Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Though I usually am skeptical of the knee jerk anti-corporate attitude ala Nader school libs, Palast makes a good case for Exxon's intentional nefarious approach to dragging out the Valdez oil spill litigation at the expense of the Native tribes who gave away their land to Exxon only to have Exxon literally take a dump on them all and laugh all the way to the bank.
PALAST INVESTIGATES On the Trail: From 8-Mile to the Amazon with Investigative Reporter Greg Palast. From Greg Palast's ass-kicking BBC Television exposes, as seen on Democracy Now! Featuring Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio. Music by Willie Nelson and Foo Fighter's guitarist Chris Shiflett with Jackson United.
"America's top investigative reporter and the funniest" (Randi Rhodes, Air America) takes you on the hunt for the evidence against the planet's most vicious financial marauders.
Watch the Trailer The Vultures - African potentates, Swiss Boutiques, a dawn stake-out and the pimped-out Cadillac of a man who calls himself 'Goldfinger'. Rumble in the Jungle - Ecuador: Palast takes a dug-out canoe through the Amazon to meet the Natives facing off against US Oil Giant Chevron. The company that named a tanker "Condoleezza" Steal Back Your Vote - Foreclosed homes in 8-mile Detroit and Native Pueblos in New Mexico have something strange in common. Votes are disappearing and Palast follows the trail to a man named Karl Rove. If you think the 2008 US Election wasn't fixed, you'd better check this out!
Donate for a signed copy of the DVD and get these Extras, not available in download version: - Exclusive interview with Robert F Kennedy Jr. - Plus the untold story of the Exxon Valdez with Mike Papantonio. - Plus Ecuador's President Rafael Correa with Palast on corporate piracy. - Plus the hot "Toons of HeadZup and White Noise". - Plus PDF of the Bobby Kennedy Jr./Greg Palast Comic Book "Steal Back Your Vote" with penmen Ted Rall and Lloyd Dangle.
Monday, March 30, 2009
At the same time they are trying to stick him with the 'socialist' brand, which really reveals the poverty of the intellectual foundation of these opportunists, they think fascism and socialism are the same thing.
"political primer for our friends on the Right
March 27, 2009, 10:28AM
On C-Span this week, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) agreed with a caller who said the country is descending into "fascism." In response, Cantor said the public is "finally waking up" to this and that the GOP is trying to bring President Obama "back into the mainstream." Funny, but earlier conservative leaders called Obama a socialist and a communist. Preceding Cantor were Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) and the leader of the GOP, hate-talker Rush Limbaugh, tagged Obama as a devote of Marx and Lenin.
It seems our friends on the Right need a primer on the political spectrum and political nomenclature."
Sunday, March 29, 2009
New York, NY
Sep 19, 2008
I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....
* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.
* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.
* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well-grounded.
* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a vote r registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 2 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking ex ecutive.
* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your broken and disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.
* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DUI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
OK, much clearer now. "
Saturday, March 28, 2009
"Barack Obama is a deeply troubled personality, the megalomaniac front man for a postmodern coup by the intelligence agencies, using fake polls, mobs of swarming adolescents, super-rich contributors, and orchestrated media hysteria to short-circuit normal politics and seize power. Obama comes from the orbit of the Ford Foundation, and has never won public office in a contested election. His guru and controller is Zbigniew Brzezinski, the deranged revanchist and Russia-hater who dominated the catastrophic Carter presidency 30 years ago. All indications are that Brzezinski recruited Obama at Columbia University a quarter century ago. Trilateral Commission co-founder Brzezinski wants a global showdown with Russia and China far more dangerous for the United States than the Bush-Cheney Iraq adventure. Obama's economics are pure Skull & Bones/Chicago school austerity and sacrifice for American working families, all designed to bail out the bankrupt Wall Street elitist financiers who own Obama. Obama's lemming legions and Kool-Aid cult candidacy hearken back to Italy in 1919-1922, and raise the question of postmodern fascism in the United States today. Obama is a recipe for a world tragedy. No American voter can afford to ignore the lessons contained in this book. "
"Minnesotan Congresswoman Michele Bachmann should be drummed out of Congress.
I don't say this lightly, this is a term that was thrown around WAY too loosely during the Bush Administration, but Michele Bachmann is downright un-American.
Mrs. Bachmannn popped up on a lot of peoples radar when she called on the press to investigate members of congress (mainly the liberal ones, including now-President Obama) for anti-Americanism back in the later stages of the '08 Presidential campaign. She's a big fan of "intelligent" design, tried to repeal the nationwide phase-out of incandescent bulbs, and has never met a shelf she didn't want to drill. She's homophobic, xenophobic, and managed to outdo herself recently by calling herself a "foreign correspondent on enemy lines". The enemies being Democrats, "behind enemy lines" being our nations capital, Washington, DC.
To top it all off, she wants people "armed and dangerous" over President Obama's proposed energy tax. "
"Pa. youth court corruption creates legal headache
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM and MARK SCOLFORO – 10 hours ago
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — The decision this week to overturn hundreds of juvenile convictions was a significant and dramatic first step toward untangling the legal mess left behind by a judicial corruption case in northeastern Pennsylvania.
It may also have been the easy part.
The judge handling the matter for the state Supreme Court now faces the more daunting task of figuring out how to restore the legal rights of children convicted of serious offenses without endangering the public's safety or creating new problems of restitution or sentencing.
"It's going to be an extraordinarily difficult matter to conclude," Berks County Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, appointed to review thousands of cases handled by a disgraced Luzerne County judge dating to 2003, said Friday. "At this point, I'm not prepared to tell you what the answer will be, because I don't know."
The former judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., could get more than seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud and tax charges last month in a scheme with another judge to pocket $2.6 million by stocking private detention centers with young offenders.
Many of the offenders were given very brief hearings without lawyers, then shipped off to camps or detention centers for minor offenses, such as lampooning a teacher or simple assault."
Friday, March 27, 2009
'Hmmm, we've spent 20 years getting filthy rich off of selling off the middle class jobs and industry of America to the Chinese Communists, but now there is nothing left to sell off. So now how can we keep getting filthy rich? Why can't we invent money out of thin air? All we have to do is make it complicated and opaque enough that no one will figure it out for about 20 years or so. OK, what do we call it? Derivatives! Genius! Give yourself a 100 million dollar bonus right away!!!! What could possibly go wrong???? '
"NEW YORK (AP) -- Commercial banks lost $9.2 billion trading derivatives during the fourth quarter as the credit crisis intensified, according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Losses mounted as commercial banks had to take additional write-downs on the value of investments they held, offsetting gains from actual trades.
The collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the near-failure of American International Group Inc. in September touched off one of the worst parts of the credit crisis, which carried over into the final three months of the year. Credit markets froze up, further pressuring the value of many types of investments.
Derivatives contracts include interest rate and foreign exchange contracts as well as credit default swaps -- a product that is essentially a bet against the performance of other types of investments. Credit default swaps have been at the heart of the credit crisis and a main reason for problems at Lehman and AIG.
The total value of derivatives at commercial banks jumped 14 percent to $200.4 trillion as financial firms changed their operating status to commercial banks after the collapse of Lehman in an effort to stay in business. Among those changing their status were investment banking giants Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley.
For the full year, commercial banks recorded their first-ever industrywide loss on derivatives trading, losing $836 million in 2008, compared with revenues of $5.49 billion in 2007, according to the OCC."
Welcome to America, where you can go on national TV and lie all you want without worrying that anyone will bother to correct you. What a country! Facts? We dont need no stinkin facts, we're Republicans!!! Besides, we all know there are no such things as facts, only ideology.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
they get paid to sit and do nothing for years
Nov 2005: "as Clyde Prestowitz argues in his recent book, Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East, we're basically kidding ourselves. America's preeminence is precarious. We're running unsustainable trade deficits; the dollar is dangerously overvalued; increasingly invention and technological innovation are happening elsewhere; 2.5 billion people in India and China are set to enter the world’s skilled job market; technology permits many formerly localized jobs to be done anywhere in the world; our public education system is a mess; America is a massive consumption machine, financed by Asian central bankers who must be starting to wonder if we'll ever be able to pay them back.
Prestowitz argues that without a major change of approach the United States—and indeed the dangerously unbalanced global economy—could be headed for an "economic 9/11." "
""In 2008, Americans will wake up to the worst economic times that anyone alive has ever seen. And they won't know what hit them." -- Gerald Celente, 17 December 2007
RHINEBECK, NY 18 September 2008 -- In 2007, Trend forecaster Gerald Celente predicted that an "Economic 9/11" would hit Wall Street in 2008.* As the world knows, on 9/15 it did.
The financial world is in free fall and very few saw it coming. As the The New York Times wrote, "A year into the financial crisis, few dreamed that the situation would spiral down, so far, so fast." (NYT, 15 September 2008.)
Celente was one of those "few", accurately predicting both the speed and the spiral.
Even now, in the midst of the chaos, Wall Street, Washington and the media, are in damage control mode, still unwilling to acknowledge the dire implications of the acknowledged facts.
According to Celente, the worst is yet to come, and it's going to go global. He said, that the old adage, 'when America sneezes the rest of the world catches pneumonia,' holds truer than the newly minted "de-coupling" theory that global growth can be sustained absent a strong US marketplace. "Equity markets worldwide have collapsed and there is nothing in place that will support them," said Celente.
"Lehman's Brother's was the biggest bankruptcy in United States history and it won't be the last. There will be many more 'too big to fails' and there won't be enough money to bail them all out. First it was Bear Stearns; then it was Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, A.I.G.; tomorrow there will be others," said Celente, Director of the Trends Research Institute.
"And the failures will extend beyond the financial sector," he predicted. "In the coming weeks, months and years, we'll see a steady stream of banks, giant retailers, consumer product companies, manufacturers, leveraged buyout firms and home builders going under. The next economic shoe to drop will be in the commercial real estate sector," he said.
Asked how he was able to see what others could not, Celente marveled, "How could they not have seen it coming? Virtually every day since July 24, 2007, when the Dow took a 226 point dive, we've been bombarded with a steady stream of dire economic news and depressing data."
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Casino Capitalism! And Michael Milken's protege was behind it!!!
Capitalism is not just likely, but determined to destroy itself.
"That guy — the Patient Zero of the global economic meltdown — was one Joseph Cassano, the head of a tiny, 400-person unit within the company called AIG Financial Products, or AIGFP. Cassano, a pudgy, balding Brooklyn College grad with beady eyes and way too much forehead, cut his teeth in the Eighties working for Mike Milken, the granddaddy of modern Wall Street debt alchemists. Milken, who pioneered the creative use of junk bonds, relied on messianic genius and a whole array of insider schemes to evade detection while wreaking financial disaster. Cassano, by contrast, was just a greedy little turd with a knack for selective accounting who ran his scam right out in the open, thanks to Washington's deregulation of the Wall Street casino. "It's all about the regulatory environment," says a government source involved with the AIG bailout. "These guys look for holes in the system, for ways they can do trades without government interference. Whatever is unregulated, all the action is going to pile into that."
"Initially, at least, the revenues were enormous: AIGFP's returns went from $737 million in 1999 to $3.2 billion in 2005. Over the past seven years, the subsidiary's 400 employees were paid a total of $3.5 billion; Cassano himself pocketed at least $280 million in compensation. Everyone made their money — and then it all went to shit.
II. THE REGULATORS
Cassano's outrageous gamble wouldn't have been possible had he not had the good fortune to take over AIGFP just as Sen. Phil Gramm — a grinning, laissez-faire ideologue from Texas — had finished engineering the most dramatic deregulation of the financial industry since Emperor Hien Tsung invented paper money in 806 A.D. For years, Washington had kept a watchful eye on the nation's banks. Ever since the Great Depression, commercial banks — those that kept money on deposit for individuals and businesses — had not been allowed to double as investment banks, which raise money by issuing and selling securities. The Glass-Steagall Act, passed during the Depression, also prevented banks of any kind from getting into the insurance business.
But in the late Nineties, a few years before Cassano took over AIGFP, all that changed. The Democrats, tired of getting slaughtered in the fundraising arena by Republicans, decided to throw off their old reliance on unions and interest groups and become more "business-friendly." Wall Street responded by flooding Washington with money, buying allies in both parties. In the 10-year period beginning in 1998, financial companies spent $1.7 billion on federal campaign contributions and another $3.4 billion on lobbyists. They quickly got what they paid for. In 1999, Gramm co-sponsored a bill that repealed key aspects of the Glass-Steagall Act, smoothing the way for the creation of financial megafirms like Citigroup. The move did away with the built-in protections afforded by smaller banks. In the old days, a local banker knew the people whose loans were on his balance sheet: He wasn't going to give a million-dollar mortgage to a homeless meth addict, since he would have to keep that loan on his books. But a giant merged bank might write that loan and then sell it off to some fool in China, and who cared?"
What a guy! If there is a clear villain in this mess besides Bernie Madoff, it should well be Phil Gramm (and his wife).
"Phil Gramm's Role in Ongoing Economic Collapse
by: Katherine Haenschen
Sun Mar 22, 2009 at 09:15 AM CDT
From the oft-linked and must-read article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone about our ongoing economic collapse, a look at how then-Senator Phil Gramm played a hand in the tumbling-down of AIG's house of cards: in short, by forcing financial deregulation.
In 1999, Gramm co-sponsored a bill that repealed key aspects of the Glass-Steagall Act, smoothing the way for the creation of financial megafirms like Citigroup. The move did away with the built-in protections afforded by smaller banks. In the old days, a local banker knew the people whose loans were on his balance sheet: He wasn't going to give a million-dollar mortgage to a homeless meth addict, since he would have to keep that loan on his books. But a giant merged bank might write that loan and then sell it off to some fool in China, and who cared?
The very next year, Gramm compounded the problem by writing a sweeping new law called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act that made it impossible to regulate credit swaps as either gambling or securities. Commercial banks - which, thanks to Gramm, were now competing directly with investment banks for customers - were driven to buy credit swaps to loosen capital in search of higher yields.
In short, Gramm's deregulation paved the way for mega-firms to ultimately invent the kind of financial "products" like credit default swaps which eventually sent AIG tumbling to the ground, only to be cushioned with our taxpayer dollars.
Basically, instruments like credit default swaps let institutional investors bet on loans (like, say, billions in sub-prime mortgage loans to people who could never pay them back) going bust, with AIG left holding the bag. Except there isn't anything in the bag to pay out -- enter your tax dollars.
The worst part is that this deregulation allowed the financial industry to take advantage of regular, hard-working Texans just trying to live the dream of home ownership. Now, thanks to the work of Phil Gramm and friends, regular folks have lost their homes, their jobs, and their hope for any sort of economic stability in the near future.
As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stated, folks like Gramm essentially created a "huge, complex global insurance company attached to a very complicated investment bank/hedge fund that was allowed to build up without any adult supervision."
Texas Republicans: gambling away your hard-earned money, without any adult supervision. "
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
"Fear of letting slip a Biden-like comment must keep many a politician awake at night. This kind of anxiety often tied George W. Bush up in knots, making him hesitant and tongue-tied. Obama thus seems miraculously to combine the caution and calculation of a successful politician with the naturalness of a TV talk show host or political pundit.
But is this an accurate depiction of the president? His recent missteps raise a slight doubt about Obama's self-assured demeanor. Does he not really have the highly developed self-presence we thought? Or, worse, is he melting under the pressure?
Several unlikely Republicans, like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, gave Obama a pass on his Special Olympics miscue. Obviously, they were anticipating the next time they misspoke, something - as political commentators - they frequently do.
Or maybe they were really feeling sorry for the president? Feelings of pity from these worthies - that's really frightening!
But people's psychological defenses blow up when situations get out of hand, when events overwhelm their emotional ability to cope. The only thing worse than Bush hunched over the lectern giving reporters nicknames with a pathetic smile - one saying, "don't attack me!" - would be to see him cowering in a corner lunging at his psychological demons and imagined - and real - enemies.
Obama isn't so emotionally vulnerable. Watching him in front of an audience doesn't make us wince. But it does make me wonder whether his psychological capacities are being taxed to the maximum. After all, we've watched this man's hair turning white over a matter of months. And, likewise counteracting his image of unflappability are those pictures - hopefully long past - of the president puffing nervously on a cigarette.
Conventional wisdom is that it has become ridiculously hard for any potential public official to pass the increasingly stringent vetting process. My concern is that no one can endure the growing psychological tension of managing this vast, unmanageable country, even someone as calm and self-confident as Barack Obama usually appears to be. And so, replacing my imagining who would be the first President to enter the Betty Ford Center, I now worry that Barack Obama may be the first president to have a nervous breakdown"
It is truly disgraceful that the only voluntary part of income taxes is one checkbox for 3$ to go to campaign finances, a purely useless option. i.e. the only option they give us is one that doesnt make a damn bit of difference.
If someone wants their taxes to go to education or the military, why cant they have the option to select that on the 1040 IRS form?
What if all income taxes were purely voluntary? Instead of being a nation of uninformed sheep living in fear of the IRS, the government would have to campaign to us to educated and convince us of the merit of the program and solicit our funding on the 1040 form. We would then be a nation of informed voters with a real say in the way our taxes are allocated, and instead of the IRS being a defacto means of intimidation and social control, the citizens would be in control.
Monday, March 23, 2009
""Stabilization in the housing market is critical for the economy to start, and this is a good report."
There is hope that the government's $272 billion package to stem the tide of foreclosures, together with aggressive efforts by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates down could lay the foundation for the housing market's recovery.
NAR's Yun said the government's stimulus package could add 1 million sales this year, but depressed levels of consumer confidence and rising unemployment could derail this projection.
The median national home price declined 15.5 percent in February from a year ago to $165,400, the second biggest decline on record.
The inventory of existing homes for sale rose 5.2 percent to 3.80 million from the 3.61 million overstock reported in January. That represented 9.7 months' supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from January."
I just wish I had a recording of it to post on YouTube as it would have been a valuable sociological record of the conservative mindset.
I used to have some sympathy for the Libertarian ideology, but this Joe Farina guy really disabused me of that.
(what is funny in this puff piece is the breathless adulation for his 'stunning returns' of 15% but nary a thought re Bernie Madoff Ponzie-nomics, especially likely as it is a hedge fund, the unregulated last refuge of scoundrels)
Inside the world's biggest hedge fundThursday March 19, 5:50 am ET By Brian O'Keefe, senior editor
Is the current downturn merely a severe slump, or are we facing a second coming of the Great Depression? That's the question everyone is asking these days. But Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and manager of what is now the world's biggest hedge fund, has been preparing to answer it for eight years.
In 2001 he had his investment team build a "depression gauge" into the firm's computer system, line by line in the code, to adjust the portfolio's strategy and risk profile if the economy ever entered a massive deleveraging period - the kind of multiyear process that ricocheted through the world economy in the 1930s and that has eviscerated markets periodically through the ages.
On Sept. 30 of last year, just a couple of weeks after the failure of Lehman Brothers, Dalio logged into his system and saw that the computer had flipped the switch. Bridgewater's black box is now operating on high alert.
Yet even as he is preparing his clients to hunker down for something different and more challenging than a typical recession, Dalio still expects his fund to thrive. Because his approach doesn't depend on the direction of any particular market, he explains matter-of-factly, there is no reason that he shouldn't continue to find as many good investment opportunities as he always has. Considering what he sees coming, that's a pretty bold statement.
In normal times we might be writing about Ray Dalio, 59, simply because he's one of the world's most successful investors. Since starting Bridgewater Associates out of an extra bedroom in his Upper East Side Manhattan apartment in 1975, Dalio (pronounced Dally-o) has built the firm into a powerhouse managing some $80 billion. With a personal fortune estimated at more than $4 billion, he ranks as one of the wealthiest residents even in money-soaked Greenwich, Conn.
More impressively, for the past 18 years his flagship hedge fund, Pure Alpha, which now holds more than $38 billion, has averaged an annual return of 15% before fees - gliding through the Asian flu of the 1990s, the dotcom implosion, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the current worldwide financial crisis without ever suffering an annual loss greater than 2%. Last year, when 70% of hedge funds lost money and the average fund fell 18%, Pure Alpha generated a gross return of 14%.
But these are not normal times. And what makes Dalio compelling is not just his track record but the way he goes about making money, and the rigorous analysis he applies to understanding markets, organizations, the economy, and life.
Does Dalio think of himself as one of the world's great investors? "No," he says, shaking his head, visibly agitated. "First of all, I don't know what the definition is of 'one of the great investors.' It's a totally irrelevant question. I have the fear of messing up. And that fear drives me to ask, 'Well, could this thing happen? Could that thing happen? If it happened in Japan, how do I know it won't happen to me?'"
Dalio describes himself as a "hyperrealist," in the sense that he is driven to understand the processes that govern the way the world really works, without bringing subjective value judgments into the equation. "I think the thing that makes him different is an intolerance for the inadequate answer," says Bob Prince, 50, Bridgewater's co-chief investment officer, who's been with the firm since 1986. "He'll just keep peeling back layer after layer to get at the essential truth."
In every activity in his life - from managing his firm to stalking a wart hog on a bow-hunting trip - Dalio believes in applying a carefully thought-out process to get the results he wants. That's especially true in making investment decisions. "I'm very big on having clarified principles," he says. "I don't believe in being reactive. You can't do that in the markets effectively. I can't. I need perspective. I need a game plan." To develop one, he stress-tests strategies through computer simulation across time and around the world to make sure that they're "timeless and universal." It's all about cautious - and highly educated - wagering on probabilities.
During the long boom, many hedge fund managers earned billions on big leveraged bets that stocks would rise; later, a handful made fortunes by anticipating the bust. That not Dalio's style. (In fact, he hates being called a hedge fund manager.) For one thing, he doesn't magnify his bets with a lot of borrowed money - his leverage ratio is about 4 to 1, far less than other investors have used.
Like fellow quant-minded managers D.E. Shaw or Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies, Dalio translates his insights into algorithms and then has a powerful computer system scour dozens of markets around the world looking for mispriced assets and other opportunities. Rather than focusing only on stocks and searching for Peter Lynch's proverbial "10-bagger," Dalio and his computers concentrate heavily on the currency and fixed-income markets, grinding out consistent singles, doubles, and occasional triples. That approach, as we've seen, can be very rewarding."
Friday, March 20, 2009
This crap is truly poisonous to all the rightwing loons out there who take the Savage-Weiner seriously.
Too bad the fairness doctrine is dead, why cant we at least have a 'factcheck doctrine', that idiots like Savage are at least required to correct on air their demagoguery.
So is Savage also a self-hating-gay Roy Cohn fascist like Limbaugh? Sounds likely, wouldnt surprise me, him being an ex-Berkely-liberal, but I havent had the stomach or appetite to look him up.
"Yahoo! Finance User - Friday March 20, 2009 10:59AM EDT
None of you sackless wonders are going to do a god damned thing about the current situation. Stop bitching, pop a hot pocket in your microwave, lay back in your lazy boy at your top of the line trailor, and wave hello and goodbye to all your neighbors at the trailor park. Maybe you can coordinate a "park only" meeting to discuss the UFO sitings within the last year. Once the realignment of wealth and power are complete, they (those of us who actually contribute to society) will tell you your new role in the U.S. Sadly, it will be about the same as it is now. You'll still get your scraps from the Masters' table."
December 4, 2008 · When a group of pundits gathered for a recent Oxford-style debate, the proposition alone was provocative: "Bush 43 Is the Worst President of the Past 50 Years." But when you consider that one of the panelists defending President Bush's legacy was his longtime adviser Karl Rove, the night became even more interesting.
For instance, Rove said that President Bush probably would not have gone to war in Iraq if he had known the truth about Saddam Hussein's military capacity. "Absent weapons of mass destruction," Rove said, "I don't think there would have been an invasion."
yeah, right. So how come they knew there weren't any and still invaded? He is wanting us to assume the clown was actually open to hearing real evidence, or not firing anyone who presented him with real evidence of absence of WMD.
The venerable Nouriel Roubini was on the panel arguing for Washington being to blame.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Obama’s Real Test
The bank bailout plan makes sense, but in this climate of anger, it will take all of President Obama’s political capital to sell it to Congress and the public.
Share your thoughts.
Comments are no longer being accepted.All Comments - Editors' Selections
1 - 14 of 14Show:Oldest First Newest First Readers' Recommendations Editors' Selections Replies1.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 6:25 am
Mr. Friedman, the 'rule of law' is determined in a court of law. As my ex, a lawyer said, "Justice is who wins in court." The U.S. government does not need to abrogate contracts; they need to litigate, starting with some preliminary injunctions to stop the bonuses.
Yes, the rule of law is "why everyone around the world wants to invest in our economy." Indeed it's the single most important institution we have, although the Supreme Court goes through long periods of making a mockery of the rule of law, and the application of this 'rule' varies widely even in the U.S. More so even than democracy, which is barely limping along with our lobbyist-bought Congress, the rule of law -- and even tort lawyers -- is what distinguishes us above all else.
If Mr. Friedman's synopsis of the administration's coming recovery plan is correct, we're doomed. It's one thing to have Mr. Geithner at Treasury, but quite another to bring back the hedge funds. We don't need more stinking leverage and derivatives from these vampires. What we need are the hundreds of billions (trillions?) they bilked us out of. Expropriation of their wealth and reseeding it in the institutions they brought down is what we need. And for the tax payers to guarantee that they get to play in our sandbox risk-free a second time reminds me of the tongue-tied Mr. Bush when he tried to remind us of "fool me once . . ." and couldn't remember the other half of the equation. We remember, and we won't be fooled a second time. We may be ripped off again, but not fooled. Who knows how we'll react to being stolen from again by self-called Masters of the Universe. I think a large glassed in island somewhere in the South China sea sounds about right for some 25,000 or so of the worst offenders.
— Butler Crittenden, San Francisco, CA
Recommend Recommended by 511 Readers 44.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 7:39 am
I have been inspired and found myself believing, cheering for this man's message of change, hope, and transformation. I voted for him; I could have never voted for that other one. But something is very, very wrong: this money - incalculable apparently - the vastness and intricacy - was never ours the taxpayer. It was always theirs, somewhere else where we never ever had a chance to better our lives through its existence. And now, are there "sides", theirs and ours? Is Obama on our side? Is anyone on our side? I feel paranoid that all of this is a scam, a lie, yes even the grand conspiracy. Again, is Obama and his team real? Or is this just a protection of the same? How many of you out there feel helplessness as gnawing, overwhelming suspicion?— bookishproud, nyc, ny
Recommend Recommended by 250 Readers 45.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 7:45 am
From the article it is very clear that Obama administration released funds from public exchequer to bail out the world’s largest insurance company with all good intentions. But instead of regaining strength with the help of these funds, they used them for an unproductive purpose.
As the author has rightly said, the money spent on bailing out AIG is part of a plan to keep the system alive, thereby prevent it from total collapse. But the actions of AIG may make people lose confidence in the steps taken by president Obama to relieve the economy from the clutches of recession.
I really appreciate the author’s opinion that the US government should not abrogate the contracts, as the US is a country where the rule of the law prevails and people can rely on the independent judiciary. The existence of strong democratic institutions is one of the most important reasons behind the US being able to attract lot of investment.
Our country India can take a leaf out of the book of US and reform its institutions which were corrupted by the politicians.
The way the people of America reacted to this incident (payment of bonuses to its executives by AIG from taxpayer's money) is really amazing. In India scores of scandals are unearthed every day by newspapers but the public just keeps quiet as the corruption gained certain amount of acceptability in our country (India). Moreover the people are also not that smart to think about the state of the economy, bailout packages, how much amount of money is being paid to whom etc. as most of the people are either illiterate or functionally illiterate. The only thing people think in India is whether they can get something free from the government. That is the main reason behind political parties making populist promises like distribution of Color Televisions, and subsidized food grains etc.
Though India is the world's largest democracy it has a lot to learn from the world' oldest democracy.
— V.Ramachandra Reddy, Khammam; Andhrapradesh; India
Recommend Recommended by 62 Readers 144.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 11:41 amLinkAIG is the closest the hand of man has ever come to digging a bottomless pit. The truth is that nobody has the foggiest idea what its ultimate liabilities will be and how much the Treasury will have to shovel in to keep it going.
It's time to put an end to this madness and let AIG go bust before we find that we've put taxpayers on the hook for several trillion dollars.
AIG's "brokers", as they call themselves, are con artists no less culpable than Bernie Madoff: they sold "insurance" whose largest risk component was nothing less than the downside risk of all the world's financial markets. You can't buy anything to hold in reserve to back such coverage up, so the whole nature of such contracts is absurd. It would be like me guaranteeing to compensate you for your losses in case the physicists at CERN actually DO manage to create a black hole that swallows the planet.
Any banker dumb enough to waste money on such worthless coverage deserves the Congressional Medal of Stupidity. These are supposed to be big boys and girls who can count money and tie their own shoes. We're supposed to bail them out every time they fall for what turns out to be swampland?
AIG is at the top of my list of crooked businesses whose executives should be prosecuted for fraud, with a tie for second place between Standard & Poor's and Moody's. This financial meltdown we're all in is the result of criminal malfeasance, not just recklessness, and the perpetrators must be prosecuted, Madoff for selling nonexistent securities, AIG for selling insurance with no backing, and the rating agencies for stamping their AAA seal on what they knew was securitized garbage. It's important to throw the high-rollers in jail and make examples of all these creeps - not coddle them with multimillion-dollar bonuses.
AIG's derivatives business serves no legitimate purpose. Instead of stabilizing financial markets, it is the mother-and-father of destabilizing influences, guaranteed to collapse at the first puff of ill wind, taking its victims down the drain with it.
The bankruptcy of AIG will undoubtedly initiate a chain of other bankruptcies and leave a horrible mess, but the alternative - sticking the American taxpayer with a liability of unknown, and quite possibly ruinous, proportions, is insane and totally unacceptable.— Mel Presley, Roskilde, Denmark
Recommend Recommended by 163 Readers 151.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 11:41 amLinkHey Tom! I'm a Montgomery County resident too and I can report that we University of Maryland faculty are also taking a hit for the general welfare in accepting furlough time. And I expect we'll have to do it again. But we are going to be OK in the long run if we hang together in this mess and don't get too bogged down in self-defeating rage at the Wall Street wise-guys who brought it down on us.— Christopher Foreman, Yerevan, Armenia
Recommend Recommended by 36 Readers 158.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 11:41 amLinkFeelings of helplessness, feelings of being treated unfairly, feelings of no voice or recourse, feelings that foment revolution.— Bill Jacobs, Phil, PA
Recommend Recommended by 82 Readers 164.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 11:42 amLinkSome are questioning what abrogating the AIG contracts has to do with foreign investment since AIG is an "American" company. It is simple, really, if foreign investors see that a 'contract' with an American company can be wiped away by the government, they are less likely to want to risk investing here. No contract could be considered invoiliable. — Anne-Marie Hislop, Davenport, IA
Recommend Recommended by 16 Readers 181.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 12:19 pmLinkDistribute "Dead-Beat Derivative Trader" posters, much like the FBI most wanted list- names and adressess included. If foreign, restrict them from ever setting foot on american soil until they have paid up. If domestics, add them to a financial predator list and have our society mark and shame them at every street corner until they relent and pay us back.
But lets not be so myopic as to limit it to AIG traders. Goldman-sachs, BOA, Merrill Lynch etc.. are all fair game and are flying too low under the radar. Goldman-Sachs in particular is getting a free pass and EVERYONE needs to be accountable.
Anyone up for a "10 million man and woman march" on Wall Street? Its time. P.S Bring your pitch forks.
— Brad S, Mass.
Recommend Recommended by 66 Readers 198.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 12:36 pmLinkAll so wrong.
AIG should have been forced into bankruptcy, where the LAW allows judges to force abrogation of contracts.
The counterparties who would have lost because they falsely had faith in AIG would correctly either absorb the losses or go bankrupt themselves.
We are warned this would demolish the existing banking system, as well it should.
There would be a rapid unwinding, and in the aftermath, we could create a just and honest banking system.
If that would bankrupt pension funds, then the pension funds should be nationalized. At the same time, 401(k)'s and their ilk should be voluntarily nationalized, folded into Social Security, and turned into annuities with high contribution limits. This would ensure the viability of Social Security for a long time, while wiping out a huge inefficiency in the economy caused by all the effort expended in maintaining the 401(k)'s.
Instead the taxpayer is going to be the victim of an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class to the banker class once again.— a.p.b., california
Recommend Recommended by 114 Readers 199.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 12:36 pmLinkThe whole rotten system is broken, and until there is real campaign finance reform nothing is going to change. Everyone here wants the government to do something to solve this crisis, except the government is owned lock stock and barrel by the same people that caused this crisis. If you for some reason still don't believe this, have a look at these two recent NY Times articles which are mainly about our distinguished Senator from New York, Charles Schumer, who has been doing Wall Street's bidding for years.
This mess is not something that was unforeseen - there have been numerous people over the years that issued all sorts of warnings. Unfortunately those people were not heard in the halls of our government - the only people who were listened to were those with money. The ones who offered the solution of deregulation as the answer to every problem, and the ones that Senator Schumer and most all our other elected officials were so eager to take money from. And until the whole system is changed to be one where elected officials work for us and not their corporate paymasters, dont expect our government to offer any real solutions to the huge problems facing us. We can instead expect exactly what Mr. Friedman is offering here more of the same people and policies that got us here in the first place.
— Peter, New York, NY
Recommend Recommended by 64 Readers 283.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 2:15 pmLinkWhere was the New York State Insurance Commissioner while AIG was doing this faux insurance of CDS's and CDOs? There was a time when the New York State Insurance Department actually enforced the capital requirements pertaining to financial guaranty insurance.
— J.H., NYC
Recommend Recommended by 36 Readers 293.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 2:18 pmLinkSensible column, not a rabble-rousing diatribe being sent out by everyone else in the press -- kudos also to Andrewe Ross Sorkin for his recent analysis of the bonus babies. Let's get real and work to solve our problems. Calling for heads to roll, while it makes everyone feel good, accomplishes nothing.— Larry, Teaneck, NJ
Recommend Recommended by 23 Readers 304.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 2:18 pmLinkI don't want to hear anymore about our government can't get in the business of abrogating business contracts, OH, REALLY! Our government abrogated main street's contract, when the regulations weren't enforced to protect our country's economic stability. Our economic stability means Americans don't lose jobs, homes, healthcare because our nations's contract was undermined by the likes of AIG and wall street. Our government's main contract is with the American people not AIG. Our government knows how to abrogate contracts, as we've discovered. Just ask the UAW in Michigan. — patty, sammamish,wa
Recommend Recommended by 65 Readers 335.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) March 18, 2009 2:39 pmLinkHealthy companies honor their contracts.
When a company is near bankruptcy, they try to renegotiate their obligations. The creditors have a choice: accept less now, or get nothing in bankruptcy.
This is what GM is doing right now, with bondholders and unions.
AIG is past bankruptcy. We should simply make their management an offer they can't refuse.— Victor Kava, Arlington, MA
“We are taking a system operating past its capacity and driving it faster and harder,” he wrote me. “No matter how wonderful the system is, the laws of physics and biology still apply.” We must have growth, but we must grow in a different way. For starters, economies need to transition to the concept of net-zero, whereby buildings, cars, factories and homes are designed not only to generate as much energy as they use but to be infinitely recyclable in as many parts as possible. Let’s grow by creating flows rather than plundering more stocks.
Gilding says he’s actually an optimist. So am I. People are already using this economic slowdown to retool and reorient economies. Germany, Britain, China and the U.S. have all used stimulus bills to make huge new investments in clean power. South Korea’s new national paradigm for development is called: “Low carbon, green growth.” Who knew? People are realizing we need more than incremental changes — and we’re seeing the first stirrings of growth in smarter, more efficient, more responsible ways.
In the meantime, says Gilding, take notes: “When we look back, 2008 will be a momentous year in human history. Our children and grandchildren will ask us, ‘What was it like? What were you doing when it started to fall apart? What did you think? What did you do?’ Often in the middle of something momentous, we can’t see its significance. But for me there is no doubt: 2008 will be the marker — the year when ‘The Great Disruption’ began.”
"And most liberal bloggers make just that -- nothing. People like TBogg, Roy and Roger Ailes, amongst the very best voices in the blogosphere, all manage other paying gigs and then snatch what time they can away from their families to blog. There is nothing on the right -- and I mean nothing -- that compares with their quality, their insight, their wit and their panache. When the wingnuts chant their talking points like a bunch of tambourine-beaters at the airport, they want to be paid for their efforts. And Pajamas Media was set up to do just that. They received by some accounts $7 million dollars to subsidize 70 right wing bloggers, and if you look at their sites there are no ads, many don't even identify their affiliation with a logo. Look at some full-on loon like the Confederate Yankee who earns his/her 800 hits a day by having seizures over Google's attempts to mock Christmas with Jesus butt plugs. The General will easily draw twenty times the traffic with his rapier-witted takedown, but the Confederate Yankee probably earns a lot more money than the General. These illiterate zeros are being paid out of principal, not out of any ad revenues. They are all Armstrong Williams."
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Five reasons not to buy a home this year
Homes are more affordable, but don't rush -- prices won't skyrocket soon
By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
Last update: 7:52 p.m. EST Feb. 27, 2009
This story originally published Feb. 6 has been updated to reflect the passage of the economic stimulus bill.
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- The unemployment rate is creeping up and home prices keep falling: Two great reasons why it might be best to put your home buying plans on hold.
After all, your own job could be the next on the chopping block. Plus, why not wait until home prices have reached their bottom and you can safely buy knowing your new house won't depreciate like a car coasting out of the dealership?
Five reasons to buy a home this year
Affordability returns to housing, and buyers have loads of negotiating power
By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
Last update: 7:52 p.m. EST Feb. 27, 2009
This story originally published Feb. 6 has been updated to reflect the passage of the economic stimulus bill.
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- People are afraid to buy a home in times like these, with the economy tanking and home prices continuing to fall. But if you're brave enough to stray from the herd, you might be in for the home-buying opportunity of a lifetime.
Ask for price reductions, improvements, closing costs -- whatever -- and the seller, desperately trying to get a contract, is very likely to work with you, said Jay Papasan, one of the authors of the book "Your First Home." When the market starts improving, your negotiating power starts to diminish, he added
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Look up 'Roy Cohn' for a good prototype of Limbaugh's brand of closeted self-hating-gay fascism.
To the points cited below, I would add Limbaugh's fascination with John Edwards good looks, calling him the 'Breck Girl', and last week or so I heard Limbaugh do like 15 minutes of 'is it so wrong for a man to love another man?' whose premise I forget, but had something to do with Obama, iirc.
It seems like Limbaugh is getting so arrogant and full of himself that he will slip up pretty soon, and it will be all too clear for the world to see, unless of course his impending myocardial infarction strikes first.
"The signs are obvious:
1. Limbaugh likes swirling large Cuban cigars in his mouth — suggesting he likes oral sex with “Penile Objects.”
2. Limbaugh loves wearing colorful ties — “Out of the closet” homosexuals dress up in the most colorful clothes.
3. He has been married and divorced several times. Three wives have left him, and he bore no children with any of them, although they had children with other men. Rush is a very rich man. In this material world of today, most women lay a premium emphasis financial security, when they select a mate. For three women to divorce a man of Rush’s wealth, successively, raises a big red flag about his sexuality.
4. He is a drug addict — addicted to pain medication. He self medicates to drown his “sexual urges,” …and “shame,” if you will.
5. Rush Limbaugh was arrested for carrying Viagra without a prescription to the Dominican Republic, on a trip without his wife (a wife who never shared his bed but instead lived a few streets over and only got together with him for social engagements). Rush was detained for more than three hours at the Palm Beach International Airport after customs agents found a bottle of Viagra containing 29 “Blue Pills” prescribed to someone else in his luggage. The Dominican Republic has a reputation for being gay travel friendly with opportunities of discrete sex with local boys and men. Indeed, the Dominican Republic is one of the biggest sex tourism destinations in the world, thanks in part to Internet sites that extol the country as a “single man’s paradise.”
Benito Mussolini (’Il Duce’), Fascist dictator of Italy during World War II was known to have “GAY INTERESTS,” and so did his compatriot, Adolf Hitler, who even though was relatively short and “Dark Haired,“believed in the superiority of tall, strong, blond haired, blue eyed Aryans. Hitler’s obsession with blond men is said to have been homosexual lust. That fact that he concurrently persecuted homosexuals, relentlessly, is as Fascist as a closeted Ted Haggard or a vicious Limbaugh doing the “ANKLE DANCE” on radio"
Monday, March 16, 2009
The epitome of Orwell's dictum: "Ignorance is Strength."
"Cheney's eventual reply: "John, I've seen a report that was written based upon the intelligence that we collected then that itemizes the specific attacks that were stopped by virtue of what we learned through those programs. It's still classified. I can't give you the details of it without violating classification, but I can say there were a great many of them. The one that has been public was the potential attack coming out of Heathrow, when they were going to have several American planes with terrorists on board, with liquid explosives, and they were going to blow those planes up over the United States.
"Now, that was intercepted and stopped, partly because of those programs that we put in place."
But here's a shocker: What Cheney said isn't remotely true. The Heathrow liquid explosives plot isn't even one of the ones the Bush administration historically claimed credit for -- not that any of its claims actually held up under even modest scrutiny.
Indeed, the Heathrow plot -- in which British prosecutors presented no evidence that a viable bomb had been made, that any airline tickets had been bought or that any attack was imminent -- was undone by a British investigation. And the only U.S. role I know of was that, once U.S. officials heard about what the Brits had found out, they messed it all up.
On the disastrous budget picture left behind, Cheney had this to say: "Eight months after we arrived, we had 9/11. We had 3,000 Americans killed one morning by al Qaeda terrorists here in the United States. We immediately had to go into the wartime mode. We ended up with two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of that is still very active. We had major problems with respect to things like Katrina, for example. All of these things required us to spend money that we had not originally planned to spend, or weren't originally part of the budget.
"Stuff happens. And the administration has to be able to respond to that, and we did."
Did you get that? We "ended up" with two wars. And: "Stuff happens."
As for Iraq, Cheney said: "I guess my general sense of where we are with respect to Iraq and at the end of now, what, nearly six years, is that we've accomplished nearly everything we set out to do...."
Please email us to report offensive comments.
The single most incompetent foreign-policy strategist of the last 100 years sounds off irrationally about this administration's policy changes? Is anyone surprised? Cheney has the courage of his convictions and nothing more.
The man is Richelieu (to Bush's Louis XIII) without the political savvy.
And the disingenuous nonsense about Katrina breaking the bank. That stands up until you realize that his administration had budgeted no money at all for natural disaster response.
Too bad the Red Cross leak hadn't happened a day earlier! I'd love to see that thing's reaction when named a war ciminal.
Posted by: whizbang9a March 16, 2009 12:57 PM
I was under the impression that previous administrations didn't usually comment on the current one. I don't recall Clinton ever commenting on Bush. I also don't recall Bush number 1 commenting on Reagan either. Was that just a gentleman's agreement?
I find Cheney's behavior rather odd to say the least.
Posted by: wrx_zx6r March 16, 2009 1:08 PM
Cheney can't tell us how Bush administration tactics saved us, because it is classified? That has never stopped him before. He never failed to use his unilateral declassification powers to release information when he thought it would bolster his arguments.
Posted by: garfield1 March 16, 2009 1:17 PM
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Cramer is basically an infomercial huckster like Billy Mays or the Shamwow guy, but he gets a whole show to do his pump and dump routine. Wall Street makes a whole lot of sense once you realize that guys like Cramer and Madoff are the norm in Wall Street culture. You really have to have no shame whatsoever to do that schtick. Any normal person would find it disgusting.
Friday, March 13, 2009
So now Neil Kashkari tries to repeat the point that Kanjorski has tried to make multiple times, that the original TARP was not to get banks to loan to Americans, but to prevent TOTAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, due to the panic bank run after the Lehman failure, on Sept 18 2008.
The problem is they didnt want to tell us what was going on back then, and now we find out the money has gone to foreign sovereign wealth funds (SURPRISED? duh), and now they are forced to tell us what they didnt tell us back then, that TOTAL COLLAPSE was imminent due to derivative calls during the panic bank run.
Kanjorski recently tried to get Paulso to clearly state the situation during the original TARP and he wouldnt, they still want us in the dark while they suck trillions into the black hole of Credit Default Swap derivatives.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
"This ratio was relatively stable for almost 50 years, and then ... bubbles!Rex Nutting at MarketWatch has more: Household net worth plunges 18% in 2008
Hit by the double whammy of declining home prices and a falling stock market, U.S. households saw their net worth fall by $11.2 trillion, or 18%, to $51.5 trillion at the end of 2008, wiping out five years of gains ..."
Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's a reason prostitution is called the world's oldest profession. Its services are ever in demand.
But there's also a reason the Democrats have been so busy promoting Limbaugh as the face of the Republican Party, and it relates directly to the way in which he and the other radio talkers have serviced the party leaders. As my fellow conservative pundit John Derbyshire notes in a recent article in the American Conservative magazine titled "How Radio Wrecks the Right," they were complicit in the George W. Bush/Karl Rove strategy that "fixed in the minds of too many Americans that conservatism is always low-brow." That strategy turned out to be disastrous. Intelligent people do not want to be in a party headed by a hefty huckster like Limbaugh.
But the Republicans are stuck with him for now. This is because of another form of captive regulation. Since its beginning in 1934, the Federal Communications Commission has helped a handful of broadcast companies create an artificial monopoly of the airwaves. Limbaugh can make use of that monopoly power to throw his weight around.
But thanks to the magic of the internet, the free market is finally being restored. You can get streaming internet radio not just on your home computer but on your car radio if you have the right equipment. I did so just the other day. As I was driving down the Parkway, I tuned in Derbyshire's podcast, "Radio Derb."
This is the free market at work. For the first time ever, we will be able to hear genuine conservative intellectuals streaming from our car speakers as we go down the road.
So now we can tell all of those streetwalkers what we should have told them long ago: Take a hike."
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
"Owners of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more and more of expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of banks, which will have to be nationalised, and the State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism"
Karl Marx, Das Kapital, 1867
"Karl Marx would have been entirely at home - with the selling of insupportable debt to the very poor. It turned, as the first flickering of a bright idea, on the suckering of the disadvantaged, the exploitation of the simple desire for a home, and the fantastic belief that debt can be shuffled eternally"
and let us not forget the dictum that 'capitalists will sell you the rope to hang them with'. How does that translate to today? Hmm, how about the Communist Chinese selling us outsourcing of the middle class jobs to China causing the hollowing out of the American economy and the increasing indebtedness and eventual collapse?
I wonder how many conservatives think about all the American jobs that went to Communist China when they go to buy stuff at WalMart. What would the 1950's McCarthy red baiters think about where we are now?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
author's dad was founder of religious right movement
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN
Thursday, November 4, 1999
GRAMM CLOSING FLOOR STATEMENT ON GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY ACT OF 1999
"Mr. President, success is claimed by a thousand parents. And today there are a lot of people who can claim parenthood. I am very happy to have played a part in delivering the bill before the Senate today.
"I think it represents the American legislative process at its best. It has resulted more from an effort to reach a logical conclusion than to satisfy various special interest groups. In that way, it is not unique but it is different.
"But the question is not how proud we are of this bill today. The question is, How will it look 50 years from now when it has gone from infancy to maturity?
"Obviously, after setting out a dramatic change in public policy, it is fair to set out a test for determining its success. How will people judge whether we were successful in passing this bill today? My test is, What are we trying to do in the bill? Are we trying to benefit banks or insurance companies or securities companies, or are we trying to benefit consumers and workers?
"The test that I believe we should use--the test I will use, the test I hope people looking at this bill years in the future will use--is, Did it produce a greater diversity of products and services for American consumers? Were those products better? And did they sell at a lower price? I think if the answer to those three questions is yes, then this bill will have succeeded.
"The world changes, and we have to change with it. Abraham Lincoln used to tell the story about how Government had to change all outmoded laws because they did not fit anymore, much as it would be unreasonable to expect a man to wear the same clothes he wore as a boy; that there is a nature to things and to society, and as they change, Government has to change to recognize the new reality.
"I believe today we are changing financial services in America to reflect that we do have a new century coming and we have an opportunity to dominate that century the way America dominated the last century.
"Ultimately, the final judge of the bill is history. Ultimately, as you look at the bill, you have to ask yourself, Will people in the future be trying to repeal it, as we are here today trying to repeal--and hopefully repealing--Glass-Steagall? I think the answer will be no. I think it will be no because we are doing something very different from Glass-Steagall. Glass-Steagall, in the midst of the Great Depression, thought Government was the answer. In this period of economic growth and prosperity, we believe freedom is the answer.
"This is a deregulatory bill. I believe that is going to be the wave of the future. Although this bill will be changed many times, and changed dramatically as we expand freedom and opportunity, I do not believe it will be repealed. It sets the foundation for the future, and that will be the test.
"So I am proud to have been part of this. I am proud to have worked with everybody as part of the process. It has been interesting and Government at its best. I think one of the reasons we run for public office is to get a chance to do things such as this. I am glad to have had an opportunity to play a part and urge all of my colleagues to support this dramatic move into the future."
The reaction to the September 2008 failure of Lehman seems to have spooked the government into kowtowing to AIG and Citigroup.
"In the presentation, AIG warned that its failure could provoke a "run on the bank" from its 74 million insurance customers around the world, causing other insurance firms to fail and leading to massive unemployment in numerous countries. It could also put "retirement savings significantly at risk" and cause "a loss of confidence in the private pension system in the U.S.," according to the document.
In addition, AIG said its demise could force European banks that bought exotic derivatives from the company's Financial Products division to have to raise $10 billion in capital and would put them at risk of ratings downgrades. Because AIG insures nearly every commercial activity -- from aviation to health-care providers to cargo shipping -- its failure could lead to a domino effect that "would cause turmoil in the U.S. economy and global markets," according to the company.
A collapse of AIG, the document stated, "could have similar or worse consequences on the global financial markets as that of the Lehman [Brothers] bankruptcy." Lehman, a once-powerful global investment bank, filed for bankruptcy protection in September after it failed to win a bailout from the federal government"
"Unemployment rates, widely viewed as the most reliable indicator of future credit card losses, climbed to 8.1% in February - its highest level in 25 years.
A widely used rule of thumb is that charge-offs typically climb to 1 percentage point above the unemployment rate. And many expect the unemployment rate to keep rising throughout the year.
With that in mind, Mike Taiano, an analyst with Sandler O'Neill, said he thinks the charge-off rate could wind up peaking at a level north of 10%.
Of course, this is not the first time that credit card issuers have had to contend with relatively high unemployment. During the recession in the early 1980s, the jobless level peaked at 10.8% in late 1982. But some experts point out that this is a much different time for the industry.
Not only did a much smaller slice of the American public own a credit or charge card, the amount of credit issued by the industry was just a fraction of what it is today. As of January 2009, the amount of outstanding credit in the industry totaled just under $1 trillion, compared to just $70.5 billion in 1982."
Monday, March 9, 2009
Here is a pretty naked display of the mechanics of Murdoch's fascist news organization, every question biased against the middle class working person. Even the thought of a fair deal for the working person is looked on with horror. It is only fair that we peons should all work for third world wages so that Murdoch's class can maximize their profits.
How the Murdoch news flunky has been trained to articulate the position so conistently and so relentlessly is truly impressive.