Fred is reading
The Price of Right: How the Conservative Agenda Has Failed America (and Always Will) (Paperback)
by Alicia Morgan (Author)
The Price of Right outlines in graphic detail why Conservatism is inherently anti-democratic and how the 25 year experiment that began with Reagan has done what might be irreparable harm to the country and finally outlines what Americans can do to take back their nation.
Fred is listening to
“a singer with a deep, almost magical connection to the music.” – Herbie Hancock
The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning …a message from Michael Moore
Monday, September 29, 2008
Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies — who must soon vacate the White House — are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.
No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday’s New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:
“Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.
“Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.
“At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.
“Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury’s proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions.”
Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to “consult” in the bailout.
The problem is, nobody truly knows what this “collapse” is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn’t know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can’t figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.
And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Falling for whom? NOTHING in this “bailout” package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.
Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What’s this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?
It has everything to do with it. This so-called “collapse” was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people’s home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it’s because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn’t afford. Here’s the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage “crisis” may never have happened.
This bailout’s mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It’s to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It’s to make sure their yachts and mansions and “way of life” go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!
I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something — NOW! Here’s what you can do immediately:
1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they’ve made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what’s the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.
2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).
3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.
When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!
P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.
P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we’ll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say “NO!” If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.
US bailout fuels protests in streets, online
28 Sep 2008
Even as lawmakers laboured to break the impasse on Bush administration’s $700 billion plan to rescue giant Wall Street firms to solve the financial crisis, the bailout has spontaneously inspired street protests in the US and outrage gone viral across the web. Protesters argue that they would want the Congress to protect millions of ordinary American citizens on the verge of losing their homes due to poor lending practices of creditors instead of handing out public money to big investment companies responsible for ruining the economy in the first place.
Complete article at:
From: CLG News
Wall Street Executives Made $3 Billion Before Crisis
26 Sep 2008
Wall Street’s five biggest firms paid more than $3 billion in the last five years to their top executives, while they presided over the packaging and sale of loans that helped bring down the investment-banking system. Merrill Lynch & Co. paid its chief executives the most, with Stanley O’Neal taking in $172 million from 2003 to 2007 and John Thain getting $86 million, including a signing bonus, after beginning work in December. Bear Stearns Cos.’s James “Jimmy” Cayne made $161 million before the company collapsed and was sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in June. [If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.]
Complete article at:
From: CLG News
Taxpayers for Common Sense: Financially Bailing out the Bailout
Friday, September 26, 2008
Financially Bailing out the Bailout
Volume XIII No. 39 – September 26, 2008
Missing in the debate over whether taxpayers should bailout Wall Street, is any plan or attempt to explain how to pay for the $700 billion bailout.
It is not news to say that Congress and this Administration like solving problems by spending money. And in the case of the Wall Street mess, it is looking inevitable that taxpayers will be forced to fork over an unprecedented level of cash. But, what is frustrating to us is that piling up more debt will cost our nation even more than the current price tag, if we don’t start to make some hard decisions on spending priorities now. We may never see the full extent of our nation’s budgetary problems, but our kids certainly will.
Some are saying that if Uncle Sam is able to sell at a fair price the bad debt that we are planning to buy, the bailout will likely cost us some amount well below the $700 billion. That would be great. But it is just as likely that the costs of the bailout plan could balloon to well over a trillion dollars.
The Administration and Congress have already blown a $400 billion deficit hole in the current budget, so the budgetary deck is stacked against us. Hoping that the bailout costs a “modest” $250 billion or so should not delay our cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending from the federal budget. We need to start today on figuring out how to save some money and all proposals should be on the table. Here are a few ideas to get us started:
Cut Defense Spending – Spending items in the Defense budget should not escape scrutiny simply because some law maker has said it is important to the national defense. Defense spending has become the third rail in spending cuts that very few lawmakers even consider touching. But, just for the very fact that non-emergency defense spending now makes up half of all discretionary spending in the budget, this is a critical place to start. Our nomination: start with the F-22 and other weapons systems not necessary to fight the Global War on Terror.
Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements – In order to shore up our credit rating internationally, we need to consider ways to reduce the long-term budgetary impact of these important programs sooner rather than later. Right now, Medicare spends more than it brings in. That day looms for Social Security. Enacting reforms to ensure these programs do not depend on deficit spending would send an important signal to international financial markets that the U.S. is getting serious about our long-term budgetary liabilities.
Stop Wasteful Contracts – The government wastes tens of billions of dollars on failed contracts where the government gets nothing. A recent report found that the cost of failed contracts with the Department of Homeland Security was $15 billion. We have seen similar results in Iraq. So, let’s end these contracts earlier and stop wasting our hard earned tax dollars.
Lead by Example – There are also smaller, but symbolic acts lawmakers can take. For instance, at a time when lawmakers are asking taxpayers to fork over $700 billion, all 535 lawmakers should say no to their annual pay raise. They should also say no to the $6.6 billion in earmarks just passed for this year.
Nobody expects Congress to find $700 billion in spending cuts to pay for this massive bailout package. But what has to change is that taxpayers need to pressure Washington to adopt the same fiscal discipline that they are now demanding of Wall Street. Uncle Sam just cannot keep spending money without figuring out a way to pay for it.
Let us know what you think.
Going on at Taxpayer.net This Week
More From Day One of Testimony in Stevens Trial
Stevens Tops FY2009 Earmark Heap
Trial of Senator Ted Stevens Begins
2,321 Earmarks worth $6.6 Billion in Minibus Legislation
Sample of Earmarks in the FY09 Minibus
Coal-to-Liquid Earmarks DOD Appropriations
Joint Letter to Congress: Don’t Extend Loan Guarantee Program in the Continuing Resolution
Draft Language of the Bailout Plans
Government Bailouts Top $1 Trillion in 2008
House Releases Homeland Security Earmark Letters
FY2009 Appropriations Bills: TCS Analyses and Earmark Databases
Check out TCS’s Database of 2008 Congressional Earmarks
TCS in the News
TCS was cited in dozens of stories this past week Check them all out in the Headlines About TCS section of our redesigned website.
“You’re damn right it has because if it’s done in the public it would never get done … we’ve done this the old fashioned way by brokering agreements in order to get things done and I make no apology for it.”
–Rep. David Obey (D-WI), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee
weekly wastebasket at www.taxpayer.net
Financial terrorism: US taxpayers bail out Wall Street criminals
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor
In the weeks surrounding the anniversary of 9/11, the most terrifying attack on America’s soil, another attack on America’s citizenry is taking place: the systematic looting of the US Treasury to bail out American financial institutions.
EIA, the Nation’s clearinghouse for energy statistics – Annual U.S. Projections – Annual Energy Outlook Retrospective Review: Evaluation of Projections in Past Editions (1982-2008)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Energy Information Administration, an independent statistical and analytical agency in the U.S. Department of Energy, released the paper entitled “Annual Energy Outlook Retrospective Review: Evaluation of Projections in Past Editions (1982-2008)” on September 25, 2008. This paper provides a comparison between realized energy outcomes and the projections included in previous editions of the AEO. Each year, the comparison adds the projections from the most recent AEO and updates the historical data to the most recently available. The comparison summarizes the relationship of the AEO reference case projections since 1982 to realized outcomes by calculating the average absolute percent differences for several of the major variables for AEO82 through AEO2008.
The paper is available in HTML format and can be viewed at:
Senate sends big spending bill to Bush to sign –Bill lifts offshore drilling ban, $70 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
27 Sep 2008
Automakers gained $25 billion in taxpayer-subsidized loans and oil companies won elimination of a long-standing ban on drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as the Senate passed a sprawling spending bill Saturday. The 78-12 vote sent the $634 billion measure to President [sic] Bush, who was expected to sign it. The Pentagon is in line for a record budget. In addition to $70 billion approved this summer for [war] operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Defense Department would receive $488 billion, a six percent increase.
From: CLG News
Is This a Job for the Ethically Challenged?
Source: The Advocate (Louisiana), September 20, 2008
The Louisiana Senate has appointed former veteran Hill & Knowlton (H&K) lobbyist and Democratic congressional aide Gary Hymel to the Louisiana Board of Ethics. The board’s role is to “interpret and enforce” ethical standards for the state’s government employees and electoral campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure laws. “I have seen the government from a lot of different angles,” Hymel said. What wasn’t reported in coverage of his appointment was that in 1990, Hymel was a lobbyist for Turkey and Indonesia, as both countries sought to cover up notorious human rights abuses. In 1990, Hymel also worked on H&K’s account for Citizens for a Free Kuwait, a front group bankrolled by the Kuwaiti royal family. After the first Gulf War was over, H&K was identified as having promoted the false accusations that Iraqi soldiers had taken Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and left them to die. In 2002, O’Dwyer’s PR Daily reported (sub req’d) that Hymel was one of seven H&K consultants “trying to salvage Enron” after its collapse.
September 2008 Southwest Climate Outlook
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The September Southwest Climate Outlook is online.
This month’s feature article is entitled “Flash floods in city environments.” After six years of publication, CLIMAS is reviewing the Southwest Climate Outlook by gathering feedback from its readers. Please help us by taking a short online survey–it should only take about 10 minutes of your time. Your participation is very important, as it will help us make the Outlook better suit your needs and interests.
To take the survey, please visit:
A link at the end of the survey will direct you to the September Southwest Climate Outlook.�
To proceed directly to the Southwest Climate Outlook in html format or view the printer-friendly PDF file visit:
Highlights from the September 2008 Outlook
Drought – Drought conditions in both Arizona and New Mexico improved, largely the result of continued summer monsoon rains.
Temperature – Temperatures in the past month have been much cooler than average across eastern and southern New Mexico, while most of Arizona has been slightly warmer than average.
Precipitation – Southern areas in Arizona and New Mexico continue to have a wet monsoon season, with rainfall totals measuring as much as 300 percent above average. Northern areas remain relatively dry.
Monsoon – Many areas in southern Arizona and New Mexico received above- average precipitation in the last month. Phoenix has enjoyed almost twice the average amount of rainfall since the onset of the monsoon.
ENSO – ENSO-neutral conditions dominate the equatorial Pacific Ocean again this month, but ocean warming has not disrupted the atmospheric circulation patters from the recent La Niña.
Climate Forecasts – The long-lead forecasts for late 2008 through early 2009 calls for slightly increased chances of below-average precipitation and a slightly increased chance of above-average temperatures for many parts of Arizona and New Mexico.
The Bottom Line – The monsoon season is waning but the impact of a wetter-than-normal summer has improved drought conditions for many areas in Arizona and New Mexico. Currently, soil moisture conditions in most of New Mexico and southern Arizona are adequate for crop needs. Rain is still needed in sections of northern Arizona to alleviate drought conditions.
Kristen E. Nelson
715 N. Park Ave., 2nd Floor
Tucson, AZ 85721
Borowitz Report – Palin Replacement Shocker
September 27, 2008
McCain Replaces Palin with Startled Deer
Hoofed Running Mate Could be Game-changer
With less than a week to go before the crucial vice-presidential debate, GOP presidential nominee John McCain announced today that he was replacing his running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, with a startled deer.
According to campaign insiders, the decision to select a hoofed mammal to replace Gov. Palin evolved after Sen. McCain watched his running mate’s performance in a series of interviews with CBS’s Katie Couric.
“Good Lord, a startled deer could do better than that,” Sen. McCain reportedly said, prompting his aides to draw up a shortlist of startled deer.
The Arizona senator supposedly brushed aside concerns that a startled deer would wilt under the pressure of a televised debate, telling aides, “At least a goddamn deer won’t go on about Alaska being close to Russia.”
The McCain campaign said today that Sen. McCain’s new running mate, Bucky the Red Deer, would not be made available to the press prior to the debate.
“Bucky is very much a work in progress,” said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. “Right now we’re working on keeping him from bolting off the stage.”
Bucky’s opponent in the upcoming debate, Delaware senator Joseph Biden, appeared today to be trying to manage expectations for the high-stakes face-off with his four-legged rival.
“Bucky the Red Deer is articulate, bright and clean,” Sen. Biden said. “That’s storybook, man.”
Elsewhere, former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken revealed that he was gay in an exclusive interview with Duh magazine.
October 14, 2008 at 7:00PM
Andy in New York!
Come see Andy one night only with Jordan Carlos (The Colbert Report), Seth Herzog, and a roster of other great comics!
Fontana’s, 105 Eldridge St (Between Grand & Broome
For tickets go to Andy in New York
October 22, 2008 at 8:00PM
Countdown to ’08
Andy hosts “Countdown to the Election, with special guests Joy Behar (The View) and Jeffrey Toobin (CNN, bestselling author of “The Nine”)
92nd Street Y in NYC
For tickets go to www.92y.org
November 2, 2008 at 7:30PM
Andy in New Haven
Spend “An Evening with Andy Borowitz” in New Haven on Sunday, November 2. Cocktails before the show start at 6:30. For ticket info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Slifka Center at Yale
For tickets go to Andy in New Haven
November 12, 2008 at 8:00PM
Andy with Mike Birbiglia
Come to Mike Birbiglia’s one-man comedy show “Sleepwalk with Me” and see Andy do a post show segment entitled “An Awkward 10 Minutes with Mike” where Mike asks Andy to tell a story he’s never told in public. Mike’s show is directed by Seth Barrish and presented by Nathan Lane. For tickets call Telecharge @ (800) 432-7780
The Bleecker Street Theatre, 45 Bleecker Street be
For tickets go to Sleepwalkwithmike.com
three thousand words
Tom Toles: the economy’s fundamentals are ‘strong.’ …
Tom the Dancing Bug(Ruben Bolling): today’s usa is the ussr of the 1980s
Robert Ariail: it’s a wonderful life – 2008