Friday, October 3, 2008


Tonight the Democratic and Republican candidates for
the seat vacated by Trent Lott have their debate.
Wicker is the Republican appointed to that seat. His
Democratic opponent is Musgrove, a former Governor
defeated in his re-election by Haley Barbour.

Musgrove and Wicker are very much alike, both toe the
conservative theocratic Republican line. They are
out doing each other for the evangelical fundamentalist
voters. Both oppose gun control, gay marriage, and
support pro-life positions. Right now the race is too
close to call, because of the huge registration for
Obama. Just another example of "not a dimes worth of
difference" between a Democrat and Republican.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

From the Lou Dobbs News

The following are comments from significant economists about our future:

Joining me now are Joseph Stiglitz, he's professor of economics at Columbia University, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, the co-author of "The $3 Trillion War," out in paperback today by the way. And Paul Muolo, he's executive editor of National Mortgage News and the author of "Chain of Blame, How Wall Street Caused The Mortgage And Credit Crisis." And Professor Peter Morici, he's professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Thank you all for being here.

Let me turn to you first, Professor Stiglitz. This is, obviously, a nightmare that we're going through on Wall Street. But that nightmare extends across the country. When, in your judgment, will we see the Wall Street component of this at least stabilize and the bankruptcies and the desperate need for capital infusions end?

PROF. JOSEPH STIGLITZ, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I think it's going to go on for a considerable length of time. There's a dynamic in place and it takes a while. You know, people have said there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but what really is going on, it's a light of a freight train coming at us. And what is going on is the house prices are falling, more bankruptcies, more defaults, more foreclosures.

DOBBS: Are you talking about Wall Street foreclosures?

STIGLITZ: House foreclosures, but those are many of the assets wall street firms have. So when those foreclosures occur, that weakens the asset base or the balance sheet of the banks. And so you have accumulative process going on.

DOBBS: Professor Morici, are you at least encouraged that Secretary Paulson decided not, and presumably the president and Fed Chief Bernanke, decided not to put anymore taxpayer capital and backed capital forward in the case of Lehman Brothers and ostensibly at this point, AIG?

PROF. PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Absolutely. Since December, they've been putting taxpayer money in the discount window, getting good U.S. treasury securities and dollars in exchange. The whole idea was these were commercial banks and they were vital to the economy. But our reward was these bankers stopped doing commercial banking.

So credit has been drying up around the country. When Lehman Brothers dissolved yesterday, we didn't have a commercial bank dissolve. We had something quite different. It was the old merchant bank and the securities firm and so forth going forward. We need to have more bankruptcies so they get away from the business model causing them to abandon conventional banking, make sound loans and do the right thing.

DOBBS: When you say bankruptcies, Professor, you're referring to bankruptcies on Wall Street whether it be investment banks or whether it be in commercial banks?

MORICI: Absolutely. We need the exit of more Lehman Brothers and hopefully some of the regional banks which are better run will percolate up, they'll expand and take their place and start to do the right things for American capitalism and get the economy going again by getting credit rolling again. But it's going to take some time, as Joe said, because it takes time to shutter these places.

DOBBS: Shattering these places, and we were seeing first the subprime mortgage meltdown. Now we're seeing those credits that are of far higher standing being affected.

Paul Muolo, this mortgage crisis, this housing crisis is going on and seemingly going on unabated as house prices continue to fall, foreclosures continue at a historical rate.

PAUL MUOLO, EXEC. ED., NATL. MORTGAGE NEWS: Indeed. I mean, I don't know when this is going to end. What the government is trying to do, they keep praying they're -- they keep making these moves to calm the markets, calm consumers that they're in charge. That eventually they're trying to get consumers to buy houses again. But when unemployment keeps going out, why could a consumer buy a house? It's a very bad situation and a lot more pain to go through. It could take up to ten years.

DOBBS: Ten years to recover in housing?

MUOLO: Up to ten years. That's worst case scenario. That was a year ago we wrote that. It's bad. This is going to trickle down to the working guys you mentioned earlier. There's a lot of people employed indirectly through wall street, janitors, cops, there's a lot of blue collar jobs that will go away.

DOBBS: If I have to take my pick, I'll side up with the working man and woman, because the middle class is the foundation of what we do, not Lehman Brothers, not Merrill Lynch, and not AIG.

MUOLO: Right.

DOBBS: Let me turn to you and ask you this. Why, and I raised this issues a year ago, why have we not been able to see this government respond to where the crisis is? And that is in those homes where foreclosures taking place? Why are we watching the same idiotic free trade policies that put them in competition with the cheapest labor in the world, why are we not watching some bailout, if there's going to be one, for people who work in this country?

STIGLITZ: I agree. The problem should have begun at the base, which is the foreclosure of homes. And we should have made it more affordable. The interesting thing is we gave a big tax deduction to wealthy Americans in some states effectively 50 percent of interest and real estate taxes paid by the federal government. But poor people, the subprime mortgage people, get nothing. And if we reform that, that would at least provide a basis of more people staying in their homes.

DOBBS: But, again, you have an issue you how much income can be set aside through a tax exemption of some sort.

STIGLITZ: But we redirected some of that money that's going to upper income people and put it to ordinary Americans, it would make a big difference and make more homes affordable.

DOBBS: But where are these two presidential candidates on this, Professor Morici?

MORICI: Well, they're no place is where they're at. Neither has a plan to clean up wall street and what they offer to shore up the working men and women won't solve the fundamental problems. The most significant thing they can do is to do something about, I know it's off the subject, but better jobs to afford the houses. But in the meantime, what they've got to do is get these New York banks securitizing loans again. There's little conventional money out there. That's why it's all on the back of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

DOBBS: Paul Muolo, last word here.

MUOLO: Wall Street is not going to go back to securitizing anything that's not a prime loan. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the only game in town. You got bad credit, you're not buying a house. Those days are over. Cash is king.

DOBBS: Paul Muolo, thank you very much; Professor Morici, thank you very much; Professor Stiglitz, thank you.

$700 Billion - No Not THAT $700 Billion, the Other One.

That 'forgotten' war in Iraq that has been playing out for the past 6 years is inching towards the $700 billion mark.  What a coincidence: two $700 billion bail-outs.  I guess that makes $1.4 trillion, if my elementary math is correct .

Those vacuous WMD's and that 'mushroom cloud' sure were expensive, weren't they?  Recall neocon Paul Wolfowitz, co-conspirator in the ruse, telling the citizens that Iraq could pay for its own reconstruction.  Well, at least we 'brought freedom' to the folks there, didn't we?

Those billions are gone forever, down the proverbial black hole.  Well, for the tax-payers, they are gone forever.  The military-industrial complex, however, has lined its rich pockets with those billions.  It's comforting to the U.S. tax-payers to know that somebody got rich with their lost tax dollars.

Odd stuff under these 8 years under Bush/Cheney.  "Less government and less regulation" was the rallying cry of these two shysters.  And the American electorate bought the package, twice.  Go figure!  

Religulous - Funny Until it Mixes With Politics

The film, Religulous,  opens on Friday all across America.  No doubt, the Fundamentalists, panties tied in knots, will be boycotting, praying and demonstrating in front of theaters.  How dare Bill Maher make a move about religion!  What about the principle of separation of Church and Humor?

Funny stuff; always funny when those oh-so righteous fundamentalist Christians  begin to speak [in forked tongues].

The humor quickly fades, however, when these righteous folks begin to mix their religious beliefs with politics.  They stubbornly and unabashedly believe that they have every right to drop their load of dung into the political pool, noting some  mysterious 'higher authority' to do so.  Even more hilarious [if dung can be categorized as such] is the fact that many believe that this nation was founded on 'Judeo-Christian' principles.  Historical accuracy is not an important trait with the religious-right.

In 2004, Ohio was the victim of their zealous ploy with the help of fellow Republican and 'social conservative' Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.  Blackwell played a dual role in that election, officially as  Chief Elections Official of Ohio as well as honorary co-chair of the "Committee to re-elect George W. Bush".

Blackwell was charged with allegations of conflict of interest and voter disenfranchisement which led to the filing of sixteen related lawsuits naming Blackwell.  The Bush/Cheney ticket owes its existence to Kenneth Blackwell and his skulduggery.  

As I posted a week ago, many evangelical churches throughout America openly preached the support of John McCain in open defiance of IRS regulations. To be sure, these Ohio Evangelicals will be at the polls this November.  At least this time around, they won't have an active 'friend' in the Secretary of State's office as they did 4 years ago.

Jesus doesn't belong in the polling place.  Deuteronomy and the string of 'abominations' do not belong in the Constitution nor on state law books.  Were zealots like these fundamentalists to have their own way, American law and culture would become that of the Sadducees-a strict interpretation of Mosaic Law.  What I find most interesting and ironic is the fact that Jesus himself often quarreled and debated these Sadducees, trying to make them understand a more flexible, less strict interpretation of those harsh laws.  Odd how that today's Evangelical Christians reflect the Sadducees' point of view rather than the reflections of Jesus.

Freedom from religion is what the Constitution demands.  A worthy mandate given the history of the world and most especially, Europe .  Keep Christ in Church where he belongs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Toledo Rep. Marcy Kaptur on her No-Vote

Buzzflash has 'awarded' Toledo area Representative Marcy Kaptur [D] their so-called 'Wings of Justice Award' for her no-vote on the $700b bailout.  They quote from her speech on the House floor:

In the face of this father-knows-best obfuscation, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) tells it like it is. In a floor speech last week, the Toledo lawmaker rattled off the rules of the Wall Street bailout game:

Rule one: Rush the decision
Rule two: Disarm the public through fear
Rule three: Control the playing field
Rule four: Divert attention and keep people confused
Rule five: Always keep in mind the goal is to privatize gains to a few and socialize losses to the many

Perhaps most importantly, she noted that this game is not a one-time event. She urged those listening to think about the long-term ramifications of the bill, saying "Once this bailout is in place, the greed game will begin again."

Many in this area have wondered about Ms Kaptur's no-vote because she seldom votes with the House Republicans.  Perhaps her 5 "Rules" are ideological or pragmatic yet is this the time for that?  The -777 Dow scared the hell out of most Americans as they saw their pensions and other investments evaporate.  Is this the time for idealism or action? 

I suggest that the consequences of not acting ought to preclude idealism.  Fix the leaking dike now before brainstorming the dam's new design. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Re-Thinking Time

I seem to be losing my enthusiasm for debate. The
issues seem to be the same, just different people
and different time. Moreover, the problems are so
numerous and overwhelming that any solution seems
to be impossible. We commentators have our positions
and we all know where each of us will be coming from.
It seems we just say our points over and over. For
what purpose? I am sick and tired of watching the
talking heads on the news programs. They have "shows",
the purpose of which is hype a story or an event to
gain viewership. CNN vs MSNBC vs FOX is the corporate
story. For almost two weeks the financial crisis has
been their topic of interest. I wrote a few weeks ago
that perhaps there would be an event that would blind-
side us and accelerate our path to the approaching
cliff. Have to wonder if this is it? We are for all
practical purposes bankrupt, even before this Fianancial
Stabilization Act is passed. Passing it, which there
is no other choice, will only make our finances that more
difficult. The dollar will continue to devalue, and this
was pointed out recently by a Canadian commentator waiting
for his maple leaf to increase versus the dollar and then
come here and buy his car, and not even an U.S. auto, but
I believe he said an acura. Moreover, since we don't have
$700B, the Federal Reserve will turn on the printing
presses, inflation and further devaluation.

If one goes back and reads FDR's First Inaugural Speech, the
comparison to today is so similiar. Yet, in 1932 the U.S.
was much more of a creditor nation, now we are a debtor nation.
Indeed, almost a third rate debtor nation. I believe MD
gave a statitistic about U.S. birth deaths ranking in the
world and it was something like 22nd. Our ranking in science
and technology is about the same. Same is true for overall
education. Same is true for longevity; I believe that is
something like 37th. We rank behind every other industrialized
nation in hospitalization insurance. So, to think our economy
would remain number one in the world is a dream. Moreover, when
FDR came to the Presidency we were a manufacturing nation, and
he could turn that into a powerful consumer good industry and
high employment. Today, we are no longer a manufacturing nation,
rather we are financial-insurance-real estate credit nation. We
no longer can roll-our-sleeves-up and work or manufacture our
way out of our indebtedness. We buy it all from other nations.
To think that our leaderless politicians would decide to put the
U.S. first and renew manufacturing to the United States is
impossible. If renewing U.S. manufacturing is impossible, there
is the other solution to increase revenue. If U.S. workers, the
middleclass and lower classes, are going to be relegated to earning
wages as paid in Mexico, India, China then all the profits coming
back into the U.S. from that activity should be taxed. This revenue
would be huge. Now, don't we see the elites permitting that to
happen. My point is that to compare FDR's Address to the crisis
today is unreal. He had the ability to solve the problem, but
now we have no manufacturing basis.

So why fight it? Why continue to write or read about it. Why
present our case on here? We have no one to convince. Either
we are speaking to the choir or we are speaking to these
"otherworld" fundamentalists who have no rational reasoning.
It is just that I'm tired of seeing no progress. I enjoy
the mental gymnastics of developing or responding to the posts
and comments, but to what avail? Not saying I am deserting
the blog, but I'm thinking. I'm physically and mentally tired.


Yesterday, in the House of Representatives
leadership all around was sorely lacking.
The ship of state is on fire, and the
politicians fiddled. The United States
is in financial crisis, and our leaders are
unable to explain it to the citizens. There
were a few who joined the "yes" vote, in
spite of heavy opposition in their districts.
Amazingly, they both are Republicans. One is
in Las Vegas and the other is in rural Georgia.
Contrast these leaders to Cong. woman Marcy
Kaptur of Toledo. She bailed out, much like
John McCain bailed out on the Letterman Show
the other night. A 'no' vote is a vote of
stupidity. The national interest is at stake,
and there was no "country first" attitude
among these negative legislators.

Yesterday, the world showed what is possible
with continued non-action. Financial markets
across the world lost. The loss on the NYSE
was $1.2 TRILLION. I can visualize these
naysayers jumping with joy, slapping themselves
on the back, saying we showed Wall Street.
The real story, however, is that the loss
will show up in lost jobs for the middleclass
and the lower classes. Marcy is known as a
union representative, yet her vote demonstrated
a lack of understanding of the real consequences.
The loss of $1.2T is $500 BILLION more than the
proposed $700 Billion job preservation bill in
the House of Representatives. Not only are
large numbers of jobs at stake, but also our
401K retirement accounts are sharply down.
Long term, the dollar is destroyed.

Marcy and her naysayers made no positive pitch
to solve the problem. While there is blame all
around from the Bush Adm, to Cong Frank, to
Senate, and to the media, it was the Republicans
who defeated the Bill. All these negative
Republicans said it was "socialism". They are
ideologues; and they are off the reservation.
They have trashed the USA momentarily. As I
pointed out above, there were a couple of Republicans
who crossed over.

What the vote also shows is what has been commented
on here a number of times, that is, there is a new
Republican Party. The former Republican Party was
that of Wall Street. The new Republican Party is
that of idealogues and partisans who believe in
individual responsibility to the extreme, in private
property per se, and see socialism in any government
assistance to any group. These Republicans would see
"Rome Burn" than take measures to put the fire out.
They would let Wall Street fail. Ron Paul took the
floor yesterday and basically said that. He is seriously

However, even with these off the reservation Republicans,
the Democrats could have passed the Bill. 95 Dems
voted against the Bill, and only 13 needed to pass the
legislation. Hopefully, the Democratic leadership will
convince 13 to change their vote when it comes up again
for a vote on Thursday or Friday. What a travesty that
this political game has to be played, as Rome burns!

Don't Toledoans see what a flake Marcy is? Are they so
blindsided that no matter what she does, no matter how
much she hurts the USA, she is a Democrat and she has my
vote. What's that definition of insanity? The world
won't come to an end if she is defeated. More important,
is the integrity of the individual. How does one now
vote for a person that puts her country at risk? A
message is sent by lowering her re-election vote.
Hopefully, even a phone call to her office today would be
in order. Yeah, I can vent too, lol....

Finally, today the talking heads on "Joe" are saying that
it was Frank and Pelosi who defeated the Bill by attcking
Republicans in the final summation. Hogwash! These nay
Republicans are idealogues and only using Pelosi as cover.
These Republicans did not change their vote because they
are mad at Pelosi. Huh? Screw the country because of Pelosi?
The point is, they all know Pelosi and Frank and have it
heard it all before. Congress is not a vacuum. When the
Republicans were in control they did the same. Democrats
were unamerican, secularist, unpatriotic, and dangerous
people. Boehner and Republican leadership knew these were
nay votes, yet they play partisanship to try and say it
was. I just heard "Joe" chime in with "this is an Economic
Pearl Harbor". Yikes, my thunder was just taken by a talking
head of "Joe" who said "the die was cast before the vote."
Well, here I sit, and there he is, lol....

Monday, September 29, 2008


It is difficult in writting on the Emergency
Stabilization Act. Now, isn't that a nice title
for a bailout? Stabilization? Ah, when will our
checks be in our mailboxes? What's that you
say? It's not a stablization for us? Oh, it's for
banks and investment companies. The elites
win again thanks to the Republicans and the
Democrats. The rest of the 96% U.S. citizens
take it in the shorts!

It is hard to discuss the crisis, because it
is concerned with debt, mortgages and selling
of mortgages and the reselling of mortgages,
credit, liquidity, and the supposed need of
$700B of "taxpayer" money to save the "system".
(I put taxpayer in quotation marks, because in
reality the money will be borrowed from China,
Japan, England, et al. The "taxpayer" will be
left with an I.O.U. through our grandchildren.)
Such economic knowledge is not available to be
interpreted by most U.S. citizens.On top of all
these economic issues, we are told we must act
immediately. The Treasurer tells us so, the
President tells us so, Congress tells us so.
Then, it must be so. Anyone smell a rat here?
Think about it, there were no real Congressional
hearings. Only people permitted to testify were
those in favor of the $700B. What Party is it
that controls Congress? Go ahead now, tell me
there is "a dimes worth of difference." It has
been a 'fait accompli'.

This is a borrowed bailout, pure and simple. We
can do nothing. But, the consequences will be
lost jobs, lost 401ks, and foreclosed homes. The
bailout just pumps money, money we don't have,
to buy billions upon billions of mortgages. Here
was the situation that precipitated the crisis.
The situation is known as 'flipping', that is, a
homebuyer buys a home, in a few months they sell
it for a profit, and buy a bigger house, then
they sold that house and bought a more expensive
house. Look, these 'homeowners' knew what they
were doing; it was greed on their part and now
we are supposed to keep these people in their
ostentatious homes, way over what they knew they
could afford. Yes, they were encouraged by real
estate, banks, and investment houses to over
extend, but they knew what they were doing. All
we are doing is continuing the permissive society.

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