Came in email, can't verify orign but have seen laundry done by that method long ago. Modern appliances are a blessing often taken for granted unless we know otherwise.
"WarshingClothes Recipe" -- imagine having a recipe for this ! ! ! Yearsago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe:this is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - withspellingerrorsand all.
Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water.Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one holecake of lie soap in boilin water.
Sort things, make 3piles
1 pile white,
1 pile colored,
1 pile work britches and rags.
To makestarch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down withboiling water.
Take white things, rub dirty spots onboard, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrenchand starch.
Take things out of kettle with broom stickhandle, then wrench, and starch.
Hang old rags onfence.
Spread tea towels on grass.
Porewrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
Turn tubs upside down.
Go put on cleandress, smooth hair with hair combs.. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock aspell and count your blessings.
Pastethis over your washer and dryer Next time when you think things arebleak, read it again, kiss that washing machine and dryer, and givethanks.. First thing each morning you should run and hug your washerand dryer.
Foryou non-southerners - wrench means, rinse ;)
ANDWE THOUGHT WE HAVE IT ROUGH
As a reminder, The Clearing House Association consists of ABN Amro, Bank Of America, The Bank Of New York, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank and Wells Fargo.
In a declaration filed in the Bloomberg Case (08-CV-9595, Southern District of New York), the banks demonstrate no shame in attempting to perpetuate the status quo with regard to the Federal Reserve and demand that the wool over the eyes of the general population remain firmly planted in perpetuity.
The Clearing House submits this declaration because the Court's Order threatens to impair the ability of our members to access emergency funds through the New York Fed's Discount Window without suffering the severe competitive harm that public disclosure of their identity will cause.
Our members have accessed the New York Fed's Discount Window with the understanding that the Fed will not publicly disclose information about their borrowing, especially their identity. Industry experience, including very recent and searing experience, has shown that negative rumors about a bank's financial condition - even completely unfounded rumors - have caused competitive harm, including bank runs and failures.
Surely transparency would facilitate rumor-mongering to an unprecedented degree. After all rumors spread much easier when everyone knows the true financial condition of banks.
And here, in plain written Times New Roman, you see what racketeering by a major bank consortium looks like:
If the names of our member banks who borrow emergency funds are publicly disclosed, the likelihood that a borrowing bank's customers, counterparties and other market participants will draw a negative inference is great. Public speculation that a financial institution is experiencing liquidity shortfalls - which would be a natural inference from having tapped emergency funds - has caused bank customers to withdraw deposits, counterparties to make collateral calls and lenders to accelerate loan repayment or refuse to make new loans. When an institution's customers flee and its credit dries up the institution may suffer severe capital and liquidity strains leaving it in a weakened competitive position.
Pardon me if I am a broken record here, but would rumors not spread much less if there was more transparency, if investors and other financial intermediaries were fully aware of the conditions of their counterparties, if banks did not have to cover their billions in reserve losses by pretending they are viable and essentially being constant wards of the state?
The Banks' racketeering has gone on for far too long.
And yet, it does not stop: the conclusion from the banks' letter:
In sum, our experience differs from the factual conclusions the Court appears to have reached about the nature of competition in the banking industry:
- The competitive harm to institutions that are publicized as needing emergency funding is not "speculative," but demonstrated by the recent multiple failures of financial institutions whenever information about their funding difficulty has been disclosed.
- The disclosure does not involve mere "embarassing publicity" but information that could result in the immediate demise of an institution.
- The disclosure would not merely "stigmatize [ ]"the institution or make it "look [ ] weak," but goes to its very viability.
- The disclosure of accessing emergency funding is not an "inherent risk" of market participation, but an extraordinary risk in extraordinary circumstances.
- Competitors can use the disclosure to advertise or publicize that they are financial stronger because they don't need emergency funding.
In a nutshell - the banks want their complete opacity cake and eat it too, or else, the racket goes, the transparency that will somehow promote massive rumor mongering will again destroy capitalism. In the meantime, the Ken Lewises of the world can continue touting how stable their businesses are based on optimistic future projections, while implicitly, they continue to survive merely thanks to the cash granted them by you, taxpayers.
Full filing here: (live link) "
On this Friday morning we're shifting gears to something inspirational for a refreshing change. A particularly good article, great reminder. Hope you enjoy!!!
"The Lost Mode of Prayer – From Intervention to Acceptance
By Gregg Braden August 27th, 2009
Source Dream Manifesto
"Modern prayer researchers currently identify four modes of prayer used in the west today. Does an additional mode exist? Is there a fifth mode of prayer that allows us to participate in the outcome of the events within our bodies as well as the world around us?
Recent findings in remote temple sites where these traditions remain today, combined with new research into some of the most sacred and esoteric traditions of our past, lead me to believe that the answer is “Yes!”
Much of our conditioning in western traditions for the last one and one half millennia has invited us to “ask” that specific circumstances in our world change through divine intervention; that our prayers be answered. In our well-intentioned asking, however, we may unknowingly empower the very conditions that we are praying to change. For example, when we ask, “Dear God, please let there be peace in the world,” in effect we are stating that peace does not exist in the present.
Ancient traditions remind us that prayers of asking are one form of prayer, among other forms, that empower us to find peace in our world through the quality of thought, feeling and emotion that we create in our body. Once we allow the qualities of peace in our mind and fuel our prayer through feelings of peace in our body, the fifth mode of prayer states that the outcome has already happened.
Quantum science now takes this idea one step further, stating that it is precisely such conditions of feeling that creation responds to, by matching the feeling (prayer) of our inner world with like conditions in our outer world. Though the outcome of our prayer may not yet be apparent in our outer world, we are invited to acknowledge our communion with creation and live as if our prayer has already been answered.
Through the words of another time, the ancients invited us to embrace our lost mode of prayer as a consciousness that we become, rather than a prescribed form of action that we perform upon occasion. In words that are as simple as they are elegant, we are reminded to be “surrounded” by the answer to our prayers and “enveloped” by the conditions that we choose to experience. In the modern idiom, this description suggests to us that to effect change in our world, we are invited to first have the feelings of the change having happened.
As modern science continues to validate a relationship between our thoughts, feelings and dreams with the world that surrounds us, it becomes more likely that a forgotten bridge links our prayers with that of our experience. The beauty of such an inner technology is that it is based upon human qualities that we already possess. From the prophets who saw us in their dreams, we are reminded that in honoring all life, we accomplish nothing less than the survival of our species and the future of the only home we know.
Comparing Modes of Prayer Through the Example of Global Peace
Logic-based prayer: asking for intervention:
1. We Focus upon present conditions where we believe that peace does not exist.
2. We may feel helpless, powerless or angry at the events and conditions that we are witness to.
3. We employ our prayer of asking by inviting divine intervention from a higher power to bring peace to bear upon individuals, conditions and places where we believe that peace is absent.
4. Through our asking, we may unknowingly affirm the very conditions that we least desire. When we say “Please let there be peace,” for example, we are declaring that peace is not present in a particular situation. In doing so, we may actually fuel the condition that we have chosen to change.
5. We continue to ask for intervention until we see the change actually come to pass in our world.
Feeling-based prayer: knowing that our prayer is already answered
1. We witness all events, those of peace and those that we see as the absence of peace, as possibilities without judgement of right, wrong, bad or good.
2. We release our judgement of the situation by Blessing those conditions that have caused us pain. The Blessing does not condone or consent to the event or condition. Rather, it acknowledges that the event is part of the single source of all that is. (Please see the book, Walking Between the Worlds: The Science of Compassion, for details.)
3. By feeling the feelings of our prayer already answered, we demonstrate the ancient quantum principle stating that the conditions of peace within our bodies are mirrored in the world beyond our bodies.
4. We acknowledge the power of our prayer and know (feel) that the focus of our prayer has already come to pass.
5. Our prayer now consists of:
a. acknowledging the peace already is present in our world by living from the knowledge that such changes have occurred.
b. empowering our prayer by giving thanks for the opportunity to choose peace over suffering."
About the Author:
A former Senior Computer Systems Designer for Martin Marietta Aerospace, Computer geologist for Phillips Petroleum and a Technical Operations Manager for Cisco Systems, Braden is now considered a leading authority on bridging the wisdom of our past with the science and peace of our future. Through his journeys into the remote mountain villages, temples and monasteries of times past, Braden marries the wisdom of ancient traditions and modern science to benefit our lives today."
"Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data
"Geithner: Auditing the Fed is a "line that we don't want to cross"James Corbett
25 August, 2009
"In an interview released today by Digg and the Wall Street Journal, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was pressured about the growing popular movement to Audit the Fed spearheaded by Texas Congressman Ron Paul. A visibly uncomfortable Geithner attempts to dismiss the question by stating "I'm sure people understand that you want to keep politics out of monetary policy." When Geithner is again pressed on the issue, he makes the stunning assertion that conducting an audit of the Federal Reserve—something never before done in its 96 year history—is a "line that we don't want to cross," proclaiming that such a move would be "problematic for the country." Watch the interview in the player below:
~~~~~~~ VIDEO ~~~~~~~
Geithner's response that auditing the Fed would give politicians dangerous control over American monetary policy is mistaken at best and a deliberate lie at worst. Allowing the public to know what happened to their $24 trillion in bailout money does not give undue control of monetary policy to the people's elected representatives. Instead, such an audit would finally allow the public to see how their money has been spent in the midst of the largest spending binge in the history of the world's economy, hardly an unreasonable demand given the well-documented revolving door between the Treasury and Goldman Sachs, the main recipient of bailout funds. Ultimately, the Treasury Secretary is left spewing the absurdity that "I think even the sponsor of that bill recognizes how important it is to us to have the Fed independent of politics," which can only be said to be true insofar as Ron Paul—the sponsor of House Resolution (HR) 1207— wants to abolish the Federal Reserve system altogether.
That the Wall Street Journal would even pressure the Treasury Secretary on serious issues like the Audit the Fed movement may be surprising, given that the Wall Street Journal is a mouthpiece of the financial oligarchy and that editor Paul Gigot, like Geithner himself, is a Bilderberg attendee. Needless to say, this was not a typical inside-the-beltway interview. Instead, questions were submitted and voted on by the Digg community, with the top 10 questions being posed to Mr. Geithner.
As a result, the Secretary was bombarded by pointed questions about his documented tax evasion from 2001-2004, the wisdom of spending trillions of dollars in the light of long-term dollar devaluation and even, in the words of one particularly irate questioner, "Why are you running the Treasury Department?" Despite presumably having had time to prepare responses to each question well in advance, Geithner is still visibly discomfited by the entire exchange, picking at his shirt cuff and coughing nervously throughout the interview.
In one particularly telling moment, Geithner even admits "We have been forced to do just extraordinary things and, frankly, offensive things to help save the economy."
That these questions are only being asked now, almost a year into the bailout and several months after the new administration has taken office, further highlights how the controlled corporate media is doing everything in its power to keep to well-trodden and uncontroversial areas in their interviewing of key administration officials. This interview is testimony to the power of the citizen journalism movement that is attempting to hold those in power accountable for their actions. We can only hope that the Obama Administration lives up to their promise to be the "cyber" administration by allowing more such question-and-answer sessions in the future."
'Win One for Teddy,' Say Dems Pushing for Health Reform
"Man collapses with ruptured appendix... three weeks after NHS doctors 'took it out'
By Daniel Bates
Last updated at 12:15 AM on 26th August 2009
"After weeks of excruciating pain, Mark Wattson was understandably relieved to have his appendix taken out.
Doctors told him the operation was a success and he was sent home.
But only a month later the 35-year-old collapsed in agony and had to be taken back to Great Western Hospital in Swindon by ambulance.
Mark Wattson, 35, from Swindon may have been the victim of botched surgery after he had to have his appendix removed twice
To his shock, surgeons from the same team told him that not only was his appendix still inside him, but it had ruptured - a potentially fatal complication.
In a second operation it was finally removed, leaving Mr Wattson fearing another organ might have been taken out during the first procedure.
The blunder has left Mr Wattson jobless, as bosses at the shop where he worked did not believe his story and sacked him.
Mr Wattson told of the moment he realised there had been a serious mistake.
'I was lying on a stretcher in terrible pain and a doctor came up to me and said that my appendix had burst,' he said.
'I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I told these people I had my appendix out just four weeks earlier but there it was on the scanner screen for all to see.
'I thought, "What the hell did they slice me open for in the first place?"
'I feel that if the surgery had been done correctly in the first place I wouldn't be in the mess I am today. I'm disgusted by the whole experience.'
Mr Wattson first went under the knife on July 7 after experiencing severe abdominal pain for several weeks. He was discharged but exactly a month later he had to dial 999 after collapsing in agony.
Mr Wattson was readmitted to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon after his appendix ruptured
Following the second operation his incision became infected and he was admitted to hospital for a third time for treatment.
He said: 'I had a temporary job at a sports shop but when I took in two medical certificates saying I had my appendix out twice they didn't believe me.
'Now I'm helpless. I can't go out and find a job, I can't go to interviews, I can barely walk and am in constant pain. Before the first operation they told me I had to have my appendix removed and when I woke up afterwards they said it had been a complete success.
'But then I keeled over in agony one month later and when they did some tests at the hospital we could see the appendix was still there on the scans.
'As far as I was aware they took my appendix out and no one told me any different.
'I have no idea what they did take out, but I want to find out what went wrong.'
A spokesman for Great Western Hospital confirmed that a representative had met Mr Wattson and that an investigation had been started.
He was unable to confirm what, if anything, was removed in the first operation.
Paul Gearing, deputy general manager for general surgery at Great Western Hospital NHS Trust, said: 'We are unable to comment on individual cases.
'However, we would like to apologise if Mr Wattson felt dissatisfied with the care he received at Great Western Hospital.'
* Compensation payments to NHS patients have risen by 20 per cent in the past year to a record high of £769million. At this rate more than £2million a day is being paid over claims against the Health Service."
This is really well explained and worth your time reading the whole article.
The Lie Of "High Frequency Trading" Liquidity
"..........Let's postulate two HFT computers passing 1,000 share orders for the mythical Frobozz (FBOZ) back and forth between each other. There's a scadload of volume generated by these transactions, and an outside observer, who is unaware that the 1 million shares are in fact 1,000 transactions of the same 1,000 shares being passed back and forth between the same two guys, might assume that there's a lot of liquidity that has been added.
But this is in fact misleading, as the following example will demonstrate. .....
Great article, worth the read.
"The Great American Sell-Out: How The AMA, AARP And PhRMA Have Sold Out To Obamacare
By HERB DENENBERG, The Bulletin
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Source The Bulletin
"This is a report on one of the great sell-outs in American history: How the insurance companies, the drug companies (PhRMA), the AARP, and the AMA have all sold-out their principles to get a piece of the profit of Obamacare for themselves. Instead of standing on their principles, and taking a position on whether Obamacare would be good for America, they are rushing in to make a deal to protect their own interests.
This is not just my interpretation of what is going on, but is being documented by national publications and pundits. For example, Business Week (August 17, 2009) has a cover story, “Health Reform: Why Insurers Are Winning.” The inside sub-headline is “The industry, deftly maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, prepares to profit from health reform.”
Instead of fighting to defeat a bill that is being jammed down the throat of Americans and has not been properly considered and debated, the major insurance companies are simply, in effect, cutting a deal to assure their own profit, saying good bye to their principles and to the larger welfare of the country.
These major insurers may be like Winston Churchill’s definition of appeasers – those who feed the alligators in the hope they will be the last to be eaten. The insurers may be setting themselves up for short-term profits, but in the long-term the Washington-centered, big-government insurance system is likely to drive private insurers out of the market. This will mean a standard socialized medical system, a so-called single-payer system, o f the type originally advocated by President Obama and advocated by the extreme left-wing Democrats that now dominate their party.
The least surprising sell-out involves the AARP – least surprising as AARP almost from its beginning sold-out to profits rather than principles and protecting its own income20rather than that of its members. Obamacare is clearly not in the interests of the senior citizen members of AARP. The proposal is to cut $500 million out of Medicare to pay for an expansion of government insurance for others. Senior citizens belonging to AARP know that will come out of their own benefits. What’s worse, the rationing and waiting periods that will afflict Obamacare will most seriously impact senior citizens. With cost effectiveness in control, it is the seniors for whom treatment will be least cost effective. When they compete with 20-year olds for care, they will be in the position of care that is least cost-effective.
Since July, it is reported that 60,000 senior citizens have dropped their membership in AARP because of its stand on the healthcare bill. Some feel it is not only supporting legislation contrary to their interest, but also are not leveling with t heir own membership. AARP claims it is not supporting any bill, but at the same time is running ads that definitely support comprehensive reform and consequently, in effect, all of the bills on comprehensive reform now before Congress.
Investor’s Business Daily (August 10, 2009) reported on the AARP sell-out in an20editorial entitled “Geezers with Pitchforks Vs. The AARP.” IBD stated. “But they [senior citizen protestors at a town meeting] were mad as hell at the perception that AARP was selling them out in the name of government-run medical insurance. That perception was not helped when the AARP town hall on the subject was shut down…once the members dared to ask questions. The AARP did not want to hear from the members at all. Just send in your dues, granny, and be quiet.”
The AARP denies being in league with the administration in pushing Obamacare. But the publication Human Events reported on a memo from House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described plans to partner with AARP in a PR blitz to promote the expansion of health insurance. The IBD asks, “How can the AARP claim to have not endorsed the administration’s health care ag enda as it works to get its members to embrace it.”
IBD also cataloged how top AARP officials, including the CEO, have made substantial campaign contributions to Obama. IBD concludes: Having paid into the system all their lives and now AARP dues, they are upset that illegal aliens will be covered by legislation that eliminates any proof-of-citizenship requirement. And they are furious that AARP would support ‘reform’ that includes ‘end-of-life counseling’ as if they’re being encouraged to get out of the way.
“They know that the administration’s plan is one big government ‘do not resuscitate’ order for seniors, and they don’t want some government bureaucrat looking at some spreadsheet pulling their plug.”
The “end-of-life counseling” provision was recently pulled out of the Senate bill, but it is still in the House bill.
Of course, no one should be surprised at the latest sell-out of the AARP. In f act, as indicated, the AARP sold out long ago, turning itself into a marketing machine (for insurance and other financial instruments), earning a return off the backs of its members. It’s advocacy is for its own income stream, not that of its senior citizen members.
The drug companies were one of the first groups to se ll-out to Obamacare. Working through their major trade association, The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association (PhRMA) they agreed to kick in $80 billion over ten years to reduce the cost of drugs for senior citizens. This, of course, was more in the nature of protection money to protect their interests in the crafting of the final version of Obamacare. As a Los Angeles Times (August 4, 2009) headline put it, “Obama gives powerful drug lobby a seat at the table: The pharmaceutical industry, once condemned by the president as a source of healthcare problems, has become a White House partner.”
In addition PhRMA is spending $150 million on an advertising campaign to sell Obamacare.
What did PhRMA get in return? The White House agreed not to resort to Medicare drug bargaining. The White House also agreed to break another one of the many campaign promises it routinely breaks: The new law will not authorize importing cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe. Of course, there are denials, but they are hard to believe.
On July 16, 2009, the American Medical Association (AMA) endorsed Obamacare and the radica l overhaul of the American healthcare system. This was a total about-face as the AMA and other doctors’ groups have long opposed socialized medicine out of fear of rationed care, long waiting lines for treatment, government interference in doctor-patient relations, and massive deficits and national debt to pay for the system.
It is not clear what, if anything the AMA got in return, but it is suspected that some sort of guarantee of doctors’ fees may have been the quid pro quo. It is also speculated that the AMA viewed the reform as inevitable, so wanted a seat at the table to determine the direction of health care legislation.
Of course, some groups didn’t have to ma ke a deal. The plaintiffs’ bar gives so much to Democratic politicians and is such a key part of the Democratic Party machinery that tort reform was never on the table as part of healthcare reform. Even Democrats like pollster Pat Cadell is appalled at Obama for proposing healthcare reform without doing something about tort reform, which drains the system of billions to pay for defensive medicine and malpractice premiums. Big labor, like the trial lawyers, didn’t have to bargain, as they are another key segment of the Democratic Party coalition.
It’s not reassuring to see groups of professionals, a group organized to protect senior citizens, and other groups with responsibility to the public selling out to a socialized scheme of medicine that we can’t afford, that will wreck the health delivery system, and that is contrary of to most important values of the U.S. But the lesson for the public is clear – if the public wants to be protected from socialized schemes that will destroy America it has to stand up and fight for its rights. It is clear that Congress and the various special interests of the healthcare industry sold out in a hurry.
The lobbyists are cutting all kinds of deals on behalf of their clients. The only group without lobbyists in Washington is the public. Congress is supposed to represent the public, but by now, everyone should not that’s not so."
No wonder they don't want an accounting.
"Feds: Stimulus money sent to 4,000 cons
Herald report spurs probe
By Laura Crimaldi
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - Updated 6h ago
"One day after the Herald reported some surprised Bay State inmates - including murderers and rapists - were cashing in $250 stimulus checks, federal officials revealed the same behind-bars bonus was mailed to nearly 4,000 cons nationwide.
A federal watchdog is now probing how the cons were cut the checks. The same cash also may have been sent to fugitive felons, people kicked out of the country and even individuals now deceased.
It’s all part of the massive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - and what is becoming an accounting nightmare for red-faced feds.
“President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill has done more to help convicted criminals than it has to actually boost our economy and create jobs,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Sara Sendek.
The Inspector General of Social Security is now tracing the checks that were mailed to 3,900 prisoners at a cost of nearly $1 million after yesterday’s report in the Herald.
Social Security Administration spokesman Stephen Richardson said yesterday none of the prisoner recipients receive monthly Social Security benefits, meaning they should not qualify for a stimulus check. Such benefits are generally cut off to the incarcerated.
The IG also is investigating whether any improper payments were made to dead beneficiaries, felons on the run from the law, individuals living overseas and recipients no longer legally authorized to live in the United States, said IG spokesman George Penn.
Among the 23 inmate recipients in Massachusetts mentioned in yesterday’s Herald are a prisoner convicted of first-degree murder, three prisoners jailed for second-degree murder and five convicted rapists, according to the state Department of Correction.
Richardson said five Bay State prisoners received the payments legitimately because they were legally on Social Security in a three-month period before they went to jail.
The remaining checks were sent to individuals who were not properly identified as prisoners in Social Security records or to people where inaccurate Social Security numbers have since been found.
Only five Massachusetts prisoners have enough cash left to pay the government back, the DOC said.
Nationally, about 2,200 inmates who were mailed checks are entitled to the payments because they were not in prison and lawfully collecting Social Security at some point between November 2008 and January, Richardson said.
The federal goverment is examining whether the payment was due to the remaining 1,700 inmates because they were not identified as prisoners in the Social Security system, Richardson said.
The U.S. Treasury Department began mailing the $250 checks to 54.4 million Social Security beneficiaries, veterans and federal railroad retirees in May as part of a $13 billion spending plan."
"ACORN Director Pleads Guilty
"A high-ranking official at the taxpayer-funded leftist group that conducts fraudulent voter registration drives has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for organizing a scheme that illegally paid workers to register new voters.
As a Nevada field director for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Christopher Edwards paid canvassers—many of them “lazy crack heads”—to register new voters for the 2008 presidential election. He also set illegal quotas of at least 20 voters a day for canvassers to keep their job and offered an additional $5 for registering 21 or more.
ACORN’s shady quota system is illegal in Nevada as well as most states and the Chicago-based community group with strong ties to President Obama faces criminal charges across the nation. As part of Edwards’ guilty plea, he is cooperating with authorities and will testify against several high-ranking ACORN regional officials.
His testimony could strengthen other pending criminal cases against the group and its crooked method of recruiting new voters in low-income, “underserved” communities. For its corrupt 2008 drives alone, ACORN faces criminal charges in Florida, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. In an effort to dismiss the charges in Pennsylvania, the group actually filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the state anti-quota law it violated unconstitutionally interferes with important political activity.
In previous elections, ACORN has been busted for falsifying information to register new voters in numerous other states, including Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina and Colorado to name a few. In 2007 the group settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State after seven workers were caught submitting about 2,000 fake registration forms.
ACORN’s well documented history of fraud and corruption led to an overdue congressional investigation that determined the community group is a criminal enterprise. A lengthy report recently published by the House Committee on Government Reform reveals that ACORN has repeatedly and deliberately engaged in systematic fraud and that the group hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate.
Incredibly, the radical leftist organization with offices around the nation continues to receive massive amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars for its various community programs. Earlier this year ACORN got a multi billion-dollar infusion—for “neighborhood stabilization activities”—from the monstrous economic recovery bill that was supposed to create new jobs and offer an immediate tax relief to stimulate the ailing economy."
"Court Orders Federal Reserve to Disclose Emergency Loan Details
Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve must for the first time identify the companies in its emergency lending programs after losing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Manhattan Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled against the central bank yesterday, rejecting the argument that loan records aren’t covered by the law because their disclosure would harm borrowers’ competitive positions.
The Fed has refused to name the financial firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or the assets put up as collateral under 11 programs, most put in place during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression, saying that doing so might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders. Bloomberg LP, the New York-based company majority-owned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sued on Nov. 7 on behalf of its Bloomberg News unit.
“The Federal Reserve has to be accountable for the decisions that it makes,” said Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, after Preska’s ruling. “It’s one thing to say that the Federal Reserve is an independent institution. It’s another thing to say that it can keep us all in the dark.”
The judge said the central bank “improperly withheld agency records” by “conducting an inadequate search” after Bloomberg News reporters filed a request under the information act. She gave the Fed five days to turn over documents it told the reporters it located, including 231 pages of reports, and said it must look for more at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which runs most of the loan programs.
The central bank “essentially speculates on how a borrower might enter a downward spiral of financial instability if its participation in the Federal Reserve lending programs were to be disclosed,” Preska wrote. “Conjecture, without evidence of imminent harm, simply fails to meet the Board’s burden” of proof.
David Skidmore, a Fed spokesman who said the board’s staff was reviewing the 47-page ruling, declined to comment on whether the central bank would appeal.
Bloomberg said in the suit that U.S. taxpayers need to know the terms of Fed lending because the public became an “involuntary investor” in the nation’s banks as the financial crisis deepened and the government began shoring up companies with capital injections and loans. Citigroup Inc. and American International Group Inc. are among those who have said they accepted Fed loans.
“When an unprecedented amount of taxpayer dollars were lent to financial institutions in unprecedented ways and the Federal Reserve refused to make public any of the details of its extraordinary lending, Bloomberg News asked the court why U.S. citizens don’t have the right to know,” said Matthew Winkler, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News. “We’re gratified the court is defending the public’s right to know what is being done in the public interest.”
The Fed’s balance sheet about doubled after lending standards were relaxed in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. on Sept. 15, 2008. For the week ended Aug. 19, Fed assets rose 2.3 percent to $2.06 trillion as it continued to buy mortgage-backed securities under a program allowing the central bank to purchase non-government securities for the first time.
The U.S. House may vote as soon as next month on a bill to require the Fed to submit to audits by the Government Accountability Office, said Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican on the Financial Services Committee.
The judge’s ruling “is strikingly good news,” Garrett said. “This is what the American people have been asking for.”
The Freedom of Information Act obliges federal agencies to make government documents available to the press and public. The Bloomberg suit, filed in New York, didn’t seek money damages.
“The public deserves to know what’s being done with the money,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Arlington, Virginia-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “This ought to be a wake-up call for the public that they need to be far more educated about this.”
The case is Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). "
Why is our military there other than to build infrastructure for drug runners or to control whatever oil pipeline that may be pumping through that area?
Wasn't this the president who vowed to bring out troops home? These headlines certainly don't speak withdrawal.
Silence of anti-war protestors is deafening........................
Mullen worried over public support for Afghan war
U.S. military says force in Afghanistan isn't big enough
Afghan conflict serious, 'deteriorating'-Mullen
From Investor's Busniness Daily Political Cartoons of Michael Ramirez.
Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Congressman Brian Baird
Just found this on Powerlineblog.com which seems to settle the argument about health care rationing of elderly due to death panel decisions. Withhold care to cut costs ..... people die .... equates to bees pushing older workers out of the hive mid winter to freeze.
Live links for reference.
"Paul Rahe: Obama to elderly: Drop dead!
August 23, 2009Posted by Scott at 8:02 AM
"Hillsdale College history professor Paul Rahe writes to comment on the current political scene:
Why are the Democrats in such trouble? I think that the answer is three-fold.
First, as I argued in my last Powerline (post, the so-called "stimulus bill" was passed in both the House and the Senate in a manner suggestive of tyranny. It was written in camera with the help of a legion of lobbyists, and it was presented and shoved through before anyone in Congress even had a chance to read it, much less think about it, and the same argument could be made concerning the passage of the cap-and-trade bill in the House and the Obama administration's handling of the bailout and the bankruptcy proceedings of Chrysler and General Motors.
Second, the first of these bills was an obvious scam - a massive pay-off to Democratic party constituencies at the expense of the American taxpayer on a scale that guarantees much higher taxes before long and that almost certainly will drive up interest rates. In the long run, it is not a stimulus bill in any shape or form. It is the sort of spending certain to retard growth.
Third - as I argued in some detail in "Obama's tyrannical ambition," rationing was the point of the Obamacare proposal.
By now, of course, everyone - apart from those so partisan that they believe every lie foisted upon them by the party apparat and those who flack for it at CNN, ABC, MSNBC, and the like - understands as much. They recognize that all of the talk, dripping with compassion, about the supposed health care crisis and the need to cover the uninsured was a cover for an attempt to do away with Medicare and replace it with something less costly. And this prospect they do not like it one bit.
Consider Lee Siegel. He prefaces his recent piece in the Daily Beast with the announcement that he considers "the absence of universal healthcare . . . America's burning shame." Then, however, he acknowledges that "on one point the plan's critics are absolutely correct. One of the key ideas under consideration - which can be read as expressing sympathy for limitations on end-of-life care - is morally revolting."
Make no mistake about it. Determining which treatments are "cost effective" at the end of a person's life and which are not is one of Obama's priorities. It's one of the principal ways he counts on saving money and making universal healthcare affordable.
This reeks of the Big Brother nightmare of oppressive government that the shrewd propagandists on the right are always blathering on about. Except that this time, they could not be more right. . . .
Siegel is not an isolated figure. In Salon, Camille Paglia makes much the same point, praising Sarah Palin for her "shrewdly timed metaphor," which "spoke directly to the electorate's unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral."
Even The New York Times is coming around. On August 13, Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes, writing in the news pages, played the conspiracy card, charging that the concerns evidenced at the town-hall meetings were the product of a systematic attempt on the part of conservatives to mislead the gullible. Precisely one week later, however, the same newspaper published another news article by Robert Pear, acknowledging that "Medicare beneficiaries and insurance counselors say the concerns are not entirely irrational," and adding that "the zeal for cutting health costs, combined with proposals to compare the effectiveness of various treatments and to counsel seniors on end-of-life care, may explain why some people think the legislation is about rationing, which could affect access to the most expensive services in the final months of life."
Even more to the point, at the end of his article, Pear notes,
If a bill becomes law, no one can say for sure how it may be applied or extended. The 1965 law that created Medicare prohibited "any federal interference" in "the practice of medicine or the manner in which medical services are provided," or in the operation of any institution providing health care. Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, called this "a majestic message from Congress about how it expected the Medicare program to be run." But the meaning of that guarantee has shrunk as Medicare officials and Congress have set more detailed standards for doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and others in Medicare.
If we are to understand fully what is going on when we see generally mild-mannered, older people showing up in coats and ties to shout at their Congressman, we must keep in mind that for 44 years working Americans in their generation have been paying in to Medicare. They expect, when they retire, to receive the level of medical care that they were promised, that they paid for, that was provided over the last 44 years to those who paid in for a shorter time or paid in not at all. Obama's attempt to renege on the commitment to them has them hopping mad, for they know a broken promise when they see one.
This is all a portent of trouble to come. Medicare is on the verge of bankruptcy, and the same is true of Social Security. Virtually every state in the Union has promised retired teachers and civil servants pensions that were never properly funded. The bill will soon come due; taxes will be raised - but it is not clear that they can be raised high enough, for tax rates that stifle growth reduce receipts. The welfare state we had before Barack Obama became President was insupportable. Ours will soon be a regime of broken promises, and there will be hell to pay. The first installment will come due on the first Tuesday in November, 2010.
"No Recovery, Not Now… Not Ever
By Bill Bonner
Source The Daily Reckoning
08/21/09 Ouzilly, France
"That we live in an age of miracles has become common knowledge. A man may sit on a beach near Sydney, with nothing but the bucket bottom of the universe over his head, and still carry on a casual conversation with an Eskimo near the North Pole. Using an Internet-based phone service, he may do so at negligible cost. If this were not miracle enough, he may now grow himself a new nose, if he needs one, on his own arm.
In this age of miracles, people seem ready to believe that anything is possible. Recklessly crossing the street at the end of the Late Bubble Epoque, the world economy got hit by a cross-town bus. Now, the feds propose to reverse and run over the poor fellow again. It will be as if they had reversed the film; the economy will be as good as new, they say.
But we are suspicious. And we begin today’s rumination by examining the bus driver’s motives.
In its naked form, government is not evil; it is merely a self-interested parasite, like a bank lobbyist. Its main value comes from its ability to elbow out other parasites. Of course, the typical citizen is no saint either. Instead, he is merely a parasite in the larval stage. If he is lucky enough or cunning enough, he could grow into a parasite himself. The citizen, generally, doesn’t mind being lied to and robbed – just so long it is by someone he elected. Or at least by someone whom tradition or local connivance put in place. He does not usually resent his homegrown government, even though it routinely costs him a substantial part of his output. On the contrary, he grows so fond of it he even dons his helmet from time to time to protect it. Naturally, the feds return the favor.
The basic business model of government is to keep order, protect campaign contributors and lure supporters with the promise of other peoples’ money. The game plan of the typical citizen is even simpler: to be on the receiving end, not the paying end. Over time, more and more of them get into position. And the whole society becomes more costly, and more corrupt.
In the United States, entire industries now operate as wards of the state. They may have too little capital. Or, their operations may be too costly. Or, their products may be simply out-of-date and unattractive. Still, government keeps them going – even at the cost of at the expense of competitors. And the money doesn’t only go to business. Cities stay solvent only by the grace of federal government grants. Whole sections of the population depend on government – including 34 million who draw their rations directly from the federal food stamp program. The spectacle is breathtaking and alarming at the same time – like a Pakistani bus on a mountain road, freighted with passengers clinging to the roof. The old rust bucket could tip over at any time, but what politician would tell a voter to get off?
That preface on the state out of the way, we turn to the state of the economy. The key to understanding the great credit bubble of 1945-2007 is to capture the codependent relationship between China and the United States of America. It seemed to serve both parties well. Each enabled each other’s excess. China added mightily to the world’s supply – far more than was actually needed. America, meanwhile, did heroic work on the demand side. While the growth in the United States was led by consumer spending, the growth in China was led by capital investment; factories expanded, towns were built, and output was revved up. But there was a flaw. Americans ran out of money. After the ’70s, they could only increase their buying by going into debt. This they did with insouciance bordering on insanity. Total debt rose 370% of GDP and then blew up in 2007, with major lenders forced into bankruptcy and mergers, while GDP sank at its fastest pace since the end of WWII.
Now, the old formula no longer works – neither for Americans nor for the Chinese. Despite the urging of their government, Americans cannot be expected to take on more debt in order to consume more stuff from China. As savings rates grow toward 10%, demand from the United States will collapse by an estimated $1 trillion per year. With the China trade now accounting for 83% of America’s non-oil trade deficit, you’d think the Chinese would panic. They already have as much as two times the output capacity needed to meet real demand. They should trim their manufacturing sector, not expand it.
We draw out that relationship only to show how hopeless it would be to draw it out further. Borrowing to consume is merely tricking stuff from the future to enjoy in the present. By 2007, some $30 trillion worth of spending that would have occurred ‘in the future’ had already occurred in the past. Factories that would have produced consumer items for 2009 discovered that they had already produced more than enough of them in 2005 and 2006.
It would be better to invite the future in…let her collect her debts…and then get on with things. Yet government officials on both sides of the Pacific continue their numbskull efforts to revive the bubble economy. On the US side, the feds are trying to stimulate demand for more stuff. On the far side, Chinese stimulation is going into producing more stuff. As if the world didn’t have too much stuff already.
But the role of government is neither prosperity nor plausibility…but protection of the pests and parasites. They will keep paying them off and carrying them along…until the bus runs off the road.
But it’s not prosperity that government really cares about. The big bus keeps trundling along – picking up pests and parasites along the way. It will keep going until it runs off the road.
Enjoy your weekend,"
The Daily Reckoning"
"Alinsky, Beck, Satan and Me
"Glenn Beck will be on vacation this week but when he returns on the 24th he has invited me to come to New York to talk to him on camera about Saul Alinsky, the strategy guru of the Obama era. For the the Hillary-Soros generation of johnny-come-lately radicals and their ACORN footsoldiers, Alinksy is their Sun-Tzu and his book Rules for Radicals is the field manual for their struggle. I thought while I’m refreshing my acquaintance with this destructive fellow and re-reading his text, I would share my thoughts with you, serially over the next week.
For this first post, let’s just focus on the dedication of the book — to Satan:
“Lest we forget, an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical:” (Pause there for second. Now continue): “from all our legends, mythology, and history(and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
So Alinsky begins by telling readers what a radical is. He is not a reformer of the system but its would-be destroyer. This is something that in my experience conservatives have a very hard time understanding. Conservatives are altogether too decent, too civilized to match up adequately, at least in the initital stages of the battle, with their adversaries. They are too prone to give them the benefit of the doubt. They assume that radicals can’t really want to destroy a society that is democratic and liberal and has brought wealth and prosperity to so many. Oh yes they can. That is in fact the essence of what it means to be a radical — to be willing to destroy the values, structures and institutions that sustain the society we live in. Marx himself famously cited Alinsky’s first rebel (using another of his names — Mephistopheles): “Everything that exists deserves to perish.”
This is why ACORN activists, for example, have such contempt for the election process, why they are so willing to commit election fraud. Because just as Lucifer didn’t believe in God’s kingdom, so the radicals who run ACORN don’t believe in the democratic system. To them it is itself a fraud — an instrument of the ruling class, or as Alinsky prefers to call it, of the Haves. If the electoral system doesn’t serve all of us, but is only an instrument of the Haves, then election fraud is justified because it is a means of creating a system that serves the Have-Nots — social justice. Until conservatives begin to understand exactly what drives radicals and how dishonest they are — dishonest in the their core — it is going to be very hard to defend the system that is under attack. For radicals the noble end — creating a new heaven on earth — justifies any means. And if one actually believed it was possible to create heaven on earth, would he not willingly destroy any system hitherto created by human beings?
The many names of Satan, by the way, are also a model for radicals who camouflage their agendas by alternatively calling themselves Communists, socialists, new leftists, liberals and most consistently progressives. My parents, who were card-carrying Communists, never referred to themselves as Communists but always as “progressives.” The Progressive Party was run by the Communist Party and split off from the Democrats in 1948 (because Harry Truman opposed Stalin), but rejoined the Democrats in the McGovern campaign of 1972 and with the ascension of Barack Obama has become the Democratic Party.
Alinsky’s tribute to Satan as the first radical, and as the model of radicals to come, should cause us to reflect on how Satan tempted Adam and Eve to destroy their paradise. If you rebel and violate the law that has been laid down for you, “You shall be as gods” the serpent told them. You think Rahm Emmanuel was listening?
Oh, and let’s not forget this — the kingdom that the first radical “won” was hell."
"Rules for Radicals
By Saul Alinsky - 1971
Hillary Clinton's 1969 Political Science Thesis ("There is Only the Fight") refers to an earlier version of Alinsky’s training manual. "In 1946,” she wrote, "Alinsky's first book, Reveille for Radicals, was published."
Opening page - Dedication
“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment tothe very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history... the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
"The Revolutionary force today has two targets, moral as well as material. Its young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the idealistic early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, 'Burn the system down!' They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world. It is to this point that I have written this book."
1. The Purpose
In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace.... "Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.' This means revolution." p.3
"Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing." p.6
"A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." p.10
"An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth -- truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing.... To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations...." pp.10-11
2. Of Means and Ends [Forget moral or ethical considerations]
"The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. ... The real arena is corrupt and bloody." p.24
"The means-and-ends moralists, constantly obsessed with the ethics of the means used by the Have-Nots against the Haves, should search themselves as to their real political position. In fact, they are passive — but real — allies of the Haves…. The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means... The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be...." pp.25-26
"The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means...." p.29
"The seventh rule... is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics...." p.34
"The tenth rule... is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.... It involves sifting the multiple factors which combine in creating the circumstances at any given time... Who, and how many will support the action?... If weapons are needed, then are appropriate d weapons available? Availability of means determines whether you will be underground or above ground; whether you will move quickly or slowly..." p.36
4. The Education of the Organizer
"To the organizer, imagination... is the dynamism that starts and sustains him in his whole life of action as an organizer. It ignites and feeds the force that drives him to organize for change....
"The organizer knows that the real action is in the reaction of the opposition. To realistically appraise and anticipate the probable reactions of the enemy, he must be able to identify with them, too, in his imagination, and foresee their reactions to his actions....
"The organizers searching with a free and open mind void of certainty, hating dogma, finds laughter not just a way to maintain his sanity but also a key to understanding life."pp.74-75
"...the organizer must be able to split himself into two parts -- one part in the arena of action where he polarizes the issue to 100 to nothing, and helps to lead his forces into conflict, while the other part knows that when the time comes for negotiations that it really is only a 10 percent difference." p.78
"...the organizer is constantly creating new out of the old. He knows that all new ideas arise from conflict; [See Dialectic Process] that every time man as had a new idea it has been a challenge to the sacred ideas of the past and the present and inevitably a conflict has raged." p.79
5. Communication[Notice the emphasis on conflict, dialogue, relationships, etc. Team "service" is essential to building strong relationships through "common involvements"]
"And so the guided questioning goes on without anyone losing face or being left out of the decision-making. Every weakness of every proposed tactic is probed by questions.... Is this manipulation? Certainly...." p.88
"One of the factors that changes what you can and can't communicate is relationships. There are sensitive areas that one does not touch until there is a strong personal relationship based on common involvements. Otherwise the other party turns off and literally does not hear....
"Conversely, if you have a good relationship, he is very receptive.... For example, I have always believed that birth control and abortion are personal rights to be exercised by the individual. If, in my early days when I organized... neighborhood in Chicago, which was 95 per cent Roman Catholic, I had tried to communicate this, even through the experience of the residents, whose economic plight was aggravated by large families, that would have been the end of my relationship with the community. That instant I would have been stamped as an enemy of the church and all communication would have ceased.
"Some years later, after establishing solid relationships, I was free to talk about anything.... By then the argument was no longer limited to such questions as, 'How much longer do you think the Catholic Church can hang on to this archaic notion and still survive?' ...the subject and nature of the discussion would have been unthinkable without that solid relationship." pp.93-94
6. In the Beginning: The Process of Power [Notice the compromise needed to build the power base. Yet, since pragmatism has eroded all values, it's simply a matter of ends justifying means. It's not unlike churches that attract members through the world's entertainment -- then continue to soften or hide Truth in order to keep them happy and lure more. ]
"From the moment the organizer enters a community he lives, dreams... only one thing and that is to build the mass power base of what he calls the army. Until he has developed that mass power base, he confronts no major issues.... Until he has those means and power instruments, his 'tactics' are very different from power tactics. Therefore, every move revolves around one central point: how many recruits will this bring into the organization, whether by means of local organizations, churches, service groups, labor Unions, corner gangs, or as individuals."
"Change comes from power, and power comes from organization." p.113
"The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displace by new patterns.... All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new." p.116
"An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent... He must create a mechanism that can drain off the underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. Out of this mechanism, a new community organization arises....
"The job then is getting the people to move, to act, to participate; in short, to develop and harness the necessary power to effectively conflict with the prevailing patterns and change them. When those prominent in the status quo turn and label you an 'agitator' they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your function—to agitate to the point of conflict." p.117
"Process tells us how. Purpose tells us why. But in reality, it is academic to draw a line between them, they are part of a continuum.... Process is really purpose." p.122
"Tactics are those conscious deliberate acts by which human beings live with each other and deal with the world around them. ... Here our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves." p.126
Always remember the first rule of power tactics (pps.127-134):
1. "Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have."
2. "Never go outside the expertise of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear and retreat.... [and] the collapse of communication.
3. "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
4. "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity."
5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage."
6. "A good tactic is one your people enjoy."
7. "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time...."
8. "Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose."
9. "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself."
10. "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign."
11. "If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside... every positive has its negative."
12. "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative."
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.'...
"...any target can always say, 'Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?' When your 'freeze the target,' you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments.... Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the 'others' come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target...'
"One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other." (pps.127-134)
Alinsky's Rules for Radicals: "Known as the 'father of modern American radicalism,' Saul D. Alinsky (1909-1972) developed strategies and tactics that take the enormous, unfocused emotional energy of grassroots groups and transform it into effective anti-government and anti-corporate activism. ... Some of these rules are ruthless, but they work."
Notes from an article by Phyllis Schalfly titled "Alinski's Rules: Must Reading In Obama Era," posted at www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=318470857908277 (2-2-09)
"Alinsky's second chapter, called Of Means and Ends, craftily poses many difficult moral dilemmas, and his 'tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends' is: 'you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments.' He doesn't ignore traditional moral standards or dismiss them as unnecessary. He is much more devious; he teaches his followers that 'Moral rationalization is indispensable at all times of action whether to justify the selection or the use of ends or means.'...
"The qualities Alinsky looked for in a good organizer were:
ego ("reaching for the highest level for which man can reach — to create, to be a 'great creator,' to play God"),
curiosity (raising "questions that agitate, that break through the accepted pattern"),
irreverence ("nothing is sacred"; the organizer "detests dogma, defies any finite definition of morality"),
imagination ("the fuel for the force that keeps an organizer organizing"),
a sense of humor ("the most potent weapons known to mankind are satire and ridicule"), and an
organized personality with confidence in presenting the right reason for his actions only "as a moral rationalization after the right end has been achieved.'...
"'The organizer's first job is to create the issues or problems,' and 'organizations must be based on many issues.' The organizer 'must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression. He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act. . . . An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent.'"
Heard on the news many dealers in Georgia are also worried about the government paying them for up front cash monies they've rebated to customers.
"NY dealers pull out of clunkers program
Aug 19 02:00 PM US/Eastern
By DAN STRUMPF
AP Auto Writer
"NEW YORK (AP) - Hundreds of auto dealers in the New York area have withdrawn from the government's Cash for Clunkers program, citing delays in getting reimbursed by the government, a dealership group said Wednesday.
The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which represents dealerships in the New York metro area, said about half its 425 members have left the program because they cannot afford to offer more rebates. They're also worried about getting repaid......"
"(The government) needs to move the system forward and they need to start paying these dealers," said Mark Schienberg, the group's president. "This is a cash-dependent business." ....."
"..... Schienberg said the group's dealers have been repaid for only about 2 percent of the clunkers deals they've made so far. ......"
Below is a quote from a previous blog post, draw your own conclusion.
"Entering the Greatest Depression in History
"While we cannot pinpoint precisely when the 'Bailout Bubble' will burst, we are certain it will. When it does, it should be understood that a major war could follow.â€�
'We Need To Beat Taliban To Stop New 9/11'
7:56am UK, Tuesday August 18, 2009
Source Sky News
"Barack Obama has warned that the Taliban must be defeated in Afghanistan to avoid another September 11-style attack.
The US President was addressing veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, in the run-up to the presidential elections in Afghanistan later this week.
He said that US troops were working hard to secure polling stations to enable Afghans to decide their own future.
And he asserted that while the fight against insurgents would not be quick nor easy - it was a war worth fighting.
Afghanistan: 'A War Of Necessity'
His words came as the head of the British Army stated that UK troops could remain active in Afghanistan for another five years.
It also follows a period of increased bloodshed in the conflict, which has resulted in the number of allied casualties jumping over the last month.
Speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars' national convention, Mr Obama reiterated his view that a mixture of military power, diplomacy and development was needed to defeat the Taliban.
If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.
President Barack Obama
He said: "As I said when I announced this strategy, there will be more difficult days ahead.
"The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't just happen overnight and we won't defeat it overnight.
"This will not be quick, this will not be easy."
But he added that Americans should not forget why US troops entered the country.
Mr Obama said: "This is not a war of choice, this is a war of necessity.
"Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again.
"If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.
"So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defence of our people."
Going forward, the president said that the US army would adapt its tactics to stay ahead of the enemy.
He also pledged that troops would be given the tools and equipment needed to succeed in Afghanistan.
Mr Obama spoke before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commended the Afghan people for their courage ahead of the elections.
She said: "We look forward to working with whomever the Afghan people select as their leaders for the next five years.
"We trust that the next President, as well as provincial council members also being elected at this time, will work for the interests of all the people of Afghanistan."
I'm very much in favor or an individual making their own decision about their lives and when it's time for them to transition. However, dig my heels in and balk totally when something like this takes place.
"Elderly Woman Rescued by Family from NHS Dehydration Order
Deemed "due to die" by doctors in February, Ellen Westwood is now home and recovering
By Hilary White
"BIRMINGHAM, UK, July 2, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - "Ellen Westwood was due to die in February but her family's Catholic and for them, life is sacred." So begins the television coverage by the BBC of a battle by a Birmingham family to prevent the NHS from dehydrating their mother to death.
According to the BBC's report, doctors decided on a Friday in February that Mrs. Westwood was "due to die" by the following Monday, but the family, with the intervention of their priest, fought the order to remove the woman's hydration.
Mrs. Ellen Westwood, 88, was in Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital for two months after she had been admitted into Birmingham's Royal Orthopaedic Hospital for routine shoulder surgery. The woman ended up being treated for dementia and C.difficile ( http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml /mm5447a1.htm ), which Westwood's daughter alleges she contracted at the Orthopaedic Hospital after the surgery. The bacterial infection soon spread to her cheeks, face and throat, making it difficult for her to swallow.
Doctors at Selly Oak Hospital then told the family that all food, fluids and hydration were to be stopped and that Mrs. Westwood would be given morphine "because she is dying".
Ellen's daughter, Kathleen Westwood, told the BBC that the decision had been taken because it was "a capacity ruling" and that under current UK law, the family's wishes do not enter into the equation.
"If you deem somebody to have lost capacity, then the doctors can act in the best interests," she said.
The family had an interview with doctors on a Friday afternoon, in which they were told that Mrs. Westwood was going to die.
"In [the doctors'] view the best interests was for my mother to die - and clearly by Monday she would have been dead," Kathleen told BBC.
The family, however, brought the woman food and water. Hospital officials responded by threatening to report the family to social services for feeding Mrs. Westwood.
"We said we don't want this to happen and they said 'it's happening, sorry'. I had to fight very, very hard to get it stopped."
Eventually the family obtained a second opinion and Mrs. Westwood was able to go home, where she is recovering well and is celebrating her 89th birthday today.
A statement from the NHS said, "We have met with the family and are investigating these issues via our normal internal channels." The NHS has said that it followed national guidelines in making its decision.
Under the UK's Mental Capacity Act, passed in 2005, patients deemed to be incapable of making decisions in their own "best interests" can have all fluids withheld until they die. The family can do little to stop this process once doctors have made their decision.
While active euthanasia officially remains illegal in Britain, some are saying that the NHS standard procedure of issuing elderly and vulnerable patients with an "end of life plan" that includes dehydration, is simply euthanasia under a different name. And it is becoming common. A packed meeting this week in Stafford organised by a group called Cure the NHS, heard the stories of families who had been forced to bring in priests and lawyers to stop similar orders from killing their loved ones, even though the patients sometimes are not terminally ill.
Pro-life advocates in Britain deplored the Labour government's "Mental Capacity" legislation, calling it "the end of the Hippocratic tradition of medical ethics in Britain". In January 2005, Baroness Chapman, a disabled peer, said that the Mental Capacity bill failed to make patients safe and left them open to abuse. Speaking during the House of Lords second reading debate on the bill, she said, "The bill ignores the fact that people have a basic right to life."
"British Doctors Practising "Slow" Euthanasia through Deep Sedation: BBC Report
By Hilary White
LONDON, August 18, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A BBC report has revealed that physicians in the UK are increasingly seeing and using "continuous deep sedation" as a form of "slow" euthanasia. Adam Brimelow, BBC News health correspondent, writes that the use of continuous deep sedation, also known as "terminal sedation" is becoming more common in the UK and may be the way physicians are skirting the law prohibiting direct euthanasia.
Research has shown that 16.5 percent of all deaths in the UK are associated with continuous deep sedation until death, a number twice that of Belgium and the Netherlands, both countries that already have legalised direct euthanasia.
Deep sedation can be used intermittently or continuously until death, and the depth of sedation can vary from a lowered state of consciousness to unconsciousness. Under UK law, patients can give a directive to medical staff that they refuse 'palliative care' or 'terminal sedation', or 'any drug likely to suppress respiration'.
Alex Schadenberg, the head of Canada's Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said that continuous deep sedation is a technique that can be used ethically in cases of dying patients to alleviate intractable pain, such as neuropathic pain that does not respond to morphine, but the ethics depends upon the situation and the intention.
"It's important to make the distinction," Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews.com, "between what we do with someone who is nearing death and someone who is in pain but not dying." In some cases, he said, patients who are not dying but may be suffering are put into deep sedation, and then dehydrated to death - a use that is always unethical.
However, "if your patient is nearing death and is experiencing organ failure, you really can't be putting food and fluid into a body that can't use the fluids. When the body is shutting down, this is a natural part of the dying process. But when they're not dying, like Terri Schiavo, or someone who is experiencing great pain associated with cancer, that is a different issue, because then we are talking about causing that person's death.
"[Deep sedation] can be a backdoor route to euthanasia if it is used unethically," he said. "The issue is intention. The intention must be the alleviation of pain and suffering. Even a long-term sedation can be ethical as long as the person is not being dehydrated to death. A good palliative care physician won't use the technique very often."
Last year, Dutch researchers found that the use of continuous deep sedation until death was becoming more widespread in the Netherlands where direct euthanasia is already legal. In 2001, researchers found that in six European countries deep sedation was used in 8.5 percent of all deaths in patients with cancer and other diseases.
"The increased use of continuous deep sedation for patients nearing death in the Netherlands suggests that this practice is increasingly considered as part of regular medical practice," said lead researcher Judith Rietjens, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Public Health at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.
"Also, the use of continuous deep sedation may in some situations be a relevant alternative to the use of euthanasia for patients," Rietjens said.
Deep sedation is associated now with approximately 10 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands, an increase that coincided with an increase in public disquiet about the numbers of active euthanasia cases - numbers that have since declined.
Schadenberg said that the answer to the puzzle is simple: "The statistics of active euthanasia have gone down in the Netherlands because they are simply resorting to deep sedation instead.
"But in fact this simply means that patients are being euthanised slowly in conjunction with the withdrawal of fluids. It is why this is being called 'slow euthanasia'. A lethal injection is quicker, but in fact the ethics are no different. Both intend death."
Judith Rietjens confirmed this, saying, "We can see in our study that those sub-groups where we saw an increase of continuous deep sedation - just in those sub-groups - we saw a lowering of the frequency of euthanasia."
"Thousands of surgeries may be cut in Metro Vancouver due to government underfunding, leaked paper
By Darah Hansen, Vancouver SunAugust 18, 2009
"VANCOUVER — Vancouver patients needing neurosurgery, treatment for vascular diseases and other medically necessary procedures can expect to wait longer for care, NDP health critic Adrian Dix said Monday.
Dix said a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority document shows it is considering chopping more than 6,000 surgeries in an effort to make up for a dramatic budgetary shortfall that could reach $200 million.
“This hasn’t been announced by the health authority … but these cuts are coming,” Dix said, citing figures gleaned from a leaked executive summary of “proposed VCH surgical reductions.”
The health authority confirmed the document is genuine, but said it represents ideas only.
“It is a planning document. It has not been approved or implemented,” said spokeswoman Anna Marie D’Angelo.
Dr. Brian Brodie, president of the BC Medical Association, called the proposed surgical cuts “a nightmare.”
“Why would you begin your cost-cutting measures on medically necessary surgery? I just can’t think of a worse place,” Brodie said.
According to the leaked document, Vancouver Coastal — which oversees the budget for Vancouver General and St. Paul’s hospitals, among other health-care facilities — is looking to close nearly a quarter of its operating rooms starting in September and to cut 6,250 surgeries, including 24 per cent of cases scheduled from September to March and 10 per cent of all medically necessary elective procedures this fiscal year.
The plan proposes cutbacks to neurosurgery, ophthalmology, vascular surgery, and 11 other specialized areas.
As many of 112 full-time jobs — including 13 anesthesiologist positions — would be affected by the reductions, the document says.
“Clearly this will impact the capacity of the health-care system to provide care, not just now but in the future,” Dix said.
Further reductions in surgeries are scheduled during the Olympics, when the health authority plans to close approximately a third of its operating rooms.
Two weeks ago, Dix released a Fraser Health Authority draft communications plan listing proposed clinical care cuts, including a 10-per-cent cut in elective surgeries and longer waits for MRI scans.
The move comes after the province acknowledged all health authorities together will be forced to cut staff, limit some services and increase fees to find $360 million in savings during the current fiscal year.
In all, Fraser Health is looking at a $160-million funding shortfall.
D’Angelo said Vancouver Coastal’s deficit is closer to $90 million — almost a third of which ($23 million) has already been absorbed through reductions in non-clinical administration efficiencies.
Vancouver Coastal performed 67,000 surgeries last year, an increase of 6,500 surgeries over 2007.
“What has now happened is that now our wait times are about 25 per cent lower than the provincial average,” D’Angelo said. “We have put a dent in that wait list.”
Brodie acknowledged surgical waiting times have dropped significantly in recent years, particularly for patients needing hip and joint replacements.
He said the proposed cuts threaten those advancements.
“It sounds like we are going backwards here,” he said.
Total health spending in British Columbia was $15.7 billion this year, up about four per cent over last year’s total of 15.1 billion, according to figures provided by the ministry of health.
Health Minister Kevin Falcon was unavailable for comment Monday on the proposed health-care cuts. A ministry spokesman said Falcon is away on his honeymoon until the end of August.
Elsewhere in British Columbia, the province will look to replace the head of the Interior Health Authority, Murray Ramsden, after he announced he will step down at the end of the year.
Ramsden has said his decision to retire is not related to financial problems faced by the authority."
You be the judge. Video.
Cops Tazer Child 19 Times Leaving Him in a Coma
"A Rancid Deal with Big Pharma
By William Greider
August 6, 2009
Source The Nation
"So now we know why the president wants everyone to make nice in the healthcare debate. His White House has cut a deal with Big Pharma that smells like the same old rotten politics that candidate Obama regularly denounced and promised to end. The drug industry agrees to deliver $80 billion in future savings and the president promises the government will not use its awesome purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices.
Wow. This is roughly the same deal that George W. Bush cut with the drug makers when he was legislating Medicare's new coverage of drug purchases. It is the same bargain that Democrats in Congress universally condemned as wasteful and corrupt. The deal does not smell any better now that a Democratic president is embracing it.
In effect, Obama wants to give away one of the principal objectives of strong reform. The details were spelled out in today's New York Times and revealed by Big Pharma's top-dog lobbyist, Billy Tauzin, a former Republican congressman who leads the industry association. Tauzin called it a "rock-solid deal," and the White House did not dispute as much. But that is not the last word.
People who believe in real healthcare reform should not be nice about this. They must rise up and rebel against our popular new president's outrageous concession. They must demand that Congress declare the private deal-making null and void. If Congress lacks the nerve to do this, then this exercise in reform begins to look more and more like previous attempts that were eviscerated by the clout of the corporate interests.
The fate of healthcare reform may depend not on the Senate or the White House but on Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. What prompted Billy Tauzin to spill the beans on his deal-making with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was the House measure that specifies government's right to bargain for lower prices. No, no, no! Tauzin said. We've got a deal with the president, who says that won't be allowed.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi simply responds that the House is not bound by any deals made with the Senate or the White House. Her caucus must back up her words. They should pass the House bill, which will allow the government to do what any major customer would do in the same circumstances--use its leverage to demand lower prices.
If House Democrats stand their ground, then they will force a debate they can win with the American public. President Obama will have to choose between standing with the drug manufacturers or defending the original purpose of healthcare reform."
"Stock Market Dollar Store: U.S. Dollar Down 12.5 Percent and S&P 500 Up 50 Percent since March. How the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Juice the Stock Market.
"Americans have missed one serious correction since the manic stock market took off in March. Since that time the value of the U.S. dollar, the bedrock of our economic system has fallen a stunning 12.5 percent. Currencies should not fluctuate this much especially the world’s reserve currency. Back in December, I talked about how the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve were determined to destroy the dollar for the sake of bailing out our massive debt. The plan in the short run has created a stunning stock market rally that has set the S&P 500 on fire to a 50 percent rally. In a recession this profound, you don’t typically turn things around in two years (the recession started officially in December of 2007). Yet this appears to be more of a bear market rally since the unemployment picture will remain bleak for months to come.
It is interesting how little coverage the tanking dollar is receiving. Maybe people are just happy that their stocks are running back up even though P/E ratios are extremely expensive. Yet the correlation between the dollar going under and stocks rallying is undeniable:
Now you might ask, why at the peak of the panic did the U.S. dollar reach a 3-year high? You have to remember that for almost a year, the notion of decoupling was making the rounds across investment communities. This idea was based on the premise that the U.S. was going to have a silo like decline while nations around the world somehow prospered with the biggest economy going under. This had as much merit as believing subprime loans would be a contained issue. So in late 2008, the idea was put to rest and people started rushing to safety especially with the implosion of banks like Lehman Brothers and the virtual nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In March, investors had enough and the U.S. dollar still reigned supreme as a safe haven.
Since that time, the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve have done everything possible to crush the dollar rally including committing to buy $1.25 trillion in various forms of debt much of it in the form of mortgages and going with quantitative easing. What happened after this?
The stock market took off while the U.S. dollar continued a steady decline. And of course this would only be logical because why would foreigners want to purchase debt that is inherently following a policy of inflation by its issuer? U.S. items have become cheaper on a global stage. For those setting this policy, it makes a lot of sense because they are trying to inject inflation and slowly grow ourselves out of trillions in debt. U.S. households are still mired in massive amounts of debt:
Now one thing is certain and that is American households are cutting back on debt. Much of this is happening because of a forced austerity but many are simply choosing to spend less by choice. And given that most of our borrowing comes from foreigners who hold enormous amounts of our debt, a declining dollar makes the amount we have to pay back that much cheaper. Now rightfully so, foreigners really do not like this kind of arrangement so the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve have to walk this trillion dollar debt tightrope. Their solution? Juice the stock market and make saving your money as unattractive as possible for domestic consumers. Cash for clunkers. Massive tax rebates for buying homes. All these are steroids for consumption and over consumption ironically is what led us into this financial crisis.
So should you worry? You may be thinking that it would be great if you can simply inflate all your debts away. That is assuming that the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve actually succeed in their objective. Keep in mind, never in the history of our country has the Fed loaded up their books with so much questionable debt:
Source: Zero Hedge
This is unprecedented but the gist of all this is that we can somehow engineer ourselves out of this mess with targeted inflation. Given the size of the housing and credit bubble it is hard to see how this is even possible. The average American household is not able to balance this out given the number of rising bankruptcies and record high foreclosures.
The more troubling sign is how our currency is being sacrificed for easy finance for the banking industry. Many banks are now staying solvent even with bad loans on their books because they are now able to raise money in the open casino (stock market) by suspending belief with massaged mark to surreal accounting methods.
The S&P 500 is not up because of earnings. It is up because of the systematic destruction of the U.S. dollar and massive subsidies to failed banking institutions. We still have major issues including $3 trillion in commercial real estate yet this rally has the wind blowing on its back. Yet this is a stock bubble engineered by the juice of the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve. Those who use steroids usually have it catch up on them."
"While there is much talk of a recovery on the horizon, commentators are forgetting some crucial aspects of the financial crisis. The crisis is not simply composed of one bubble, the housing real estate bubble, which has already burst. The crisis has many bubbles, all of which dwarf the housing bubble burst of 2008. Indicators show that the next possible burst is the commercial real estate bubble. However, the main event on the horizon is the “bailout bubble” and the general world debt bubble, which will plunge the world into a Great Depression the likes of which have never before been seen.
Housing Crash Still Not Over
The housing real estate market, despite numbers indicating an upward trend, is still in trouble, as, “Houses are taking months to sell. Many buyers are having trouble getting financing as lenders and appraisers struggle to figure out what houses are really worth in the wake of the collapse.” Further, “the overall market remains very soft [...] aside from speculators and first-time buyers.” Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington said, “It would be wrong to imagine that we have hit a turning point in the market,” as “There is still an enormous oversupply of housing, which means that the direction of house prices will almost certainly continue to be downward.” Foreclosures are still rising in many states “such as Nevada, Georgia and Utah, and economists say rising unemployment may push foreclosures higher into next year.” Clearly, the housing crisis is still not at an end.
The Commercial Real Estate Bubble
In May, Bloomberg quoted Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann as saying, “It's either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.” Bloomberg further pointed out that, “A piece of the puzzle that must be calculated into any determination of the depth of our economic doldrums is the condition of commercial real estate -- the shopping malls, hotels, and office buildings that tend to go along with real- estate expansions.” Residential investment went down 28.9 % from 2006 to 2007, and at the same time, nonresidential investment grew 24.9%, thus, commercial real estate was “serving as a buffer against the declining housing market.”
Commercial real estate lags behind housing trends, and so too, will the crisis, as “commercial construction projects are losing their appeal.” Further, “there are lots of reasons to suspect that commercial real estate was subject to some of the loose lending practices that afflicted the residential market. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices found that whereas in 2003 just 2 percent of banks were easing their underwriting standards on commercial construction loans, by 2006 almost a third of them were relaxing.” In May it was reported that, “Almost 80 percent of domestic banks are tightening their lending standards for commercial real-estate loans,” and that, “we may face double-bubble trouble for real estate and the economy.”
In late July of 2009, it was reported that, “Commercial real estate’s decline is a significant issue facing the economy because it may result in more losses for the financial industry than residential real estate. This category includes apartment buildings, hotels, office towers, and shopping malls.” Worth noting is that, “As the economy has struggled, developers and landlords have had to rely on a helping hand from the US Federal Reserve in order to try to get credit flowing so that they can refinance existing buildings or even to complete partially constructed projects.” So again, the Fed is delaying the inevitable by providing more liquidity to an already inflated bubble. As the Financial Post pointed out, “From Vancouver to Manhattan, we are seeing rising office vacancies and declines in office rents.”
In April of 2009, it was reported that, “Office vacancies in U.S. downtowns increased to 12.5 percent in the first quarter, the highest in three years, as companies cut jobs and new buildings came onto the market,” and, “Downtown office vacancies nationwide could come close to 15 percent by the end of this year, approaching the 10-year high of 15.5 percent in 2003.”
In the same month it was reported that, “Strip malls, neighborhood centers and regional malls are losing stores at the fastest pace in at least a decade, as a spending slump forces retailers to trim down to stay afloat.” In the first quarter of 2009, retail tenants “have vacated 8.7 million square feet of commercial space,” which “exceeds the 8.6 million square feet of retail space that was vacated in all of 2008.” Further, as CNN reported, “vacancy rates at malls rose 9.5% in the first quarter, outpacing the 8.9% vacancy rate registered in all of 2008.” Of significance for those that think and claim the crisis will be over by 2010, “mall vacancies [are expected] to exceed historical levels through 2011,” as for retailers, “it's only going to get worse.” Two days after the previous report, “General Growth Properties Inc, the second-largest U.S. mall owner, declared bankruptcy on [April 16] in the biggest real estate failure in U.S. history.”
In April, the Financial Times reported that, “Property prices in China are likely to halve over the next two years, a top government researcher has predicted in a powerful signal that the country’s economic downturn faces further challenges despite recent positive data.” This is of enormous significance, as “The property market, along with exports, were leading drivers of the booming Chinese economy over the past decade.” Further, “an apparent rebound in the property market was unsustainable over the medium term and being driven by a flood of liquidity and fraudulent activity rather than real demand.” A researcher at a leading Chinese government think tank reported that, “he expected average urban residential property prices to fall by 40 to 50 per cent over the next two years from their levels at the end of 2008.”
In April, it was reported that, “The Federal Reserve is considering offering longer loans to investors in commercial mortgage-backed securities as part of a plan to help jump-start the market for commercial real estate debt.” Since February the Fed “has been analyzing appropriate terms and conditions for accepting commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and other mortgage assets as collateral for its Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility (TALF).”
In late July, the Financial Times reported that, “Two of America’s biggest banks, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo ... threw into sharp relief the mounting woes of the US commercial property market when they reported large losses and surging bad loan,” as “The disappointing second-quarter results for two of the largest lenders and investors in office, retail and industrial property across the US confirmed investors’ fears that commercial real estate would be the next front in the financial crisis after the collapse of the housing market.” The commercial property market, worth $6.7 trillion, “which accounts for more than 10 per cent of US gross domestic product, could be a significant hurdle on the road to recovery.”
The Bailout Bubble
While the bailout, or the “stimulus package” as it is often referred to, is getting good coverage in terms of being portrayed as having revived the economy and is leading the way to the light at the end of the tunnel, key factors are again misrepresented in this situation.
At the end of March of 2009, Bloomberg reported that, “The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year.” This amount “works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. The nation’s gross domestic product was $14.2 trillion in 2008.”
Gerald Celente, the head of the Trends Research Institute, the major trend-forecasting agency in the world, wrote in May of 2009 of the “bailout bubble.” Celente’s forecasts are not to be taken lightly, as he accurately predicted the 1987 stock market crash, the fall of the Soviet Union, the 1998 Russian economic collapse, the 1997 East Asian economic crisis, the 2000 Dot-Com bubble burst, the 2001 recession, the start of a recession in 2007 and the housing market collapse of 2008, among other things.
On May 13, 2009, Celente released a Trend Alert, reporting that, “The biggest financial bubble in history is being inflated in plain sight,” and that, “This is the Mother of All Bubbles, and when it explodes [...] it will signal the end to the boom/bust cycle that has characterized economic activity throughout the developed world.” Further, “This is much bigger than the Dot-com and Real Estate bubbles which hit speculators, investors and financiers the hardest. However destructive the effects of these busts on employment, savings and productivity, the Free Market Capitalist framework was left intact. But when the 'Bailout Bubble' explodes, the system goes with it.”
Celente further explained that, “Phantom dollars, printed out of thin air, backed by nothing ... and producing next to nothing ... defines the ‘Bailout Bubble.’ Just as with the other bubbles, so too will this one burst. But unlike Dot-com and Real Estate, when the "Bailout Bubble" pops, neither the President nor the Federal Reserve will have the fiscal fixes or monetary policies available to inflate another.” Celente elaborated, “Given the pattern of governments to parlay egregious failures into mega-failures, the classic trend they follow, when all else fails, is to take their nation to war,” and that, “While we cannot pinpoint precisely when the 'Bailout Bubble' will burst, we are certain it will. When it does, it should be understood that a major war could follow.”
However, this “bailout bubble” that Celente was referring to at the time was the $12.8 trillion reported by Bloomberg. As of July, estimates put this bubble at nearly double the previous estimate.
As the Financial Times reported in late July of 2009, while the Fed and Treasury hail the efforts and impact of the bailouts, “Neil Barofsky, special inspector-general for the troubled asset relief programme, [TARP] said that the various US schemes to shore up banks and restart lending exposed federal agencies to a risk of $23,700bn [$23.7 trillion] – a vast estimate that was immediately dismissed by the Treasury.” The inspector-general of the TARP program stated that there were “fundamental vulnerabilities . . . relating to conflicts of interest and collusion, transparency, performance measures, and anti-money laundering.”
Barofsky also reports on the “considerable stress” in commercial real estate, as “The Fed has begun to open up Talf to commercial mortgage-backed securities to try to influence credit conditions in the commercial real estate market. The report draws attention to a new potential credit crunch when $500bn worth of real estate mortgages need to be refinanced by the end of the year.” Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Fed, and Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary and former President of the New York Fed, are seriously discussing extending TALF (Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility) into “CMBS [Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities] and other assets such as small business loans and whether to increase the size of the programme.” It is the “expansion of the various programmes into new and riskier asset classes is one of the main bones of contention between the Treasury and Mr Barofsky.”
Testifying before Congress, Barofsky said, “From programs involving large capital infusions into hundreds of banks and other financial institutions, to a mortgage modification program designed to modify millions of mortgages, to public-private partnerships using tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to purchase 'toxic' assets from banks, TARP has evolved into a program of unprecedented scope, scale, and complexity.” He explained that, “The total potential federal government support could reach up to 23.7 trillion dollars.”
Is a Future Bailout Possible?
In early July of 2009, billionaire investor Warren Buffet said that, “unemployment could hit 11 percent and a second stimulus package might be needed as the economy struggles to recover from recession,” and he further stated that, “we're not in a recovery.” Also in early July, an economic adviser to President Obama stated that, “The United States should be planning for a possible second round of fiscal stimulus to further prop up the economy.”
In August of 2009, it was reported that, “THE Obama administration will consider dishing out more money to rein in unemployment despite signs the recession is ending,” and that, “Treasury secretary Tim Geithner also conceded tax hikes could be on the agenda as the government worked to bring its huge recovery-related deficits under control.” Geithner said, “we will do what it takes,” and that, “more federal cash could be tipped into the recovery as unemployment benefits amid projections the benefits extended to 1.5 million jobless Americans will expire without Congress' intervention.” However, any future injection of money could be viewed as “a second stimulus package.”
The Washington Post reported in early July of a Treasury Department initiative known as “Plan C.” The Plan C team was assembled “to examine what could yet bring [the economy] down and has identified several trouble spots that could threaten the still-fragile lending industry,” and “the internal project is focused on vexing problems such as the distressed commercial real estate markets, the high rate of delinquencies among homeowners, and the struggles of community and regional banks.”
Further, “The team is also responsible for considering potential government responses, but top officials within the Obama administration are wary of rolling out initiatives that would commit massive amounts of federal resources.” The article elaborated in saying that, “The creation of Plan C is a sign that the government has moved into a new phase of its response, acting preemptively rather than reacting to emerging crises.” In particular, the near-term challenge they are facing is commercial real estate lending, as “Banks and other firms that provided such loans in the past have sharply curtailed lending,” leaving “many developers and construction companies out in the cold.” Within the next couple years, “these groups face a tidal wave of commercial real estate debt -- some estimates peg the total at more than $3 trillion -- that they will need to refinance. These loans were issued during this decade's construction boom with the mistaken expectation that they would be refinanced on the same generous terms after a few years.”
However, as a result of the credit crisis, “few developers can find anyone to refinance their debt, endangering healthy and distressed properties.” Kim Diamond, a managing director at Standard & Poor's, stated that, “It's not a degree to which people are willing to lend,” but rather, “The question is whether a loan can be made at all.” Important to note is that, “Financial analysts said losses on commercial real estate loans are now the single largest cause of bank failures,” and that none of the bailout efforts enacted “is big enough to address the size of the problem.”
So the question must be asked: what is Plan C contemplating in terms of a possible government “solution”? Another bailout? The effect that this would have would be to further inflate the already monumental bailout bubble.
The Great European Bubble
In October of 2008, Germany and France led a European Union bailout of 1 trillion Euros, and “World markets initially soared as European governments pumped billions into crippled banks. Central banks in Europe also mounted a new offensive to restart lending by supplying unlimited amounts of dollars to commercial banks in a joint operation.”
The American bailouts even went to European banks, as it was reported in March of 2009 that, “European banks declined to discuss a report that they were beneficiaries of the $173 billion bail-out of insurer AIG,” as “Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and a host of other U.S. and European banks had been paid roughly $50 billion since the Federal Reserve first extended aid to AIG.” Among the European banks, “French banks Societe Generale and Calyon on Sunday declined to comment on the story, as did Deutsche Bank, Britain's Barclays and unlisted Dutch group Rabobank.” Other banks that got money from the US bailout include HSBC, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, Banco Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland. Because AIG was essentially insolvent, “the bailout enabled AIG to pay its counterparty banks for extra collateral,” with “Goldman Sachs and Deutsche bank each receiving $6 billion in payments between mid-September and December.”
In April of 2009, it was reported that, “EU governments have committed 3 trillion Euros [or $4 trillion dollars] to bail out banks with guarantees or cash injections in the wake of the global financial crisis, the European Commission.”
In early February of 2009, the Telegraph published a story with a startling headline, “European banks may need 16.3 trillion pound bail-out, EC document warns.” Type this headline into google, and the link to the Telegraph appears. However, click on the link, and the title has changed to “European bank bail-out could push EU into crisis.” Further, they removed any mention of the amount of money that may be required for a bank bailout. The amount in dollars, however, nears $25 trillion. The amount is the cumulative total of the troubled assets on bank balance sheets, a staggering number derived from the derivatives trade.
The Telegraph reported that, “National leaders and EU officials share fears that a second bank bail-out in Europe will raise government borrowing at a time when investors - particularly those who lend money to European governments - have growing doubts over the ability of countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Britain to pay it back.”
When Eastern European countries were in desperate need of financial aid, and discussion was heated on the possibility of an EU bailout of Eastern Europe, the EU, at the behest of Angela Merkel of Germany, denied the East European bailout. However, this was more a public relations stunt than an actual policy position.
While the EU refused money to Eastern Europe in the form of a bailout, in late March European leaders “doubled the emergency funding for the fragile economies of central and eastern Europe and pledged to deliver another doubling of International Monetary Fund lending facilities by putting up 75bn Euros (70bn pounds).” EU leaders “agreed to increase funding for balance of payments support available for mainly eastern European member states from 25bn Euros to 50bn Euros.”
As explained in a Times article in June of 2009, Germany has been deceitful in its public stance versus its actual policy decisions. The article, worth quoting in large part, first explained that:
Europe is now in the middle of a perfect storm - a confluence of three separate, but interconnected economic crises which threaten far greater devastation than Britain or America have suffered from the credit crunch: the collapse of German industry and employment, the impending bankruptcy of Central European homeowners and businesses; and the threat of government debt defaults from loss of monetary control by the Irish Republic, Greece and Portugal, for instance on the eurozone periphery.
Taking the case of Latvia, the author asks, “If the crisis expands, other EU governments - and especially Germany's - will face an existential question. Do they commit hundreds of billions of euros to guarantee the debts of fellow EU countries? Or do they allow government defaults and devaluations that may ultimately break up the single currency and further cripple German industry, as well as the country's domestic banks?” While addressing that, “Publicly, German politicians have insisted that any bailouts or guarantees are out of the question,” however, “the pass has been quietly sold in Brussels, while politicians loudly protested their unshakeable commitment to defend it.”
The author addressed how in October of 2008:
[...] a previously unused regulation was discovered, allowing the creation of a 25 billion Euros “balance of payments facility” and authorising the EU to borrow substantial sums under its own “legal personality” for the first time. This facility was doubled again to 50 billion Euros in March. If Latvia's financial problems turn into a full-scale crisis, these guarantees and cross-subsidies between EU governments will increase to hundreds of billions in the months ahead and will certainly mutate into large-scale centralised EU borrowing, jointly guaranteed by all the taxpayers of the EU.
[...] The new EU borrowing, for example, is legally an ‘off-budget’ and ‘back-to-back’ arrangement, which allows Germany to maintain the legal fiction that it is not guaranteeing the debts of Latvia et al. The EU's bond prospectus to investors, however, makes quite clear where the financial burden truly lies: “From an investor's point of view the bond is fully guaranteed by the EU budget and, ultimately, by the EU Member States.”
So Eastern Europe is getting, or presumably will get bailed out. Whether this is in the form of EU federalism, providing loans of its own accord, paid for by European taxpayers, or through the IMF, which will attach any loans with its stringent Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) conditionalities, or both. It turned out that the joint partnership of the IMF and EU is what provided the loans and continues to provide such loans.
As the Financial Times pointed out in August of 2009, “Bank failures or plunging currencies in the three Baltic nations – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – could threaten the fragile prospect of recovery in the rest of Europe. These countries also sit on one of the world’s most sensitive political fault-lines. They are the European Union’s frontier states, bordering Russia.” In July, Latvia “agreed its second loan in eight months from the IMF and the EU,” following the first one in December. Lithuania is reported to be following suit. However, as the Financial Times noted, the loans came with the IMF conditionalities: “The injection of cash is the good news. The bad news is that, in return for shoring up state finances, the new IMF deal will require the Latvian government to impose yet more pain on its suffering population. Public-sector wages have already been cut by about a third this year. Pensions have been sliced. Now the IMF requires Latvia to cut another 10 per cent from the state budget this autumn.”
If we are to believe the brief Telegraph report pertaining to nearly $25 trillion in bad bank assets, which was removed from the original article for undisclosed reasons, not citing a factual retraction, the question is, does this potential bailout still stand? These banks haven’t been rescued financially from the EU, so, presumably, these bad assets are still sitting on the bank balance sheets. This bubble has yet to blow. Combine this with the $23.7 trillion US bailout bubble, and there is nearly $50 trillion between the EU and the US waiting to burst.
An Oil Bubble
In early July of 2009, the New York Times reported that, “The extreme volatility that has gripped oil markets for the last 18 months has shown no signs of slowing down, with oil prices more than doubling since the beginning of the year despite an exceptionally weak economy.” Instability in the oil and gas prices has led many to “fear it could jeopardize a global recovery.” Further, “It is also hobbling businesses and consumers,” as “A wild run on the oil markets has occurred in the last 12 months.” Oil prices reached a record high last summer at $145/barrel, and with the economic crisis they fell to $33/barrel in December. However, since the start of 2009, oil has risen 55% to $70/barrel.
As the Times article points out, “the recent rise in oil prices is reprising the debate from last year over the role of investors — or speculators — in the commodity markets.” Energy officials from the EU and OPEC met in June and concluded that, “the speculation issue had not been resolved yet and that the 2008 bubble could be repeated.”
In June of 2009, Hedge Fund manager Michael Masters told the US Senate that, “Congress has not done enough to curb excessive speculation in the oil markets, leaving the country vulnerable to another price run-up in 2009.” He explained that, “oil prices are largely not determined by supply and demand but the trading desks of large Wall Street firms.” Because “Nothing was actually done by Congress to put an end to the problem of excessive speculation” in 2008, Masters explained, “there is nothing to prevent another bubble in oil prices in 2009. In fact, signs of another possible bubble are already beginning to appear.”
In May of 2008, Goldman Sachs warned that oil could reach as much as $200/barrel within the next 12-24 months [up to May 2010]. Interestingly, “Goldman Sachs is one of the largest Wall Street investment banks trading oil and it could profit from an increase in prices.” However, this is missing the key point. Not only would Goldman Sachs profit, but Goldman Sachs plays a major role in sending oil prices up in the first place.
As Ed Wallace pointed out in an article in Business Week in May of 2008, Goldman Sachs’ report placed the blame for such price hikes on “soaring demand” from China and the Middle East, combined with the contention that the Middle East has or would soon peak in its oil reserves. Wallace pointed out that:
Goldman Sachs was one of the founding partners of online commodities and futures marketplace Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). And ICE has been a primary focus of recent congressional investigations; it was named both in the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations' June 27, 2006, Staff Report and in the House Committee on Energy & Commerce's hearing last December. Those investigations looked into the unregulated trading in energy futures, and both concluded that energy prices' climb to stratospheric heights has been driven by the billions of dollars' worth of oil and natural gas futures contracts being placed on the ICE—which is not regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
Essentially, Goldman Sachs is one of the key speculators in the oil market, and thus, plays a major role in driving oil prices up on speculation. This must be reconsidered in light of the resurgent rise in oil prices in 2009. In July of 2009, “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. posted record earnings as revenue from trading and stock underwriting reached all-time highs less than a year after the firm took $10 billion in U.S. rescue funds.” Could one be related to the other?
Bailouts Used in Speculation
In November of 2008, the Chinese government injected an “$849 billion stimulus package aimed at keeping the emerging economic superpower growing.” China then recorded a rebound in the growth rate of the economy, and underwent a stock market boom. However, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out in July of 2009, “Its growth is now fuelled by cheap debt rather than corporate profits and retained earnings, and this shift in the medium term threatens to undermine China’s economic decoupling from the global slump.” Further, “overseas money has been piling into China, inflating foreign exchange reserves and domestic liquidity. So perhaps it is not surprising that outstanding bank loans have doubled in the last few years, or that there is much talk of a shadow banking system. Then there is China’s reputation for building overcapacity in its industrial sector, a notoriety it won even before the crash in global demand. This showed a disregard for returns that is always a tell-tale sign of cheap money.”
China’s economy primarily relies upon the United States as a consumption market for its cheap products. However, “The slowdown in U.S. consumption amid a credit crunch has exposed the weaknesses in this export-led financing model. So now China is turning instead to cheap debt for funding, a shift suggested by this year’s 35% or so rise in bank loans.”
In August of 2009, it was reported that China is experiencing a “stimulus-fueled stock market boom.” However, this has caused many leaders to “worry that too much of the $1-trillion lending binge by state banks that paid for China's nascent revival was diverted into stocks and real estate, raising the danger of a boom and bust cycle and higher inflation less than two years after an earlier stock market bubble burst.”
The same reasoning needs to be applied to the US stock market surge. Something is inherently and structurally wrong with a financial system in which nothing is being produced, 600,000 jobs are lost monthly, and yet, the stock market goes up. Why is the stock market going up?
The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which provided $700 billion in bank bailouts, started under Bush and expanded under Obama, entails that the US Treasury purchases $700 billion worth of “troubled assets” from banks, and in turn, “that banks cannot be asked to account for their use of taxpayer money.”
So if banks don’t have to account for where the money goes, where did it go? They claim it went back into lending. However, bank lending continues to go down. Stock market speculation is the likely answer. Why else would stocks go up, lending continue downwards, and the bailout money be unaccounted for?
What Does the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Have to Say?
In late June, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank of the world’s central banks, the most prestigious and powerful financial organization in the world, delivered an important warning. It stated that, “fiscal stimulus packages may provide no more than a temporary boost to growth, and be followed by an extended period of economic stagnation.”
The BIS, “The only international body to correctly predict the financial crisis ... has warned the biggest risk is that governments might be forced by world bond investors to abandon their stimulus packages, and instead slash spending while lifting taxes and interest rates,” as the annual report of the BIS “has for the past three years been warning of the dangers of a repeat of the depression.” Further, “Its latest annual report warned that countries such as Australia faced the possibility of a run on the currency, which would force interest rates to rise.” The BIS warned that, “a temporary respite may make it more difficult for authorities to take the actions that are necessary, if unpopular, to restore the health of the financial system, and may thus ultimately prolong the period of slow growth.”
Of immense import is the BIS warning that, “At the same time, government guarantees and asset insurance have exposed taxpayers to potentially large losses,” and explaining how fiscal packages posed significant risks, it said that, “There is a danger that fiscal policy-makers will exhaust their debt capacity before finishing the costly job of repairing the financial system,” and that, “There is the definite possibility that stimulus programs will drive up real interest rates and inflation expectations.” Inflation “would intensify as the downturn abated,” and the BIS “expressed doubt about the bank rescue package adopted in the US.”
The BIS further warned of inflation, saying that, “The big and justifiable worry is that, before it can be reversed, the dramatic easing in monetary policy will translate into growth in the broader monetary and credit aggregates,” the BIS said. That will “lead to inflation that feeds inflation expectations or it may fuel yet another asset-price bubble, sowing the seeds of the next financial boom-bust cycle.”
Major investors have also been warning about the dangers of inflation. Legendary investor Jim Rogers has warned of “a massive inflation holocaust.” Investor Marc Faber has warned that, “The U.S. economy will enter ‘hyperinflation’ approaching the levels in Zimbabwe,” and he stated that he is “100 percent sure that the U.S. will go into hyperinflation.” Further, “The problem with government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and the Fed should increase interest rates, they will be very reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate.”
Are We Entering A New Great Depression?
In 2007, it was reported that, “The Bank for International Settlements, the world's most prestigious financial body, has warned that years of loose monetary policy has fuelled a dangerous credit bubble, leaving the global economy more vulnerable to another 1930s-style slump than generally understood.” Further:
The BIS, the ultimate bank of central bankers, pointed to a confluence a worrying signs, citing mass issuance of new-fangled credit instruments, soaring levels of household debt, extreme appetite for risk shown by investors, and entrenched imbalances in the world currency system.
[...] In a thinly-veiled rebuke to the US Federal Reserve, the BIS said central banks were starting to doubt the wisdom of letting asset bubbles build up on the assumption that they could safely be "cleaned up" afterwards - which was more or less the strategy pursued by former Fed chief Alan Greenspan after the dotcom bust.
In 2008, the BIS again warned of the potential of another Great Depression, as “complex credit instruments, a strong appetite for risk, rising levels of household debt and long-term imbalances in the world currency system, all form part of the loose monetarist policy that could result in another Great Depression.”
In 2008, the BIS also said that, “The current market turmoil is without precedent in the postwar period. With a significant risk of recession in the US, compounded by sharply rising inflation in many countries, fears are building that the global economy might be at some kind of tipping point,” and that all central banks have done “has been to put off the day of reckoning.”
In late June of 2009, the BIS reported that as a result of stimulus packages, it has only seen “limited progress” and that, “the prospects for growth are at risk,” and further “stimulus measures won't be able to gain traction, and may only lead to a temporary pickup in growth.” Ultimately, “A fleeting recovery could well make matters worse.”
The BIS has said, in softened language, that the stimulus packages are ultimately going to cause more damage than they prevented, simply delaying the inevitable and making the inevitable that much worse. Given the previous BIS warnings of a Great Depression, the stimulus packages around the world have simply delayed the coming depression, and by adding significant numbers to the massive debt bubbles of the world’s nations, will ultimately make the depression worse than had governments not injected massive amounts of money into the economy.
After the last Great Depression, Keynesian economists emerged victorious in proposing that a nation must spend its way out of crisis. This time around, they will be proven wrong. The world is a very different place now. Loose credit, easy spending and massive debt is what has led the world to the current economic crisis, spending is not the way out. The world has been functioning on a debt based global economy. This debt based monetary system, controlled and operated by the global central banking system, of which the apex is the Bank for International Settlements, is unsustainable. This is the real bubble, the debt bubble. When it bursts, and it will burst, the world will enter into the Greatest Depression in world history."
Came in email, Snopes says letter is UNDETERMINED. http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/boxer.asp
Video this letter responds to posted below.
Jim Hill's letter to Barbara Boxer
Some of us witnessed the arrogance of Barbara Boxer (CA) as she admonished a Brigadier General because he addressed her as "ma'am" and not "Senator" before a Senate hearing.
This letter is from a National Guard aviator and Captain for Alaska Airlines. I wonder what he would have said if he were really angry. Long fly Alaska!
"You were so right on when you scolded the general on TV for using the term, "ma'am," instead of "Senator." After all, in the military, "ma'am" is a term of respect when addressing a female of superior rank or position. The general was totally wrong. You are not a person of superior rank or position. You are a member of one of the world's most corrupt organizations, the U.S. Senate, equalled only by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congress is a cesspool of liars, thieves, inside traders, traitors, drunks (one who killed a staffer, yet is still revered), criminals, and other low level swine who, as individuals (not all, but many), will do anything to enhance their lives, fortunes and power, all at the expense of the People of the United States and its Constitution, in order to be continually re-elected. Many democrats even want American troops killed by releasing photographs. How many of you could honestly say, "We pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor"? None? One? Two?
Your reaction to the general shows several things. First is your abysmal ignorance of all things military. Your treatment of the general shows you to be an elitist of the worst kind. When the general entered the military (as most of us who served) he wrote the government a blank check, offering his life to protect your derriere, now safely and comfortably ensconced in a 20 thousand dollar leather chair, paid for by the general's taxes. You repaid him for this by humiliating him in front of millions.
Second is your puerile character, lack of sophistication, and arrogance which borders on the hubristic. This display of brattish behavior shows you to be a virago, termagant, harridan, nag, scold or shrew, unfit for your position, regardless of the support of the unwashed, uneducated masses who have made California into the laughing stock of the nation.
What I am writing, Senator, are the same thoughts countless millions of Americans have toward Congress, but who lack the energy, ability or time to convey them. Under the democrats, some don't even have the 44 cents to buy the stamp. Regardless of their thoughts, most realize that politicians are pretty much the same, and will vote for the one who will bring home the most bacon, even if they do consider how corrupt that person is. Lord Acton (1834 - 1902) so aptly charged, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Unbeknownst to you and your colleagues, "Mr. Power" has had his way with all of you, and we are all the worse for it.
Finally Senator, I, too, have a title. It is "Right Wing Extremist Potential Terrorist Threat." It is not of my choosing, but was given to me by your Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. And you were offended by "ma'am"?
Have a fine day. Cheers!
16808 - 103rd Avenue Court East
South Hill, WA 98374 "
Please circulate this to remind every voter that the "cesspools" MUST be pumped out when we go to the polls in November, 2010. Honoring and respecting the voters is a thing of the past for many of those in our congress and senate. We need to vote their arrogant, self serving asses out of office if America is to get on the long road back from the devastation that these self serving cowards have brought upon us!
"We Are Not Sheeple
August 3, 2009
By Herman Cain
"The government is not my shepherd, and I shall not surrender my liberties.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get from new listeners to my radio show is, “What can we do to stop this out-of-control spending and expansion of government by this administration and Congress?” My response is that we have to use the two weapons we have, our votes and our voices.
The power of the ballot box has not diminished. It has just been temporarily hijacked by liberals. Thomas Jefferson observed that “The American people won’t make a mistake, if they are given all of the facts.” The real facts about the Obama Administration and Congress are becoming frighteningly clearer every day. More people need to be prepared to cast some different votes in November 2010.
But we can voice our opposition to wrongheaded, anti-liberty and anti-free-market proposals now. We have to do it loudly, consistently, collectively and regularly. There are some moderate Democrats who are against these socialist policies, and they recognize that their congressional seats may not be bullet-proof in November 2010. They need to know that we are paying attention.
The slowdown of the “Cap and Trade and Tax and Kill” bill in the Senate is evidence that our voices and millions of others are having an impact. Further evidence is the president and Democratic leaders of Congress finally abandoning their attempt to ram “Health Care De-form” legislation down our throats before their August recess. But they have not abandoned their desire to confiscate the remainder of our health care system, along with many of our rights and liberties.
The administration, Democrats in Congress and the mainstream lapdog media want us to believe that we should just sit on the sidelines and let this power grab express go unchallenged. They want us to believe that passage of their health care Trojan Horse is a foregone conclusion, while they keep the public’s attention on silly distractions like a “beer summit”, a “cash for clunkers” giveaway and speeches by the president filled with empty and misleading promises.
They want us to believe that we are just sheeple.
Unfortunately, too many people are content to stay stuck in stupid land.
The mainstream media used to be the people’s watchdog of government abuse, misuse and intrusion into our lives. Many so-called professional journalists have surrendered to the intimidation of the administration, and many have just looked the other way from persistent congressional irresponsibility.
Not reading or understanding legislation before members vote for it, ignoring the financial disasters of Social Security and Medicare, and adding trillions of dollars of federal debt is irresponsibility of unmatched historic proportions.
But millions of us are not intimidated and will not look the other way when crooked members of Congress say one thing and do another.
We the people are now our own watchdogs.
Thankfully, people are realizing that they did not use their vote very wisely last November. Some people kept their votes at home and are having “stayed at home” remorse. Others are having voter’s remorse for having voted for President Obama and this Democrat-controlled Congress, even though they are not ready to admit it publicly.
Many members of Congress may not totally “see the light” yet from the heat of outspoken voters, but we are seeing some slowdown in the liberal express. But they must continue to feel the heat.
Sheeple may not care about tsunami government spending, and outrageous expansions of government into our lives. We the people do care.
We will not surrender our liberties!"
"Did Warren Burger Create the Health Care Mess? The 1975 antitrust decision that gave you physician-owned hospitals.
"On May 15, a 25-year-old woman named Hilary Carpenter had an operation at the Colorado Orthopaedic and Surgical Hospital in Denver to replace a shunt valve in her brain. After the surgery, Carpenter experienced a severe headache and nausea. After consulting with a physician on duty, a registered nurse at the hospital administered Demerol, but the dosage was wrong, and Carpenter's heart stopped. In a scene that state investigators later described as "chaotic," hospital staff was unable to locate quickly the equipment needed to revive Carpenter. According to the investigators, there were only a few people on hand that day to deal with the crisis, and those present lacked training to handle such emergencies. Eventually the staff did something you wouldn't normally expect a hospital to do: They called 911. A paramedic team took Carpenter to a different hospital, where she died.
A July 17 news story about this incident in the Denver Post prompted an immediate outcry from Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Democratic chairman and ranking Republican member of the finance committee, then as now struggling to craft a bipartisan health reform bill. The occasion for their outrage was that the Colorado Orthopaedic and Surgical Hospital is one of about 230 hospitals in the United States that are owned by doctors, nearly all of them so-called "specialty hospitals" that steer clear of the seriously ill or uninsured. "Sen. Baucus and I have worked for years now to address the concerns that come with physician-owned hospitals," Grassley said, "including inherent conflicts of interests for physician-owners and, more importantly, patient safety. I remain concerned about the ability of these facilities to address emergency situations." The senators have written into their still-incomplete reform bill that any new doctor-owned hospitals will be barred from participating in Medicare and that existing doctor-owned hospitals must increase safety precautions. The House bill (which has finally won support from Blue Dog Democrats with what appear to be minor concessions) contains a similar provision.
Doctor-owned hospitals are the most conspicuous manifestation of a culture of entrepreneurship that's gone a long way toward creating today's health care crisis. Although traditional economic theory holds that competition drives prices down, in medicine competition had tended to drive prices up as doctors explored new avenues for profit, most typically through fee-for-service overuse of expensive technologies and procedures. It's easy to shrug at such things and say, "That's capitalism." But, in fact, market-driven medicine didn't exist a generation ago, because the American Medical Association didn't allow it. "I saw it happen before my own eyes," says Dr. Arnold Relman, 86, emeritus professor at Harvard Medical School and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. Relman has written extensively (most recently in the New York Review of Books) about what he terms "the medical-industrial complex." Much of the blame for its creation, Relman believes, lies with the Supreme Court's 1975 decision in Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar.
Goldfarb doesn't get a lot of attention from the health-reform crowd, partly because (as its name suggests) it was a case involving lawyers, not doctors, and partly because it extended the reach of antitrust law, something usually favored by the same sort of Democrats who want to make health insurance universal.
Lewis H. Goldfarb was a homebuyer in Fairfax County, Va., who got mad when he couldn't find a title-search lawyer willing to charge less than 1 percent of the purchase price, the minimum recommended by the county's bar association and enforced by the state bar. Goldfarb maintained that the bar's imposition of a minimum fee constituted price fixing and violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Supreme Court agreed, and in a unanimous opinion (minus Justice Lewis Powell, who recused himself), Chief Justice Warren Burger concluded that law and other "learned professions" participated in "trade or commerce" as defined by the Sherman Act and therefore could not engage in "anticompetitive conduct."
Nowhere in the opinion did the words medicine or doctor appear, but the implications for health care were immediately obvious. Prior to Goldfarb, Relman explains, any notion that doctors or hospitals might seek to maximize profits was deemed a violation of professional ethics. AMA guidelines forbade doctors to advertise, to sell drugs, or to own a financial interest in any lab or machinery they used to perform tests. Medical doctors' sole source of income in the health arena was supposed to be the care of patients (or supervising the care of patients). "For the most part," Relman says, "those guidelines were followed."
After Goldfarb, the AMA's lawyers warned that such prohibitions risked being struck down in court as anti-competitive. So the AMA altered its message. Doctors could now have other sources of health care-related income, provided these money-making activities weren't harmful to patients and that patients knew about them. In 1982, the Supreme Court followed up on Goldfarb by striking down not a minimum fee but a maximum fee imposed by Arizona's Maricopa County Medical Society. Federal regulations were imposed to ban a few particularly egregious types of physician self-dealing.
But in general, especially after Ronald Reagan became president, there was a paradigm shift. Where once government had sought to police the health care sector mainly to protect patients, now it sought to police it mainly to protect a competitive health care marketplace. A thriving health care bazaar, it was assumed, would serve patients' interests. This is the theory that bequeathed us doctor-owned hospitals, the endless churning of marginally valuable medical tests, and dermatologists' waiting rooms where patients are bombarded with video infomercials in which their very own doctors market skin creams and facelifts. "The same investors who started Kentucky Fried Chicken," Relman complains, "started the Hospital Corporation of America!" (The common link is Jack Massey.)
The failure of market-driven medicine was foretold by Nobel Prize-winning economist Kenneth Arrow in a 1963 paper ("Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care") that is widely credited with inventing the discipline of health care economics. (In 1963, the health care sector was so sleepy financially and so dominated by nonprofit do-gooders that economists saw little reason to study it.) There were several factors making it difficult to impose a market model on medicine, Arrow wrote. Demand for services was "irregular and unpredictable," and the buyer was physically vulnerable. Judging the value of the product (i.e., medical treatment) entailed a degree of uncertainty "perhaps more intense … than in any other important commodity," which was compounded by the presumption of an extreme asymmetry between the doctor's knowledge and the patient's. Complicating matters even further, the patient didn't pay; his insurance company did. The doctor "acts as a controlling agent on behalf of the insurance companies," making sure the patient didn't overuse his services, but only up to a point; "the physicians themselves are not under any control and it may be convenient for them or pleasing to their patients to prescribe more expensive medication, private nurses, more frequent treatments, and other marginal variations of care."
In an online interview last week with Conor Clarke of the Atlantic, Arrow (now 87) said that "the basic analysis hasn't changed," but "[s]ome specifics have changed." Arrow explained that in his 1963 paper he emphasized that market forces were supplemented by
professional commitments to provide a service, to engage in services that aren't self-serving. Standards of caring decided by non-economic actors. And one problem we have now is an erosion of professional standards. In a way there is more emphasis on markets and self-aggrandizement in the context of health care, and that has led to some of the problems we have today.
I'm no economist, but what I think Arrow is saying here is that health care today conforms a little better to standard economic theory than it did in 1963, but that the invisible hand's gain has been medicine's loss. Goldfarb isn't the only reason for the change, but it's a major one.
Relman believes that the health reform bill, if it passes, won't do much to solve the problem, because it does almost nothing to inhibit medical entrepreneurship. "The idea that health care is a legitimate arena for investment is monstrous," Relman says. "Things are going to have to get a lot worse and the costs are going to have to become absolutely intolerable, and then people will finally begin to realize that the system we have doesn't work right." Part of that change, Relman says, should come from the Supreme Court. If Congress outlawed for-profit medicine, perhaps "the Supreme Court would be willing to take another look at this." The Supreme Court? Where the Chicago school is king? Relman's answer skirts thrillingly close to violating the Hippocratic oath. "Where there's death, my friend, there's always hope."
[Update, July 30: In today's New York Times, Kevin Sack and David Herszenhorn report on an energetic lobbying effort by the doctor-owned Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, Texas, that helps explain why existing doctor-owned hospitals (as opposed to future ones) would be permitted to continue participating in Medicare under the House and Senate bills. Suffice it to say that traditional market economics, while not easily applied to health care (a point explored further by Alec MacGillis in today's Washington Post), apply all too well to the legislative process. The Doctors Hospital at Renaissance is not a specialty hospital, but it was criticized for wasteful spending in Atul Gawande's much-cited New Yorker piece about excessive Medicare spending in McAllen, Texas, which is next door to Edinburg. ("[I]t has a reputation," Gawande wrote, "for aggressively recruiting high-volume physicians to become investors and send patients there. Physicians who do so receive not only their fee for whatever service they provide but also a percentage of the hospital's profits from the tests, surgery, or other care patients are given.") Overall, the Washington Post (citing figures from the Center For Responsive Politics) reports that the health care sector is spending close to $1.5 million a day to influence health reform.]"
Agree with him, they all should be in prison, every single one of them.
"Wednesday, August 12. 2009
Karl Denninger 08:55
"Warned You: Pensions
"I warned about this in the 2008 "Look Ahead", and then several times during 2008: Nobody cared.
Now, CALPERs chief actuary is finally speaking up:
Ron Seeling, the CalPERS chief actuary, described the process used to “smooth” the rate increases that will be imposed on the 1,500 local government agencies in CalPERS in 2011 in the wake of the stock market crash.
Instead of a rate increase of 4 to 20 percent of pay, the smoothing will reduce the rate hike to a more manageable 0.5 to 2 percent of pay.
“I don’t want to sugarcoat anything,” Seeling said as he neared the end of his comments. “We are facing decades without significant turnarounds in assets, decades of — what I, my personal words, nobody else’s — unsustainable pension costs of between 25 percent of pay for a miscellaneous plan and 40 to 50 percent of pay for a safety plan (police and firefighters) … unsustainable pension costs. We’ve got to find some other solutions.”
Oh, but he DID sugarcoat it.
See, the problem here is that these pension managers bought into the hype too. They even bought into real estate developments - buying into the "everything goes up 10% a year forever."
Never mind that an actuary has as his primary job understanding the long-term impact (and possibility) of compounding and exponential growth. That is what an actuary does!
It is particularly galling to hear pension actuaries spout off about how there's a "problem" with the sustainability of their funds. Where were they a year, two years, five years ago? Where were they when the pension fund bought into the real estate hype? When it bought into stocks trading near all-time highs? When The Fed and others in policy roles were making decisions that would drive down bond yields?
Silent, that's where.
These people should be in prison. All of them.
But they won't be, and you will be the one who takes it on the chin.
No, folks, it will not be "ok" in your retirement. CALPERs is not the only fund like this in serious trouble - in point of fact, essentially all of them are. These funds and the entities that sponsor them have all made promises with their mouth that were predicated on investment returns (and growth) that were absolutely impossible, on a mathematical basis, to be sustained.
The fun in this regard is just getting started; I tried to get people interested (especially union folks who could raise hell quite effectively) last year on this matter, but nobody wanted to listen when the sun was still out (spring and early summer), even though there were ominous clouds gathering on the horizon.
Now, a year later, its too late. The tsunami is now clearly visible and curling over, its moving at 70mph, and you can run - at best, and for a short while - at 15mph.
Got life vest?"
Everyone has an opinion, and while I'm not ready to say I agree with Webster Tarpley, I find them interesting enough to let the listener decide. He projects an entirely different end result than I had ever considered.
Interesting, worth the listen. Article below.
by J. R. Nyquist
Weekly Column Published: 04.17.2009
"Yuri Bezmenov was a KGB officer who defected nearly three decades ago. In 1985 he gave an interview that can be viewed online. What he said is worth hearing. According to Bezmenonv, “Only about 15 percent of [the KGBs] time, money and manpower was spent on espionage as such. The other 85 percent was a slow process [of] … ideological subversion or active measures … or psychological warfare. What it basically means is to change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that in spite of the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves….”
Bezmenov referred to “a great brainwashing process which goes very slow and is divided into four basic stages, the first one being demoralization….” Here we find a generational process, which takes from 15 to 20 years. To understand the concept of demoralization, let us turn to Robert Greene’s The 33 Strategies of War, Chapter 7: “The secret to motivating people and maintaining their morale is to get them to think less about themselves and more about the group.” In military affairs an army is demoralized the instant the individual soldier thinks only of himself. At that moment, the soldiers begin to run from the battle and the army dissolves. There is no resistance possible when each soldier looks only to his own safety.
If you want to lead a strong army or build a strong nation, you want your people to develop group cohesion or “togetherness.” According to Greene, “That is when you start thinking about morale – about finding a way to motivate your troops and forge them into a group.” In terms of warfare, motivation is not about rewards and punishments. You have to make people feel the worthiness of their cause, and you must give them a sense of belonging to the army or nation that they are defending. As Greene explains, “They soon begin to link their own success to the group’s; their own interests and the larger interests coincide. In this kind of army, people know that selfish behavior will disgrace them in the eyes of their companions. They become attuned to a kind of group conscience.” And as it happens, this conscience is contagious. It is also very powerful.
Therefore, it may be said that the “demoralization” of a country is a process of encouraging shameful behavior, of encouraging desertion and the abandonment of the national cause and the nation itself. When Yuri Bezmenov says that the first stage in “ideological subversion” is demoralization, he is talking about a very sophisticated strategy. He is talking about a program for destroying the cohesion and spirit of a nation. In basic terms, an effective program of subversion ridicules or discounts the moral ideals from which a nation draws its strength. It is also useful to promote hedonism and self-absorption; to encourage anti-war sentiments and recreational drug use; or give money to Hollywood producers through intermediaries on the condition that they put more sex and violence in American movies.
According to Bezmenov the KGB of the USSR pumped Communist ideology into three generations of American students. The universities and schools were infiltrated, the curriculum was changed, and a disguised form of enemy thinking was taught to American children. “In other words,” says Bezmenov, “Marxism-Leninism ideology [was] pumped into the soft heads of … American students without being challenged or counterbalanced by the basic values of Americanism – American patriotism. The result … you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties, dropouts or half-baked intellectuals, are now occupying positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated. They are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli, in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind, even if you expose them to authentic information. Even if you prove that white is white and black is black. You still cannot change the basic perception and logic of behavior…. In other words … the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible.”
According to Bezmenov, the American educational system has indoctrinated many students with Communist ideology – under the guise of feminism, peace studies, various ethnic studies or general “social science.” To counteract this, we need a new educational program that inculcates common sense and patriotism, teaching the value of a unique American cause – in opposition to socialism.
If anyone should doubt the testimony of Bezmenov, I should like to end this article by quoting a former general of the Soviet Bloc intelligence services, Ion Pacepa. Last year Pacepa gave the following statement to interviewer Robert Buchar: “The whole foreign policy of the Soviet Bloc states, indeed its whole economic and military might, revolved around the larger Soviet objective of destroying America from within through the use of lies. The Soviets saw disinformation as a vital tool in the dialectical advance of world Communism. KGB priority number one was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility. As a spy chief and a general in the former Soviet satellite of Romania, I produced the very same vitriol John Kerry repeated to the U.S. Congress almost word for word and planted it in leftist movements throughout Europe. KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation.”
Copyright © 2009 Jeffrey R. Nyquist
Global Analysis Archive
I don't shop Whole Foods so not promoting them. This plan is being attacked and Whole Foods is being boycotted by those objecting to the CEO's statement. I believe a wise administration would be looking at what works well such as is suggested below.
"The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare
AUGUST 12, 2009
By JOHN MACKEY
Source Wall Stree Journal Opinion
“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people’s money.”
"With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people’s money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.
While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:
• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees’ Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.
Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan’s costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.
• Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.
• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.
• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.
• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor’s visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?
• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.
• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?
Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America
Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.
Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor’s Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.
At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an “intrinsic right to health care”? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.
Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.
Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.
Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.
—Mr. Mackey is co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc.Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A15
"Climate Change Measure Should Be Set Aside, U.S. Senators Say
By Daniel Whitten and Simon Lomax
Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate should abandon efforts to pass legislation curbing greenhouse-gas emissions this year and concentrate on a narrower bill to require use of renewable energy, four Democratic lawmakers say.
“The problem of doing both of them together is that it becomes too big of a lift,” Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas said in an interview last week. “I see the cap-and-trade being a real problem.”
The resistance by Lincoln and her Senate colleagues undercuts President Barack Obama’s effort to win passage of legislation that would cap carbon dioxide emissions and establish a market for trading pollution allowances, said Peter Molinaro, the head of government affairs for Midland, Michigan- based Dow Chemical Co., which supports the measure.
“Doing these energy provisions by themselves might make it more difficult to move the cap-and-trade legislation,” said Molinaro, who is based in Washington. “In this town if you split two measures, usually the second thing never gets done.”
The House passed cap-and-trade legislation in June.
Leaders of the Democratic-controlled Senate say they are sticking with their plan to combine a version of that bill with a separate measure mandating energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources such as solar and wind power. The legislation also provides for an extension of offshore oil and gas drilling in certain areas, broadening its support.
“I don’t think we are going to take to the Senate floor a bill stripped of climate provisions,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, told reporters in Las Vegas on Aug. 11.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the renewable-energy legislation, 15-8, in June. Reid has set a deadline of Sept 28 for committees to complete work on climate- change provisions.
“We should separate the energy bill from the climate bill,” Conrad told reporters this month. ‘It needs to be done as soon as we can get it done,” he said, referring to the energy legislation.
Climate legislation would require 60 votes in the Senate. Most Republicans have said they oppose the cap-and-trade measure, and at least 15 of the Senate’s 60-member Democratic majority have said the House-passed version would hurt the economy and needs to be revamped to win their support.
“At some point, they are going to take a hard vote count,” said Michael McKenna, president of MWR Strategies, a Washington consulting firm. “I think cap-and-trade has a one- in-three chance, but at some point they are going to want to pass something,” he said of the Senate leadership.
Some Democrats want to avoid voting on a measure that would force companies to get pollution permits, said Daniel Weiss, an energy and climate specialist for the Center for American Progress, a Washington public policy group that advises Democrats and supports a cap-and-trade system.
“There is a lot of wishful thinking on the part of some senators,” Weiss said in an interview. “They want to do what is easy, not what is needed.”
The Senate remains under pressure to pass a cap-and-trade bill because failure to act would leave regulation in the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has asserted its right to do so under the Clean Air Act, said Kevin Book, a Washington analyst with Clearview Energy Partners, an energy consulting firm. Senate action to head off the EPA is the most likely outcome, he said.
“The second school of thought holds that Senate progress towards climate change legislation is already irretrievably mired in parochial conflicts,” Book said in an Aug. 12 memo to clients. That may lead the Senate to pass stand-alone energy legislation as a way to “achieve climate change objectives without a cap-and-trade program.”
Sidebar comment: From the 1961 Operation Coffee Cup Campaign against Socialized Medicine as proposed by the Democrats, then a private citizen Ronald Reagan Speaks out against socialized medicine. There is no video because this was an LP sent out by the American Medical Association
Scary. Media ran interference on this but her demeanor speaks for itself.
No telling what the 'emergency call' was all about.
This rant pretty well expresses my disgust with Republican inaction, willful neglegence, lip service which has brought us to the crisis we're living through presently. Other than name there is really no difference in the two main parties.
Posting an excerpt only plus link due to very plain language used to express his disgust, so be warned before you click.
Tuesday, August 11. 2009
I just received one of the famous "fundraising calls" from the RNC.
They were soliciting people to give them money (and tried for slightly over $3k!) to "stop Obama's Health Care plan that will cost $1 trillion."
Oh boy did that poor sap get an earful.
I "explained" that: .............."
Constituents grill Specter .....
Bringing forward TigerAngel's blog post, the video cites legal precedents tracking cookies are in direct conflict with.
TigerAngel ~ Gov to Track Websites Visited?
Highly informative, talks about positions of Obama's advisors regarding health care.
Quoted exactly, good read.
"My fishy confession
August 5, 2009 Posted by Scott at 6:33 PM
"Attentive consumers of news on the Internet may have noticed that the White House recently invited loyal citizens to report when they receive "an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy" to the official e-mail address [email protected] Loyal citizens are to report fishy comments to Linda Douglass, someone who looks suspiciously like Krupskaya, or Nurse Ratched.
As a student of history, I think I know how this works. I want to spare my family and friends the pressure they may feel they are under to turn me in. I confess. I harbor a number of thoughts the Obama White House and Ms. Douglass deem highly fishy. I'm turning myself in.
Whatever President Obama says to induce support of his desired health care -- excuse me, I mean health insurance -- reform, I believe exactly the opposite. I believe he says what he says because he knows his desired reform is unpopular. I believe what Obama says bears no relationship to what the legislation he supports would do.
Thus when President Obama says if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them, I believe he is slinging it. I harbor the guilty thought that the legislation he supports would create incentives for employers to dump employees who like their health insurance into a government plan.
When President Obama says that health care -- excuse me, health insurance -- reform is necessary to get budget deficits under control, I believe he is slinging it. I harbor the guilty thought that the legislation he supports would create deficits so large it would turn the United States into a banana republic.
When President Obama denies that he supports a Canadian-style single payer health care system, I believe he is slinging it. I believe what he seems to have said frequently in the past to the effect that he supports a system of single payer universal insurance. I harbor the guilty thought that he supports legislation that will inevitably lead to this result incrementally.
When President Obama says what he says to promote health care -- excuse me, health insurance -- reform, I believe he is slinging it. I harbor the guilty thought that he wants a government takeover of the health care system to turn citizens into supplicants and wards of the state.
I confess. I am guilty of fishy thoughts."
Obama to Citizens on Health Care: Send In All Fishy Emails
Cartoon from Townhall.com
Like or loathe what he's saying, he provokes thought.
"This is No Recession...It's a Planned Demolition
Source The Silver Bear Cafe
"Just like the planned demolition of the World Trade Center Buildings, the economy is being systematically demolished by the the same miscreants
"(Editor's Note: In my estimation, fully 97% of the American population has already fallen victim, and succumb to the all pervasive, insidious misinformation campaign that has been waged on us for the past 100 years. This means all the energies you and I expend pleading with our family and friends to "wake up and open your eyes" is falling on deaf ears. I have finally realized that rather than wasting my time trying to wake them up, I need to concentrate my energies forging alliances with those of a like mind, a support group if you will. Given that 97% of the population is "in denial" and as a result have been rendered "mindless sheeple", we are left with 3%. That, happily, equates to 9,000,000 Americans who are searching for a support group as well. It is a hell of a lot more gratifying to discuss our plight with those who "get it" than those who not only don't, but to make matters worse, don't want to. If you don't know, that's ignorance. But you can fix ignorance. If your don't care, that's apathy. With a little nurturing that also can be fixed. If you don't want to know, however, that's stupid. And believe me, I have found that it is very hard to deal with stupid. - JSB)
Credit is not flowing. In fact, credit is contracting. That means things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. When credit contracts in a consumer-driven economy, bad things happen. Business investment drops, unemployment soars, earnings plunge, and GDP shrinks. The Fed has spent more than a trillion dollars trying to get consumers to start borrowing again, but without success. The country's credit engines are grinding to a halt.
Bernanke has increased excess reserves in the banking system by $800 billion, but lending is still slow. The banks are hoarding capital in order to deal with the losses from toxic assets, non performing loans, and a $3.5 trillion commercial real estate bubble that's following housing into the toilet. That's why the rate of bank failures is accelerating. 2010 will be even worse; the list is growing. It's a bloodbath.
The standards for conventional loans have gotten tougher while the pool of qualified credit-worthy borrowers has shrunk. That means less credit flowing into the system. The shadow banking system has been hobbled by the freeze in securitization and only provides a trifling portion of the credit needed to grow the economy. Bernanke's initiatives haven't made a bit of difference. Credit continues to shrivel.
The S&P 500 is up 50 percent from its March lows. The financials, retail, materials and industrials are leading the pack. It's a "Green Shoots" Bear market rally fueled by the Fed's Quantitative Easing (QE) which is forcing liquidity into the financial system and lifting equities. The same thing happened during the Great Depression. Stocks surged after 1929. Then the prevailing trend took hold and dragged the Dow down 89 percent from its earlier highs. The S&P's March lows will be tested before the recession is over. Systemwide deleveraging is ongoing. That won't change.
No one is fooled by the fireworks on Wall Street. Consumer confidence continues to plummet. Everyone knows things are bad. Everyone knows the media is lying. Credit is contracting; the economy's life's blood has slowed to a trickle. The economy is headed for a hard landing.
Bernanke has pulled out all the stops. He's lowered interest rates to zero, backstopped the entire financial system with $13 trillion, propped up insolvent financial institutions and monetized $1 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and US sovereign debt. Nothing has worked. Wages are falling, banks are cutting lines of credit, retirement savings have been slashed in half, and home equity losses continue to mount. Living standards can no longer be bandaged together with VISA or Diners Club cards. Household spending has to fit within one's salary. That's why retail, travel, home improvement, luxury items and hotels are all down double-digits. The easy money has dried up.
According to Bloomberg:
"Borrowing by U.S. consumers dropped in June for the fifth straight month as the unemployment rate rose, getting loans remained difficult and households put off major purchases. Consumer credit fell $10.3 billion, or 4.92 percent at an annual rate, to $2.5 trillion, according to a Federal Reserve report released today in Washington. Credit dropped by $5.38 billion in May, more than previously estimated. The series of declines is the longest since 1991.
A jobless rate near the highest in 26 years, stagnant wages and falling home values mean consumer spending... will take time to recover even as the recession eases. Incomes fell the most in four years in June as one-time transfer payments from the Obama administration’s stimulus plan dried up, and unemployment is forecast to exceed 10 percent next year before retreating." (Bloomberg)
What a mess. The Fed has assumed near-dictatorial powers to fight a monster of its own making, and achieved nothing. The real economy is still dead in the water. Bernanke is not getting any traction from his zero-percent interest rates. His monetization program (QE) is just scaring off foreign creditors. On Friday, Marketwatch reported:
"The Federal Reserve will probably allow its $300 billion Treasury-buying program to end over the next six weeks as signs of a housing recovery prompt the central bank to unwind one its most aggressive and unusual interventions into financial markets, big bond dealers say."
Right. Does anyone believe the housing market is recovering? If so, please check out this chart and keep in mind that, in the first 6 months of 2009, there have already been 1.9 million foreclosures.
The Fed is abandoning the printing presses (presumably) because China told Geithner to stop printing money or they'd sell their US Treasuries. It's a wake-up call to Bernanke that the power is shifting from Washington to Beijing.
That puts Bernanke in a pickle. If he stops printing; interest rates will skyrocket, stocks will crash and housing prices will tumble. But if he continues QE, China will dump their Treasuries and the greenback will vanish in a poof of smoke. Either way, the malaise in the credit markets will persist and personal consumption will continue to sputter.
The basic problem is that consumers are buried beneath a mountain of debt and have no choice except to curtail their spending and begin to save. Currently, the the ratio of debt to personal disposable income, is 128% just a tad below its all-time high of 133% in 2007. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's "Economic Letter: US Household Deleveraging and Future Consumption Growth":
"The combination of higher debt and lower saving enabled personal consumption expenditures to grow faster than disposable income, providing a significant boost to U.S. economic growth over the period. In the long-run, however, consumption cannot grow faster than income because there is an upper limit to how much debt households can service, based on their incomes. For many U.S. households, current debt levels appear too high, as evidenced by the sharp rise in delinquencies and foreclosures in recent years. To achieve a sustainable level of debt relative to income, households may need to undergo a prolonged period of deleveraging, whereby debt is reduced and saving is increased.
Going forward, it seems probable that many U.S. households will reduce their debt. If accomplished through increased saving, the deleveraging process could result in a substantial and prolonged slowdown in consumer spending relative to pre-recession growth rates." ("U.S. Household Deleveraging and Future Consumption Growth, by Reuven Glick and Kevin J. Lansing, FRBSF Economic Letter")
A careful reading of the FRBSF's Economic Letter shows why the economy will not bounce back. It is mathematically impossible. We've reached peak credit; consumers have to deleverage and patch their balance sheets. Household wealth has slipped $14 trillion since the crisis began. Home equity has dropped to 41% (a new low) and joblessness is on the rise. By 2011, Duetsche Bank AG predicts that 48 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage will be underwater. As the equity position of homeowners deteriorates, banks will further tighten credit and foreclosures will mushroom.
The executive board of the IMF does not share Wall Street's rosy view of the future, which is why it issued a memo that stated:
"Directors observed that the crisis will have important implications for the role of the United States in the global economy. The U.S. consumer is unlikely to play the role of global "buyer of last resort" - other regions will need to play an increased role in supporting global growth."
The United States will not be the emerge as the center of global demand following the recession. Those days are over. The world is changing and the US role is getting smaller. As US markets become less attractive to foreign exporters, the dollar will lose its position as the world's reserve currency. As goes the dollar, so goes the empire. Want some advice: Learn Mandarin.
Sagging Unemployment: A "no new jobs" recovery
July's employment numbers came in better than expected (negative 247,000) lowering total unemployment from 9.5% to 9.4%. That's good. Things are getting worse at a slower pace. What's striking about the BLS report is that there's no jobs-surge in any sector of the economy. No signs of life. Outsourcing and offshoring are ongoing, and downsizing is the new path to profitability. Businesses everywhere are anticipating weaker demand. The jobs report is a one-off event; a lull in the storm before the layoffs resume.
Unemployment is rising, wages are falling and credit is contracting. In other words, the system is working exactly as designed. All the money is flowing upwards to the gangsters at the top. Here's an excerpt from a recent Don Monkerud article that sums it all up:
"During eight years of the Bush Administration, the 400 richest Americans, who now own more than the bottom 150 million Americans, increased their net worth by $700 billion. In 2005, the top one percent claimed 22 percent of the national income, while the top ten percent took half of the total income, the largest share since 1928.
Over 40 percent of GNP comes from Fortune 500 companies. According to the World Institute for Development Economics Research, the 500 largest conglomerates in the U.S. "control over two-thirds of the business resources, employ two-thirds of the industrial workers, account for 60 percent of the sales, and collect over 70 percent of the profits."
... In 1955, IRS records indicated the 400 richest people in the country were worth an average $12.6 million, adjusted for inflation. In 2006, the 400 richest increased their average to $263 million, representing an epochal shift of wealth upward in the U.S." "Wealth Inequality destroys US Ideals"
Working people are not being crushed by accident, but according to plan. It is the way the system is supposed to work. Bernanke knows that sustained demand requires higher wages and a vital middle class. But what does he care. He's not a public servant. He works for the banks. That's why the Fed's monetary policies reflect the goals of the investor class. Bubblenomics is not the way to a strong/sustainable economy, but it is an effective tool for shifting wealth from one class to another. The Fed's job is to facilitate that objective, which is why the economy is headed for the rocks.
The free market is a sham to conceal the crimes of the rich. Read Taibbi. Read Marx. Karl, not Groucho.
The financial meltdown is the logical outcome of the Fed's monetary policies. That's why it's a mistake to call the current slump a "recession". It's not. It's a planned demolition. "
High five, WTG , wishing her a complete recovery to perfect health!!!
"Granny, 87, Kills Venomous Rattler With Bare Hands
Tampa octogenarian takes matters into her own hands, kills snake
By BRIAN HAMACHER
Source NBC Miami
"An 87-year-old Tampa woman had had it with the motherloving snakes on her motherloving porch.
So when a seven-inch pygmy rattlesnake slithered up to Esther Orring's door and bit her on the hand, she got even, strangling the venomous little serpent with her bare hands.
"She's a tough lady," Orring's daughter, Maria Pellicone, told WFLA. "She's a very strong person, so she will be a survivor."
Orring has been hospitalized since the Monday incident, after she was administered several vials of antivenin.
But the well-gripped granny is expected to make a full recovery, and Pellicone says she'll have the dead snake framed for her."
This is one little tidbit I just became aware of.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
"Dirty Secret No. 1 in Obamacare
by Chuck Norris
"Health care reforms are turning into health care revolts. Americans are turning up the heat on congressmen in town hall meetings across the U.S.
While watching these political hot August nights, I decided to research the reasons so many are opposed to Obamacare to separate the facts from the fantasy. What I discovered is that there are indeed dirty little secrets buried deep within the 1,000-plus page health care bill.
Dirty secret No. 1 in Obamacare is about the government's coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care and development.
It's outlined in sections 440 and 1904 of the House bill (Page 838), under the heading "home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children." The programs (provided via grants to states) would educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.
The bill says that the government agents, "well-trained and competent staff," would "provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains ... modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices," and "skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development."
Are you kidding me?! With whose parental principles and values? Their own? Certain experts'? From what field and theory of childhood development? As if there are one-size-fits-all parenting techniques! Do we really believe they would contextualize and personalize every form of parenting in their education, or would they merely universally indoctrinate with their own?
Are we to assume the state's mediators would understand every parent's social or religious core values on parenting? Or would they teach some secular-progressive and religiously neutered version of parental values and wisdom? And if they were to consult and coach those who expect babies, would they ever decide circumstances to be not beneficial for the children and encourage abortions?
One government rebuttal is that this program would be "voluntary." Is that right? Does that imply that this agency would just sit back passively until some parent needing parenting skills said, "I don't think I'll call my parents, priest or friends or read a plethora of books, but I'll go down to the local government offices"? To the contrary, the bill points to specific targeted groups and problems, on Page 840: The state "shall identify and prioritize serving communities that are in high need of such services, especially communities with a high proportion of low-income families."
Are we further to conclude by those words that low-income families know less about parenting? Are middle- and upper-class parents really better parents? Less neglectful of their children? Less needful of parental help and training? Is this "prioritized" training not a biased, discriminatory and even prejudicial stereotype and generalization that has no place in federal government, law or practice?
Bottom line: Is all this what you want or expect in a universal health care bill being rushed through Congress? Do you want government agents coming into your home and telling you how to parent your children? When did government health care turn into government child care?
Government needs less of a role in running our children's lives and more of a role in supporting parents' decisions for their children. Children belong to their parents, not the government. And the parents ought to have the right -- and government support -- to parent them without the fed's mandates, education or intervention in our homes.
Kids are very important to my wife, Gena, and me. That's why we've spent the past 17 years developing our nonprofit KICKSTART program in public schools in Texas. It builds up their self-esteem and teaches them respect and discipline. Of course, whether or not they participate in the program is their and their parents' choice.
How contrary is Obamacare's home intrusion and indoctrination family services, in which state agents prioritize houses to enter and enforce their universal values and principles upon the hearts and minds of families across America?
Government's real motives and rationale are quite simple, though rarely, if ever, stated. If one wants to control the future ebbs and flows of a country, one must have command over future generations. That is done by seizing parental and educational power, legislating preferred educational methods and materials, and limiting private educational options. It is so simple that any socialist can understand it. As Josef Stalin once stated, "Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed."
Before so-called universal health care turns into universal hell care, write or call your representative today and protest his voting Obamacare into law. Remind him that what is needed in Washington is a truly bipartisan group that is allowed an ample amount of time to work on a compromise health care law that wouldn't raise taxes (for anyone), regulate personal medical choices, ration health care or restrict American citizens."
"Monetization And Bernanke Perjury?
"This was apparently first broken by Brian Benton, not Chris Martenson; the original link was to a Financial Sense article (of which I was unaware.)
All the previous comments in my other post, however, still apply - here it is in video....
There is also evidence showing up that this was not the first purchase of essentially "as-issued" bonds, especially in the 7-year duration. I am looking into this and will attempt to quantify the percentage of "support" that is in fact monetization, irrespective of what Bernanke said in front of Congress."
Follow the money trail.
"Drug Industry Helping Obama Overhaul Health Care
Efforts by nation's drugmakers could dwarf attempts to derail Obama's top domestic priority.
Clear unemotional explanation. Worth watching.
YouTube - Healthcare Town Hall Meeting in Liberty Texas
Found this commentary via another site. Two quoted articles posted.
Amazing how the posted video seems to say sit down and shut up only I know what's best for you .... it's a done deal except for signing.
"How Obama Is Pitting Americans Against Each Other
August, 8, 2009 — nicedeb
"From page 31 of Generating Social Capital, a scholarly look at civil society and institutions:
Repressive governments disturb civic development in two major ways; First, they discourage spontaneous group activity, and second, they discourage trust. Even though totalitarian governments, such as communist regimes, mobilize civil society through party, and other governmental organizations, association is always state controlled, and not always voluntary. Generally, authoritarian, and totalitarian governments seem partially to build on their strength on the foundation of distrust among their citizens. A good example of this can be found in the activities of the German Democratic Republic’s state-secret police which pitted citizens against each other, and provoked tight social control of friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and even within families.
I found that by googling, “pitting citizens against each other”, not sure of what I’d find, but having a hunch, because for the first time in my life, and perhaps in our nation’s history, we have a President who is actively mobilizing certain groups of citizens (SEIU, ACORN, OFA) against certain other groups, and it’s absolutely staggering. He commanded his minions during the campaign to “get in their faces”, and now, even as President, he is still in campaign mode.
Obama sans teleprompter, obviously speaking off the cuff, because what speechwriter would write such words for a President to say?:
Here, the President of the United States is fomenting distrust amongst the citizenry. Some of us, he argues, are not worthy of being listening to. Some of us should just get out the way.
ObamaCare is opposed by a majority of Americans, now, because we know it’s not financially sustainable, it can’t be without draconian cuts in service. We know that Obama means for his plan to lead to a single payer, universal plan, which the vast majority of Americans oppose. So the Obama administration and the Dems fight the opposition deploying classic Alinsky tactics:
RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Call your enemies “tea baggers”, rednecks, for instance).
RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Union thugs love intimidating and busting heads…)
RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Urge fellow citizens to report “fishy” emails and websites to WH ).
RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (What might they do with those email and IP addresses? What will the union thugs do at the next town hall?)
RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. ( Rush Limbaugh, “astroturfing teabaggers”).
And the unwritten rule that all good leftists follow: Accuse the enemy of what you yourself do.
Liberal Dems are accusing the rag tag, genuinely grassroots, and passionate conservative dissenters, the vast majority of whom have never protested anything in their lives, people who would much rather be at home with their families, of “astroturfing”. These are people who have been provoked out of their comfort zones because they see their freedom, Democracy, and the American way of life, slipping away, and they refuse to let it go without putting up a fight.
Liberal Democrats are of course, masters of astroturfing, or manufactured, fake grassroots. That’s why at their protests and rallies, you see pre-printed signs (who paid for those), and often paid for, bused in protesters/supporters, whatever the case may be.
That’s why you see Obama, the community organizer in chief sending out the bat signal via his website, Organizing for America. (Are all Presidents from now on going to have their own perpetual campaign websites? Because I’m against it, and I don’t care which party the President is from. I have a problem with a sitting President organizing American citizens to go out and fight with and get in the faces of other American citizens). There’s nothing “spontaneous” or “grassroots” about taking orders from the most powerful person in the free world.
As many of you know, David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, is credited with inventing AstroTurfing. Which sets the irony meter to its highest level, I think.
A great example of astroturfing as it is typically practiced can be found via Michelle Malkin at Looking at the Left, by ElMarco, who was at the Nancy Pelosi event in Denver, Friday, and took pictures of the the 200 or so ObamaCare dissidents, and the handful of astroturfing supporters, some of whom didn’t speak a word of English and had no idea what their signs said. His photo essay is fantastic, and well worth a look."
"Anatomy of Nancy Pelo-cchio’s Astroturf brigade
Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi (affectionately known as Nancy Pelo-cchio among us “political terrorists” on the Right) snuck into a Denver health care clinic today, where she was greeted by 200 grass-roots protesters against socialized medicine — and a handful of Obama-bots and union members carrying identical HCAN signs. http://michellemalkin.com/2009/08/04/flashback-who%E2%80%99s-funding-the-obamacare-astroturf-campaign/
I already noted this morning how one of the Obamacare activists yanked
an anti-Pelosi sign out of a protester’s hands. Brown shirt, anyone?
There’s much more.
Denver photojournalist El Marco was at the event and has an amazing pictorial essay
detailing how Pelo-cchio’s Astroturf brigade had to be coached by professional organizers — including several day laborers who didn’t speak English and couldn’t tell what the signs they were holding read. And they accuse Tea Party folks of being puppets?!"
"Congress Gets an Upgrade
$550 Million Slated for Purchase of Eight More Planes as Lawmakers' Travel Soars
To all those who used to rail against corporate welfare, how's it working out for you under the "Change" administration?
August 6, 2009
"Public is Resisting Obama's Liberal Agenda
By Victor Davis Hanson
Source Real Clear Politics
"Why does President Obama want to implement all at once radical changes in American foreign policy, environmental policy, education, health care and the tax code?
The answer is easy: If he does not achieve these initiatives soon, he never will.
Almost none of Obama's proposed policies any longer enjoy majority support among voters -- and many of them were not clearly outlined to voters during the campaign.
Current polls show more Americans are against than in favor of his version of health-care reform. Nearly seven in 10 are wary of government takeovers of the economy, like the bank and car bailouts. Over half do not want more borrowing and higher deficits.
In response, Obama and the technocrats around him insist they know better than the average voter what is in America's long-term environmental, health, educational and financial interests. So they're rushing to save us from ourselves by planning all sorts of legislation that would change our lifestyles.
Even without popular support for individual policy changes, a still-personally-popular Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress hope to ram these policies through based on the president's charisma and their legislative majorities.
White House politicos hold up Franklin Delano Roosevelt as their model. He likewise came into office after economic upheaval and spoke with eloquence -- and used both to permanently move American society markedly to the left in ways undreamed of a few years earlier.
Unfortunately for Obama, there is some indication that, despite his constant TV appearances and nonstop interviews, time is running out -- and he may not remain popular long enough to push through his liberal agenda.
Why is he winded?
One, he ran on a promise not to raise taxes on 95 percent of American households. But even with his proposed new income, payroll and surcharge taxes on the so-called wealthy, his administration will run a $2 trillion annual deficit.
Even members of the Obama administration, like Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary, are now not ruling out some sort of new tax on everyone.
Second, Obama billed himself as a novel, transcendent candidate above partisanship, racial politics and the usual Washington sleaze.
But he has earned almost no bipartisan support for his proposed legislation. After six months in office, he still blames George Bush for much of the country's problems.
When Attorney General Eric Holder called Americans "cowards" for not discussing race honestly, when Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor claimed Latina judges would make wiser decisions than white male judges in some cases, and when the president himself said police had "stupidly" arrested his friend Henry Louis Gates, the public saw more of the old tired identity politics.
And despite promises of a new ethics in Washington, there are still tax avoiders and revolving-door lobbyists in the Obama administration just like in any other past presidency.
Third, there is a vague sense of foreboding about the future and the direction the country is going. The amount of money George Bush proposed the government borrow at the end of his presidency now looks small. "Trillion" has replaced "billion" as the common referent for deficits.
If things are tough now, what will we do when interest rates rise from their present historic lows and we must pay back the borrowing at much higher rates?
There are plenty more questions. Will gas prices climb when the economy improves? And if so, why aren't we talking more about developing more domestic oil, gas, shale, tar sands, and nuclear energy, in addition to wind and solar power?
Is it wise to alienate democratic Israel while making overtures with Iran? If apologizing abroad wins applause in the short-term, will such contrition only earn contempt and invite some hostile countries to try things they otherwise would not?
So, will Obama race through his agenda before his approval ratings drop further, and he becomes personally as unpopular as his radical initiatives?
If in the next few months, the economy surges back, if Obama and his advisers avoid any more divisive racial sermonizing, if the world abroad remains quiet, if the opposition fails to offer constructive alternatives, and if Obama does not renege on more past promises, then he may yet win his race to change America.
But right now that's a lot of ifs."
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
"Unions To Take On Conservative Groups Health Care Town Halls
Updated: 08- 6-09 12:26 PM
"The nation's largest federation of labor organizations has promised to directly engage with boisterous conservative protesters at Democratic town halls during the August recess.
In a memo sent out on Thursday, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney outlined the blueprint for how the union conglomerate would step up recess activities on health care reform and other topics pertinent to the labor community. The document makes clear that Obama allies view the town hall forums as ground zero of the health care debate. It also uses the specter of the infamous 2000 recount "Brooks Brothers" protest to rally its members to the administration's side.
"The principal battleground in the campaign will be town hall meetings and other gatherings with members of Congress in their home districts," reads the memo. "We want your help to organize major union participation to counter the right-wing "Tea-Party Patriots" who will try to disrupt those meetings, as they've been trying to do to meetings for the last month. ...
(Remember the hooligans - many of them Republican Congressional staff - who harassed Florida vote counters in 2000? We can't let that happen again!)."
A showdown between unions and grassroots conservative organizations could make for an August full of fireworks, with even more dysfunctional town hall meetings. The AFL-CIO is planning to target 50 "high priority districts," in addition to organizing telephone town hall gatherings.
But while the union conglomerate seems poised to flex its political muscle on Obama's behalf, it may find some friction on the policy front. Detailed in Sweeney's memo are certain legislative priorities that are clearly at odds with what seems likely to be produced in the Senate Finance Committee's compromise bill.
Sweeney describes it as a "requirement that ALL employers 'pay or play,'" that the final bill have "a robust public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers and drive down health costs," and that the legislation contain "relief for company/union funds providing pre-Medicare retiree coverage, and no taxation of health benefits!"
The AFL-CIO also promises to "Redouble our efforts on Capitol Hill against taxation of benefits OF ANY KIND, for including ALL businesses in the requirement to provide coverage, and for a robust public health insurance plan option."
According to reports on Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee is considering compromise legislation that will contain no public option for insurance and would tax health-care benefits of the most generous plans.
UPDATE: AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka sends out a scathing statement about the town halls, hitting on Sweeney's themes and calling the events corporate funded."
Good summary, worth the time to watch.
"GOP Senator: White House Encroaching on First Amendment
August 05, 2009 1:33 PM
ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
"A Republican senator is calling for the White House to suspend a new project that asks members of the public to flag “fishy” claims about President Obama’s health care plans, arguing that it raises privacy concerns and will serve to chill free speech.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is sending a letter to the White House today asking the president to “cease this program immediately” -- or to explain how Americans’ privacy will be protected if e-mails are forwarded to the White House as requested.
“I am not aware of any precedent for a President asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed ‘fishy’ or otherwise inimical to the White House’s political interests,” Cornyn writes
“I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had your predecessor asked Americans to forward emails critical of his policies to the White House. I suspect that you would have been leading the charge in condemning such a program -- and I would have been at your side denouncing such heavy-handed government action.”
Yesterday, White House director of new media Macon Phillips wrote a blog posting urging readers to flag questionable claims about health care proposals.
“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected]”
Cornyn specifically asks whether those who quote the president’s past statements -- such as his 2003 statement that he was a “proponent” of single-payer care -- qualifies as “disinformation.” He also asks what actions the White House would take against those engaging in “fishy” speech."
"White House Website Asking for Informants on Anti-Healthcare Advocates
By Warner Todd Huston Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Source Canada Free Press
"I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that the Obama White House is now asking the public to snitch on their fellow citizens by sending an email to White House staffers informing them of other Americans that oppose Obamacare. I know what you are saying. You are probably saying that I am just a rabble rousing conservative that is just trying to stir trouble. You are probably thinking that I am taking something out of context.
Well I wish I were.
An August 4 bog post on the White House website is clearly asking for Americans to snitch on their neighbors. WH staffer Linda Douglas, a former “journalist” turned political operative, is featured on a video telling tall tales about Obama’s healthcare plan and how wonderful it is for America. But here is the scary part:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected]
If that isn’t asking citizens to snitch on each other…. What is?
Of course the WH site pushes the Obama lie that we can keep our health insurance “if we like it” by pointing out that Obama has “consistently said” it. But saying a lie 100 times does not make it the truth. It is a fact that millions of Americans WILL lose their current healthcare plans if Obamacare passes in the form the president keeps advocating for.
But of the information that these American snitchers send off to the White House, who in the White House is going to get this information? What are they going to do with it? Will they create a data base of people that stand against Obama? What is to be done with such a database? Who will get visited by the FBI in the dead of night because they sent an email critical of Obama’s socialist styled healthcare policies?
A friend of mine named Bill Collier has written a great letter to the White House asking these questions and more.
A letter to President Barack Obama, sent to [email protected]
Greetings, sir, I pray for your health and that God may grant you peace and wisdom.
I am writing to you at this email address because of a post at the White House blog that, frankly, sir, has me a bit concerned.
I am certain that you are committed to freedom and liberty and do not intend on decreasing the level of freedom or the participation of citizens in the process of deciding public policy for our nation, even if that might mean that some of your initiatives have to be scaled back or simply abandoned.
Some might, however, question your commitment to freedom and the participation of citizens in the decision making process and this is why I am writing, respectfully, in the hope of seeing a happy resolution to what I hope is merely a poorly stated appeal for help in support of your health care initiative.
I understand you are asking people, through your staff, to email [email protected] to report people who oppose your health care plan, even though, Mr. President, you have NOT actually sent out a specific proposal and there are multiple different proposals.
Your appeal, which I sincerely fear is a call for informants (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Facts-Are-Stubborn-Things/) was cloaked in what seems to some, myself included, doublespeak, and to my mind this appeal carries the implication that the White House wants to capture the names of opponents, which has a potentially chilling effect on open debate.
As part of this appeal, you tell your readers, basically, that people who are citing video of yourself calling for a single payer system and detailing an incrementalist approach ‘liars’, something that is both impolite and, frankly, juvenile and beneath contempt. Those statements were made by you, Mr. President. If indeed you are opposed to a single payer plan and have changed your mind, it is useful to you, and citizens who may even support you but for this perception, to clear this matter up rather than blaming others for a reasonable and logical assumption based on what you actually said.
Mr. President, facts ARE stubborn things and unless or until you publicly disavow a single payer system and actually ANNOUNCE and put in print YOUR health care proposal, it is only reasonable to think that all those things you have said are still on the table and part of your overall plan. If, however, you want a single payer system, please tell us and put in writing what your plan is so that we can have a civil discourse.
Mr. President, are you willing to state what your plan is then publicly disavow any plan that involves single payer plans in any fashion?
Further, Mr. President, would you be willing to solemnly swear that the minute you propose or even SIGN any bill that includes a single player plan or a precursor thereto that you will resign your office? Are you willing, sir, to resign your office if the implementation of your plan results in anything more than a 10% decrease in the number of people enrolled in private plans within 4 years after whatever bill is passed?
Please be advised, Mr. President, I will not be monitored: I oppose what some refer to as ‘Obamacare’ on the basis of my conviction that the Federal Power has no business sticking its nose in such things, a point of view that I sincerely believe is consistent with the original intent of our Founders. I respect that you feel differently and read that differently, but to dismiss our point of view with juvenile and petty name-calling that is clearly beneath contempt and that is simply not professional is a reflection on the content of your character that will not turn Americans against those who oppose state-run or regulated and managed health care by ANY name.
I am NOT afraid to stand up for my convictions, I respect you and your office, and I rightfully and justly demand that you and your staff respect me and my office, the office of “elector”, one of your 300 million “bosses”.
I respectfully request that you stop asking people to become informants, please spend a few minutes and re-read your constitution which you swore to uphold, and which is a condition of your tenure which must be adhered to.
I am enclosing a copy of this email to my member of Congress, my Senators, and my Governor as well as any local media and asking them to investigate WHY the White House is trying to capture names of opponents and asking people to inform on opponents.
If your office is seeking to obtain names of people who oppose your plan and to engage other Americans as informants or agents I would, and I am sure many others would, consider this to be a SERIOUS offense against the Bill of Rights if indeed your objective here is to do this, so, with this in mind, sir, please cease and desist and respect even those who oppose you in a civil and fair manner.
I pray that this communication is seen as a friendly appeal for a quick and amicable resolution of my concerns or, at worse, a friendly rebuke, if you will, due to what is clearly impolite behavior that is beneath of the dignity of the Presidency or the White House.
May you continue to be in good health and good spirits as you lead our free nation of free and sovereign citizens who wish you, and America, Godspeed within the reasonable constraints of liberty, justice, and our Constitution.
Yours in service to the Republic,
By the Grace of God, Citizen and Elector, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The United States of America
PS I have BCC’d this to other individuals and hope that they, too, stand up by name and without fear, knowing that your White House, Mr. President, would never seek to in any way censure or persecute in any manner any citizen for simply questioning your policies or conduct: I am sure you will agree with me that the best way to dispel such myths is to reply in a cordial and civil manner to such citizens, even your loyal opposition.
It appears that the White House thinks this is Orwell’s 1984. Big Brother is watching and he apparently resides in Oceania’s White House."
Son sent me this .... you don't have to speak the language to 'get it'.
The issue needs to be thoroughly investigated and settled once and for all. Link by Andy Martin's name to his bio page listing credentials.
"CHICAGO NEWS CONFERENCE TUESDAY: Obama “Kenyan birth certificate” prompts call for federal grand jury probe.
Andy Martin ( http://www.andymartin.com/bio.htm )
"2009-08-04 07:05:30 - Internet Powerhouse Andy Martin says the filing of a purported “Kenyan birth certificate” for Barack Obama with a federal court in California opens the way to an FBI/Department of Justice inquiry into the provenance of the document. Martin’s Chicago news conference Tuesday will release copies of requests to the FBI and Attorney General Eric Holder requesting an investigation of the “Kenyan” document.
Internet Powerhouse Andy Martin says a “Kenyan birth certificate” of Barack Obama is probably a forgery
Martin says the time has come to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Obama’s “records”
Martin seeks an FBI/DOJ probe of Obama “birth” documents, says they may have been college application forgeries
(CHICAGO)(August 4, 2009) Internet Powerhouse Andy Martin, the crusading columnist and investigator who five years ago began asking tough questions about Barack Obama’s childhood religion and birth certificate, and who today is a U. S. Senate candidate from Illinois, will hold a Chicago news conference Tuesday to announce he has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate a purported “Kenyan birth certificate” of Barack Obama.
“In my personal opinion Martin will state, “The purported ‘Kenyan birth certificate’ KBC of Barack Obama is a forgery. But who forged it, and why? These are questions that Americans want answered.
“Over the past five years, beginning in August, 2004, I have written a number of columns and a bestselling book that Barack Obama’s operatives have attacked. But almost every allegation that I made in those columns and in my book has ultimately been proven true. Obama himself has admitted many of my claims.
“The only exception to the ‘truth’ of my factual claims is my expressed 'theory' involving Obama and Frank Marshall Davis. I labeled the Obama-Davis connection a theory, not a fact.
“I was the first, for example, to suggest Barack Obama was born with dual US/UK nationality, a claim that he later admitted.
“I filed the first, and so far only, lawsuit in Hawai’i to open to public view what I believe is now an archive of American history: Barack Obama’s original, typewritten 1961 Hawaiian birth certificate. Obama has obstructed access to that document.
“A California attorney has now filed a purported KBC with a federal forum. The Department of Justice and FBI automatically have jurisdiction to investigate matters filed in federal court.
“I want to stress that I have no connection of any sort with the KBC. And I have serious questions about its provenance. In particular, two theories interest me. First, I think there is a very real possibility that this document is a ‘smoking gun but not the smoking gun that so-called 'birthers' are seeking.
'Birthers' claim me as their Godfather, and in a sense I am; but I am not in fact a birther myself. I do not accept many of the theories that they have propounded. I continue to believe Obama was born in Hawai’i, although under suspicious circumstances. That is why Obama does not want the typewritten original document of his birth made public.
“I suspect the KBC may be a forgery that was created by Obama himself, as part of his admissions package to Occidental College. Obama forged the KBC to falsely claim Kenyan birth as part of his ‘affirmative action’ application to Occidental. That is a very real explanation for the KBC. The KBC may also explain why Obama has shrouded his college records in secrecy; he should now release all of them to the public.
“My second theory as to who forged the KBC is more sinister. But based on Mr. Taitz’ provenance, and my contacts with various intelligence agencies, I can see another potential source of the forged KBC.
“Which of these possible explanations, or some other explanation that has yet to be proffered, is the correct one to corroborate the authenticity or forgery (or “both of the KBC remains to be seen.
“Someone forged a birth document concerning the President of the United States. He may have forged it, or someone else may have forged it. The American people have a right to a thorough and impartial investigation of this matter.
“I am releasing [Tuesday] my request to the FBI and AG to open a criminal investigation of his document. It is now apparently a federal court record. Therefore, federal criminal jurisdiction indisputably exists.
“If it turns out that someone forged the KBC to obstruct justice, then that person should be criminally prosecuted. There is no place for forgery or lies on either side of the Obama birth controversy. I have consistently rejected lies as an appropriate response to Barack Obama’s own stream of distortions and fabrications.
“We need a special prosecutor, or independent counsel, who is free of entanglements with the Obama administration.
“I no longer call the national media ‘mainstream media They are 'meathead media’ in my view. Over and over again they have tried to cover up reasonable questions about Obama’s past. My book explored many of these issues up to June, 2008; and I subsequently wrote extensively on Obama's lacunae, as well as appearing on 'Hannity's America' in what became the most controversial TV program of the 2008 election [click on Part two]: www.youtube.com/watch?v=
“Because of my investigations, I have been the subject of political terrorism by Robert Gibbs and Obama’s henchmen. I will also be asking to appear and be sworn as a grand jury witness.
"If there is nothing wrong in all of the Obama documentation, I will be the first one to congratulate him. But if, as appears almost certain, there are forgeries and fraud somewhere, though not necessarily where the ‘birthers’ expect, then Mr. Obama must answer to the collective wrath of the American people.
“My own judgment, and this is only an honest opinion, not a statement of fact, is that Obama probably lied in his college documents, and sought special treatment as a foreign-born student. If that is the case, he had best admit the truth, and fast. The longer Obama allows this ‘birth certificate circus' to fester, the greater the ultimate damage to his administration.
“In closing, I wish to note that I bear Barack Obama no personal animus. I began my inquiries as a legitimate author and Internet columnist. I continue to pursue scholarly evidence such as original documents.
“I am completely committed to searching for the truth and finding the facts about Barack Obama. I am convinced to a moral certainty that, to date, those facts and that truth has not yet seen the light of day.
“Rightly or wrongly, tens of millions of Americans rejected the Republicans and believed the message of ‘change’ that Obama projected. If he betrayed them, a prompt confession, not endless prevarication, is the only honorable resolution.
“Eric Holder represents us; he does not represent Barack Obama. As our national lawyer-in-chief, he owes us an independent criminal investigation of the KBC.
“The meathead media can try to lie to the American people, but collectively there is a growing national consensus that something is rotten in Barack Obama’s past. The sooner Obama tells us the truth, the sooner we can move on Martin will state. “Until then, the doubts and the potential nightmare will persist"
© Copyright by Andy Martin 2009.
By Edgar Ortega, Jesse Westbrook and Eric Martin
Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s move to ban so-called flash orders may help NYSE Euronext take back market share of U.S. stock trading at the expense of three-year-old rival Direct Edge Holdings LLC.
Senator Charles Schumer said yesterday the SEC will seek to stop the practice in which some brokers get a split-second advantage in viewing requests to buy and sell stock, after discussing the issue with Chairman Mary Schapiro. NYSE Euronext, the only one of the top four U.S. exchanges that doesn’t use flash orders, has seen its portion of the nation’s share trading slip to 30.3 percent in the second quarter from 35.5 percent a year earlier, while Direct Edge’s doubled since November.
“The big existing exchanges are going to be benefiting because the pendulum is swinging back in that direction in the area of transparency,” said Thomas Caldwell, who manages about $1 billion, including NYSE shares, as chairman of Caldwell Financial Ltd. and president of Urbana Corp. in Toronto.
Flash orders grew to 2.4 percent of the shares traded in the U.S. in June, three years after the practice began as a way of increasing the odds an order would be filled, according to data compiled by New York brokerage Rosenblatt Securities Inc. Schumer said the delay in routing transactions to other exchanges makes it easier for brokerages with the fastest computers to get an edge calculating demand for a stock.
The SEC under Chairman William Donaldson first approved a flash-trading system in 2004 for the Boston Options Exchange. Since then, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., Bats Global Markets and the CBOE Stock Exchange have introduced programs that hold orders before publishing them on rival platforms.
Direct Edge, based in Jersey City, New Jersey, used its early lead in flash trading to take business from rivals. The company is the fastest-growing equity market in the U.S., helped by its three-year-old Enhanced Liquidity Provider program, which handles the most flash trades.
Even excluding flash orders, Direct Edge matched 11.2 percent of U.S. stock trades in July, making it the third- largest U.S. equity market by volume, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That may help fuel growth if regulators start a broader review of off-exchange trading, Chief Executive Officer William O’Brien said in an interview yesterday.
“It’s almost impossible to assess the impact on any of us of reforms that don’t exist yet,” O’Brien said. “We feel quite optimistic that regardless of how this debate goes forward, we are in a good position to continue the market share growth that we have experienced in the last couple of years.”
NYSE Spokesman Ray Pellecchia said in an interview yesterday that flash trading “is not a good policy for investors.” NYSE Euronext, operator of the biggest stock market, added 2.4 percent to $27.40 in New York yesterday. Nasdaq shares declined 0.3 percent to $21.39.
“In the short-term, most of the negative impact will fall on a player like Direct Edge,” said Sang Lee, managing partner at financial-services consultant Aite Group LLC in Boston. “If they decide to ban this altogether, there would be an impact.”
The benefit from a ban to any other exchange may be limited because the orders don’t represent a big enough slice of industry revenue, said Ed Ditmire, an analyst at Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller in New York.
“Anecdotally, the NYSE would have the most to gain if there were some market share shift due to flash orders being banned,” Ditmire said. “Keep in mind that Nasdaq and NYSE get about 10 percent of their revenue from U.S. equity trading, so even something that led to noticeable market-share shifts might not move the dial on the overall company very much.”
Schapiro said yesterday she asked her staff to draft rules that can “eliminate the inequity” that flash orders cause as part of a broader review of trading in dark pools, which are broker-owned markets that don’t display quotes to the public. Any proposal would require approval from SEC commissioners and public comment. Schumer, a New York Democrat, urged the SEC in a July 24 letter to halt flash orders, saying he would propose legislation barring them if the agency didn’t act.
The plan may be a sign regulators are moving to stricter oversight of so-called high-frequency trading, in which brokerages using advanced computers execute thousands of transactions in a second. Those strategies may account for 70 percent of share volume in the U.S., according to Patrick O’Shaughnessy, an analyst for Raymond James & Associates Inc.
While flash orders make up a small fraction of high-speed trading, they have drawn the most criticism from investors and traders. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. released a statement yesterday in light of the “complex landscape” surrounding high-frequency trading, saying the strategy accounted for less than 1 percent of its revenue and that it doesn’t use flash programs in executing client agency orders.
The Nasdaq and Bats gained approval this year for flash orders after the SEC said they complied with federal rules and should be filed as so-called non-controversial proposals. The agency had until June 29 to reverse its decision for Bats as part of its normal review of the flash-order plan, regulatory filings show. The deadline for Bats passed July 28.
“When practices and rules have been legally approved for one market participant and another competitor comes in wanting to do a similar activity, we think it’s important to have a level playing field and not play favorites,” James Brigagliano, acting co-head of the SEC division responsible for oversight of exchanges, said in an interview. “That said, market developments may cause us to seek changes in the rules across all markets.”
Bats and Nasdaq said last week they support an industrywide ban on flash orders. Bats Chief Executive Officer Joe Ratterman urged the SEC last month to review 2006 rules that require exchange to publish their best bids and offers, while Nasdaq’s Robert Greifeld called for an examination of 1998 rules governing alternative trading systems such as Direct Edge.
SEC rulemaking is usually a two-step process. The agency’s staff proposes a regulation, and commissioners vote to solicit public feedback for up to 90 days. Once the comment period ends, commissioners vote on whether to make the rule binding. The SEC can speed up the process by issuing temporary rules.
That may result in less than an outright ban of flash orders, said Jack Sylvia, the Boston-based co-chair of the Securities Litigation Practice at law firm Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo PC.
“Schapiro said she’s looking to obviate any inequities from flash trading, and I’m not sure that’s the same as saying we need to ban flash trading altogether,” Sylvia said in an interview yesterday. “If the case is made that there is nothing beneficial to market stability and efficiency from flash orders, I could see the case being made for the practice to be banned. But I suspect that there are plusses and minuses here.”
Flash systems trace their roots as far back as 1978 to efforts by exchanges to electronically replicate how a trader might yell an order to floor brokers before entering it into the system that displays all bids and offers. Markets have evolved since the days of floor brokers’ dominance, with computer algorithms now buying and selling shares 1,000 times faster than the blink of an eye.
“This is a relatively old concept. However, the electronification of it makes it more dangerous than it used to be,” said Sean O’Malley, a former lawyer at the SEC’s division of trading and markets who is now a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP in New York. “Computer-based trading is going to be able to do things in a split second that no human could have done. That’s something that the SEC probably hadn’t thought about as much until this year.”
Found this breaking news via " **FLASH** FBI RAID! (Colonial Bank Building, Orlando)
Federal Agents Raid Colonial Bank In Orlando
Updated: Monday, 03 Aug 2009, 1:27 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 03 Aug 2009, 12:07 PM EDT
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - - FBI agents from the Washington, D.C. field office have raided a building in downtown Orlando.
The building raided is the Colonial Bank building on Pine Street. The FBI is working with the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program which was established by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
FOX 35 has a crew at the scene. Check back for updates."
Have never been in favor of peer to peer music sharing due to loss of royalties to singers and song writers, and it's just plain against laws on the books. However interesting that details of this proposed law are coming from another country instead of from our own fawning press.
"Police called on retirees at senator's LA office
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
YouTube - Cash for Clunkers and Your Computer
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