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Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee

Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee

By Allen Barra
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The Real Legacy of the ‘Reagan Revolution’

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Posted on Jul 15, 2008
Bush and the Reagans
AP photo / Kevork Djansezian

By Robert Scheer

McCain campaign co-chair Phil Gramm is right: We have “become a nation of whiners.” But who is whining more than the bankers that former Sen. Gramm’s financial deregulation legislation benefited? The very bankers who now expect a government bailout, such as those at UBS Investment Bank, where Gramm found lucrative employment.

As chair of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, Gramm engineered passage of legislation that effectively ended the major regulatory restraints applied to the financial industry in response to the Great Depression. The purpose of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act—co-authored by Gramm, passed in 1999 by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton—was to liberate the banks, stockbrokers and insurance companies from restraints imposed on their activities more than seven decades ago. It was legislation that the financial community, which contributed heavily to Gramm’s campaigns in the previous five years, desperately wanted and obviously has abused. So why now bail these institutions out?

Hows about some “tough love” for those bankers suddenly in trouble? You know, the sink-or-swim approach of “welfare reform” that Gramm and Clinton applied to poor people to end their addiction to government handouts. Or, perhaps a heavy dose of “faith-based” personal responsibility initiatives to get those knaves who messed up our entire housing market back on the straight and narrow. Sounds ridiculous I know, because nothing but the bleeding-heart, big-government, throw-money-at-the-problem approach will do when it comes to salvaging corrupt corporations.

That is the real legacy of what has been ballyhooed as the “Reagan Revolution,” which Clinton went along with, but which found its full flowering in the administration of George W. Bush. The bookends of the Bush years are the Enron debacle and the federal bailout of bankers drunk on their own greed. And no two people in this country are more responsible for enabling this sordid behavior than the power couple Phil and Wendy Gramm.

Enron, lest we forget, was their baby. Then-Sen. Gramm sponsored the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed Enron’s scamming to happen. As Ken Lay, who was chair of Gramm’s election finance committee, put it quite candidly when asked for the secret of Enron’s success, “basically, we are entering or in markets that are deregulating or have recently deregulated.”

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Part of that deregulation involved rulings of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, then chaired by Wendy Gramm, who upon retiring from that post became a highly compensated member of the Enron board of directors, serving for eight years. She even was on the board’s audit committee during the time of the corporation’s despicable financial shenanigans. While on the Enron board, Wendy Gramm also chaired an anti-regulatory think tank that received funding from Enron and other corporations that benefited directly from the policies her institute espoused.

My point here is not to expose the dubious ethics of the Gramms’ various business ventures but rather to question why Sen. John McCain turned to Phil Gramm for leadership in his presidential campaign. Indeed, until his verbal gaffe, Gramm was highly visible and rumored to be the choice for secretary of the treasury should McCain win.

McCain has long promised voters that he learned the hard lessons provided by his being one of the infamous Keating Five in the nefarious savings and loan scandal that cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. Yet he chose as his campaign co-chair a former senator whose push for government deregulation facilitated the far deeper scandal we now are experiencing. Here is a man whose legislation created what financial guru Warren Buffett termed “financial weapons of mass destruction.”

Why in the world would you designate as your key economic adviser someone who left the Senate to become an officer of the bank that is at the very center of this mess, a former senator who not only secured highly paid employment with a banking giant that benefited from legislation he helped pass, but who then lobbied Congress for even more of the deregulatory breaks that got the bank into such deep trouble?

The answer cannot simply be that McCain doesn’t care much about economics, as he himself has indicated. Perhaps that would explain his having voted for all of the measures pushed through the Senate by Gramm. Perhaps it even would explain McCain’s having been chair of Gramm’s own failed presidential bid. But indifference to economics does not explain the prominence of Gramm in the McCain campaign as the top economic adviser during these past months of the U.S. financial crisis. Indifference to the folks losing their homes is a more plausible explanation.

Robert Scheer is the author, most recently, of “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America,” published by Twelve Books.


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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, July 20, 2008 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

This whole fiasco is beyond comprehension at times, but Gramm and his wife are just as crimial as the rest we’ve seen exposed consistently in the last couple of years.  There’s an interesting article at Global Research entitled: Let the Lawsuits Begin: Banks Brace for a Storm of Litigation. Dr. Ellen Brown,

An excerpt:

“....attorney Sean Olender suggested that the real reason for the subprime bailout schemes being proposed by the U.S. Treasury Department was not to keep strapped borrowers in their homes so much as to stave off a spate of lawsuits against the banks…..”

(City of Cleveland Lawsuits)”....The defendants included banking giants Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citigroup. They were charged with creating a “public nuisance” by irresponsibly buying and selling high-interest home loans, causing widespread defaults that depleted the city’s tax base and left neighborhoods in ruins….”

....“Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle

So what would happen if the mega-banks engaging in these irresponsible practices actually went bankrupt? These banks are widely acknowledged to be at fault, but they expect to be bailed out by the Federal Reserve or the taxpayers because they are “too big to fail.” The argument is that if they were allowed to collapse, they would take the economy down with them. That is the fear, but it is not actually true. We do need a ready source of credit, so we need banks; but we don’t need private banks. It is a little-known, well-concealed fact that banks do not lend their own money or even their depositors’ money. They actually create the money they lend; and creating money is properly a public, not a private, function. The Constitution delegates the power to create money to Congress and only to Congress.12 In making loans, banks are merely extending credit; and the proper agency for extending “the full faith and credit of the United States” is the United States itself.

There is more at stake here than just the equitable treatment of injured homeowners and investors in mortgage-backed securities. Banks and investment houses are now squeezing the last drops of blood from the U.S. government’s credit rating, “borrowing” money and unloading worthless paper on the government and the taxpayers. When the dust settles, it will be the banks, investment brokerages and hedge funds for wealthy investors that will be saved. The repossessed will become the dispossessed; and unless your pension fund has invested in politically well-connected hedge funds, you can probably kiss it goodbye, as teachers in Florida already have.”

Good article.  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9577

Another good article by F. William Engdahl

“If Bernanke continues to act to provide unlimited liquidity to prevent a banking system collapse, he risks destroying the US corporate and Treasury bond market and with it the dollar. If Bernanke acts to save the heart of the US capital market—its bond market—by raising interest rates, its only anti-inflation weapon, it will only trigger the next even more devastating round in Tsunami shock waves.The real significance of the Fannie Mae bailout.”

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9588

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By cyrena, July 20, 2008 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

Ah TAO…I always get a sense of security from your posts, even when they are reminders of the increasingly dire times.

“...“Memberships” are still available, but even this Old Man can’t guarantee that’ll be true very much longer….not because The Way itself will not still be here in Indian Country, but because americans will be effectively prevented by their ruthless tormentors from getting here from “there.”

Those corral gates are swinging shut, tame Two-legged Sisters and Brothers.  Better make a break for it….if you still can…”

That said…just try to save me a spot. At least I’ve been taking your lessons well, and I’m on my way. Getting closer. It’s definitely been in the works for a while now. I’d like to bring as many as I can along, but when it gets down to the wire…what can I say?

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, July 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

In addition to the rape of the American taxpayers and the obscenely traitorous undermining of the American economy Phil Gramm seems always to have been an “opportunist”.

Humor me, take a look at Phil Gramm, think about his “under the radar” maneuverings and then check out this link.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/15857

This will help your body to “naturally cleanse itself” by completely rejecting that e-coli burger you had for dinner.  Oh..here, let me help you out, an excerpt:

“While the destruction Gramm has caused is felt across the country, little is known about the seedy business schemes that preceded his political career. Before Gramm joined the Christian Coalition’s Ralph Reed to call for the defunding of the NEA, before he attacked an opponent for taking money from a gay rights group, and before he was interviewed by the white supremacist Southern Partisan magazine, Gramm was an avidly active investor in soft-core pornography movies.”

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By troublesum, July 20, 2008 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

“Under Obama’s plan the income of the top .1% would decrease by 5%.”  Wow, I guess that makes him a marxist.
On the other hand he wants to continue bailing out the big banks in the wake of the housing crisis but wants to make sure individual home owners don’t get any help from the government.
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/7/15/with_crises_in_fuel_food_housing

The NY Times says today that the average household debt in the US is now $117,000.  In 1978 it was $40,000.  The average household has 13 credit cards.  Obama’s chief economic advisor is Robert Rubin, head of citigroup (credit card citi) and former treasury secretary under Clinton.

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By cyrena, July 20, 2008 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Re Felicity

Might not make much diffence to you and me, but it indicates where Republican sympathy lies: Harpers, Aug ‘08:

Under Obama’s tax plan, after-tax income of the top 0.1 percent of US earners decreases by 5 percent.

Under McCain’s tax plan, it increases by 12 percent.

~~~

Thing is, it actually DOES make a difference to you and me, even though that gets complicated for some. My having to scrounge for quarters to buy food a full week before payday is directly attributable to this.

Speaking of which, I’ve come to the conclusion that a serious drop in the population of this country must have been included in the plan as well.

NOBODY smart enough to have manipulated this great scam/heist/whatever…can NOT be fully aware of the ultimate consequences. How long did they honestly believe it could go on? Surely they’re smart enough to have bail-out plans. It would seem that even with the rest of us taking all of their risks, the elimination of the level that absorbs the risk, (the majority) is still gonna leave them high and dry at some point.

I mean, what happens when there’s nothing left to steal, and nobody left to steal from? Aren’t we already close to that?

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By cyrena, July 20, 2008 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Anybody up for consideration of these questions from Mr. Scheer? Like maybe all of the Obama bashers that are doing their best to get McCain/Gramm back at the reigns? Talk about NO CHANGE in the power structure of the Kleptocracy.

“…Here is a man whose legislation created what financial guru Warren Buffett termed “financial weapons of mass destruction.” …..Why in the world would you designate as your key economic adviser someone who left the Senate to become an officer of the bank that is at the very center of this mess, a former senator who not only secured highly paid employment with a banking giant that benefited from legislation he helped pass, but who then lobbied Congress for even more of the deregulatory breaks that got the bank into such deep trouble?..

Indeed, WHY? Well, to continue the kleptocracy of course, made possible by the neo-deregulation of the past 4 decades. BUT, like many have posted here, it’s not new, and it’s not a neo-con thing. It IS a republican thing. And, it’s been with us since day one. Yep, slavocracy is a good term for it, since that’s how it began. And, while Lincoln may have distrusted Corporations, and demanded economic independence, (hated debt of any sort) he didn’t have any problems (obviously) with building and relying upon an economy of slave labor.

Three centuries later, we can call it some other things like a slavocracy, or…in this most recent case, a massive Kleptocracy, (because Dick Bush actually has taken it beyond the pale with the trillions literally stolen in the past 8 years). Still, it is what it is, and it’s been around a long time.

And I agree with whoever said that any working person who votes for a republican, (even by default) is a total moron.

As Quinty says here:
•  “…If ever there was a reason not to vote for McCain it is Phil Gramm.”

We should already know this of course. But, that doesn’t seem to mean much to many ideologues that have been traumatized by the shock of 8 years of terror by the current admin. It has rendered them stupid.

Cann4ing, thanks for adding this..

“…By cann4ing, July 17 at 3:10 pm #

•  Left off the Scheer piece is the actions by Phil & Wendy Gramm in 2000 during the same time the Supreme Court was handing the presidency to George W., when, per David Corn, Phil Gramm slipped into the 268-page Commodity Futures Modernization Act one provision “called the Enron loophole, which allowed Enron to sell energy futures on a deregulated basis,” and another entailing a deregulated financial instrument known as a “swap”—“instruments…created by investment houses and securities firms…basically bets that cover their investment…so if an investment they have is going to go south,...they can collect o this insurance policy from somebody else.  The problem is that these swaps…are totally unregulated…and the swap market is something like now about four times the size of Wall Street….And it really turned a lot of the economy into a secret casino, all this action going back and forth, people betting on bets.”..

I was NOT aware of this. It makes me throw up, and confirms that this Kleptocracy was long, long, in the making. Purple Girl has a point that Cheney et al has been behind all of these operations, putting various puppets in place, for at least 40 years.

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By eyeroll, July 19, 2008 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

It’s the usual: socialize the risks, privatize the profits.

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By steven daniel, July 19, 2008 at 10:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While the northerners before the Civil War used to call a shamocracy, we now have a scamocracy.  They used the word sham or, at times, slavocracy because one fourth of the nation, the South, ruled the rest through the military, the Presidency, their Democratic Party, the Senate and the Judiciary.  Lincoln feared the corporations.  His law partner, (and his campaign manager in 1860) Wm. C. Herndon quit the Republican party after only a decade and now the corpos. through the MSM and what Nader calls the duopoly of parties have foisted a new feudalistic
fascismo (with a happy face) upon us.  It can only lead to civil war.

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By cann4ing, July 19, 2008 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

You are, of course, correct, Quinty.  What we are seeing is not new.  It is simply a restatement of the laissez faire and social Darwinist mythology which was designed to mask corporate theft during the Gilded Age of the late 19th Century.  Initially advanced by Englishman Herbert Spencer, social Darwinism became an anti-egalitarian staple of the late 19th century political theorists like William Graham Sumner who advanced the notion that “millionaires are the product of natural selection…” and in which, as nostalgically recalled by Albert Jay Nock, the “most successful (or rapacious) businessmen were held up in schools, the press and even the pulpit as the prototype of all that was making America great.”

It is a form of thinking that found its embodiment in a line from the song “If I were a rich man” from “Fiddler on the Roof:”  “When you’re rich, they think you really know.”

Consider the vast philosophical difference embodied in these three presidential statements.

“More than anything else, I want to see the United States remain a country where someone can get rich.”
—Pres. Ronald Reagan

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
—Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The greatest challenge we face is the growing gap between the rich and poor people on earth.”
—Pres. Jimmie Carter

In a 2003 op-ed published in the LA Times, Robert Scheer provided a comment that pierced the veneer of free market ideology.  “Crony capitalism is the name of the Republican game.  Their slogan is ‘take care of your friends and leave the risks of the free market for the suckers.”

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By Quinty, July 19, 2008 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Deregulation isn’t a Neocon innovation. The Big Money has always opposed regulation going back to the struggles between labor and business owners in the nineteenth century. More recently small and big business alike have resisted environmental safeguards since they reduce profits. On and on.

The whole thing is a scam, in my opinion, and many rationalizations have been fine tuned over the decades to resist government oversight and regulation. There is a long history of this and it’s not simply a Neocon thing.

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” John Kenneth Galbraith

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By Virgil Cane, July 18, 2008 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s interesting, in a pathetic sort of way, that after thirty years of Republican dominance we are still complaining as if we actually believe these people care about us.

The past eight years didn’t just materialize like some kind of “accident” in the cosmos. We are getting exactly what we deserve—or more to the point—getting exactly what we have allowed.

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By cann4ing, July 18, 2008 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Gramm, along with the rest of the corporate crooks, should be behind bars.  When he meets some big guy named Bubba who wants to do to him what Gramm did to the country, then Gramm will finally come to know the mental recession of which he speaks.

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By SteveL, July 18, 2008 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

For the second the neo-cons have de-regulated the banking system and it has resulted in a disaster.  Some will say Clinton signed the banking laws allowing this but at the end of the day this was just another neo-con bright idea.  These neo-cons cannot admit to their mistakes or even point out a place in the world where their ideas work.  Hence they have no learning curve and everyone else needs to hurry up and pay for their mistakes.

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By frank67, July 18, 2008 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Any working person who votes Republican is an utter and complete ass.

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By Terry, July 18, 2008 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is such a terrific piece. Gramm’s comments were highly insulting, despite his efforts to back peddle when he claimed that he had not called the American people whiners, but instead referred to our leadership. Unfortunately, as I am a Republican, it once again shows hot out of touch Republicans are with the American people. It reminds me of when George Bush (the father) visited a grocery store only to be blown away by the scanning system which had become ubiquitous by then.
  If we were all simply watching the value of our millions in investment stock go down for the time being, perhaps Gramm could call us whiners - as economies are cyclical and come around. However when the economic situation has left many unable to buy groceries, or fuel up to go to work (for those lucky enough to have a job)‘damn right the American people are going to complain. The problem is, we are not complaining loud enough. Perhaps that is why Gramm thinks we’re whining. A professor of mine once commented that our generation (I am in my 30s) were not activists; we didn’t take to the street in protest. Perhaps we should.

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By Quinty, July 18, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

This is how it works. First there is an abuse, a scandal, an act of industry wide exploitation. Thousands are harmed by this abuse and government steps in to regulate the industry.

The years pass, the decades fall away. Then industry spokesmen complain of “big government” interference and promise greater efficiency and competitiveness if only the “free market” would be allowed to have its way.

Since the regulations work the abuses which prompted them originally are forgotten. And the widespread wave of enthusiasm for “free market” principals and solutions claim the day. Lower costs and greater efficiency are promised. The voters buy it.

But once the regulations fall away the former abuses can return. The lie that regulation wasn’t required because there were no abuses to regulate becomes revealed at the expense of the consumer. Revealed as he recoils from becoming victimized by a rapacious and unregulated industry. And in the meantime another exploitive bubble bursts. A small minority makes millions during the run while millions finance the game. And the American taxpayer loses.

No, I’ve seen what deregulation can do, and was a victim of Enron in California. In banking, the home mortgage industry, the airlines, energy, the news media and airwaves: others you can think of: all of it merely offering greater freedom for those who would exploit these industries at the expense of everyone else. While we pay for it.

If ever there was a reason not to vote for McCain it is Phil Gramm.

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By VietnamVet, July 18, 2008 at 8:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you want to see what Reagan REALLY did to us and our children, and maybe THEIR children, take a look at the National Debt this man contributed during his “legacy.”

http://zfacts.com/p/480.html

Between him and the two Bushes, the Republicans have contributed more to the eventual monetary downfall of this nation than all other Presidents put together!

And, as one poster has already pointed out, he DID not “all by himself” end the cold war; all modern day presidents before him worked towards that goal.

Finally, we now know better than ever that his highly praised “trickle down” theory was/is nothing more than a sham for the rich and powerful.

The American people need to view Reagan for what he DID, rather than continuously praise him as somehow creating a “revolution!”

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, July 18, 2008 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

Reagan was a puppet and suffering from alzheimers in his first term.
I’m appauld by the constant reference to him as any thing but a shmuck!‘Great Orator’ the man couldn’t get the marbles out of his mouth! He was nothing more then a pawn in Cheney et al’s Corp take over of the US. Every True Dem knew tht was a Admin full of Criminals and Traitors.
I am sick of the attempt to Re write history by assholes like Scarbourgh.
Reagan DID NOT bring down the USSR, Nor the Berlin Wall!!!!Economics, brought down both!
Reagans admin perpetuated corp corruption (S&L;Scandals,
busted unions,
ignored GRID/HIV/AIDS,
Deinstitutionalized Mentally ill creating a mass   Homeless problem,
kept US from addressing the Oil addiction which lead to 9/11 (electric car developed but hidden)
Gang and Coke Wars in every major city
And Oh yeah, covert operations which stole the ‘80 election- the Iran Contra ....
Reagan was the WORST, until W, another dumbass that Cheney & gang propped up and stole an election for..Next in line for the dunce cap Mac.
Cheney and fiends should be brought up on Treason, War crimes and Crimes against humanity and punished to the fullest extent of THEIR Laws. Hey DICK ever been Waterboarding?

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By cann4ing, July 17, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Left off the Scheer piece is the actions by Phil & Wendy Gramm in 2000 during the same time the Supreme Court was handing the presidency to George W., when, per David Corn, Phil Gramm slipped into the 268-page Commodity Futures Modernization Act one provision “called the Enron loophole, which allowed Enron to sell energy futures on a deregulated basis,” and another entailing a deregulated financial instrument known as a “swap”—“instruments…created by investment houses and securities firms…basically bets that cover their investment…so if an investment they have is going to go south,...they can collect o this insurance policy from somebody else.  The problem is that these swaps…are totally unregulated…and the swap market is something like now about four times the size of Wall Street….And it really turned a lot of the economy into a secret casino, all this action going back and forth, people betting on bets.

“And how this related to the subprime crisis is, about this same time…securities firms started bundling all these bad or risky mortgages and securitizing them…then buy or sell swaps to cover the possible loss.  So it…enabled a lot of firsm to go hog wild on the subprime stuff…the brokers…have no worry about losing, because they were passing on the possible risks of loss to somebody else who never really had to have the assets to cover those losses.”

During the years leading up to this Sen. Gramm’s wife, Wendy, worked on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission where, at Enron’s behest, she initiated the deregulation of energy commodities.

Corn laments, “you’d think that a guy who did that and gave us the Enron loophole would now be persona no grata…you’d be wrong, because Phil Gramm went on to become a lobbyist and high-paid executive at UBS, that same Swiss banking firm that lost tens of billions…on the subprime crisis.”

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/7/9/foreclosure_phil_journalist_david_corn_on

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By Steven Daniel, July 17, 2008 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

G.Anderson and Inherit the Wind are right on.  You may want to check out SCAMMING GOD at morganibarra.com, a novel that deals with this Ghost Dance and sowing of dragons’ teeth when it was just starting.

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By VinnieTheSnake, July 17, 2008 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

GHW Bush crashed his plane. McCain crashed his plane.  Is that all it takes to be president, lousy pilots?  Or how about W Bush?  He didn’t even fly enough to crash his plane.  Or Swiftboats?  Kerry and Kennedy had problems with those little boats.
I say military experience automatically disqualifies anyone from national office.

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By yours truly, July 17, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Represenative Democracy Is The Problem

“Why?”

“The powers that be own it.”

“What instead?”

“True (aka direct) Democracy?”

“Attained how?’

“Online?”

“And then what sort of world?”

“It’ll be up to us.”

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By felicity, July 17, 2008 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

Might not make much diffence to you and me, but it indicates where Republican sympathy lies: Harpers, Aug ‘08:

Under Obama’s tax plan, after-tax income of the top 0.1 percent of US earners decreases by 5 percent.

Under McCain’s tax plan, it increases by 12 percent.

And then there’s Robber-Baron-Bush aided and abetted by the criminal element in Congress:  Percentage of all income gains during the Bush Ad. that have gone to the top 1 percent of earners, 75.

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By GW=MCHammered, July 16, 2008 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can you imagine being raised Dubya?

The son of a WWII hero. The son of a president. Always measured. Constantly checked. On course? No sir, wavered into alcohol. No matter, son. For you, we’ll correct. Now, here’s our plan—- Really, any wonder we’re where we are?

We’re in need of a BIG human heart here. Who’s gonna step up?

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By Frank of America, July 16, 2008 at 10:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do your banking with a credit union - they lend money to ordinary people don’t need bailing out and are owned by the depositors. I’m no schill for the CUs just a long time member. It’s almost like a co-op.

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By Big E, July 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All the ‘super patriots’ policies, as a noted preacher said, ‘have come home to roost’ The trickle down folks and their flag lapel pins have finally brought America to it’s knees. The PNAC neo-cons have achieved what no band of terrorists could.

It’s so transparent,  even the most superficial of research can prove corruption and crimes, yet it’s all done openly and reported in the ‘news’. Sadly, the DEMS won’t do anything as they are part of the problem. That’s why they so eagerly passed the new FISA bill, self preservation.

I am stunned that there hasn’t been a media expose featuring the Savings & Loan Bailouts of the 19080’s, with emphasis on the ‘Keating 5’, and the recent ‘sub-prime’ mortgage scandals showing how the same proponents of unchecked deregulation cause billions in tax payer bailouts. Same thing about the entire Gramm fiasco and his ties to energy deregulation and ENRON.

Instead of Reagan’s ‘shinning city on the hill’, we are descending through the rings of Dante’s Inferno. The PNAC neo-con bloodless coup has done it’s damage and raided the treasury.

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By Skippy Vamoose, July 16, 2008 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Scheer, you stated:

“While on the Enron board, Wendy Gramm also chaired an anti-regulatory think tank that received funding from Enron and other corporations…”

What think tank?  Hoover?  Hudson?  AEI?  or is it a secret?  if you’re gonna nail the bastards, then name names.

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By troublesum, July 16, 2008 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

Brusays
read it again.

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By BruSays, July 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

Republicans! And by a clear margin…50% more corporate sponsorships than the Democrats!

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By msgmi, July 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The 1980s financial bailout cost the American tax payer 125 billion…what it’s going to cost this time around to bail out the perpetrators could be much more. A token number will be possibly prosecuted and the tax payer gets hammered again. The SEC has not been doing its job and its leadership incompetence rivals that of other administration sychophants who were installed in positions of trust and responsibility and have delivered a monopoly game of unaccountability.

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By sad old german, July 16, 2008 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh, the irony of it all!  For many years Reagan has been credited with bringing a super power to its knees by his adoring followers.  And they were partially correct, the only were mistaken about the identity of the super power.  Oops!

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By troublesum, July 16, 2008 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Which party is the party of big business?

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By troublesum, July 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

From Harper’s index August issue:
number of corporations sponsoring the democratic and republican conventions respectively: 75 and 50.

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By PMT, July 16, 2008 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I read this column in the local newspaper today, I was unaware that Phil Gramm worked for UBS.

This afternoon I found the following ABC article about Congress investigating tax cheats whose names were leaked by a computer techie working at LGT Bank in the tiny European principality of Liechtenstein.

How are these two stories related? Well, it turns out that “in court documents, federal prosecutors say UBS bankers helped set up many of the secret accounts in Liechtenstein and, overall, hid as much $20 billion belonging to US citizens.”

A interesting comment was posted to the article. It noted that A UBS press release stated Gramm joined UBS to “advise clients on corporate finance issues and strategy.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5389687&page=1

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By TAO Walker, July 16, 2008 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

So the “controlled stampede” movie cowboy Ronnie Reagan was so useful to his corporate sponsors for really getting it going in-earnest, and pretty good, too, at hazing the panicked livestock into the feedlots and onto the killing-floors wholly-owned and operated by those same privateering plutoligarchs, shows little or no sign of slowing-down here as “voters” get to “choose” between either a smiling or a grimacing shill (known in the meat-packing trade as a “Judas goat”)for the fleecers and the butchers….the former with a name full of carefully cultivated disturbing implications for many, and of a skin-color many sub-consciously and reflexively associate with threats to their property and person; the latter showing some hard-to-miss evidence of being a real-life (sort-of a half-life, though, actually) “Manchurian Candidate.” 

If theamericanpeople really knew how mortally dire is the largely self-inflicted predicament they’re in today, the suicide rate would be off-the-charts.  That immanently no-longer-avoidable realization is likely just-around-the-corner.

So even if ignorance is nowhere near “bliss,” it might be serving to at least keep the casualties more-or-less “manageable” for a little while longer.  Even that illusory “benefit,” however, is about to become a thing of the soon-to-be recent past….or as the Ronster was so fond of calling it, “....ancient history.”

The I Ching cautions, in Hexagram #Eight, that those who “come too late….(to) join an organic fellowship….will meet with misfortune.”  The only truly “organic fellowship” going here on Turtle Island is the Tiyoshpaye Way.  “Memberships” are still available, but even this Old Man can’t guarantee that’ll be true very much longer….not because The Way itself will not still be here in Indian Country, but because americans will be effectively prevented by their ruthless tormentors from getting here from “there.”

Those corral gates are swinging shut, tame Two-legged Sisters and Brothers.  Better make a break for it….if you still can.

HokaHey!

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By JimM, July 16, 2008 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Reagan said that he believed that the business world was basically a moral one-that any wrongdoings by one corp would be pointed out and corrected via pressure from other corps. He knew the business world was wise and would make big profits under deregulation that he initiated, but these profits would also ‘trickle down’ to the impoverished. At least this is what he claimed.

So he was either a totally senile freakin’ idiot or fully corrupted and in the pocket of industry.
Actually, he was both. Some legacy.

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By GW=MCHammered, July 16, 2008 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good Ol’ Boy selfishness and greed. Organized narcissism. They have no sense of civic pride or duty. Dirty white-collar thieves. For such crimes, a hundred or so years ago, they’d have been lynched.

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By Kashilinus, July 16, 2008 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Never forget, when California was ripped off by Enron a few years back, Bush’s response was tough cookies, people. Figure your own way out of this.

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By lodipete, July 16, 2008 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

Bailing out banks has apparently always been a form of republican stress relief. When the Bonus Army marched on Washington, it was calculated that it would take 2 billion dollars to satisfy their demands. Hoover & Treasury Sec. Mellon decided that they couldn’t afford it. And yet, a couple of years prior to that, they doled out 4 Billion for a bank bailout,most all of which went into the pockets of directors,shareholders and officers,not the screwed depositors. too bad the Bonus Army wasn’t armed!!!

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By srelf, July 16, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Let’s remind our Republican brethren that accountability is one of their mantras and, like tdbach says, start holding individuals accountable!

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By tdbach, July 16, 2008 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

The problem with systemic problems in the financial idustry and the regulatory neutering that made it possible is that the impact is so great on our economy as a whole that you can’t just let the abuser corporations “sink or swim” - as much as that idea sounds great. What we need to do is hold the corporate officers - the greatest beneficiaries of these excesses - accountable. Take all their personal assets to pay down the taxpayer cost. Of course, it would be a pittance, but it would sure be a deterant for these guys to know they could end up in the street if they get too greedy and reckless!

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By iratecitizen, July 16, 2008 at 8:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When Phil Gramm, John McCain, and this administration are talking in front of the cameras, I am sure they are not talking to me or my family.  They must be talking to people they rub elbows with. When Phil Gramm says stop your whining, he must be talking to those above the $250,000 income bracket who definitely should stop whining.  This Republican Administration’s policies have been very, very good to them.  When Bush gives us his energy policy: turn the air conditioner off when you leave your mansion, (er, house)he’s not talking to me. (I always turn off the fan that sits on the floor.) And when John McCain says things will be fine in five years or so, if we only go dig for now, and Cindy says getting around Arizona in a light plane is the only way to get around, she sure isn’t talking to my family, or anybody we know.  It’s as clear as crystal, that the rich Republicans are always talking to each other, and that all we are doing is eavesdropping on their conversations. Let’s all hand up on ‘em!

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By tomack, July 16, 2008 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

It’s never too late! Getting Obama in is the first step. Whether or not you are 100% behind him, think him the same as McCain, or believe a vote for Nader is not a wasted vote—Obama WILL be better, even if only slightly so. Baby steps…baby steps.

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By Levon, July 16, 2008 at 6:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

why do we have people like gramm in public office? cause we’ve gone from being a meritocracy to a kakistocracy -where money, connections and corruption are what propel people to power not merit. very much like the last days of rome.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, July 16, 2008 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

It’s beyond belief what Reagan did to this country.

Reagan’s presidency was the turning point in our history, when America began to slide into the abyss.

The Reagan revolution was little more than a revitalization movement, the Ghost Dance of American politics.

And because of what he did, he paved the way for what has come. The gutting of our economy and our social system by the plutocracy.

It it too late for us to solve our problems?

Probably, because we no longer have the infastructure to deal with them, nor do we have the political will. What we need at this point in our history is a little class consciousness.

We put millions in prison, and now the prison bars they live in, and the political decisions they represent, are becoming a dominant force in the life of this so called free country.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 16, 2008 at 4:08 am Link to this comment

Don’t worry. All the disgruntled Kucinich, Clinton and Nader voters STILL won’t find this enough reason to vote for Obama, but will continue to tear him down, reiterating Nader’s fatefully idiotic phrase “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them.”

Phil and Wendy Gramm are grafters: They used government positions to enrich themselves, and, in so doing, harmed millions of Americans.  Orange jumpsuits are the appropriate attire for them.

The fact that McCain was one of the Keating 5 and is NOW using Gramm as his financial adviser is the strongest indication that his only regret about Keating is that he got caught.

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By valupak, July 16, 2008 at 2:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A great ruse that McCain has thrown Gramm under the bus for just saying something mean. The McCain team knows full-well that as this mortgage mess gets worse, everybody would notice that the guy most responsible for it, Gramm, is prominent on his election committee. Better to hide Gramm away in some hole, for now.

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By srelf, July 16, 2008 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

Mr. Sheer writes what should be the subject of many more stories in the news. And yet 99% we get is the soapopera pablum CNN, Network News, MSNBC, et.al. dish out for our entertainment.
TV Journalism is in dire straits.
Anywho, I’ll take a stab at answering your question Robert - McCain has someone like Gramm because our system is corrupt.

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