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« Ask the Reporters: EXPOSÉ on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | Main | Changing U.S. Policy for Afghanistan? »

Should Governments Raise Taxes During a Recession?

In this week’s edition of the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers talked with New York Governor David Paterson (D) about his efforts to balance his state’s budget amidst the economic crisis. The governor’s plan, which requires legislative approval, proposes dozens of new fees and tax increases on such goods as digital entertainment and sugary soft drinks, while cutting spending on education and social services.

Paterson said:

“Obviously there aren't many places for governors and legislators to go. You're gonna have to cut healthcare and education because they comprise huge amounts of state budgets. There is a lot of pain in the downturn of this economy, and I think 2009 will be the year that people feel the pain... I'm thinking that the sooner we respond to this crisis, the stronger and faster that we'll emerge from it and that perhaps we can learn a lesson about budget priorities in that we as governments have made the same mistake that consumers have made running up $950 billion in credit card debt... We were seduced by this societal doctrine that you can just keep borrowing and pushing problems off to the future. The future has now stared us right in the face and we're in economic peril.”

Some voices have come out against Paterson’s taxing and spending proposals, arguing that raising the costs of living and business are counterproductive in times of economic hardship. Elizabeth Benjamin of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS quoted comments from New York Conservative Party chairman Mike Long:

"Long noted that Paterson's budget actually increases spending slightly, which the chairman finds 'unacceptable' and proof that the governor, while he talks tough about taxes, is in fact 'conflicted' by his 'big nanny-state government beliefs.'

'Spending must be cut, every bit of waste must be eliminated, every program that can be consolidated should be, every available option to reduce the tax burden must be made before any tax is raised,' Long said... 'The new taxes you propose will only drive more businesses and people out of New York. Every leading economist knows you cannot tax your way out of a recession and with your new tax proposals, you are proving that "people start thinking of ways to spend money."'"

What do you think?

  • Should government raise taxes during a recession? Why or why not?
  • Are you in a state with severe budget woes? How are your elected officials proposing to cope with the economic downturn?


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    Comments

    Mainstreet will waste money on sugary drinks & digital media, taxes should have been raised long ago to protect people from themselves.

    Look at what schools are turning out-why waste money for such a poor return, when we can hire brillant 3rd world graduates to perform better for less. Sort of the Wall Mart model.

    The gove's eyes may not work well, but he sees the future bright & clear.

    Better get those 3rd worlders registered before the next election.

    Billy Bob, Florida where it won't matter if they register--just ask President Change

    Is there still gonna be medical care in 6 months?

    Who will care what some bearded magazine puff said a year before?

    Of course in an unhealthy society (high demand) and with monopolies hawking analytical instruments and meds...Kuttner's logic is right.

    Kuttner is not saying adding nurse practitioners, adding PAs, eliminating house calls, using time saving monitoring devices, etc is the direction to go for a solution. This example of inflation can be solved by other models. The cost to the consumer can be reduced. This cause of inflation according to Kuttner can be taken care of.

    "Everything for Sale" by Robert Kuttner page 117 (& go forward)
    http://books.google.com/books?id=3JeIzAw9od8C&pg=PA117&lpg=PA117&ots=52SFIA7lIh&dq=inflation+++medical+OR+healthcare+%22robert+kuttner%22&output=html

    "Obama's Challenge" Chapter 4 (pages 166-172) and Chapter 3 (pages 103-5).
    Break's over,gotta get back in the cab. People are still stuck in the snow. 'Member how I told you how a volunteer gave me that Kuttner book at the shelter?

    Re Klark Mouvinon's post 1/27/09 @12:39 PM...


    "He points out the principle that hightly skilled activity (doctoring and nursing) cause most of medical inflation because the jobs are not suitable for capital substitution, reduction to rote tasks or direct automation. So it's the medical professionals responsible for inflation." K.M.

    How did you come up with that conclusion, Klark? I mean the conclusion that that's Kuttner's conclusion?

    "Market-Based Failure--A Second Opinion on U.S. Health Care Costs" by Robert Kuttner, New England Journal of Medicine, 2/7/08
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/358/6/549

    Capital markets are unstable. In the past there was no way to make them stable. But today we have computer power that can be used to make them stable. By using the greater computer power of today we can have a much higher turn over of capital in the capital market. This higher turnover will make the market harder to game or control and the market will no longer have the unstable run ups or declines. Who can change or control the market when say 20% of the capital is trading each day. So now that we have the compute power to provide for all these transactions that will smooth out the market how do we force people to turn over at a rate of 20% a day? Easy, put a cap gains tax of 0% (zero) on all gains of 7 days or less and put a cap gains tax of 90% of all gains of more than 7 days. The likes of Yahoo, Micosoft and/or Sun Micro Systems will give us the systems that will provide automated software agents to support turning over one's investments every 7 days (based on the specs you give the agent). A system like this will make the financial markets work as smoothly as the local fruit market.

    Dave: We are way beyond Keynesianism as a solution. Consumption based economics is a minor varietion on the supply and demand of orthodox economics. There has been a puposeful move toward perpetual debt peonage. We have to abandon global corporate capitalism (keep community capitalism) and our money fetish, switch the emphasis to environmental stability and human need to maintain civilization. It was moral but traumatic to take the slaves from plantation owners, that was their capital and their property, perverse as it was. Now we must seize the means and authority of production from the capitalists. We can do it peacefully and in an orderly manner.It will be traumatic but is the correct moral choice. The former owners will benefit in the ling run. No one cited the Constitution when Abolition liberated the slaves, and no Constitution should stop the people from liberating the means needed for survival. That's common sense not communism.

    Bill -

    Do tax cuts cause recessions?

    It seems to me that tax cuts spur the economy for three or so years which is followed by about a two period of flat growth which is followed by a crash. Its happened each time over the past 30 years that tax cuts have been used to spur the economy (as far as I can tell). what do you think?

    It works great for people who want to make money by an always changing economy but it wreaks havoc on average working class Americans.

    David H. Save your powder on CACI. It is a mercenary defense contractor often employed to supervise and implement torture in softening up and interrogation. They need recruiters and paymasters in Arlington. What I meant to say about Kuttner is not that he's unsound of mind or not a good writer, but that he has a history of self-serving activity. He points out the principle that hightly skilled activity (doctoring and nursing) cause most of medical inflation because the jobs are not suitable for capital substitution, reduction to rote tasks or direct automation. So it's the medical professionals responsible for inflation. This is nutty reasoning and Kuttner knows better. He's an employee and not an honest commentator.
    If you don't think I'm qualified to judge intellectuals, then how'd you get that status? Ravi Batra at Southern Methodist University is our best economist. His statement that the auto companies should be given to the workers is available online. Ravi reasons that they couldn't do any worse than the previous CEOs. Random acts are disorganized acts. It's too late for randomness. Quit picking "head horses" and join the movement. This system is a cage going under water, get out or you'll drown.

    You're welcome.

    All the stuff about Kuttner's involvement with radio and privatizing Pacifica to me sounds like you're stirring a bunch of diverse issues with a stick.

    There are random acts of kindness, and there is the whole issue of civics and supporting public policy that makes sense. The latter is thorny and many, many, many humans on this earth cannot deal with it. They don't have the tools. Those of us who have a few must struggle. There are degrees of amnesia, and very few politicians get very close to an opportunity where congress is going to listen to them lay out a national plan in accord with what makes perfect sense. If they did Wendell Berry no doubt would have a position in DC (if he'd take it). We have to support by degrees what the politicians are willing to consider. Right now they're willing to consider plugging renewable energy sources into the national grid. Eight days ago they really were not willing. It's not gas rationing, but it's something.

    If you judge all intellectuals you should read Roszak's "The Dissenting Academy." Keynes was an intellectual. He helped the world out. It would be nice to speak our mind to all the so-called intellectuals that get on the tube, but we can't. That's our struggle...to sift them out...with no reward (other than the option to suggest to our public servants something halfway intelligent). Those who do the random acts are the ones who have a much better chance of ridding themselves of bad karma IMO. Those of us audacious enough to try to mix in civics are taking a risk (and if we start hooting about kick-out-the-antichrist or establish Utopia or let-anarchy-reign, then IMO the venture gets even riskier).

    Thomas Frank, Galbraith, and Kuttner are the only guys I hear in media who describe in anything close to layman's terms how busted trickle-down is. And re Krugman...at least he's on record that states should get help from funds like TARP's big bundle.

    "Fiscal Follies" by Robert Kuttner
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/01/19-5

    conspiracies
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/10/31-0

    I'll look up CACI when I get some time.

    David H. I congratulate you for hanging in. WBAI is not exactly heaven. It is well infiltrated with provocators from covert government agencies. They were trying over the air mass hypnotism last year. The broadcaster Lynrose7@yahoo.com had a grant from homeland security and was pretty effective. You should have heard the bewildering call in.
    We can get old 99.5 on our high tower so I've followed the mandate issue. (Hillary vs Obama health care plans) I think I recall Kuttner was part of Mary Frances Berry's Clinton Mafia that wanted to sell Pacifica into privatization. Jack (over Magicjack) says he was at WPFW when RK was at WBAI and that he wasn't exactly a progressive populist. Coincidently I have a copy of "Obama's Challenge" I got from donated books at the parish kitchen. Maybe I'll read it if I'm not too tired this week, or too hurtin'. I don't like P. Krugman much better. Intellectuals are the servants of wealth by definition, unless they really turn, and then they are cast out. I wrote a letter of support to Leonard Peltier this week. He got beat up in prison you know. I can't see Hillary or Barack ever pardoning him, and he did nothing wrong. The challenge is on the people, not the stooges media sets before us. I like Obama and Hillary as people but I would be the first to throw a tomato or a shoe when they betray us, as they most certainly will. It's the nature of retaining status and privilege. I got an offer for an office job at CACI in Arlington, but I'd rather starve first. It's so cruel when an old friend thinks offering you service to fascists is helping you out. I don't think there will ever be a job I could accept in good conscience anymore. That's the pervasiveness of banal evil. If you can't just follow orders and keep your mouth shut they are ready to execute you.

    I am sincerely sorry you're in that situation, Klark. When I try to defend how I think justice can be obtained to public servants now, maybe at least the new Executive'll keep my view in a talley somewhere. That's all I can do, and I'm doin it.

    Let me deal a little with ideas, and then what we're here for.

    Re ideas, you probably will find that most Illich readers and Chomsky readers are saying
    Right On to Kuttner. Remember, because I wanted to talk about his ideas below you said my mind was "colonized." I've been in hard times. I'd grab a scrap of paper and right out my philosophy/theology. I was supposed to be witnessing on the street. Witnessing and writing perhaps for us having lived through this modern swill aren't so important. If I had just stopped for one moment and thought of my Mother...I might have really prayed. Real prayer, real meditation. That's all that's left.

    It's hard for the downtrodden when they write not to get apocalyptic (everything said here is wrong; I alone have the gnosis), but the great downtrodden writers and the great ones not downtrodden...when it's time to act...all have to heave together. It's time to heave right now (which is enough of a sacrifice cause you have to know in a timely fashion which words you're gonna ask the president to take with a pound of salt). But even beyond that sacrifice is the greater one of keeping one's heart in a decent place.

    David (followed by any capital letter, and whomever else may be concerned):
    I have no connection with Figgers or Beret Co-op, nor have I ever claimed any association. I met Grady Lee Howard and Gladdie Victrola when I delivered them from a train station to Kennedy Int. Airport. They are both silly little people (dwarfism) I wanted to meet before they left our country. I tracked down Irene E. and she put me in touch.
    I drive a wrecker part time and do handyman work near Paoli, NJ. I got a Bachelor's degree back in 1970 when it was cheap and easy (math/physics). I traveled the world as an industrial project manager until I was severely injured in 2004. I am just now getting used to my reduced condition. Medical care and rehab took everything I had and left me in debt. I am living in a large camping trailer that belongs to someone else (Steve B.) who is overseas, and I take care of his big dogs. He'll be back in March so I'm seeking a new place and situation. My mom and my sister live in an apartment across the Delaware in Tacony (North Philadelphia). Mom is Italian and Dad was Basque, died in Algeria. I wouldn't call myself a libertarian. I usually agree with Noam Chomsky or Michael Parenti. I saw some of 9/11 in person and think it was planned. I am a civil engineer. Political theory, economics and philosophy never interested me until recently. The traumas of our country drew me in. I think my travels and my work-life give me a special outlook. People overseas don't have the awe for America that US citizens might expect. Reading Figgers posts and other stuff on Moyers has turned me on to Ivan Illich and economist Ravi Batra (of SMU). Illich I think is a religiously inspired humanist and Batra a pragmatist (neither a monetarist nor a Keynesian). I have my own take on things and try to be open-minded. I listen to the scanner as much as the web. I don't have cable so TV is pretty boring. I used to watch "the Wire" at my sister's but it ended. Some of my ideas come from people seeking help at local relief agencies and shelters where I volunteer. I am a great caretaker or handyman if you know of anyone seeking such help in NJ or PA. I am a non-drinker and non-smoker, and the only pot I've had was from secondhand smoke on a plane. I never had any drug experience until I got on painkillers after I was hurt. I'm not in this to out-talk anyone. Moyers gives me a challenging outlet and updates my knowledge. I have plenty of reading to do and can't always follow your suggestions. At age 60 I'm pretty set in my ways. I wouldn't be on here except I bought an old laptop for $75 in a second hand store. I operate from the wrecker shack wifi with an entry level ISP. I may be the poorest person posting at Moyers, who knows? So, do you guys expect me to pay for and develop a web site? I can't even text. I do know this: if I don't get some income I will starve or freeze. I have been rejected for SS Disability benefits and NJ disability. I got food assistance for awhile but I'd rather hobble around driving the tow. Well, women and children first I guess. I hope you're all warm and secure in your houses and apartments. Gotta go take my bi-weekly shower and refill the propane can for my heat now.

    I discovered "Figgers Inst" has no site [I did find out what it was or is], and went over Klark's stuff again. Sounds Libertarian. I mean in the attitude, I could be way off re basic precepts. I'm the first to admit Wendell Berry makes a point when he says charities and invididuals should atttempt to help those who suffer with gov cuts. Alas, he doesn't have disciples on message boards who judge anyone who thinks a Kuttner or Galbraith tome is worth buying.

    What a titanic waste...at least among we recent regulars. But at least, David F, you have done some research (I have faith some spare time will come for me to read and enjoy your posts).

    I've thought about Klark and Irene and the fact that no one in the past week has suceeded in demonstrating to them that anyone with a book and a site has anything to say. David F, if you wanna discuss things back at the guardians/Galbraith thread...perhaps that topic will allow for a little vision regarding a way out of this mess. Focusing on state escapades is starting to feel like the biggest dead end I've encountered on the internet.

    Besides, my natural tendency after all this is to attempt objective, phenomenological evaluations of the stable aspects of our world before it became more trendy on boards to completely deny any shred of meaning to all economic commonplaces the Libertarians loathe.

    I mean no offense to you guys, Irene and Klark. But I can't help the way that I feel. There are just a lot of ideas in Galbraith's book, and no one's been back to that thread since 12/18. Hey, Klark if Ellen Brown's "essentially an advocate of a precious metals monetary standard," then that is food for thought; but guess I should make sure she's the one that wrote that CDSs article I linked (gotta watch those names). On oil matters, Irene, I try to scan Michael Klare articles once in a while.

    Yeah, Gene...Elizabeth Warren was on ATC last night I think (or Market Place) talking about the 1st $350 billion & no one knows where it went.

    DavidF, sorry, you have by no means convinced me Gupta sez what's he's paid to say. I cited one of Gupta's Alternet articles. Is there some tragic flaw at Alternet? Go to "bail out Main Street dot com" and check out the list of endorsers. When those writers say Obama might love Gupta but we don't...then what you're saying might mean something to me...again, sorry, there's a slim chance you may be right. I do wonder, though, how anyone can expect to live on YouTubes? Man, whadda they say? My connection's too slow. [Or link the text; ya see...Bill Moyers has enough sense to keep transcripts, but already "Now" has made the huge mistake IMO of eliminating them] Who's Olbermann, the guy who does "Countdown"? Once by some quirk of nature they put Countdown on regular network and it was a nice change for television, but then I saw one of these other cats I had thought would be so great...and I just came away thankful to God I hadn't decided to shell out for cable every month. I'm afraid a lot of these dudes (including Colmes) hold off on the real nitty gritty (the real answers) like the weatherman holds off on the prediction.

    The economy is an engine. It needs fuel. Trickle down works, but you need to turn the traditional illustration on its ear to see how. I've written another 3,000 words on this, and provided a view of the economy as I see it. ("Someone's been Yankin' on my Wankel"). To summarize, however, the workers who make the machine go are out of fuel. The banking industry doesn't need the fuel. If you inject the fuel into the engine, it'll go. The benefits will trickle back down to the banks all right, with interest. But the banks must be watched carefully. Lots of coverup is going on now. Lots of money has been drained away from the economy. Wealthy people are not in any hurry to fuel an engine that's not running. Tax them? Of course!

    David H, here's a better link, it also has the interview with Chris Hayes from The Nation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnk3G-skRjM

    David H, did you see Olbermann last night? He reminded us of Gupta’s propaganda towards Moore’s “Sicko.” Gupta might be good for the Obama admin, seeing how he says what he’s paid to say.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niauXlfk_7o

    Yeah, Judy. It seems like MoveOn dot org's point is well taken. He will have to hear from us cause already it seems Obmama's surrounded by the proponents of stationary inertia. Bill needs to ask him what's up with the anti-climatic 2 steps backward entitlement spin as of 1/8.

    But here's why I returned...

    "This measure alone will cover 16% of the state's deficit by my calculation (proceeds from projected land sale)."

    I said that on 1/4 at 9:48 PM. Apparently, what I had heard re the 'proceeds' was incorrect. Take that down from 16% to a bit lower than 3%. Sorry folks. Yeah, I thought that was hitting one facility with a little too much of the load. The proposed shutdown IMO is still Norquistian, retrograde, Scroogerian, hypocritical, and unconscionable (and the obviousness of it should mandate changing the balanced budget amendment in the state's constitution). Of course, I stand by the Kuttner and Krugman links in that post. And by the bailoutmainstreet dot com link.

    When will Bill get to interview President-elect
    Obama? That's the interview I want to see done. Then, we can know more about plans for tax/economic/health,requirements for government assistance, and other issues framed from an interviewer without peer.

    Irene, I guess I could have asked you about your context re your 10:15 AM message on Wed right after I read it, but, if I recall correctly, as I read it I think I assumed you meant that the dude in your opinion was somewhat sick in the head. But I should have remembered there was another sick David. Sorry.

    I looked at Klark's 12/27 re-post of Jack M. Hmm..."penalty extraction." I'm not sure the wealthy have enough. The whole zeitgeist of the country has gone down some
    "office jockey" rabbit hole. We've lost our former vision and know-how. Kuttner's right IMO that, just as in FDR's days, the stimulus must be bigger. When the world's people can agree on the sanity of the bonds, instruments or whatever (like folks used to agree on "Working Assets" eg) then maybe they'll get bought (to fund the borrowing for the stimulus). Perhaps they'll be like our old "war bonds," but this time for global consumption. It might be better (more feasible) if they'd fork it over out of their own volition. There are a lot of things IMO that should be nationalized, HMOs, broadband (this digital crap rescinded), and probably the oil companies [or maybe that's synonomous with gas rationing which I already said I supported]. "Nationalizing" sounds better in this PR world than "extraction." And amenible language doesn't mean, to my way of thinking, anyone's capitulating. The severity of gas rationing, for instance, would seem like it might hit everyone with a vacation home just about as hard as they could take it. I'm pretty much for what'll take off on its own accord, but I'll have to read more from Martin & Figgers to really know if they're coming from my direction.

    Let me assert that my observations in the insurance and health care industries over 18 years have convinced me that big insurance has no productive role to play in determining eligibility or in delivering treatment and diagnosis. Right now, as a paralegal/nurse with 150 disability cases my perception is that only about 15% get a fair shake.
    That minority is disproportionately higher paid claimants whose policies often have less qualified language. Sometimes the unions help their people steer a safe course through the pinball machine, but their policy language tends to be the strictest and I'm often forced to terminate them while they're flat on their asses. Social Security Disability continues backlogged 30+ months. I work for insurance and with the costliest HMO policy I can buy the deductible is huge and the low caps are ridiculous. I have friends who work in doctor's offices and their lives are living Hell if they still care about patients.
    I prefer single payer any day despite bureaucracy. It would also ease the transition to Medicare/caid, especially for older people. AARP is a s**tpile, considering their misinformation and profiteering. So what if your hotel room is $5 less. Tom Daschle knows all this. Will he tell Barack? Can Barack hear anymore?

    David H.: Sorry I hit a nerve. I wasn't calling any poster sick but mourning my friend David N. He was the first boy I kissed and naturally I projected onto him. He had been traumatized and I don't think he fully recovered.

    Yes, I'm a miracle. Finding an outlet for ideas at 49 has been wonderful, and your abuse only animates me. I'm stealing time from big insurance as they steal benefits from claimants. That's my resistance. My supervisor Tiffany (just a kid really) is beginning to imitate my attitude. They can't fire us all. I do plenty of reading and research, but I integrate it for my own personal spin. Like many mothers I finished college in my thirties and never had a living waged job until I was 40. Income does not correlate directly with ability. This is a networking (colluding) society. Underlings imitate the injustices of their overlords.

    If you call yourself a Jew, David H., be wise and proud. I'm solid with Jewish resisters. If you're still angry, ignore my chickenscratch.

    If we were discussing only the dynamic between elites ethnic slander and xenophobia might awaken a reaction, but it is a cheap and counter-productive strategy. I snapped my ballpoint and had to go walk the stairs when David Eddy mentioned Kim-che soup. Last night on the News Hour laid off Chinese workers were shown. They were hungry and scared and the police couldn't contain them anymore. Osama bin Laden represented only one brand of radical dissent in Saudi Arabia. Yes, the oil companies manufactured that state and those in charge used authoritarian religion to maintain control. Just like in the Garden of Eden, extreme power inequities tend to bring out snakes that bite one in the butt.

    Opposing corporate globalism does not mean we ignore global dynamics. I've seen my teachers (even silly little Grady) argue against those who attack the other and try to mobilize racism. Know what, if you need an electric car today it doesn't much matter who makes the cabin and drive train. Chinese and Venezualans and Two-can Sam (Joe Sixpack's unemployed brother-in -law) in Ohio are interchangeable. American cars have been partially made overseas for several decades, with the glass and seats installed in Detroit or Norfolk. Now the big investors have transferred their nest-egg overseas. GM bled to death from global vampirism. Now the best we can retain is to control battery technology and energy optimizing modules. Failing to focus means more pallets of Ben Franklins for Madoff clones.

    Yes, David F., there are elite conspiracies, but workers around the world live in the same chickenhouse of exploitation. If they fight it is on a cock-rooster level and top monsters settle their bets as the chickens bleed and heave their last breaths.

    "All My Sons" could play in any modern country with a defense industry. I have a son, but if he joined the military, our relationship and all my sacrifices would be over. If things have hardly changed since 1948 when it comes to crimes arising from business competition, one has to ask if that stems from human nature or from a failed system whose primary product is banal evil (Eichmann in Jerusalem). Conclusion: Corporate capitalism is an unregulated moral polluter. The Israelis did a pretty good job trying the Nazi war criminals they caught, so maybe they could do Kissinger and Shrub Bush next. Those rockets from Gaza hurt like a snake bite. (Mythic Jesus was mistaken; they do know what they do.)

    P.S. Please try to be receptive and get beyond programming when Moyers or John Lithgow have something to share. People grow or die.

    What David (who is "sick") are you talking about, Irene? If you're talking "learning" and "prestige" you must know more than I do about some other David here?

    They told you not to use links? And you believed it. You sit there trying to "surf" and save the world while at work and not use any links at the same time. If you have some doctrine that you shouldn't use links lemmie tell ya, you are not "surf"ing and you will not save the world...or get close to the root of the problem which is not me or posters like me. As I learned in basketball in the old days, you and Klark and a million others are projecting. This board, as far as I can see among those who do this blown up internicene stuff, should reflect your perfect conception of what the answers are. If someone disagrees they are "sick." Unless, that is, all of it's contrived and you feel no emotion.

    Your observations of what you see with your eyes seem accurate. But, when you want to diagnosis and prescribe, it doesn't matter that you don't have all the degrees you want. You already exhibit the venom Christopher Lasch noted among the educated upper middle liberal intelligentsia (he a liberal himself IMO) in his book "The Revolt of the Elites" (see Chap 2).

    Give yourself a break. Get off the highhorse. This world is full of many, many, many souls. Whoever I can link to that's insightful...I cannot explain how they got into print or got their jobs that allow them to be in print (or keep talking like David Frum). I just have to accept it as what is unknown by this soul in this universe. I cannot override what they say by a few letters on a message board and neither can you.

    Meanwhile, there is another split-off-universe wherein I can't believe the "hostile" work environment and "meager" education profile. It sounds "of the people," but it's funny that that profile wants to pull down the one poster quoting Kuttner and CBPP.

    PS No, I really can't buy the "many worlds theory."

    Irene, you left out how our Neocon oligarchy had allowed the Globalization oligarchy, the SaudiCons, to capitalize on the capitalistic capitol of the world. Now our American capitalistic pigs, which supported Neoconism, will have to move over for Saudi capitalism, which has its own set of rules. Ironic, ain’t it?

    When I attended high school (10th grade) a boy from Haiti joined our class.
    David's father was a public health doctor and the family had been traumatized by the violence of the Papa Doc Duvalier regime. No matter what the political topic David veered to a discussion of Papa Doc and the hope to go to Israel. Haiti was Hell and Israel was Heaven. David's family opened a record store and he could dance the popular fad songs so I became his almost only friend.

    David went to Duke and got a doctorate at Brandeis. When he came back to close the record store I went downtown. His dissertation is about Haiti under Papa Doc and he is a paid ideologue defending whatever Israel does. His ideas and opinions have not changed since he was 16. He just has more details and more nuanced arguments. His development is arrested and he remains a juvenile who goes clubbing to dance.

    The thing I've noticed about the more ebuillent people on this blog is that they listen and change. They are capable of thinking about a variety of issues and seeing connections. Their opinions evolve and they are hungry for clearer information. They are attracted to any strategy that will benefit humanity. They are beginning to transcend their interests and subcultures of origin. They are wary of agendas.

    I work as an insurance clerk. I read records and documents and take/make phone calls all day. I deal with doctors offices, human resources people, and sick and injured claimants all over the country. My work environment is hostile and tiring. My formal education is meager and I can't afford more. I surf at work at peril of firing. The Figgers people assisted my empowerment and gave me permission to share my thoughts. I am an American caught in the conflict between earning a living and doing what I now feel is right. I admit I am a wage slave. If learning and prestige make a person sick like David I don't want it. Any hack lackey can search for authoritative rhetoric that enforces their obsolete opinion on the net. When you do this you are recruiting the dead as allies. Alive thought is in the moment. Can you think on your feet, independently?

    This morning Robert Reich spoke from Berkeley saying our problems can be summarized as:
    1. Family income is too low to power the economy.
    2.Gasoline prices are too low to enable alternative energy.
    3.Israel is a carbunkle on U.S. policy. (He might also be alluding to our oil dominated strategy and to the 2 occupations that are shaming us.)

    Former secretary Reich's view is myopic.
    1. Wages are too low because our government represses labor. Large corporations making our policy prefer the cheapest most powerless labor, elsewhere. Our national security is being undermined more by a lack of manufacturing self-sufficiency than anything else.
    2. Gas is "too low" right now because we are between energy speculation bubbles. The price is, and will, rise again. Our government has failed to tax and restrain the fossil fuel energy industry. The demise of the environment is still being ignored. There is an effort now to derail the green energy change as a source of domestic employment at living wages. Our future tax money is about to be squandered on obsolete solutions.
    3. The United States has the economic power to shape and control Israeli policy immediately and completely. Israel is the surrogate of our business interests. Superstitious religious groups are being used as a pseudo-moral militia to protect these policies.
    My conclusion: Caitalism has failed to serve the general interest, to maintain an economy or sustain the environment. Our government can never be reformed under capitalist (now global) dominance. It does no good to replace wipers on a car with a blown engine. (I feel sorry for people lost in pointless detail.) So what do we do? We see our destination across the Interstate, but there is no sidewalk, no way to cross, no legal way to get there. (But don't listen to me, big boys, I'm only an insurance clerk.)

    David H, this guy looks like he has a good healthcare plan, but it doesn't seem to matter.

    http://www.infowars.net/pictures/jan07/020107dyingfreedom.jpg

    Sorry, after your 1:11 PM post.

    ...trilogy

    [Newcomers: I usually try to be more cogent.]

    After your 1/6, Irene, yeah I'd still want to talk to you. But this one is more like the back of "Untitled" by the Birds. Maybe phenomenology is best after all. Klark I dunno. Suddenly according to him David H was all into money. Because I think Kuttner is worth quoting?

    The outreach program sounds great.

    Have you read The Book of Bebb triology?

    I've seen criticisms of carbon trading...look heavy but I've just scanned'em.

    I started knowing what hard times were like when I heard my mother and grandmother discuss them after dinner sometimes. Further along...shovelling grain, get'n straw in the dust, and unload'n boxcars all in extreme cold...helped me imagine even better. I know the whole flavor of this land will change when folks who haven't had it tough suddenly have a different life.

    I like links because since 9/11 there have been scads of great writers. Only problem is they're pushed along to triage matters instead of poetry and fiction. But, of course, it's triage out there; what else can they do? It's kind of weird, because it's one of the few criteria I can think of that show our system works...the articles at Common Dreams for example (of course where it works heavy support and contributions are in great, great demand). For those who don't have a high speed connection I don't imagine the system is working for music, just like it's not gonna work for TV according to Macek and Szczepanczyk over at C.D. today (or was it yesterday; pronounce that last one!). But for writers it's still working a little.

    Moyers is great because of his show and because he got "Now" going. He's not perfect (who is?), but the links have a purpose...say for instance with respect to a view I take which obviously he does not...say I should try to demonstrate that Girard's maybe as heavy as Joseph Campbell (that sounded too much like competition, not my intent). In theory Moyers has left that option open to us, and the threads here are uncluttered and in general not too shabby.

    I'm sounding I'm sure a bit cryptic myself tonight cause I've been trying to figure out how to use the same letter over and over to state delegates in my email all day today (my day off).

    Boy, I hope a day will appear outta nowhere when I'll have time to look up the stuff you mention.

    I guess Jack's stuff isn't too far away. I should find some time again. Why don't you summarize it? I'm try'n to get another guy to do this who sez I should go to a Zionist website (cause they're not biased on the subj of Afghanistan, only on Israel vs Palestinians). Maybe you're right about links...try say'n it in words?

    Who else sees what I see?
    “This republic needs extensive rehabilitation.”
    Yes, you are one thousands percent correct.
    You do not give any specific recommendation where to start
    for the “extensive rehabilitation!”
    I recommend “Amend the CONSTITUTION!”
    Empower the people to “participate in the process of
    democracy”. To accomplish the needed
    “extensive rehabilitation” the people must be able to express
    their “WILL on ALL ISUES!”

    David H.- Thanks for your comments. You may not want to associate with me. I am Irene E. I am associated with Beret Co-op and the Figgers and was recently responsible for hooking Mouvinon up with the Howards (Gladdie and Grady Lee) in NJ. Jack Martin was provocative and he tried to teach us to question our own assumptions and ideology. He had an outreach program in which he took the poor and indigent to doctor's appointments. We also studied home heating in this area. They taught arts and crafts to working people for free, including myself. I was impressed by Klark's (a wrecker driver) interest in water quality and his attempted interpretation of Figgers economics.

    I like your evidential based writing, but we were taught not to quote authority too much and not to post links. The rationale is that our informed opinion as we do research and discuss is just as valid as anyone else's, and that includes Moyers or the CIA director.
    Ideally every sentient citizen should be competent to contribute. This comes from Margaret Mead, Myles Horton and Ivan Illich, and other activists. Also, if people should have priority over corporate interests we should act as if this is already so. This attitude, my version, seems to work for me pretty well, because it helps me write and not get depressed. I like animals and I am a vegetarian: These can be difficult choices in rural NC.

    Grady Lee was the fly in our ointment. He started working for the Pachmama Alliance and Jack disapproved because it was too "apolegetically middleclass" (like trading carbon credits instead of conserving). Working people here are just not receptive to "awakening in the dream." We have similar problems to people in poorer foreign countries, but Jack and Coley preferred leaving that realization to individuals as they self-developed. Their first step was to ask people what they'd wish for if they could have anything. They'd listen and ask questions like Socrates. When they found something they could provide that was harmless but helpful and was what people had asked for they'd do anything to provide it. Grady was Jack's friend but he used to mess up all the communications and publicity. By the time Grady got intestinal blockage, nearly died in Texas, married Gladdie and went to work for Goldman Sachs he'd nearly ruined the entire Folk School. Then the landlord evicted us for being agitators. We continue with a small office.

    Right now Jack and Coley are in Geneva, trying to salvage the Figgers Foundation. The CERN scientist who managed it (Dr. M.V. Eigpt) lost at least half the endowment. They want to move the entire thing to the USA. We'll see how it comes out.

    You probably don't care about this stuff, David H., but I do. I'm trying to make a website before they return although they insist it isn't necessary. I hope Grady stays in NJ, but Gladdie could come back and make more pita bread.

    It's soggy and raining here, but 60+F. Scrap metal prices are way down and the scroungers are hungry. Obama needs to send agricultural commodities to feed them. (Or do we not have surplus cheese and rice anymore, maybe not?)

    Something tells me, Irene, this message board was created for relating the kinds of things you observed. I am glad there are Americans like you who, when they get on these boards, do not forget what they've seen that's worth relating. There is no doubt about one thing: the space you took up was not wasted.

    Probably many of us are torn between describing vs boiling down some etiology of what you say is disease. It would be helpful for us to agree on actually how the empire is diseased so we can relate this to our public servants when we communicate with them. They should begin to discover that it is diseased. I am tired of formulaic hoping-for-something-new-and-better-in-the-new-year-messages. Maybe if enough of us tell them what is wrong they will actually discover what it is themselves. When I write mine today I am going to cite the paradigm Thomas Frank sees ("Rule Four: Run up the debt, declare a crisis and cancel social services." from "The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule). Let me, in my own words, be clear about what Thomas Frank is saying: Running up deficits is a purposed activity to make sure that the electorate associates the woeful cleaning-up-the-muck-experience with the Democratic administration that follows...associated with Democrats. I will probably also share with them the Kuttner and Krugman quotes I put up in the post before yours.

    To go deeper...even though "criminals ride," that doesn't cause Americans to cease wanting to be like...or appear to be like those who "ride." The scramble to be like those who ride...is something Rene Girard gets into (and the Girardian scholars). The twist I see is that our sacrificial victims today are not all that observable. They're sort of hidden. You saw them, and your description here is just about all the system can take. In fact the system still needs some cognizance of these victims or Girard's paradigm would not apply at all. But how often does "Now" for instance go into these places? HIPPA is the reason they'd probably give, but can't freedom of information override HIPPA?

    Attempts at an ultimate etiology are probably not as important as writers like you just describing here what they see.

    "Workers Laid Off, Execs Paid Off" is what is going down, but accomplishing "maintenence provisions" in our current environment means a cost to everyone not under the wheel of the wagon. You are right IMO that money borrowed from the future will not do the trick while everyone on the top ponzi tier just goes on with business as usual. It's obvious that those riding will have to make some sacrifices in terms of purpose, function, and calling...towards the maintenence.

    The confidence , resource value and productive action of the people as individuals maintains the health and integrity of the state. In the recent election an elder candidate stumbled upon the axiom:
    "Understanding the reasons for and being willing to pay taxes is a patriotic act."

    Sunday I visited a convalescent and retirement home with 172 residents. Thirty-four were being treated for bacterial pneumonia with antibiotics and steroid aspiration. More than 120 of the residents are permanent in that they are indigent. All their property has been liquidated and their social security benefits are combined with Medicaid payments to cover their care. Some lack even pocket change. Permanents will die here or after a quick trip to the closest emergency room. Many did not have a visitor last year. 95% are confined to wheelchairs and bed. One fourth of those infected with pneumonia die each winter. They are cared for by low waged attendants who barely support themselves. Workers spend an inordinate amount of time toileting and cleaning their assigned patients. The facility reeks of feces and disinfectant which makes the institutional food impalatable. On a good day an aide serves 26 patients several times. Some must be spoon fed and all bathed. This is among the better of 22 such facilities in this county.

    On Monday I visited the county tax office. Two hundred taxpayers were lined up in an effort to avoid a 10% penalty. These are the nominal property owners. A large fraction of the payment goes for Medicaid, and about the same for public schools. Many were elderly, barely ambulatory. Half were markedly overweight. Many younger people seemed in poor health. Almost all were shabbily dressed and half of the younger ones had crude tattoos and piercings showing from beneath their winter clothing. Twenty percent smiled with rotten or irregular teeth. Outside some smoked and spit. Those better off probably mail in their taxes or maybe pay the late fees.

    Tuesday I was in Walmart about 4 p.m. The customers there were mostly shabby and sick too. They paid, mostly for food, with credit cards and food voucher cards. Except for a few remaining Hispanic immigrants buying fresh tomatoes and large tortilla packs, bean and rice sacks, and large quantities of chicken, food-like substances and snack foods were preferred. The cashiers were not well either. Their backs were hunched and they were lethargic. Some wore wrist braces. Others worked their colds with kleenex. Their attempts at uniforms were often comical. The lines were long and some called out for restroom breaks. Aging cars patrolled the lot seeking a close space. About a fifth had handicapped placards hanging from the mirror. (Handicapped seems a mark of heightened status here.)

    Wednesday I watched a documentary about young American soldiers in Afghanistan. They struggled on the rugged terrain as if they'd never walked outside the mall. They described themselves as bait and targets, holding their automatic weapons above cover without looking to discharge a clip. When a humvee was trapped in a shallow gully they were unable to extract it by towing and so burned it with incendiary grenades. I imagined them at home in their dark dens absorbed in video games. I guessed they were impaired in physical perception skills. Their hearts were clearly not in the occupation.

    An idealized state would not require elite leadership but would operate in accord with the general needs and goals of the people. Such officers as required would be selected by merit and capability and would not require special compensation.

    This empire is diseased because it has failed to accomplish maintenance provisions. It cannot be sustained under present methods no matter how much the "economic pump" is primed. There is a healthier, working minority but it is apparent that they cannot hold up a concrete sky. Some lucky people feel entitled and do not want to work hard or pay taxes. This republic needs extensive rehabilitation.

    The people are rotting in their tracks. Some are pushing the wagon and some are being dragged. Some are under the wheels or in the ditch while criminals ride.


    Who else sees what I see?

    Let me just say this: Virginia Governor Tim Kaine ("Dem") wants to shut down a facility for the intellectually challenged a portion of whom are developmentally disabled. Two hundred residents, four hundred staff. Shut it down. All such resident populations are highly dependent on regular regimens/schedules. But Tim Kaine wants to move them out of their home. I say these individuals have special rights, rights to constancy and familarity in routine...which imparts to them a sense of security. This measure alone will cover 16% of the state's deficit by my calculation (proceeds from projected land sale). And that's why it's being done. The rights of the residents to a home and to a familar schedule within the setting that is their home, the way I see it, are being abrogated.

    Is Patterson shutting down such facilities? If he manages not to, even with the imperfect remedies like a soda tax, he's light years ahead of Kaine.

    "One of the things that the federal government ought to do is it ought to have emergency aid to states and cities." Robert Kuttner
    http://phoenix.swarthmore.edu/2008/02/07/news/a-chat-with-robert-kuttner

    "What can be done? Ted Strickland, the governor of Ohio, is pushing for federal aid ... on three fronts: help for the neediest, in the form of funding for food stamps and Medicaid; federal funding of state- and local-level infrastructure projects; and federal aid to education. That sounds right...

    And once the crisis is behind us, we should rethink the way we pay for key public services.

    As a nation, we don’t believe that our fellow citizens should go without essential health care. Why, then, does a large share of funding for Medicaid come from state governments, which are forced to cut the program precisely when it’s needed most?" Paul Krugman 12/29/08
    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/12/paul-krugman-fi.html

    see also
    http://bailoutmainstreet.com/

    "FACING DEFICITS, MOST STATES ARE IMPOSING CUTS THAT HURT VULNERABLE RESIDENTS" by By Nicholas Johnson, Elizabeth Hudgins and Jeremy Koulish, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 12/23/08
    http://www.cbpp.org/3-13-08sfp.htm

    [PS The specific case (shutdown, cut-off) that's bothering me previewed with a bunch of strange spacing when I pasted it here...a little of which is still evident above. I took it out of the box where I composed it prior elsewhere (decided not to post it there), put it in TextPad, & then repasted it here. Guess I'll have to re-type it. Guess I'll finally have to learn the split screen command for above mentioned WP.]

    Before I bring up everything germane to "the evidence"...germane to the CBPP article I alluded to below, I would like to interject that Bill did ask Patterson why he wasn't hitting the rich. As far as I can see, though, the only way to hit'em up that the majority could really get behind would be to ration gas and make purchases beyond allotement dear.

    Rationing it seems to me could be handled somewhat like taxes, similar data bases. Lower income folks with families having had the misfortune of buying SUVs would have longer to move to more fuel efficient vehicles...so they'd get more coupons for a longer period.

    David F, it looks like you have really gotten into it. I look forward to going over what you're saying. Thanks for trying to help me with my questions.

    At this moment, however, I'm more than a little concerned about a thing going down in my state, which I had feared might be pretty typical. It took me a while to find the evidence (so flim flammy are the "paid bloggers" vs "the community" on the net these days), but fortunately one article tells it all (where are other versions of this story?). This one closing of a training center for the intellectually challenged here in Virginia (by a Democrat governor)...and all that it implies about yes-we-can vs the official-but-hidden-trickle-down-power-brokers-we-all-should-mimic is getting my attention.

    Over at the wrecker shack they have a macaw that is supposed to be able to talk. The car parts guy gave them a CD of phrases to teach the bird to talk. "I love you" and "How's it going?" repeat incessantly for 5 minutes when a track is cued. I think relief for working people will be limited because they will plead an empty treasury. I know Barack is worried. I imagine he is out there in Hawaii listening to his talking points, like a very studious macaw.

    When I was a little boy, our family had very little money. When I wanted new toys, as a way of saying we did not have money for toys, my mother would tell me, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” --- If it doesn’t grow on trees and it’s not found as a naturally occurring substance, where does it come from?

    Someone must manufacture it, but who? We know the government doesn’t issue it because we have a massive national debt of more than $10 trillion. Some other manufacturer must make a different brand of money – federal reserve money.

    The manufacturing process creates federal reserve money, out of nothing, as debt extending it into the economy as loans and bonds. Money equals debt, so the more debt the more money in the economy. The nation’s debt is estimated at more than $53 trillion as of the beginning of 2008.

    The problem is interest! The loans and bonds that created the money must be repaid with interest, and no one created money to pay the interest. If the interest rate is 5%, the interest payment will be $2.65 trillion.

    Because there is no interest fairy, just as there is no tooth fairy, the interest must be paid from the existing money supply. Paying the $2.65 Trillion from the money supply leaves jut $50.35 Trillion to pay a $53 trillion debt; an impossible contract – this manufacturer can’t make enough money to make the system work.

    David H. wrote:

    they turned the mortgages into other instruments as they went from holder to holder.

    I don’t know. Were the banks repeatedly selling these packages back and forth to each other, so they could keep skimming off the profits, or maybe this was done by hedge fund regulators? I’ll look around.

    My concern deals with the credit-default swaps. We know investment houses like AIG, Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns sold them, but we don’t know who (partners in crime) bought them.

    But, as a senior Lehman executive told bankers and regulators at the weekend prior to Lehman’s bankruptcy filing, “[w]e have no idea of the details of our derivatives exposure, and neither do you.”

    But AIG had a little trading business on the side that was involved in the creation and selling of credit default swaps. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/1108peterson.html

    ------------------------------------
    JOE NOCERA: Right. And they made they did had one division that did a lot of dumb things with derivatives and credit default swaps. And now they're paying the price. And the price they're paying is they have to send this money out as collateral to their trading partners. We don't know who those partners are. We don't know what the collateral, how much the collateral is. We don't know who we're propping up by sending this money to AIG. And it's really shameful. http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/11212008/transcript3.html

    With globalization in high gear, I think the partners are the Saudis (don’t worry about that country behind the curtain, Dorothy) and maybe the Chinese. While CNN and MSNBC (Fox is a given) are spinning their wheels with Madoff, Blagojevich, Palin, missing Florida children (lions and tigers and bears, oh my)…, they are allowing (enabling) T-R-I-L-L-I-O-N-S to be stolen. Oh well, I have to go now, CNN is doing a report on how our politicians use the phrase “you know’ too much, I think it’s braking (not breaking) news.

    (Also, who’s pulling the Pakistan and Hamas strings? Follow the money…Are wars just distractions so globalization can advance?)

    David H. wrote:

    they turned the mortgages into other instruments as they went from holder to holder.

    I don’t know the details, but NOW’s “Credit and Credibility” (about 5 mins into video) gives a pretty good overview. Thousands of mortgages are collected into a pool called a Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) which is then divided into bonds, then they scrape together the BBB rated bonds to create a CDO, and then with Fuzzy Math, the majority of the CDO gets a AAA rating. Now, the banks can not only sell their AAA bonds for top dollar, but the BBB bonds (dressed as AAA) as well. http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/446/index.html

    As for the “went from holder to holder,” I don’t know. Were the banks repeatedly selling these packages back and forth to each other, so they could keep scrapping off the profits, or was this done by hedge fund regulators?

    My concern deals with the credit-default swaps, we know investment banks sold them, but we don’t know who (partners in crime) bought them.

    But, as a senior Lehman executive told bankers and regulators at the weekend prior to Lehman’s bankruptcy filing, “[w]e have no idea of the details of our derivatives exposure, and neither do you.”

    But AIG had a little trading business on the side that was involved in the creation and selling of credit default swaps. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/1108peterson.html

    ------------------------------------

    JOE NOCERA: Right and meanwhile, you've got a situation where, you know, AIG is sucking up government money like crazy. I mean, they're over $100 billion. They have kept coming back for more. And nobody knows where that money is going. That's taxpayer money. What institutions is AIG, AIG is using this money for collateral.

    DEBORAH AMOS: It's a big insurance company, AIG.

    JOE NOCERA: Right. And they made they did had one division that did a lot of dumb things with derivatives and credit default swaps. And now they're paying the price. And the price they're paying is they have to send this money out as collateral to their trading partners. We don't know who those partners are. We don't know what the collateral, how much the collateral is. We don't know who we're propping up by sending this money to AIG. And it's really shameful. http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/11212008/transcript3.html

    With globalization in high gear, I think the partners are the Saudis and maybe the Chinese. While CNN and MSNBC (Fox is a given) are spinning their wheels with Madoff, Blagojevich, Palin, missing Florida children…, they are allowing (enabling) trillions to be stolen. Oh well, I have to go now, CNN is doing a report on how our politicians use the phrase “you know’ too much, I think it’s braking, not breaking, news.

    David H. wrote:

    they turned the mortgages into other instruments as they went from holder to holder.

    I don’t know the details, but NOW’s “Credit and Credibility” (about 5 mins into video) gives a pretty good overview. Thousands of mortgages are collected into a pool called a Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) which is then divided into bonds, then they scrape together the BBB rated bonds to create a CDO, and then with Fuzzy Math, the majority of the CDO gets a AAA rating. Now, the banks can not only sell their AAA bonds for top dollar, but the BBB bonds (dressed as AAA) as well. http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/446/index.html

    As for the “holder to holder,” I don’t know. Were the banks repeatedly selling these packages back and forth to each other, so they could keep scrapping off the profits, or was this done by hedge fund regulators?

    My concern deals with the credit-default swaps, we know investment banks sold them, but we don’t know who (partners in crime) bought them.

    But, as a senior Lehman executive told bankers and regulators at the weekend prior to Lehman’s bankruptcy filing, “[w]e have no idea of the details of our derivatives exposure, and neither do you.”

    But AIG had a little trading business on the side that was involved in the creation and selling of credit default swaps. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/1108peterson.html

    ------------------------------------

    JOE NOCERA: Right and meanwhile, you've got a situation where, you know, AIG is sucking up government money like crazy. I mean, they're over $100 billion. They have kept coming back for more. And nobody knows where that money is going. That's taxpayer money. What institutions is AIG, AIG is using this money for collateral.

    DEBORAH AMOS: It's a big insurance company, AIG.

    JOE NOCERA: Right. And they made they did had one division that did a lot of dumb things with derivatives and credit default swaps. And now they're paying the price. And the price they're paying is they have to send this money out as collateral to their trading partners. We don't know who those partners are. We don't know what the collateral, how much the collateral is. We don't know who we're propping up by sending this money to AIG. And it's really shameful. http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/11212008/transcript3.html

    With globalization in high gear, I think the partners are the Saudis and maybe the Chinese. While CNN and MSNBC (Fox is a given) are spinning their wheels with Madoff, Blagojevich, Palin, missing Florida children…, they are allowing (enabling) trillions to be stolen. Oh well, I have to go now, CNN is doing a report on how our politicians use the phrase “you know’ too much, I think it’s breaking news.

    They didn't want to provide good work for Americans that would have delivered the salaries to pay the mortgages. Instead they wanted impressive numbers, and they went a convoluted route to get'em. Lemmie know if I have this right: they turned the mortgages into other instruments as they went from holder to holder. That meant the banks who had had to fudge the borrowers' qualifications no longer had to worry about'em. It's too elaborate. It's too insane. Instead, why not manufacture exportable products? Healthcare for workers too much of a burden? Ok, then run healthcare just like Ellen Brown recommends doing the money creation (let the gov do it, not private banks). Let a single fund pay the bills, not 1500 HMOs.

    BTW, the Alternet article came closest to explaining how the actual mortgage payments found their way back to the sliced & diced instrument into which they had been placed. Maybe there are those on the outside of this stuff who can imagine how such things work, but for me it was perplexing (and that's just like basic basics).

    David H., no rush. I’m not really into all this financial stuff anyways. All I was trying to do was insert this into the conversation:

    The Repugs are now blaming Dems, Fannie and Freddie for these subprime loans. Here’s how a Saudi Arabian spokesperson, Geo. War Bush, sold them to America:

    That's why I've challenged the industry leaders all across the country to get after it for this goal, to stay focused, to make sure that we achieve a more secure America, by achieving the goal of 5.5 million new minority home owners. I call it America's home ownership challenge.

    And let me talk about some of the progress which we have made to date, as an example for others to follow. First of all, government sponsored corporations that help create our mortgage system -- I introduced two of the leaders here today -- they call those people Fannie May and Freddie Mac, as well as the federal home loan banks, will increase their commitment to minority markets by more than $440 billion. (Applause.) I want to thank Leland and Franklin for that commitment. It's a commitment that conforms to their charters, as well, and also conforms to their hearts.

    This means they will purchase more loans made by banks after Americans, Hispanics and other minorities, which will encourage homeownership. Freddie Mac will launch 25 initiatives to eliminate homeownership barriers. Under one of these, consumers with poor credit will be able to get a mortgage with an interest rate that automatically goes down after a period of consistent payments. (Applause.)

    Fannie Mae will establish 100 partnerships with faith-based organizations that will provide home buyer education and help increase homeownership for their congregations. I love the partnership. (Applause.) http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/06/20020617-2.html


    Sorry folks, you'll have to paste the link in previous post in your own window.

    There's a ton of things about'em I don't get. But if there was no official record of all of'em it doesn't seem sane to doll out money and hope Paulson & Co get it to the right folks. Computers could have tracked all of it, but since they didn't there can be, as far as I can see, no accountability.

    These illustrations get me. We need a whole book of illustrations!
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/02/17/business/20080217_SWAP_1
    _GRAPHIC.html

    Couldn't resist.

    David F, I found two Peterson articles, and I thought I saw at D&S something that said the series was 3 part...but I'm not sure if I came across your link (the 3rd?) until tonight.

    The segment you quote brings scores of questions to my mind (as usual). Since I have to prepare for the "priviliged" life that begins tomorrow morning I can't even begin to list them. Instead, for the time being, I'll attempt a quantum leap ahead to a sweeping indictment someone linked over at newcafe dot org (his link isn't working for me now, but I found another)...

    Guess Quinn's after a windmill not mean enough for the Don.
    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article7972.html

    Now I'm two behind, David F. But it's good stuff and I look forward to reading it!

    David H., your dollarsandsense.org links seemed a little old (12/07 and 2/08), so I found an article by Larry Peterson from 11/08 and here is a little of what he has to say about CDSs:

    But, as a senior Lehman executive told bankers and regulators at the weekend prior to Lehman’s bankruptcy filing, “[w]e have no idea of the details of our derivatives exposure, and neither do you.” So if one of the big players in the market was conceding that the firm had no idea of what the most basic conditions in that market were, it showed that the opacity that could exist there might, far from becoming reduced, be worse than pessimists had feared. And if that was true, Lehman, with estimates of $400 billion of written credit default swaps alone, sent a clear signal that the ramifications of letting it, or any other likewise exposed firm fail, could be horrific indeed, and extremely prolonged and tortuous (as the vastness of the competing legal claims could conceivably beggar belief); and the generalized impact of such failures could have a fearsome effect on further lending and, hence, on economic activity vital to the avoidance of recession.

    ...

    AIG, an insurance company, wasn’t technically eligible to take advantage of the emergency-financing lifelines the Treasury had thrown Wall Street firms after the fall of Bear Stearns. After all, it was their job to insure others—which seemed to entail an operative familiarity with risk—no? But AIG had a little trading business on the side that was involved in the creation and selling of credit default swaps. These instruments, a significant part of the $515 trillion (in 2007) derivatives market, allow investors to bet on the financial health of companies. So, many investors could hedge their investments against default by companies they had invested in, while other investors could draw income from the former investors, while remaining liable for big payouts in case of actual default. Investors could even buy CDSs on companies they didn’t even invest in; and this inverted pyramid structure was one reason why the market attained the gigantic size it did. The CDS market was also super-charged by the extra-low default rates after the dot.com era, which were, in turn, made possible, to no small degree, by the very low interest rates that characterized that period. Now these unregulated bets didn’t require AIG or any of the other sellers of derivatives to provision reserves against failure to pay out. And they weren’t traded on central exchanges, so there existed no register that sorted out who owed what to whom once-and-for-all. Indeed, derivatives of CDSs were created that amplified the complexity and opacity of liability schemes even beyond this almost indecipherable primary level. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard put it, regarding CDSs on Lehman, “[p]erversely the insured volume is greater than the $150bn total of Lehman debt. Some $400bn of CDS contracts were sold. Many were used by hedge funds to take “short” bets on the fate of the bank. The contracts nevertheless have to be honoured.” The derivatives market isn’t worth $500 trillion (almost 9 times global GDP) for nothing.
    http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/1108peterson.html

    Fortunately I have my Tivo set to record Moyer's Journal so I recorded the premier of Beyond Our Differences, but I find it really disappointing that very few people will see this important and courageous film since it is not available on-line. This thing really needs to go viral and spread across the face of the planet if it is going to have an impact. No way is it ever going to reach its intended audience if they're required to pay $25 to order the DVD.

    Unfortunate, but at least I got to see it and I'll share it with my family and friends.

    Wow, David H., so if we merged the peoples bank into the protestant church, you and David E. could attend the same services. Why are you so stuck on money and banking instead of action solutions stemming from the people? I don't claim any expertise because I'm a working person with a generalized, spotty education. I can only present what I see the way I see it. We're having a discussion, not fighting Armageddon. I'm not trying to take your little clasped fist full of greenbacks. I am a person who has lost interest in money as wealth, except as an injustice.

    I will make a prediction: When hyper-inflation is added to depression in 3 or 4 years (by the high muckity-mucks of banking and corporate globalism)David H. will wish he'd listened to me with an open mind (as I have listened to him by reading his numerous links and considering). Try refuting propositions instead of pissing on them. Think about tactics you'd advocate under extreme scenarios. (Hint; We're under several right now, and you will not maintain your little world in a snow globe under the changes that must come if civilization is to successfully adapt.) Maybe I'll leave Moyers' blogs to you deck chair handlers for a few days. I have films to show and people to listen to; real people with kind eyes and no money; people who realize how good clean water and wholesome food taste, because they thirst and hunger. David H., I doubt you've ever faced any adversity beyond an investment loss, and you deducted that on your taxes. You are in the national and global privileged minority. (But you are still an intelligent person, capable of learning and teaching.) See you next year.

    David F, I look forward to reading your post, but I need to answer Klark. So, until I finish yours, I will have to add my 2 cents on what you've got "wrong" [I'm sure all of us have many things "wrong" about all this] by deferring to my links here at the end of this post.

    "Klark," are you attempting to troll me into socialist talk?

    "David H.: You continue to deny the fact that there is no way out of crushing debt for a 90% majority under the present system of corporate capitalism."

    Where did I deny that? The Ellen Brown article shows the way out, but perhaps you were too busy getting offended that posters would dare to add any analysis on top of all Jack Martin's "greater detail"...to read it?

    "...The more they colonize the material world the more our minds are colonized. Then we are trapped like David H. under capitalist terms, thinking only in their vernacular."

    Don't show water movies. Go get in the water and soak the ol' bean. Where do you get off with that? I quoted Ellen Brown at 9:40 AM yesterday as follows: 'The government could and should have its own system of public banks with the authority to issue the credit of the nation directly.'
    Hey Klark, from the frame of reference of the default standard going down today this suggestion by Brown would probably be labelled socialist (but perhaps your instincts are right, cause personally I don't see why it should be called socialist).

    I don't think jumping up and down here with a
    debt-cancellation wand is going to accomplish much. I don't think projecting error into members of your own camp
    (the choir) will either. We have to justify postponing debt repayment or cancelling it. [And Brown points out how gov can better place created money than private banks.] The system as is today is respected by those with liquidity, and they intend to adhere to it. Selehka's post yesterday seems to have a better handle on the reality of the debt than all these wild accusations of yours; if we don't justify a postponment the reality is our politicians will in effect sell us to different masters [moreso than they have already]. I think Keynes got the conservatives to ease up a bit on Germany after WWI, but one might argue if they'd eased up more we could have avoided WWII.

    Don't worry about me getting access to "detail." I don't look soley to message boards for detail; Bill Moyers demonstrates that professional journalism can still add a bit here and there. And...there are no rules here that seek to establish the formation of a message-board hegemony as an alternative to the professional newspeak hegemony. I could cite all kinds of articles on credit default swaps here if I felt like it and no one in their right mind...or right mood... would come back and say hey, Jack Martin already covered this in more detail. I won't, because I'm not sure how much interest there is; but I will try to get this site's html to manage a few links for everyone's edification...if anyone happens to be in the mood for edification (the site is forcing me to stretch things out into normal paragraph form, but even with these adjustments apparently it doesn't like or can't handle groups of links; btw, the links will appear weird and I'm not sure whether they'll work or not). No, they won't include all relevant detail. And the stuff I personally keep looking for...you and Jack have not provided! But, anyway companero, don't go away mad and don't go away.

    I'll call this one ">Dollars & Sense 1

    And this one I'll call Dollars & Sense 2

    My fav is this one from ">Alternet

    "The Anatomy of a Global Credit Crisis" from The Independent

    A little on CDS and Greenspan from Market Oracle

    And here is Ellen-Brown-080918-354.html">an earlier Ellen Brown article"

    Klark, you and I have spoke about this before, so David H., here’s how I see it. I’m no financial wiz, so please let me know if I’ve got something wrong. I see this meltdown as a one-two-punch, where subprime loans destroyed our banks and credit-default swaps (CDS) crushed the investment houses. (A depression under an Obama admin could be a third punch.)

    Our banks, including CountryWide and IndyMac, made risky subprime loans. These subprime loans were designed to default (where the borrower could not pay back the loan and had to foreclose). For a $300,000 loan with a teaser rate of 1.5%, the monthly payment would be about $1,000, but when this rate expired and the new rate kicked in at 9.5%, the monthly payment would now be $2500. This was more then an uninformed borrower had bargained for. So, when millions of Americans could no longer pay these outrageous monthly payments, they had to default or foreclose on their loans. (High gas prices, less paying jobs, outsourcing and other factors also contributed to mortgage defaults.) All these defaults caused most of our banks to loose billions where some completely collapsed and others were seriously stressed.

    The Repugs are now blaming Dems, Fannie and Freddie for these subprime loans. Here’s how a Saudi Arabian spokesperson, Geo-Bushwhacker, sold them to America:

    That's why I've challenged the industry leaders all across the country to get after it for this goal, to stay focused, to make sure that we achieve a more secure America, by achieving the goal of 5.5 million new minority home owners. I call it America's home ownership challenge.

    And let me talk about some of the progress which we have made to date, as an example for others to follow. First of all, government sponsored corporations that help create our mortgage system -- I introduced two of the leaders here today -- they call those people Fannie May and Freddie Mac, as well as the federal home loan banks, will increase their commitment to minority markets by more than $440 billion. (Applause.) I want to thank Leland and Franklin for that commitment. It's a commitment that conforms to their charters, as well, and also conforms to their hearts.

    This means they will purchase more loans made by banks after Americans, Hispanics and other minorities, which will encourage homeownership. Freddie Mac will launch 25 initiatives to eliminate homeownership barriers. Under one of these, consumers with poor credit will be able to get a mortgage with an interest rate that automatically goes down after a period of consistent payments. (Applause.)

    Fannie Mae will establish 100 partnerships with faith-based organizations that will provide home buyer education and help increase homeownership for their congregations. I love the partnership. (Applause.) http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/06/20020617-2.html

    Right now, mortgage loan defaults may have cost our economy a trillion or two (I don’t the real number), but this is small potatoes compared to CDSs. Some have reported that CDSs may have cost us more than $75 trillion. Here’s a must see video:

    “A CDS is a contract between two people, one of whom is giving insurance to the other that he will be paid in the event that a financial institution or financial instrument fails.” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/05/60minutes/main4502454.shtml

    In a previous 60 Minutes report, Kroft shows how the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 was used to deregulate CDSs and indirectly points the finger at Clinton and Greenspan, but he never mentioned former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas. This Act is also known as the Enron Loophole and while Gramm denies he wrote it, Enron emails prove otherwise. Here’s one: http://www.enronexplorer.com/show_email/143814
    You can search this listing for more: http://www.enronexplorer.com/focus/19185#focus=/search/gramm&
    Gramm has since left Congress and now works for a Swiss bank, UBS AG, which is directly or indirectly owned or influenced by the House of Saud. Also earlier this year, he called us a “nation of whiners.”

    Well, if you didn’t watch the video, it more or less says that CDSs are part of a Shadow Market and they are unregulated side-bets, and a lot of side-bets were made where banks would have financial troubles. So, when the subprime loans cause the banks to falter, the CDS side-bets caused the investment banks (AIG, Bear Stearns) to falter (and the investment houses may have caused our economy to majorly falter (depression)).

    Here’s another good video, NOW on PBS aired it yesterday, and it shows how the credit rating agencies (S&P, Moody’s) allowed fuzzy math to be used when selling risky BBB rated CDOs as more secured AAA CDOs.

    Maria Hinojosa: “So, you just said, that you didn’t have sufficient data to make this huge assumption.”
    Richard Gugliada, former Standards and Poors executive: “Uh huh” or yes.
    Hinojosa: “To me, it’s astounding. If you didn’t have the data and you’re a database credit rating agency, why not walk away?”
    Gugliada: “The revenue potential was too large.”
    http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/446/index.html

    David H.: You continue to deny the fact that there is no way out of crushing debt for a 90% majority under the present system of corporate capitalism. (Maybe I shouldn't re-post Figgers stuff, but it made sense to me. Their departure was what drew me to writing on Moyers' blog.) I'll try to explain.

    I was showing FLOW (the water crisis film, recently released) to a shelter group the other night. They wanted me to answer questions, but I'm no expert, and some of the information was new to me. I surprised myself by explaining how capitalism must intensify its extraction to continue, how it must monetize more and more of the world. Suddenly, an epiphany: The more they colonize the material world the more our minds are colonized. Then we are trapped like David H. under capitalist terms, thinking only in their vernacular.

    What Jack Martin tried to say in technical terms, but that I now relate in simple language is that "Who gives a fiddle-fart if they say we owe 20 trillion or 600 quadrillion?" The average person's understanding of money hardly exceeds the tens of thousands in scope, because the average U.S. yearly wage was only about 34K before the collapse. Any astronomical figure that we can never re-pay is a silly fiction.(Just another excuse for more slavery and debt peonage.)

    Even our 15 trillion annual GDP was an inflated figure to begin with. If Paul Krugman says Obama better not push the national debt over 20 trillion (He said exactly this to Amy Goodman.)he is just whistling out his butt. He knows little more than a plumber, and only hopes he can keep prestige by writing (In support of the wealthy class) in the New York Times. (It's just like Tom Friedman with his roundabout support of Palestinian dispossession and extermination, something even the majority of Israelis oppose.)

    Back to water: Think about how it is stolen from an aquifer and shipped away in plastic (from petroleum) containers. Think how wasteful of energy, labor, materials it is, and how it pollutes. (These bastards even sell you polluted water from municipal taps with a fancy label.) No price can be put on the externality (environmental destruction) the monetization of water causes. David H. would have us metering the theft and counting the bottles, but that would change nothing. (Get a filter.)

    Neither people nor governments are able to regulate global corporate capitalism: It sets all the terms and limits. We have to cut it down to size (human scale community capitalism with caps) and offer alternative forms of enterprise organization. Screw the debt, because the World Bank and IMF vultures will be on the American people next, if you let them.

    As my friend Elmer said,"They could've been giving us healthcare, and a decent place to live, and education with that "yore money" all along. They just couldn't enjoy what they had without seeing the rest of us suffer." (Corporate capitalism is always sadistic.) David H. ; Don't be a tightass sadist, man, decolonize your head.

    P.S. Dennis Kucinich is a kind person, but he is a deluded fool for thinking the tiny Constitution in his breast pocket means freedom. It is so supportive of the current order that it is the mortgaged deed to our souls. Even the Hebrews had a Jubilee every 52 years.

    Sorry, here's the Kucinich link I mentioned below..,

    "Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks"
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081215_rep_dennis_kucinich_on_his_battle_with_the_banks/

    "It's all play money anyway, so why can't the Treasury just void it?"

    It's because of who they put in charge. Paulson wants to "create" bunches of new money. The only thing he wants to void is tax code unfavorable to banks.
    http://www.counterpunch.com/nader12262008.html

    Sorry to relate this, but number 3 is vague, ambiguous, and covers not didley.

    BTW, here's something also quite interesting (includes assasination attempts)...

    "Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks"
    "http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081215_rep_dennis_kucinich_on_his_battle_with_the_banks/"

    David H. and others: for your edification, originally posted in September )and difficult to find):

    post: Oct. 6th


    In order of importance and financial magnitude, here are the primary mechanisms of the current financial meltdown:

    1. Derivatives: Unregulated, unsanctioned gambling of principle players in the financial community, and as Warren Buffet says, they are heterogeneous transactions that are non-classifiable, that by drawing on credit, artificial money velocity, and the updraft of capital, amount to the minting of electronic currency (presently poorly understood, often based on complex computer programs, and unregulated). A longstanding similar speculation is currency exchange (“the carry trade”) and there is also a large bubble of potential debt in this sector.

    2. Hedging: Betting upon negative outcomes and their timing in order to offset unrealized increases in value. (Presently unregulated) They are especially prevalent as ancillaries to commodities trading.

    3. Credit Default Swaps: This is an insurance scheme in which primary players in the financial system guarantee the repayment of one another’s credit instruments. I suspect that they have even guaranteed the pay-off of one another’s derivatives. Credit default swaps amount to the minting of unregulated and unsanctioned money by creating renegade debt. They go far beyond customary mortgage insurance.

    4. Inflationary Dependent Mortgage Writing: Since #1, #2 and #3 are the gargantuan writing of electronic money (the largest inflationary engines ever created), they totally skew the distribution of wealth and credit, so that money value is funneled upward to fewer and fewer holders. When this reaches its ultimate potential, credit freezes up, inflation ends, and the value of everything drops. The result is the classic and inevitable inability to maintain the pyramid scheme of mortgage writing. Inflationary increases in real estate value could never have been expected to sustain such a gargantuan morass of wagering, but when prices began to moderate and fall the debacle was unveiled. A depression ostensibly initiated by stalled mortgage lending and foreclosure is actually a far larger and more dangerous business monster. (Legal but ill advised and poorly regulated) Greed far outweighed the mild effort to make low income citizens homeowners, in fact, the foreclosure and resale of property in inflationary times is profitable in itself and was only undermined by overarching speculation. Fees and commissions in a poorly regulated milieu accelerated the over-extension of credit and liability. The mortgage market was maintained as an easy target for the unscrupulous because it was a little gold milling plant for the elite who hold almost all the wealth. Even had it been well managed and regulated a debt bubble would have been caused elsewhere by the speculative behavior of those holding large blocks of idle money they were desperate to wager. So, while mortgages are at the base of the debt bubble and legitimize it by the threat of general and widespread foreclosure, they do not represent a large portion of the debt bubble in this financial crisis.

    Summary

    By the turn of the 21st Century money value had been accrued into so few hands that new instruments of speculation had to be created in order to keep capital circulating. The wealthy class demanded phenomenal returns but wanted their increasing risks underwritten by the general public through the government. A political move to undermine government social supports and move to a purely laissez faire milieu was also afoot and coincided with the deregulation necessary to keep the wealth updraft operating. Derivatives are purely speculative transactions often based upon extraneous outcomes such as birthrates or weather events. Hedging is more market based and uses negative economic outcomes as a hedge against increased values. It is entirely possible that there are other classes of speculative contracting that have not yet been classified, revealed or described to the general public.

    The insuring of loans is a garden-variety procedure of modern finance. In a home mortgage the buyer is paying a fee to an insurance underwriter for protection of the mortgage holder. Insurers have been collapsed not only by defaults in mortgage portfolios, but also by bundled home mortgages, by commercial mortgages and by the innovation of insurance on the new instruments of risk described above. While the home mortgage load is estimated in the hundreds of billions, the commercial mortgage load may be much greater and the speculation load a magnitude above that. So you see, that while home mortgages are the most readily visible part, and the leading edge of this debacle, they represent only a tiny slice of the potential default pie.

    When this almost inconceivable reality is admitted it makes one wonder how a paltry bailout of 700 billion dollars can be of any help to such a polarized system of obligations. The wealthiest players hold almost all of the liquid assets as well as the debt obligations. These parties, mostly insensible corporate entities, have shown almost nil charity and common sense, but continue to demand payment from a working and commercial world they have brought to utter prostration. The world is unable to repay in a rigged game and now has lessened potential for playing due to limited assets and frozen credit. September 19, 2008 was the day the game ground to a halt and the winners began to hold the populace hostage and demand even harsher rules.

    The way out is to first admit what has happened. This rigged game has resulted in an escalating black hole of money debt. My 57 years of experience on Earth, along with reading, studying and conferring with others, leads me to believe that capitalism, once it reaches a superhuman scale, as enabled by corporate law, will always result in an unsustainable rigged game (partially because of the nature of power and because of the human tendency to cronyism and collusion) with the resultant hazards of fascism and mass murder. It was ironic that the fear of proton collision experiments at the CERN facility in Switzerland,
    that they might result in our subatomic demise, arose just as this crisis became undeniable. Maybe human consciousness, as a hedge against collective anxiety, transferred real economic fears into improbable scientific ones. No amount of mass can satisfy or negate a BLACK HOLE but can only contribute to its intensity. This is a sound and rational analogy. The more money value and debt creation we pour into the financial debacle the worse the human situation on Earth will become. We must “starve the beast” just as corporatarian politicians schemed to do to our government. Corporate and executive welfare must not only be cut off but reversed into tax and penalty extraction from the wealthy class for the use of working people and to maintain those unable to work in humble but dignified security. That is “the plan” because nothing else can work now. A Depression with safeguards for human welfare and economic reforms and reorganization is a lesser evil than the cruel faschistic alternative.

    Posted by: Jack Martin | September 29, 2008 3:44 PM

    Posted by: Figgers Institute- Stanley, N.C. | October 6, 2008 12:59 PM

    Who can argue with that?

    David H.- Jack Martin covered all this in greater detail six months ago. It's all play money anyway, so why can't the Treasury just void it? I usually stop the Monopoly game when one player has all the money and property.

    David E.- So you justify the negative effects of your past employment by saying,"Well, I had to work, anyway, to buy stuff, yuck, yuck, yuck." I have seen you grow in insight and empathy on this very blog, David.(By reviewing all your posts in the archive.) You are a different man than you were a year ago. I admit my "warcrimes" and you can too, but the problem is that you will feel compelled to make amends, because you care. Jesus told the young influential rich guy to sell everything and help people.

    selehka- That is why I'm proud to live in a borrowed camping trailer between a flea market and a junkyard with someone else's two big dogs. That's why I don't charge poorer people for a tow and fail to impound their clunkers. Helping your neighbor is a great pleasure I'll bet. (Keep writing my friend. I'll keep searching for your name. We need you on here.)

    At 2:54 PM on Christmas day I tried to correct a previous total bailout estimate. I went down from six trillion to 5.2 trillion, but today I read a guy at another message board who mentioned that Bloomberg had reported $7.76 trillion.

    He also cited an Ellen Brown December '08 "Yes Magazine" article from which I quote the following...pertaining to credit default swaps (about which, IIRC, I asked some questions on Christmas day)...

    "The problem is that CDS [credit default swaps] are just private bets, and there is no insurance commissioner insuring that the 'protection sellers' have the money to pay the 'protection buyers' if they lose. As loans have gone into default, the elaborate gambling scheme built on them has teetered near collapse, threatening to take the banking system down with it. Now the players are demanding that the government underwrite their bets with taxpayer funds, on the theory that if the banking system collapses the public will have no credit and no money. That is the theory, but it misconstrues the nature of money and credit. If a private bank can create money simply by writing credit into a deposit account, so can the federal government. The Constitution says 'Congress shall have the power to coin money,' and that is all it says about who has the power to create money. It does not say Congress can delegate to private banks the right to create 97% of the national money supply in the form of loans. Nothing backs our money except 'the full faith and credit of the United States.' The government could and should have its own system of public banks with the authority to issue the credit of the nation directly."
    http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=3162

    If all they want to do is answer their blackberry, maybe it's the mission of people like you to help them get to reality?

    I know we thought they'd give us positions where what we are inside could add to the enrichment of humans on earth while we earned our living...but now it's back to: we make our contributions like folks in the middle ages or under Rome.

    At least till the supply side blowback settles.

    Ok - I give up, I concede - no more can I watch politicians and others use flowery words and illogical rhetoric in an attempt to sublety kill the poor. My frustration is so great that no more shall I read blogs or get involved in anything but survival. Of course - thus anything I would say will be ignored because I don't contribute in a financial matter.

    The poor make life inconvenient for the starbucks, wall street and wine crowd. We show up at the most clumsy times to spoil their view of the park or to remind them of those hidden thousands who clean up after them so they don't have to lift a finger to do anything but answer their blackberry.

    The trend to punish the poor continues until they are killed off by lack of medical care, housing, safe work environments, safe living condintions - the list continues.

    I wonder why bother. We talk amongst ourselves - but why bother? We only point out facts that will be ignored by those who control the policies.

    Why do we even bother except to pretend we count for our own ego? I am not rich, so I don't count. I am not powerful, so I don't count. I am not of the Abrahamic faiths so I don't count. I am a nobody who grows weary. No one listens - no one hears and those who least can afford it pay the price. And America continues to crumble.

    I am a reality based person and it is my hope that whomever our politicians sell us too, they will be better masters. Meanwhile, gotta run as my neighbor needs help and I promised I would do so - that is reality.


    Klark,
    Jobs are a necessary part of the social contract...

    We all have to do our part to provide the goods and services that make civilization possible.
    The problems are inadequate wages, hazardous working conditions and jobs not available.
    The quality of our life styles, the quality of our environment and the efficiency of our infrastructure is dependent on sufficient funds to make that possible.
    It is necessary to have an efficient economic system in order to support a quality society.
    That is a fact of life and a straight answer.
    What is your straight answer?

    Mike, when I think back to your point about Bill not framing Patterson's approach in terms of an overarching economic philosophy (supply side policy) which has totally failed...it makes me think of all the levels on which this should continue to be driven home. I might have come across like yes, this point is a given. But as I talk to people it dawns on me they don't even know the difference between the yearly deficit and the national debt. Where has everyone been at? I fear we are like sheep, and have been driven by heroes and models in media. And I can't figure out why Bill doesn't have Rene Girard on this show tonight. People aren't sifting facts and coming up with positions based on the best wholistic evaluations they can manage with such facts. They're attempting to espouse what they think is appropriate for given stereotypes, personalities, models. God help us all. Sometimes I think if I could just get folks to read Naomi Klein they'd see the big picture. But when I think this perhaps I overlook all the chances I've had to go through books, articles and accounts that had been building the case prior all along that she's making today. I get a little weary trying to know how to edge in the mention of a story like John Perkins' for example ("Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"). I'll just need the faith to say the best thing, and if I say it...I probably will be a long way in my heart from imagining the maximum good it might enable.

    The military industrial scientific medical complex. We have to understand each element. The HMO aspect at this moment I think is beginning to click a little...it's role in the whole thing that is. I heard Randy Rhodes tonight [400 miles away on a signal from Buffalo...on the skip...a replay?] making sense about how all employers are overburdened with the insane going rate for employee coverage. Anyway, each aspect is part of the rip off puzzle. The supply side theory is possibly a fifth element...sort of a popular economic philosophy backdrop...or background.

    Meanwhile, when one gets ones "My Bo" account where do you even go to mention things you think? Maybe I'm wrong but access to such threads/pages doesn't seem as forthright as Bill has made it here. What are they talking about? I don't even know. They seem to think I should watch the home meeting videos so I can see if I think it's a good idea. Heck yeah it's a good idea! I don't have to watch the videos to figure that out. But I couldn't watch'em anyway cause my connection's too slow.

    'A lot of people work for insurance companies; a lot of people work for HMOs,' he added in August. 'You've got a whole system of institutions that have been set up.'
    http://www.truthout.org/121808J

    That does not cut it IMO.

    I hope all of us can find ways to explain to the uncurious how deleterous this philosophy's assumptions have turned out. I wish you well in your attempt to do this. But for me, I'm pretty sure I'll end up depending a lot on sleep and the Great Spirit.

    David Eddy: Who you gonna get to do your dirty work when all the slaves (wage slaves) are free? Who ya gonna get? (Joni Mitchell)

    P. S. Try to give me straight answers (not platitudes and cliches) and I'll try to give you straight answers.

    Sorry folks, I erred on the total bailout tab in my post of 1:16 PM today.

    According to my "Marketplace" link in that post the funds allocated (including those spent) plus the funds "promised" are estimated cumulatively as $5.2 trillion, not $6 trillion as I wrote.


    Christmas; a time of reflection and giving...

    The Son of God came to earth to save people from them-selves. He preached love one another and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    The problems we face are the result of greed and fear. We have done terrible things to others to support greedy and sociopathic leaders.
    If we want to save our nation; it will be necesssary to change our system of economics to care for the needy and punish the greedy.
    We need to support the "need" side of economics not the greed side of economics. We need to base economics on providing the necessary funds to support a quality society in a quality environment.
    We need to prevent the supply side of economics from undermining the demand side of economics creating injustice and inequity.

    Trickle down economics does not work...

    Trickle down economics ends up running down the drain pipe and into the gutter undermining economic stability and preventing the demand side of economics from functioning as it should. The end result is the economy collapses and both sides of the economy fail. The ensuing chaos causes unnecesary poverty and deaths.
    We need "trickle up" economics and a supply side that serves all our people; not just the privileged few.
    New years are the beginning of the rest of our lives. We need to do what is right and good for all of our people. It is time for meaningful change through a spirit of Goodwill toward all earth's people. It is a small planet and it is where we live.

    All told...what's spent and/or committed
    now equals $6 trillion, and guys like Patterson want to wait on letting the wealthy help out?

    Nearly doubling the national debt in the span of a year...I don't think, even adjusting for different dollar values or mark values or whatever...there there has ever been a government that has committed a bundle of resources tantamount (again, in its time) to the blood, sweat, and tears represented by such a figure...for sure no where close without a few promises from the borrowers in regard to terms...to build small cars, to keep a talley of where the money goes, etc.

    The stocks AIG insured...what good did they do the economy? Weren't they valued chiefly for their ability to extract wealth? Why are the banks taking our money and buyin'em outright from the owners? Did anyone ask us about this? And what reasons do we have to assume these stocks will resurge and enable these institutions to pay us back? To pay the nation back? But my main question is...if the swaps only existed to insure wealth-extractor instruments, and all the people that forked over the dough had insufficient concern to determine if the original stocks would actually in any way help bolster the entire economy, or if they had any prayer of not tanking, or whether or not their insurer had piled up risk/exposure all the way to the next galaxy...why should they be reimbursed?

    Meanwhile; Pope Benedict and Rev. Rick Warren, by their recent hate rhetoric, may have outed themselves as self-loathing homophobes. (Maybe they should have a date.)
    Claiming that the homosexual minority is poised to destroy humanity amounts to fascist hate speech. Equating the symmetrical affection between two consenting adults to pedophila or incest is just plain dumb white trash fascism.

    Maybe Barack hopes the people will be educated by Rick's "showing his ass" (his patent ignorance and self-loathing). You have to ask yourself: How can these immature and domineering deviants be considered leaders by anyone? Catholics need to impeach the old crony and elect a new sane pope. Warren's congregation and publishers need to cut off his juice. (He is "generous" only in the material realm; what a putz!)
    A tithe or offering is a brutal tax when it is ear-marked for hatred. I'm for cutting those type taxes, especially in a time of need. When churches undermine human rights they should also be taxed proportionately, for such hate is not religion, but fascist politics for the benefit of our parasitic privileged class. (to divide and control)

    A thousand apologies for the above post which was intended for the Sarah Chayes thread.

    It's going to get much much worse David Eddy. The predator class funded and armed al quaida to counter the Soviet Union, and funding and arming the ISI and thier proxy militia the Taliban now. Evildoers today, are tomorrrows freedom fighters, only to shapeshift again into into the next evildoer de jour for the singular and exclusive political and economic gains of the predator class.

    Until the American people stand up, and reject, renounce, and repudiate the predator class - there will be no progress in Afghanistan, Iraq, or against the socalled neverendingwaronterror, because the predator class alone profiteers wantonly from these perfidious enterprizes, and will do everything in their power to ensure that Americans, Afghanis, Iraqis and every one else on earth pays dearly in blood on treasure for the wanton profiteering of the predator class.

    All the pimping and bruting by the message-force multipliers of democratization and liberation is a patent lie. It is disinformation, misdirection, distortion, propaganda, and naked patent lies masking the imperialist policies, fascist designs, and wanton profiteering of the predator class.

    One magic sniper could solve problems in Afghanistan. One successfull covert operation could take down entire taliban or jihadi cells. This never happens because the predator class does not want it to happen, and play both sides of the field against each other for the singular and exclusive wanton profiteering of the predator class alone.

    No one else on earth see any benefit, or any positive gain. Look at reality and events in the field. The only people profiting from America's wayward policies, are the fiends, shaitans, thieves, pathological liars, criminals, and traitors in the predator class.

    Everyone else on earth is forced to burden, hazard, and pay for the costly bloody terrible costs of neverendingwar.

    How bad does it have to get before the government is going to get the intestinal fortitude to stop the rape of the treasury department. It is obvious that the greedy supply side of economics is sawing off the limb they are sitting on. When the demand side of economics cannot support the supply side of economics; the supply side of economics collapses.
    When money goes to the off shore banks; it is no longer working for our economy. It forces use to pay absurd interest on loans when foreign banks have our money with which to work.
    In the mean time our supply side is drowning our citizens with advertisements to buy, buy, buy when they are striped of cash due to the high cost of living and low wages. People are getting where they drool when the ads hit the TV screen.
    How can we be a consummer society with insufficient funds? Why does the supply side of economics always have the working people over the barrel?
    What is even more disgusting is ads trying to hook children on phony preventative drugs and "drugs that don't do anything".
    When do we start calling those who are destroying our country traitors?

    How is this AIG garage sale going to help payback its $135 billion bailout debt?

    AIG is close to a sale of Hartford Steam Boiler, the largest North American equipment-breakdown insurer, to Munich Re for as much as $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the transaction.

    ...
    Liddy has already agreed to sell AIG Private Bank, a unit catering to wealthy clients in Asia and the Middle East, to Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments PJSC for 307 million Swiss francs ($255 million). It is also selling a stake in an insurance joint venture in Brazil for $820 million.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aYc8Vd5vE5zY&refer=us

    Will all their credit-default swap insurance policies be whisked off to foreign countries, giving our bipartisan Congress an excuse to why they couldn’t perform a full investigation?

    And yes, Munich Re might sound familiar to you. They were involved with the 9/11 put-options and short-selling. Remember the bipartisan commission who wrote off this activity as suspicious yet innocuous?

    However, officials have launched a multinational investigation into the unusual trading of a number of securities in the days leading up to the attacks. What also has drawn attention was the short-selling of the stock of Munich Re, a German insurance company whose shares took a sharp and unexplainable tumble in the week before the attack. A short sale is when an investor borrows stock from a broker and sells it in the hope of repurchasing it at a lower price and profiting on the difference.
    ...
    Among the hardest-hit stocks were UAL, which fell $13.32, or 43 percent, to close at $17.50, and AMR, which fell $11.70, or 39 percent, to close at $18.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/09/18/MN63703.DTL&type=printable

    All the supplyside, neoliberal, fundamentalist economics socalled economists are either idiots incapable of performing the most basic math equations, or criminal malfeasant and pathological liars. Conservatives refuse to entertain raising taxes on the predator class for any reason, no more how catastrophic the crisis.

    The poor and middle class are already taxed heavily, not only in terms of real taxes, but in terms of healthcare, childcare, housing, insurance, and other core costofliving costs which do not impact the predator class. The predator class allegedly pays a higher rate on paper and in academic discussions in wingnut thinktanks, - but in practical reality - the predator class pays highpriced taxlawyers to allay or defray or entirely eliminate their tax burden.

    The predator class has benefited wantonly from eight years of overtly onesided largess from the fascists in the bushgov, and there was no trickle down. If these idiot economists bothered to examine any statistic, - they will surely recognize that America's poor and middle class have lost ground in terms real income, disposable income, tax benefits, entitlements, social benefits, higher educational opportunities, labor bargaining power, jobs, and the dim hope for a job.

    This disturbing article http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JL09Dj02.html points to a previous 1985 article by Ratzinger the current pope, http://www.acton.org/publications/occasionalpapers/publicat_occasionalpapers_ratzinger.php?view=print

    Read them and weep.

    The immorality of economic theory and practice, not to mention the criminality economic theory and practice are doomed to fail.

    Like the Ebola virus, the predator class is so wildly avarice that it destroys itself by consuming all of it's target hosts.

    The predator class has robbed and pillage America for 8 years. The fascists in the bushgov and all the supplyside, neoliberal, fundamentalist economics apologists are idiot incapable of performing the most basic math.

    Debt, packaged as debt intraments, and repackaged as more complex debt instruments with even more exotic debt repackaged and resold as derivative debt products and sold as viable investments is a PONZI shceme, and any idiot or criminal that would brute, defend, support, or apologize for this criminal activity is guilty of financial malfeasance and perfidy.

    The fascists in the bushgov and their supplyside parrots and the predator class have perpetrated the most extreme fleecing (robbing and pillaging) of the American people in history.

    There will be accountability.

    The worst is yet to come as anyone who can do basic math certainly knows. Many poor and middle class Americans (many of them children) will not survive the coming economic catastrophic hardship, - many more will be forced into extreme desperation.

    Desperate people do desperate things. The swindlers, thieves, and pathological liars in the predator class, on Wall Street, and in the fascists bushgov imagine they are inulated and safe in their oppulent palaces, and untouchable, immune, supremist, Olympian. They are wildly mistaken. There will be blood, - a reckoning, and a balancing.

    So far it sounds like we're just talking theory. I'm guilty of it myself.

    I think if Keynes were here he'd remind us of those huge, "stimulating" Bush tax cuts. Didn't Obama oppose them at one time? Let's see, they were gonna be temporary and then became permanent?

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x4528759

    Competently run governments should never need to raise taxes during a recession. Keynesian methodology says that governments should run surpluses during times of growth and run deficits during times of economic shrinkage. However; the Federal government of the United States is nothing like competently run, and most state governments are not much better.

    A multi-decade conservative scheme to force government to shrink by "starving the beast" has resulted in highly dysfunctional fiscal policies, and these policies have put us where we are now—massive debts all around and no takers of debt instruments. I believe it was Henry Kissinger who said "the absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously." With plummeting tax revenues and the inability to sell bonds in sufficient quantities to keep governments operating at their current levels, governments will have to shrink while taxes go up.

    The people who deceived us into this spot will ultimately be horse-whipped, but for the now government will have to provide fewer services while taxing more for them.

    I found Governor Patterson's remarks disengenuous. The costs of bailing out the wall street boys for screwing up the financial system have outweighed the costs of education and health care. He is not telling the truth. The government has subsidized the growing of corn for corn syrup for Pepsi products and paid the schools to install vending machines in the schools in NYC. So who is responsible for this problem, the kids who love sugar or the government that peddles it. So the governor wants to get rid of poor people in New York and keep the rich. It is really a type of cleansing. Bill you did not hit him hard at all.

    ...and that's first class!

    =
    MJA

    What would it cost an American in taxes if our government simply went back to delivering the mail, as it was originally designed and intended? $.43 Cents?

    We did it before, and its time to do it again.

    =
    MJA

    Mike, thanks for the clarification. Regarding supply side,
    Bill had James K. Galbraith on two months back speaking in regard to the points in his new book "The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too." I kind of imagine Bill goes along with Galbraith's thinking. [like to see a discussion between Patterson and Galbraith] Back then there was sort of a "feel" that came through the reporting that there was a momentum going. The kibosh must be on that now. Ever since our exit from Vietnam I've understoond a basic strategy of the right wing Republican ideologues is to regroup, putting to use every subtlety, trick, and nuance in the public relations universe. Right now that effort seems geared to fragmenting an integrated notion of all the things their camp got wrong. [since my mother passed away a month ago I've only been listening to NPR and not watching TV news, so my ideas as to what tact that medium is taking aren't really up to speed...I've also been too busy to read my "Media Matters" emails...realized Kuttner was on the NewsHour too late the other day] As jan says below (said prior) when you get down to the details...[after all the hooplah]...looks as though the red carpet could easily reappear in NY for Stockmanesque thinking. Even with this philosophy it's an accomplishment to get a TV interview with Patterson, but it's so strange to see so few rebuttal-messages here in the thread. I'm tempted to start trying to find people willing to withhold their PBS contributions if the Journal can't be aired earlier in my area (currently 9 PM; actually "NOW" should follow the Journal and come on at 9). Don't worry, we'd have to reach critical mass before we mailed the petition!

    Yep...all the things they got wrong. Below I've got some links in regard to HMOs, but I'd like to mention a good source in regard to the financial meltdown as well [which I've mentioned in other threads here]...Advance Google Search "Alternet" and the phrase "Financial Meltdown 101."

    And here's another good one on Healthcare...
    http://dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

    Given Paterson's theory, why do we try to make the wealthy pay any taxes at all? Surely that encourages what he claims as dependence on income that. One would think that all the tax breaks, tax dodges, and other protections against paying taxes that have accumulated over the years that one gathers as a result of wealth would be enough but now we want to drop all pretense of fairness?

    There is something very jarring about talk of not asking the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes after watching the Chayes interview.

    I predict that after forcing Spitzer (who was popular) out of office, getting Paterson in during the financial meltdown and subsequent refusal to force the wealthy to pay their fair share and putting the entire mess on the backs of the working people, New York's next governor will be a republican.

    David H: Sorry, I was not clear. I meant that it's not only fair to ask investors to pay more, it is also pragmatic to do so.

    I was disappointed that Bill Moyers saw it as only a matter of fairness and didn't address it as a failed supply side policy.

    So far all of the "financial rescue" has gone to the supply side, extending the very cause of the problem.

    You could raise taxes to any level you wanted and it wouldn't make any differnce. Taxes are not the issue.

    The Federal Reserve must be abolished.

    Fractional Reserve Banking must be abolished.

    The Federal Income Tax must be recognized as unConstitutional and illegal.

    Once that is done, outrageous spending could be brought under control.

    More taxes! What a joke. Where do you think the money is going? Bailouts for wealthy bank executives.

    Whaddya mean, Mike...saving more taxes for the wealthy until later...is pragmatic? Pragmatic in the sense that he won't get flak for a while?

    Pragmatic to me I guess might mean looking at the individual scams that together melded into the great dearth (amazing privatization issue also last night in terms the last real opportunity-frontier for unethical Republican business moguls...American Eagle...maybe for some Dems too).

    Anyway, derivation of the phrase "Single-payer"...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_payer

    I'll be gone for a bit...doing my shopping duty.

    The Gov. has guts! But he will have to go with the Kennedys or lose out as Hillary did. She lost to Ted's health plan & not Obama.

    Senators Kennedy, Kerry, McGovern, Biden, Edwards conspired to defeat Hillary & Obama happened to be the recipeant. Maybe our country got lucky.

    Hey! Did Paulson really GIVE the banks money & then tell them he would like for them to loan the money out? That may be how he made millions, but he was the one that received the signed, blank contract & then filled in his profit. Same ole' Hank! Just forgot he had changed sides--or did he!?

    There was an employee of a near by counth that stole $1,400 & was prosacuted!

    TO SMALL A CRIME--I guess.

    Billy Bob, Florida
    where the only snow we have is from the DNP

    If the last thirty years have proven anything, it's that supply side economics is morally, financially, and intellectually bankrupt. Yet Patterson continues the mantra, "Give to the investors and they will create jobs." But they don't create jobs, they create derivatives. People are being laid off because of a lack of demand, not because of a lack of capital.

    Bill Moyers asked whether it was fair. It's not just a matter of fairness, it's a matter of pragmatics.

    Before reading others here I'm gonna stick up my thoughts, and hopefully return. If I don't do it now I might put it off. There's a similar version in one other place.

    Yep, workers laid off...execs paid off. Patterson's comments last night do not get to the root. NY's taxes all come from compensation packages for the big whigs? Give me a break.

    Here in Virginia Democratic Gov Tim Kaine wants to take $250 million out of healthcare programs.

    I am sorry to say it but it looks like during the Bush years the states appear to have become chiefly like little cubbyholes where the Federal gov has farmed out/stuffed all its debt.

    Well, the wars aren't working and Wall Street's full of scams. And we can add one more...the scam constituted collectively by the mighty HMOs (significant as Democrats cutting healthcare looks about as insane as things can get).

    Most likely we should now "bracket out" the states from our healthcare theorizing. Few states appear to demonstrate solidarity on measures that would have prevented all these collapses in the first place. Industry, firms, and states are now going to DC and clamoring for money. Yet, they preached not doing this for many years. The large Keynesian pool to which they now go for assistance needs to be understood by all Americans. It's a little bit of an academic mind torquer, and I'm not sure it can happen. But the fact is only guys like Kuttner, Galbraith, and Nader really have gotten to the root (that's the limelight; we know there are others).

    A guy by the name of Richard Hunsicker wrote what's below in July at "The Healthcare Blog"...

    "Health costs can be reduced by 65% if the federal government removes the layers upon layers of unneeded paperwork. There are insurance companies with their overhead and the average doctor employs four to five people to support the office. The doctors wait 90 to 120 days for payment from the insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. This overhead is placed directly on the patient through insurance premiums and cash outlay. Do away with this expense and place the cost of medical services directly between doctor and patient." http://www.thehealthcareblog.com/the_health_care_blog/2008/07/governo r s-saddl.html

    Looks like an even better thread here... http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/12/9/8056/81578/255/670983

    But I'd like to find some related threads that continued on up to this moment.

    David Patterson was more intelligent than I had imagined. If he were really smart though he'd appoint Elliot Spitzer senator. All people are weak and I believe he has learned his lesson, and will not be caught in another sting. Senator David Vitter and Congressman Barney Frank hired prostitutes and remained in office. He is needed as a guardian in the financial bailouts. A rehabilitated person of great ability is preferable to an unknown quantity. Barack Obama has tentatively appointed many noteworthies responsible for lax regulation and bad economic foresight. Spitzer is surely better for the people than Larry Summers, for example. Have we been baited and switched? Spitzer could answer that.

    Just to ask Monad if I may (December 20, 12am), a question. The list of the positive things that have occurred worldwide since Maitreya's appearance is impressive:

    "the ending of the cold war; the break-up of the Soviet Union; the reunification of Germany; the ending of apartheid in South Africa; the growing power of the peoples voice, leading to demands for freedom and justice; and the worldwide focus on preserving the environment."

    But what of Bosnia, Lebanon, the Bali bombing, Palestine, Rwanda, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now the world economic fallout?

    Yours sincerely,

    St John (my real name - pronounced 'sin-jin')

    Sigrid Schultz wrote a book called “Germany Will Try It Again,” and it was published in 1944. Here is an excerpt from the last part of chapter 5:

    Professor Karl Boemer, foreign press chief for Joseph Goebbels, told me, “If America does go to war, there will be the bloodiest revolution the world has ever seen. The vast majority of Americans do not want to fight.”

    “How do you know?” I asked.

    “I know,” he said, “because I toured the whole of the United States.” Boemer went on to prove his point. We were a democratic nation, weren’t we? Then we must be afraid of war. Further, the Nazis were convinced that racial frictions and class hatred could be so intensified by their men on the spot that even without war we were on the verge of blowing up. Boemer said, “The discrepancy there between the poor and the rich is much too great. It is bound to make for an explosion. And when I toured the country, especially the South, the people just loved our racial theories. When America starts slaughtering the Jews and Negroes, the little pogroms we had in Germany will look like nothing. The true patriots of America feel just as we do.”

    When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, they united the U.S. which possibly also foiled this Nazi scheme.

    That is one time we fooled the Nazis; we didn’t have a civil war or sue for a negotiated peace. But the Nazis have fooled us for a long time. Our average American may be poor or prosperous, Jew or Gentile, yet in ways of which he himself may not even be aware, he has been subjected to some of the many Nazi-inspired pressures.

    In many foreign groups German influence has shrunk as its innocent dupes have come suddenly to the knowledge that they have been fooled. But the connections still exist.

    To those who have never knowingly been up against Nazi intrigue, this exposé of the Nazi system can give no idea of the thrilled enjoyment that Hitler’s recruits feel in mapping out their strategy, in cheating those who were “stupid” enough to trust them. The habit of political intrigue is like a drug – once a man becomes addicted to it, the habit is hard to break.

    No matter who is master of Germany after World War II, Hitler’s Nazi ideas will still live on in some greedy hearts within Germany and without. Eager carriers of the Nazi disease, of the pan-German fever, are merely hibernating. It is up to us to keep them impotent.

    For they know how the racket is worked – from the inside. And they’ll try it again.

    McCarthyism began in the late ‘40s and lasted about ten years. In the early ‘70s, Prescott handed his dream over to his son, Poppy; meanwhile the Saudis discovered how to use hegemony. A couple years later, Poppy, Cheney and Rumsfeld all held critical positions in our government. In the ‘80s, our economy would begin its decay, and Saudi Globalization was born.

    The governor talks about sacrificing now for a brighter tomorrow, about not allowing future generations to shoulder our own growing burdens- this is the right mindset to have, but let us be careful when cutting spending in education and health-care. Doing so improperly may end up creating more burdens for future generations, including an even less well educated and more obese citizenry. Cut out the fat in the bloated system, but leave behind the lean, mean, fighting machine.

    It's not only Governor Paterson that is on the Titanic. We all are, but here is an extraordinary
    CHRISTMAS MIRACLE: VERY SOON THE WORLD WILL SEE A LARGE, BRIGHT STAR. IT WILL APPEARIN THE SKY AND BE VISIBLE TO ALL THROUGHOUT THE WORLD BOTH NIGHT AND DAY.
    ===========================

    Christmas Miracle

    For years the world has been filled with miracles of all kinds. In April 1995 Time magazine devoted an eight-page spread to its cover story on miracles, and concluded: People are hungry for signs.

    Look now for the biggest miracle of all. In the very near future a large, bright star will appear in the sky visible to all throughout the world night and day.

    Unbelievable? Fantasy? No, a simple fact. Around a week later Maitreya, the World Teacher for all humanity, will begin His open emergence and though not yet using the name Maitreya will be interviewed on major US television.

    In 1988 CNN and many other media reported on Maitreya's miraculous appearance to 6,000 people in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday 11 June. A week before the event a remarkable sign occurred: On Saturday 4 June a big, bright star was sighted, unusually brighter than ordinary stars, reported Kenya Times editor Job Mutungi.

    For over 30 years artist, author and lecturer Benjamin Creme has been preparing the way for the biggest event in history the emergence of Maitreya and His group, the Masters of Wisdom. In May 1982 Creme revealed at a packed press conference in Los Angeles that Maitreya had been living in the Asian community of London since 19 July 1977.

    Awaited by all faiths under different names, Maitreya is the Christ to Christians, the Imam Mahdi to Muslims, Krishna to Hindus, the Messiah to Jews, and Maitreya Buddha to Buddhists. He is the World Teacher for all, religious or not, an educator in the broadest sense.

    As a modern man concerned with todays problems, Maitreya works behind the scenes of our changing world. The outpouring of His extraordinary energy has been the stimulus for dramatic developments on many fronts: the ending of the cold war; the break-up of the Soviet Union; the reunification of Germany; the ending of apartheid in South Africa; the growing power of the peoples voice, leading to demands for freedom and justice; and the worldwide focus on preserving the environment.

    Maitreya's message can be summarized as share and save the world. He will seek to inspire humanity to see itself as one family, and to create world peace through sharing, economic justice and global co-operation.

    With Maitreya and His group working openly in the world, humanity is assured not only of survival but of the creation of a brilliant new civilization.

    more information: www.Share-International.org

    I don't think there's any way we can grow ourselves out of this without at the same time saving our way out, and given his presentation of the way NY finances have worked recently, it seems he agrees. But I doubt any turnaround will come until determination is made about who shoulders what part of the deficit. If taxing the rich helps that process, then I'm fer it. Alleging that the rich are needed to bring us out of this mess, is about the same as saying that McClellan should have been retained as commander of the Union Army. Taxation will also sop up the excess money that is sloshing around, most of which is in the hands of the wealthy, depressing the value of productivity, and hindering recovery.

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