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Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: Changing the Rules of the Blame Game

A cartoon in the Sunday comics shows that mustachioed fellow with monocle and top hat from the Monopoly game – “Rich Uncle Pennybags,” he used to be called – standing along the roadside, destitute, holding a sign: “Will blame poor people for food.”

Time to move the blame to where it really belongs. That means no more coddling banks with bailout billions marked “secret.” No more allowing their executives lavish bonuses and new corporate jets as if they’ve won the megalottery and not sent the economy down the tubes. And no more apostles of Wall Street calling the shots.

Which brings us to Larry Summers. Over the weekend, the White House released financial disclosure reports revealing that Summers, director of the National Economic Council, received $5.2 million last year working for a $30 billion hedge fund. He made another $2.7 million in lecture fees, including cash from such recent beneficiaries of taxpayer generosity as Citigroup, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. The now defunct financial services giant Lehman Brothers handsomely purchased his pearls of wisdom, too.

Reading stories about Summers and Wall Street you realize the man was intoxicated by the exotic witches’ brew of derivatives and other financial legerdemain that got us into such a fine mess in the first place. Yet here he is, serving as gatekeeper of the information and analysis going to President Obama on the current collapse. We have to wonder, when the President asks, “Larry, who did this to us?” is he going to name names of old friends and benefactors? Knowing he most likely will be looking for his old desk back once he leaves the White House, is he going to be tough on the very system of lucrative largesse that he helped create in his earlier incarnation as a de-regulating Treasury Secretary? (“Larry?” “Yes, Mr. President?” “Who the hell recommended repealing the Glass-Steagall Act back in the 90s and opened the floodgates to all this greed?” “Uh, excuse me, Mr. President, I think Bob Rubin’s calling me.”)

That imaginary conversation came to mind last week as we watched President Obama's joint press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. When a reporter asked Obama who is to blame for the financial crisis, our usually eloquent and knowledgeable President responded with a rambling and ineffectual answer. With Larry Summers guarding his inbox, it’s hardly surprising he’s not getting the whole story.

If only someone with nothing to lose would remind the President of that old story – perhaps apocryphal but containing a powerful truth – of the Great Wall of China. Four thousand miles long and 25 feet tall. Intended to be too high to climb over, too thick to break through, and too long to go around. Yet in its first century of the wall’s existence, China was successfully breached three times by invaders who didn’t have to break through, climb over, or go around. They simply were waved through the gates by obliging watchmen. The Chinese knew their wall very well. It was the gatekeepers they didn’t know.

Shifting the blame for the financial crisis to where it belongs also means no more playacting in round after round of congressional hearings devoted more to posturing and false contrition than to truth. We need real hearings, conducted by experienced and fiercely independent counsel asking the tough questions, or an official commission with subpoena power that can generate evidence leading, if warranted, to trials and convictions – and this time Rich Uncle Pennybags shouldn’t have safely tucked away in his vest pocket a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

So far, the only one in the clink is Bernie Madoff and he was “a piker” compared to the bankers who peddled toxic assets like unverified “liars' loan” mortgages as Triple-A quality goods. So says Bill Black, and he should know. During the savings and loan scandal in the 1980s, Black, who teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, was the federal regulator who accused then-House Speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L’s in exchange for campaign contributions and other perks. They got off with a wrist slap but Black and others successfully led investigations that resulted in convictions and re-regulation of the savings and loan industry.

Bill Black wrote a book about his experiences with a title that fits today as well as it did when he published it four years ago – "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." On last Friday night’s edition of BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, he said the current economic and financial meltdown is driven by fraud and banks that got away with it, in part, because of government deregulation under prior Republican and Democratic administrations.

“Now we know what happens when you destroy regulation,” Black said. “You get the biggest financial calamity for anybody under the age of 80.”

What’s more, the government ignored warnings and existing legislation to stop it before the current crisis got worse. “They didn't even begin to investigate the major lenders until the market had actually collapsed, which is completely contrary to what we did successfully in the savings and loan crisis,” Black said. “Even while the institutions were reporting they were the most profitable savings and loans in America, we knew they were frauds. And we were moving to close them down.”

There was advance warning of the current collapse. Black says that the FBI blew the whistle; in September 2004, “there was an epidemic of mortgage fraud, that if it was allowed to continue it would produce a crisis at least as large as the Savings and Loan debacle.”

But after 9/11, “The Justice Department transfers 500 white-collar specialists in the FBI to national terrorism. Well, we can all understand that. But then, the Bush administration refused to replace the missing 500 agents.” So today, despite a crisis a hundred times worse than the Savings and Loan scandal, “there are one-fifth as many FBI agents” assigned to bank fraud.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “is covering up,” Black said. “Just like Paulson did before him. Geithner is publicly saying that it's going to take $2 trillion — a trillion is a thousand billion — $2 trillion taxpayer dollars to deal with this problem. But they're allowing all the banks to report that they're not only solvent, but fully capitalized. Both statements can't be true. It can't be that they need $2 trillion, because they have massive losses, and that they're fine…

“They're scared to death of a collapse. They're afraid that if they admit the truth, that many of the large banks are insolvent, they think Americans are a bunch of cowards, and that we'll run screaming to the exits… And it's foolishness, all right?

“Now, it may be worse than that. You can impute more cynical motives. But I think they are sincerely just panicked about, ‘We just can't let the big banks fail.’ That's wrong.”

Black asked, “Why would we keep CEO’s and CFO’s and other senior officers that caused the problems? That’s nuts… We’re hiding the losses instead of trying to find out the real losses? Stop that… Because you need good information to make good decisions… Follow what works instead of what’s failed. Start appointing people who have records of success instead of records of failure… There are lots of things we can do. Even today, as late as it is. Even though we’ve had a terrible start to the [Obama] administration. They could change, and they could change within weeks.”

He called for a 21st century version of the Pecora Commission, referring to hearings that sought the causes of the Great Depression, held during the 1930’s by the US Senate Committee on Banking and Currency.

Ferdinand Pecora was the committee’s chief counsel and interrogator, a Sicilian émigré who was a progressive devotee of trust busting Teddy Roosevelt and a former Manhattan assistant district attorney who successfully helped shut down more than a hundred Wall Street “bucket shops” selling bogus securities and commodity futures. He was relentless in his cross-examination of financial executives, including J.P. Morgan himself.

Pecora’s investigation uncovered a variety of Wall Street calumnies – among them Morgan’s “preferred list” of government and political insiders, including former President Coolidge and a Supreme Court justice, who were offered big discounts on stock deals. The hearings led to passage of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

In the preface to his 1939 memoir, “Wall Street under Oath,” Ferdinand Pecora told the story of his investigation and described an attitude amongst the Rich Uncle Pennybags of the financial world that will sound familiar to Bill Black and those who seek out the guilty today.

“That its leaders are eminently fitted to guide our nation, and that they would make a much better job of it than any other body of men, Wall Street does not for a moment doubt,” Pecora wrote. “Indeed, if you now hearken to the Oracles of The Street, you will hear now and then that the money-changers have been much maligned. You will be told that a whole group of high-minded men, innocent of social or economic wrongdoing, were expelled from the temple because of the excesses of a few. You will be assured that they had nothing to do with the misfortunes that overtook the country in 1929-1933; that they were simply scapegoats, sacrificed on the altar of unreasoning public opinion to satisfy the wrath of a howling mob….”

According to, at his March 27 White House meeting with the nation’s top bankers, President Obama heard similar arguments and interrupted, saying, “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that…. My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Stand aside, Mr. President, and let us prod with our pitchforks to get at the facts.


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Just read from one of my news feeds that one of Obama's favorite novels is Ellison's _Invisible Man_. If Obama understands that on the "lower frequencies" this novel is about much more than race, I'm quite convinced that he has a workable game plan up his sleeve in keeping Geithner, Summers, et al., close.

"Live with your head in the lion's mouth. [O]vercome 'em with yeses, undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death and destruction, let 'em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open." (Ellison, _Invisible Man_)

I have a apple book. Everybody say that there are no viruses for Mac and I was wondering if it makes sense to buy firewall software just in case? Are the Nortons of the world just build up fear?

wip: I'm glad you're aware of more than a 401K. It's just a handle they use to control you. This morning on the "Takeaway" (WNYC/APR/ John Hockenberry) an infectious disease expert advised stocking up on canned food, bottled water, flashlights and extra cellphone batteries because in a "pandemic" no one would be operating coal trains or water treatment plants. I asked myself,"What about an AK-47 and plenty of ammunition?" The police get the blue flu sometimes, you know. They say this influenza comes from hog, chicken and human DNA. DNA? Now that's not something you find just floating around in the sunshine. (Ultraviolet kills viruses.) My Haitian friends would work a Frankenstein lab into the conspiracy. (Maybe Dr. Jerimiah Wright too!)I'm a vegetarian (since 2006), so I feel good blaming the pork and chicken factories.

So what do you tell your kids? It won't do any good stuffing cash in a mattress since inflation is coming. College costs more than it's worth now unless your cousin can call Melinda Gates to get you a sweet position. I work 8 or 9 hours 5 or 6 days a week for Morgan Stanley and get about 90K plus bonus, but how long can it last? Two years ago I had been unemployed almost 4 years, and I had to go through a medical emergency (nearly died) before I lucked (maybe unfortunately) into this job. So I share all I can spare with the "resistance" after paying my immediate bills. I've got medical care minus pre-existing condition, so it's nearly worthless. (I keep it for Gladdie who's self-employed as a lighting tech.) I guess you still have a job and a residence wip. I'm not religious but I'd say be thankful and joyous before your kids, and remind them how lucky we are to have transportation, a choice of foods and many amusements. The best any parent can do is be an example. If you get any reasonable chance to support a good cause or oppose injustice (even when you're not directly affected) it will impart good values. Tell them not to fear a pandemic or terrorism (from foreigners), that you don't. When you prepare for the next week in your household do it with wholesome food (less meat)and meaningful educational entertainment. I sit with Gladdie's youth drama group and we read through the plays. We talk about history, values, point of view and motivations. This seems to clarify life for me so I can go back on Monday, although our country is wounded and life is confusing. Don't expect an ideological recipe or the past to offer any good answers. Your kids will find their own if you teach empathy for others and responsibility. And by that I mean the responsibility to call your bosses to account. Remember the "Wire": Nothing good ever got done within the "chain of command." That's why they call them chains.

Captcha: decision bulling

Grady Lee Howard The news media frenzy about the pig/chicken flu is a nice diversion.I guess they need us to forget about losing everything we worked for like retirement homes&family.I honestly do not know what to teach my young children.I used to try to advice them to be on time and give 110% and they would be rewarded.Do good in school not cheat show respect and responsibility.Now it seems to be cheat,lie,steal¬ work because it will not get you anywhere.The banks have been charging us all kind of fee,s on using our own money and getting rich holding our money while not paying us nothing!! Ever notice how the church and politics are one of the same.They both preach forgive and forgeting after they screw us all.Heck maybe the flu will get me at least I can say I have something unlike any future which no one but the rich has.Know what there is a reason guns&ammunition are hot items these days.

Well, Mr. Grady, guess my thoughts & written words did not meld for you.

"...evil torture by the CIA..." does not seem ambigious to me, but, waterboarding is like nazi gassing, starving, etc. millions? I don't follow your reasoning. I agree with McCain that torture should not be the USA way & that it harms us more that helps.

My weak attempt was to suggest that the Atty. Gen. of the USA can now change rules & go back & prosicute any & all involved in the surprise, financial, crisis mess that the FBI had warned was possible.

"I know you think you understand what you thought i said but what you don't realize is that what you heard is not what i meant,"

Billy Bob, Florida

Billy Bob: What in the devil do Nazi-like torture memos have to do with a new Pecora commission? Maybe you are saying you don't want to know where crimes were committed in the Meltdown, or any reforms to be imposed. Right now the Congressional Budget Office has accounted that 300 billion dollars was grafted and frauded away from the 3 trillion dollar bailout. Billy Bob doesn't want any of it back, I guess.

By the way, imagine being waterboarded 182 times between being kept in a small box for a year (before the memos were even completed). See if you can share much "High value intelligence" after that.

ooops line 2 below should have read "...Uncle Al Wants You...". Sort of a poster play off attempt.
Billy bob

Pres. Change now will have his Atty. Gen. rehash the evil torture by the CIA that enhansed Al Quieda in recruiting sucicide bombers, etc. so "Al Wants You" replays over & over.

Does this change mean there will now be a revisiting of Paulson, Gaithner, etc.? Sounds fair & now we have a presi-dunt set by the President.

Was this on one of those afternoon soaps? Must have been.

Billy Bob, Florida if they deny your vote they get your money

Johnny Rocket et al: There might be nothing wrong with the concept of a few persons possessing inordinate wealth if one were describing a static concept. First, let's examine what possessors of great wealth tend to do over time, and the mechanisms of wealth accumulation operate. If wealth were a natural characteristic like my red hair it would be hard to argue against, but it is not. What Johnny is stone blind to is the power dimension, for wealth confers tremendous prerequisites and choices without enhancing intellect or altruism.

My newest hero is Dr. Paul Farmer who works in Haiti (and other places of poverty and misery). He is a medical doctor and anthropologist who operates pragmatically on liberation theology principles. In Haiti he sees unjust suffering of exploited poor people, but believes these poor victims understand better than we in the United States what is happening to them and why.

Forget hamburgers and 401Ks (60 Minutes called them a structural scam last week.) When economies went Global they opened a moral and environmental can of worms that will not be solved from here. We can no longer survive without doing some giving. Didn't you ever think about how wealthy an unemployed American might still be compared to a sick Haitian without clean drinking water, and no way to get it. Don't expect poor (soon-dead) people to fight power for your benefit, though you benefit from their every struggle. You benefit every time they stand up to US business power. What will you give them? Won't you at least share in the common effort?

(Whatever happened to Naomi Klein and the "Shock Doctrine"? What does the IMF have for Americans in its bag of tricks? Is austerity just around the corner for our bottom 80%?)

I'm outside the American box: You be outside the American box. That OK? Very well, until next time.

Orwell argues that in such a dystopian society there is not a true ruling power, only a hierarchy of slaves:

****It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere
near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the
importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one
group and another.**** By the standards of the early twentieth century, even a
member of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless,
the few luxuries that he does enjoy his large, well-appointed flat, the better
texture of his clothes, the better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his
two or three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter—set him in a different
world from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party
have a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we
call ’the proles’.

Understanding this alone is worth $20,000 yearly in untaxable income. How's that for an off-shore account?

"I respect Orwell very much, both as a writer and political commentator. But he got that part wrong. The ultimate sustainable hierarchical society is one in which all people have places to live, food to eat, access to medical care, good education, and meaningful work to do.

"Those who are happy, do not seek to rebel. After all, why bother?"

This is one reason why Europe has universal health care and affordable education. You can't have a large swath of the public feeling as though they are not a part of society. The U.S. better learn this lesson very quickly.

Johnny Rockett writes: " The ultimate sustainable hierarchical society is one in which all people have places to live, food to eat, access to medical care, good education, and meaningful work to do."

The word "meaningful" is, I think most important once the common needs for nourishing food, safe shelter, adequate healthcare and good education are provided for, or made readily available and affordable to all. When people have those as a given in their lives, and when they have the time and energy to devote to something other than keeping skin and bone together, they will start searching for meaningful activity. They would need to see somewhere to direct their energies besides material accumulation.

(Responding to ed's post, below)

The really sad part is that it is in the interest of even the most fabulously wealthy to have a stable, sustainable, responsible society.

Like the rest of us, billionaires need clean air, water and food. Greedy little policies that yield them short-term gain will poison their children just as surely as ours.

A sustainable society benefits everyone. The key for a priviliged group to maintain its position lies not in militar coercion, economic exploitation or public ignorance. It lies in making sure that everyone's basic needs are met.

From my other posts, I may sound like a committed enemy of the rich. That is not the case. I believe that there is nothing inherently wrong with some people having more than others, so long as each person has what he needs.

Living in a mansion is only a moral crime if others are homeless, or if the construction or existence of the structure are overly detrimental to the environment and public good. Eating sumptuous feasts is only a moral crime if others go without.

So long as the rich prevent others from having what they deserve, simply by right of being human, their lives will be diminished as well.

I respect Orwell very much, both as a writer and political commentator. But he got that part wrong. The ultimate sustainable hierarchical society is one in which all people have places to live, food to eat, access to medical care, good education, and meaningful work to do.

Those who are happy, do not seek to rebel. After all, why bother?

I don't think most people today read Orwell closely. They get the idea of Big Brother and stop there. But it is in passages that don't appear all that intriguing on the surface that Orwell pieces together the deeper machinations of hegemony.

Another intriguing idea that comes up in _1984_ is that real change is not going to come from college graduates, but from the dispossessed coming to an understanding of how power works in society and choosing a different path.

It's as simple as eating at McDonald's (or wherever) once a month, if at all, instead of five times -- even choosing Burger King and getting the side salad instead of fries is a viable compromise. It's as simple as buying a very good pair of active wear shoes for $35 instead of Air Jordan's for $125. It's as simple as investing in a $200 commercial juicer and drinking a thirty-five- cent cup of freshly made carrot and apple juice every morning instead of two $1.00 cans of sugary soda a day. It's as simple as....It's as simple as....It's as simple as watching Moyer's Journal ever Friday night and realizing that everyday decisions are intensely political.

Those with some wealth to protect most likely already realize this, as most millionaires live well within their means. It is those without wealth to protect who don't understand the rules of the game.

Perhaps what we might be seeing is that there is a growing group of individuals with the ability to understand the nature of this situation who are being squeezed more and more, and they are starting to pool their efforts. The glitch in the hegemonic matrix was that the system got too greedy and started squeezing those in the middle too much. Had the system been more disciplined it would be in better shape to maintain power for the next 50 ears. It got greedy and scared, and revealed that even it doesn't really have a deep understanding of the nature of the game.

We have schools that are setup around themes of social justice, law, public service, journalism, health care, etc., but few if any of them understand the underlying rules of the game. Instead, they superficially implement programs they think are bringing about the necessary change. Programs that work are very simple to implement, but there are elements in play that divert and distract attention from the needed strategies. and this is done in a systematized that includes how particular individuals are moved into decision-making positions.

New idea for a themed high school: The Orwell School for critical thought, where from day one you follow Alice down the rabbit hole. Note: Harvard MBA's need not apply for administrative positions. Please see accounting office.

Kids in elementary and secondary schools do get it when teachers are allowed to teach.

Bill Moyers is the perfect person to put his name and support behind such a school.

Ed writes: **** " For if leisure
and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who
are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to
think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner
or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on
a basis of poverty and ignorance."

This might be what is now the most important challenge. Humanity is awakening, and the growing awareness is more powerful than an atomic bomb.

Share and save the world.

Dickran wrote:"I believe there will always be financial disasters... economics and finance are.....experimentation. This is uncharted territory for anyone."

Thanks for your answer. But I still cannot comprehend how so few can experiment so much with the lives of so many. Do you think that there is a chance that someone would set boundries to the risk allowed.

I have a friend who says it was not George W Bush whose administration announced its intent to be compassionate conservative and therefore reduce interest rates and create a way for many American to enjoy home ownership. Have we just overdone it, or has some dam broken somewhere?

Grady Lee Howard invokes Orwell.

Abandon all hope, ye who read below.

Excerpted from Orwell's _1984_

Passages set of with "****" signal mind-blowing insight.

War is Peace

[....]War has in fact
changed its character. More exactly, the reasons for which war is waged have
changed in their order of importance. Motives which were already present to
some small extent in the great wars of the early twentieth century have now
become dominant and are consciously recognized and acted upon.

[....] With the establishment of self-contained economies, in which production
and consumption are geared to one another, the scramble for markets which was
a main cause of previous wars has come to an end, while the competition for raw
materials is no longer a matter of life and death. In any case each of the three
super-states is so vast that it can obtain almost all the materials that it needs
within its own boundaries.

Whichever power controls
equatorial Africa, or the countries of the Middle East, or Southern India, or
the Indonesian Archipelago, disposes also of the bodies of scores or hundreds
of millions of ill-paid and hard-working coolies. The inhabitants of these areas,
reduced more or less openly to the status of slaves, pass continually from
conqueror to conqueror, and are expended like so much coal or oil in the race
to turn out more armaments, to capture more territory, to control more labour
power, to turn out more armaments, to capture more territory, and so on indefinitely.

[....] Moreover, the labour of
the exploited peoples round the Equator is not really necessary to the world’s
economy. They add nothing to the wealth of the world, since whatever they
produce is used for purposes of war, and the object of waging a war is always
to be in a better position in which to wage another war. By their labour the
slave populations allow the tempo of continuous warfare to be speeded up. But
if they did not exist, the structure of world society, and the process by which it
maintains itself, would not be essentially different.

****The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of
doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the
directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine
without raising the general standard of living. ****

Ever since the end of the nineteenth
century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods
has been latent in industrial society. At present, when few human beings even
have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might not have
become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work. The
world of today is a bare, hungry, dilapidated place compared with the world that
existed before 1914, and still more so if compared with the imaginary future to
which the people of that period looked forward.

As a whole the world
is more primitive today than it was fifty years ago. Certain backward areas
have advanced, and various devices, always in some way connected with warfare
and police espionage, have been developed, but experiment and invention have
largely stopped, and the ravages of the atomic war of the nineteen-fifties have
never been fully repaired. Nevertheless the dangers inherent in the machine are
still there. From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was
clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to
a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used
deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be
eliminated within a few generations. And in fact, without being used for any
such purpose, but by a sort of automatic process — by producing wealth which
it was sometimes impossible not to distribute — the machine did raise the living
standards of the average human being very greatly over a period of about fifty
years at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.

****But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the
destruction — indeed, in some sense was the destruction — of a hierarchical
society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat,
lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car
or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form
of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth
would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society
in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be
evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged
caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure
and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who
are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to

think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner
or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would
sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on
a basis of poverty and ignorance. ****

**** [....]
The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without
increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they
must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by
continuous warfare.
The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of
the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring
into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might
otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long
run, too intelligent. ****

Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed,
their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without
producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example,
has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships.
Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit
to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is
built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus
that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the
needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there
is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an
advantage. ****It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere
near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the
importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one
group and another.**** By the standards of the early twentieth century, even a
member of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless,
the few luxuries that he does enjoy his large, well-appointed flat, the better
texture of his clothes, the better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his
two or three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter—set him in a different
world from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party
have a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we
call ’the proles’.

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes
it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite
simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids,
by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast
quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only
the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is
concerned here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant so
long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even
the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even
intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a
credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation,
and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have
the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the
war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not
matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state
of war should exist.

"WHICH" can never "know" "what" is going on. Sounds like a New York Post article.

Anna D: If you were a real person you'd like this: (I am itching to share it.)

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill, but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Ecclesiastes (King James Bible)


Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must inevitably be taken into account.
(an economist)

Observed by George Orwell in "Why I Write" and shared with me by Stephen Lewis (a Moyerista and international correspondent)

Computer driven business fraud is swift and strong, but not sustainable in the material world (contradictions), not "smart" in the survival sense.

Was Orwell (Eric Blair) in the group "which" knows what is going on?


I believe there will always be financial disasters, because the fact of the matter is, economics and finance are not an exact science. They are born of business not science...and what is business but experimentation?

Economists at the highest levels are experimenting. This is uncharted territory for anyone.

Just before them, the financial engineers, were trying to increase returns while reducing risks. They managed to reduce risk by diversifying and pooling together mortgages.

Managers, also born of business, experiment with people, trying to align interests, mitigate politics, and get the best possible performance out of folks, while doing so ethically.

Marketing, also born of business, requires experimentation of psychological factors that stoke demand in products and services.

Even accounting, which should never be 'creative' accounting, is constantly evolving, and is definitely not a science. The rules change, and even strange concepts like LIFO (last in first out) or accelerated depreciation come forth. (We all know that things to depreciate in an accelerated fashion as if through some time machine, and we also know that there is really no process which starts of with last in, first out. But yet these figments of our imagination make their way into the most scientific of business that you can get, i.e. accounting.

But at the end of the day, it is not perception that really counts...although Billy Bob make think so. It is INTENT.

In our work, we truly believed that by diversifying away risk on mortgages, and developing a mortgage "stock market" if you well, known as securitization, more loans could be made, and more Americans could live the American dream of home ownership.

It comes back to our INTENT. We were doing our math. Making a lot of money finding ways to diversify risk, to trade risk, and to sell risk to those that were supposed to be in a position to handle it (AIG).

What we had instead was a systemic take down...and what we are learning is that unlike math and science, business, whatever the form, is driven by humans. Humans can create the 1 in a trillion even more often than 1 in a trillion.

Furthermore, in an arbitrage sometimes you can go one way, but not the other.

For example, let's say your favorite coffee shop is selling lattes. The latte sells for $4, but you can buy the hot milk for $1 and the espresso for $2, and make your own latte by mixing the two. You save $1. And if you are really clever, you resell the latte over and over again making $1 each time, by essentially doing nothing. That is sort of what an arbitrage is. And as more and more people do this, eventually the coffee shop is forced to either raise the price of the milk and espresso combination, or lower the cost of the latte.

But what if the reverse is the case? What if it turns out that the latte costs less than the espresso and hot milk? For most it is impossible to separate the espresso from the hot milk, and sell them separately for a profit.

Well that's where the eggheads come in. We did that. We separated the hot milk from the espresso and sold them separately whenever the latte cost less than the combination. We were clever in that way.

And we thought we were doing right, by making the beverages more affordable, within that framework.

Except that, we never expected the coffee shop to go bankrupt. We also didn't do any macro modelling of the impact of people drinking more coffee, i.e. the demand we created by bringing prices to where they naturally fit...i.e. the latte = espresso plus hot milk.

And so you live and learn...and become more sophisticated, and then test your sophistication in the crucible known as the world economy...until you fail again...and so the cycle repeats itself.

So to answer your amount of regulation can stop the innovation I described, unless the regulation, while allowing the correct pricing of latte's, at the same time did not allow people to over-indulge in the beverage...this is impossible.

People wanted to buy homes, because they wanted to keep up with the Jones's. The bankers just facilitated the consumption.

I hope this helps you to understand.

Grady, fire in the belly is absolutely prerequisite for living a full life, for increasing awareness and for effecting change in one's environment.

I wonder whether there can be any consensus as to what principles or bases upon which "the people" can unite and effect ....what - transformation? That, it seems to me is the first issue. Maybe its too early to tell, but "change we can believe in" isn't, so far, much to believe in. "Yes, we can!" is more like "we'll try and see".

Why not rally round "Share and save the world"? Now that is a call for transformation, not just rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

Organizing is action, not an office and a website and salaries. If we fragments begin the process the necessary level of organization will constitute itself. I like the attitude of those who humble ego-maniacs. One half-truth of nominal conservatives is criticism of personality cults, as when Al Gore got a Nobel Prize. It prompts persons like myself to ask, "How did he earn it?" The elite are masters of intimidation, co-optation, buying-out and collusion.We all eat and sleep and pay bills while they meter our existence. Who can resist? It takes support, though not always financial.

Note: I think it depends very much upon the person moderating as to how much one is allowed to say. Lower rankers may be more timid, which is contradictory, for they have less to lose. "It ain't like that,yo. The King stay the King." (Angelo Barksdale) This message is for some smart ass pawns.

Answers: 1. There is no way to save the financial system in its current form. Injustice cannot reform injustice, only make it more reticulated.
2. I do not think some posters here are real people.
3.People on this blog don't seem to be taking many steps toward organizing, despite their expressed outrage. I think they are afraid with good reason, but also not ready to make sacrifices or take chances. (It is nutty to seek or give investment advice on this blog, or to plead for rescue. I take that back: I just sent Klark some money.)
4. I sponsored a bus to Charlotte yesterday to carry protesters opposing Duke Energy's coal and nuclear development plans. They do not want conservation or alternative home based energy. They want control and profit at the expense of health and environment. They own mountaintop mining interests. I am a "little person" (63lbs.) and I'm spying on Wall street and doing everything I can think of.I passed the electric car and lightbulb phase long ago. Some things I cannot tell without risking arrest.
%. Maybe I'm fierce because I have "organ crowding" and may not live much longer. maybe I'm determined because I have fierce associates around me. Maybe I do it for love...

Oh, I thought you said that people needed to get organized if they were to make a difference, Grady Lee. I don't see that post at the moment.

I actually agree that that seems to be what it will take. But it will take some coordination, no? What would be the point(s)? After dismantling, what should be built?

dickran g. 4-21-12:28am may be partially right, "I'm part of a group of folks..."-that got the important theories wrong!
"...all egg-heads ...believing a little too much naively..." yeh, sure!
"...maybe quite a few would {default}..." yeh, right
" one's intention to commit fraud." yeh, just line ya'lls pockets.
"The public must learn..." yeh, not to trust egg-heads with valuable resources.

Say, Dickran, did you mean trashy instead of teanche?

The egg-heads, government, big corp. guys, don't get it that they may have wounded the golden goose
"a little too much".

Billy Bob. Florida

Betsy: For almost 2 years on the Moyers' blog I have suggested individual designation of our tax payments. If you want defense, fill in defense. If you want it to be used for food stampa, fill in food stamps. If you want your contribution used for environmental enforcement or financial enforcement, fill that in.

Any idiot can see that within the current system those who benefit need to pay their fair share. That means a larger rate and fewer deductions for business and the wealthy.

A second step after nationalization of banks might be the lessening of corporate rights. Dr. Michael Hudson thinks a tax on the appreciation of land values might temper rampant development while bringing in revenue. As a selfish American I have considered import tariffs which might hurt China in the short run. When I think of all the useless crap being produced while so many people are exposed and hungry and exploited it makes me cry. Making piles of cell phones and dishpans and sneakers has no purpose when neither the producers nor consumers are happy.

Letting go, and letting things take their course is now guaranteed to produce maximun suffering.

I don't know what you may assume about me and my spiritual beliefs. I don't impose them on others whatever they may or may not be. I am willing to work with those of differing beliefs to limit suffering and maximize justice and fairness. We can debate silly beliefs later. That is not a high urgency.

I talked about strikes and boycotts and peaceful demonstrations but even Betsy W. seems too afraid to acknowledge what I've written. If it means I take risks I'm a believer.

Grady: "We need to dump it and start over. Nationalization followed by liquidation would be a good start. If the top 10% expect to maintain their wealth and income at the expense of the rest of us their nap will soon be over. We have the power to strike and boycott and to use peaceful non-violence, tempered by self-defense."

So are you saying that there is no way to "save" the financial system, and that if someone doesn't nationalize the banks and liquidate them (and what then?) we should all protest (to what protest?)? It sounds extreme, no? Who will lead this revolution you advise? Who can be trusted to act in the interest of ALL the people?

wip: You are correct that the 5 largest banks are reporting quarterly profits in the billions. This after thay have taken 10s and even 100s of billions in bailout and FED loans at 1/4%. They also forecast they will need 100s of billions more in Bailout due to mass consumer (credit card mostly) and commercial real estate defaults. (AIG just accepted another 30 billion.) They have never opened thre books to show how big their liabilities are or who the counterparties are who stand to benefit from the payoff of speculative wagers. Obama's stress tests are a fraud even without "mark to market." Analysts are now stating that the 17 largest banks (US) are at bottom insolvent. So our "economy" is no more real than a board game with a pre-arranged winner. We need to dump it and start over. Nationalization followed by liquidation would be a good start. If the top 10% expect to maintain their wealth and income at the expense of the rest of us their nap will soon be over. We have the power to strike and boycott and to use peaceful non-violence, tempered by self-defense.

All this as I listen to George Soros tell us, "We are in for a very hard time." And that, "The average person should admit they don't understand what is going on..." and let us big boys handle everything. If I am in for "a very hard time" I sure as Hell want to understand why! (Thanks CIA field agent Diane Rehm. Run and hide in the Bastille, Deary.)

Grady Lee: "Any real ideas?"

You know my idea(s), so maybe you could launch some you like. We've been talking about the problems for some time. Now its time to look for solutions that really meet the needs of people outside of the institution-bound establishment.

Religion is not necessary, of course. It is merely an institutionalized ritualization of human aspiration. Is snarky sophistry a solution? I find it boring, but then that's just me.

Dickran, I wonder whether you would tell me what personal responsibility, if any, you feel for the financial collapse, realizing that there are many factors involved.

Also, speaking only of your area of expertise, what would you suggest be done to prevent such future disasters? How can things be done differently?

I'm part of a group of folks, which know what is going on. Yet we must remain silent so as not to divulge confidential, non-compete, etc, etc, information.

I will share this fact with you however. Having worked for a major financial institution and having been involved with Alt-A repackaged, pooled loans, I can safely say that NO ONE intentionally committed fraud as Bill Black claims.

We were all egg-heads, believing a little too naively and too much in what our financial models were telling us.

What were they telling us? That if you pool together a bunch of risky loans, the odds that all will default in one systemic apocalyptic reaction, would be one in a trillion.

Sure some would default, maybe even quite a few would, but you would always have a few that would not.

Similar to taking risks, diversified risks, in the stock market, by pooling Alt-A loans or any loans for that matter, you could manage to diversify the risk away for certain "tranches".

What is a tranche? It's slicing up the pool into differently rated securities. Some AAA, some not. But the AAA tranches would always get paid, because they would rely on the few borrowers of the loans that would pay within that pool.

The credit agencies verified this vis a vis, copula methods, a very sophisticated mathematical technique. So the credit agencies also did not intentionally create a fraud.

Bottomline is this: It was all based in theory...flawed theory. A theory that said that Americans would not throw "foreclosure parties", that the pools would diversify the risks, and that AIG could indeed guarantee the few loans that did default with CDS.

In short, it was no one's intention to commit fraud. Until now, we simply did not have an "empirical laboratory" to test the theories. Now we know the answer. And we know something more...

...unlike stocks, which you can pool together, risky plus safe stocks, to diversify the risks, mortgages are a different animal when trying to create securities from them. In the case of stocks, companies a ruled by a board of directors. But originators of mortgages would service them with a 50 basis point fee, and then sell them off. With no "board of directors" watching the mortgages, these securtiies were bought and sold with out an oversight of each mortgage.

One other thing...TARP does not work, and in fact, makes things worse. What works is when depositors, and other funding sources to banks increase. Banks have to pay interest to depositors. To get the income to pay, they HAVE TO LEND, one way or the other. So the best way to get a bank to lend, is not by giving them their risk free TARP funds which can be applied towards bonuses, or buying subsidiary banks in other countries or worse, saving Soc Gen or Barclays, banks in other countries by paying them the CDS coverages. You save banks by encouraging savings.

Unfortunately, to help the economy, this administration is trying to encourage spending. A universal savings account, similar to a Roth, but one that covers car buying, home buying, tuition, retirement, and health care, would go a long way.

But there has to be a balance. The public must be educated not to put too much money in banks because they will over lend. The public must not put too much money in stocks, because the stock market fluctuates. Same with real estate.

The public must learn that the best thing to do is to invest in all five asset classes.

1) Commodities like Gold, Oil, foreign currency.

2) Bonds

3) Stocks

4) Cash as in savings in a bank account

5) Real estate.

Only if you have all five can you be protected by the bubbles that will follow.

Thank you for your time...and I hope one day, we sitting silently on the sidelines will some day be able to tell our story.

Yes, the 106th. Congress isn't half as smart as they believe they are. S-900 should of never been debated, let alone passed. President Clinton should of vetoed the bill even thought it passed with enough votes to override a veto.

We must also take a long hard look at the mainstream press. Corporate owned broadcast news doesn't work in the best interest of anyone other than corporations.

How can public opinion derail corruption in the polls if the public is being fed poor or no information?

The people need to figure out a way to fire our mainstream news makers. We also need to figure out a way to FORCE Obama to follow and enforce current law.

We The People own this country and it's high time Obama, Congress and the Supreme Court show us the respect we not only deserve but demand.

Now 5 big banks are reporting they made profit this last quarter.How do we believe any thing they say or report? We went from a wolf worth millions guarding the hen house(treasury).To one that can not do his taxes and is inserting langauge to let their buddies off the hook and get bonuses!!!!!

If we had been responsibly applying anti-trust law, monstrosities like J.P. Morgan Chase could not have become "too big to fail." The mid-sized banks have been much more responsible, and have continued to lend as needed. How about new legislation or an anti-trust crusade to break these monoliths into more manageable, locally-responsive entities?

Just as creating a publicly-owned, national car company would force private auto manufacturers to build fully-electric vehicles in order to compete with those a public company would create, so too a publicly-owned bank would help to whip the banking industry into shape.

Why throw hundreds of billions of dollars at the biggest banks, hoping they will lend, when we could do it directly through a public bank? (And why give yet more tax breaks to businesses, hoping for the creation of new jobs, when the government could create jobs directly through something like the Work Projects of America?)

Is it really in the public interest for our government to have so little control over our economy? Why must the government beg huge banks to make reasonable loans? It seems to me that the biggest banks have refused to lend because holding our economy hostage was the easiest way to extort tax money from the federal government.

A publicly-owned bank could make loans as necessary. A publicly-operated bank would not seek to maximize profits by denying loans to those in need. And most importantly, a public bank would not conspire to increase its profits at the expense of the public that owned it.

Congress does ultimately bare the responsibility for the debacle in which this nation is in, but so do the vast majority of Americans that are so caught up in "spin", "lies", and mendacity without actually thinking and analyzing what is really going on! When these people talk "tax cuts" how many of you can you honestly say that your taxes have gone down more than $100 (and if it is that much consider yourself lucky indeed)?! Especially as a percentage of your income, why most of the largest corporations and rich elite pay no more than %15 & %18 respectively!

When these supposed "representatives of the people" get to Congress - they immediately start handing out those favors to the corporate and rich donors that paid for the seat they occupy! What really needs to happen is public funding of elections, and at least a 10 year ban between jumping from Congress to Lobbyist status!

After the last 8 years of egregious failure of government to look out for the collective public interest, and the massive economic calamity that has ensued - I am seriously asking where is the common sense of some of these people, where is the analysis from a truly independent media, where is the questioning from the public?!

P.S.-Bill Moyers, I thank you for your insightful show with guests that actually tell me what I need to understand the mendacity that has become America!

Congress is to blame, unless you blame those responsible for electing Representatives & Senators, for the Stupid, Selfish. Slimy way laws, rules & regulations have been proliferated for Special-interest Groups.

If you self-obsessed big word using commentors
fail to see that (according to the ACLU) Congress allowed political "parties" to make rules that denied Florida democratic registered voters votes to count in the recent nomination-election THEN maybe it is understandable that some quibbling over who uses the biggest smartest words while Mainstreet losses all financial independence $50\hr. auto workers that put wheels on cars all day long thought would be there for them.

The 2010 elections may determine America is only a part of the World Political System OR
vote OUT all of the RASCALS & start with fresh, honorable, honest Congressmen!

IF THEY DENY YOUR VOTE they GET your money too!

Wake up big word users & smell the rubber burning when it hit the road to your finances.

Billy Bob, Florida


The idea that ONE person - a Big Giant Head, so to speak, is all that is needed to run the operations (real world EXPERIENCE with providing the necessities of life, including security for LAW-abiding citizens) of a civilization is, at once, insulting to the people who have been "sharing" and rebuilding after the inevitable maurading hoards come and go, for at least 10,000 years...

and embarassing.

Insulting and embrassing, Betsy.

What part don't you understand?

I get it that certain "cultures" come and go as the latest "in" thing in the USA - India in the 1960s LSD-drenched era comes to mind - but THIS is a time where what is needed is common sense and hard-working people back in charge, NOT a Big Giant Head to market THEFT of liberty and labor's fruits as "sharing"! Get real.

Beg all you want, Betsy, for the re-establishment of a "caste" system in the USA. In the final analysis, garnishing certain psychological types into a passive-aggressive cult, ala Jonestown, serves very well to thin the herd.

LOVE the way you ignored my comment regarding the recent "misuse of sex" by religionists and politicians in the USA, the "misuse" that created the current set of problems.

Increasingly obvious is the INCOMPETANCE of the self-proclaimed "elites". Droning platitudes is hardly the kind of education needed for providing the basics of life-maintenance.

Not that you seem capable of considering the damage to REAL personal relationships your "religious" beliefs are having, Betsy, but I will state my "feelings" once again. Your Big Giant Head solution to the problems of over-population is peurile, noisy, insulting, and embarassing. Embarassing because it provides the kind of public persona that fuels the perception that USA people are stupid and delusional. A super-power's country's spokeperson told USA business people at a conference last week, straight to their faces, that EU and China will be their "friends" for the "rest of history", NOT them (USA dudes).

You will be drinking fetid water, falling over homeless, selling children to rich men for sex, and at the lawless mercy of head-on-a-stick gangs soon enough, Betsy. That's all you'll be "sharing" with others if this fraud and force by the "government" is not halted immediately, if not sooner.

You need to "meditate" on the shenanigans of the "elite" in the caste cultures you wish us to embrace. A more ruthless batch of psychotics and sociopaths would be hard to find.

Seriously, Betsy. Stop making a lost generation of 30-somethings even more useless with your "education" about "sharing". You are promoting unearned wealth - the oldest schtick in the holy "idea" that is always at the ready to be recycled as a "new" ideal.

And I'm done supplying oxygen to you, Betsy, by talking with you further about the possibility for human advancement under a Big Giant Head.

My culture demands that I notify you, in fairness, that your plan is increasing the ranks of insulted and patience-losing "masses".

You will be taught what the rightful place of "religion" IS soon enough. Hope you still enjoy learning "facts".

Anna D's questions, or rather statements about sharing and justice would be best answered during a Moyers interview of Benjamin Creme, editor of Share International magazine. I've asked if that might be possible.

In the meanwhile, I would say that Maitreya's ideas about sharing resources are based upon the notion that all human beings are of equal value and have the same basic needs. Earth's resources are given for all men and women to share so that meeting those basic needs is the essence of sharing and justice. There is enough for everyone's need, but not everyone's greed. I'm not talking about forced donations, based on the notion that some are "more worthy" than others who are less intelligent, less talented others. Nor is Maitreya demanding anything of anyone. Some may find His appeal compelling, others may not at first.


Justice depends on fairness and fairness acknowledges the basic INEQUALITIES of talent and intelligence and how much effort people put into GIVING something.

I will NOT be sharing diddlysquat with people who DEMAND that you share what you LABORED for "equally" with them.

I guess the next word trick you'll be attempting is to rationalize THEFT as "sharing" by "spiritual" force?

Give it a rest, Betsy. You've posted enough times now for people to follow your link to the lalaland website...too bad you never found anything of "spiritual" value in your own culture worth "sharing" with other cultures....

“Chris: Would you rather I come to your house to "shoot" you or...”
“P.S. I have a peculiarly anarchic view of copyright and intellectual property,
having created many works for the pubic domain and none for royalties.”
I do not have power, authority and I am not a license attorney to advise you or to tell
you for that matter, where you want to go or what you want to do or what you
intent to do in this world!
You would have to make that decision alone, who you want to “shoot...”!
As far as “works for the public domain and none royalty” I do recall the case in
Sussete Kelo v. City of New London where the disposition of the property was for
“Public use...” and “no royalties!” The decision did provide view for whose benefited
it was going to be and who benefit from it!

Chris: Would you rather I come to your house to "shoot" you or have a Macoute like D. come to your house to shoot you. As Daffy Duck once said,"'Shoot' me now; or shoot me later."

P.S. I have a peculiarly anarchic view of copyright and intellectual property, having created many works for the pubic domain and none for royalties.

Thanks to Tom Shillock for links to some wonderful articles. We've got to keep up this kind of sharing of references.

"The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time" (Simon Johnson).

Without sharing, there is no justice. There is a more useful meaning to justice than revenge. Justice means treating others equally so that there are right human relations. Without justice there is no trust; without trust there is no freedom; without freedom there will be no peace; without peace there will be no future for we have the technology to eradicate all life on this planet.

Therefore, I say, share and save the world.

The vision has dimmed for so long that people no longer know the value of life, the purpose of life. Misuse of the sex function plus fear of abandonment in old age have brought on overpopulation.
New vision is needed if we are to survive.
Share and save the world.

Posted by: Betsy Whitfill

Still blaming the victims, Betsy?

What a platitude - "save the world"!

Psychotics and sociopaths are NOT interested in "saving the world". They get people like you to show up and PRETEND for them.

JUSTICE is a "vision" that you obviously can't see.

No one has "misused sex" more than the religionists of authority. Sooner or later a "law" shows up in their self-serving "holy books" that allows a man to rape and beat his "wife".

There is only one way to crowd out "evil" and that is to fill up all time and space with "good". Just like a healthy human immune system works - when there are more good cells in circulation doing their job correctly, the body is healthy.

We need to stop using their cancerous paper money. Simple.

Dear Bill,

I doesn't take an accounting degree, nor Arthur Anderson, Tim Geitner, nor even a seeing eye dog to see that the bailout is simply the biggest monetary heist in the history of mankind. And the only feasable reason the President would have trouble answering why or how or what to do to stop it, is because he is one of the robbers doing of the bank job.


The vision has dimmed for so long that people no longer know the value of life, the purpose of life. Misuse of the sex function plus fear of abandonment in old age have brought on overpopulation.
New vision is needed if we are to survive.
Share and save the world.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Proverbs?

Posted by: Betsy Whitfill

Doesn't seem like "perish" is the issue with - what? - 7 billion people and counting.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Proverbs?

The cow is on the roof and the fox is in the chicken house.
Na Na What is Done is Done...
What needless pain we bare. We have fought the good fight but ours is not to wonder why but to do and die.
When do we get
courage, a brain and a heart?
Why do we ignore our own best interests and allow greedy lunatics to steal our inheritance?
Where is the honest man that has the courage to do what is right and good?

“So what are we waiting for?”
“If Jack Martin films me, he OWNS my image. That's not crazy?”
As we wait to see “the image,” would “the image” be with a “pitch fork”?
does not provide much of a “HOPE” or “COMFORT”!

Is democracy any longer possible here?

Posted by: Tom Shillock

Nothing resembling the classic definition of "government" is possible - whether feudal, tyrannical, or existentially threatening. Scheesh - "existential threat" - now there's alien buzzology for you...

The solution is to stop using their paper money as OUR symbol of life-maintenance transactions. No better time than the present to print up our own since their paper has completely been removed from distribution to "labor", anyway. All we get is paper marked "DEBT", "DEATH", or "TAXES".

So what are we waiting for? Permission from them?

The 15 million "unemployed", and growing, were the ones who lived within their means and even had a little extra which they spent on continuing education, fruitful hobbies like gardening and astronomy and ceramics and PROGRESS in the arts of machinery and energy.

It is NOT a coincidence that "identity theft" and "warrantless wiretapping" - both PREDATORY practices - preceeded this ludicrous theft of PERSON and property. If Jack Martin films me, he OWNS my image. That's not crazy?

EVERY "ism" is the same - "WE" will own it all.

They have evolved a "religion", even. Google "Supreme Being" if you think I'm joking.

Doung wrote in part: "I say hopefully because as I indicated and/or implied in a previous post many adults (including many who would be, quite rightly, regarded as highly st&sd’d) seem to be minimally educated ------ a distinction with a decided difference."

I agreed with the distinction you noted in both posts. I opined that only parents can provide non st&sd "education".

Share and save the world. All else has been tried and failed.

Posted by: Betsy Whitfill


Wall Street IS sharing its losses and privatizing the profits.

How's that working out for "the world"?

Re: Anna D. April 8, 2009 5:09 PM

I would regard an individual’s decision to become doctor, lawyer or Indian chief as effective or otherwise. Whether educated or otherwise would apply to the decision maker. I would suspect that individual differences being what they are, both the motivation for, and success at, educating oneself would vary among individuals. This would apply, individually, to the parents who would be providing (for anyone other than self -- e.g. children) one or more of the three elements of st&sd ------ perhaps, for instance, home schooling, facilitating the acquisition of one or more skills and, hopefully, a significant amount of training. Each child will, over time (indeed, ideally a lifetime) of course, has to educate him/her self. Obviously, the child’s capacity for this will significantly increase (hopefully) as he/she grows, develops and matures. I say hopefully because as I indicated and/or implied in a previous post many adults (including many who would be, quite rightly, regarded as highly st&sd’d) seem to be minimally educated ------ a distinction with a decided difference.

Re: Grady Lee Howard April 9, 2009 12:04 AM

Extending your metaphor, you must be presuming more than one aquarium because, clearly, not all goldfish are dying, albeit that some who are may be very smart. Recall, of course, that from my perspective, smart (intelligent) is to st&sd as wisdom is to education. So, to the contrary, the state of the world (the one aquarium) continuously reaffirms, I opine, the distinction with a decided difference.

The primary rule of the “game” is to live well within one’s means. [There is this aphorism: Never mind the noise in the market; just mind the price of the fish.] That way one minimizes the ensuing impact of the parasitic extractors and predators. When one thinks make, mine, grow and provide services (particularly those requiring danger and/or compassion) the, I call it, Wall Streetean types and their allies and enablers, extract far more of the benefits of productivity gains of the economy than they contribute to it. The process of setting up the next bubble is now going on (do as little 1st party policing as possible). We’ll see, by and by, how effective the supposedly coming regulators (3rd party policers) will be. Recall Black: make bad loans, grow quickly, use huge leverage and extract via bonuses, i.e. short term compensation mechanisms ------- crisis today; bonuses yesterday.

Portraying Obama as innocently misinformed by Summers, Geithner or others is silly. The same goes for congress, regulators and the bankers. They all knew what they were doing and have all done very well by themselves over the years while creating the conditions that created global economic collapse. Obama and Democrats drink from the same fountain of money as Bush and Republicans. In exchange, politicians and regulators serve their needs just as Bernanke, Geithner and Obama are doing now. This symbiotic arrangement can only be deliberately changed by its beneficiaries or its victims. The former have no reason to though have good reasons to appear otherwise while most Americans have vaguely inculcated their economic ideology and the rhetoric of reaction, as Albert O. Hirschman once called it. Class interests and conflicts emerged in America as it changed from a land of laborers and small holders to industrialists and bankers (as Arthur Schlessinger, Jr. pointed out in The Age of Jackson). But since the 1970s the rich have taken increasing amounts of GDP creating disparities in wealth comparable to the 1920s (cf Galbraith’s Created Unequal, and The Predator State; or Emmanuel Saez’s paper “Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998”). As Simon Johnson pointed out in a recent Atlantic Monthy article (The Quiet Coup), America is now run by an oligarchy. That’s why both the Obama and Bush regimes have committed vast amounts of public funds to prevent credit markets (aka the financial system) from stalling by saving bankers, banks and bank creditors. And now the Obama regime intends to bailout insurance companies other than AIG (Hartford, Prudential, Lincoln National). If government were to nationalize banks and insurance companies like AIG or put them in special resolution regimes, as the S&Ls were then taxpayer’s losses would be limited and the financial system could be expeditiously restarted. But that would mean that bankers and creditors would lose, and if they lose then so would the politicians who depend on them for hefty financial support. As it is, Obama and his crew are going down the same road as the Japanese, a road that resulted in Japan’s “lost decade” of the 1990s. Unlike Paulson, Geithner’s public-private “partnership” is designed to confuse the average American so they do not grasp what’s happening to them. Unfortunately, the oligarchy owns the television networks, as previous editions of this Journal have pointed out, so information and issues are framed to serve their interests; it’s like a “media” version of Plato’s metaphor of the cave. Socializing the losses of bankers, banks and insurance companies while not clawing back decades of fraudulent gains is, in effect, robbing the average American (and future average Americans) to help make the rich whole. As Joseph Sttiglitz has said, the current Obama / Geithner PPIP plan is a huge win banks and bankers, that they win only if we lose. Is democracy any longer possible here?

Share and save the world. All else has been tried and failed.

Seems to me like everyone has already spent too much time in "somewhere" land - certainly they've been there long enough to allow the water to get real dirty in the fishbowl.

I will never forget the moment when the governor of LA, armed with all the information from weather experts about Katrina, called a press conference 12 hours from projected landfall and officially announcement that people should go home and pray real hard, and make sure you're praying the correct way or it won't work, that Katrina toggles east away from New Orleans.

Channel flipping away from that scene of insane incompetance only to alight on a show where a wonky politico woman commentator was suggesting to increase the salary of "contractors" to get more of those necessary mercenaries to go to Iraq confirmed that indeed the Titanic had sunk.

What I would do to have access to put together the "news" footage since September 11, 2001 when everyone went "somewhere" else. I'd also like to get the list of names of the 15 million people "unemployed" because that is a precious number of fantastic people who Jack Martin would have to agree did not "hide" their self-CHOSEN role in our society. The 15 million are those who lived within their means and therefore have something "middle class" that can NOW only be stolen from them through a slow bleed of "bills" for "essentials". The list also includes brave "whistleblowers" like those 3 women who appeared on the front page of "Time" Mag Dec 30, 2002(remember them, Betsy? Enron, FBI, Worldcom?) who haven't been "employed" since they became "Persons of the Year".

Yup, 15 million people displaced in their own homeland (the flesh and blood "somewhere") where they love and live and work and create. What inane questions are you going to ask me, Betsy, about 15 million people Jack Martin thinks YOU care about like I do?

Seriously, enough with the psych ops crap.

"Media" need not go anywhere else than it's own archives to get a fresh look at where they were when they were "somewhere" called "perception is reality".

We're not going to trust anyone for the rest of our lives who had a job reporting the "news" then and still has that same job now.

Go ahead and censor this post. It just proves you read it and it hits the mark without the need for more clarification about "somewhere" from Betsy's attempt at another Jonestown "religious" scenario.

Asking people to give up their free will DOING of what is right for a manipulative "belief" in some Big Giant Head (complete with pictures of UFOs) is, in the final analysis, the most insulting act imaginable under the current circumstances of the fish bowl water.

Lunch with such companionship would only produce a stomach ache.

Nice metaphor Grady Lee: "No matter how smart the goldfish they die in a dirty aquarium. "

Jack gives a clue: "Whether your artistic creation is a shooting star or a head (not real) on a stick (or a puppet, like I make) it comes from somewhere. Maybe we ought to be discussing where 'somewhere' is".

Jack Martin wrote, in part, "Too bad Anna D. can't go have lunch with Betsy W. and see that they are both real flesh and blood people who care about others and want things to get better."

I have no common ideas or ideology or perception-is-reality with Betsy W. Only "truth" is that she and I are "flesh and blood".

However, this I understand from Grady Lee Howard (also flesh and blood, I'm assuming :-)):

"Doug: You're wrong. Any American citizen is considered fit and ready to play the game on day one. The rules of the game are the problem. No one can achieve proficiency through training or incite through education within a sadistic and contradictory milieu. No matter how smart the goldfish they die in a dirty aquarium. "Slumdog Millionaire" is not porn because it presents the milieux of poverty: It is pornography because the plot resolution is a dirty lie."

Doug: You're wrong. Any American citizen is considered fit and ready to play the game on day one. The rules of the game are the problem. No one can achieve proficiency through training or incite through education within a sadistic and contradictory milieu. No matter how smart the goldfish they die in a dirty aquarium. "Slumdog Millionaire" is not porn because it presents the milieux of poverty: It is pornography because the plot resolution is a dirty lie.

"Let the macoutes eat pie charts." Grady Lee Howard

Too bad Anna D. can't go have lunch with Betsy W. and see that they are both real flesh and blood people who care about others and want things to get better.

Whether your artistic creation is a shooting star or a head (not real) on a stick (or a puppet, like I make) it comes from somewhere. Maybe we ought to be discussing where "somewhere" is.

I think maybe the Depression thing is migrating into two agglomerations of myth to the exclusion of justice and practical solutions. I think wealth-power plays a role in distorting our perceptions. I don't often quote people but Tacitus said, "Crime once exposed has no refuge but in audacity."

How satisfying would it be for the masses to burn the Audacious? Better to vacate a discredited system and leave them to compete in a fantasy of worthless paper and digital impulses. Water, food,life and light are real: All else is conditional, even volitional.

What a pathetically weak prescription for change! This crisis has been made possible and has been intensified by a couple of dozen unwise laws and political and business actions over at least three decades. These were done by congress and administrations of both parties, by politicians bought and paid for by Fannie, Freddie and businesses, by fed chairmen, regulators and other such actors, by hedge fund managers, by business executives, by community activists, by corrupt mortgage brokers and unwise or grasping home buyers, among many others. The problem is that each of these actors professes their complete innocence, while blaming everything on the CRA or Bush. And the biggest problem you see is not enough information getting to Obama. I'm sick of you all. A pox on all your houses!

Bill Moyer's interview with William K. Black was truly extraordinary! What a revealation of truth! After months of being personally perplexed by misleading and incoherent statements, speeches, and actions by our government, Black has provided an extremely persuasive analysis of how we got into this mess, what is going on--or not going on--now, and a compelling persciption to really solve the problem. Thank you Bill Moyers and Bill Black for a considerable public service!

AD writes:"This is not a spiritual crises, in my opinion. This is a classic war game."

My reference to spirituality is meant to elevate the discussion to causal levels. It may be that many see this as a war, but my post was a question as to what causes the war you advise to be necessary?

AD: "A real leader mobilizes sane adults who KNOW how to do the right thing to DO the right thing. The only way out of this mess is to stop using their "money" to maintain our civilization -'

How so? Could you be a little more specific as to how that could be done?

AD: "Here's the part of the plan that you seem to be a hired PR representative for, Betsy, whether you know it or not:

What are you saying, and why?

AD: "The biggest mistake made, the most fortunate one, was to shanghei "religious" organizations that evolved over millenia of common sense. What modern, civilized person likes having smoke blown in their face by shamans?"

Please explain...who is "shangheing". Who is "blowing smoke" in your face...assuming you are referring to yourself.

AD: "I taught children personal responsibility for their free will choices. You?"

Yep. I've taught a few.

Doug wrote in part,

"Finally, no one can educate anyone else. Each individual has to educate him/her self. There is only one place from which one can obtain this education ---- the School of Life. It is not available in any man-made institution (except to the extent, of course, that such institutions themselves are a small, but integral and important, component of the School of Life)."

The education that is lacking is that which used to be provided by the parents.

Perhaps you meant to say that how a person chooses to educate themselves (after they acquire a basic capacity for recognizing the rights of others that only a decent home environment with loving relationships can provide) is up to them? Do I want to become a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief is an educated decision.

Excellent inteview with Mr. Black. I sent an email to my Senator, John McCain, asking why the law was not enforced by the Bush Administration at the beginning of this mess. So far no reply. So much for "straight talk"

Thank you for your interview with Bill Black. I've been thinking fraud. Now I'm thinking violation of trust. We can't label this banking debacle strongly enough. I have lost trust with the bankers, much like I lost trust with the Catholic church and its coverup of priests' abuse of young boys.

How could we regain trust again? By making all banking machinations transparent. No more hiding. Everything back to the basics.

I posted my first comment before reading any of the comments hereto. Having done so I proffer that we should cease and desist with the best and brightest because wisdom is not necessarily positively correlated with intelligence. For what it's worth I submit the following:

The basis for effective human interactions and transactions is the true interdependence of the various actors and an appreciation for the obligation of fortune. This requires BOTH schooling, training, and skill-development (st & sd) and education, two different things.

As elaboration, true interdependence necessitates the prerequisite of relative independence. The sequence is dependence -> independence (relatively speaking) -> interdependence. It is an error of major strategic import to attempt to move from a state of dependence to one of interdependence (true, that is), skipping the requirement to have first ensured that the knowledge, skills, experience and demonstrated performance has firmly established that the intermediate stage of relative independence has been achieved. Each element of a true interdependency has to be essential to that interdependency. Each must, so to speak, bring something to the table, i.e. be independent (relatively speaking).

With regard to an appreciation for the obligation of fortune, the following aphorism elucidates: “The fortune of obligation is, for the fortunate, a deep appreciation for the obligation of fortune.” Superficially, “fortune of obligation” may seem like an oxymoron. An obligation can bear down on one. Fortune ……. Who doesn’t want fortune? Nevertheless, a closer look should lead one to see that the world would be a much better place if those that are fortunate --- in whatever way --- put, shall we say, a positive spin on obligation and saw it, conceptually, as something which called forth their better selves, as a necessary aspect of their beings. Furthermore, it will facilitate much more resource-use-efficient communities: Third party policing will play a minor role to first party policing. That is, there will be less need for regulations imposed from outside a system, organization, institution, due to the enlightened self-discipline engendered within.


A Distinction With A Decided Difference

Much of what we call education is actually schooling, training and skill-development (st & sd). Education and st & sd are not the same thing at all. The former is about perennial learning, caring and self-imposed behaviour modification for reasons having to do with the obligations of the unique human endowments. The latter has to do with “making it”.

An educated person who doesn’t care is an oxymoron. An educated person shuns envy, bitterness, arrogance, hate and non-sublimated anger, and derives no pleasure from others’ misfortune, or satisfaction from the denigration of others. A person schooled, trained and having developed skill(s) can very easily be uneducated and therefore totally self-absorbed (i.e. inter alia, narrow and uncaring). In fact, st & sd facilitates the acquisition of resources, which, without education, puts a premium on fame, fortune, power and prestige over wisdom, integrity, restraint, responsibility and obligation.

Further, in highly developed technological society, very strong st & sd skills, particularly in the area of science and technology (interpreted generically, i.e. not just computer and information technology), could well be an OBSTACLE to the process of obtaining an education. After all, the world is not short on individuals, who, with access to, and control of, significant amounts of resources, display an alarming deficiency in education. In addition, some of these individuals are so placed in society and/or in a community such that it requires the proverbial child to highlight that “the emperor is not, in fact, clothed.”

Finally, no one can educate anyone else. Each individual has to educate him/her self. There is only one place from which one can obtain this education ---- the School of Life. It is not available in any man-made institution (except to the extent, of course, that such institutions themselves are a small, but integral and important, component of the School of Life). Those are the places which provide st&sd, at least in part. Given the foregoing, it is clear that the combination of much st&sd and little education is a recipe for the persistence of inanities such as notions of the fundamental superiority and/or inferiority of groups of the species homo sapiens relative to one another. Further, given what appears to be, what I shall refer to as, the various distribution functions of types and quantities of st&sd and education among the various groups of our species currently, the existing human transactions and interactions, between and within the groups of the species, are not particularly surprising.

If the capitalist democracy paradigm is to produce effective global communities, true interdependence is the key. In such a cluster of communities, the variance in quality of life would not be so large as to make, what might be termed, the average quality of life meaningless. This very large variance in quality of life is exactly the world we live in today. In fact, there are exceptionally few, if any, COUNTRIES, I opine, in which the same does not apply.

Now, st&sd : education : : intelligence : wisdom

Intelligence and wisdom are not necessarily positively correlated. Where and when they are, however, the synergistic effects can be profound. It is hoped that being strongly st&sd’d provides one with a substantial foundation from and on which to construct an educational superstructure as a lifelong exercise. It gives one pause to observe the extent to which this process appears to be truncated by so many. Perhaps, that such a process becomes commonplace awaits the next stage of human evolution.

I first read this at while simultaneously exchanging the following with a friend and requesting his comments (quite frankly, not only should the POTUS step aside here, he should also do so with regard to investigating the previous administration's, let's call it Constitution trampling):

"Have been thinking about a way, in deference to being succinct, to encapsulate the global economic crisis extant in a very few words. Here, in the form of a question is the outcome:

If credit and its dynamics are so central (the life-blood as many have opined) to a viable economy why does "banking"/"financing" seem, as epitomized by things current (and quite frankly, also by things historical ---- to wit: the IMF in 3rd world/less developed/emerging economies), so much more a parasitically extractive and predatory undertaking in lieu of being a public utility, at least de facto (or tacitly) if not de jure?"

Congratulations to Bill Moyers. I'm sure he's aware but just in case; his interview with Bill Black has been linked to on just about every financial commenting website I've visited (admittedly they all do seem to be of a type but..). I'm sure his web stats counter for hits on his video have spiked up off the average by a few times over. It seems it needed Mr. Black to actually come out and cry "fraud!" because until now it had just been the domain of small bloggers and left-leaning commentators whom the media could write-off as the hysterical, tin-foil-hat crowd.

Sad to say though, that America was warned well in advance. Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Prize winner and Chairman of the World Bank) stated America would hit a depression in 2009. He said that in September 2006 and the only venue he could get airplay was on Alex Jones' InfoWars site - long considered a fringe conspiracy portal by many, if not most. The MSM just wouldn't listen to such an alarming, kooky downer message regardless if it was based on the soundest of deductions or not...

This is a spiritual (not religious) problem which will need to be solved if any plan for moving out of crisis is to work. Where to start? How to start?

Posted by: Betsy Whitfill

This is not a spiritual crises, in my opinion. This is a classic war game.

As usual, criminals do not have a full appreciation for the forces that build and maintain high civilizations - civilizations NOT evolved from slave labor.

Instead of insulting everyone with "boys will be boys", why not apply some modern psychology to the problem? Sociopaths and psychopaths are not interested in "spiritual" issues. Therefore, another force needs to be applied, no?

USA history has always been about the bad guy wearing the sheriff's badge in order to appear "good". More often than not, a "black robe" holy man was his side kick.

A real leader mobilizes sane adults who KNOW how to do the right thing to DO the right thing.

The only way out of this mess is to stop using their "money" to maintain our civilization - sometimes the simplest course of action is the only one that will work.

Here's the part of the plan that you seem to be a hired PR representative for, Betsy, whether you know it or not:


The biggest mistake made, the most fortunate one, was to shanghei "religious" organizations that evolved over millenia of common sense. What modern, civilized person likes having smoke blown in their face by shamans?

I taught children personal responsibility for their free will choices. You?

What about the wholesale greed and blatant transgressions of our wonderful government? The think that they can step in and 'fix' everything?? Please! Not ONE person in Washington has their hands clean on this one!! I'm sick of it all!!

Underlying all of this expose and discussion, for years now, is the basic assumption that people, no matter how educated, how religious, how powerful, will always steal if they think they will not get caught. And, worse, there has been the basic assumption that that is OK, because after all people are people....boys will be boys, so to speak.

Unless we address and change these basic assumptions, the thieves will go into hiding behind righteousness for a while, govt will prosecute fraud and abuse..will be criticized for being dictatorial and eventually deposed, opening the door to the thieves once more.

Zero tolerance for stealing is the same as zero tolerance for drugs, not taken seriously by the public.

This is a spiritual (not religious) problem which will need to be solved if any plan for moving out of crisis is to work. Where to start? How to start?

If GHWBush doesn’t work for the Saudis, then who? And what about the other political puppets like Peres and Putin, who do these geo-conservatives work for?

FEMA concentration camp

Obama had selected a neocon sympathetic cabinet, and now, he’s protecting neocons for their crimes (wiretapping being one).

In a stunning defense of President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, President Barack Obama has broadened the government's legal argument for immunizing his Administration and government agencies from lawsuits surrounding the National Security Agency's eavesdropping efforts.

It’s official now folks, WE’RE SCREWED!!!

Geocon globalization marches on.

Thank God that there is still a reporter like Bill Moyers to bring the truth tellers and whistle blowers into the limelight. Bill Black and William Greider are the kind of men we need to hear during this crisis. A unyielding stance and continual search for truth is so important during this time. The issues were complex and the banksters wanted to make it seem more complicated yet so they could continue to lie but Moyers brought on his show men who could explain it in simple and clear language. We should all be mad as hell and not take it anymore!

I am listening to your interview with William Grieder. My metaphor for the current approach is that the driver of the economy was drunk on totally free markets but he lost control and ran into a huge crowd of innocent people causing massive injury. The powers that be are now pouring black coffee into the driver in an attempt to get him back on the road as soon as possible and continue to give him alcohol. They can't give up the thrill of a high speed (profit) ride. Instead we need to find a driver who is not a drunk and officers who want to enforce rules designed to protect the crowd, not the drivers.

Keep at it Bill! The country needs to hear your eloquent, honest and wrenching words on our current dilemma. I'm going to send your comments to my congressional representatives and suggest that others do the same. I teach political science in a university and for the past two weeks have been trying to help my students, who haven't a clue about what is happening to them, understand how we got here and why. Your interview with Bill Black gave me more ammunition. Thanks, again, for your relentless pursuit of the truth.

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