 2004 and has subsequently been broadcast in multiple countries and shown in several film festivals, including the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

1. {http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2798679275960015727|Baby it's Cold Outside}

2. {http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4602171665328041876|The Phantom Victory}

3. {http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2081592330319789254|The Shadows in the Cave}


your friend,
mike  



21 Oct 2008 @ 00:19 by martha : I don't understand
I don't disagree with you Mortimer. I know the indian nations are soverign but what does that have to do with voting in the United States? I have no problem with the Lakotah's governing themselves but what does that have to do with voting for president?
Mind you I know the government has not lived up to most of the treaties. Are we all still at war with each other? So are you saying since the United Staes was once the land of the native americans that the United States needs to be run by the native americans? Realistically that won't happen. So do native americans vote in our presidential elections? Or because they are all soverign nations they have no vote in the election?
As to the rise of the politics of fear, that has been going on for thousands of years. Religion is another example of manipulating fear. Fear is the fundamental ill in our world. The wall street crisis is another example of fear politics. Men dominating women is still another example. Power over others has endless examples in the world we live in. Is not the real truth being able to see beyond the fear manipulation? Is not the real truth to see that we are all connected regardless of what country we live in or the color of our skin or the religion we believe.  



21 Oct 2008 @ 01:31 by mortimer : Oh That
Well, now that you admit seeking gov protection, that changes everything. By United Nations definition of refugee; if you trust your government to protect you then you are not a refugee. If you trust a government that lies, news is manipulated by corporations, teachers are no longer allowed to teach properly and taxes gone amuck. By UN definition of refugee, you are NOT an American Refugee. Instead you are culpable accessory to this contrived system of plunder.

For your info (what corporate news don’t tell you)

The idea of indigenous sovereignty surfaced internationally and with intensity in the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, E/CN.4/Sub. 2/1994/56, issued in 1994 as a report to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

On September 13 2007 the United Nations’ General Assembly approved the much touted United Nations’ {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_on_the_Rights_of_Indigenous_Peoples|Declaration on The Rights of Indigenous Peoples}

On 17 December 2007 Lakotah Freedom Delegation delivered a statement asserting the independence of the Lakotah from the United States.

On 30 January 2008 more than 100 Indigenous Sovereign Nations who live and prosper in the traditional ways within the current borders of Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the Caribbean agreed to gather together on April 20, 2008, to sign a Declaration of Sovereignty, by which these Indigenous Sovereign Nations will join together to re-assert their inherent sovereignty as ONE, inviting all Indigenous Sovereign Nations from all around the world to join.

On 20 April 2008 (first Full Moon of the spring), Approximately 200 Sovereign Indigenous Nations currently living under the colonizing power of Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand have agreed to sign the Declaration.

This may be the ultimate irony, which "tribal sovereignty" could prove to be the vehicle for indigenous nations from within the colonizers' civilization. It may also be true that the persistence of "tribal sovereignty" has kept alive the idea of local sovereignty, of "the people" as the ultimate source of legal authority.

(seems you did not watch the movies, so you missed the point)

your friend,
mike  



21 Oct 2008 @ 09:21 by jazzolog : Courtesy Calls
Don't you just love it when the telemarketer frames his live or robocall as "courtesy"? There you are, trying to get supper on the table, and the corporation has the nerve to refer to his commercial interruption as courtesy.

Now we have courtesy posts. The Personal Money Store has been spamming jazzoLOG for a couple weeks, sticking anything up---right, left, center---to get you to click the links. I suppose I should start deleting this stuff. Are other Logs being hit?  



21 Oct 2008 @ 11:30 by martha : Hi Mortimer
Thanks for the clarification and no I didn't watch the movie. My internet connection is not working well and I have a difficult time loading movies or links with lots of pictures and flash stuff. I'm still trying to figure out what to do.
I don't trust my govt. i came of age during vietnam and watergate. Since that time i question everything our govt. does.
Are you Lakotah?
Appreciate the history lesson. I didn't know about the UN Declaration. Certainly a step in the right direction.

Jazzy just get rid of the d__n thing. I haven't been spammed yet but I check my log every day to make sure. Pisses me off...hahahaha...I delete it as soon as I get some. Remember that from last ime I was at ncn. Just another aspect of the "free" net.
You should see the hundreds of spam messages I get every day at my web site.  



21 Oct 2008 @ 11:40 by jazzolog : And Now A Word From Our Sponsor
I don't mind paid popups---although I do have my ISP's blocker turned on---because I support those who prefer to sell ads to keep their sites going. I also contribute to sites that don't want ads. But this kind of spammer hitches a ride and sometimes is difficult to catch if he can keep changing his ISP number. I haven't bothered to check this guy...but an alert webmaster should be doing that---or delegating the duty to someone else. (I can see Martha's topic at her Log is on my mind.)  


21 Oct 2008 @ 12:27 by martha : hahahaha Jazzy
Maybe you have found a new job here at ncn! i suspect that Ming is balancing a lot of stuff.
(I can tell you have my log on your mind! So watch out! hahaha)  



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