Sunday, October 22, 2006

On Fire
















The Fire continues to Burn.

The Old Media, MSM, the New Media Blogs, Culture, Culture Wars and Hot Topics, Art and Science.

Just continue on from the old thread.

195 comments:

dan said...

My blogging time will be limited until after the election. I'm working at the Democratic Hqs trying to get some good people elected.

From "Common Dreams":
Who is speaking for progressives?

Cheryl said...

It looks like a lot of people are busy right now. Glad to hear you're helping out.

I wish I could do more, but I can barely find the energy to stay employed right now.

I would be an advocate for chronic fatigue, but I'm just too tired.

deb said...

New threads, thanks Christopher!

Yep, staying VERY busy with the election. It is looking good for ousting the (fill in any dispicable adjective you can think of here) current legislators, but there are a dozen days left and the monsters will seriously start the propaganda machine between now and the election.

Good article Dan. I get so angry when I watch most TV talk shows that I rarely turn the thing on. Scarborough called Pelosi "the most leftist liberal", besides speaking like a kindergartener, it doesn't come close to being true. Actually, if it were true, I'd be pleased.

Liberal: From Latin liber meaning free. Favoring ideas that treat all people with equal justice regardless of educational, financial, sexual or racial status. (wiktionary)

Richard Yarnell said...

Who's actually helping our soldiers.

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/43359
http://iava.org/index.php

deb said...

Great articles Richard. I printed to share at the dem HQ.

Can y'all believe this? Bush Moves Toward Martial Law I would be sick and disgusted, but I am used to surprises when I search for under reported news...sheesh...

Richard Yarnell said...

That one begs to be brought to the networks with a big "Just whose side are you on?" hanging from it.

Why aren't the Governors jumping up and down. I know it's the lull between the fire season and the flood season, but hey, those guys belong to the States.

dan said...

Thanks for the heads up Debbie. It's another disturbing step towards creating an all-powerful presidency

It'll be poetic justice if the next president uses the awesome power vested in the office by this administration to decree that all neocons are enemy combatants, to declare martial law to allow the military to round them up, throw then in the new "Haliburtan" detention camps, deny them habeas corpus and of course torture them for good measure. Maybe MSM would even see fit to cover that story.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Holy Crap! I wonder if he is planning for a post election outrage when the election results go completely opposite of what all the polls are telling us.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

And just in case martial law doesn't work for Bush he can always flee to South America

deb said...

The huge tract of land in S. Am., the Amero. Wonder what the plan is.

Cheryl said...

And I thought Bush didn't know how to plan for contingencies.

Oh yeah, this one concerns his own skin.

deb said...

Air America on Ad Blacklist?

"ABC document: Sponsors shun liberal network"

Cheryl said...

Mediamatters.org posted a copy of the memo. The American Heart Association and REI are also on the list.

Cheryl said...

REI has put out an announcement saying that they did not blacklist Air America. They don't know how their name got on the list.

dan said...

Deb/Cheryl, it'll be interesting to see if other corporations besides REI come forward to dispute the claim by ABC radio that they were only honoring the wishes of their advertisers.

deb said...

I just signed 2 pledges, thought y'all might be interested.

Stand up for the America you believe in.

Demand a paper trail NOW!

deb said...

Iraqi official: 150,000 civilians dead

Mubarak warns against hanging Saddam

dan said...

Thanks for all the links Debbie. I was happy to sign the Amnesty International petition earlier today.

Is the Kissell race decided? Last time I looked, Hayes had only a tiny lead.

deb said...

The provisional ballots haven't been counted in the Kissell/Hayes race. The gap is about 350 votes in favor of Hayes right now. It looks like it will go to a recount regardless of the outcome of the provisional ballots. I so hope that Kissell makes it to DC. He's real, energized and completely "gets it".

dan said...

Richard, how were the election results in Oregon? I know you and Susan have worked hard there.

Richard Yarnell said...

I used the Common Cause utility to write the following to my Senators. There is no way that a "paper trail" when generated by programmed computer driven voting machines mean anything or can be practical. There simply is no reason to justify the risk of compromising our voting process by subterfuge or machine failure. It is my belief that those who think a paper trail makes the computers safe simply don't understand the technology nor the process of counting paper ballots. They've already bought the Diebold pitch, hook, line, and sinker.

"Dear Senator Wyden,

"Common Cause and others will dog your heels about signing on to
support a "paper trail" as an adequate defense against inevitable hacking and conspiracy made possible
by programmable electronic voting machines. DON'T BUY IT.

"Instead, make a real effort to sell Congress on the Federal use of "Vote by Mail." As an Oregon voter, you know it's cheaper even than polling
places using the same optically scanned paper ballots. It's certainly cheaper and more reliable
than any touch screen machine.

"Insist that optical scanners be read locally without being networked to any remote site. Insist that each counting run be preceded by a simple test involving a known sample of ballots. Have the test run after each counting run with a different
set of known ballots.

"Our participation is too important to risk on fraud and conspiracy.
The public should have absolute confidence that the polling system is simple and transparent.
There is absolutely no reason to install an electronic system when the Oregon system can deliver its first results within 10 minutes after the 8PM deadline and nearly final results before midnight.

"What Common Cause and others don't appreciate is that a good programmer, bent on mischief, will fudge the results so that no red flags are raised. They would
rely on random checks. So what. If there's one discrepancy do they intend to hand count all of those unwieldy paper tapes?

"There are only three groups that insist on electronic voting machines: Diebold and other voting machine manufacturers, the Media that would like to get the election
results yesterday and be done with them by 8:30 PM so they can return
to regular programming, and those who would pervert the system by changing votes to achieve their ends.

"Even if Common Cause claims the support of with 220 cosponsors in the House for the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" (we don't have to put up with mis-named legislation any more) (H.R. 550), that doesn't mean it isn't
misguided. Any system that has a computer card in it is vulnerable
to hacking. Any system which the poll worker doesn't understand is bound to be hacked. Any system that, even for a moment, allows a voter's choices to be observed by anyone else, deprives that voter of privacy.

"I urge you to return integrity and confidence in America's electoral process by killing any bill that makes the process more expensive, more complex, and above all, one that imposes experts, accountable to no one, between the act of voting
and the published result.

"Lead the fight to retain simple paper ballots. Help Oregon lead the way with its proven system of vote by mail."

As one example of the success of the Diebold pitch: counting paper ballots at our county clerks office involved two non-networked optical scanners. To cover all the precincts from which votes were collected (if we still voted in precincts) would require between 1000 and 1500 computers, minimum. You tell me which is cheaper. And then add the cost of maintenance.

The country is being fished.

Richard Yarnell said...

Clackamas county has 212K registered voters in 187 precints. At 5 voters per hour per machine, the bare minimum would be 950 machines. A frankly dumb idea.

deb said...

I completely agree Richard. Oregon has the best system.

However, the rest of the country has gone to electronic voting machines, many of which don't even have paper trails making a recount or a sample accuracy check impossible. Until the vote by mail is in effect (if it were to become law) the current system must have at least a paper trail.

Installing vote by mail nationwide will be a duanting task opposed every step of the way by those who know that high and accurate voter turnout will insure that government will favor the masses and not the money.

Instant runoff will allow more progressives and greens to be elected; something that both parties will balk at. If the populace were educated on either issue I believe that there would be enough support to enact it, but in order to educate the masses issues such as these must be aired in public, i.e. the media...sheesh.

One of my ideas at Sliced Bread was a daily news show that could be watched on the net or downloaded on DVD from the net and shared. Too many of our fellow citizens only watch the news that they get on TV.

Richard Yarnell said...

That's the reason to start now to beat the drum for vote by mail.

Use the cost. I don't think very many people have taken the time to estimate how much it will be just to acquire the machines.

The greater the investment before an alternative is pushed, the greather will be the resistance.

Security aside, the cost of maintaining the machines and programming them for each election will be higher than vote by mail by a good deal.

Judy B. said...

Our county auditor (in charge of elections) decided, after budget cuts, to evaluate which system would be cheaper to operate, provide a paper trail and get people to vote.
After some trial and error, she instituted a county wide vote by mail process a few years ago. Probably ahead of the curve. It works really well.... Oregon and Cowlitz County, WA... a system to be copied..

dan said...

Voting by mail sounds like the way to go. There's been a growing trend towards allowing absentee ballots for everyone in some states. If that were enacted everywhere, is that pretty similar to the Oregon model?

The big hurdle might be convincing the public. Arizona's prop. 205 was an initiative meant to mimic Oregon's vote by mail in that state. It enjoyed widespread bi-partisan support and yet was soundly rejected by voters.

Richard, I was ready to get on the *paper trail* bandwagon but the points you made in the letter you wrote to your Senators has given me pause. I don't want to be an proponent of an expensive paper trail of electronic voting if it doesn't provide any meaningful safeguard against fraud. The illusion of a secure system is not worth enacting.

Instant run off sounds worthwhile.

Richard Yarnell said...

Not really the same.

The big difference is that the entire system is designed around receiving ballots by mail. Absentee ballots are an accomodation and, in fact, disrupt the primary system.

What makes Oregon's work so well is that it involves the whole state from registration to signature recognition. Ballots are processes (up to a point) long before counting starts, as they come in.

Try it, you'll like it.

Richard Yarnell said...

Put this in your Netflix queue and watch it:

Tough subject very well handled. I felt myself getting pissed off all
over again. Tomorrow morning, I'm calling Saturn and asking where I
can get an electric car, preferably the EV1. Then I'm calling Toyota and Honda to ask whether you can plug any of their electrics in to the wall overnight. When they say no, I'll ask if they can call me when they have one because I'll buy one for sure.

On a sober note, we taxpayers spent a lot of money to subsidize the
development of a zero emission electric car. The engineers delivered a good one in response to the California Air Resources Board mandate. Then GM and Ford took back their EV1's and Thinks, ultimately
shredding them (literally), and forced CARB to withdraw its 0
emissions mandate. The irony is that Honda and Toyota took the threat seriously and worked hard to overcome the EVI and Think advantage. Now they're producing the hybrids for which there are waiting lists, using technology we paid to develop.

Those of us who were raised anywhere near LA will remember the electric streetcars. GM did the same thing to them (along with Firestone and Standard Oil). They bought the trolley systems, dismantled them, and replaced them with GM buses that ran on Firestone tires and burned SOC diesel.

If you rent it, make sure to watch the deleted scenes (not usually
recommended) and the "Jump start" feature.

Four enthusiastic thumbs up from The Shambles for "Who Killed the Electric Car."

Cheryl said...

The destruction of the electric street car is a history we need reminding of. If I remember correctly from a PBS show years ago, lots of cities had them. The tire and gas companies bid to run them at ridiculously low prices, pulled the tracks up, started running busses, and then abandoned the transport business, leaving the cities holding the bag. Only two cities kept at least part of their electric car system, largely as a tourist attraction.

deb said...

I didn't know about how the streetcars ended...but it figures. Is there a chance to steer the country and world onto a sustainable path? Will the huge corporations just keep at it until there isn't air to breathe? Sorry, I'm feeling a bit of that "we are doomed" emotion tonight.

deb said...

Thought I'd share some articles that I found:

Kissinger: Victory in Iraq no longer possible

NEWSWEEK: Bush Administration Sending Public Signals to Iran It Might Be Willing to Talk on New Terms

dan said...

A couple Thanksgiving sentiments...the second a bit more cynical than the first:

For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread. The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet.... Shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us so long? ~Rebecca Harding Davis
______________________________________________________

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments. ~Mark Twain
_______________________________________________________

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the quotes Dan.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I came across this editorial from the Lexington Herald-Leader. It's so outrageous, I don't know if I should laugh or cry.

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/editorial/15986574.htm

Here's a bit of it.

Hippies still trying to ruin the country

America won't win another war until the 1960s flower children are pushing up petunias. ...

For example, consider their continued belief that America's armed forces are neo-Nazi stormtroopers who delight in burning babies to further the aims of imperialistic corporations. ...

Their BAWL (Buddha-Allah-Wicca-Lenin) is better than some old Judeo-Christian God.

In their heart of hearts, lefty loonies do want America to lose in Iraq and every military theater. They want outside enemies to accomplish quickly the demolition of American capitalism, using the violence the lefty loonies are too old, too scared and too well-invested to use.

dan said...

You found a real gem there
Cheryl...I'm speechless.

dan said...

Those lucky sweat shop workers!

deb said...

Wow, Cheryl, complete bottom of the barrel rhetoric.

Us "lefty loonies" must start buying up newspapers or better yet TV stations.

Dan, when I heard that Wal-Mart was up for a peace prize I was stunned. There is really no end to the amount of education our country needs. Of course, I don't think there is a chance in a million to win, but then again Kissinger won a peace prize, so who knows, but just by being nominated many people will think that Wal-Mart is doing the world a favor.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

This is Jim Hightower saying... It's always helpful to have six-figure pundits like Tierney tell us how great it is for impoverished people to work in sweatshops. I say, let's put him in one for a year! Then we can all laugh with him all the way to the nearest Wal-Mart, where he can buy some of that "cheap stuff."

I'm with Jim Hightower on that one -- I say make everyone who lives off of the sweatshop workers -- including everyone who owns shares in WalMart and companies like it -- work for a full year in a sweatshop. That'd cure 'em all of their sloth and gluttony.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Check out this video of these idiotic U.S. soldiers making the Iraqi kids run behind their moving vehicle to get water from them. For anyone who cannot view the video -- it shows a small group of Iraqi boys running behind a military vehicle to get a bottle of water which is dangled out in front of them by a soldier who is riding in the back of the vehicle. You can hear the soldier laughing and commenting about it as it's happening. I swear he sounds stoned too.

Here's the video:

What a freaking lowlife loser

christin m p in massachusetts said...

This one comes from SkyNews Ireland -- Did they show this on any U.S. news stations? If they did, I must have missed it...

US Interrogator talks openly about needless torture of innocent Iraqis

dan said...

Christin, I'm sure American news outlets would have covered both those stories if they hadn't been so busy with the BIG story, you know, Katie and Tom's wedding.

deb said...

A Fraud Worse than Enron

What Ms. Vega leaves out in her "indictment" is the media. The fraud could have never occurred had the media not been complicit in persuading American citizens that w and co. were truthful and accurate in their lust for war. The media not only hid readily available information, but openly promoted blatent lies. I believe that the country's best case for who "caused" this mess is the media and firmly believe that MSM should be held accountable.

Richard Yarnell said...

One of the things that keeps our form of government vital is the free flow of information from diverse sources. The trend since the fairness doctrine and ownership rules were greatly weakened, has been to homogenize and dumb down the information received through broadcast services.

If you agree that Radio and TV, using publicly owned broadcast spectrum, should be held to a high standard of public service; should be a source of diverse opinion; should be required to serve the public rather than corporate holding companies; then consider asking the FCC to curtail even greater monopolistic control of the broadcasting industry in the United States.

http://static.uspirg.org/usaction.asp?id=2034&id4=ES


Background

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets the rules that limit how many media outlets any one company can own. Currently no one company can own both the local newspaper and a broadcast television station in the same media market (unless a market had such cross-ownership before the rule was enacted). Other rules generally prohibit one company from owning more than one large local television station but only somewhat restrict the number of radio stations any one company can own in the same media market. Over the years, the FCC has relaxed these rules to allow big media to get even bigger. And now, the agency wants to go even further.

In 2003 the FCC voted 3-2 to weaken these longstanding media ownership rules, despite over 3 million comments opposing the proposal. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals then rejected the rules, setting the stage for the FCC to reconsider them, a process which it announced this summer.

If the rules are weakened, as they already have been for radio, more big media companies will be allowed to own both the largest newspaper and the largest television station in any city. Big broadcasters will be allowed to own nearly all of the TV stations in a small or medium sized city. That's bad for democracy; for arts and culture; and for the free exchange of ideas.

Radio is the canary in the coal mine that should warn us against this action. Congress itself unwisely deregulated radio in 1996, when it also gave the FCC a tentative green light to go forward with its 2003 action. Clear Channel Communications now owns more than 1200 radio stations. Its use of national play lists and announcers has virtually stifled local news and local musical diversity on its stations.

The FCC is currently accepting comments and we need to take this opportunity to make sure our voices are heard. Take a moment to ask the FCC to prevent big media from getting any bigger and to instead encourage more diverse, independent and minority ownership. Then ask your friends and family to do the same by forwarding this email to them.

To make a comment, click on the link above or paste it into your web browser:
---
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

-Theodor Seuss Geisel, author and illustrator

dan said...

Thanks Richard. You explained the issue very well. I just sent my letter to the FCC and I'll encourage others to do the same.

Richard Yarnell said...

I lopped of the attribution:

the "Background" came from USPIRG. I'm active with the Oregon chapter.

dan said...

Amnesty International is supporting the movie "Blood Diamonds" which opens this weekend.

deb said...

Thanks for the heads up Richard. I shall write (again) and use your post as a model for the letters.

Dan, I'm not sure I can watch the movie, some things just break my heart.

deb said...

This doesn't look good: Top Democrats question move by FCC chairman on telecom deal

Richard Yarnell said...

my understanding exonerates McConnell to an extent. He had recused himself on the basis of his former position in the industry. The FCC chairman, who is a scoundrel, asked the Commission's counsel to render an opinion which he based on pressing needs of the government. That's a legitimate stance under some circumstances, whether it should apply in this one is moot.

I also understand that McConnell hasn't decided whether he will vote. If you don't want him to, I'd guess he's waiting to see how much of a dust-up there is over the counsel's opinion.

dan said...

Here's one columnist's post mortem on the Iraqi war.

An excerpt:
"But what happens to a country if they lose the thing that supposedly defines them most? If we don't have our bogus "victory," if we don't always win, if we don't have a sense of righteousness so strong and so inflated and so utterly impenetrable that even when it seems like we've lost, we still stumble through some sort of offensive end zone victory dance, well, what's left?

What, conscience? Humility? Humanitarianism? Or how about the realization that we could maybe, just maybe learn to be defined by something other than rogue aggressiveness and the vicious need to win? Something like, say, a mindful, flawed, difficult but oh-so-incredibly-essential move toward that most challenging and rewarding of human ideals, peace?"

dan said...

Here's a link to a survey about what the Democratic priorities should be as they convene the new congress.
I used the extra comments box to express my opinion that there should not approve any more *supplementals*. If the President insists on prolonging the occupation of Iraq, let him propose how to pay for it in the budget. The prospect of a hefty tax increase should help speed up the end to the war.

dan said...

With the passing of the notorious dictator General Pinochet of Chile, Amy Goodman recalls in a column the role the U.S. and Henry Kissinger played in his rise to power.
Note: this is the same Kissinger who's advice to Pres. Nixon helped prolong the Vietnam war and who is currently advising GWB not to "cut and run" in Iraq.

Cheryl said...

Good articles Dan. We need more people to start admitting that we lost & it's time to go home.

No more supplementals should certainly be one of the first items on the agenda.

deb said...

I put "restore the Fairness Doctrine" as the number one priority on the survey. As long as the media is using repub think tank rhetoric to discredit dems and the plans that benefit most people, passing the right legislation isn't going to happen.

Is Kissiger on gov't payroll? Where is he fitting in with the current admin.? I saw a cartoon of Cheney behind the curtain (think OZ), but is it Kissinger behind the curtain? Maybe the whole pnac group? On the same note, in a free country wouldn't it be judicious for the populace to know who's calling the shots, and actually what their master paln is?

Cheryl said...

One of the worst mistakes that Clinton and the Democratic leaders made was to not investigate the Reagan/Bush I administrations. Soon after he took office, he received evidence that then VP candidate Bush met with the Iranians. The hostages were freed soon after Reagan took office.

Clinton wanted to put an ugly chapter behind us and work with the Republicans to improve the country. Now we have the same traitors, feeling even more untouchable, back to haunt us.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I'm grateful to news reporters like this one (even if it is a mainstream publication he writes for) for telling it like it is, during this Madison Avenue/Wall Street season of the year. Reminds me of the Mattel See 'N Say toy: "The Farmer Says, the pigs go snort, snort"

Judy B. said...

These unholy rip-offs of the investor and the American public need to be TAXED at an incredibally high rate for income and should also be subject to a sales/service tax on every transaction they make...
A penny on every dollar transacted on wall street should go to support Universal Health Care... I have no idea how much that would bring in ina a year but it would be considerable...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

It sure would be considerable... But what are the odds that we could get a majority of our congressmen who get most of their campaign contributions from the finance industry (as well as from my personal favorite -- the real estate industry) to rewrite our tax laws to make those rip-off artists pay what they owe?

deb said...

Fair taxation seems to be the issue. Anyone whose taxable income is taken from earnings listed on a W2 form is unfairly penalized. This is especially true at mid to high income brackets. Why should a lawyer, engineer, or 2 income family with good jobs pay more of their income in taxes than investors of any kind?

What about Social Security and Medicare? Daytraders, investors, etc. will oneday benefit but don't have to pay and yet still earn an annual income.

Small business people carry more than their share of the burden too. If a small business is totally on the up and up on their earnings then they pay a greater percentage of their income than investors and corporations.

The middle class pays for everything and the richest few aren't paying their fair share. We (middle class) are the majority...why are we putting up with it?

Judy B. said...

" But what are the odds that we could get a majority of our congressmen...."
If we continue to think that it is impossible to get Congress to act reasonably, then we deserve what we get...
This issue (of the huge bonuses)is onew that the populace can get up in arms about...
PROPOSE some kind of an answer... write letters to the editor about it... tqke it to the labor unions... go to the your Congress Critters (thanks Richard)town hall meeting... raise the question... get a least a half dozen people to follow up on the problem... they will listen if they hear it from enough people...
Remember my husbands bumper sticker..."If the people lead, the leaders will follow"...

dan said...

I agree with you Judy. The American voter can determine who gets taxed and for how much and how the money is spent. Big money can only gain influence by default, when voters are so uninformed that they can be easily duped. Massive amounts of campaign money will not sway the opinion of a highly informed voter. So I agree with Debbie's priority, that of restoring the "Fairness Doctrine".

Cheryl said...

It all comes back to an informed and educated public. Democracy doesn't work without it.

dan said...

Here's a NYT's editorialfrom this mornings paper that that supports Democratic legislation protecting 'net neutrality.

dan said...

This is an excerpt from an article about what *supporting our troops* should mean.

"...Yellow ribbon patriots finally have an opportunity to support our troops in a meaningful way. They can begin by removing their magnetic yellow ribbon bumper stickers, by listening to the troops and helping to get them home, and by demanding that those who took the country to war with lies and deception be held to account..."

On another note, if you haven't checked out Cheryl's Hen's Teeth lately, it's well worth a visit. She's continued her string of powerful commentary.

Anonymous said...

Give me link to SEO software (promotion, advertisement, etc.). I'm need it to promote my new e-shop.
Thanks.

dan said...

SEO Software

Cheryl said...

Dan,
I'm afraid of how many more stories like that we are creating now. There was a recent story about a soldier about to be sent back to Iraq. He committed suicide by cop instead of going back.

There seems to be less yellow ribbon stickers around lately. I hope it's because people are starting to wake up.

And thanks for the compliment.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

What's up with the anonymous and SEO software?

dan said...

Anonymous, why don't you introduce yourself to the group...things like a first name, where you're from, your interests etc.

John G. said...

Great! Another mystery...
This is the place ...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Here is a link to an excellent blog I stumbled upon within the past few weeks. It's hosted by a guy named Ben Jones, and judging from the number of comments most of his posts get, it's an enormously popular site. All his posts cite research that tells the unvarnished truth about how over the past six or seven years, consumers have been being fleeced like never before in history:

Ben Jones Blog

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Here are some excerpts from one of his most recent posts -- that proves "supply and demand" has no longer been setting market prices. The evidence is in, that nothing other than fraud has been artificially inflating market "values".

From his (as always, well-researched) post entitled "Isn't It A Little Late To Be Concerned With Subprime":

The Tribune Review. “Pennsylvania’s Department of Banking is taking action to head off a trend the state can’t be proud of, one of the nation’s highest mortgage foreclosure rates. The department has told mortgage bankers and brokers they are subject to license suspensions, revocations and nonrenewals if consumers are mistreated, such as enticing them to agree to a mortgage they can’t afford.”

The Rocky Mountain News from Colorado. “Attorney General John Suthers, teaming with a couple of legislators, is promoting a bill aimed at cracking down on the fraud that results in unjustified housing loans and subsequent foreclosures.”

“The fact is there are already plenty of laws, federal and state, aimed at fraud in the mortgage business. But prosecutors at both levels of government have been reluctant to take on the cases - despite repeated pleading.”

“Former Sen. Bill Armstrong, who’s been in the mortgage business, believes the new laws will do little good because they don’t go to the root of the problem. ‘It’s nothing but political hot air,’ he says.”

“The larger problem, he argues, is government-guaranteed housing loans.”

“‘Our government encourages people to get into deals they can’t afford,’ he says. In order to expand home ownership, the VA and the FHA put people into houses with little or no down payment. It may be a legitimate public policy, he says, but if you accept it, you’ll have to accept the high foreclosure rates as well.”

“‘If it weren’t for the government guarantees very few of these loans would get made,’ Armstrong argues. The policy encourages plenty of scam artists who are eager to help foolish borrowers leap into the quicksand.”

“John Head, an attorney familiar with the industry, says enforcement is lax because the lending agencies quickly sell the loans and they end up on Wall Street as part of an investor’s portfolio, an investor who has no idea default is likely. Once the loan is upstream the original lender doesn’t care what happens. Head suggests the federal government should change its policies so that if there’s a default on a loan, it gets charged back to the original lender.”



If you go through all his posts, you'll see that he covers the entire U.S. -- not just a few regions. Even if supply and demand ever did dictate prices all by itself, clearly it isn't true any longer. Based on the rampant (not the exception, but the rule) conning that has reportedly always gone on in the so-called "legitimate" business world, I doubt that "supply and demand" mantra was ever actually the truth, but rather a "mass belief" we were all fed by backroom dealers and inside traders to keep the rest of us in the dark. They achieved their objective of getting us all to re-iterate that lie for decades like walking tape recorders, until most of us just didn't bother to question its validity. It's as if only a rare intelligent few ever questioned businessmen's integrity, until those talented Washington Post reporters started exposing all their dark dealings.

So now can we please finally officially throw out that OLD MYTH that "supply and demand" all by itself dictates market prices -- once and for all???

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Wow -- it's even worse than I thought:

$1.2 Billion Dollar Fraud Scheme Alleged in Southern California

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Retirement hedge against runaway inflation? -- Apparently not when the "hedge" itself is the most overinflated consumer product. Good ol' "supply and demand"? -- Read on (carefully this time) -- then you be the judge.

Here is a COMPLETELY UNEDITED QUOTE
from a January 9, 2007 article from informationliberation:

"The housing bubble has nothing to do with “market forces” or (Gawd help us) supply-and-demand. That’s all gibberish. Low interest rates provide a channel for pumping cheap money into the economy which inevitably creates equity bubbles. When Greenspan lowered rates to 1%, he knew that he was simply trading a technology bubble for a real estate bubble. Now, of course, he has retired before the wheels fall off the cart so he can avoid being blamed for the coming catastrophe."

Another UNEDITED QUOTE:

“The Fed, in effect, has become a serial bubble blower.” - Stephen Roach, chief economist, Morgan Stanley

More excerpts (unedited except for bolding for my own emphasis on what really sends prices skyrocketing -- NOT supply and demand) from the January 9th, 2007 informationliberation article:

"The American people appear to be oblivious to the economic hurricane which is expected to touchdown in late 2007. That’s when $1 trillion in ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) will “reset” triggering a massive increase in foreclosures and plunging the country into a deep recession. If energy costs continue to rise at the same time or if the dollar loses more ground, we may be rooting around in the backyard garden-plot looking for passed-over spuds and radishes.

The crisis is entirely the work of Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, whose “cheap money” policy caused a speculative frenzy in the real estate market which sent home prices through the stratosphere. In fact, the bubble originated in 2001 when Greenspan lowered interest rates to a meager 1%and ignited a refinancing boom as well as a sudden up-tick in home sales. Now, after 17 straight interest rate increases, the bubble is quickly losing steam and the effects are being felt from sea to shining sea. Rest assured, the sudden downturn in the housing market is just the first gust from an impending tornado. By the end of 2007, America’s match-stick economy will look like the rubble strewn landscape of New Orleans 9th Ward.

Greenspan has been the biggest player in this pre-Depression operetta. He kept the printing presses whirring along at full-tilt while the banks and mortgage lenders devised every scam imaginable to put greenbacks into the hands unqualified borrowers. ARMs, “interest-only” or “no down payment” loans etc. were all part of the creative financing boondoggle which the kept the economy sputtering along after the “dot.com” crackup in 2000.

It worked like a charm, too. Aided by the Fed’s cheap money policy, the housing market sizzled. In just 6 years the total value of real estate jumped from $11 trillion to $21 trillion! (“From 2001 through 2005, outstanding mortgage debt rose 68% from $5293 billion to $8888 billion”) It’s the biggest expansion of debt in history and it was all engineered by seductively low interest rates.

Greenspan executed the swindle with the adroitness of a carnival huckster; luring millions of buyers to the real estate gold rush. Now, many of those same buyers are stuck with enormous loans that are about to reset at drastically higher rates while their homes have already depreciated 10% to 20% in value. This phenomenon of being shackled to a “negative equity mortgage” is what economist Michael Hudson calls the “New Road to Serfdom”; paying off a mortgage that is significantly larger than the current value of the house. The sheer magnitude of the problem is staggering.
"

Here is the full article:
informationliberation

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I know the full article is quite long, but it's worth the read

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I'd like some feedback about this part of the article (about halfway into it):

"By pulverizing the dollar, the Fed can crush the middle class and lay the foundation for a “class-based”, police state; Bush’s nascent Valhalla.

The first step to “reordering” society is destroying the currency.

Famed economist, John Maynard Keynes, showed a keen grasp of this when he said:

“Lenin was right. There’s no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

This suggests that the greatest threat to “democratic institutions” is not repressive legislation (as most believe) but monetary policy. The manipulation of currency can precipitate economic divisions in society which make democracy impossible. That’s why Thomas Jefferson said:

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of our currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that will grow up around (the banks) will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

Jefferson understood that monetary policy is central to the maintenance of personal freedom and should not be ceded to a few “unelected” and unaccountable men whose interests diverge from the public good. The Fed’s ability to “inflate and deflate” the currency allows privately-owned banks to decide the country’s future and remake society according to their own inclinations.
"

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Also, did you guys know that the Federal Reserve is PRIVATELY owned???!!

"Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are the United States government's institutions. They are not government institutions. They are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign swindlers" -- Congressional Record 12595-12603 -- Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency (12 years) June 10, 1932

I hope you all have a way of watching these videos, because everyone should know about the horrible crimes the Federal (not actually federal at all) Reserve has been committing upon ALL of us:

The Secret History of the Federal Reserve

Richard Yarnell said...

The whole series of articles on the Fed are loaded with misinformation and hysteria.

On the other hand, the US did not have a sterling reputation or history before the Fed was established.

The Fed is "quasi" governmental in this regard: It is established and governed by US law; its Board is appointed by successive presidents (terms are 14 years and a President can only serve 8); appointments must be approved by Congress; the Chair and vice chair are appointed by the President from sitting members of the Board and must be approved by Congress (terms are for 4 years). The Fed finances itself from fees it charges member banks - that reduces or eliminates the political inflence that a Congressionally controlled budget would assert.

While the Fed controls "monetary policy," it's the Congress that controls the level of debt.

Operating under the Board of Governors are 12 Regional Banks. They are not private banks themselves and are mandated by the underlying legislation. However, member commercial banks do hold non-negotiable shares in those banks. (That means they cannot speculate about the ownership or operation of the regional instititions.)

The Fed is compensated for its very efficient fund transfer and check clearing operations; for the services it provides as the Government's banker; and as repository for reserves each bank must have to see it through, hopefully, temporary fluctuations in the balance of deposits vs. withdrawals.

The FDIC is a separate entity, wholly a Federal Corporation. I don't know whether Congress manages it the way it does the Social Security Trust fund but I have my suspicions.

Is there a value to what the Fed does: IMO yes. We haven't had another depression and, inflation is largely under control. If you believe that controlling inflation doesn't benefit ordinary citizens, try living in a place where the currency is not stable.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Richard,
Since paper money is so easily manipulated for personal gain by "elite" trash VIA SOCIALISM DISGUISED AS CAPITALISM -- I'd like to know your thoughts on the subject of returning our paper money (which they can print with nothing to back it up) to the GOLD AND SILVER STANDARD?

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Here we have a conservative columnist praising a liberal, kind of, in a discussion of the Federal Reserve and fiscal policy as it relates to wealth distribution.

Richard I know you have been aggravated with Christin"a" diving off the radical leftist end of the spectrum, but we have all witnessed the birth of someone who now cares about government policy who wasn't paying any attention at all by her own admission until very recently. When it dawns on people how much government affects normal people's lives and the rules of the game it isn't surprising a bit of anger may be involved at the beginning.

Just a thought.

Richard Yarnell said...

Chastened, I'm sure. Thanks.

deb said...

I was talking to my brother over the holidays about the world financial situation. He was in Japan recently at a nuclear energy symposium and in one of the group meetings they introduced themselves and the country they were from and the products that their country made. When my brother's turn came he was at a bit of a loss for products that the US is currently noted for, and then another person there said "Ah, the USA, they make money."

Wasn't an article posted on these threads about how the rest of the world gave us a free pass to keep on making money and being wasteful so long as we kept preventing unnecessary wars and acted as "protector" to the other UN nations? And how w and co. have royally screwed that up and the free pass from other nations is about to expire?

Thanks for explaining the fed, Richard. I have not paid enough attention to the appointment process. Did the last 6 Congressional years affect the board in way we have yet to see?

Richard Yarnell said...

We'll see. Greenspan has been replaced.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Thanks Christopher :)

"Frank mildly says that Congress should "pay a little more attention" to the seven governors of the Federal Reserve system, all of whom are confirmed by Congress. The Fed, says Frank less mildly, should not be considered "above democracy": "We can debate whether Terri Schiavo's life should be recognized as over" and other fundamental questions of existence, "but God forbid anybody in elected office should talk about whether or not we need a 25-basis-point increase" in interest rates. "Somehow that's sacrosanct. No, it isn't. It's public policy."

Finally somebody in Congress has the guts to come out and say it.

The not-so-federal Reserve governors have to answer to us too -- or else the whole operation should be abolished. We can start by removing the word "federal" from its title, since the reason it was given that name was to deliberately deceive U.S. citizens into believing it is a government agency.

And can anyone come up with a valid reason why the gold standard was replaced by a paper money only system -- besides ease of manipulation by the puppet-master international bankers who are above and behind the curtain, pulling the strings that control the "fed" governors?

We've all already read about and seen footage of at least thousands of corrupt men and women in all variety of positions of power being exposed -- just in our lifetimes alone (probably just the tip of the iceberg). Why then should it seem at all far-fetched that those international bankers could even be behind what's been happening in Iraq?

Think about it. Except for Saudi Arabia, the Middle East is the one and only part of the world where the international banking cabal hasn't been able to get complete financial control.

That's probably the real reason they're so desperate about not letting the U.S. military pawns retreat.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

In the above post, I should have said "Except for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,..."

John G. said...

"I'd like to know your thoughts on the subject of returning our paper money (which they can print with nothing to back it up) to the GOLD AND SILVER STANDARD?"

What ever happened to all that gold the military carted out of the new mexico desert (mayan gold) back in the 50s?

Is our paper money not backed up by GDP and Net value of U.S. infrastructure?

Cheryl said...

Welcome back Deb.

Since you've had all that offline time, have you read "Static" by Amy Goodman and David Goodman? Here's the ad blurb:

From the authors of the New York Times bestseller The Exception to the Rulers comes a new book that pushes back against official lies and spin and gives voice to the silenced majority.

In Static, the sister-brother team of Amy Goodman, journalist and host of the popular international TV and radio news show Democracy Now!, and investigative journalist David Goodman once again take on government liars, corporate profiteers, and the media that has acted as their megaphone. They expose how the Bush administration has manipulated and fabricated news and how the corporate media has worked hand in glove with the powerful to deceive the public. They report on the many people who have taken a stand and are fighting back, but whose stories go too often untold.

dan said...

Cheryl, I'll put "Static" on my reading list. As far as Deb, I wrote on another thread that her PC's still giving her trouble and she'll be out of touch for awhile yet.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Better late than never

Cheryl said...

We've lost a national treasure. Molly Ivins died yesterday. The Texas Observer has her obituary along with tributes and highlights from her columns.

http://www.texasobserver.org/molly_obituary.html

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Very sad news about Molly and so soon after Ann Richards.

Are you ready to start writing columns Cheryl?

dan said...

I was also greatly saddened by Molly Ivins passing. Whenever I couldn't find the words to express my outrage over some public policy, I could always rely on her to forcefully say what I was feeling.

I read a number of tributes to her and I particularly liked this one:

A Tribute to Molly
by Bill Moyers

What a foot-stompin’ reunion there must be at this very moment in that great Purgatory of Journalists in the Sky. I can see them now—Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Upton Sinclair, Henry Demarest Lloyd, Ida B. Wells, David Graham Phillips, George Seldes, I. F. Stone, Walter Karp, Willie Morris—welcoming our darlin’ to their bosoms. Oh, my, how she comes trailing clouds of truth-telling glory! Look at her—big-hearted as ever, leaning over the balustrade and reaching down to the tormented of Hades, moistening Tom DeLay’s lips, patting down Rick Perry’s hair, erasing George W’s sandstone scribblings. In the celestial light she glows as irrepressibly and vividly as she did here on Earth, where she made the mighty humble, the wicked ashamed, and the good ol' boys reach for the barrel to hide their forlorn nakedness. And, oh, the stories she must be telling as we speak.

At a PBS meeting a few years ago, she ended her talk with a joke that would have gotten anyone else arrested or excommunicated. But she was carried out on the crowd's shoulders, as right now she is being ushered into the Council of Ink-Stained Immortals, where the only religion is truth. Save some room up there, Molly: You have inspired us earthbound wretches to keep trying to live up to your legacy in the hope of joining you there one day.

dan said...

...and this tribute to Molly Ivins from Jim Hightower.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Who Owns the Mainstream Media?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

This is very scary news:

"With Bies' departure, Bush will have a total of two vacancies to fill on the central bank."

Bies to Leave Fed at End of March

I'm going to write a letter to Congressman Barney Frank on this matter. Obviously, he already has heard the news about it, but I'm going to ask him to create enough of a stir, so that the media has no choice but to stop hushing Fed matters.

Can someone please help me in wording the letter?

There's so little time to spare between now and March. When exactly will Bush be selecting Bies' replacement?

Will it all be done without informing the public (as has always been the case with Fed candidates) and just letting us know once the replacement is already made?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I know this news might seem hum-drum to some of you, but it is very exciting to me -- probably the happiest news I've heard yet coming out of Washington!

The Monetary Reform movement (which began around the mid 1990's) has already long been acknowledged even by mainstream economists and financiers as necessary for our nation's economic survival. The trillionaire and quadrillionaire Rothschilds (only mere billionaires will dare let their names be published in Forbes) now have faced the fact that things have finally become precarious enough at the bottom 90 percent of the economic pyramid, that monetary reform must soon become accepted reality:

Press Release
For Immediate Release: February 8, 2007


Washington, DC - Rep. Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, today announced two days of hearings on monetary policy and the state of the economy. In addition to the traditional Humphrey-Hawkins hearing with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Committee will hold a second day of testimony to hear from expert economists.
“This hearing will begin our committee’s focus on the central economic issue confronting America, mainly, how do we combine growth with our concerns for social fairness,” said Chairman Frank.
The hearings will consider whether the current path of monetary policy is consistent with the objective of reaching and sustaining full employment as defined in the Humphrey-Hawkins Act. The Committee will seek witnesses’ views on the extent to which changes in labor and capital markets, as well as public policy, during the three decades since the enactment of Humphrey-Hawkins has altered the way in which we should think about the relationship between economic growth, productivity growth, employment growth and our ability to improve the standard of living for American families.


Financial Services Committee to Hold Two-Day Hearing on Monetary Policy

deb said...

Molly was my mentor. The good really do die too young.

Who Owns the Mainstream Media? "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation." figures

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb,

Since you communicate directly with Wes Clark, could you ask him a question for me the next time you are in contact with him?

I am interested to know how General Clark came to know the truth that wealthy financiers instigate/invest in wars. I'm referring to his well-publicized comment about the pressure coming from "New York money people" (his exact words) to attack Iran.

As I was contemplating that subject (of wealthy bankers investing in war for financial return) earlier today, I suddenly put 2+2 (or in this case, a+b+c) together and came up with the answer to something that had previously never added up to me. It's something that was always fed to all of us as "common knowledge" -- but even as a kid, I questioned how it could be possible.

We've all been told all our lives that the country of Switzerland is neutral (off limits) when it comes to wars -- right?

Now, I'm sure I couldn't have been the only kid to immediately detect the (SEEMING) illogic in that statement. After all -- if another country were to attack Switzerland, obviously Switzerland wouldn't have the "choice" to remain off limits.

That is... if wars were unpredictable as we've all been left to assume.

But now that I know that wars aren't so unpredictable after all -- rather, that wealthy international investors actually are behind starting them, it all "adds up". That was the missing variable in the equation.

Earlier today, the equation added up in a flash:

a. Switzerland is deemed "neutral" in times of war;

+(plus)

b. In Amschel de Rothschilds' obituary, it said he died in Geneva, but he was a Canadian national. He was not vacationing in the Alps -- he was wrapping up his financial affairs before his death, because as we all know:

The segment of the population who -- like the Rothschilds and other mobsters -- have extorted 100 percent of their income out of other people's earned wages, and have never earned any of it through their own labor -- all shelter the lion's share of their money and gold IN SWISS BANKS.

+(plus)

c. (the formerly missing variable of the equation) Wealthy international financiers invest in all wars because it yields huge returns through taxes on labor.

a + b + c =
Well well, what have we here...?

Answer:
The reason why Switzerland will never be involved in a war, is because the wealthy financiers who start the wars all have too much of their money and gold sheltered in Swiss banks. Therefore they won't ever START OR FINANCE a war there.

Now the seemingly illogical statement that "Switzerland is off limits during any wars", actually makes COMPLETE SENSE!

christin m p in massachusetts said...

In the above post, I meant to say Edmond de Rothschild -- NOT Amschel. His full "title" was Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

My writing the name Amschel there was a slip -- as I was thinking of the first member of the family to take the name "Rothschild". Mayer Amschel Bauer legally changed his last name to Rothschild in the 1760's.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Not to mention... innumerable trusts and foundations.

The only members of a society that are valuable are its workers.

Anyone who lives entirely off of passive (unearned) income is genetically inferior. Can anyone name me even one Rockefeller who wasn't a worthless sponge?

Since you didn't work for it, give it back to the workers who earned it

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Keep in mind that at the page I linked to in the above post, those estimates for their total assets were from 1975. Notice under the title, it says, "The Multi-Billion Dollar Myth – Extracts from Chapter I by Gary Allen 1975."

Now, extrapolate those figures forward to the present, and you’re looking at trillions –- possibly even quadrillions.

Richard Yarnell said...

One of the dangers inherent in the internet is the tendency for people to concentrate their reading in "friendly" territory. That is, it's possible to read, even likely to find, points of view that support, if not feed off of, one another.

I believe that's happening in the decidedly anti-capitalist thread this forum is supporting. Just look at the descriptors in use.

It may be time for me to retire from this group. It appears to be less open minded than it was. I can't afford to rise to the challenge of correcting what I see as one sided or poorly researched assertions.

I've known (do know) petty and selfish working class people just as I've known petty and selfish, not to say boorish, folks with more money than they can handle. On the other hand, I've known poverty stricken folks who were more generous than reason could support. Fortunately, I've known my share of upper middle class and wealthy people who have social consciences and the wherewithal to make a difference when they apply their capital to what they see as inequity and injustice.

That is not to say there are not scoundrels and opportunists. It is my opinion that the present administration made war in the middle east because they thought they could get away with it and, in some cases, profit from it.

Plenty of people made money when the US entered WWII. Lamentable as it is that we had to enter WWII at all, few, I think, would argue that we should not have tried to stop Germany, Italy, and Japan from over-running the world. Not all of the people who made a profit on WWII were opportunists. Some had control of processes and assets that, when they were turned to building war material, allowed the US to mobilize far more quickly than most thought possible. In most cases, they were paid fairly for the use of those resources. Of course there were others who saw an opportunity and took it. But it wasn't just the wealthy. We've all seen the wheelers and dealers, the supply sergeants and clerks, the procurers who cleaned up in the black market of war while on the ground. We are alternately amused and disgusted by those people and generally applaud if they get caught.

I had intended to challenge whether there is a quadrillion of anything. I used the WMF site because they do projections based on surveys of economic activity annually, worldwide. While trying to search on gross value of global assets, I was stymied: I was limited to annual production, which is the usual measure of an economy. (FWIW, that may be the root cause of the problem of long term thinking and planning: from year to year we ignore what we've produced and installed, looking only to new production. On a small scale, when I look around at the farm, I see intrinsic value of things that were produced years ago. The task of giving it a present value is daunting. I can use its replacement value, what it would cost to produce new; I can use its depreciated value, its cost new (presumably expressed in current dollars) less the value that has been lost through wear and tear and even obsolescence); or, I could just add up what each piece of the farm cost, express it in the dollars at the time and assume that inflation is the only adjustment needed. As you can see, it is a daunting task and inexact at best.)

Anyway, and please keep in mind that I don't make the same distinctions you do, with the modest credentials that during my working life I've been a Union member, a Union executive who did my best to get a fair wage good working conditions for the people I represented, and in the case of my Union where intellectual property was involved, succeeded in getting a piece of the product where the workers I represented contributed to the property beyond their traditional role, and I've been an entrepreneur and investor. Each of those roles had value. It does take someone to organize capital, just as it takes managers to organize the application of labor. An analogy comes to mind: I've recently discovered Discovery Channel. Among other things, they show films that tell us how really big things are made. Recently, one was a very large building in Kuala Lumpur.

First, it took someone to recognize a "need" for this enormous building. I realize that "need" is a matter of perception - at least there was a market for it. That person or entity took it upon themselves to organize the capital needed to build a structure that will cost 10's of Billions. Once the capital investment was arranged (and yes, every investor expects to profit - otherwise, why take the risk?) someone had to design the building and, in this case, devise novel processes to use while building a massive structure. Labor was hired and it was organized so that tens of thousands of on-site laborers and probably hundreds of thousands of supplier labor all coordinated to do their part at the right time. Without strict lines of authority, the project would fail. But also keep in mind that from investor to hod carrier, no one was forced to contribute. Whether the investor was able to negotiate a return high enough to warrant his risk, or whether the hod carrier was paid an adequate wage, there was a de facto auction. Supply and demand had a great deal to do with the compensation paid.

My point is simply this: if society chooses to do certain things, there must be managers, investors, and workers (at all levels from designers to mechanics). You can't start from scratch every time. You can't do capital intensive projects unless some one or some organization has a reserve of capital to invest; you can't train workers for each project. In a way, as a skilled welder, my capital reserve is my training and experience wielding a torch. I'll get paid a wage that's higher than the hod carrier, on average. As a manager, my prior experience on earlier projects, is my capital. I've proven my expertise and a wise entrepreneur will pay a premium for my experience. The investor with capital reserves to invest, the one who is able and willing to take the risk that the project will succeed and find a market, IMO is just as entitled to be compensated for taking that risk, and in real terms enabling every other participant to earn compensation while contributing to the success of the project. As matter of fact, in most cases, the fact that the investor has accumulated capital at all, is a measure of his success and judgment as an investor. If he'd made poor decisions, he'd not be wealthy. And keep this in mind: the investor is the last person to get paid. The hod carrier is paid when he has delivered a week's worth of mortar. The building may fall down - he's been paid for his labor. The construction manager gets paid as the building is completed. That payment is not dependent on whether the space in it is rented.

So whether you believe the distribution of wages is fair or not, it remains that there must be a division of labor, responsibility, and expertise. It is also true that almost everything we do relies on the availability of capital in some form. Unless we choose to return to a hunter gatherer existence where even long term settlement is not required for survival, then there will be some form of stratification within society.

deb said...

Great post Richard. As Molly once said (perhaps not verbatum) "Capitalism is the best way we know to grow an economy, but unregulated capitalism leads to a country becoming a Banana Republic."

It is all the balance.

Judy B. said...

Richard
I hope you will give more thought to abandoning this blog..
Your knowledge on many subjects is of the most value to me.

I agree withmost all that you convey, particularly your last comment.

The following comes from a book written in the early 1900's. It is a book that explains many things, both in a rational, pragmatic way and in a spiritual contest.

"It is necessary, then, to cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you; and to give thanks continuously.

And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.

Do not waste time thinking or talking about the shortcomings or wrong actions of plutocrats or trust magnates. Their organization of the world has made your opportunity; all you get really comes to you because of them.

Do not rage against, corrupt politicians; if it were not for politicians we should fall into anarchy, and your opportunity would be greatly lessened.

God has worked a long time and very patiently to bring us up to where we are in industry and government, and He is going right on with His work. There is not the least doubt that He will do away with plutocrats, trust magnates, captains of industry, and politicians as soon as they can be spared; but in the meantime, behold they are all very good.

Remember that they are all helping to arrange the lines of transmission along which your riches will come to you, and be grateful to them all. This will bring you into harmonious relations with the good in everything, and the good in everything will move toward you."

dan said...

Richard, your post defending capitalism was excellent. I hope you choose to keep blogging here. You're absolutely not replaceable.

dan said...

Richard, your post defending capitalism was excellent. I hope you choose to keep blogging here. You're absolutely not replaceable.

John G. said...

"I've recently discovered Discovery Channel."

And I NOVA...Thanks again!

I used to compare the investor capitalist to my parents. I did not always agree with there decisions or investments (or lack of where I was concerned) at the end of the day I could ask myself one question and count my lucky stars for them
"Where would I be without them?"

The diversity of the conversations and people on this blog are why we are all here. Funny thing about it is while two of us disagree the rest learn (sometimes I disagree with you just so I can learn from you).

Every now and again someone new browses through, someone of means and influence, and the world changes for the better.



We are 3 feet from the end of the rainbow...hang in there!

Richard Yarnell said...

I'm told there were (are) hierarchies even in hunter gatherer societies!

deb said...

In those hunter-gatherer societies if the chief's son was evil, misguided and rather limited in IQ he wouldn't become the next chief. It's amazing what the media can do to get a person to the top of our society.

A friend sent this in an e to me, it's an exchange between Joe Kennedy and Connie Mack.

Mack to Kennedy: Round Two

excerpt:

"If your moral indignation requires that we not accept the discount oil to distribute to our most vulnerable families, then that same high moral standard should require that you not drive your car because it, too, probably uses gasoline made from Venezuelan oil."

dan said...

Deb, that was one fine letter that Joe Kennedy wrote. Thanks for posting it.

deb said...

Why Have So Many U.S. Attorneys Been Fired? It Looks a Lot Like Politics

christin m p in massachusetts said...

You guys know our system is socialism for the rich -- NOT free enterprise capitalism.

If my words don't hold any weight, then perhaps Joe Kennedy's do. He said it right there in the closing paragraph of his response to Connie Mack:

"...our system of a kind of SOCIALISM FOR THE RICH and free enterprise for the poor - a system that has granted billions to oil companies and their executives..."

Standard Oil -> Esso -> Exxon-Mobil
And who do we all know are that corporation's major shareholders?

Whenever SOCIALIST oil subsidies have gone to that family, how did that qualify as free market capitalism in practice?

When workers' labor taxes are transferred to the rich through subsidies to Big Oil, Medicare subsidies to Big Pharma, farm subsidies to massive corporate farmers who put huge numbers of small family farmers out of business -- how does that qualify as capitalism? And exactly which part of that activity has made us better off?

True free enterprise, supply/demand capitalism would be absolutely WONDERFUL -- BLISSFUL, in fact.

Does anyone not agree that our system is actually socialism for the wealthy?

Cheryl said...

I'm not sure what the correct term is, but people with money do have the power to game the system to their benefit.

I've always liked this definition of populism. People who work harder, are more talented, take more responsibility, etc should be better off than average. But when the top and bottom get too far apart, the system is not working fairly and needs to be fixed.

deb said...

Very well put Cheryl!!!

dan said...

Christin, I don't quite agree. re: "You guys know our system is socialism for the rich.."

The situation you describe is not our "system", it's the unfortunate result of uninformed voters making bad choices. We've discussed at this blog many times how that happened and what needs to be done about it. Corporations need oversight and not the free reign they've been given under this Administration. I believe the abuses you've identified are not inherent and will be rectified.

Cheryl, I agree with Debbie, that your definition of populism was "very well put".

deb said...

IRAQ:
New Oil Law Seen as Cover for Privatisation


This seemed to fit with the topic of this thread.

BTW, IPS News is worth bookmarking and checking when looking for news that you local paper isn't providing.

deb said...

U.S. government settles on design for new nuclear warhead

deb said...

NYT Hypes Venezuelan Threat

christin m p in massachusetts said...

About that IPS news story... As recently as maybe a half year ago, I was still so naive about avarice being a motive for the mass killings of wars, that I still wasn't entirely sure that oil really was "their" greatest motivation for invading Iraq.

It was obvious enough before the Iraq invasion began, that Iraq had nothing to do with the WTC attacks, and that there weren't any "weapons of mass destruction" there. Even all the TV news media made that clear well before the war started. It was all over the news -- I still find it hard to swallow that anyone was truly "fooled" into believing any of it. Yet, although I didn't believe what George Bush said his motivations were, I mistakenly thought it was his ego making him want to "finish what his Dad started", along with his misjudgment that the Iraqis would again surrender immediately, just as they had done during Desert Storm.

But that naivete disappeared forever once I learned about the origin in 1913 of the fraudulent PRIVATE central bank deceptively named the 'Federal' Reserve -- which, by the way, conveniently coincided (Yup, same year) with the income tax (PROFIT tax) being illegally "extended" to taxing wages too. (To this day, no one has yet been able to find any law on the books for taxing WAGES, therefore those bankers have been STEALING our wages since 1913.)

I also learned that the Federal Reserve bankers deliberately created the Great Depression in late October of 1929 by rapidly dumping all their stocks in order to create a selling panic, then secretly sent third parties to buy all the stocks back for them for a tiny fraction of their "pre-crash" value. (Even Ben Bernanke admits that crime was committed.)

Later, the Fed bankers continued their plunder by instructing President Roosevelt to order all gold to be confiscated from U.S. citizens -- even ordering all safe deposit boxes to be opened for that purpose. (Strangely, no gold audit has been permitted at Fort Knox since Eisenhower was president, even though an audit is due once per year...)

Even after they had forced all U.S. citizens to surrender all their gold for $22 per ounce, the Fed bankers still refused to free up any money until 1940 (more than ten years after they themselves deliberately "crashed" the stock market) -- and that was only because the U.S. finally entered World War II. As if that all weren't criminal enough, the bankers then funded ALL countries on BOTH sides in that war. In fact, they have funded ALL sides in ALL the wars and military buildups (including the Soviets' military buildup during our "Cold War") -- for no other reason than the interest they could later charge on the debt the wars would incur.

Before I learned all of that, I never, ever would have suspected greed (even as vulgar as greed is all by itself) as a motive for murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent people -- as well as driving millions out of their OWN HOMES into neighboring countries.

I have read it more than once before, that people like those who lust for more money than they could ever possibly spend, have the same mental disorder as mass murderers. Knowing about these war profiteers has left me with no doubt about that fact.

I also can't believe that I once bought the lie that privatization "would" create more efficient government, when it already WAS privatized all along and that the privatization is what has created our national debt through the interest the private central bankers charge! Now that I know the truth -- that our entire economic system has always been run by private interests -- at least since 1913, anyway... that it has already been corrupted by the private finance industry for over 93 years -- no matter which political party has been in power -- reports like that one from IPS News don't surprise me. They'll always disgust me, but they'll never surprise me.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I meant to include this link with the above post:

1934 -- Refugees of the Fed bankers' terrorism

deb said...

Chrisitn, Wow, I'm always impressed with your research. We have all watched your "awakening" this past year, and I, for one, am quite impressed.

I want to offer a challenge to you: What are the good things about our country and how did those successes come about. In other words, when have we been doing it right and what caused it? Also, which other countries are doing it right and what are their methods?

I think that by doing that research you will come to see the path that is necessary to reach the goals that best serve us as a country.

BTW, I wish I had your writing skills.

deb said...

Oh, I meant to give a hint: It is my theory that all repub legislation only benefits the top of the economic ladder. The legislation that benefits the middle class has only come from dems, which is not to say that all dem legislation is good for the masses, but what is good for the masses has only come from dems. Am I right or wrong?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Uh-oh.

Christopher or Cheryl (or any other administrators?) -- Could one of you guys please delete that last post for me?

As usual, I was sleep deprived when I posted it.

Once I switched to the new blogger, I no longer had the little garbage cans available for deleting. It seems that once you switch over, you only get the garbage cans at the other beta blogger sites.

It'll probably be a good idea to blog only when I'm well-rested from now on anyway -- so the posts will make sense.

deb said...

Christin, I'm glad you posted the next to the last post. You are giving me an education. I had never heard of the Bilderberg Group. I, also, have been under the impression that our gov't regulated the Fed.

May I copy and paste that post to elsewhere? Or perhaps you would like to (KOS, MyDD, etc.)? This is something that people need to know.

Kucinich would be a good one to send your info on the world's banking system to. I believe you to be more well versed on the system than most anyone. I think you might be surprised at what others really know, and that includes our politicians.

Also, you are able to write the info in a clear concise manner...a trait that I wish I had. My self ordained mission to spread info around and help educate people (since MSM isn't) is limited by my writing skills.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb,

As long as everything I've seen in the documentaries and read at the internet sites is factual, then the basic information there is correct. But in a couple of places it's worded in such a way that it just plain doesn't make sense. I need to edit it, so I need you guys to delete it for me.

I do know that some of our congressmen (besides Barney Frank and Ron Paul) are fully aware of how shady the world's central banking system is. In fact, Dennis Kucinich is one of the politicians who is better-informed on the subject. Some congressmen still seem reluctant to question the system -- perhaps fearing political suicide... or maybe it's just a simple case of "The plutocracy has been good to me, so I'll be good to the plutocracy" -- probably some of both.

After I first became aware that the answer to the "Where does money come from?" question was not as straightforward as most of us had always been left to assume -- I became terribly frustrated. So I searched obsessively almost every free minute I had for days on end, to see if anyone out there had at least drafted a good solution.

During my search, I first came upon some ideas that included returning to the gold standard (favored by Libertarians, mostly). But I was soon let down about that idea when I read about how -- during the Depression -- the central bankers lied to President Roosevelt, convincing him that it was in American citizens' best interests to turn in all their gold -- and so everyone's gold was confiscated (it was made illegal for any U.S. citizen to have gold in his/her possession) and supposedly stored for reserves at Fort Knox.

But the gold confiscation turned out to be for the lords of the finance industry's own personal gain (Gee, what a shock) -- as they immediately raised the price per ounce of gold and still refused to let any more currency back out for the masses to create employment. On top of that, no one knows for sure how much -- if any -- gold the U.S. has left in reserve, because no audit of Fort Knox has been allowed since the Eisenhower administration. Needless to say, I could see that returning to the gold standard was not the way to get out from under the central bankers.

Thankfully I eventually found the AMI (a very Progressive Democrat-friendly as well as Green Party-friendly organization, by the way), so I was no longer obsessed with the search, and I was able to rest again.

That's not to say I'm any less angry about what's been done -- and is still being done in spades -- to all of us. But at least since I read Stephen Zarlenga's final version of the Monetary Act, I feel like there's some hope that we might be able to once again do what Andrew Jackson accomplished for our country. Only this time, we've gotta make it stick.

Just a couple of seconds ago, while looking for a link to show you what I consider to be Andrew Jackson's greatest accomplishment, I found something that gives me even greater hope. Someone has already posted something about this very subject at the Daily Kos. I haven't checked further, so perhaps others have posted similar information at Democratic web sites too -- I certainly hope so.

As far as I can tell, the majority of people who post at political blogs and forums were born no earlier than the late 1930's or early 1940's -- already at least a quarter century after the Federal Reserve Act crime was committed, and too young to even remember the Great Depression. Thank goodness for all the book worms out there who dug up all this information about the origins of the central banks from all those dry tomes written way back then. Otherwise, given that the corrupt, privately-owned central bank we call "the Fed", together with the corresponding unlawful income tax, were both delivered to us over 93 years ago -- it would have been easy for the petro-chemical corporation swindlers to keep us in the dark forever. You know -- "like taking candy from a baby."

I hope that both the Progressives and the Green Party take up the cause of monetary reform. I know it's too soon to be talking about the details (putting the cart before the horse), but since I'm on the subject, I wanted to mention that I think it'd be a good idea if the U.S. were to have several separate -- perhaps regional -- currencies (like each tiny little European country had always held onto before the lords of the finance industry started centralizing them to the Euro.) Then the Libertarians would be free to back their currency in gold if they wish, and anyone who prefers to stick with a Fiat currency can do so.

For now, here is that excellent Daily Kos piece I just found while looking for a link about the significance of the phrase engraved on Andrew Jackson's gravestone:
"I killed the Bank."

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb, I was thinking that since you wanted to send out information about that subject to other groups or politicians you know -- the link I just gave you to that Daily Kos post would probably be better to send.

Since all of us at this blog missed that particular Daily Kos post when it was first published, I'm sure a lot of other people that read Democratic Party publications must have missed reading it too.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I came upon this blog last night Clusterfuck Nation. Perhaps some of you have heard of him, Jim Kunstler. Many have. There are over 250 comments on many of the posts.

I point this out because reading it he seemed like a combination of Richard, preparing for the economic and energy collaspe with small scale sustainable living and Christina, the jive-finance economy as he calls it.

"The Agenda Restated", a few post down from the top is is list of "Solutions" to a degree.

Interesting reading anyway.

dan said...

Christin, first I'll admit that I haven't read everything you've posted the last couple of weeks and I'm in no position to refute the facts you've turned up. However, I am very skeptical of your conclusions. In the spirit of open discussion, I'll just mention a few points of disagreement.

The Fed: The fact that it's an independent agency is not a flaw, but necessary for them to have the autonomy to do their job.

Income Tax: I don't believe the courts have ever ruled that it's an illegal tax. I really can't think of a fairer way to fund the government and people who don't pay are not heroes to me.

Central banks: I get very nervous when all our economic woes are blamed on money managers. Hitler used similar rhetoric to incite the masses to hate the Jews.

In general, I feel our country's in trouble because we've squandered our wealth on weapons (more than all other nations combined)and ignored investing in our future. The American people unintentionally voted for it's own demise.

dan said...

Christopher, I hadn't heard of Jim Kunstler or his site. He's clearly got a following and I enjoyed reading his take on things.

deb said...

Reading and educating myself on the info of this thread is going to take some time...and I'm out of it for now. Very interesting stuff, though. I'll catch up asap.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Thanks for giving us that link Christopher. I just read a few of his posts, and I especially like what he has to say about our need to decentralize and return to doing everything on a smaller, more local scale.

I'm definitely going to be a frequent visitor of that site.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Dan,
I guess I'm just tired today, but I feel like it would be easier for me to just leave all the explanations to the documentaries I've cited in the past:

AMERICA: Freedom to Fascism

The Money Masters - Part 1 of 2

The Money Masters - Part 2 of 2

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb,
I remember that a few weeks ago, you gave us a quote about unregulated capitalism leading to a country becoming a banana republic. I came across some video footage about that exact subject -- a banana republic run by United Fruit Company, so I thought I'd pass it on to you. It's from a four-part BBC documentary called "The Century of the Self", about the origins of mass mind control.

The particular 8-minute section I'm referring to shows how the Republican Party in 1954 manipulated the minds of Americans in such a way that convinced them to support the overthrow of Guatemala's then president -- in order to put United Fruit Company back in control there.

Once the video starts, you'll need to fast-forward the arrow to exactly 31 minutes and 30 seconds into the documentary -- in order to see the roughly eight-minute section about the CIA coup d'etat:
The Century of the Self - Part 2 of 4

deb said...

Just visited Kunstler's site for the first time. Interesting guy...a bit crude, but he is a thinker. He is right that we must learn to survive locally, but we also have to get from here to there.

Weaning the populace is going to mean educating people and the corporations who survive by selling us stuff made in China are going to fight hard.

I can't remember if I said this, but France has a system where villages and areas are sustainable. WWII taught them that each village must be able to take care of itself, and take in people from other villages if need be.

I will still get to the other links when I get a chance...not sure when I will be able to watch the videos, but I am very interested.

dan said...

Christin, thanks for posting that very interesting video. I started where you suggested and couldn't bring myself to stop watching before the end. I'm going to make it a point to see that whole BBC documentary.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Reading news like this makes me so much more hopeful for the future -- even though it's taking place outside of my state (It's from the Maui News):

"With a land trust, homes prices are kept affordable in perpetuity and recycles any public investments made.

New isle land trust aiming to provide affordable housing

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I know this has already been all over the news, but I just wanted to comment:

It's about time!

christin m p in massachusetts said...

And anyone who has invested in a 401(k) plan needs to know about this.

Cheryl said...

Apologies are nice, actions are better.

Judy B. said...

Dan and Christian...

I have to weigh in on Dan's position... "Christin, first I'll admit that I haven't read everything you've posted the last couple of weeks and I'm in no position to refute the facts you've turned up. However, I am very skeptical of your conclusions. In the spirit of open discussion, I'll just mention a few points of disagreement.""

Christian, I appreciate all the research that you do... You are on your way to becoming a "mover and a shaker" with your bent research and writing about topics that interest you...

I guess, what I am offering is a suggestion that you look a little closer at opposing views and base your conclusions on an unbiased source... ( I know that thwy are hard to find)... Too often, it seems to me, that you fall into the trap of making conclusions based on someone elses research... which may be suspect...

All of us on this particular blog share some political agreement,... and often we take our ideas to the extreme, while at the same time warning against the extreemist who have polar opposite views... just a thought...

Judy B. said...

What a difference one word can make in a sentence... I did not mean to say that your research was bent, Christian... What I left out was the word "for"... meaning to conclude that you have a real apptitude for research and writing...

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I knew it was just a typo. No offense taken.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Hmmm...

You all have probably heard by now that Halliburton is opening a corporate headquarters in the United Arab Emirates.

Why does this not surprise me?

After all, UAE is the financial, oil, and banking capital of the Middle East.

Yeah, Lesar's going to move there first. Then the rest of them are going to join him there. Check out the brochure:

Emirates Palace

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Have you guys already watched the documentary "911 Mysteries"? You know, even as recently as a week ago, I still didn't care which political party a politician was with.

But I have to say that once I saw this documentary, I found myself for the first time feeling that the majority of politicians in the Republican Party probably are as evil as a lot of Democrats say they are. I still would like to believe that a few of them are only misguided, but after seeing this documentary, I can say without hesitation that I would never vote for a Republican candidate now.

In case anyone at this blog hasn't already seen it, I'll post the link to it here.

911 Mysteries

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I think what really convinced me was seeing both the "911 Mysteries" documentary and that clip of the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, where the Republican Party manipulated the American public through a fake independent news agency they created and named "The Middle American Information Bureau".

When I got to the end of the "911 Mysteries" documentary, I was already beginning to feel a strong hatred for the "neo-cons". Then I thought back about that earlier documentary clip showing the Republican Party using mass mind control on us to keep United Fruit Company in power in Central America -- and suddenly everything you guys had been saying right along about the neo-con Republicans came into clear focus.

I found a YouTube video that isolates that segment of the Century of the Self documentary:

CIA coup in Guatemala (1954): Keeping United Fruit Company in power

I'll also re-post the link to the "911 Mysteries" documentary here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6708190071483512003&q=911+mysteries

Cheryl said...

Any one, or a few of the incidents may have been planned. I'm all for investigations to find out the truth of the matter.

I have a hard time believing that any group has the omnipotence to arrange everything. Even if they do, they don't have the intelligence for that kind of planning, or the competence to carry it all out. They're just people. Rich, powerful, and amoral, but no super abilities.

I suspect that 9/11 was more a trajedy of incompetence. We were too imcompetent to see the obvious signs. They were too incompetent to realize what our reaction would be, and they probably didn't realize how successful they would be. Bush's incompetence at going from world-wide cooperation against the terrorists, to being their best recruiting officer.

deb said...

I haven't had the time to watch the videos, but will watch when I get a chance. However, there is evidence that our current admin. intentionally turned a blind eye to al queda during the lead-up to 9/11. Without an enemy war profiteering, et al, doesn't work.

I might have posted this before, but if not it gives info on "how" we've affected Latin American gov'ts:

Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

deb said...

Sheesh...

The Redirection
Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?
by Seymour M. Hersh
March 5, 2007

deb said...

Christin, I just got a chance to see the CIA coup video. I had no idea, but did know that Howard Hunt is one of the neocon founders. Thanks for sharing, it does explain a lot, especially about how PR turned into brainwashing the public.

I'm listening to the 9/11 mysteries as I type, but imagine that it is similar to a video that has been circulating for a few years. If it is then the "conspiracy" isn't real. There were no bombs in the towers, a plane did hit the pentagon, and only al queda orchestrated it all.

I do think that there is good evidence that the current admin turned a blind eye when confronted by warnings that al queda was going to attack inside the US. Their "guilt" in the event is that they might could have prevented 9/11 and chose not to because they wanted an enemy...hard to have wars without an enemy (imo).

Cheryl said...

Deb, that article is an example of why we need impeachments, criminal trials, treason charges, and any other way to stop this from happening again.

"The Bush Administration’s reliance on clandestine operations that have not been reported to Congress and its dealings with intermediaries with questionable agendas have recalled, for some in Washington, an earlier chapter in history. Two decades ago, the Reagan Administration attempted to fund the Nicaraguan contras illegally, with the help of secret arms sales to Iran. Saudi money was involved in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, and a few of the players back then—notably Prince Bandar and Elliott Abrams—are involved in today’s dealings.

Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said."

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb,

This documentary (911 Mysteries) is worlds apart from the earlier one that you referred to. (Was that the one called Loose Change?) That previous documentary (if that was the one you were referring to) was created by a different group who had not taken enough time to research everything thoroughly.

That earlier documentary did not convince me even the slightest bit.

To my own surprise, this documentary -- 911 Mysteries -- convinced me beyond any doubt.

Before I watched it, I thought to myself "Here we go -- blah, blah, blah..."

I expected to come away from it completely unconvinced, just as with the other documentary.

Besides, I thought, "they only do those kinds of things to people from other countries, but never to Westerners -- especially not Americans..."

Don't forget -- until I saw 911 Mysteries, I still didn't believe there was any major difference between Democratic and Republican politicians. In fact, no matter how many times you guys talked about the "Neo-con agenda" -- it meant absolutely nothing to me. I still believed that the Democratic and Republican politicians on the whole were equally rotten -- and that both parties contained a few equally virtuous members as well.

So, as I expected 911 Mysteries to be a bunch of "partisan BS", I watched it very, very carefully -- to see how many holes I could spot in its logic.

I couldn't find one hole in it. There just isn't anything else that could scientifically explain any of it. If anyone here would care to watch 911 Mysteries closely, and scientifically pick it apart piece by piece -- I'd be open to it.

But until I see absolute proof that any of it is not correct, I no longer doubt that the World Trade Center Massacre was the Neo-cons' "national crisis" -- devised as a pretext for invading the Middle East.

What about the fact that WTC One and Two had already been losing money ("white elephants") for the port authority for many years, and on top of that -- both required asbestos removal which was expected to cost the port authority millions of dollars?

In particular, what do you think about the evidence regarding the demolition later that afternoon of Number Seven WTC -- the CIA building?

And think about this for a moment... What if the WTC lease had been taken out by -- say, a Saudi Arabian national -- and then the same WTC attacks still "occurred" just as they did only seven weeks into the lease? And what if that Saudi Arabian lease holder had taken out the same 3.6 BILLION dollar life insurance policy and re-worked it TO INCLUDE THE EXPRESS RIGHT TO REBUILD IN THE CASE OF -- NOT PARTIAL, BUT -- COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF THE BUILDINGS, just as Larry Silverstein had? Wouldn't that Saudi Arabian lease holder have been immediately investigated for murder and insurance fraud (even if he set it up to look like it was an Act of Terrorism committed by outsiders)? And would that Saudi Arabian WTC lease holder have been awarded a 7.2 BILLION dollar payout -- TWICE THE ORIGINAL POLICY COVERAGE? Under ANY circumstances?

You can't honestly tell me that in a case like that every American wouldn't be SCREAMING for an investigation into the "inside job"...

So shouldn't Larry Silverstein at the very least have been investigated? He still maintains that when he gave the order to "pull" Number Seven WTC, that he meant to pull the firefighters out of that building. But right after he said the words "pull it" -- that much smaller (and barely damaged) building comes cascading down right into its own footprint, exactly in the fashion of a controlled demolition. Obviously he can't come out and admit that Number Seven's "collapse" was a controlled demolition, because considering the amount of time it would have taken to prepare the building -- it would have been obvious that it had been prepared BEFORE that day.

Come on... The two money-losing, asbestos-laden buildings are COMPLETELY DESTROYED ONLY SEVEN WEEKS INTO A 99 YEAR LEASE... And even more damning were these facts: Just before the weekend prior to the massacre, all the building's tenants were told to save all their business data, as there was going to be a complete power down (which was unprecedented, according to long-term tenants) supposedly so that cables could be upgraded in those two buildings during that weekend. That power down included the entire security system in both buildings as well. And guess whose close relatives managed the security company contracts for the WTC properties?

Then for reasons no one could understand at the time, all the bomb-sniffing dogs were banned from the building from that weekend on.

I know it's easier to accept that they would do such things to people in other countries. But a sociopath is a sociopath -- The Neo-cons don't differentiate between American victims and foreign victims; to serve their purposes they'll unflinchingly murder us as well. They damned the American masses to hell from 1929 till 1941, while they feasted gluttonously beneath crystal chandeliers. They didn't consider us to be "their own" people back then, so why would we be foolish enough to assume they wouldn't victimize us so cruelly again in the present?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

In the above post, of course I meant to say property insurance policy -- NOT life insurance policy.

deb said...

I didn't have time to watch before Christin, but I will when I can. Have you searched for criticisms of the video?

As sceptical as I am about this bunch making the leap from them ignoring al queda to them masterminding 9/11 is difficult.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb,

I haven't found any criticisms of that one so far. While I was looking, I came upon an earlier documentary called "Painful Deceptions" by Eric Hufschmid. This one also appears to have been carefully researched.

It was tough to watch when it got to around 59 and a half minutes -- they showed a close-up of a woman uninjured but still trapped, standing in one of the damaged openings. Since she was on one of the floors below the fire, she wasn't breathing in any toxic smoke, so she was probably just waiting there to be rescued. Still, she was so far up near the top of the building, I thought to myself that she probably was killed when that tower came down. They also showed an older man standing next to an opening one floor above her, but the woman was shown so close up that I couldn't help but identify with her.

Here is the link to that documentary:
Painful Deceptions

deb said...

Thanks Christin...I am starting to sound like a broken record, but I will watch when I get a chance. I'm putting in long hours at the house and will continue to do so for probably the next 2 months.

Also, I really don't need any more proof that the current admin. is guilty of multiple crimes. The first day of "shock and awe" when we carelessly bombed Bagdad, killing thousands of people who had zero to do with 9/11 was enough for me to believe that the group who masterminded it are criminals. There has been a vast array of crimes that followed, with torture being the sickest.

We didn't stop them for the war profiteering in Viet Nam, didn't do enough when they allowed the murder of 35K innocent civilians with Iran-Contra, and aren't doing enough to stop them now. But, I do have hopes that they will be presecuted. Perhaps, as Cheryl said, the firings of the atty's will open the door for their investigations.

Richard Yarnell said...

This is going to sound strange, coming from me, and under the circumstances, Kafkaesque: I don't think you can characterize the bombing of Baghdad careless, in the sense of haphazard.

_If_ bombing is the plan and necessary, "collateral damage" is going to happen. The US, whatever else are its faults, seems to go to extraordinary lengths to keep collateral damage to a minimum.

US precision bombs really are precise. The timing of the initial bombing was such that most people were at home. There were regrettable accidents, but the number of missed targets was very small. Even the old dumb bombs that we fitted with computers and fins to make them into smart bombs, hit something in excess of 97% of what was aimed at.

I don't approve of what we did, but that part of the invasion, was carefully planned and beautifully executed.

If you remember the Telephone Exchange downtown? It was practically across the street from the hotel from which CNN was filming or broadcasting. Two cruise missiles hit that exchange, scaring the pants off the reporters, but doing little harm to anything except the intended target.

Cheryl said...

Richard, you reminded me of the distinction between accurate and precise.

Accurate means that the average answer is correct. Individual hits can be way off the mark, as long as they are centered on target.

Precise means that the answers are all close to each other. They might be way off the mark, but are clustered close together.

Richard Yarnell said...

I can't accept your distinction between precise and accurate. I'm in the basement and the Oxford is upstairs. Let's both agree to use a bigger dictionary.

Cheryl said...

This is the definition I learned in chemistry lab. They made a very big deal about it. Common english usage makes no distinction.

"In the fields of science, engineering, industry and statistics, accuracy is the degree of conformity of a measured or calculated quantity to its actual (true) value. Accuracy is closely related to precision, also called reproducibility or repeatability, the degree to which further measurements or calculations will show the same or similar results."

Nice diagrams at the link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision

deb said...

Guided smart bombs do minimize casualties, but that wasn't the point. Any single person that we killed in Iraq never did anything to the US. I don't even know if Hussein really had a "contract" on Bush the first, as is widely rumored. Hard to tell what is the truth, being as our media consistantly spreads blatent lies about why we are at war.

One of the rumors that I often hear is "We have to get them over there before they come over here to get us." That statement was bandied around during the Viet Nam war. We lived in fear that hundreds of thousands of Viet Namese were "coming to get us".

The logistics of that statement don't work. How many countries have the army, the capacity to transport that army, and the military machinery to arm and equip an army of that magnitude? I think only the US and China would have the capacity, and seeing as China is our bank, and savvy to boot, they will overtake the US as the main world power without ever firing one shot.

Richard Yarnell said...

Large scale military capability isn't the issue any longer.

The one thing that Bush did right was to go after al Queda, in cooperation with the rest of the world's police, in Afghanistan and anywhere else they were operating. That was short lived.

If my experience in Port Security is any barometer, success stems from knowing what's going on where the bad guys live. Your own intelligence is most reliable when it comes from sources embedded, well supported, and stationary overseas.

Every time I read about a derailment, a refinery fire, even pet food contamination, I wonder whether there's a terrorist component.

Of course, Bush quit. He decided to make a name for himself by going after Saddam. He succeeded in that: he's made a name for himself - not one that's mentioned in polite society.

deb said...

The Plame outing appeared to be used to discredit the information that Joe Wilson obtained in Africa, but it also shut down the intel operation in Iran that Plame was involved in. Intelligence operations are the way to seek out and stop terrorist plans. And the thing is that this admin has cut staff and funding to intel operations. Do "they" want the terrorists to be successful? I'm guessing that they do, for without enemies how would they justify the need for more war machinery (and war profits)?

I've wondered about the terrorist component, also. It is another reason to shop locally. If one company is producing a product that the majority of us consume then there is too much potential to affect a huge population.

Richard Yarnell said...

It's not going to happen because intent is hard to prove and intent to disclose the identity of a covert agent, especially if their cover is intact, but some heads should roll for treason.

The first two, Cheney's and Rove's would roll rather well, don't you think?

deb said...

Perhaps there is some basis for Phrenology? (lol)

deb said...

This is good. The link leads to an article and a video of the Olbermann show is available on the page. The video clip is worth watching, even if you have to wait a while for it to load.

Olbermann does Attorneygate

Cheryl said...

If you watch any news, make it Olbermann. Not only does he cover the news well, but the show is fun.

dan said...

I also enjoy watching Olbermann as well as *phrenology* humor (once I looked up the word).

dan said...

I may miss Olbermann next week as Patty and I are taking advantage of her spring break from school to spend some time in Las Vegas (commonly known as Lost Wages). While I'm there I plan to get the casino's to mend their ways by pointing out Deb's economic truism, that "we all do well when we all do well."

Since the trip runs into our 40th wedding aniversary, I told Patty to pick an expensive show she'd like to see (an uncharacteristic offer) so she opted for Cirque Du Solelei's "Love". She's a wonderful wife so I may also splurge on some wine and chocolate (the good stuff) :-)

I've been much busier the last couple months so I haven't been able to post as often. I do visit the site often to pick up some nuggets of wisdom from all of you.

Cheryl said...

Have fun.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Cirque Du Solelei is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in person. It is worth the price and as close as humans can get to the divine while still in this realm. Prepare to be amazed.

Richard Yarnell said...

That's there new one that's oriented on music?

Next time you have a chance, try to find one of the originals - more tumbling and aerial stuff, further removed from pure dance.

Whether the difference is clear cut, there is supposed to be more knock 'em off their seats in the earlier programs.

And if you liked that, see if you can find DVD's or tapes of Pilobolus, a small dance group from Vermont, I think. Named after a phototropic zygomycete - a sun-loving fungus that grows in barnyards and pastures - it originated in a Dartmouth dance class many years ago.

I know they've recorded things because I've seen them on PBS - whether those recording are available on disc or not, I don't know.

dan said...

I think it was the Pilobolus Troup that performed a shadow interpretive dance at the Oscars....pretty amazing.

Here's the Cirque Du Soleil Love preview

deb said...

Amazing stuff (the video clip) Dan, y'all have a great time! I'm guessing the weather will be perfect out west this time of the year. Happy 40th!!!

deb said...

Why are "we" harassing Iran?

Iran planning to stop using U.S. dollar to price oil, central bank governor says

deb said...

Google Goes Back to Pre-Katrina Maps

Subcommittee Criticizes Google Images

deb said...

Feds Start Review of NIH Policies

Cheryl said...

Bout time.

deb said...

uh-oh

‘US Ready to Strike Iran on Good Friday’

deb said...

More on making it easy for the top .05 %

Ticket taxes fund corporate jets

Cheryl said...

Not to mention the fact that the IRS has been cutting back on audits of the richest, while they increase audits for the rest of us.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Hi you guys. I tried to go cold turkey on visiting any blogs, since it was eating up so much of my time this past winter. Thanks for your message, Cheryl. And thanks again, Deb for checking up on me.

I'm still plodding along with the Economics research. The more I investigate it, the clearer the reasons become why our current debt-money system will ultimately fail the masses.

Here's a quote from someone who would have known this better than the rest of us:

"I have never yet had anyone who could, through the use of logic and reason, justify the Federal Government borrowing the use of its own money…
I believe the time will come when people will demand that this be changed.

I believe the time will come in this country when they will actually blame you and me and everyone else connected with the Congress for sitting idly by and permitting such an idiotic system to continue."


~ Wright Patman
Democratic Congressman 1928-1976
Chairman, Committee on Banking & Currency
1963-1975


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279&q=Money+As+Debt

deb said...

Christin...good to "see" you! I'm out of time, but will watch the video asap.

Cheryl said...

Christin, good to see you. Pop in now and again.

deb said...

Unbelievable Christin. I just got a chance to see the money as debt video. No wonder the concept of money always baffled me, it is like 'string theory', the whole thing just turns into wisps of nothing upon close examination.

I highly recommend the video to those of you with the capability of watching a video on your pc. I would be interested in getting opinions about Grignon's hypothesis of how money should be regulated.

Cheryl said...

I had a lovely morning getting my car serviced. It was no surprise to find Fox noise on in the waiting room. What really got me upset is that I couldn't change the channel. They only get one channel, as ordered by the home office. Is there some regulatory agency that I can write to in addition to the dealer and the Honda main office?

Richard Yarnell said...

I think Honda is the right place to write. They have a right to play whatever they think their customers want or will tolerate.

However, if you can threaten to take your car somewhere else for repairs, even warranty work - they cannot dictate to you where you have your car serviced; all you need to do is document that you had the work done on time according to their schedule.

It's another of those pesky free speech issues again. You could always take your boom box and play CSpan or CNN loudly enough to compete. ;0

deb said...

The small store that rents equipment here got their TV free from a local distributer. It gets one channel...guess...or they can play infomercials about products that they rent.

I also noticed that Books-a-million (in the magazine section) and Best Buy play non-stop Fox. They are off of my list of places to shop.

deb said...

Perhaps this will bring more light to the neocon agenda. I wish that more dem legislators would get behind it.

Kucinich files articles to impeach VP Cheney

Cheryl said...

So there was some occupation planning afterall.

Pentagon Moved to Fix Iraqi Media Before Invasion

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/05/09/1074/

deb said...

Matbe controlling the media works in the US...but it is hard to fool people into thinking everything is coming up roses when they can see the bloodbath outside of their window.

deb said...

What's up with this?

U.S. Warships in Gulf for training

deb said...

As hard as we all worked to put the dems in and this...

Kucinich Reveals Dem Funding Bill Includes Privatization of Iraq Oil & Carte Blanche to Invade Iran

">Privatization of Iraq’s Oil – in the original Bill, but not shared with the public. A rule was created that said this clause could not be removed during debate on House floor.

>Bush could invade Iran without approval of Congress. A clause that would require him to get approval from Congress first was removed.

>Timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq to be removed from Bill (in post-veto version)."

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Kucinich Camp Outraged by 'Overheard' Plans of Clinton and Edwards to Eliminate Candidates from Future Presidential Debates, Forums

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I'm beginning to wonder just what species the plutocrats really are. Clearly, it's worse than a case of different breeds. If we're human, then they are NOT. And if they are the real humans, WE are not. Whatever species the plutocrats are -- we are far SUPERIOR to them. We've got to "kick 'em off the island" -- FOREVER.

CIA Brainwashing Techniques

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Have you guys seen the documentary called "Zeitgeist" yet? It seems to cover pretty much everything.

deb said...

"We've got to "kick 'em off the island" -- FOREVER."

Yep, been trying.

Hint...Ron Paul will only strengthen their stronhold.

I haven't watched that film and will be on dial-up starting tomorrow so won't have a chance. I do feel that much of the Libertarian leaning criticism of the current regime contains some truths, but makes a huge leap into the conspiracy area without a clear path of connected facts.