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Financial Meltdown 101

Getting a grip on the economic catastrophe that rocked the country during the fall of 2008 is no easy feat, what with so many players, back-room deals, bills, upswings and meltdowns to consider. To that end, Truthdig, once again in collaboration with Capzles.com, has put together a comprehensive multimedia timeline that explains how we got into this mess and how we might avoid repeating history in the near future.

This is a work in progress, and we’ll be adding updates and pointers in coming weeks, so check it out and leave your feedback in the comment section below. We’ll also be including some audio commentary to highlight key turning points along the story line to make this complicated narrative easier to understand, even for those of us who fell asleep during Econ 101 (or avoided that whole scene altogether).

Update: As of 10/19/2011, this Capzle is updated with several new articles and book excerpts.

 

1
Dig last updated on Nov. 24, 2008


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By Harold, May 31, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hawkeye, you asked,“Is the U.S. Congress all morons or are they all complicent and waiting for new orders?”

Silly question, obvious answer. 

The Democrat Party, the Republican Party, and Corporate Elite form the Axis of Evil within the U.S.A.  The Axis of Evil most frequently meet in the Halls of Congress; Congress is their primary tool.  The Axis of Evil, through the two political parties, own the Presidential Debate Commission (PDC). Primary weapons of the Axis of Evil are “think tanks”, 35,000 Washington registered lobbyists, the PDC itself, cash in the form of political contributions to control Congress, and the availability of high paying jobs “when politicians are out of office”. 

  The PDC guarantees collaboration rather then competition between the Democrat and Republican duopoly to the exclusion of any opposing organization.  The PDC assures the duopoly’s monopoly and perpetuity will not be defeated by ballot.

  Thus, the Axis of Evil maintains its control of the many for the enrichment of the few.  Obfuscation and deceit through media control, unfettered free market capitalism, and war are the primary methods used by the few to prevent their overthrow by the many.

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By samosamo, May 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

By KDelphi, May 30 at 7:09 pm
““Why would Obama change anything?”“
************************************

At the risk of me thinking you’re naive(I don’t), obama isn’t going to change a damn thing because he agreed not to in exchange for the presidency which is verified by his departure from most everything he promised in his campaign, and just like woodrow wilson agreed to sign the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 into law in exchange for his presidency and ronnie ‘alhzeimer’ reagan agreed to read the script and play the part of scramble brains on stage in the white house.

And all these crooks know that the people aren’t going to unravel the rigged system that exists today and put our democracy back together again, in fact these criminals are ‘banking’ on the people doing nothing but complaining.

What is disturbing is that law enforcement and judiciary don’t seem to have a single person that will make an effort to stop any of these crooks in their criminal endeavours nor does any kind of investigative reporter seem to want to ‘look into this thing’ and expose it for what it is, grand larceny on the grandest of scales without supervision.

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By KDelphi, May 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

What I cannot understand is why anyone would think that the monsters on Wall St would WANT to “reform”—they got everything. They never paid anyone money back, they never went to jail, they kept their manions…why change anything?

Why would Obama change anything?

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By garth, May 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

I just started reading, “Surviving the Cataclysm,” by Webster Tarpley, and the story it tells leaves little doubt that the defenses thrown up to excuse Wall Street’s behavior (i.e., The banksters didn’t know what was going on, no one could see it coming, or they were stupid.) are groundless.  They knew exactly what they were doing.  And I’d say that with Obama and this congress, it’s going along as planned.

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By samosamo, May 28, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

After reading William Black’s ‘The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One’, I can only say that the S&L scandal of the 80s is now morphed into the financial terrorists attack of the here and now with the ‘beyond reproach’ CEOs and upper managements, appraisers, lobbyists and the government all colluding to use control fraud to ‘persuade’ those auditors, investigators and regulators that USED to keep a check on these now criminal corporate ‘leaders’ and their ilk but now are ‘bought and paid for’ to do the opposite of what they were meant to do.

This has infected just about the whole of the system just to give that illusion of power and of a ‘legal way’ of ‘doing business for our country to be robbed blind.

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By garth, May 28, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

Obama spoke to an audience at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills, CA yesterday and said that the economy is on the rebound and that we’ve come back from the brink.
He’s whistling past the graveyard.
He got $ 3 million in contributions to the DNC from those “poor” people in Beverly Hills, so I guess one could say that he picks his spots well.
Thom Hartmann on a radio broadcast covers his adoration for Obama.  He declares, “It’s the issues, stupid.”  Then he berates a black caller for saying that Obama is still the first black President, to which Hartmann decries, “And Clarence Thomas was the first black Supreme Court Justice.”  No, stupid, Thurgood Marshall was.
As far as the issues go, they seem to linger: destroying US labor, single payer vs. health insurance industry ripoff, credit card swindle, Wall Street thievery, wars and occupations all over the world, continuing to torture while still saying we don’t, habeas corpus, wealth for few and povery for the many.
We elect candidates, supposedly, who claim to have solutions to these mounting problems (issues), but the ones we elect do nothing, or worse; they keep doing what was done before.  It’s like what Einstein said about insanity.  You the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
Let’s face it, after just a few years of first getting aquainted with Obama, then listening to his campaign sales pitch, and finally electing him and watching him at work, it has become painfully obvious that Obama’s a bum.
Now, Obama will wrap himself in the security blanket of the national media and we’ll get from them puff pieces, distractions, and outright lies.
Gen’l James Jones spoke yesterday about national security including narco traffic, the war in Iraq, etc.
Reminded me of an old cartoon, “There Oughtta be a Law.”  This jamoke and the Johnson-Nixon-Carter-Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama administration have changed it to “There Oughtta Be a War.”

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By Shift, May 27, 2009 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

The meltdown continues with more people unable to meet their basic needs.  How these people are supposed to spark the economy through consumer spending, when they are broke, is beyond my understanding. 

Twelve trillion dollars has been thrown at the wealthy.  Only one trillion has been aimed at working people.

Washington is uncontrollably corrupt and therefore will make life worse for working people, not better. 

When the bailout bubble pops we go down again, only this time permanently.

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By rockinrobin, May 22, 2009 at 9:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Exploitation is a CRIME; it is the way this NATION is run “claiming” it is “democracy” which it is NOT. It is NOT for the people, it is to HARM the PEOPLE for personal profit.
Do a SEARCH on Rumsfeld (original person of “we are a force for good” BS fabricated from false reports based on Gunsmoke. Rumsfeld & monsanto, rumsfeld & asparteme (containing formaldehyde agressively used in everything including the food chain) & one of the most toxic things on Earth; Bush & Clinton & canola oil; Rockefeller owns 93 per cent of Pharma; with ALL the politicians owning great amounts of stock in BOTH: geared to HARM the people forcing them to BUY from the CRIMINAL CORPS (THEY criminalized them folks)to PAY them AGAIN to get “healed”; trillions of $ in off shore accounts as they carry out Hitlers agenda in the USA & then on to globally.
Claiming they “care” they do NOT. Care2.com health & wellness see all the petitions asking for poisonous chemicals to be removed from milk, cheese, chicken, beef: this “so called” melt down was the SAME lawbreakers working with BUS (guv is a tool for businesses to tell it what to do) NOT; it is Pentagon, Gov & Bus targeting & harming for PERSONAL gain & PERSONAL profit. THIS they claim is “democracy”.

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By foggyjones, May 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THE WAY I SEE IT:


Immediately begin creating small independent cells to quickly identify new independent candidates for every political office, both elected and appointed. Do not consider any traditonal partisans of the two-party system.

It is a classic but effective organizational strategy to create firewalls between each group. Be aware of manipulative mainstream media, but beware, too. Lean about encryption and stealth. Think like other patriots have done and believe nothing you hear and half of what you see. Those who cannot be trusted cannot be allowed. That way, there may be smoke, but no identifiable fire to hose down.

It is later than you think. Hang together or hang one by one. All you need to begin is a thorough understand of cell theory. The ruling elite are very, very stealthy, so must you be, too.

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By KDelphi, May 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Here’s a link to the video of William Black with Bill MOyers (hope it works)

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22352.htm

It was excellent, I cant seem to find anything on Free Speech TV….

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By garth, May 10, 2009 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

DWIGHTBAKER,

Thanks.  That’s a great link. 
Reminded of something Robert Johnson, the Sentate economic advisor said on another edition of the Laura Fflanders show.  He said that if Americans don’t start getting pissed (his word) and hit the streets in protest, then it’s only going to get worse.  Sen. Durbin said as much on the Bill Moyers show Friday.  Eight million going on 12 million foreclosures.

I still recommend the William Black interview.

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By garth, May 10, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

If you can find Laura Flanders’s interview of William Black on FreeSpeechTVit is worth the time to watch it.  Black sums up the history of the whole mess starting with the S&L scandal.
It’s an important interview.

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By voice of truth, May 1, 2009 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

This entire debacle goes straight to the CRA and Barney Frank

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMnSp4qEXNM

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By KDelphi, April 25, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

I’m not up to an essay , either.

So-called free mkt Capitalism, doesnt work and is inhumane. Only a greedy Anglo-WASP “civilization” would continue it, when the gap between rich and poor is larger than in any other so-called “free”
civilization (so many “so-calleds”, cant use enough quotes). All the money on Wall St (is there any?) wont buy back all the lives that the uS pursuit of Empire has destroyed.

I truly wish that those whose main fear in life is “govt” and taxes, would move to the Deep South and seceede, before they drag the rest of this country down like an anchor.

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By Frank Goodman, Sr., April 25, 2009 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

Labor is the key to physical production, not money, derivatives, or corporate efficiency. Neither is union organized power.

The institutional motivation of labor is based upon the subsistence drive of hunger. Hunger of the belly kind motivates all food production. Demand is directly proportional to population. Higher cost foods give way to lower cost foods in a crisis, whether on the individual level or on the world level. Basic subsistence is the key to money value, which in turn sustains all other production and consumption. The capacity of labor to sustain excess production that supports all activities over food production is directly proportional to productive cost of excessive food production. Raised cost of upscale food creates an economy beyond hunter gatherer needs. Adequate and sustainable food production with upscale excess creates the next level of activity. Ultimately, education at the top of the productivity capacity stimulates invention of comfort and joy products. Life takes on a faster and higher function.

Yet all is built upon excess production and exchange of labor product. It is the labor product that sustains all human motivation. Thus it is that nutrition is the first consideration, then leisure and convenience. Yet all labor diverted from food production and distribution must be adequate to the level of consumption of non-food products and services. Modern productivity assures potential food product to feed all mouths, even those not productive in non-food creativity. Maintenance of the non-productive is a luxury easily supported by an economy providing other luxury product and supporting other activities. Think of pets and zoo animals. Human values can be sustained with a normal production and distribution system.

Labor is the motivating force, sustained by food production. Capital is created as excess capacity beyond sustenance.

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By haroldmh, April 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sam - Vance

Interesting quibbling but:

Don’t know if either of you have seen What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire.  Saw it last night of alternative media Free Speech TV.  If you have not seen it you can gain some perspective of it simply by googleing up the title.

In his inimitable way, I fear that Woody Allen may have gotten it right.  “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

To me, New Zealand looks better every day.

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By Frank Goodman, Sr., April 24, 2009 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

This issue is too big to handle by myself. I call upon all who review this site to sit down with an open mind and deal with the issues one by one.

I shall deal with three: Capital, labor, and consumption. Others could be distribution, production, and technology.

Each has its impact more or less pure and simple. First, capital.

Most economies raise capital to a money value. Wealth is measured in terms of the market value, cost value, or utility value of items of capital production. Money value is designated in terms of a base, real or artificial. A real based money is ‘precious’ metals such as gold or silver. In some primitive systems, shells, beads, and other trinkets carried relative value in commerce. Salt, cattle, and grains also have been used.

Money metals that remain unchanged over time in weight and purity can represent money value that is permanent or near permanent. Salt caries money value as a perishable commodity. Salt can be used up in a normal use manner. Grains have value as human food. Both are perishable.

Money value itself arises from labor product usage. The errors can be seen in the extremes of totally perishable and permanent value assumptions. Value is a completely subjective concept. Market value is the preferred measure in most capitalist economies. Labor and utility value are the preferred measures in socialist economies. Market value can apply to the widest variety of value based commodities and products. Market value can also apply to services. Market value cannot apply very accurately to charity and cooperative association. Marriage cannot have a market value, though choice and preference are involved, as well as effort and time expended in the service of the relationship.

Fiat currency is the poorest choice, except for the defects of all others. Labor time, nutrition, comfort, and incentive all affect fiat currency value. So do technology, politics, and opinion.

Fiat currency should have a basis. The basis should represent real value over time such that value is retained and can be extracted in a reasonable manner and retain its incentive power to influence labor output and innovation.

In the end money should have the power to promote the benefits of a hunter gatherer economy in a modern setting. Money should serve vital and leisure products and activities. Some product should retain utility over time, while other product should serve purely perishable functions. Food value should be seen as perishable, but permanent in the preservation of human life, function, and social value. Thus a fiat currency based upon average human nutrition needs for protein or calories could serve the incentive, maintenance, and leisure value of production of all kinds. It could regulate the mix of production and transfer payment necessary to meet humanitarian assumptions without destruction of available food supplies. Gold does not do that. Rigidly controlled grain exchange could. Open market activity fails, when the value of gold, grain, or automobiles falls. It also fails when monopolies interfere with normal distribution efficiency.

Capital as money value of uncertain quality accumulated as a storage of future exchange fails to sustain economies over time in the cycle of production, consumption, and life security.

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By vancemack, April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

why Sam…such a clever little diversion…but…

YOU were the one that in the middle of a reasonably pleasant little exchange decided it was time to be a nasty little insutling boy…then YOU for some reason known only to your pathetic little mind decided it was time to offer me some free dental work if you ever stepped foot back in America…and NOW you say…“awww…is this really neccessary? See thats why no one likes Amewicans…”

So you tell me you brave wittle man…was it REALLY neccessary? Because YOU are the mouse that roared.

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By Sam Clemenz, April 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

haroldmh, April 22 at 9:54 pm #

Thanks for the link Harold! Your compilation of important/critical social statisitcs is concise and tell-tale as a social thermometer.
All one needs to do is look back on who America’s leaders were since 1973 (the peak of America’s working wage) to see the changes tha have led to it’s demise, and the impacts that each of them had on where America stands today on the world stage.
1973-1976 - Gerald Ford
1976-1980 - Jimmy Carter
1980-1988 - Ronald Reagan
1988-1992 - George HW Bush
1992-2000 - Bill Clinton
2000-2008 - George W. Bush
2008-current - Barak Obama
Anyone with even a minute sense of recall in the history of U.S. leadership above can combine this list with a Bell Curve Graph to see when and where America has gone off the rails as a Democratic Society in their economic and Humanitarian development over past 33 years.
You can certainly see how and where the class seperation has occurred, and how each President’s Party line “Ideological” Policies have eroded a once wide-spread prosperous Republics ability to be United for economic and social progress for the benefit of ALL it’s Citizenry.

Thanks for the link, I enjoyed your thoughts!

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By Sam Clemenz, April 23, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadmack-
Is all this puffed up bullshit really necessary? Is this how you debate an issue by name calling and attempts at degradation?
And you wonder why American’s are reviled outside your cozy little nest? Go away bothersome Yankeeboy I see no point in having any conversation with you, you’re just flinging mud and I don’t find that productive, just distracting. Bye now!

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By vancemack, April 23, 2009 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

Well this IS intersting. Truthdig is ALL ABOUT the censorship apparently!

Lets try this again…but I wonder how long it will take them to delete this comment as well…

Sam…you threatened me with an actual ASSAULT online? My! Look at how ferocious you are, you little poodle. How tough…how…pathetic.

Our loss is very obviously New Zealands gain, you tuff little man. Internet bullies…how comical! And over…what again?

Im reasonably certain my dental work will remain intact…either way. But just look how precious you are to make big scary threats a world away.

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By haroldmh, April 22, 2009 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sam

Google http://www.opednews.com/author/author19767.html and I think you will be able to find it there.

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By Sam Clemenz, April 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

haroldmh, April 21 at 8:37 pm #

Harold, I would be interested in reading your Oct 28, ‘08 article. could you please provide a link?  From the looks at the end of your comment to Sadmack, the Censors clipped some of your piece, as they did to mine. Not surprising I guess since I promised him a big dental bill should we meet face to face on home soil. Chances of that are slim these days as I need to continue to scramble to keep employed in this U.S., Israel and UK - Orchestrated Financial Tsunami that is threatening to take out the Austral-Asian Economies and leave us another decade trying to regain lost ground from their reach for the PNAC “Gold Ring” at all our expense. And besides, folks like Sadmack aren’t worth the effort anyway!
Cheers, and I hope you can link your article I would enjoy reading your thoughts!

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By haroldmh, April 21, 2009 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Vancemack, so your proud to be an American, right?  So was I.  Then I began to take a hard look at the political duopoly that manages almost all of us for the benefit of their plutocrat masters.  Amongst others, I found and read the historian Howard Zinn.  I found Elizabeth Warren’s economic study of the middle class since the mid 1970’s.  I studied Government reports on income and wealth distribution.

  With particular regard for universal healthcare, I concluded there are a growing number of homeless, tent city residents, and medically uninsured that believe our government must have forgot that our country is a signatory of Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

  I concluded that when Michelle Obama said she was “proud of my country” she had to be honoring the civil rights progress, from the time of her birth in 1964 to now, that facilitated her husbands political ascendancy. When she said “for the first time in my adult life” she had to be referring to some of our other accomplishments. So I looked at some of these accomplishments both here and abroad.

Apart from our having twice voted in a lying-scheming-secretive executive administration that so criminally mismanaged both our domestic and foreign policies, that plus a go-along-no-oversight-deregulation-inclined legislative branch of government that facilitated our current economic downturn, financial mess, and continued presence in Iraq, what else should we be proud of? Looking at some facts, a good case can be made for our being in the upper tier or leading the world on a per capita or absolute basis in many areas of human endeavor.

Should you choose to learn of these accomplishments, I refer you to an October 28, 2008 article that I wrote for OpEdNews: So you’re proud to be an American.

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By Sam Clemenz, April 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Vanemack,

“but when I look around the world and throughout history…socialism hasnt fared too well over time. So…no thanks…”

This is easily explained - “looking around the world” in the typical American manner, means looking as far south as Mexico, and North to the Canadian Border - the American world ends and only uneducated specualtion exists.
Typically you are yourself too lazy to go into any specific’s of “what country’s” Social systems failed, only that they must have failed because the Capitalist Free Market Enterprise system is the one left standing. And, in grand American style, you haven’t yet realized or even bothered to look down to see the ruins of this “better” system lying at your feet. You were too busy fighting Socialism to make sure you didn’t have to give anything away to the public good or benefit. Heaven forbid, that the guy in the article I linked in my last comment would expect the American “System” to help him because his folks can’t afford to pay for insurance coverage without losing their house. I guess they just didn’t work hard enough huh? I guess the old spoof addage of “In God we Trust - all others pay cash!” is actually an American truism these days. Especially since you’ve all replaced “God” with “Money” anyway!

You leave me with a pit in my stomach just knowing that arrogance and ignorance are so inbred in the Ex- Homeland - that not only can you NOT see the forest through the trees, you cannot remember you cut the forest down and shipped it all to China years ago for those few extra bucks profit while making room for those fields of American Dreams. Now all you have are the Dreams because your fields are Jaundiced, Sallow, and too apathetic to support any growth or change.
Have a nice day! <=)

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By Sam Clemenz, April 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Vancemack -
Here’s some reading material for you on how you American’s would rather kill each other off before doing anything charitable or “Social” for your neighbors in need.
One quote I find particularly tell-tale in the article mentions how if “payment for his treatment is not made in full and up front, he’ll have to take himself elsewhere for future continued treatment”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/us/21uninsured.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&th;&emc;=th

Calling Socialism a conduit for lazy people shows just how much you don’t understand about it. I suppose that makes perfect sense for a lot of you ‘merkins though - sharing a piece of your pie might mean a smaller slice for you, and if it doesn’t affect YOU, who really cares anyway?  Right? You are certainly a sad case! By American Standards these days you are only typical though, and that’s even sadder!

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Well Sam…Ive always said…if they could ever find a way toake out human nature and have true communism…I MIGHT now be opposed to that…

But it is that same corrupt group of politicians (who I DO NOT trust) that would put themselves in the position of power. And no…I dont want to see that happen…now or ever.

yes…I did buy in. Of course…I figure I LIKE a system where i can go from being the first high school graduate in my family history to being in a position to providing for my grandkids education because I worked hard and busted my hump. No ‘guarantees’ for anything other than the right to work hard and make it happen.

I think human nature has a tendency to corrupt people. Socialism ‘typically’ rewards the lazy. Now…dont get me wrong…New Zealand may be the gem…the crown jewel of socialism…but when I look around the world and throughout history…socialism hasnt fared too well over time. So…no thanks…

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By Sam Clemenz, April 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Vancemack-
Your statement “It comes down to very basic beliefs. I dont WANT my government that deep in my pockets or my life.”
It’s obvious you are a Conservative of some nature, and you have been rasied on American propoganda having to do with “Socialism” as some sort of evil thing only seconded by Communism. Funny thing is, I used to think that way until I moved here to NZ and living under a Social Democratic system has enlightened me considerably.
I don’t blame you for not wanting your government in your pocket or life actually. All Governments should be transparent and act as Administrative Representatives of the people - but when you live in the US under the most corrupt Idealist loaded can of supposedly “Publicly Elected” Snakes as you do, it’s understandable you’d be gun-shy of any Public establishments that you perceive might run a “Government” Health System.  Please keep your patronising “sighs”, I’m terribly sorry to have called you out on the topic and pointed out that it does work when it is Administered “correctly”  through a transparent Public system. I would much rather have my government providing a Public Healthcare System for me than spending my tax dollars bailing out Banks and Fraudsters, and hosting foreign wars - apparently you don’t feel the same way. I really don’t know why I wasted my breath on one of you anyway, I guess I forgot that you don’t really listen to reason unless it’s American-style reason not bound in any kind of recognizeable reality!

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By vancemack, April 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

Sigh…

Which stories should I recite? Surely you know of them all…the canadian patient shutteld to 5 different hospitals because the first four didnt have staff or budget, Sylvia De Vires, story…story…story…story…and hey…we have them too. Should we talk about the cost…both the public costs and the REAL bottom lines…the ridiculous wait times…we can do this all day long…but honestly…its BORING.

It comes down to very basic beliefs. I dont WANT my government that deep in my pockets or my life.

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By Sam Clemenz, April 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Vancemack -
You claim to have lived in several countries offering Socialized Medical Care, but name non of them. You also make claims of how those systems don’t work, or provide less than the same quality care as you receive in the USA.  It’s claims like these that make me wonder who’s paying you for your comments.

I am an ex-Pat American living in New Zealand - One of those “Social Healthcare” Country’s. Here’s how I found the Healthcare under a Social System to be after I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hogkin’s Lymphoma in 2002.

I spent 4 years in intensive treatment programs including being addmitted to a Stem Cell Transplant Unit in Christchurch in Aug. 2004.  I live in Rural NZ - approximately 30 minutes from Dunedin in the South Island. During the period of my Chemo, I had a plethora of prescriptions necessary for pain management to anti-sickness drugs. The anti-sickness drugs to combat the affects of Chemo cost as much as $90.00 per tablet - I received them for $3.00 TOTAL cost for the entire prescription.
I was fortunate because the Chemo worked well for me, and at the end of my 3 month course.  Though I still had the Lymphoma, my Marrow was clear and allowed me to be assessed for a Bone Marrow Transplant (Stem Cell Transplant)
I travelled to Christchurch 250 miles north to a specialized unit for the Transplant. My wife and Daughter were provided a self contained Apartment across the street from the Hospital- Free of charge! I proceeded with the Transplant and spent 4 weeks in the specialized Transplant Unit.  Since then I have been monitored closely. Recently, I have been diagnosed as Cancer free after 5 years.
When I was diagnosed with Cancer, my Oncologist also found that due to a blood Tranfusion in 1967, I had contracted Hepatitis-C, which he felt may have been the intital cause of the Cancer.  In 2006 I underwent a 1 year Interferon-A (Chemo) program, to irradicate the Hep-C. It was successful 100% in curing me of Hep C.
My TOTAL out of pocket expense for fighting the Cancer and Hep-C, including all hospitalization, Specialist Care, Nursing and all other related care costs were $580.00 (five hundred eighty), and that was related to food for my wife and daughter while they were with me in the apartment in Christchurch during the transplant.
The TOTAL costs I incurred for the Interferon-A treatment for Hep-C was $36.00 total for the year.
The level of care was excellent, the competancy of the Doctors, Nurses, and Specialists was outstanding to say the least, and to hear you rag on about how wonderful the healthcare is in the US is sickening to say the least, and completely false!
If I was lucky enough to have insurance over there my expenses would have well exceeded $700,000.00, and at 80% coverage (which is the standard shared amount, I would have needed to come up with a minimum of $140,000.00 for the same thing I spent $616.00 (Six Hundred Sixteen) for here under a Socialized Healthcare system. Imagine if I was on eof the 60+ million without insurance!
How you can rattle on and be such a complete denialist on alternatives to your obysmal trainwreck of a system is beyond me!! Your entire system is based on profit, and greed, and is being driven by Big Pharmaceuticals, Insurance Companies, and Lobby groups representing Hospital Administrations and Medical Practioner Interests.
It is comments like yours that shed such an immense amount of light on WHY your entire system is crumbling around your own ears, and you refuse to take any responsibility for it by looking the other way and denying that it’s happening. Get a life!!!
PS- The entire Healthcare system cost here comes out of my tax dollars - You people are too busy funding War’s around the world to focus inward on your own people’s needs, that’s your problem, and should not be mine, nor should it be mine to have to educate you on these matters of your National Ignorance!

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By Harold, April 20, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Earlier I wrote to my three congresspersons as follows.

  With particular regard for universal healthcare, there are a growing number of homeless, tent city residents, and medically uninsured that believe our government must have forgot that our country is a signatory of this UN declaration.

  “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

  Is it not time for Congress to (a) address legislation that would better seek to live up to our purported sense of idealism or (b) withdraw our signature and admit our hypocrisy.  After all, Congress has only had more than six decades to do so.

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By tigger, April 20, 2009 at 2:08 am Link to this comment

I have read some of these posts and skimmed others. To tell you the truth the health care industry is in deep trouble. They are laying off nurses here in Minneapolis. Bad debt because people can’t pay their bills are added to the charity care condundrum that adds up to millions of dollars for the hospital to absorb. The health care world has also had medicare/medicaid cuts in payments to the hospitals.

Those individuals who have already lost insurance, don’t always qualify for medical assistance. Believe it or not! They don’t come to the ED unless they are very seriously ill. SO the cycle continues to cycle…sick patients can’t pay, hospitals can’t absorb the cost of medical care.

The introduction of medicare and medicaid in the 1960’s initially started for the elderly. Well that soon changed as more and more admendments were added on to include a large percentage of disabled individuals. Not that they don’t derserve care they do!!

So do we think more about socialized medicine? Maybe?

As far as the bailout money goes, it should of gone to the citizens of the U.S. we all would at least receieved $ 8,000. I personally could use that money…but alas the banks get what they want.
We dug out of the depression the first time, some people need to go back and remember this event.

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By KDelphi, April 6, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

tyler—thanks. Some of us know this to be true. There are huge economic interests here in the States that convince and scare people into believing that health care in not a human right, vut is just fine being a hugely profitable buasiness, while patients die much too soon. It is perhaps USA greed at its most ugly. Some are optimistic, but, the prospects dont look good, to me.

I have been treated in Canada—my (former)dr. sent me there for an orphan drug that was in trial., to try to avoid a surgery.(It wasnt being tested here, as it is a rare disorder, and the drug was not expected to become hugely profitable—-thats a no-no in the uS!) The dr was geaat. It was so comforting, when I felt so ill, to not be constantly harassed about my insurance and my financial status. It helped me to recover faster and to get back to work. Danish and Norwegian heatlh care was very similar (I guess many know that Denmark;s is best…but I am biased—-my family was born there and Norway—lol) I was also treated in Italy, with similar result (it is a little more behind the times—I was in a small town—-but this was years ago)

As long as USAns continue to believe that we need “insurance” (not care) and that we are “consumers” (not citizens and patients), 20-80,000 will die every year, very unecessarily. Those opposing single payer should be ashamed of themselves. But they wont be (I am a former social worker)

Making huge profits from others misery (as in disease or accident or war) is IMMORAL. What is it about that that you dont understand, vancemack?

In Korsor, Denmark (outside Kobehaven, a Naval port town), I was doing 6 mos at a WorkCamp, to teach sports to disabled children. I sprained (I was afradi, I had BROKEN!) my ankle. After the dr x-rayed it, and, wrpapped it, I pulled out my wallet. I thanked him profusely (he practiced from his very middle-class home)m abd asked, “What do I owe you?”. He sadi nothing. I said, “cmon! You really helped me out here”. He said, that the govt paid his salary. After a few minutes, he said, “You Americans just dont get it, do you? I do this to support myself, but, mainly bacause I want to help. I dont want your money”. I thought, “I think I get it now”.

I also ran out of a prescription I have had to take all of my life in Norway. I was able to explain it to the town dr (small town), who called mydr, and, got it the same day—- no charge. It wasnt just because I was a student. My friends in Denmark thought that it was strange that I was so overwhelmed.

Greed. Shame

Please excuse typos—-my RA is bad today…

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By tyler, April 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

vancemack: 

I would be interested to know which countries you have visited with socialized health care that are so bad?  I live in canada, born and raised, in one of the major cities that you say has had ‘the life sucked out of it’ due to socialism.  You couldn’t be more wrong. 

Here in Canada, we don’t have nearly the number of issues you do in the states with not only health care, but the housing industry, and the banks as well.  You know why?  Moderated socialism with sensible regulation works, surprise surprise. 

We enjoy a better way of life here, and have for many years now.  We have higher income per household, longer life expectancy, we’re not nearly as fat as americans, and we have more time to spend with friends and family.  Oh, and we drink more beer! 

So before you go demonizing something you clearly don’t comprehend, study up a bit first.  When you say you lived in several of these countries, I ask you what you did when you lived there, sleep?

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By vancemack, March 31, 2009 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Oh…and as for the doctors still having their summer homes? MOST doctors bust their ass, go deep into debt, study their ass off, work in two and three hospitals at a time, and when they reach their summer home status they have damn well deserved it.

And if MOST of those people out there dont like it, they should maybe TRY putting in the work themselves. You’d be AMAZED at the results.

And lest you jump in there with some idiotic comment about how their mommies and daddies all made it possible or because they are white and wealthy…try hanging out in nursing classes…med schools, and hospitals. Its an incredibly diverse hardworking group of people. Multicultural, straight, gay…no borders. Just dedicated hardworking people.

So yeah…touched a little nerve…just because your comments are idiotic and others might be stupid enough to actually give them credence.

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By KDelphi, March 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

That has not been my experience in Denmark, Norawy , Canada or Italy. Like I said, you cannot get routine care, and, have you ever seen an extremnely poor or mentally disabled person try to file a medical lawsuit?? 90% of them fail in this country—most never evenmake it to court. The majority are those crappy, but, necessary, (due to drs policing themselves here), class action lawsuits, where you get $1 for yur kid being killed) I didnt work at a hosptal I was out on the frontlines with the people you guys refused to treat. You sound like Dubya, with your “just go to the ER” crap. If you truly work in “health care” , and not in some private place,. you know that the situation you posit is bullshit.

Cuba is NOT “communist”, for the 100th time. They dont even claim that themselves. The Cuban ex-pats in LIttle Havanna have made a total mess of that part of Miami.They know that all they have to do is get here and support neo-con causes and the US will agree to keep starving out the people of Cuba, as if it were their fault. The US starve them out policy is brutal, in the MIddle East, too. Dont even go their with China as commmunist country bullshit. Its a capitalist dictatorship, thanks to people like Chairman Mao and the beloved neo-cons and neo-libs.. You know, like here only the US is more fascist.

So where does this free mkt utoipia exist, or does it? Austria? They are falling apart.

The socialist democracy I envision does not YET exist—but it may. Scandanavia comes closests to anywhere I have visited. If you dont like socialism, and you love laissez-faire money mongers, youre in luck! Youre certainly in the right country. All you have to do is quiet your conscience if you have one.

Oh! I see your “replies to yourself” filing into my email box as I watch! Must have hit a nerve…keep talking to yourself, No one else will listen.

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By vancemack, March 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

Oh…one final for-the-record…

The only “communists” I know in America are the spoiled idiotic offspring of capitalists that suck off their mommy and daddy’s bank accounts while they spend 8 years in college talking about how bad their system of government is. they sport their little Che t-shirts and wear their ever-so-chic middle eastern table clothes as a fashion statement, completely oblivious to the fact that if Che or the middle easterners were in charge they would be the first to die. They destroy things at protests in expressing their outrage against violence.

I wholeheartedly think that every ‘true believer’ that claims to be a communist should LIVE under communism for…say…5 years. Then lets hear their idiotic rhetoric.

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By vancemack, March 31, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Oh…and for the record…its the friends in the Communist Party you know…the ones that are amazed that USAns will continue to pay for these fricking banks, and let their neighbors die from a lack of health care, food or housing…that comment that triggered the response. Because 1-most of those “communists” havent a clue what life in a “communist” country is all about, and 2-its the idiot leftists in this country that are in bed with the banks and bailing them out and 3-Love us…hate us….I dont care…but at least be an EDUCATED idiot…we provide better care under our capitalist system than any place I have ever been to and CERTAINLY better than any communist country has ever provided. (and Ive been extenslively throughout Europe, 4 years in the middle east, and all of North America). Point of fact…our PEOPLE are INCREDIBLY charitable and I believe would be even STILL more charitable if the government wasnt involved.

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By vancemack, March 31, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

I cant speak to the hospitals you have worked in, but once a patient has been brought to a hospital they cant be refused service even if they cant pay. That includes the most complex procedures and equipment offered. If they are refused the hospital faces lawsuits and EMTALA(some places call it different things) violations. They may not like it but if you so much as TELL a patient they should try going somewhere else you can be hit with fine, suit, and loss of license. One of the reasons US medical costs are so high is that they DO provide care to “self pay” patients knowing good and well they will actually be “no pay.”

Now…can you get routine appointments? Sure…if you go through a medicare/medicaid provider. But since you have lived in those other countries SURELY you know there are two health care systems there as well…right? Or do you believe that all go to the same happy hospitals and receive the same happy care? Nah…didnt think so.

I also have lived in several of those countries. They treat life saving things…kind of. If you live close to a hospital its OK. However you are more likely to live near a ‘clinic’ which is understaffed and undersupported and then you are left to fight for available minutes and deal with the transportation issues…someites travelling hundreds of miles to find an adequate hospital system. They typically have about 14 administrators for every caregiver. In MOST cases their care is simply inferior to the care you can get in the US.

Im not sure…maybe i missed it or left it out…nope…there it is. I DID point out that some socialist healthcare systems were better than those found in Cuba and other COMMUNIST countries. Why do i go back to the communist countries? Why…because you brought up communism as if it is somehow not a dirty word. Well…Sorry…the facts are what they are. “communism” is a wonderful concept, usually espoused by idiots that have never lived under a communist regime.

Now, socialism is a nice concept as well…however…there is a reason why major cities in Canada and England have had the life squeezed out of them…because socialism has bled the workers dry and left behind a system that is not sustainable.

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By KDelphi, March 31, 2009 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Vance—Wow! I must have hit a nerve! Try a little novacaine.

Saying that people on Medicaid get the same quality care as cash paying “consumers” (as capitalists like to call patients) is so ludicrous, I wont comment, I DO know for a fact that they do not.(Most drs will even TELL you that, when you are on Medicaid! They will tell you what they cannot do!) You are lying or ignorant. What is your JOB in the health care system??

I have lived in countries with so-called socialist medicine.(why do you keep focusing on Cuba? Did I mention Cuba??) The care was immediate, excellent and free. We cant say any of those things about the uS death care system.

But dont sweat it! The Dems are total sell-outs! The “reform” theyre proposing is mere window dressing. Drs will still be able to have summer homes and command larger salaries tahn anywhere else on earth, while 20-80,000 die every year.

You MUST know the stats..or, maybe not. You seem to be spurred on solely by emotion.

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By vancemack, March 31, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

As for the communist party having the right to exist…of course they have the right to exist…and seek representation in congress. We even have an openly socialist senator in DC. And the democrats really are just by and large ALL socialists anyway. Which is why their ideas so badly fail and have caused such devastation within the poor communities. Because come on…a poor voter is a dependent voter…

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By vancemack, March 31, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

What a bunch of leeches? Gee…wouldnt those be the same people you profess to care for as a social worker?

Its not propoganda…its simply the other side of the coin…the side you and people like you refuse to admit. the ONLY place where Cuba is ‘successful’ is the tourist areas and places for the wealthy. now…come on…how very UN communist of you. How very UN socialist of you. I thought this was about eschewing greed! Shouldnt Castro use his amassed wealth (what did Forbes put his wealth at…900 million?) to support even the least of his countrymen?

But…thats ALWAYS been the way with socialist/communist countries. The rich did just fine in the Soviet Union. But the ‘two worlds’? couldnt find them together with an atlas they are so separated.

And just…info you…our medicare/medicaid patients get the same quality treatment and access to life saving equipment as do the rich and insured. If you dont know that you are an idiot. If you DO know that and refuse to admit it because it doesnt support your cause, you are a liar to boot.

And you might want to examine that famous ‘free’ socialized health care in Canada, England…and…well…Id say Cube…but Cuba is by far the worst. You MAY get access to life saving machines IF you can reach the one hospital in the region that has the equipment and IF you get on the calendar on a regular basis.

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By KDelphi, March 31, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

Vance—Cuba is not “communist”—I didnt say that the UK was “communist”—I said that the party is allowed to exist there—you know “friidom”. Not like “freiidom” here in the US to “die with your rights on”.

Yes, I think that Cubans are better off under a socialist dictatorship (which is what it has become)than they were under Pinochet. As you say, no system is perfect…

But, Scandanavia comes damn close…heard about the Austrian meltdown yet?? Ah, the myth of the “free mkt”..

Like John Edwards said, you cant get chemotherapy in an ER. And it costs ALOT more than visiting a drs office! I feel sorry for your patietns. I worked as a social worker for many years. One client died very young of a cancer that the fricking institution he lived at refused to treat. So dont try to tell me, you are just selfish. I have many famuly and friends whio have suffered and died early because of the uS death care industry.

“therealcuba” is propaganda, same as Castro’s. It is just generally not accepted as such, because of the Cuban “friidom fighters” in Little Havanna. I used to live down there—ha!! What a bunch of leeches!

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By vancemack, March 31, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

Joe is spot on…we have lost our industrial base and THAT is why we continue to struggle. Oh…and we have a government that is huge and worthless. We should let the market prices correct themselves, force the banks to fix their own mess, and encourage reinvestment in US jobs, which means the labor unions need to close shop. All they are right now is a cash cow and a political tool.

As for the communist rap…really? Do you honestly believe people are better off in a communist nation than in the US? I recommend you look at the weblink posted below. Assclowns routinely go to Cuba and see the vacation spot that Castro created…but do they go into the rest of Cuba and see what Castro has really brought the people there? Of course not.
http://therealcuba.com/Page10.htm

Oh…I know propoganda. Like all those stories of food, healthcare and fuel shortages in communist USSR and in North Korea-those are all lies to. The satellite imagery at night which demonstrates a prosperous nation in South Korea but a desolate tragic waste in North Korea…those are all doctored.

In the US…you have more service organizations, food banks, free and subsidized health care than ANY communist nation. Perfect system? Of course not…but there is no such thing.

I work in hospitals. NO ONE can be denied health care. I work with food banks. The generosity of the average citizen is SO MUCH more powerful and effective than any government system of support.

Even socialist (not communist…big difference) countries are scaling back more and more on their ‘free’ healthcare services. Because oh yeah…SOMEONE has to PAY for those services.

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By KDelphi, March 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

Joe Hayes—And, not to mention that the rest of the (sortve) civilized world has a social safety net to fall back on. (As China becomes more capitalistic, the gap between rich and poor widens)

I listened to some of the protests today in London. (I know a few people in the Communist Party there—no, its not a curse word there—-or anywhere else) They are more amazed everyday that USAns will continue to pay for these fricking banks, and let their neighbors die from a lack of health care, food or housing.

Shame on the US, I say.

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By Joe Hayes, March 29, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

I don’t know why everybody acts so suprised. Our eCONomy has always been about CONfidence, since we hardly make anything we buy anymore - unless it’s from McDonalds and we’re talking about making a hamburger (who’s ingredients were probably made overseas anyways). There’s a reason China isn’t hit as hard… and the only reason it’s hit at all is because we bought so much from them.

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By CharlyAndy, March 19, 2009 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

TAO,

  I don’t know if any of us really sees the whole elephant but we sure knew it was there.  The con that money is wealth and if you’re smart and use OPM, you don’t have to produce anything, definitely always has had the smell of elephant shit to me.

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By TAO Walker, March 18, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Most everyone has heard some version of the ‘blind-men-and-the-Elephant’ fable.  Each blind man defined the whole Elephant by whatever ‘part’ of her he happened to stumble into.

Meaning no disrespect whatsoever, but Bertil (in the fable) would be the blind man who leapt to his own CONclusions after stepping knee-deep in Elephant shit.  His nose tells him something smells real bad.  His feet tell him there’s an awful lot of it, and it can’t be easily shaken-off.  His ears, from the comments of his ‘peers,’ tell him the Elephant is a ‘beast’ all but incomprehensible in its strangeness and complexity.  Taken altogether, he ‘knows’ an Elephant is something he sure-as-hell doesn’t want on his hands.

Nevertheless, those of us who’ve actually SEEN THE ELEPHANT still appreciate Bertil’s thoughtful guesses about what it is, exactly, all over his shoes and pantlegs.  He of course has plenty of company in this particular predicament, too….if that’s any comfort.

HokaHey!

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By Joe, March 16, 2009 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wonder why none of this stuff makes it on CNN or MSNBC? At any rate, our financial meltdown wasn’t caused by the Federal Reserve, it was caused by the majority of us, we the people, Americans living beyond our means on the backs of homes that were overvalued and we were using to borrow against - again to live beyond our means. The Fed Res, in my opinion (while screwy) isn’t the problem - we are.

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By ma77hew, March 16, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Hey where did it go?!!!

I was looking forward to sitting down with this.

Please bring it back.

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By ma77hew, March 16, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Hey where did it go?!!!

I was looking forward to sitting down with this?

Please bring it back.

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By MikeL, March 15, 2009 at 2:14 am Link to this comment

There are some interesting comments right here.
positive thinking

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By Shift, March 11, 2009 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

Bertil wrote:

“I wonder smugness and self-righteous pontification are part of the Toshipaye Way?”

Bertil, is it wise to be so critical and self assured?
Remember, Native Peoples existed on this land for many millennia while Euro/Americans are failing after only 232 years.  In these times it is better to understand what TAO is speaking of.

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By Bertil, March 9, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

I wonder smugness and self-righteous pontification are part of the Toshipaye Way?

Okie Dokie

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By TAO Walker, March 9, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

It’s over, Sisters and Brothers.  “Western civilization,” along with its CONfidence-scheme “global” eCONomy is now reduced to a heap of smoking toxic wreckage in which nearly all of the “livestock/passengers” still remain trapped, while the operating “crew” go-about looting their luggage, pilfering the mail, and of course robbing the allamerican express….all on orders from absentee “owners” who expect never to be caught dead anywhere near the scene of their “crime.”  And just to make sure the “....huddled masses” can have no further doubts about their designated ‘place’ in the pyramid-scam of “things,” it’s all being done under their noses, right out in plain sight, with the “security forces” actively aiding and abetting the pillagers.

So one wonders what good some commenters here see coming out of their endless “deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic” pursuit of the trivial details of their predicament.  What could it possibly matter now which “parts” of the CONtraption failed, when the damned thing was all-of-a-piece anyhow?  How will assigning “blame,” to perps whose names and whereabouts are unknown (at least to their subject/citizenry), help the legions of those poor fools to begin rescuing one another from literally life-threatening CONditions that no amount of self-righteous finger-pointing can do a thing to alleviate?

Granted, the immensity of the mess they’re in has yet to penetrate the shocked-and-awed senses of most of our tame two-legged Relatives.  That the entire CONtext of their increasingly miserable half-lives has collapsed on them like the house-of-(marked)-cards it’s always been, is too much to take-in, at first….what with the latest “election” shell-game just over, the illusion of “normalcy” still being broadcast and cabled relentlessly into the Human rubble, the tendency people have to keep going-through-the-motions even in the immediate aftermath of some cataclysm, especially of this sort-of virtual “neutron bomb” variety, where the “psycho/physical” world appears to be mostly intact.

Us surviving free wild Savages saw this coming and’ve watched it happen.  Some among us even waved warnings to those hurtling along blissfully ignorant of what lay immediately “ahead.” 

Here’s maybe the last “word-of-caution” we can offer those already beginning to mill-around the crash-site, trying desperately to figure-out how to get the rattle-trap machinery of their captivity up-and-running again.  You are all at “....the end of the line.”  Those ominous “sounds” you hear coming from the ideological/instutional/electro-mechanical apparatus that’s just “delivered” you to this “pass” is the prelude to its sudden catastrophic self-destruction.

So you’d all best WALK!, TOGETHER!, quickly away from the disaster area.  It doesn’t really matter right now what “direction” you go in.  There’s nothing but Natural Wilderness all-around all Y’all, anyway.  Once you’re at least loosely reORGANized into some semblance of our natural Human FORM, you’ll be able to recognize in your midst those of us free wild Native Guides who can show you the rest of the Way back to whole healthy Humanity.

HokaHey!

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By Bertil, March 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

The following two posts were found on breadwithcircus dot.

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By Bertil, March 7, 2009 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Explaining the Credit-Crisis: Why The Bailout Won’t Work
People don’t seem to understand the conditions that have led to what is being called the “Credit-Crisis.”
I’ve been doing a lot of research on this and I think that I have a pretty good handle on what really happened
here, so I’m going to try to explain it in a way that people unfamiliar with the disastrous practices of Wall
Street can easily understand. Its complicated, but bear with me.

First, banks and other agencies began issuing what have been called sub-prime loans. These were mostly mortgages
with really low interest rates. The loans were structured so that the people who took them out would have very
low payments for the first eighteen months or two years of the agreement, but much higher payments after that.
In many cases these loans were given to people who had no income, no job, no assets, and no ability to make
payments once the higher rates kicked in. However, because of the time-lag between the issuing of the loans, and
the day when payments would inevitably stop, firms realized that they had a brief window of opportunity to turn
temporarily valuable loan papers into billions of dollars. 

Enter the Collateralized Debt Obligation. (CDO) Firms would carve the sub-prime loan debts that they owned into
pieces and repackage them as a product called a CDO. A CDO would have little slivers of all sorts of different loans
pieced together. A CDO might consist of 1% of Mary’s second mortgage on a house in San Diego, 1% of Manuel’s car-loan
in Atlanta, 1% of Mohammed’s mortgage on a house in Kansas City, and 1% of the money that Acme Widgets Inc. borrowed
when they wanted expand their factory in Pittsburgh.

Continued on next post

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By Bertil, March 7, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Even though the firms knew that many of their loans would and could never be repaid, because of the time-lag between when the loans were good and when they went bust, the firms could temporarily list their CDO’s as assets. Because of this, it was in the interest of firms to issue as many dodgy loans as possible, in order to create as many CDO’s as possible, in order to hold as many assets as possible. Firms began buying and selling their CDO’s and using them as collateral when taking out loans of their own.

Enter the Credit-Default Swap. (CDS) Firms holding CDO’s made deals with highly-rated firms. (Companies with good credit ratings like the now nationalized AIG) The small firm would pay the bigger firm to co-sign with them on a very large loan, often from a privately owned bank called the Federal Reserve. The small firms would list the income they were making on their CDO’s as collateral, and then make a payment to the large firm for their golden signature. Having a large firm with a good credit rating as co-signer, dubious firms were able to borrow at astronomical rates, in some cases at a ratio of up to 40 times of what the CDO’s were (temporarily) worth.

Big firms saw windfall profits through their ability to sell their signature to smaller firms. Smaller firms borrowed tens of billions of electronic dollars at low interest rates from the Federal Reserve Bank, among others. The stocks of the firms involved in the scheme went through the roof as they were able to show massive amounts of money on their
balance sheets. A handful of CEO’s made billions of dollars.

Now the chain reaction. The time-lag has caught up to us, and the higher payments on the sub-prime loans have kicked in. People can’t make these payments, so one of the slivers in a CDO package, then another and another becomes worthless.
The value of the CDO is compromised, but the firm who holds it had already borrowed an astronomical amount of money against it. With nothing coming in from these now worthless CDO’s, firms holding them no longer have enough income to make payments on their debts. Since the smaller firm can’t meet its debt obligations, the company that co-signed the
CDS deal with it has to pay. The larger firm, which has made many CDS deals finds themselves owning the debts of many smaller firms, and they have to “write-down” their profits. Stock prices dive and some firms go bankrupt while others are nationalized.

Now the final piece. These large firms are the ones who have been lending money to regular people, regular businesses, and your bank. Perhaps your RRSP or 401K has put part of your life savings into some of these firms’ stock. Now the big firms can’t make loans anymore, they have diverted all of their assests to making payments on the bad debts they
hold. It is all that many of these firms can do to avoid going bankrupt themselves. One fails, then another, and the problem is compounded. There is very little money available now for people to get a loan to do anything at all, from buying a house, to sending their kids to college or buying new infrastructure for their businesses.

The suggested solution to this problem has been for the US treasury to give troubled firms a “bailout”, but that’s not even going to come close to solving the problem. With interest factored in, there are tens, or maybe even hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of bad debts out there (700 trillion according to Alan Gurfinkle). The bailout, if it were passed, would do very little to the solve the problem, though perhaps it would delay the inevitable collapse of the credit markets until after the US election (written before the Age of Obama).

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By Allan Gurfinkle, March 6, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to W. Engdahl, the repeal of Glass-Steagle was a key factor leading to the explosion of securitized mortgages and other derivatives.  These are the root of the current problem.

When the banks ran out of mortgages to securitize, they started writing credit default swaps, and then securitizing them.  This all led to a mountain of ‘derivatives’ that has buried the finances of the economy under trillions of dollars of speculation. In other words, the $700 trillion elephant in the room, that’s just waiting to take a huge dump !...

see

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/700-trillion-elephant-room/story.aspx?guid={024DB809-8506-4AA9-83BB-B053FD4E1C11}&dist=TNMostRead

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By Bertil, March 6, 2009 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Contrary to what a previous post claims with respect to Glass Steagall and European banks, the European banks are in deep, deep trouble.  Since the European banks did not have anything like Glass Steagall, before the undoing of Glass Steagall, US investment banks used the European banks as their source of cash.  Remember, Glass Steagall separated the function of investment banks from commerical banks.  When they got Glass Steagall out of the way, the first in a series of death blows to our financial system, the investment banks now had access to commercial bank depositor’s cash.  And they made hay with it.

The following link is to an article written by Joe Nocera of the NY Times.  This article was featured on the John Stewart Daily Show. 


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/business/28nocera.html?ref=business

Wall Street is fighting against the re-enactment of Glass Steagall because they don’t want to go through the same process to get rid of it again.  They want to have a clear path to access the bank deposits the next time they pull this off.  These people don’t really understand moral hazard.  That’s media talk to them. 
John Palmer, the Prime Minister of Canada where the banks have not failed, said on the Fareed Zakaria show last Sunday that Canada learned the lessons of the 1920s and was surprised that the US did not.

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By Bertil, March 5, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Blather!

Read, “Sold Out” by Robert Weissman and stop listening to right-wing radio.  Their main strategy, as it seems is yours as well, is off-the-wall conflation and if that doesn’t obscure at first blush, then sophistry

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By Lee A., March 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Bertil, it’s fascinating to know what your gut tells you.  Your instincts are well known to have an accuracy rate of, um, how much?  I forget.

But Krugman!  Well, Krugman is an economist and a columnist.  So if he says that the impact of Fannie and Freddie are less than previously believed, that means, um, exactly what does that mean?  I guess it means that they did have an impact, but that some have overstated it.  OK, that’s fine.  Probably others have understated it.  The point is that the GSEs played a role and that they did so despite warnings of those who saw the problem coming.  Their warnings were ignored by those who wanted to lend-to-weak borrowers policy to continue.

I agree that AIG was overexposed to CDSs.  So what?

But, anyway, I think we’ve made progress.  We’ve retreated from the unsustainable claim that the repeal of Glass-Steagall was somehow the cause of the current debacle, and have acknowledged that financial institutions were placed under stress when an over-inflated housing bubble resulting from federal housing policy finally collapsed as the weakness of borrowers was exposed by interest rate increases last year.  Robert Sheer’s nutty claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

Enjoyed chatting with you.

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By vancemack, March 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Bertil…you dont think it could be the PEOPLE that bought stupidly and overextended themselves and got those stupid loans…

Why does everyone demonize the lending institutions as if they tricked people into getting loans they couldnt afford? People bought and bought and the prices went up and up…and people bought…and the prices continued to skyrocket. I KNOW numerous people that made these stupid decisions. We talked about it when they were doing it…“I can get the loan and in three years we can refinance at a fixed rate” or, “in three years we will be making enough to cover the payments…”

This HAS to stop. You CANNOT borrow yourself into prosperity and you cannot spend yourself into economic solvency. And when this FAILS to solve the problem they will do it AGAIN…only this time they will need MORE…and MORE…

Let the markets crash. Let the housing market crash. Let the banks fix their own messes (renegotiate long term low interest loans) or go under. in 2-5 years we will be fully functional and solvent again. If they had done this we would have been a year and a half into recovery already.

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By Bertil, March 4, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

My gut feeling tells me that Paul Krugman is right, that the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t have as great an effect on the financial crisis as was first believed and as was painted by right-wing talk radio.

Six months apart, AIG gets massive bailouts.  Could these be timed to payments due for the massive credit default swaps?  I think they do.

“September 17, 2009 - Ultimately, AIG went under because of its massive $441 billion exposure to credit default swaps (ironically, the instruments used to insure against default on assets like subprime mortgages).”

“March 3, 2009 - Six months after its initial rescue of American International Group Inc., the government is no closer to an exit strategy for its entanglement with the troubled insurance company.”

Now, after Bernanke got some angry reactions from the reps in the Ways and Means committee, how do they cover the next one? 

Someone is bound to pick up on the timing.

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By Lee A., March 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Every real estate downturn creates an “over-built” problem.  So, you’re right, that isn’t unique.  What is unique in this circumstance is the duration and magnitude of the up-cycle, which turns out to have been driven by incentives/penalties encouraging mortgage loans to weak borrowers and by over-participation by Fannie and Freddie.  There were plenty of warning voices that the GSEs balance sheets were out of whack.

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By Bertil, March 4, 2009 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

AP Business Writer Eileen Aj Connelly Yahoo! News Fri Feb 20
Volcker sees crisis leading to global regulation

NEW YORK – “Even the experts don’t quite know what’s going on.” [Paul Volcker]

“Speaking to a number of those experts Friday, Paul Volcker, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, cited not only the lack of understanding of the global financial meltdown but the ‘shocking’ speed with which it had spread across the world.”

“He scoffed at the notion that those entities must be free to innovate — stating that financial “innovations” like asset backed securities and credit default swaps have brought few benefits. The most important “innovation” in banking for most people in the last 20 or 30 years, he maintained, is the automatic teller machine.”

When you say the real estate market didn’t behave as expected, do you remember the late 80s to early 90s?  As one developer put it, they built too many $400,000 McMansions and not enough $200,000 houses.  Condos went up everywhere only to be torn down later when the bottom fell out.

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By Lee A., March 4, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

Bertil writes:  “Due to credit default swaps (a form of bet), the banks might be into debt approaching 1.5 quadrillion dollars, while some estimates give the world wealth to be around 77 trillion, and you’re saying diversification is the answer.  What planet are you on? This hog is going to bring everything down with it.  No Glass Steagall in Europe meant that Wall Street and the City of London could use them for money sources.”

Bertil, I’m here on Earth, same planet as you.  I’m looking at the same facts.  I just have a better handle on them.

I didn’t say that diversification was the answer.  I said it couldn’t be blamed as the cause of the problem.  Short-sighted government policies are the cause of the problem.  It is possible that you and I even agree on that, while perhaps disagreeing about which policies are to blame.

The last sentence quoted above uses the word “them,” but the antecedent isn’t apparent.  If you’re speaking of credit default swaps (CDSs) they would have existed with or without Glass-Steagall.  In effect you have predictably shifted the argument from repeal of Glass-Steagall to a generalized argument about CDSs, still without any cause-effect connection to the current problems. 

The CDS market assumed that real estate markets would behave normally, which is to say in a manner similar to and predicted by past history.  The current correction (to put it mildly) in real estate prices is highly irregular, as a result of the abnormal pumping up of mortgage availability through federal policy.  This, by the way, explains why vancemack’s post, while generally cogent,  misses the mark - this is not your daddy’s real estate bubble. 

The unregulated CDS market is holding up better than the regulated bond market. Here we are more than a year into the credit meltdown and the CDS market is offering more liquidity than the actual cash market.

Large investors have often struggled mightily to find buyers for their bonds, but they could still trade CDS. The U.K. government seems to agree this is a good thing. Her Majesty’s Treasury has recognized the CDS market as an efficient mechanism for setting prices by using it as the benchmark to set the rates in its Credit Guarantee scheme for banks.

In the U.S., meanwhile, the market has spoken, and CDS contracts are the way that investors now price credit. This means Congress should tread very carefully unless it wants to prolong the downturn. In an environment in which fewer companies are able to issue bonds and trading is light, a liquid CDS market that can put a price on credit will hasten the day when more companies are able to borrow money to build their businesses.

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By Bertil, March 3, 2009 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

Hyperbole?  The stock market has gone from over 14,000 to under 7000 in three months.  The Fed has issued giveaways of about 9 trillion dollars.  Bush and Paulson asked for $700 billion bailout not batting an eyelash and not wanting to answer to anyone. 
Due to credit default swaps (a form of bet), the banks might be into debt approaching 1.5 quadrillion dollars, while some estimates give the world wealth to be around 77 trillion, and you’re saying diversification is the answer.  What planet are you on? This hog is going to bring everything down with it.
No Glass Steagall in Europe meant that Wall Street and the City of London could use them for money sources.

“In any event, what’s becoming increasingly clear is that the bailout brothers are all members of the same clan: think of them as a Mafia family, with a strict hierarchy of authority and command, albeit an informal one. At the top is the Don, finance capital, which controls the engine and sits at the dashboard pressing buttons according to a pattern: first inflation, then deflation, boom then bust, peace and then war again. But the bailout boys always parachute to safety before disaster envelopes the rest of us. Which is why failure only emboldens them.

Our rulers really do believe their empire is too big to fail, but of all the would-be lords of creation, our own ruling elite may have the shortest reign – and the hardest fall. The engine that runs the machinery of imperialism is breaking down at key junctures, and the whole structure is teetering and creaking ominously, as if to presage the coming implosion.

For the truth of the matter is that the very bigness of the American Imperium, the sheer scope of its rulers’ ambition, is precisely what is fated to bring about its downfall, and a very messy and painful descent it will surely be. As I relate in Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, during Rose Wilder Lane’s eye-opening trip to the Soviet Union in the 1920s she met a Russian peasant who predicted, with perfect accuracy, the fate of the commissars some 70 years later:

“‘It’s too big,’ he said. ‘Too big. At the top, it is too small. It will not work. In Moscow, there are only men, and man is not God. A man has only a man’s head, and one hundred heads together do not make one great head. No. Only God can know Russia.’”

The problem is that some men think they are gods. In the end, however, we will all pay the price for their hubris – the guilty as well as the innocent – as the American empire meets the fate of its Soviet predecessor, and for the same reason. “

~ Justin Raimondo

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By vancemack, March 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

The housing bubble was a result of maverick prosperity and nothing more. People had several years of growth and disposable wealth. Unemployment was at virtual zero (even after supporting the Mexican economy). People bought new and bigger and more expensive homes and everyone was thrilled. Everyone profited until one day, the bubble hit max density…it simply couldnt grow anymore. It hasnt burst…it simply has grown stagnant and will remain stagnant until the housing prices are allowed to correct. As long as we continue to artificially support inflated home prices there will be no movement, high unemployment, bound credit, etc etc etc.

Let the housing market crash. Let the prices for homes correct (sorry if that means your 600k home is now only worth 200k…thats all it was worth in the first place). Force the banks to renegotiate terms (long term fixed rate and low interest)or die. Get the government out of the solution before they “fix” us to death.

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By Lee A., March 3, 2009 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

Bertil posts to a long, rambling blog purporting to blame everything on the repeal of Glass-Steagall.  I wonder why he bothered - the blog entry isn’t any more focused, coherent or explanatory than Robert Scheer’s own ramblings featured on this site.  Repeal of Glass-Steagall allowed banks to diversify into the brokerage business and vice versa, just as was always permitted in Europe.  OK, we got that.  That leads to the housing bubble exactly how?  No answer is offered. 

The housing bubble was the result of federal policies designed to encourage, if not indeed coerce, mortgage lenders to provide loans to weak borrowers.  Those loans were then consciously and deliberately securitized by government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), popularly known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and implicitly backed federal guarantees.  It was the free-market people who thought that this would be bad news, warned against it, and were proved right. 

I wrote earlier that no evidence has been offered relating banking diversification with the economic disaster brought on by federal interference in the housing sector.  Truth Dig doesn’t cite any evidence, and the blog linked by Bertil doesn’t either.  It is easier to make up stories than face facts apparently.  I agree that Citi was mismanaged by Robert Rubin et al., but that has nothing to do with diversification.

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By Lee A., March 3, 2009 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Bertil says that “the DJIA is going to zero or close to it.”  While I think that his prediction is a bit of hyperbole - pretty much like everything he writes - it seems clear that we have not yet reached the bottom and that Pres. Obama’s policies are driving markets down.  It is difficult to understand how there can be an economic recovery under circumstances of official hostility to investment and growth.  The markets know that, and react accordingly.

Bertil also brands as a “big lie” any expression of opinion that repeal of Glass-Steagall Act was a favorable development.  It seems clear that if Glass-Steagall repeal had been the problem, the crisis would have been expected to have originated in Europe where they never had Glass-Steagall requirements to begin with. The financial firms that failed in this crisis were the least diversified while the ones that survived were the most diversified.  No evidence has ever been presented to link repeal to the current financial crisis.  All of the evidence demonstrates that there was a policy-driven bubble in housing markets which finally came to an end.

Now that the failures of policy and regulation have been revealed, the issue becomes what to do.  Policies that worked in the 80s are being ignored, while polices that failed in the 30s are being tried again, with the same regrettable results.  If you think I’m wrong, then explain why consumers and businesses alike are continuing to retrench, while the so-called stimulus fails to stimulate and while the so-called bail outs haven’t rescued the nominal beneficiaries.

Or else you could just compare people to Nazis.  That’s a lot easier.  You don’t need facts, you can just shriek a lot.  ;^)

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By Bertil, March 3, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

The BIG LIE, as in Goebbels’ and Hitler’s pronouncement, for the American people was the often repeated canard that the Stock Market over time is ALWAYS a good investment.  It has gone on for as long as I can remember and it permeated all presentations in investment with the growth of 401ks, IRAs and the like.
Well, it was all a big set up for this colossal fraud.  I believe now, after listening to Bernanke testify before the Senate committee, and as stated earlier in this thread that the DJIA is going to zero or close to it.  They, the government run by the Financial Institutions, show no signs of changing their course of action.  Bernanke said the repeal of Glass-Steagall was a good thing. 
The big lie—it always seemed like it would be something more dramatic, something that would stir the thoughtful populace to action.  While we were at our front door raising our right fist yelling epithets and making fun of Bush and Cheney, these socially acceptable men in suits came in the back door and looted the place including the kitchen sink and a hot stove.  Now they’re coming back for the smoke.

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By Lee A., March 2, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

This is now Obama’s economy, and it is failing big time.  Are any of you watching the stock indexes?  The smart money isn’t expecting economic recovery out of anything that the Administration (or for that matter any of the G-7) is doing.  For good reason.  It is impossible to imagine how an anti-business economic recovery plan actually works, and the proof is that it doesn’t.

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By Bertil, March 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Robert Johnson called Obama’s, Geithner’s and Bernanke’s Capital Assitance Plan (CAP) a sort of intravenous drip.  The economic writer for the Financial Times appearing on Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN said pretty much the same thing.
And imagine, the noise on the airwaves is saying that they don’t want to nationalize the banks because that would be socialism, in spite of the fact that the FDIC does it all the time.  These zombie banks are just bigger than the usual losers.
The more that bullshit is repeated, especially in call-in shows by John and Mary Q. Public, the administration and Wall Street become reassured that they are smart and everyone else is stupid.
Peter Orzag said the the $700 billion for the banks itemized in the new budget is a simply a placeholder.
All this means is that the Obama administration wants the drain on the taxpayer to continue.  In short, these zombie banks are set up now as conduits to pay of the bad debt, ensure campaign money, and push the world into ever more drastic straits.
The real gambit is in arming certain tribes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal region and in sending thousands more of U.S and NATO troops to kick start the Brzezinski plan for world domination.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, February 28, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The banks are all insolvent.

That is why there will be no sunshine on their books - we can’t handle the truth.

I doubt they will nationalize Citi, because then they will have to take her Chapter 11, and THAT will cause a big crash on Wall $treet as the hedge hogs sell their holdings to raise cash to pay off the CDSs they hold, half of which will be due and payable. The winners in the CDS gamble will not be buyers (in a falling market).

Nobody wants to see this happen.

The Treasury is playing for time.

And it is working. During the 6 months since Lehman went down, CDSs have gone from 42 Trillion to 31 or 32 Trillion. So they are settling the bets amongst themselves. In another 2 or 3 years, we could be out of this pickle.

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By KDelphi, February 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Saying that the economy wouldve “been worse” if we hadnt handed Wall St a huge, blank check, is the same as saying that Bush protected us from attacks for 7 yrs.

YOu just cant prove a negative. And, whats more, I dont fricking believe it.

There are bread lines all over where I live, but, then, there has been for years. They’re just getting longer.

On CNN today, the moderator (I dont know her name) was, like, “can you belive it???” Yes! Its been going on since Reagan! It just hadnt hit the middle classes until now.

When will USAns have had enough?

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By Bertil, February 25, 2009 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Testifying before the House committee, Helicopter Ben told the knuckleheads that the $350 billion given to the banks avoided an economic crash.
Why didn’t one of ask, “Can you ‘splain to us how giving bonuses to the CEOs, paying dividends to bank stockholders, buying smaller banks to keep the sinking junks afloat, and sending the top management to resorts saved the economy?”
Maybe that’s all it takes, keep those pigs plump and having a good time.  Why hell, why don’t we set those nine up as sort of gods.  Keep them fat and happy and forget about the rest of it.
But no one asked such a question; they just let it go.
Privatization is out, so says Helicopter Ben.  That means when the banks win, they win big.  When they lose, we lose big.
I think the answer is underground economies.  Peel off from those freeloaders.  Let them vote with their feet.  We can stay right here and do business amongst ourselves.

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By Bertil, February 24, 2009 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

“People would be without electricity, potable water, sewage disposal and transportation in many parts of the country. This could lead to communicable deceases that would put an unimaginable strain on our health systems. Public schools would be closed along with the judicial system as we know it.”

Sounds like what we did to Iraq.  Now that would be karma.

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By KDelphi, February 24, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

I feel a little silly posting anything here, as I know didley squat about economics—but that may be a positive these daYS!

It seems very clear to me that , what we have in the uS, is the worst of both worlds! The “private” industry’s mistakes are publicly paid for by private citizens, and, if these private citizens fail, they are on their own.

It is not fair.

I am a Socialist (or maybe a Socialist Democrat). What we are doing now, is socialism for the rich and unregulated capitalism for the poor. It will collapse. I hope I live to see it…it may be sad for the citizenry (curretnly known only as “consumers”), but, I dont give a rat’s behind if Wall St explodes. I wish Richard Fuld would commit suicide.

To be honest, I hate the ideas of Graham and Rep Paul, also. (Grahamm is just a criminal) The so-=called “Austrian School” sure as hell doesnt exist in Austria, not anywhere else. But, if Dems are going to continue to behave like neo-liberals and keep up the corporaste welfare state, we might be better off with total privitization. It is already private—for the working classes.

I would prefer socialism, but, USANs may be too uncivilized for it.Or, as TAO would say, (and he is right on this) too “civilized”.

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By Old Ed Of The Delta, February 24, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

Armageddon

The whole banking system is controlled by a few conglomerates on a world wide basis. Like it or not this is the way it is.

The banks here in the USA are just too important to let fail. If the US government just backed out of any rescue plan and let nature take its course, the whole system would collapse.

Wall Street would be completely out of business and commerce as we know it would come to a halt. You would witness people jumping out of windows and committing suicide.

People would be without electricity, potable water, sewage disposal and transportation in many parts of the country. This could lead to communicable deceases that would put an unimaginable strain on our health systems. Public schools would be closed along with the judicial system as we know it.

Panic could sweep through the United States to the point one would need armed escorts to go shopping at the grocery store for the few items available at any price. 

The issue of bailing out the financial institutions and the corporations is just too dangerous to mishandle. These entities are TOO BIG to let fail! If we let even one system fail we run the risk of a financial cataclysmic domino effect and the chance of starvation, malnutrition and families sleeping on the streets.

Society will put up with any regime that brings some form of order that will enable the citizens the necessities of life even on a primitive basis.

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By Lee A., February 23, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

Robert Scheer’s theories rebutted:

The principal alternative to the politicization of mortgage lending and bad monetary policy as causes of the [current] financial crisis is deregulation. How deregulation caused the crisis has never been specifically explained. Nevertheless, two laws are most often blamed: the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

GLB repealed part of the Great Depression era Glass-Steagall Act, and allowed banks, securities companies and insurance companies to affiliate under a Financial Services Holding Company. It seems clear that if GLB was the problem, the crisis would have been expected to have originated in Europe where they never had Glass-Steagall requirements to begin with. Also, the financial firms that failed in this crisis, like Lehman, were the least diversified and the ones that survived, like J.P. Morgan, were the most diversified.

Moreover, GLB didn’t deregulate anything. It established the Federal Reserve as a superregulator, overseeing all Financial Services Holding Companies. All activities of financial institutions continued to be regulated on a functional basis by the regulators that had regulated those activities prior to GLB.

When no evidence was ever presented to link GLB to the financial crisis—and when former President Bill Clinton gave a spirited defense of this law, which he signed—proponents of the deregulation thesis turned to the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), and specifically to credit default swaps.
Yet it is amazing how well the market for credit default swaps has functioned during the financial crisis. That market has never lost liquidity and the default rate has been low, given the general state of the underlying assets. In any case, the CFMA did not deregulate credit default swaps. All swaps were given legal certainty by clarifying that swaps were not futures, but remained subject to regulation just as before based on who issued the swap and the nature of the underlying contracts.

In reality the financial “deregulation” of the last two decades has been greatly exaggerated. As the housing crisis mounted, financial regulators had more power, larger budgets and more personnel than ever. And yet, with the notable exception of Mr. Greenspan’s warning about the risk posed by the massive mortgage holdings of Fannie and Freddie, regulators seemed unalarmed as the crisis grew. There is absolutely no evidence that if financial regulators had had more resources or more authority that anything would have been different.
Since politicization of the mortgage market was a primary cause of this crisis, we should be especially careful to prevent the politicization of the banks that have been given taxpayer assistance. Did Citi really change its view on mortgage cram-downs or was it pressured? How much pressure was really applied to force Bank of America to go through with the Merrill acquisition?

Restrictions on executive compensation are good fun for politicians, but they are just one step removed from politicians telling banks who to lend to and for what. We have been down that road before, and we know where it leads.

Finally, it should give us pause in responding to the financial crisis of today to realize that this crisis itself was in part an unintended consequence of the monetary policy we employed to deal with the previous recession. Surely, unintended consequences are a real danger when the monetary base has been bloated by a doubling of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, and the federal deficit seems destined to exceed $1.7 trillion.

Credit:  Sen. Phil Gramm, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123509667125829243.html)

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By ron angell, February 18, 2009 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

[url=http://www.alcuppett.comm]http://www.alcuppett.comm[/url] eplains a lot… operations in the USA to exterminate and incinerate PEOPLE since 1996…. that he knew of.. and tried to stop by warning us… 


It is unbelievable.

If you exterminate people, then you destroy the economy.

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By Bertil, February 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

After watching Frontline’s show on the Meltdown, the nature of this crisis is becoming more and more suspicious.  They covered as a series of events that took everyone by surprise and left the nine CEOs of the banks with fate of having to split $125 Billion amongst themselves.  Of course, the obligatory personality conflict was hinted at, as in Dick Fuld of Lehman Bros. and Henry Paulson, US Treasurer from Goldman Sachs.
They didn’t mention how Wall St. money shifted to support the Democrats after 2006.
Then I found this:

“OH Hillary..You’ve Got Some Splanin’ To Do”

http://www.chartingstocks.net/2009/02/oh-hillaryyouve-got-some-splanin-to-do/
It seems, Hillary Clinton’s financial disclosure for the year 2007 shows that the former first lady liquidated her entire equity portfolio, approximately $20 million, in may 2007. Her market timing was almost perfect as she sold all of her stocks only 500 points and 5 months before the market peak. Is Senator Clinton a star investor or did she know something?

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By mike kohr, February 18, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

A HISTORY OF RECESSION IN THE UNITED STATES 1950 TO 2008
Written by:  mike kohr 2/12/2008

There is a pattern here that is plain to all but the most partisan. Nine of the last ten recessions have occurred under the direction of Republican economic policy. And history does repeat itself.  Look at the three greatest slowdowns in US economic history, 1929*, 1982, 2008, all three were attributed to poor economic and tight credit policy, all three featured deregulation and lack of oversight of the financial markets, and all three were presided over by a Republican President.

Recession/Depression of 2008   George W. Bush(R) Greatest downturn since 1929,  blamed on lack of regulation of financial markets and collapse of credit markets

Recession of 2001   George W. Bush(R) Began in April of 2001, marked the beginning of greatest deficit spending in all of recorded human history

Recession of 1990-1991   George H.W. Bush(R) Deregulation of Savings and Loan industry led to a collapse and panic, which led to election of Bill Clinton, who produced the greatest increase in jobs and wealth in all of recorded human history

Recession of 1981-1982   Ronald Reagan(R) At the time, the most severe contraction of economy since the Great Depression, massive deficit spending/deregulation of markets, and tight fiscal policy in an effort to kill inflation were blamed for this downturn **

Recession of 1980 2nd & 3rd quarters   Jimmy Carter (D) Shortest and least severe slow down, generally attributed to Iranian Revolution and increase in oil prices, led to the election of Ronald Reagan

Recession of 1973-1975   Richard M Nixon(R) OPEC’s increase in oil prices and massive spending in the escalation of war in Vietnam led to stagflation, the second economic crash of Nixon’s administration

Recession of 1969-1970   Richard M. Nixon(R) Credited to Nixon’s escalation of and massive spending in Vietnam War and OPEC’s increase in price of oil

Recession of 1960 -1961   Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) Noted for high unemployment, low GDP, high inflation JFK ended the recession by stimulating the economy 10 days after taking office

Recession of 1957-1958   Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) Eisenhower achieved the dubious distinction of achieving a second economic downturn on his watch, a record later matched by Richard M. Nixon, and George W. Bush

Recession of 1953   Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) Increased outlays to National defense and restrictive credit policies blamed for this downturn
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

*The Great Depression of 1929   Herbert Hoover(R) Lasted for 10 years, blamed on Hoover’s economic policy and lack of regulation of financial markets
** “The Reagan Recession” which ran from the 4th quarter of 1981 thru the 1st quarter of 1982 is often categorized as starting under Carter’s watch during the 2nd & 3rd quarters of 1980.  By the end of the 3rd quarter of 1980 that brief recession had rebounded. Starting in the 4th quarter of 1980, 3 of the next 4 quarters produced increased GDP.  Reagan’s tight fiscal policy and massive deficit spending contracted the economy again in late 1981, producing unemployment of 10.8% and prime interest rates that hovered between 15% and 20.5%

http://recession.org/history
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions
http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/rec1980.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_the_United_States#Deregulation:_1974.E2.80.931992

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By Bertil, February 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

This Youtube video shows the first half of how this nation got to where we are—the housing bubble.  It’s a house hearing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and lasts about 8 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs&feature=related

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By RonAngell, February 3, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Negative Population growth causes negative economic growth. Buhs, Cheney, Rumsfeld, wolfowitz, Karl Rove are responsible.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=military+commissions+act+2006&spell=1

Bush is to blame for the entire meltdown.  Bush declared martial law on Oct 17th 2006- the Military Commissions act of 2006. AT THAT point he orderd the US military, Blackwater, Inc. Wackenhut Inc to attack the american people with microwaves, chemtrail sprays.  Amy Goodwin wrote a book called “Static” that talks about the attack of 6 Blue states at the end of 2006

VIP- LAB Report #7

http://www.rense.com/morgphase/phase2_1.htm

We must become aware of the danger to society and make sure it is stopped for the future of children, adults, senior citizens, and life on earth. 

Ron Angell
International Liaison for Exoticwarfare
http://www.exoticwarfare.org

http://www.rense.com/morgphase/phase2_1.htm

http://www.myspace.com/wakemeupnowplease
http://www.myspace.com/criticalthoughtandreason
http://www.faithbase.com/rpangell/

http://www.rense.com/morgphase/phase2_1.htm

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By TAO Walker, February 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Myronh’s kind remarks below are much appreciated.  This old Indian is here in the firm understanding that even the most CONfused of our tame Sisters and Brothers remain, in their essential nature, free wild Human Beings.  So even a sip from the Springs of Ancient Wisdom has a chance of reawakening in domesticated “individuals” a sense of their true Humanity, and its given place in our Natural Living Arrangement here.

It’s likely it’ll take further collapse and disintegration of their present artificial half-life support-system to push most of ‘em to seriously seek sounder “ground,” but since that doom is inevitable in-any-case….WE can easily afford to wait a little longer.  If something this old Savage has offered here turns at-least some peoples’ precious attention back to the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself….well, that’ll sure be okay by us.

HokaHey!

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By Bertil, January 31, 2009 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

The term Dharma is an Indian spiritual and religious term, that means one’s righteous duty, or any virtuous path in the common sense of the term Dharma is presented as a central concept that is used in order to explain the “higher truth” or ultimate reality of the universe.

The word dharma literally translates as that which upholds or supports, and is generally translated into English as law.

Why the bank bailouts are doomed.

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/SuperModels/why-the-bank-bailouts-are-doomed.aspx

This time they really did it.

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By Myronh, January 30, 2009 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tao Walker,

Your message is as clear and pure as the water from a spring that is untouched by humans. As I read the comments made by my fellow white man, it is quite evident that very few hear or comprehend your message.

The recent birth of 8-babies to a woman who already has 6-children is a prime example of the stupidity of this civilization. How long will it take before we will all die of hunger and thirst? Most other creatures on this earth only produce as many young as the environment can feed: no insects, no bird eggs; no fawns, no wolf pups.

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By TAO Walker, January 30, 2009 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

CharlyAndy asks a worthwhile question.  The answer is that all of the “instruments” s/he wonders about here are the functional equivalent of various gaudy wall-paper patterns, made-up out of nothing, and intended to hide for awhile longer the disintegrating “global financial system” that was being exposed suddenly by the unexpected “melt-down” of this “generation”-of-worthless-jobbed-stock’s predecessors’ equally empty and hollow “guarantees.”  It’s all part of the great big pyramid scam of which Bernie madoff’s penny-ante operation isn’t even the tip-of-the-tip-of-the-tip, of the “iceberg” of fraud and debt that has fatally holed the Titanic “global economy.”

To those paying their precious attention, Shift offers below a “prescription” for getting safely away from the foundering behemoth.  The Way out of infantile materialism is through achieving Spiritual maturity.  For Human Beings that means letting-go of their pitifully inadequate “individual self,” and taking-hold of the organic FORM of their kind within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth within the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself.  English-speakers might call that “community,” though the word has become so debased lately by its profligate application to so many merely random collections of ersatz “individuals.”  That’s why this old Indian use the Lakotah word Tiyoshpaye, which denotes that Human arrangement that is THE viable form of our Kind here….“individuals” neither occurring nor being survivable in Nature’s own scheme-of-things.

All this wasted CONcern over a CONtraption that is hell-bent (some still insist it’s “heaven-sent”) on killing our Mother Earth and all her native Children stikes us surviving Primitive Savages as even more proof of just how far short, of the exalted opinion they have of their selfs and their “creations,” our domesticated Sisters and Brothers fall.  It is not a pretty picture….this spectacle their ignorance is making of them.

You can, ALL together, do so much better, too.

HokaHey!

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By CharlyAndy, January 30, 2009 at 4:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the first newspaper article there is the sentence: “[The Glass-Steagall Act] authorizes federal reserve banks to substitute certain federal bonds for commercial paper as partial backing for federal reserve currency issues.”  Can someone explain exactly what this means?  What are “certain federal bonds?” Aren’t the bonds pieces of paper that the fed sells on the open market?  What does the fed receive as payment for these bonds?  What, exactly, is “commercial paper?”

Thanks in advance for the info.

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By Bertil, January 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

What’s going on now is the Democratic party is taking the money from Wall Street and saving the sorry asses of Bush Family.
When they sent Bush out in 2005 to sell privatization of Social Security, they sent a fool on fool’s errand.  Remember him in W. Virginia standing in front of an empty safe saying that this is where they keep the Social Security Treasury bonds.  His privatization was going to set up a personal account for every American with money provided by Wall St.  That means, each person was going to be immediately in debt with hopes that the miracle of the market would happen to them so they could pay back Wall Street and have a little left over for themselves.
When that ploy fell on its face (Bush was not the salesman they hoped for) the Wall Street sharks looked to the Democrats. They wanted Pension funds and 401k money.
Now that they essentially have it; they want to cover their tracks and avoid and repercussions on the Bushes and a few select others, the Haves and the Have-Mores.  Oh yes. they’ll be a lot of tough talk veering on threats (witness Sanders on C-SPAN and Obama on the Lehrer report) but nothing will come of it.  We are ostensiblly held to be the More-Please group, the Joe Palooka’s of modern day America.
The Republicans by presenting a unified front against the stimulus package are trying hopefully to create an image of a two party system with the old conservative mantra of cut spending and lower taxes.

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By RonAngell, January 29, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

William J Rigby, Joan m Rigby of 701 Burning tree lane naperville illinois had prior information of the attack on 9/11/2001.  They called me and actually were happy the twin towers were destroyed.  “Welcome to the new world- everything has changed” Joan Marie Rigby- Canadian born foreign national-traitor to Canada- Traitors to the USA.  Joan M Rigby and William Rigby maintain also a home on longboat key Florida- mistletoe lane in the longboat key club. 

http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/6/l_6ecdef9728534d428463334a7a0de32c.jpg
[url=http://www.ae911truth.org/]http://www.ae911truth.org/ [/url]

http://www.ae911truth.org/images/other/prez.jpg

Dear President Obama-

A group of about 200 psychologists and allies has created an Open Letter to President-Elect Obama expressing concerns regarding his rumored consideration of John Brennan to be Director of the CIA.
The letter:

http://psychoanalystsopposewar.org/blog/2008/11/24/open-letter-to-president-elect-obama-break-with-the-dark-side-do-not-nominate-john-brennan-as-cia-director/#more-2055

<h3>Open Letter to President-Obama: Break With the Dark Side. Do Not Nominate John Brennan as CIA Director </h3>

Asian Victims Association against Directed Energy Weapons.
</a>

[url=http://asianvictimsassociation.ning.com/profile/ron]http://asianvictimsassociation.ning.com/profile/ron [/url]
</a>

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By Bertil, January 28, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

“Professor Edward Leamer of UCLA’a Anderson School of Management set out the theory that the U.S. economy was guided not by business cycle but by consumer cycle, particularly driven by housing.  ‘The historical record strongly suggests that in 2003 and 2004 we poured the foundation for a recession in 2007 and 2008 led by a collapse in housing we are currently experiencing.  Only twice have we had this kind of housing collapes without recession, in 1951 and on 1967, and both times the Department of Defense came to the rescue, because of the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  We don’t want that kind of rescue this time do we.’”
Source:  “Bad Money” by Kevin Phillips p113.

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By Shift, January 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

There are natural forces at work in our universe that trump the tunnel vision recipes for financial recovery.
The fragmented ideologies that led to this crisis are no match for the universal forces that will correct it. No one can be led to this understanding overnight.  Often it takes a lifetime.  That is where the problem lies for American’s.  American’s are unprepared and yet the time is upon us.  The technological path is past.  The path of Spirit is now.

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By Bertil, January 27, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

I am listening to a rebroadcast of Rep. Paul Kanjorski on C-SPAN.  He’s a beaut.  He says, “It was all misunderstood.”  That’s the current defense. You don’t understand.  We didn’t understand.  We were lied to.  But they continue as if the lie, the misunderstanding is carved in stone like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The editor of Ms magazine on DemocracyNow! touted Ms’s cover with Obama in a Superman pose.  On Grit TV David Korten an agent for the Ford Foundation spouting his advice to let Wall Street fail.  Fortunately, Barber from Demos reminded him that Pension funds, IRAs, 401ks, Money Market funds are inextricably tied to those banks by means of credit swaps.
I smell the overarching socio-psychological beginnings of a gradual slide to fascism.
We waz robbed.  All this talk about letting Wall Street fail and taking over the bad debt in bad banks is the next step in letting these bastards go scot free.  There was more money in those types of accounts than there was in all of the banks. 
I say restore all those retirement accounts to what they were a year ago, take over the mortgages and renotiate the loans.  If the mortgagees are ninjas, give them jobs.
Finally, make a mass arrest of all those bastards and throw them in jail.  Convict them and sentence them to menial labor jobs for the rest of their lives, never making more that $10,000 a year

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By Bertil, January 26, 2009 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

KDelphi,

I agree with everything you said.  I’ll use your neocon joke, though probably not on this site. 
Lately, the part about the Obama administration that’s bothering me is his efforts to continue with this bailout. In the beginning Paulson, Bush, and the Senate Democrats said, rush, rush, rush. It turns out they gave the money to themselves.  The first $350 bn, at least. Now, some say it worked and some are saying it didn’t.  If that’s all it took, then, in essence, what they are saying is that it was a stick up, “Give us $700 Bn or we’ll sic the media dogs on you and scare the shit out of everyone of you.” 
I think all they wanted all along was what they got up front—pension funds, 401ks, IRAs.  Now, as they say, they’re screwing with us.
What I question most about Obama is this sense of not really being sure who he is or what he represents and what he stands for.  I fear your observation of the hardening caste system might be very accurate.
There’s so much in Obama’s past that smells funny once you peel away the veneer.
He said the ERP bill will rebuild 10,000 schools.  Shoddy construction is in his past in Chicago politics: Goulianias and Rezgo.  Duncan provides the school business experience.
His connection to Ford foundation. 
His mother worked for it.  So did Bill Ayres, Ayres’s wife, and, none other than Ward Churchill.  They were all working undercover in counterinsurgency since the days of the Weathermen and SDS. Churchill was a trained bomb maker for the US Special Forces.  He taught those friends of Ayres’ in New York how to make a bomb.  They blew themselves up.
All these people, except for Churchill as far as I know, are connected directly to Obama.
He was a protege of Brzezinski at Columia, but no one could be found to attest to knowing him in New York. Obama said he spent two years in intensive study.  Yeah, right.  I love New York.

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By KDelphi, January 26, 2009 at 1:53 am Link to this comment

Bertil—good one! Reminds me of the old joke about the, say, neo-con who was up on a four engine plane, and, you know, one engine goes out, so the pilot says “we’ll be 15 min. late”....on and on..and the neo-con says, “if that 4th engine goes out we’ll be up here all night”. Well, not exaclty, But, cute, I thought. So, I’ll leave it on here..

Or, people that conclude “we havent been attacked since 9/11. bush has been pres. since then, therefore, he made sure we wernt attacked”.

Correlation does not= causation.

If we want “change”, as I have said, Dubya & Co must be indicted for , at least, ADMITTED war crimes. Otherwise, we’re full of crap. Well, we are.

I, bascially, heard Will call for feudalism—-the Wal-martinaztion, McDe’ization and Costco=isation of the middle class. The nouveau poor. Will we take it? Probably…

We could probably disagree as to President Obamas’ capabilities (or maybe just education?), but, I am more concerned with his willingness to utilize them to prevent furthering the caste system in the US.

Some very good ponts.

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