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Friday, March 12, 2010

A Muslim's View of Britian's Future

Please view this clip. From the mouths of those who would like to "change" the world. Scary at best!

Are you just going to sit there and let it happen?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

America's Voracious Financial Appetite

Today, Pat Buchanan writes about Senator Bunning's fine hour last week. At least one Senator knows what is going on! (If only the other 99 would wake up.) This letter should be sent to your Senators, we need to bring their incomptency to their attention.


Pitching for America
by Pat Buchanan

It was Father's Day, 1964, when the Phillies' Jim Bunning,
a father of seven, took the mound against the Mets.

Ninety pitches later, Bunning had struck out 10 and allowed
not one batter to reach first base. Twenty-seven up, 27
down. The first perfect game in 86 years in the National
League, and the finest hour of the Hall of Famer's baseball

Beginning last week, Jim Bunning took the Senate floor for
five straight days to object to Harry Reid's call for
unanimous consent to waive through a $10 billion spending
bill. First, the Kentucky senator demanded, show me how
we're going to pay for it.

His own leadership abandoned Bunning. Susan Collins of
Maine assured the Senate and country that Republicans did
not back their colleague: "Senator Bunning's views do not
represent a majority of the caucus. It's important that
the American people understand that there is bipartisan
support for extending these vital programs."

Vital programs?

Had Bunning blocked rescue flights to Port au Prince or
Santiago, or ammunition for the Marines in Marja?

No. Bunning had held up for a couple of days a vote on a
$10 billion bill to extend unemployment benefits, make
payments to doctors under Medicare and extend satellite
TV to rural America. Reportedly, some 2,000 Transportation
Department workers were furloughed for a few days.

"If we cannot pay for a bill that all 100 senators
support," Bunning said, "how can we tell the American
people with a straight face that we will ever pay for

Good question.

Indeed, the behavior of senators suggests that neither
party appreciates the depth of the crisis we are in or
the pain that will be required to get us out. Last week,
Bunning did more than any senator in many moons to raise
the consciousness of the country to the magnitude of the
deficit-debt crisis.

His taking to the barricades may have inconvenienced some,
but Bunning forced us all, briefly, to stare into the

Consider. Congress this year will spend $1.6 trillion more
than it collects in revenue, with the largest outlays in
that FY 2010 budget for defense at $719 billion and Social
Security at $721 billion.

Thus, if the U.S. Government on Oct. 1, 2008, had shut down
the Pentagon and furloughed every soldier and civilian here
and around the world, and announced that it would not send
out a Social Security check for a full year to any of the
50 million retired and elderly, we would still be $160
billion short of balancing the budget. If you zeroed out
federal benefits to veterans for a full year, that, added
in, would bring us close.

Such is the magnitude of the fiscal crisis facing the

To balance the budget this year would require a 43 percent
across-the-board cut in every category of federal spending
-- defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Homeland
Security, highways, etc. -- or, if one used taxes alone, a
72-percent increase in federal tax revenues.

Budget cuts of that magnitude are impossible. They would
cause a revolution. And any attempt at tax hikes of that
magnitude would drain off all available consumer capital
and hurl the economy into another Depression.

For the foreseeable future, then, this nation is going
deeper into debt.

And when Harry Reid and colleagues wave through yet another
$10 billion for unemployment checks and making sure farm
folks get yard dishes to see reruns of "The Sopranos,"
the United States must go to Beijing, Tokyo or Riyadh and
borrow the money.

That is the hole we are in.

And when one stares at some of those budget numbers, the
priorities of the Obama administration seem almost surreal.

In George W. Bush's last full year in office, we spent
$29 billion for "international affairs." The lion's share
of that was foreign aid. In FY 2011, the year for which
Congress has begun to budget, spending for international
affairs and foreign aid is to jump to $54 billion and
continue to surge through the Obama years.

What is the rationale for the United States, the world's
greatest debtor nation, putting itself deeper in debt to
China to send foreign aid to nations that will never repay
us and that vote habitually with China and against us in
the United Nations?

This city does not seem to grasp that the days of wine and
roses are over. We are not in the 1950s or 1960s anymore.
Then, we could throw open our markets to imports from the
world. Then, we could dish out foreign aid and fight wars
in Vietnam with 500,000 men, while maintaining 50,000
troops in Korea and 300,000 in Europe.

America is headed for a time when, like the British Empire,
she is going to have to make painful choices, or have them
forced upon us.

He may have been booed all last week, but Jim Bunning
pitched one of the best games of his career.

END OF Conservative Review

Copyright 2010 by NextEra Media. All rights reserved.
Please feel free to forward this, in its entirety, to others.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fears of a Second Crash Are Real, but Congress Lacks "Appetite" For Action

Danny Schechter writes today in Media Channel about the lack of government will to do the right thing now.

What Are They Waiting For? Whither Financial Reforms?

What will it take? What are they waiting for? What part of the reality of a systemic crisis that will get worse don’t they get?

How is it possible that after near three years of economic turmoil, with possibly hundreds of TRILLIONs down the rabbit hole—not that anyone is counting or apparently can count—that the geniuses who run our economy still don’t “get” that the sh*t has already hit the fan? How many more jobs and homes have to be lost?

Michael Moore is not the only one predicting a second crash. Paul Krugman is all out of words excoriating the Administration for its tepidness. Nouriel Roubini, who forecast the first meltdown, now says we are in serious danger of a “double-dip,” a lethal combo of rising inflation and deeper recession.

Woe to us if we can’t see the handwriting on so many walls.

The people in-the-know know that nothing has been fixed, that all the stimuli have barely stimulated, that the new jobs bill will never generate the number of jobs that are needed, and that the banks have obscenely been raking in oodles of money thanks to all the financing taxpayers pumped into their coffers.

Even as the Obamaites finally get around to proposing a measure to break up the big banks and erode the notion of financial institutions being too big to fail, we have the New York Times telling us that Congress does not have the “appetite”—that’s the word they use—to tackle even modest financial reforms.

The “appetite” is missing. In the real world of appetites, food companies are recalling unsafe products every day because the food we eat is subjected to federal inspections. Not so for financial products.

The reason? Politics of course, but also the jillions that the financial services industry has “invested” in bill-killing, compromise-making, and just plain corrupting the legislative process.

This past week, the Roosevelt Institute sponsored a conference over at the Time Warner Center called “Make Markets Be Markets” (, published a book of essays and heard from a who’s who in the world of influential economists and analysts who gave high powered presentations, one after another, each more lucid than the next.

There was enough brainpower in the room to save the economy, but, alas, no one seems to be listening. Some business media were there collecting sound bites, but the urgency of the warnings did not transcend the limits of the bubble of financial journalism.

For a long time, I wined about being ignored in not getting heard on the economic collapse, which of course, I am, but here were people with Nobel Prizes and PhDs and track records of making millions also being dissed and pissed.

Setting the stage was Joe Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Prize for his work, and who left the World Bank with disgust over what they do. Stiglitz should be in Obama’s cabinet. Instead, he is one of its critics.

The presentations started off with Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the IMF, talking about the DOOM CYCLE—how we are just going around in cycles without really addressing the systemic nature of the crisis. He writes in the NY Times and on, which you should read every day. He calls the cycle “unsustainable and crazy” and says that “the destructive power of the down-cycle will overwhelm the restorative ability of government like it did in 1929-31.”

Translation: Here we go again.

And then, there was the super-articulate Raj Date who says we have to get rid of Frannie Mae and Freddy Mac before they get rid of our housing market. His analysis was detailed and textured. His conclusion simple: “they must be eliminated.” What is the Obama Administration doing about this? Nada.

It got better when the only woman on the panel, Harvard’s Elizabeth Warren mesmerized the room. She has become a TV fixture because of how charming, honest and forthright she has been in defending consumers from the rip-offs that we are all menaced by. She is the chairperson of the House oversight committee on TARP and a leading advocate of an independent consumer protection agency. She is now watching as Senator Dodd and some of his GOP cronies try to bury it in the Federal Reserve Bank, a move that many of the conference criticized in light of the Fed’s history of doing so little to protect the rights of consumers.

After all the speakers presented their arguments, there were comments by George Soros, who also criticized the economics profession for missing the crisis, and businessman Jim Chanos who finally brought the discussion around to the presence of massive fraud and criminality in our financial markets. I spoke to that issue, which I have just written a book on and made a film about when I got a chance to ask a question.

All too quietly, Wall Street firms are being sued for their many transgressions. A study by Gary Null found that over $430 billion has been paid to victimized parties by Wall Street firms in over 1500 cases.

Some examples:

* Bank of America has spent $14.9 billion to settle 15 cases alleging various charges such as securities violations and mismanagement;

* Citigroup has spent over $13.9 billion to settle 12 cases alleging various charges including abusive lending practices and involvement in fraudulent activities;

* Merrill Lynch has spent $12.2 billion to settle cases involving various allegations including negligence and mismanagement of funds;

* Morgan Stanley has spent over $5 billion to settle 11 cases involving various allegations including failure to disclose material information to customers;

* Wachovia has spent over $9.5 billion to resolve allegations including misleading investors and conflicts of interest;

* UBS has spent $19.5 billion to settle 6 cases with various charges including misleading investors.

So much information is now out there, but to what effect? What more do we need to know?

There is a time for research and a time for advocacy, a time to try to lobby in the suites and a time for marching in the streets. Students on US campuses and workers in Greece have been battling the effects of the crisis.

It is now time to go after the causes.

The public is open to acting. The most recent Zogby poll reports:

# 32% of U.S. adults say they have ‘considered moving some or all of (their) banking from a large national bank to a community bank or credit union because (they) are unhappy with the policies or behavior of large national banks.’

# 14% have moved some of their banking in the past year from a large national bank to a community bank or credit union.

# 9% of all U.S. adults have moved some of their business from large national banks as a protest.

People are pissed, far angrier than the media lets on. The lines are being drawn. That hard rain is going to fall.

– News Dissector Danny Schechter is a blogger, author and filmmaker. His latest work is Plunder The Crime of Our Time on the financial crisis as a crime story (