Third Party & Independents Archives

December 09, 2008

Sen. Richard Shelby: Enemy of the People

Sen. Richard Shelby (R) of Alabama is proud to display on his web site the new siting of a Veteran’s outpatient clinic in his jurisdiction. He apparently pleases enough of his constituents with acts like these to remain in office. But, a Senator’s obligation is to both the welfare of our nation, as well as special interests in their state. Sen. Shelby may be a friend to vets in his state at times, but he is an enemy of the nation’s people. Here’s why.

To his credit, Sen. Shelby, a former DixieCrat (Southern Democrat) opposed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, but not because he was opposed to corporations becoming too big to allow to fail. No, he opposed the bill on some privacy issues. In fact, he proposed in mid-1999 Amendment for inclusion in this bill, S.AMDT.315, to authorize subsidiaries of national banks to engage in certain other financial activities.

Now that the results of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act have come home to roost in the form of collapsing economic sectors of our economy, Sen. Shelby wants workers and voters to suffer the failings of the enormous corporations which are now so integral to the health of our economy that they cannot be allowed to fail or the entire economy fails with them. Sen. Shelby now says the free market, the unregulated market that caused this economic crisis, should be allowed to correct of its own accord without government intervention, by throwing 10's of millions of workers out of their jobs, millions more out of their homes and on to the streets of America, as small and large businesses fail in the absence of a financial industry rescue, Big 3 Auto rescue, and without an economic stimulus next year to put money back into the pockets of consumers. Sen. Shelby is urging Republicans to filibuster any loans to the auto industry, let the union workers and their families be damned.

In other words, Sen. Shelby is the champion of the wealthy capitalists (cleverly concealed by his rhetoric against bailing out the executives who failed their corporations), whose agenda is to allow this recession to run as deep as it will without government intervention, in the belief that this will result in a short lived recession hastening the day when wealthy capitalists can get back to the business of creating another unsustainable bubble in which some amass enormous wealth before the bubble bursts, and the rest of the nation suffers the consequences. Sen. Shelby opposes regulation of free markets by government arguing that even though markets create excesses, they will self-correct, and the winners and losers in these boom and bust cycles are a natural and preferable outcome of free market capitalism.

But, this view is straight out of the late 19th and early 20th century industrial baron era which brought the nation to its knees with banking failures and stock market crashes, culminating in the Great Depression of the 1930's. And here we are again, facing banking failures save for the financial industry bailout, a serious recession throwing 2 million workers out of their jobs, and another 400,000 who were seeking work to just give up finding jobs in the last 3 months. The Big 3 Auto makers, if allowed to bankrupt, will cost another 1 million jobs to be lost immediately, and as many as 4 times that number in the following year in industries dependent upon the consumption of the previous 1 million laid off. Sen. Shelby opposes any rescue of the auto makers even if a viable solution for their preservation and return to profitability is proposed.

One reason could be that his home state of Alabama has sizable Toyota and Honda manufacturing operations, and the Big 3 in Detroit stand as competition to the growth of the foreign owned auto industry operating in his own state. Another reason could easily be Sen. Shelby's dislike for unions altogether, considering the $3 per hour wage difference between Toyota - Honda shops and Ford, Chrysler, and GM union shops too much a difference for blue collar American wages.

Sen. Shelby of course, is not alone. A number of other surviving Republicans in the Congress agree with Sen. Shelby, as do approximate 28% of the American public, roughly equal to the number of Americans blue collar workers would define as rich. There are tones of class warfare in this ideological debate over whether the government has a justifiable spending role in mitigating recessions and depressions caused by market greed, ignorance, and tunnel vision focus on maximizing profit at any cost to the nation, her people, and their future.

Why are the CEO's of the big 3 auto makers willing to forego parts of their compensation packages in order to receive aid from the government? The answer is quite simple. They have already made more wealth than they could ever spend. Foregoing portions of their compensation package to retain their positions of power is a cheap price to pay now that they are in a position to remain wealthy even if the rest of the nation plunges into another Great Depression. Sen. Shelby actually supports the concept of these boom and bust free markets that create billionaires in the boom years who remain captains of industry and super wealthy though the rest of the working people pay the price of unemployment and lower wages for years after a bust cycle.

The bailout of the financial industry has been very badly managed in terms of bang for the buck, and reform measures attached to the bailout money. But, the bailout has succeeded in preventing a total freeze in credit markets, and a financial industry meltdown that would have crippled the economy's chances of even hoping for an end to the recession in the next year or two. The bailout succeeded in its primary goal. But, it has failed secondary goals and completely neglected missed opportunities for reforms and insuring maximum tax payer returns down the road. Some would argue as I do, that time was of the essence with a global run on money market funds that triggered the crisis mode in government, and emergency spending procedures such as those taken in haste by the Congress and White House were doomed to be incomplete, inefficient, and lacking in a holistic approach that could have maximized the bang for the tax payer buck.

That is not the case with the Big 3 Auto makers. The Congress has no desire to repeat the flaws of the financial industry bailout, and have taken great pains to insure that an Auto industry rescue plan has reforms, efficiencies, certain warranties, and adequate oversight, transparency, and accountability attached to the dollars LOANED, not given, to the auto makers. As of last night, it appears Congress has come very close to a package which the White House can sign on to, whether the White House wishes too, or not, is another question.

If a person like Sen. Shelby views government underwriting of corporations as anathema to free market principles, then any rescue will be viewed as foolhardy, and no consequential losses to the people or nation too high a price to pay for principle. On the other hand, if one views government underwriting of corporations as a means of saving millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and their middle class way of life not only for themselves, but their children, then a pragmatic plan that insures the greatest bang for the buck is viewed as wise and intelligent leadership on behalf of working class people.

If too, government spending to prevent private sector failures in times of recession and crisis, is married to reforms that seek to prevent, or at least lessen, the boom bust cycle's peaks and troughs through true oversight, accountability, and transparency in the private sector, there is truly a silver lining to such difficult times going forward. The age of laissez faire, or hands off approach to private sector, greed driven creativity is dead. Americans rejected that approach in the 2006 and 2008 elections, having witnessed where such absence of oversight and accountability lead. Laissez Faire's death in America is accompanied by the death of the concept of Noblesse Oblige, in which the wealthy in the private sector are to be solely relied upon to bring relief to those who suffer the bust cycles of unemployment and savings losses and poverty.

The private sector - public sector interdependent relationship has been cause for much political partisan warfare since the late 19th century, resulting in half measures in both directions of marriage and divorce, remarriage and re-divorce. In truth, these half hearted fits and starts toward and away from this partnership caused by Democrats undoing Republican policies, and Republicans undoing Democratic policies, have left this nation without any long term investment or economic planning for future challenges that inevitably will come with acts of violence, natural disaster, and man made disasters.

America has arrived at a major decision juncture in the beginning of this 21st century. Will she repeat the failures of the ideological warfare which now threaten this century's future? Or, will America at last, look beyond the next election and next dollar of profit and greed, to the major challenges of Medicare and Social Security and our inevitable loss of status as the greatest consuming nation on the planet. WIll America now manage today's affairs with an eye to those future challenges, managing them as well, as we go? Pres. elect Obama says we must. I agree. But, will Americans stay true to this course, even as it demands certain sacrifices of today's options in order to insure opportunities tomorrow?

Will Americans regress to the more adolescent, free wheeling, shoot from the hip style of the latter half of the 20th century? Or, will Americans mature in the 21st century and accept their responsibility as the parents of a new century and caretakers of our children's and grandchildren's future opportunities, who will surely face enormous threats and challenges of their own, and have little desire or ability to carry the weight of unresolved issues and mismanagement debts of their parent's generations?

Will Americans lend their support to the 20th century Sen. Shelby's in our government, or to the 21st century Barack Obama's in our government. As in the past, Americans are free to make this choice. Unlike the past, Americans may just be educated enough today, to be aware the choice is before them, and the ultimate responsibility for the future's opportunities, theirs to shoulder.

Posted by David R. Remer at December 9, 2008 08:34 AM
Comments
Comment #271687

David do we really have a choice? Either way China will still own us and the wealthy through the multinational corporations will continue to obliterate the financial landscape in their wars for market share. It seems rather sad that despite historical evidence demonstrating the consequences of their collective actions we still choose to not only sit by and watch as the moneyed class destroys the country, we applaud them and still believe their lies.

Our founding fathers warned us against the banks and the economic results of the financial mercantilism system as we have today gaining power. They did so with good reason, the Dutch and tulipmania as well as the British and the South Seas Co. and Mississippi speculation bubbles offered lessons in how to bring a country from world economic leader to a shell of it’s former self. Of course our leaders thought that couldn’t happen here yet we are now reaping what we sow.

The stock market has had it’s worst year since 1931 yet those like Senator Shelby just don’t seem to get it. However I do agree with Shelby but for different reasons. The quickest albeit painful way to resolve this mess is through it not around it IMHO. The only way people of this country and the world seem to learn is by doing. If we cannot learn from the mistakes of rabid speculation and “get richer quick wealth accumulation schemes for the few” then evidently we need to be shown what they have all eventually lead to.
Perhaps this time around constitutional amendments preventing democracy destroying concentrated wealth and corporate personhood are called for. FDR had it right for the most part. Let those that danced this past 30 years pay the fiddler this time out. Say 75% income and capital gains tax rate on anything over $1mil.. Hopefully Obama can throw out the Laffer and Stein followers and his ilk and bring in intelligent truthful economist such as Peter Schiff that have proven track records when forecasting economic events. Unfortunately Bill Clinton played a part in this and if Obama recruits Clintons financial advisers can we really expect anything but more of the same?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1_Yo2BGdUk&feature=related

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006842

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: j2t2 at December 9, 2008 11:42 AM
Comment #271695

Well, few have any doubt that we are governed by a klepto-Plutocracy or an oligarchy, as you choose. We have fond memories of the good old days of Mayor Richard Daly of Chicago fame. I remember being told that you couldn’t get a job in that city unless you was a democract. Well, this morning at 6AM the FBI rang the doorbell of Gov. Blagojevich’s home and carted him away for ‘running a vehicle for self enrichment’. His chief of staff was bagged too. For what?
Attempting to sell Obama’s senate seat for $1M.
Operating ‘pay to play’ government for years.
Shaking down contractors.
Seeking bribes related to $8M contribution for ‘Children from the World Hosp.
Seeking bribes related to moving casino revenue to horse racing.
Trying to force Chicago Tribune to fire certain editors in return for smoothing the sale of Rigely Field (owned by Tribune).

The Gov. was looking for cushy positions such as:
Ambassadorship
Cushy appointment for his wife
A union job paying $400k or so.

The FBI bugged his campaign office and home. He thought of appointing himself as O’s replacement so he could avoid impeachment if his crimes caught up with him. He spoke of the senate seat as gold and he wasn’t going to give it up for nothing. Wanted the money up front.

Shelby pales in comparison, but then, what do we know?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 9, 2008 01:07 PM
Comment #271705

As an Independent I should make an extra effort to show I have no bias in my posts. From Yahoo: “Blagojevich took the chief executive’s office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan’s mess.

Ryan, a Republican, is serving a 6-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. A decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver’s licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 9, 2008 01:41 PM
Comment #271712

Blagojevich will go to jail because he’s a crook. Some say he will have some impact on our future, but I see him as a simple pimple. There are crooks everywhere…Jefferson too. As we get rid of them others appear. You can say the same thing about business, religion, anywhere individuals are selected to perform in a group setting. Get them to jail, and go on with life…

Shelby is a different case…he’s a prick, but has broken no laws, so we can’t just send him to jail…we have to suffer through his shenanigans until the people of Louisiana wake up…don’t count on it being too soon…look at how Georgia just reelected Saxbee Chambliss…two peas in a pod, who hog from the same lobbyist’s trough.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 9, 2008 02:46 PM
Comment #271713

Shelby…Alabama, not Louisiana…oh, well…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 9, 2008 02:48 PM
Comment #271717

Yeah, he won’t sleep well for a few nights. But, he has achieved the status to grab on to the golden ring. He is now at a level whereby the FBI can be quieted if necessary. Documents get destroyed, the wagons are circled, etc. Kinda like Bush’s adventure in the National Guard.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 9, 2008 03:34 PM
Comment #271719


It is a shame that the feds didn’t hold off for a few months till after Blagojevich sold the Senate seat and recieved his ambassadorship.

The net worth of the three carmakers is $16 billion. Last week the carmakers raised their request from $25 billion to $34 billion.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s testified that it would take at least $75 to $125 billion to save the companies.

I am all for saving the jobs as soon as all the decision making management is replaced. You can’t win a war against the oligarchy with out getting rid of the oligarchy.

Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2008 04:05 PM
Comment #271720

Question that comes to mind is how would it be possible for a virgin politician to come up through the ranks of Illinois politics and not be tarred with the same brush. It ain’t called ‘pay to play’ for nuthin. Do you think they may have just liked Obama and gave him a free pass? Here is a URL that lays down some pretty strong words that Obama used a non-profit group, CSI, to funnel payments of $800k to ACORN for campaign advance work.

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/08/22/acorn-watch-pt-ii-obama-hid-800000-payment-to-acorn-through-citizen-services-inc/

“FEC reports show that from February-May 2008, Obama paid $832,598.29 to CSI.
The payments were for:
$310,441.20 25-FEB-08 STAGING, SOUND, LIGHTING
$160,689.40 27-FEB-08 STAGING, SOUND, LIGHTING
$98,451.20 29-FEB-08 TRAVEL/LODGING
$74,578.01 13-MAR-08 STAGING, SOUND, LIGHTING
$18,417.00 28-MAR-08 POLLING
$18,633.60 29-APR-08 STAGING, SOUND, LIGHTING
$63,000.00 29-APR-08 ADVANCE WORK
$105.84 02-MAY-08 LICENSE FEES
$105.84 02-MAY-08 LICENSE FEES
$75,000.00 17-MAY-08 ADVANCE WORK
$13,176.20 17-MAY-08 PER DIEM
Interesting services and payments for a nonprofit that supposedly does simple canvassing work on behalf of low-income people. And now, the Obama campaign is going to wave its magic wand and change those services to get-out-the-vote work? What the…?
For your information: The New Orleans building that houses CSI also houses multiple chapters of ACORN and the SEIU– as well as the 527 group Communities Voting Together.”

Obama was ACORN’s “lawyer in several pivotal ACORN cases.
Obama funded a number of its activities, as well. When he sat on the board of the prestigious Woods Fund for Chicago alongside former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, he oversaw and approved many grants for ACORN.
As the National Review’s Stanley Kurtz reported, one Woods committee report boasted that the fund’s “non-ideological” public image “enabled the Trustees to make grants to organizations that use confrontational tactics against the business and government ‘establishments’ without undue risk of being accused of partisanship.”
Obama was the Illinois director of ACORN’s controversial voter registration operation, and he trained the group’s leaders in the ways of radical, sometimes illegal, confrontational politics.
He also paid ACORN affiliates during his recent Democratic primary contest. For example, leading up to the 2008 Ohio Democratic Primary, Obama’s campaign between Feb. 25 and March 17 paid Citizens Services, Inc., a subsidiary of ACORN, $832,598, apparently for get-out-the-vote activities.
Obama’s mysterious, shrouded past as a “community organizer” is closely tied to ACORN, a group that supplies a large share of the Democratic Party political shock troops responsible for the party’s recapture of Congress in 2006. “


Seems a fellow by the name of Wade Rathke and his family are heading up this multi-national conglomerate. They operate in 38 states including Canada, Mexico and Peru. Dobb’s was talking of a plan by the SEIU to unionize bank clerks with hopes to garner political support from politicians and perhaps the President Elect who might feel compelled to use bank bailout funds to press support for the SEIU effort.
Gets real murky. Rathke was a member of the anti war group SDS and the Weather Underground was an off-shoot of the SDS.

Enough smoke to be fire so you can expect the press to doubletime this right after the honeymoon.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 9, 2008 04:26 PM
Comment #271722

HHMMMMmmmmmm … so it’s getting ever more difficult to name 10, 20, 50, 100, 150, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that aren’t FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, and/or corrupt?

As for the 21st century:

  • The federal government had better pull their head out of their bu++ and figure out what they are going to do with so much federal and nation-wide debt, when 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt (a result of 9-to-1 debt-to-reserves fractional banking and creating money out of thin air for loans).

  • It is very unlikely that so much debt can ever be repaid ($23.5 Trillion of total federal debt (e.g. $10.7 Trillion National debt + $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching); and over $67 Trillion of total nation-wide; over $219K per person).

  • The debt can’t grow much larger, and even if it can, it is only going to make the inevitable collapse of the debt-pyramid worse.

  • One of the signs that the debt-pyramid is nearing the end is the reduction in M3 Money Supply (from 136% per year (on average) between 1950 to 2005 -to- 13% per year between 2005 and 2008), because most people are unable to carry more debt, even if the money was available to borrow.

  • Another obvious sign that the debt-pryamid is near collapse is that fact that nation-wide debt has grown exponentially from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 485% of GDP in 2008 ($13.86 Trillion in 2007); that is, the nation-wide-debt-to-GDP ratio has almost quintupled;

  • The 9-to-1 debt-to-reserve banking system is a pyramid scheme that must be reformed; otherwise, a hard reset will occur via nation-wide foreclosures and defaults;

  • GDP has actually been falling since late 2006 or early 2007; also, a decrease of that size has never occurred since 1900 (if ever);

  • Year-to-year inflation is already rising (1.59% in 2002, to 3.39% in 2004, to 4.28% in 2008); and inflation is actually most likely triple that (e.g. 13%);

  • Home ownership for the middle and lower income classes has actually been decreasing for several years; there were 10,000 foreclosures per day (as of AUG-2008);

  • Unemployment is now rising (e.g. 6.7% ; a 34 year high); 533,000 jobs lost in NOV-2008;

  • These 10 abuses, unless stopped, will continue to hammer most Americans, and continue to widen the wealth disparity gap (1% of the wealthiest that owned 20% of all weatlh in 1976, now own 40% of all wealth in 2008).

  • Ironically, despite the abuses and greed that got us here today, the Constitution (without wise Congressional support for changes in monetary policy) will be used to prevent radical steps needed to deal with a massive debt problem. Also, it is ironic that a failure to deal with the debt problem will have an equally disastrous outcome. One way or another, whether it is a hard or soft reset, so much debt is beyond any typical solution.

  • Some are saying the tax payers will eventually be repaid. How? Where will the money come from when it does not yet exist, and 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt?

  • Our economy is very much like the game of Monopoly, except that one player (e.g. the banks) can create all they money they want out of thin air. Before long, that person owns everything, and everyone else is broke, and/or deep in debt, jobless, homeless, and hungry (as evidenced by nation-wide debt growing from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP in 2008, and 95% of all money in exisence is owed as debt to the banks; it must be nice to create money out of thin air, at a 9-to-1 debt-to-reserve ratio, and then also receive money on that money created out of thin air; and should anyone default or be foreclosed, their property can be seized too, converting money created out of thin air into real assets and property; and it must be especially nice for the government to allow the banks to then create trillions of more new money out of thin air to cover years of greedy and foolish financial adventures; Cha-Ching!).

  • We can not spend our way to prosperity.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at December 9, 2008 04:46 PM
Comment #271723

If i missed this somewhere sorry I’m working and busy. CHICAGO – Bank of America says it will extend credit to a Chicago window and door maker whose workers have occupied the factory for five days.

The bank said Tuesday that it’s willing to give the Republic Windows and Doors factory “a limited amount of additional loans.” That’s so it can resolve claims of employees who have staged a sit-in since Friday.

The factory closed Friday after Bank of America canceled its financing.

Workers were given three days’ notice. But they refused to leave and vowed to stay there until receiving assurances they would receive severance and accrued vacation pay.

The bank has been criticized for cutting off the plant’s credit after taking federal bailout money.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 9, 2008 04:47 PM
Comment #271725


j2t2 said “unfortunately Bill Clinton played a part in this and if Obama recruits Clintons financial advisers can we really expect anything but more of the same?”

This is one of Obama’s picks.

Lawrence Summers is a former President of the World Bank. He was both a Undersecretary of Treasury and Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration. He was the chief designer of the U.S. bailout of the Mexican economy in 1995.

Summers became President of Harvard University in 2001. He was embroiled in several controversies at Harvard.

One controversey involved a professor, Cornel West. In his book, Democracy Matters (2004), West said that Summers was both “uninformed” and “an unprincipled power player.”

In 2005, Summers made controversial statements about why there are more men than women in high-end science and engineering positions. In March, 2005, Harvards Faculty of Arts and Science passed, 218 to 185 a motion of “lack of confidence” in the leadership of Summers. A later, milder censure passed 253 to 137.

In July,2005, the only African-American board member of Harvard corporation, Conrad K. Harper resigned saying he was angered both by Summers remarks about women and by Summers being given a salary increase.

In 2006, Summers was again at the heart of a controversy involving his long time friend and protege Andrei Shleifer. Shleifer settled a $26 million lawsuit by the U. S. government over the conflict of interest Shleifer had while advising Russia’s privatization program.

An 18,000 word article in Institutional Investor (2006) detailed Shleifer’s alleged efforts to use his inside knowledge of and sway over the Russian economy in order to make lucretive personel investments, all while leading a Harvard group, advising the Russian government, that was under contract with the U. S. government. The article suggests that Summers shielded his fellow economist from disciplinary action by Harvard.

Most recently, Summers led the argument in favor of the banking oligarch’s bailout in Congressional hearings.

Starting in 2009, Summers will be director of the Whitehouse National Economic Council.


Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2008 04:50 PM
Comment #271728


Correction-Summers was chief economist of the World Bank rather than president.

Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2008 05:22 PM
Comment #271732

David:

Someone needs to write and article about Obama’s connection to corruption. It’s getting to critical mass out there with so many links.

Especially with todays news.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 9, 2008 06:28 PM
Comment #271734

I also hear Obama is less than 7 degrees away from Kevin Bacon. Someone should seriously look into that, as well.

Posted by: gergle at December 9, 2008 07:24 PM
Comment #271736

And that equals a grand jury supoenas with a land deal with Tony Rezko?

http://wizbangblog.com/content/2008/12/09/breaking-news-grand-jury-supeonas-issued-for-rezkoobama-land-deal.php

Looks like a direct link to me.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 9, 2008 07:44 PM
Comment #271737

Quite naturally Obama and team are fast backing away from Blagojevich. Seems they played together and worked together. From WIKI “He was endorsed in the race by then-state senator Barack Obama, who also served as a “top adviser” to Blagojevich for the general election.[16] Future Obama senior adviser David Axelrod had previously worked with Blagojevich on Congressional campaigns, but did not consider Blagojevich ready to be governor and declined to work for him on this campaign.[16] According to Rahm Emanuel, Emanuel, Obama, Blagojevich’s campaign co-chair David Wilhelm, and another Blagojevich worker “were the top strategists of Blagojevich’s 2002 gubernatorial victory,” meeting weekly to outline campaign strategies.[16] Wilhelm has said that Emanuel overstated Obama’s role in the sessions, and Emanuel said in December 2008 that Wilhelm was correct and he had been wrong in his earlier 2008 recollection.”

During 2005-06 numerous scandals brought his approval rating as low as 36% to 56% disapproving in 2005. Yet, he won the 2006 Democratic primary with 72% of the vote.

Noted that Axelrod had previously stated that the Obama team had talked with Blagojevich about the vacant senate seat. Now Obama is saying that didn’t happen and Axelrod is agreeing with Obama, etc.

Herein is a good exemplar for my third party, a party with built-in citizens’ oversight for elected officials. Assume that Blagojevich was a member of my party. If a sufficient number of members had registered complaints about Blagojevich on the party’s website in the 2002-2005 timeframe the membership of the Illinois party would have had to vote, via the Internet, Blagojevich up or down. If he failed to attain a 66% up vote then his party membership would have been rejected. Thus, there would have been no 2006 election for Blagojevich. Left to run his course he may have come close to bringing down a President Elect.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 9, 2008 08:28 PM
Comment #271738

Speaking of enniemeeney of the people it seems the MSM has went silent on the oil tanker taken by the Somali Pirates in November. I was wondering what Obama’s connection is to the pirates. Cause if the MSM went silent on the tanker it is because Obama, their golden boy is involved. Also the tanker that was pirated is named the Sirius Star (and is a Saudi tanker, and Saudi fund terrorist and community organizers). SS you know, fits right in with the whole Obama corrupt private army thing. Somali is just right across the continent from Nigeria, where Obama was born, and right next door to the middle east where he received his Muslim education isn’t it. The Somali pirates are Muslim also. Not only that but Saul Alinsky was born in Chicago (and died in Carmel CA. which is as we know very close to Hawaii, where Obama wasn’t born according to the unforged birth certificate) was considered a have not, just like the Somali pirates… well until they get the $25 mil for the tanker, Obama used techniques developed by Alinsky as a community organizer and lives in Chicago so he has to be guilty of corruption and piracy with such a close connection doesn’t he?

Gosh this will be more fun than the $50 mil spent investigating Clinton and whitewater. Is it just me or is this going to be an ongoing thing by the right wing with each and every Democratic president elected to office.

Just In at rumour control …I believe the Somali branch of ACORN received the bulk of the $25 mil ransom and gave it to Ayers Rathke and the Govenor of Hawaii this years winners of the Susan McDougal award, making the pirates have nots again.
Xcuse me whilst I get my new 2008 aluminum foil hat out of the dishwasher and a fresh supply of cool aid from the frig.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 9, 2008 08:47 PM
Comment #271739


According to an article at The Nation website, Obama may have dropped a dime on Blagojevich. The Gov. wanted a job in the new administration for naming someone favorable to Obama to his vacated seat. The transition team didn’t like that.

Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2008 09:21 PM
Comment #271741

Yeah, we’ve seen so many black kettles lately it’s so easy to call the kettle black. Best to let the press work it out. Well, what’s with all these dynasty family members wanting to serve the public these days? I’ve heard Ted’s wife might step in to fill out his term. And Caroline might take over for Hilary. Is that the best we can do for leadership?
Here’s the bigger story. Obama’s new Commerce Secretary was in Mexico recently but we can’t know the reason. He told the press he was going to visit his elderly mother and they seemed to buy it. Meanwhile, Swartznegger was at the border near San Diego to bless the new fastran border expediter system. He said it would improve trade but failed to mention anything about the 5500 or so border deaths this year due to cartel violence.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 9, 2008 10:23 PM
Comment #271746

“Yeah, we’ve seen so many black kettles lately it’s so easy to call the kettle black.”

Hard to argue with that Roy, but it seems the topic was Senator Richard Shelby yet we have jumped to Obama conspiracies because of the Govenor of Illinois being charged with talking about committing a crime. I guess we could have brought up the repubs during the past 8 years not to mention Bush and his administration yet it was much more fun to wallow in fake Obama conspiracies and guilt by associations.
It seems however that DRR’s post indicates what Shelby continues to perpetrate upon the American people is more significant and damaging to the Country than what Gov. Rod is charged with and what Obama has been and is continuing to be accused.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 9, 2008 11:49 PM
Comment #271747

Craig, you can’t be serious. How bloody absolutely UNAMERICAN AND UNCONSITUTIONAL of you to buy this garbage of hanging the attorney for their client’s crimes. Obama as an attorney provides a constitutional protected service to an organization of poor people, and the numbskulls with hatred for Obama being a Democrat, Obama being a black person, Obama being our next president, invent all manner viciousness to hang him with. And you say we should dignify these numbskull’s blatantly obvious lies and garbage?

You give way too much credence to people with a political agenda fabricating crap out of sheer mean spiritedness. The whole hoax about the Community Reinvestment Act being responsible for the mortgage crisis is denounced by every single person in the Bush administration with knowledge of the mortgage crisis, as well as nearly all economists who have written on the subject. This is a fabricated attempt to tie today’s economic woes to ACORN and then to Obama. What a galactic stretch of the imagination.

And now the garbage flies attempting to link Obama to the Illinois governor’s alleged crimes. He is innocent until proven guilty under our Constitution, you know, and guilt by association, while having been resurrected by the Bush Administration in the war on terror and war on Democratic demonstrators within camera shot of the president’s arrival and departures, is nonetheless as heinous as Nazi Germany’s campaign against non-Jews as Jewish sympathizers, pronouncements of guilt for having ever had a relationship of any kind with a Jew.

The movie The Nuremburg Trials should ring a bell on this last one, it was central to the theme of the movie’s representative character played by Judy Garland. So, now, Obama is a crook because he was a Senator from a state with an alleged crook for governor. Hell, just indict Obama for having come from a state with the most lax laws in the nation on the free flow of money in state politics.

Some cretin who is not permitted to comment here commented that Obama is a mole for al-Queda. Do you believe that one too! People who spread partisan and political propaganda like all these make me ashamed of their citizenship in this nation, and I don’t wear patriotism on my sleeve by a long shot.

There I have covered the major bigot and whacko right wing scumnews for tiny minds. Do you now feel justice to these stories have been served, or do their idiotic claims warrant shutting down the nation so that all may be forced to attend Big Brother’s Propaganda News Machine? Welcome to Oceania.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 10, 2008 12:36 AM
Comment #271754

WOW DR
Didn’t know you had it in ya.

Craig Holms

Yeah!,what he said! You guys just cannot wait to find another blue dress or some such. You going to spend a few million more tax dollars looking for any little thing you can that might stick so you can weaken another presidency? The country is in too much trouble for that crap. I suppose you consider yourself a patriot? Amazing.

Posted by: bills at December 10, 2008 04:03 AM
Comment #271761

Ouch.

Glad I didn’t join in that Obama conspiracy stuff.
I’ll wait to see if there’s any evidence to back any of it up.

The truth is, we’re seeing two extremes here.

Extreme optimism on one side (i.e. Obamism); on the left.

And extreme character assination on the other; on the right.

And as usual, it is largely partisan motivated.

However, one is worse than the other.
I can understand the optimism (possibly, over-optimism).
I can understand the skepticism about that optimism.
But does anyone have credible proof that Obama was linked to these other criminals’ crimes?
While it does start to look bad when a person has had to disown and/or distance himself from so many people and organizations (e.g. Pastor J. Wright, terroirst Bill Aires, slum-lord Tony Rezko, Pastor Jeff Zeleny, Illinoir Governor Rod Blagojevich, ACORN, etc.).
But it’s hard to get into politicians (i.e. in the gutter) with so much corruption, without having some associations with corrupt politicians and nutcases.
That is, without better evidence than mere association, there is no credible case.

I’m not a huge Obama fan, but I wasn’t a McCain fan either.
Both told some bald faced lies during the election (Obama about not taking money from lobbyists (or bundlers for Lobbyists), and McCain told lies about taxes, Iraq, Iran, etc.).

For anyone that wants to build a case against any politicians, all they have to do is look at their voting records, statements, and known policies. That alone is sufficient, without trying to conjuring up stuff that isn’t yet proven. Especially Obama’s voting record and position on illegal immigration (and many potential appointments, such as Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton: grades.betterimmigration.com/testgrades.php3?District=NY&VIPID=896 , Rahm Emanuel: grades.betterimmigration.com/testgrades.php3?District=IL05&VIPID=1103 , Janet Napolitano, etc. with “D”s and “F”s grades from BetterImmigration.com). Craig Holmes, based on your previous comments about increased immigration (legal or not), it would seem you should be happy about that?

Second, how well has the $3.2 Trillion (already spent/lent) - to - $8.5 Trillion (allocated as of 30-NOV-2008) bail-out worked out?
Most in Congress voted for that (including both Obama and McCain), and it clearly assisted Wall Street more than Main Street, despite a 70% consumer driven economy.
You know something is seriously wrong when the next plan is to give money away to tax payers, instead of giving more money to banks, financial corporations, and Wall Street!
You know something is seriously wrong when $3.2 Trillion has already been used to bail-out banks and financial corporations, but auto-makers who sell cars at an average loss of $2000 per vehicle (i.e. at least they create and build something) are given a hard time (perhaps a grand distraction while the fox in the hen house finishes raiding the tax payers?).
The bail-outs have also exacerbated a “sense of entitlement”.
Now, everyone and their dog wants a bail-out.
And when is someone going to come clean and be honest with the American people with:

  • the true nature of the nation’s massive $67+ Trillion debt pyramid, which has quintupled from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of the $13.86 Trillion GDP in year 2008 ,

  • and 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal Debt,

  • and no one can tell us where the money will come from to merely pay the Interest on so much debt, much less where the money will come from to keep that debt from growing ever larger, because they don’t want to tell you that they plan to create that money out of thin air (continuing the debasing of the currency, which has already experienced 801.59% inflation from AUG-1950 to AUG-2008; i.e. a 1950 Dollar is now worth only about 11 cents as of AUG-2008))?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2008 10:03 AM
Comment #271764

I thought this article was about Shelby? Oh well.

Just a historical point David; Shelby isn’t a former DixieCrat and I don’t think you should equate DixieCrats with Southern Democrats.

The DixieCrat party was a single issue party based on segregation. Their campaign slogan was segregation forever. There were still plenty of Southern Democrats that didn’t buy in to the segregation solution and stayed in the Democratic Party. That’s what caused the Party to split 3 ways back in 1948.

The Southern Democrats, or Reagan Democrats, are people like Bentson, Nunn, Carter (remember he was considered “conservative” back in ‘76), Hollings, and my favorite Dick Riley (Gov. of SC and Sec. Ed under Clinton). They typically support a hawkish foreign policy as well as fiscal responsibility. That separates them from the liberals in their party, and opposition from liberals caused some of them to move over to the GOP, but I don’t think you need to tar them as segregationists.


Posted by: George at December 10, 2008 10:54 AM
Comment #271770

David:

No I really think it’s a good article for someone here to write. Obama’s state is one of the most corrupt in the country. I don’t think Obama is directly involved. I listened last night to someone from his state who said “Obama is from a different branch of corruption”. (Remember this is probably the most corrupt state government in the nation).

Here is what I think is going to happen. Then Senate seat had a seller. That means it had some buyers as well. If you read the intent of the wiretaps and going public it was to stop a crime spree.

I can’t imagine that there are not people in common between any US Senator and the Governors office of a large state. What does that mean? It means to me that Obama has a huge additional problem in addition to the wars and the economy. He also now has to endure some embarrassment as the the corruption touches some of his appointments.

I think this is a big issue that will effect the formation of Obama’s government and I think some writer here should address it squarely. I think it should be you!!

I can’t accept that Obama’s presidency wont be effected by these events. I simply can’t imagine that the govenor of a large state and a US Senator do not have many people in common. Do I think Obama is going down? Not now. I sure think he hangs out with a lot of shady people.

I will say this, history well shows that what happens now is what makes or brakes a candidate’s future. If he brings people to Washington who are tainted by this govenor, THAT will be a huge issue.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 10, 2008 12:26 PM
Comment #271783

If memory serves…Obama, while in the Illinois legislature, introduced nad pushed through a bill introducing ethics into Illinois government. That bill floated around a while, got tabled a couple of times, and finally got passed through to this Governor Blagojevich, who promptly vetoed it. It languished again for a while, and was headed for certain failure, when Obama called on an old pal of his in the Illinois Congress, and asked him to help push it to override the veto…although the man was against this ethics measure, he went along with Obama’s persuasions and it was overridden. The bill called for propagation on the 1st of January (upcoming). That is what caused the Gov to panic. He tried to gain too much too fast in order to beat the deadline.

Questions: 1. If Obama was in on the initial ethics bill as it was routing around the Illinois Legislature, and was in on the end by asking a friend to push it to override the Gov’s veto, can reasonable people tie Obama to Illinois bad governmental ethics? 2. Can reasonable people tie Obama to corruption committed by someone who had vetoed a bill that Obama himself had introduced to curb that very corruption?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 10, 2008 02:00 PM
Comment #271784

What most politicians want is to serve forever. If you want a long career as an incumbent politician you have to go along to get along. Without corporate sponsorship and party backing most don’t stand a chance of keeping their jobs. Support comes with a price. The politicians that don’t want to pay the price leave early.

Most politicians aren’t bad or corrupt people but, they have to survive within the frame work of an extremely corrupted political system.

We have an alternative way of spelling corruption, it is now spelled corporation and it can be found throughout our political system.

Senator Shelby and Senator Dodd have different political philosophies but, what they have in common is the corrupted political system.

IMO, Obama has avoided being corrupted by the system by his meteoric rise. A few years in Illinois, a few years in the Senate, possibly eight years in the Whitehouse and he is out of it. I believe as president he will be able to bend the system enough to achieve a few worthy acomplishments. He isn’t going to change the system because he can’t, it is just to powerful, to deeply entrenched.

Posted by: jlw at December 10, 2008 02:12 PM
Comment #271787

Marysdude:

I don’t think so. What I think is that some of Obama people are close to some of the Governor’s people In fact, I would be shocked if there was no overlap.

My thought is that now is the dangerous time of Obama. It’s decisions made when you know something that causes deep trouble.

I also think that there is a lot more to come from this story. Obvously there was a willing seller of the senate seat. I want to know who the willing buyers were.

I also think, since Obama comes from one of the most corrupt political machines in the country, it is fair for reasonable people to hold his team up to a higher standard. Especially team members with ties to Chicago.

Finally, I think it is important to not overplay. Obama has not been named in any of this. I do think it is a legitimate issue to talk about who he is associated with and why they keep coming up corrupt. From what I hear about politics from his home town, it seems that anyone from Chicago that has risen to the top must have some associations with corrupt officials. It “appears” there is no other way to get any business done in the windy city.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 10, 2008 02:20 PM
Comment #271789

Craig,

‘The most corrupt political machines’ is trite. In San Diego, folks would say the Cunningham machine was most corrupt…in Alaska, Ted Stevens might have run the most corrupt machine…blah…blah…blah. Illinois is not that different from Louisiana (Longs, etc) Alabama, California, New York, you name a place, and the people will let you know it’s got, or has had, the most corrupt politicos around.

Generally speaking, all politics is dirty, but that does not mean that all politicians are dirty. All indicators point to Obama being one of the clean ones. His past associations with crooks and liars merely means he’s a player.

It is a fact that Obama helped push through an ethics Bill while in the Illinois Legislature. It is true that Blagojevich vetoed an ethics bill, and that it got overridden, perhaps because of a call from Obama to a friend who initially was unwilling to push it to override. All of those things are true and provable. Clean is as clean does…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 10, 2008 03:04 PM
Comment #271794
jlw wrote: What most politicians want is to serve forever. If you want a long career as an incumbent politician you have to go along to get along. Without corporate sponsorship and party backing most don’t stand a chance of keeping their jobs. Support comes with a price. The politicians that don’t want to pay the price leave early.
Yes. It’s hard to get anywhere without some looking the other way.
jlw wrote: Most politicians aren’t bad or corrupt people …
Most? That is probably true for most politicians in the beginning. See the next sentence below.
jlw wrote: … but, they have to survive within the frame work of an extremely corrupted political system.
QUESTION: Yes, but that “extremeley corrupted political system” consists of what?

ANSWER: People. People in government and the electorate.

So, what is “the corrupted political system” that you refer to; that many refer to?
“The System” is people.
It is us.
Therefore, if government is a “frame work of an extremely corrupted political system, it is because of too many people that are too corrupt.

And that is one reason why no one can name at least 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, corrupt, and/or look the other way.

As for the electorate, they are culpable too.
How does the electorate reconcile dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress, but subsequently repeatedly rewards Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates?

jlw wrote: We have an alternative way of spelling corruption, it is now spelled corporation and it can be found throughout our political system.
d True. The corporatism and corpocrisy is out of control.

It has a lot to do with the concentration of wealth.

And we are all culpable for it, because:

  • too many politicians in the federal government are FOR-SALE, but too many voters repeatedly reward those politicians with re-election.

  • Congress carries the water for their big-money donors (corporations and their owners and operators) who fill the politicians’ campaign war-chests;

  • 99.7% of all 200 Million eligible voters are vastly out-spent by a very tiny 0.3% of the wealthiest voters who make 0.83% of all federal campaign donations of $200 or more;

  • incumbent politicians have many unfair advantages that make their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies more secure;

  • Congress is prgrammed to ignore the electorate, since voters repeatedly reward Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, despite voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress;

  • too many voters are choose to put party before everything else … at least, until that becomes too painful;

  • too many voters fail to see how the “No-Same-Party-Challengers”

  • 40%-to-50% of voters do not care to vote at all.

  • 90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money (ususally the incumbent politician).

  • too many voters fail to see how the clever No-Same-Party-Challenger mechanism keeps the incumbent politicians’ re-election rates high, and their incumbents’ incumbencies more secure, since most voters will NEVER vote for challengers in the OTHER evil party, despite the voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress, and despite their inability to name 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, or merely 268 (half of 535) incumbent politicians in Congress that are not irresponsible, corrupt, FOR-SALE, and/or incompetent, and deserve re-election. Too many voters find it easier to pretend that the problem is everyone else’s incumbent politicians, and/or ONLY the OTHER party. Since too many voters have been convinced to hate the politicians in the OTHER party, those voters are more likely to re-elect the incumbent politicians in THEIR party, despite the fact that the incumbent politicians in THEIR party are equally irresponsible, corrupt, FOR-SALE, and/or incompetent. As a result, often, even convicted felons if ever indicted or convicted, many receive pardons or commuted sentences; placing them above the law. And even if convicted and incarcerated, many still receive their multi-million dollar pensions and benefits.

  • too many voters focus on indeterminable issues issues (e.g. abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc.), to fuel the circular partisan warfare, rather than build unity to solve many other pressing problems that most voters already agree upon (i.e. both the problem and solution).

  • too many voters succumb to group-think and lazily choose to wallow in the circular, distracting, divisive, partisan warfare, and politicians love to fuel it for obvious reasons. Many politicians are experts at fueling the circular partisan warfare, and capitalizing on many voters’ laziness, and propensity to pull the party-lever. Who among us has never pulled the party-lever? The party-lever was one of the many clever mechanisms that help maintain very high re-election rates for incumbent politicians.

  • too many voters lazily choose to be partisan-centric or people-centric, instead of principle centric, educated, and informed. People are imperfect. Principles are timeless. Too many voters are not aware of their own principles, much less the principles and policies of their own incumbent politicians.

  • too many voters let THEIR party do their thinking for them, assume that THEIR party has already carefully thought most things all through, and is truly lookin’ out for them, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary and the voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress. The truth could be embarrassing, which explains the reluctance to face the truth.

  • too many voters simply blame the OTHER party, rather than admit few (if any) real differences of any importance between the parties.

  • too many voters lazily and blindly pull the party-lever, rather than do the work to research voting records, deeds, and official positions and policies. Many voters don’t even know who their Congress persons are, much less their voting records.

  • too many voters fail to understand that short-sighted selfishness, laziness, and choosing the path of least resistance, like water running down-hill, is the path to more pain and misery.

  • too many voters choose to ignore the important issues even THEIR own politicians are wrong about (e.g. illegal immigration, regressive taxation, unnecessary wars, constitutional violations, and numerous other abuses), or sacrifice previous held principles by mimicing a pretzel while trying to somehow rationalize, minimize, and/or justify those abuses. Too many voters rationalize blind partisan loyalty with the excuses:
    • that the OTHER party is worse (which isn’t likely to any significan degree, except for the usual shift of abused power and obstructionism available to the current IN-PARTY/OUT-PART);

    • too many voters choose to blame anything and everybody but themselves … at least until that becomes too painful.

    • too few voters sufficiently understand that the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

jlw wrote: Senator Shelby and Senator Dodd have different political philosophies but, what they have in common is the corrupted political system.

What they both have in common are crummy voting records (Shelby: OnTheIssues.org/Senate/Richard_Shelby.htm ; Dodd: OnTheIssues.org/Senate/Chris_Dodd.htm).

jlw wrote: IMO, Obama has avoided being corrupted by the system by his meteoric rise. A few years in Illinois, a few years in the Senate, possibly eight years in the Whitehouse and he is out of it. I believe as president he will be able to bend the system enough to achieve a few worthy acomplishments.
Maybe. I hope so.
jlw wrote: He isn’t going to change the system because he can’t, it is just to powerful, too deeply entrenched.
That is most likely the truth and the most realistic viewpoint.

That is not only a condemnation of the system, but 51+% of Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch, of which that system is comprised.
That is, “the system” is the “people” within it.
And it ain’t likely to get better until enough voters demand it at the ballot box.
But, perhaps enough voters will be less apathetic, complacent, and blindly partisan when enough of the voters are deep in debt , jobless , homeless , and hungry as a result of these abuses at the root of decades of deteriorating economic conditions.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2008 04:20 PM
Comment #271800

Oh god, I don’t even know where to begin with the Blagojevich case.

I believe that political corruption, while inevitable, should be punished as severely as possible, to deter many civil servants and citizens from it. I don’t think there are effective or enough penalties near what this country needs.

Taking bribes, nepotism, cronyism, and all of the related ilk should be, as widespread and damaging and is it at this point, be punishable by life-long fines, up to those involved being destitute. Or, even though our ethical restraints bar us doing so practically, life in prison.

I believe if there was a life sentence for corruption, with no appeal, people like Blagojevich would keep their vices to themselves.

The hammer needs to be brought down on every single politician in higher office right now, because we really do NOT know who is a thief and who isn’t. This Blagojevich case, along with Ted Stevens, and Richard Shelby hurts all of us, in showing that these men, who many other countries, or in an earlier era of this country, would be laughed at, strung up and punished by the mob.

A person in office, Blagojevich in particular, while under investigation, or have a case filed against them, or arrested, SHOULD NOT BE IN OFFICE AS OF THAT DAY.

Are we truly the country of see, hear, and speak no evil? How does the state of Illinois even justify him still holding office?

Posted by: Jon at December 10, 2008 05:01 PM
Comment #271801

Or the death sentence.

Yes, there should be a death sentence for political/business corruption, in the private and public sector.

A real deterrent.

Posted by: Jon at December 10, 2008 05:03 PM
Comment #271803

I don’t believe I will jump into this messy conversation. I hope that Mr. Obama, unlike some others in our recent past, has learned a valuable historical lesson which is simply; either keep your mouth shut or, if you must speak, tell the truth.

Don’t try and parse anything…if he isn’t comfortable talking about something he should say so and stay silent. We all know from experience that we aren’t nearly as smart as we think we are and can get caught up in lies, half-truths, and ass-covering too easily.

As a truth-teller Mr. Obama will gain my respect, my agreement with his policies he will have to earn.

Posted by: Jim M at December 10, 2008 05:29 PM
Comment #271804

>A person in office, Blagojevich in particular, while under investigation, or have a case filed against them, or arrested, SHOULD NOT BE IN OFFICE AS OF THAT DAY.
Posted by: Jon at December 10, 2008 05:01 PM

Jon,

That would likely cause a pile on…charges would be drummed up, conspiracies would flourish…any politician the other party wanted weakened, would try to discredit him to the point he’d have to leave office. Then when/if charges were dropped, would they be returned to office? What would happen to the replacement?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 10, 2008 05:32 PM
Comment #271806

Well said marysdude…for once we are in agreement.

Posted by: Jim M at December 10, 2008 06:19 PM
Comment #271814

Jim M,

I promise, I won’t let it happen again…folks will say that Obama’s uniter policy is working already…:)

Posted by: Marysdude at December 10, 2008 10:41 PM
Comment #271815

Marysdude:

I will stick with Chicago as if not the leader in corruption is a very strong competitor. This will make two Govenors in a row in the big house.

Here is my reference. Let’s see if you can top this:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28141995/

All indicators point to Obama being one of the clean ones. His past associations with crooks and liars merely means he’s a player.

Sorry but associations with crooks and liars is an indicator of being unclean. Birds of a feather.

It just means that Obama needs to be held to a higher standard. He wont get as much of a benefit of the doubt because he is from Chicago.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 10, 2008 10:53 PM
Comment #271819

Illinois is in contention for the title of “Most Corrupt State” with the Great State of Exxon,oops, I mean Alaska. Does that mean Palin is tainted?

Posted by: bills at December 11, 2008 06:22 AM
Comment #271820

Yeah, and wasn’t Gray Davis and Enron a California mess, so Arnie must have been part of that. I thin k only one Louisiana governor ended up in pokey, but several should have. Texas has been known to house a few (not leaving out Dubbya), so…so…so…the Daley machine was pretty bad, and there was a superior court scandal, and Ryan, and…and…and, but Illinois has put out a few good ones too.

If you lay down with dogs, don’t be surprised if you get up with fleas…but until the evidence is in, let’s give the man a little slack…we waited on Dubbya to get us into one mess after the other, and we waited on him to tell us the truth…when that did not happen, all hell broke loose. You guys are creating your own hell, and the real thing hasn’t even started yet. At least Obama hasn’t started to lie to us yet. And, he appears to want a more open presidency, and he has several tons of bad things happening even before he takes office, and he has Rove and O’Reily stating publicly that this financial meltdown was brought on deliberately, so ‘O’ could win the election…the right in its finest hour!!!

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2008 06:56 AM
Comment #271821

Rove…Hannity…Coulter…Limbaugh…O’Reily…Robertson…Falwell…how many Republicans does it take to screw up a light-bulb?

It only takes one to screw it up, but it takes twenty or so to bloviate about it, and spin the spin for several weeks.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2008 07:04 AM
Comment #271822

Craig said: “I think this is a big issue that will effect the formation of Obama’s government and I think some writer here should address it squarely. I think it should be you!!”

I don’t write articles unless there is sound logical or evidenciary basis to make a case one way or another. Sorry, but, I can’t write an article on a topic for which there is no evidence. From logic class I recall the first day’s lesson, “You can’t prove a negative”.

In the absence of evidence, I can’t establish there is any. In the absence of evidence, I can’t make a case that there is any negative link between Obama and Illinois.

If you wish to conjecture that there MUST be a connection like those numbskulls who insist that if his middle name is Hussein, he must be an al-Queda mole, go right ahead. But, my civics class in the 3rd grade taught me two valuable lessons about America and what she prides herself on. First, that one is innocent until proven guilty, and association with imperfect human beings is inevitable for EVERYONE, and therefore neither grounds nor evidence of guilt by association. To conclude otherwise is render the best and greatest of us equal to the least of us. It is an illogical postulation a priori.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 11, 2008 09:34 AM
Comment #271825

David -

There is a silver lining to the Republicans’ opposition of the Detroit loans (NOT ‘bailout’)…because in the next few elections the Dems will be able to point at the Republicans’ refusal to protect the jobs of millions of Americans…and I think that even given our national short attention span, millions will remember…and not be in a forgiving mood.

Sadly, though, whatever advantage we Dems may gain by the Republicans’ obstinacy is NOT worth the loss of millions of jobs…and the crime and corruption that always follow the creep of poverty.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at December 11, 2008 10:53 AM
Comment #271826

David:

Not a problem. This is a major national news story that will have a large influence on our new President and on his agenda.

Obviously what you choose to write about it your deal. I asked you because of your writing style.

I would ask you to reconsider. Here is my queston to you. How will this scandal effect the transition team, and the formation of the new govenment?

I would argue that it will have a large influence because a govenor and a US Senator must have people in common. I think it likely that there will be people leaving the transition team.

It already has changed the transparency issue. You can ask many questions of Obama on his transition website, just not about this issue. So tranparancy means only asking approved of questions.

I know you are a strong Obama supporter and may therefore not want to write about this issue, just as Obama transition team wishes not to answer questions about the govenor.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 11, 2008 10:55 AM
Comment #271829

I’ve got an idea…let’s speculate about something that will likely disappear as soon as Blag resigns or is forced out of office…then let’s continue to speculate until everyone who is sane finally gives up and admits to the most heinous crimes imaginable, just like the current administration has done.

Strawman = Obama’s relationship with an Illinois creep.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2008 12:23 PM
Comment #271830

Marysdude:

One thing that I think is great about this investigation is Patrick Fitzgerald. He is the prosecutor who took down scootor Libby and the former govenor of Illinios both Republicans.

I think we will see a steady drip of these sorts of things. You can’t come from a corrupt state government like Obama does without having associations with corrupt people. Not as a US Senator.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 11, 2008 12:32 PM
Comment #271831

Craig asked: “I would ask you to reconsider. Here is my queston to you. How will this scandal effect the transition team, and the formation of the new govenment?”

The answer would be pure speculation, as I think you well know. So far, according to polls, it is having no effect at all. Over 70% approval rating. That is the only empirical evidence available at this time to address the question. Anything else is pure speculation as to both what turns of events may arise and how the public and Obama would respond to those.

See, no article required. Just a comment and the question is more than adequately addressed based on the available information to date.

You do realize that Obama’s greatest contribution to Illinois politics was legislation to clean up the dirty politics and pay to play ways of getting things done, right? Seems to me, Obama is well insulated from the Governor’s troubles based on his record and being good to his campaign words so far for improving government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 11, 2008 12:46 PM
Comment #271833

Glenn C., I will personally work to insure that Americans don’t forget if that is the case. This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans. If they exacerbate and deepen the recession by acts like these, many of us will insure the public does not forget.

This should not be a partisan issue. I believe there will be enough Republicans in the Senate to recognize that their reelections could be compromised if they wear the moniker of jobs destroyers in their next election. In other words, I agree with you as to the consequences of Republicans forcing the end of the American auto industry and jobs associated with it.

Seems Republicans just can’t export American jobs fast enough, doesn’t it?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 11, 2008 12:50 PM
Comment #271838

The most Corrupt States http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-12-10-corruptstates_N.htm?se=yahoorefer

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 11, 2008 01:28 PM
Comment #271839

Remer writes; “This should not be a partisan issue. I believe there will be enough Republicans in the Senate to recognize that their reelections could be compromised if they wear the moniker of jobs destroyers in their next election.”

Unfortunately, Remer is correct about public perception. Not voting for this God-awful bail-out bill by any senator will mark them as a destroyer of jobs. In truth, it’s not the lack of a bail-out that may destroy auto jobs, but years of mismanagement by Detroit and horrible regulations imposed on these companies. Remer’s statement could be read as his endorsement of our politicians voting according to what will get them reelected rather than voting their common sense.

Once again we see and read of how up-side-down the public thinking in our nation has become. The window/door employees in Illinois blamed BOA for their lack of severance pay because the bank didn’t want to loan any more money to a failed company.

In the same fashion, many American’s will blame senators who vote against a Detroit bail-out rather than the conditions leading to the request for a hand-out. Frankly, it’s just ass-backwards.

The public has been lead to believe that bankruptcy will cause the immediate loss of millions of auto and supplier jobs. That’s just wrong. Companies under the protection of our bankruptcy laws and courts don’t stop doing business. They are reorganized with assets offered to those who might make better use of them. All interested parties are brought together to find ways to make the company profitable again.

Where I see opportunity to revive our automotive industry and make it stronger and more competitive, others see only the need for taxpayer funded enabling of more of the same.

Who will say that in bankruptcy private equity might not come forward to purchase these assets and make for a much better solution. Propping up these companies, enabling them to endure their agony just a little longer, will serve no good interest. The idea of a “car-czar” is about as crazy as it gets in Washington. It’s based upon the idea that those in government can do things better than anyone else. Don’t make government funds available and there is need for a czar. If in bankruptcy there is need for government guarantees of loans, warranties, or such, that is the time to act. Adding a layer of government bureaucracy to Detroit auto management is a certain recipe for failure.

Posted by: Jim M at December 11, 2008 02:04 PM
Comment #271841

>horrible regulations imposed on these companies
Posted by: Jim M at December 11, 2008 02:04 PM

Jim M,

I’d very much like to comment on this issue, so could I have a list of your top five horrible regulations that have been imposed on Detroit that foreign carmakers have not also had to contend with?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2008 02:09 PM
Comment #271842
This recession caused by Republicans …
* Sigh * Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2008 02:30 PM
Comment #271847

David:

This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

What a total load of Bull.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act passed with overwelming Bi partisan support and signed by Bill Clinton had a great deal to do with this mess.

So typical of liberals. Vote with you (as in the Iraq war) and then when issues arrise it’s all one side’s fault.

Here are some democrats in 2004. Of course they had nothing to do with our present crisis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs

It’s all George Bush’s fault. So lame.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 11, 2008 03:27 PM
Comment #271848

THE BIG THREE SHOULD SHUT DOWN TILL JAN. 20TH 2009
RESERVE THEIR CASH AND WAIT FOR COMMON SENSE TO HIT WASHINGTON

Posted by: MANGENO at December 11, 2008 03:28 PM
Comment #271858

Dems and Repubs from 1855 to 2011

HMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm … we have had 6 Republican presisdents and 7 Democrat presidents since 1933.

And
Which party had the majority during the Vietnam War (1961-1975)?
Which party had the majority during the Korean War (1950-to-1953)?
Which party had the majority during the majority of the Great Depression (1931-to-1941)?
Which party had the majority during the double-digit inflation of the late 1970s and early 1980s?
Which party had a HUGE majority from 1955 to 1995 (40 years)?
Which party has had the majority in Congress all but 14 of the last 78 years (1931-to-2009)?
70% of Congress (43% of Democrats) voted YES for authorization to invade Iraq.

Seriously, is there any doubt whose mostly to blame for all of this?

Who voted them all into office?

When will enough voters finally see that the problem is not one party or the other, but the VOTERs, who repeatedly reward incumbent politicians with re-election, despite dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2008 06:33 PM
Comment #271859

mangeno wrote: “THE BIG THREE SHOULD SHUT DOWN TILL JAN. 20TH 2009 RESERVE THEIR CASH AND WAIT FOR COMMON SENSE TO HIT WASHINGTON”

I would agree with your first comment but wonder about common sense hitting DC on 1/20/09. How about the new congress being adjourned until 2010? That would result in far less harm to our country.

Posted by: Jim M at December 11, 2008 06:38 PM
Comment #271861

Dan:

I think both parties are to blame. Case in point. The great Robert Rubin treasury secretary under Clinton who was credited with buget surpluses and of course moderizing our financial system. IE deregulating, etc.

Where did he go? Citicorp.

Here is his bio:

Robert Edward Rubin (born August 29, 1938) is Director and Senior Counselor of Citigroup where he was the architect of Citigroup’s strategy of taking on more risk in debt markets, which by the end of 2008 led the firm to the brink of collapse and an eventual government rescue [1]. From November to December 2007, he served temporarily as Chairman of Citigroup.[2][3] From 1999 to present, he earned $115 million in pay at Citigroup[4]. He served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during both the first and second Clinton administrations.

First he helped deregulate the system then earned $115 million from Citigroup, now is helping them get their bail out money.

It’s ALL the Republicans fault.

Good grief.

Oh and where is Congress in popularity since the Democratic take over? Far lower than Bush.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 11, 2008 07:32 PM
Comment #271863

Why is it that some find it hard to uderstand that the Democratic “takeover” of Congress was…and is NOT a legitimate perception?
No filibuster prevention abilities….no control. But that was something that got jumped on like the proverbial june-bug by the R’s and they’ve refused to give it up. Guess maybe it gives you a kick to keep pointing the fingers away from your side of the aisle.

Posted by: janedoe at December 11, 2008 09:25 PM
Comment #271865

d.a.n.,

Many here speak of the popularity of Congress being a lot lower than the President’s popularity. In any of your research have you ever seen a time, in American history, when the popularity of Congress was higher than the popularity of the President?

Besides Harry Truman (his campaign was directly aiming at it), how many campaigns have mentioned a do-nothing Congress as the reason we needing a stronger leader in the White House?

I ask you, not because you’ve used that reasoning, but because you seem to have a lot of data close at hand.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2008 10:36 PM
Comment #271866

janedoe:

I think the Republicans have done a horrible job. It’s that Democrats refuse to accept any repsonsibility.

Look at this topic. I understand David is not a Democrat. Let me quote a couple of things:


Now that the results of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act have come home to roost in the form of collapsing economic sectors of our economy, Sen. Shelby wants workers and voters to suffer the failings of the enormous corporations which are now so integral to the health of our economy that they cannot be allowed to fail or the entire economy fails with them.

Of course this was signed by Bill Clinton.

Here is a link to the final vote:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s1999-354

Then when it this process results in our current mess, it’s the Republican’s fault.

This bill was a large part of our current issues.

This took both sides to tango, just like the Iraq war.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 11, 2008 11:32 PM
Comment #271868

There are lots of factors that led to the colaspse of the house of cards we call the economy. Most have been mentioned previously in this thread. Poor oversite,lack of regulation,etc. Depressed wages is another that get little mention. Probably the biggest single underlying cause was the “irrationally exhuberent” rise in US real estate prices. Real Estate usually increases near the inflation level. It was going up at insane unsustainable rates. What is surorising was that the bubble did not burst sooner.
What caused this? After the dot-con bubble burst there was lots of capital,much of it institutional, looking for a place to invest. The only thing making money was real estate and that is where this capital went in various forms,actual properties,real estate funds, morgage funds etc.
Had we done what we should have and the federal government taken the lead in making the necessary steps to create a thriving alternate energy industry we would not only be in a better economic situation,we would also be in a better geopolitical and enviornmental era. This,this failure to lead, is perhaps the Bush regime’s greatest failure.Historical speculation is always dubious but I think it is pretty clear that if Gore had prevailed in 2000 that is exactly where we would be.

Posted by: bills at December 12, 2008 07:14 AM
Comment #271872

Craig, Democrats are fighting the Clinton’s error. Republicans still support Phil Gramm as McCain’s economic advisor, the same Gramm who proposed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

Democrats are trying to rescue the 3 million workers threatened by the demise of the Big 3 Auto, Republicans kill that effort arguing Detroit’s union workers make too much ($3.00 per hour more than non-union shops in the South). Let them eat cake, Republicans say.

Chasmic difference today. Yes, Clinton and Democrats helped pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but, it was Democrats who afterward proposed additional legislative measures to compensate for the voids in oversight and regulation left by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Republicans who killed all such compensatory efforts.

Democrats can be blamed for a lot, but, not this economic meltdown. Pres. Bush’s “Ownership Society” program demanding inordinately and protracted low interest rates, the complete lack of oversight of the hedge fund industry, leveraging by financial institutions, and Credit Default Swaps, and complete lack of oversight of the mortgage industry at the directions of the Republican led government, are the additional weights added to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to cause our economic roof to collapse.

The facts and history just don’t support blaming Democrats being at fault, or in power to carry the responsibility after Jan. 2001. You can blame them for not being in power these last 8 years, but, not for what transpired while they were out of power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 12, 2008 09:27 AM
Comment #271874

If memory serves…was not GRAMM attached to one of the budgets? Didn’t Clinton say it was a bad bill? Did he not sign it after failing to garner enough support to stifle a veto override? Yes Democrats got on board, and yes some came to regret it enough to try to overcome some of its weaknesses…but many seem to miss the point, i.e., GRAMM, almost single-handedly brought down our economic system…I don’t think it matters much that several Democrats were fools or charlatans…does it?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 12, 2008 10:07 AM
Comment #271877

David:

Democrats VOTED for the “CLINTON” error. Clinton is a DEMOCRAT.

President BUSH is trying to rescue the big three. BUSH is a REPUBLICAN.

Both parties are responsible for this mess.

Democrats still support Robert Rubin. You know the one who created the “Clinton Error” as you call it. Now the same one who is needing a bailout at Citigroup.

So you have Democrats still supporting Rubin and Republicans still supporting {hil Gramm.

Here is something for you to consider from this great democrat:

Robert Rubin recieved over $17,000,000 in compensation from CitiGroup and a further $33,000,000 in stock options as of 2008

The bill you quote above was overwelmingly supported by Democrats when passed.

I have never blamed the democratic party for this mess by the way. It’s both parties!!


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 12, 2008 11:27 AM
Comment #271880

David:

By the way here is what the archetect of the “Clinton mistake” as you call it said last summer. You will not he was an advisor to Obama.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/03/ftn/main4317557.shtml

Again, that facts point to both parties creating this mess.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 12, 2008 12:19 PM
Comment #271881

Amazing Craig how you confuse and ignore all my points in order to preserve your faulty position.

This mess, my words, referred to the economic recession. Not to be confused with the separate issue of the Big 3 Auto threat, which has nothing to do with government or economic mismanagement but, private sector management. Your reference to them completely ignores the distinction.

Conversing with you on a logical and rational level on this topic appears impossible, as you refuse to refute my points, instead making up entirely different ones to refute only bearing little resemblance to mine.

As for Clinton being a Democrat and Bush a Republican, moot points. Clinton signed a bill in 1999. That bill alone did not cause the economic calamity we now face, it only opened the door of possibility. It took 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement to turn possibility into reality.

I know, I know, you don’t want to attend these facts. But the stubbornly remain what they are.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 12, 2008 01:44 PM
Comment #271882

As for Bush rescuing the Big 3, I think you are counting your chickens before they hatch. Paulson wants to rescue them. I think we will find Pres. Bush a bit more reluctant, and I think an attempt to rescue by Bush will target all of union worker gains over non-union shops as concessions to be made, thus nullifying any justification for the UAW going forward. You think that will fly with the UAW?

Like I said, I think you count your chickens before they are hatched. Bush is making sounds like support, but, whether there is intent or not rests in the details of the offer and whether it is acceptable by all parties or not.

I can offer you a great deal on my house, right up to the point that I insist on your first 3 born in exchange to sell into slavery, you might think I was offering you something valuable.

There is the additional hurdle of the legislation regarding use of TARP funds, namely that they target financial institutions, not manufacturing. A small item which the administration is acutely aware of.

Lastly, I think everyone would agree that any action by Pres. Bush in this regard will be directed toward his legacy, not the welfare of the nation or the U.S. Auto industry nor Union Workers. Republicans have shown a particular disdain toward non-wealthy workers in America.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 12, 2008 01:55 PM
Comment #271885

the U.S. total civilian employment rate may have grown by almost 15 million in between 1993 and 2001, manufacturing jobs only increased by 476,000 in the same time period.[43] Furthermore from 1994 to 2007, net manufacturing employment has declined by 3,654,000, and during this period several other free trade agreements have been concluded or expanded.[43]

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 12, 2008 02:30 PM
Comment #271886

David:

I am mearly looking for clarification.

You say above:

Now that the results of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act have come home to roost in the form of collapsing economic sectors of our economy,

Which was signed by Bill Clinton and passed by large marjorities of both parties.

Then you say:

This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

Now you say:

It took 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement to turn possibility into reality.

So out of one side of you mouth you say that acts like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act were a major cause of what we are dealing with, and out of the other side you say it’s 8 years of mismanangment.

I am saying you are right!! On both counts!! What I am calling you out on is talking out of one side of your mouth at a time to promote your purposes.

As for President Bush, it is a tough case to make that he is not trying to help the big three in all of this. The Dems had a deal with President Bush a republican.

Lastly, I think everyone would agree that any action by Pres. Bush in this regard will be directed toward his legacy, not the welfare of the nation or the U.S. Auto industry nor Union Workers.

Here you are doing exactly what you accused me of with Obama.

Sorry, but, I can’t write an article on a topic for which there is no evidence. From logic class I recall the first day’s lesson, “You can’t prove a negative”.

You are speculating on motive. I suppose he is doing it for the same reasons as the rest of those for the bailout. You are simply singling out his motives because you hate them man.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 12, 2008 03:07 PM
Comment #271887

David:

There is an easy way to solve this issue. Where would we be right now today without Gramm-Leach-Biley?, which Clinton, and the Democratic Congress clearly supported?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 12, 2008 03:15 PM
Comment #271888

Craig, I can’t help you with your reading comprehension problem. I explained quite clearly that the GLB Act opened the possibility door for finanicial institutions to grow too large to fail.

It took 8 years of economic mismanagement under Republican rule to create the economic recession we are in today in the form of negligence on oversight issues, Ownership Society policy of Bush et. al, and the degradation of real wages weakening the consumer base of our economy for starters.

I gave you separate concepts. You quoted them as separate sentences. Then you turn around and create an illogical contradiction between them, where none exists. I can’t help you with reading comprehension skills. Sorry.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 12, 2008 03:33 PM
Comment #271890

Craig asked: “There is an easy way to solve this issue. Where would we be right now today without Gramm-Leach-Biley”

In a recession. You must not confuse the trigger with the underlying economic weakness of our recession. Leveraging, non-collaterlized mortgages, ARM terms and the housing valuation bubble would have still have occurred without Gramm-Leach-Bliley. GLB created the financial corporations too large to fail, requiring enormous additions to our national debt to mitigate.

You can’t confuse the two. They are separate events with separate consequences. We would have a couple more trillion borrowing power to stimulate the economy in this recession if we hadn’t had to spend it on rescuing financial corporations with unlimited cross lines of business which grew so large as to threaten the nation’s economy should they fail. Prior to the GLB Act, they were restricted from crossing lines of business and therefore, prevented from becoming single corporate entities so large that even one could spell cascade failure for the financial industry should it fail.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 12, 2008 03:41 PM
Comment #271893

David:

I explained quite clearly that the GLB Act opened the possibility door for finanicial institutions to grow too large to fail.

It took 8 years of economic mismanagement under Republican rule to create the economic recession we are in today in the form of negligence on oversight issues, Ownership Society policy of Bush et. al, and the degradation of real wages weakening the consumer base of our economy for starters.

Then we don’t have a disagreement. The current crisis/recession has been brought on by both Republican and Democratic missteps as you so clearly state above.

Do you want to add Nafta to your list as a cause?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 12, 2008 04:26 PM
Comment #271896
Marysdude wrote: d.a.n., Many here speak of the popularity of Congress being a lot lower than the President’s popularity. In any of your research have you ever seen a time, in American history, when the popularity of Congress was higher than the popularity of the President? … I ask you, not because you’ve used that reasoning, but because you seem to have a lot of data close at hand.
Yes, I believe that has occurred a few times.

For example, in year 2007, Congress had a 37% approval rating, while G.W. Bush (43) had about a 33% approval rating.

Here’s some Presidency approval ratings going back to year 1941.

Here’s some Congressional approval ratings going back to year 1975.

Marysdude wrote: Besides Harry Truman (his campaign was directly aiming at it), how many campaigns have mentioned a do-nothing Congress as the reason we needing a stronger leader in the White House?
Perhaps. However, I’d recommend replacing bad incumbent politicians in a do-nothing Congress instead of giving more power to the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch already has plenty of power, as we have noticed especially of late.
Craig Holmes wrote: d.a.n I think both parties are to blame.

Craig Holmes, You are right.
But you and I are an extreme minority on that fact.
While you and I strongly disagree on fiat money, immmigration (legal or not), taxation, debt, home owernship, median incomes, inflation, and a number of other issues, I do agree 100% with you on this issue.
BOTH Democrats and Republicans created this mess.
The IN-PARTY is always more corrupt, which is why the IN-PARTY always becomes the OUT-PARTY.
Some of this is just timing, but all of it is rooted in plain old ordinary human selfishness and greed, and the voters are culpable too (an issue that Joel Hirschhorn thoroughly understands).

It’s definitelty BOTH to large degrees.
Both had their hand in this mess.
Especially since, the Democrat party had a HUGE majority from 1955 to 1995 (40 years), the majority in Congress all but 14 of the last 78 years (1931-to-2009), and 70% of Congress (43% of Democrats) voted YES for authorization to invade Iraq, 7 of the last 13 presidents since 1933 were Democrats, etc., etc., etc. There are countless examples of those inconvenient truths, but trying to convince the partisan loyalists seems futile.
And the Republicans had a small majority in Congress, and Bush and Reagan who ran up HUGE deficits.
The corruption on both sides is irrefutable.
Also, the funny thing is, G.W. Bush was on board with many Demcocrats on a number of things (e.g. the failed “Ownership Society”, immigration, bail-out mania, etc.).

Regarding the bail-out of the auto-makers, it is amazing that there is so much more scrutiny to help auto-makers (who build cars and sell them at a loss of about about $2K per vehicle), when there was so little scrutiny of the $3.2 Trillion (of $8.5 Trillion allocated) already spent or lent to banks, financial corporations, insurance companies, and Wall Street.

Will these loans to GM and Chrysler ever be repaid? Probably not.
And neither will a majority of the $3.2 Trillion of bail-outs already spent/lent.
For one thing, where will the money come from to merely pay the interest, when 95% of all U.S. money in existence is debt?
Where will the money come from when it does not yet exist?

Anyway, GM and Chrysler will probably eventually get a bail-out, one way or another (via TARP or some other avenue), and/or they will almost certainly get the bail-out in January, 2009.

At any rate, when will government finally level with us.

  • (1) nation-wide debt grew from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP in 2008 (for 52+ consecutive years).

  • (2) 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt (due to a highly leveraged creation of new money via loans with a 9-to-1 debt-to-reserves ratio frational banking system), which begs the question: Where will the money come from to merely pay the Interest, much less stop the Principal debt from growing ever larger, when that money does not yet exist?

  • (3) incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years is economically destabilizing, and fuels bust-to-boom bubble-after-bubble, as everyone runs about looking for someplace to protect their money from the non-stop erosion of exponential CPI (inflation): One-Simple-Idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm#Erosion

  • (4) the middle class is shrinking; the wealth disparity gap is growing; median incomes are falling; unemployment is rising; there are 10,000 foreclosures per day; inflation is rising;

People call it a credit problem, but it is actually a debt problem.

More credit isn’t helpful if most Americans are already deep in debt;

    “Only small secrets need to be protected. The big ones are kept secret by public incredulity.” - Marshall McLuhan, media “guru”

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at December 12, 2008 05:00 PM
Comment #271900

d.a.n.,

Thank you for the graphs and stats.

This Congress’ popularity as compared to the President’s popularity is fairly common in recent history. That is what I really wanted to know. Both are popular during national military crisis, but both seem to lose during other typs of strife.

Those who use the unpopularity of Congress may be tilting at windmills.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 12, 2008 05:43 PM
Comment #271901

Dan:

I just think blaming one party is a bunch of crap. These economic issues take a very long time to create. In addition Presidents and Congress are only a part of the issue. The Internet had a we bit to do with the 1990’s Tech boom, which created a large amount of tax revenue and increased procuctivity.

I tend to be right of center politically. I can see the strengths and weaknesses of both sides from here. I was on a school board for 10 years of a school district with roughly 12,000 students. Try working in education without being able to work with Democrats!! Actually I worked bery well with our Union leaders and got along fine. I enjoyed working with them.

I only say this to say that people who are too locked into labels miss the whole point.

In defense of George Bush, he got hit hard and early with both a recession and 9/11. He like Obama (although the recession then admitedly was far far milder than this) had to begin is administration flat on his heals.

Sadly there were two huge pieces of information that were wrong. First of all, According to Greenspan the numbers the federal reserve gave to teh president were WRONG!! Tax revenue dropped far more than the federal reserve estimated. So the whole basis for the tax cuts was on wrong information.

Secondly, of course there were no weapons of mass destruction. The CIA was flat wrong.

I understand the intense desire to pin the whole thing on Bush. I also understand that it is politically conveinient to do so as well. However there is a deeper lesson. The deeper lesson is that both the economic information and the information to protect our country that is given to our new president might be wrong as well.

The brightest minds in the room didnt’ see this one coming. From the democratic side, the Clinton people didn’t see this coming!! Where is Robert Rubin? He has this huge great reputation, and he looks pretty lame today.

I think the Bush is reponsible for everything wrong, and the democrats are going to fix it all, and all we need to do is change the president sets us up for a future fall. Fix our countries intelligence, and figure out how to get better financial info to our elected officials, and we will get better decisions.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 12, 2008 06:31 PM
Comment #271904

Craig,

Better intelligence? Hire some competent help, and quit relying on 99% electronic spying.

Better financial advice? Use better regulation and oversight…make white collar crime as heinous as blue collar crime, and better advice comes automatically.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 12, 2008 06:59 PM
Comment #271908

Marysdude:

The bad economic info on taxes came from Greenspan. The Bad intelligence has been with us for a long time. For instance we missed a very small detail in that Russia was about to collapse. (Bush’s fault as well).

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 12, 2008 08:33 PM
Comment #271917

Craig the Bush apologist, it is sad to see your woefully slanted and partisanly sifted information futilely employed in this manner.

The CIA was NOT wrong. Their information and analysis indicated there could be WMD, or just as likely, there may not be. Bottom line, the CIA had no evidence one way or another. Cheney and others cherry picked the intelligence to suit a predetermined preference for invading Iraq. Old news. Too bad you can’t accept the reality of it.

As for Greenspan, he was a Republican, and like all Republicans in our government at that time, he employed false and wrong conservative ideology dictating that reductions in taxes increases tax revenues. That blanket all encompassing false notion led to horrible consequences in governance, doubling our national debt in 8 years.

One doesn’t have to be a bright bulb to see where Greenspan and Bush went wrong on that one. Anyone who can add and subtract would know it is generally false to assume subtracting revenues will increase revenues.

President Bush was incompetent as Gov. of Texas and based on name recognition election benefits alone, the Republican Party elected this incompetent to the granddaddy of all Peter Principle roles in America.

It was bad enough Bush was incompetent upon entering office. To add injury to insult, the man was incapable of retracing his steps in the face of overwhelming evidence that his policies were a failure. Bush proved Einstein’s social commentary, that it is insane to repeat the same actions over and over and expect a different result.

He elected a two front war against all the perilous warnings of history. He elected to cut taxes in the face of his goal to cut the deficit in half in his first term, and campaign for his second term. And his spending policies were more gratuitous than Bill Clinton’s or Jimmy Carter’s.

And Republicans haven’t learned a single thing, yet. That is evidenced by their promotion and endorsement of Sen. McCain and Sarah Palin, repeating their adherence to the Peter Principle of attempting to elect incompetents to their highest levels of incompetence.

And still your comments choose to apologize for them, as if their were any excuse for what the GOP has done and become. Truly amazing, the gymnastics of an otherwise logical and rational mind.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2008 06:54 AM
Comment #271918

Sorry Craig, you can’t discount the history I provided you that Democrats attempted to close the holes in oversight and regulation left by the passage of the GLB Act, while Republicans blocked all such effort.

You may not interchange one man, Bill Clinton’s, action on the GLB passage, as representative of all Democrat’s actions of the time. Many Democrats railed against its passage and warned that subsequent legislation would be needed to rectify the gaps left by the GLB Act passage. Democrats were not responsible for the consequences of the GLB Act.

The passage of the GLB Act could have resulted in a positive turn for America’s economy had the Democrat’s insistence on additional safeguards for oversight, reuglation, and anti-trust definition legislation followed the GLB Act passage. Republicans would have none of it. The consciously chose deregulation, absence of oversight, and expansion of the mega corporation instead. Hence, all the conditions we now attribute to the leveraging, the Credit Default Swaps, the hedge funds, the incredible absence of mortgage underwriting standards, are all the responsibility of Republican decisions, not most Democrats who pushed for closing those vulnerabilities, both in the GLB Act and with subsequent proposed legislation proposals. I recall Kent Conrad being one of the voices for some of these proposals.

The doing away with the protections of the Glass-Steagle Act and the Bank Holding Company Act was an intentional Republican decision. Their ideology of free markets without regulation or government oversight dictated that their would be no compensation for the vulnerabilities opened with the GLB Act. Yes, Clinton erred in signing this act. Clinton did not sign it with the belief that the vulnerabilities exposed by its passage would not come back to haunt Republicans if they did not subsequently compensate for the Act’s holes in oversight, regulation, and oligopoly matters, however.

When we repealed Prohibition, our society chose to close some of the vulnerabilities opened by repeal, like prohibiting driving while intoxicated, and prohibiting life endangering professional services from being performed while intoxicated. Republicans own the whole matter of refusing to compensate for the vulnerabilities exposed by the GLB Act passage, pure and simple.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2008 07:21 AM
Comment #271922
Craig Holmes wrote: d.a.n: I just think blaming one party is a bunch of crap.
Yes, it is nonsense.

I used to do the same thing, but got tired of twisting myself into a pretzel trying to explain, rationalize, ignore, or trivialize the actions of politicians in MY party.
It is not something I miss one little bit, and in fact, it’s like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders when I stopped trying.
However, not everyone is geared that way.
Many people will never admit that the similarities far out-number the differences between incumbent politicians in BOTH parties.

Craig Holmes wrote: These economic issues take a very long time to create.
That’s right. Decades in this case (with regard to the economic melt-down).

We did not get to where we are today in only a few years, nor in only a few decades.
This problem started a long, long time ago.
There’s no doubt G.W. Bush (43) and his administration, and Republicans (with a majority in Congress from 2000-to-2006) did a very bad job, but so did Democrats.
Democrats have had a majority in Congress for 2 years, yet everything is still all of the Republicans fault?

A person does not have to be a rocket scientist or clairvoyant to see the economic melt-down coming.
What is amazing is how long it takes to destroy such a huge economy.
It is amazing how much abuse it can take before it finally collapses.
There are many causes, but they all boil down to one thing:


There are many things that are symptoms, and there are many things that are causal factors.
However, the main reason for this economic melt-down is too much DEBT, rooted in too much selfishness and greed.
Many say we have a CREDIT problem, but the truth is, we have a massive DEBT problem.
What good is credit when most people are already have so much debt that they can’t borrow any more?
This is starting to sink in with some in the federal government and the Federal Reserve.
Especially in an economy that is now 70% consumer driven.
It now appears that the next strategy will be to give huge amounts of money away.
It will take many tens of trillions of dollars to even put a dent in the nation-wide debt-pyramid of $54-to-$67 Trillion (and $10.7 Trillion National Debt).
Giving money to the banks, financial corporations, insurance companies, and Wall Street has only slowed the melt-down.
The big question is: How do we get money into the hands of hundreds of millions of consumers?
Tax cuts, give money away, or both?
Of course, that will lead to hyperinflation.
It may be preceeded a while with oscillations of inflation, deflation, or both, but it would eventually create hyperinflation.
If that occurs, it will make everyone poor, by destroying savings, pensions, entitlements, and wages.
Many nations have already tried creating massive amounts of money out of thin air, and they have already proven that it does not work.

Craig Holmes wrote: In addition Presidents and Congress are only a part of the issue. The Internet had a we bit to do with the 1990’s Tech boom, which created a large amount of tax revenue and increased procuctivity.
Yes, technological advances can increase productivity and provide many benefits.

I’m not sure that was a causal factor, except that it may have misled some in the Federal government to believe huge tax revenues would continue to grow. But that all changed on 11-SEP-2001.

11-SEP-2001 was a causal factor.
It caused a recession, but it also showed us how fragile our economy had become due to such massive nation-wide debt, and an economy that is 70% consumer driven.

One thing that is especially scary about all of this is the possibility of another World War.
Perhaps that reason alone is a good reason to help keep the auto-makers afloat a while longer?
But we can’t all work for the government.
This nation has to produce more than more government.
Unfortunately, there are now more jobs in government than all manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
We need to build and export more, so that we don’t have to rely only on our own citizens to keep a 70% consumer driven economy afloat.
We also need to think about balance and sustainability, instead of boom-to-bust bubble-after-bubble.

Craig Holmes wrote: I tend to be right of center politically. I can see the strengths and weaknesses of both sides from here. … I only say this to say that people who are too locked into labels miss the whole point.
I’m very moderate (centric) with a little Libertarian leaning that wants less and better, more transparent, and more accountable government. We are so far from that today, it’s ridiculous. The federal government has become so severely bloated and wasteful, and the corruption grows with it.
Craig Holmes wrote: Sadly there were two huge pieces of information that were wrong. First of all, According to Greenspan the numbers the federal reserve gave to teh president were WRONG!! Tax revenue dropped far more than the federal reserve estimated. So the whole basis for the tax cuts was on wrong information. Secondly, of course there were no weapons of mass destruction. The CIA was flat wrong.
True. Also, the tax cuts made the federal tax system more regressive.

Third, Bush and Congress have continued to despicably pit American citizens and illegal aliens (and H-1/2B and foreign labor) against each other for votes and profits, while ignoring the huge cost burdens to U.S. tax payers of an estimated $70-to-$327 Billion in net losses per year which does not even include the untold cost of crime (308,168 illegal aliens for the year of 2003 were arrested and convicted: see page 28 of GAO Report 5646: www.gao.gov/new.items/d05646r.pdf).

Craig Holmes wrote: I understand the intense desire to pin the whole thing on Bush. I also understand that it is politically conveinient to do so as well.
Bush caused a lot of harm, and deserves a lot of blame, but Congress is to blame too (both Democrats and Republicans, and Independents too), and many in Congress have been there much longer.
Craig Holmes wrote: However there is a deeper lesson. The deeper lesson is that both the economic information and the information to protect our country that is given to our new president might be wrong as well.
  • (1) Afghanistan may be a good example of that, since the terrorists are in northern Pakistan. Afghanistan may become the next Iraq.
  • (2) Trying to spend our way to prosperity may be the 2nd huge mistake that makes a bad situation much worse, if it also debauches the currency, and also destroys all savings, pensions, entitlements, and wages.
Craig Holmes wrote: The brightest minds in the room didn’t see this one coming. From the democratic side, the Clinton people didn’t see this coming!! Where is Robert Rubin? He has this huge great reputation, and he looks pretty lame today.
And the White House and Congress appeared genuinely surprised when the equally surprised Bernanke and Paulson appeared before Congress begging for $700 Billion for bail-outs.

Wow … talk about incompetent. Especially when David Walker (former GAO Comptroller) had been warning about the massive debt for years in advance (even made a movie: I.O.U.S.A - The Movie: www.pgpf.org/ .

Craig Holmes wrote: I think “the Bush is reponsible for everything wrong”, and “the democrats are going to fix it all”, and all we need to do is change the president sets us up for a future fall.
Yes. The recent optimism (i.e. Obamism), bordering on irrational exuberance should be a red flag?
Craig Holmes wrote: Fix our countries intelligence, and figure out how to get better financial info to our elected officials, and we will get better decisions.
Yes. There’s a very strong possibility that some economic statistics are not being reported accurately. All appear to be constantly fudged to make things look less severe.

Inflation, unemployment, total federal debt, GDP, federal Taxes, and the Money Supply may all be getting misreported.

  • (1)Based on the pre-1983 and pre-1998 inflation (CPI) calculations, inflation is actually 13.2% and 7.8% (respectively): www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data
    Inflation is almost certainly being understated, due to modification to the weighting on some of 10,000 CPI items that set the weighting lower on items rising in price, and higher on items falling in price: www.ShadowStats.com/charts_republish#cpi

  • (2) Last week, we now find out that the recession officially started a year ago (i.e. DEC-2007).
    Yet, GDP measured in inflation-adjusted non-2008 dollars (i.e. 2005 and 1950 Dollars) shows GDP to be negative and falling since about DEC-2006 or JAN-2007 (2 years ago): One-Simple-Idea.com/Recession2008.htm , www.ShadowStats.com/charts_republish#gdp

  • (3) Regarding total federal debt, it’s truly a sham to say there is a Social Security surplus. The federal government has been spending the Social Security surpluses for decades. There is no Social Security surplus. Only worthless I.O.U.s. Thus, the total federal debt is much larger: www.FederalBudget.com/
    According to CATO Institute (www.socialsecurity.org/reformandyou/faqs.html#2), about $12.8 Trillion has been borrowed (and spent) from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching now (about 13,000 new recipients per day). The movie by David Walker, I.O.U.S.A., states that the Social Security and Medicare liabilities through to 2040 are $53 Trillion (in 2007 Dollars?). That’s probably a very conservative estimate. At any rate, current debt consists of the $12.8 Trillion alrady borrowed (and spent) from Social Security plus the $10.7 Trillion National Debt = $23.5 Trillion of total federal debt, which has never been larger ever in size, and as a percentage (161%) of GDP (GDP=$13.86 Trillion in 2007).

  • (4) Unemployment is stated to currently be 6.7%, which is a 34 year high (533,000 unemployed for NOV-2008; 577,000 for the first 2 weeks of DEC-2008).
    But even that may be understated: www.ShadowStats.com/charts_republish#emp

  • (5) Lawlessness; Based on Joel Hirschhorn’s article, 469 politicians have been convicted of corruption between 1995 and 2004 in the state of Illinois alone. Bill Clinton pardoned 546 felons, 140 on his last day in office, and one of them was Dan Rostenkowski (from Illinois), who pleaded guilty to several corruption charges. There are also numerous constitional violations: One-Simple-Idea.com/ConstitutionalViolations1.htm

Barack Obama has inherited a huge mess. I think he will try to do a good job, but if Obama and Congress try to create tens of trillions of new money and spend our way out of a bad recession, and grow the severely bloated federal government ever larger and more inefficient, they will most likely succeed in debauching the currency, and turning a bad recession into another depression.
Already, $3.2 Trillion has been spent or lent (of $8.5 Trillion allocated).
Obviously, the $National Debt should have jumped from $9.7 Trillion to $12.9 Trillion.
Instead, the National Debt is reported to be $10.7 Trillion.
Why?
Because they are now creating money out of thin air.
That’s a dangerous thing, with so much federal and nation-wide debt already, in time when 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt (thanks to a steep 9-to-1 leveraging of debt-to-reserves by the Federal Rersreve).
One might think this could work, except for the fact that dozens of other nations have already tried to spend their way to prosperity.
It did not work. It led to hyperinflation.
Why does Congress appear to believe creating tens of trillions of new money out of thin air won’t eventually create hyperinflation?
Especially if the next step in the plan is to give away money (i.e. stimulus package and/or tax breaks), since people already deep in debt aren’t borrowing and spending, which is a chicken-and-egg problem in an economy that is 70% consumer driven.

Regarding blame for this huge debt problem, it started a long, long time ago.
The deregulation of the banking system contributed, but is not the sole cause for the massive (over-priced) asset bubble (real-estate).

  • (1) Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress jointly deregulated the banking business, via the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000: www.stroock.com/SiteFiles/Pub134.pdf
    That Act set the stage for the rampant CDS (Credit Default Swap) market: www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/17/business/17swap.php
    Previously, banks could not enter into the insurance or brokerage business.
    Non-bank insurance companies and brokerage houses were actively offering money market checking accounts, and the sum of these changes placed banks at a disadvantage, since other non-regulated corporations were encroaching on the limited areas where bankers could operate.
    Therefore, banks could then enter brokerage, insurance, and other businesses to a modest degree, with some restrictions.
  • (2) The banking deregulation was only part of the problem.
    The mortgage side of the lending businesses is where things went haywire.
    The fact is, and there are voting records, YouTube videos, and transcripts to prove it, but a major cause of the huge asset bubble (real-estate) was (a) George Bush’s “ownership society” in year 2000, and the majority of Democrats in Congress (with some Republican support), who fell totally in love with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and (Chris Dodd and Barney Frank) resisted any investigations into the rampant appetite for mortgage paper with lower credit requirements.
    Thus, the subprime mortgage lending business was born.
    It was only a matter of time before it collapsed, with world-wide ramifications.
  • As the subprime lending business began to overheat, the bubble grew, and the demand for homes grew, raising the sale prices and values precipitously to ridiculous levels.
    Banks and mortgage lenders then created ZERO-down loans with borrowed down payments to boot.
    Just like the 1999 bubble, one didn’t have to be clairvoyant to see the collapse of this bubble either.
    The value of real estate faltered with a faltering economy, the house of cards is now tumbling down.

    G.W. Bush started his “ownership society” crusade in 2000, but in year 2003, the real-estate bubble was becoming so accute, and foreclosures were climbing, and the Bush administration asked Congress to reign in Fannie and Freddie with regulation.

    But guess what? The majority of Democrats in BOTH the House and Senate (and a few Republicans) blocked the effort!

    So, the bubble continued to grow and grow.
    By year 2006, it was fairly obvious.
    By year 2007, there was no doubt about it.
    By AUG-2008, there were 10,000 foreclosures per day.

  • (3) The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act may have contributed slightly, but is not the major cause of the subprime bubble.
    Phil Gramm definitely had a hand in some deregulation, but the GLB Act really only paved the way for mergers, and contained provisions for financial privacy.
    According to federal lobbying disclosure records, Phil Gramm did lobby Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Treasury Department about banking and mortgage issues in 2005 and 2006.
    But there is no credible evidence that shows how GLB Act and mergers contributed to the subprime mortgage melt-down and bad lending practices.
    And there were also other forces at work that helped create the problem.
    The Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000 had more to do with the debt problem than the GLB Act, which Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress jointly supported to deregulat the banking business (www.stroock.com/SiteFiles/Pub134.pdf), which set the stage for the rampant CDS (Credit Default Swap) market.
  • (4) The monetary system is also another contributing factor for boom-to-bust bubble-after-bubble.
    Also, thanks to Greenspan and the Federal Reserve, they made it too easy to get credit.
    Of course, the Federal Reserve has an obvious conflict of interest.
    It makes money by creating money out of thin air (at a 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves), and receiving interest on the total loan (to member banks).
    Excessive money supply creates incessant inflation, which creates economic instability, which creates nervous and risky investors who are all running around like a chicken with their head cut-off, looking for someplace to put their money so that it is not eroded by the incessant inflation. As a result of this Ponzi scheme (i.e. the Federal Reserve’s 9-to-1 debt-to-reserve fractional banking), we now have a huge debt-pyramid, in which 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt, and nation-wide debt has grown from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP in year 2008. People call it a credit crisis, but it is a debt crisis. Who told us deficits don’t matter? And pumping money into the banks doesn’t do much good for a 70% consumer-driven economy when most Americans are already so deep in debt ($54-to-$67 Ttrillion of nation-wide debt), they can’t borrow any more.
  • (5) So the fact is, BOTH Democrats and Republcians are to thank for this entire subprime mortgage melt-down.
  • Thus, wallowing in the partisan warfare is supreme waste of time.
    The proof of malfeasance in BOTH parties would fill volumes.
    All that the partisan warfare will accomplish is to prove that one party is slightly less corrupt than the other, which is why the IN-PARTY always becomes the OUT-PARTY (something that appears to be repeatedly forgotten periodically).
    The nation will be much better off when enough voters figure this out, and reject the partisan warfare.
    The sooner the better, because later = painful.

    And voters are culpable too, for repeatedly rewarding Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, despite dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2008 09:12 AM
    Comment #271940

    David:

    Facts are stuborn things.

    Sorry Craig, you can’t discount the history I provided you that Democrats attempted to close the holes in oversight and regulation left by the passage of the GLB Act, while Republicans blocked all such effort.

    Understand, but on final passage Democrats overwelmingly supported the GLB act. They are responsible for their votes.

    GLB had overwelming democratic support on the final vote.

    Democrats need to be help accountable for their votes just like Republicans do, and to just hold Republicans responsible is in fact irresponsible.

    Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 13, 2008 04:45 PM
    Comment #271942

    Craig, There goes that reading comprehension deficit or just plain ignoring inconvenient facts.

    Oh, well.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2008 06:18 PM
    Comment #271943

    Bill Clinton even defended Phil Gramm with regard to the GLB BILL.

    Here’s what Bill Clinton said to Maria Bartiromo (columnist for Business Week):

    • Maria Bartiromo: Phil Gramm, who was then the head of the Senate Banking Committee and until recently a close economic adviser of Senator McCain, was a fierce proponent of banking deregulation. Did he sell you a bill of goods?

    • President Clinton said: Not on this bill I don’t think he did. You know, Phil Gramm and I disagreed on a lot of things, but he can’t possibly be wrong about everything. On the Glass-Steagall thing, like I said, if you could demonstrate to me that it was a mistake, I’d be glad to look at the evidence. But I can’t blame [the Republicans]. This wasn’t something they forced me into. I really believed that given the level of oversight of banks and their ability to have more patient capital, if you made it possible for [commercial banks] to go into the investment banking business as Continental European investment banks could always do, that it might give us a more stable source of long-term investment.

    After passing both the Senate and House the BILL was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bipartisan bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8-1 and in the House: 362-57-15. Without forcing a veto vote, this bipartisan, veto proof legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999.

    There’s no doubt Phil Gramm contributed to deregulation, but the fact is, BOTH parties are very much responsible for the debt problem, as evidenced by the bipartisan support.

    That BILL is not the only cause, nor the major cause of the subprime melt-down.

    • (1) Congress has been deficit spending for 52 consecutive years.
    • (2) The Federal Reserve has caused incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years.
    • (3) Politicians in BOTH parties signed off on deregulation (see vote counts above).
    • (4) Politicians in BOTH parties resisted (or ignored) the growing subprime bubble.
    • (5) Few (if any) in Congress or the White House thought the debt problem was a big problem (except for David Walker, former GAO Comptroller), as evidenced by the massive fiscal irresponsibility for many decades.
    • (6) And now, Congress, White House, and Federal Reserve may make a bad problem worse with another economic terror:
        hyperinflation
    • (7) And the voters repeatedly rewarded Congress for all of it with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, despite dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress.
    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).
  • Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2008 06:19 PM
    Comment #271944

    No, d.a.n, GLB did much more than just pave the way for mergers. It paved the way to corporations too big to be allowed to fail. Not a small point to be overlooked.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2008 06:20 PM
    Comment #271945

    d.a.n, and you trust Bill Clinton to speak the truth about bills he signed into law? The man never made a mistake he wasn’t proud of bragging about as a sound decision at the time. In this regard, Bill C. and GW Bush have something in common. Arrogance that denies any critique or criticism.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2008 06:22 PM
    Comment #271947

    d.a.n, you and Craig are unbelievable. “Yes. The recent optimism (i.e. Obamism), bordering on irrational exuberance should be a red flag?”

    God forbid you two should ever find yourselves living in prosperous times. You just wouldn’t be able to handle the volume of red flags going off in your heads.

    Cynical is one thing. But, cynicism that rejects and denies all things good along with the bad, is a defense mechanism gone off the deep end. Cynicism that blinds one to warranted optimism and working to make such optimism reality, is crippling, and not rational.

    But, I grant you both, we are living in irrational times, and adaptation to contradictions will leave everyone’s defense mechanisms a bit in tatters. It really is in one’s self interest however to insure one’s adaptations are not maladaptations with permanence.

    You both seem unable to trust anymore. If Obama were Lincoln, your cynicism is so overwrought you could not trust such an act as Lincoln would put on, or such noble rhetoric seemingly so out of place in your cynical views of people and all politicians. George Washington would especially incur your distrust no doubt as the pragmatist that he was and declarations of selfless effort.

    And therein lies the problem with cynicism that overwhelms reality and hope.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2008 06:32 PM
    Comment #271955


    In 2004, the mortgage banking industry contributed $868,669 to the Bush reelection campaign. Bush’s largest campaign contributor was Roland E. Arnall, the former CEO of the largest subprime lender, U.S. Ameriquest which has since gone bankrupt. Arnall was nominated by Bush to be the Ambassador to the Netherlands.

    Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2008 07:37 PM
    Comment #271957


    The South was so cynical of Lincoln that it seceded from the Union. I doubt if Dan or Craig are planning to do that.

    Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2008 07:45 PM
    Comment #271959

    David, I base my opinion in facts (above).
    Trying to put blame only on one party, and overstate the contribution of the GLB act, while ignoring the other major contributing factors which started a long time ago is what is irrational.

    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, you and Craig are unbelievable.
    HMMMmmmmm … in what way exactly?

    Forgive me for asking, but is that a critique of the messege or messenger?

    David R. Remer wrote: God forbid you two should ever find yourselves living in prosperous times. You just wouldn’t be able to handle the volume of red flags going off in your heads.
    ? ? ? These are prosperous times today?

    I don’t agree with Craig on many things, but I do agree with him 100% with this issue, which is that:

    • (1) this economic melt-down was a long time coming (decades),

    • and it is about equally the fault of most politicians in BOTH parties, and several White House administrations.

    HHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmm … I seem to recall a day when someone else thouhgt the same thing and resisted wallowing in the petty, distracting, circular partisan warfare.

    I could probably crash this server computer if I start listing all of the evidence to suppor that fact.
    I’m not protecting Republicans, I’m not a Republican, I think Republicans are on the wrong side of this bailout for the GM, Chrysler, and Ford.

    David R. Remer wrote: Cynical is one thing. But, cynicism that rejects and denies all things good along with the bad, is a defense mechanism gone off the deep end.
    Again, it isn’t cynicism if opinions are based on reality, track records, voting records, statements, deeds, and stated policies.

    The reality is that BOTH parties and many administrations are responsible for where we are today.
    That’s a fact.
    Trying to blame it on one party or the other is mere wallowing in the petty, distracting partisan warfare.

    David R. Remer wrote: Cynicism that blinds one to warranted optimism and working to make such optimism reality, is crippling, and not rational.
    It’s not cynicism if opinions are based on reality, track records, voting records, statements, deeds, and stated policies.
    David R. Remer wrote: No, d.a.n, GLB did much more than just pave the way for mergers. It paved the way to corporations too big to be allowed to fail. Not a small point to be overlooked.
    Nonsense.

    There’s no doubt Phil Gramm contributed to deregulation, but that was not the real issue, nor the major cause of the subprime melt-down.
    The claim that it is mostly Phil Gramm’s and Republicans fault is nonsense, and I’ve posted several other credible factors in the subpribme melt-down (above and below).
    That fact is, BOTH parties are very much responsible for the debt problem, as evidenced by the bipartisan support.
    That’s not cynical.
    That’s the truth.

    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, and you trust Bill Clinton to speak the truth about bills he signed into law? The man never made a mistake he wasn’t proud of bragging about as a sound decision at the time. In this regard, Bill C. and GW Bush have something in common. Arrogance that denies any critique or criticism.
    Again, that’s not the point.

    The point is that the GLB BILL was bipartisan, as evidence by the vote counts below, and therefore, BOTH parties are responsible for that BILL.

    There are severel reasons for the debt problem, which took many decades and BOTH parties are to blame for it:

    • (1) Congress has been deficit spending for 52 consecutive years.

    • (2) The Federal Reserve has caused incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years.

    • (3) Politicians in BOTH parties signed off on deregulation (see vote counts above).

    • (4) Politicians in BOTH parties resisted (or ignored) the growing subprime bubble.

    • (5) Few (if any) in Congress or the White House thought the debt problem was a big problem (except for David Walker, former GAO Comptroller), as evidenced by the massive fiscal irresponsibility for many decades.

    • (6) And now, Congress, White House, and Federal Reserve may make a bad problem worse with another economic terror:
        hyperinflation

    • (7) And the voters repeatedly rewarded Congress for all of it with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, despite dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress.

    David R. Remer wrote: But, I grant you both, we are living in irrational times, and adaptation to contradictions will leave everyone’s defense mechanisms a bit in tatters. It really is in one’s self interest however to insure one’s adaptations are not maladaptations with permanence.
    Very true.
    David R. Remer wrote: You both seem unable to trust anymore.
    HHHHHHHHMMMMMMMmmmmmmm … is that critiqing the message or messenger?

    Anyway, just because others may not be a huge Obama fan, it does not equate to being able to trust anymore.
    It does not equate to cynicism.
    Especially when numerous plausible reasons are provided for not sharing in the optimism that many others do.

    David R. Remer wrote: If Obama were Lincoln, your cynicism is so overwrought you could not trust …
    . HHHHHHHHMMMMMMMmmmmmmm … is that critiqing the message or messenger?

    How about attacking our reasons enumerated above instead of attacking us for?
    (a) agreeing with Craig Holmes that this debt problem too many decades to create, and BOTH parties are responsible?
    (b) not sharing in the optimism about Obama, based on track records, voting records, statements, deeds, and stated/known policies?
    After all, I’m far from alone on the issues.

    There are many others here that agree on (a) and (b) above.
    We’re not all as cynical as we’re being portrayed.

    David R. Remer wrote: If Obama were Lincoln, your cynicism is so overwrought you could not trust such an act as Lincoln would put on, or such noble rhetoric seemingly so out of place in your cynical views of people and all politicians. George Washington would especially incur your distrust no doubt as the pragmatist that he was and declarations of selfless effort.
    HMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmm … that sounds very much like another critique of the messenger?

    The use of the word “you” is usually a dead give-away.

    David R. Remer wrote: And therein lies the problem with cynicism that overwhelms reality and hope.
    True. But you have not proven that cynicism has overcome reality.

    I recall a lot of optimism too after the 7-NOV-2006 election.
    What came of that?
    Now you tell me I’m going to be eating my words soon.

    Is it really so unrealistic when 85%-to-90% of Congress is repeatedly rewarded with re-election?
    Yet, if a person was truly so cynical, would they spend any time trying to convince others that a different outcome is possible, if we hold Congress accountable?
    Does that sound like a cynical person?

    jlw, Thanks!
    Your right. I am just optimistic to believe we will someday reform our government peacefully.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 13, 2008 07:52 PM
    Comment #271963


    Mortgage banking industry contributions to 2008 campaigns.

    1. Obama $418,328 = 41,832.8 $10 donations.

    2. Clinton $257,620

    3. McCain $196,771

    4. Romney $164,800

    5. Dodd $130,750

    6. Giuliani $113,750

    7. Frank $62,801

    Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2008 08:28 PM
    Comment #271965


    In the first nine months of 2008, the U.S. automakers spent $50 million lobbying Congress and an additional $15 million in campaign contributions.

    Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2008 09:07 PM
    Comment #271973

    jlw,

    Obama has voiced his disdain for the lobbying industry, and has selected many measure to minimize his dependence on them. He has opened his meetings when they include lobbyists, so the public can witness any paperwork that comes as a result of those meetings.

    Cynicism…aw, crap…I guess it just ain’t worth trying to stem the flow of doubt, angst, and paranoia…go ahead and sag on out the bottom…just please don’t try to take me down with you. What’s that old saying???…move it, park it, or build a bridge over it, ‘cause we’re coming through…he glass IS half full…:)

    Posted by: Marysdude at December 13, 2008 10:45 PM
    Comment #271976


    Marysdude: I am a left of center democrat, at least I am still registered. If Obama governs from the center or center-right, I am alswys going to have differences with him. This does not mean that I want him to fail or be considered an ineffective president. If his presidency is deemed a failure, you lose, I lose, the whole country loses.

    WatchBlog is for political discussion. If we are all going to dance the Obama, if we are all going to agree to agree with him on the issues, then we might as well rename this CheerBlog.

    Posted by: jlw at December 14, 2008 12:36 AM
    Comment #271994

    jlw, the nation is vastly more important than WatchBlog, and if the American people DO NOT as a majority get behind a solid vision and plan to effectively deal with our nation’s problems, those problems will bury this nation.

    It is in the best interest of the nation for the majority of the people to get behind Obama’s credible efforts to deal our challenges, whether or not we agree entirely on the details. Failure to act decisively and carry through with such decisions on entitlements, foreign policy restructuring, and economic fundamentals will destroy this great nation’s future status and opportunities.

    So, we can reverse solutions every 4 to 8 years rendering those solutions worthless and ineffective in dealing with long term structural challenges, or, we can remain divided on any approach proposed to the point of inaction, which also will permit the challenges to overwhelm our ability to act.

    Or, we can get behind solutions, less than perfect as they may arguably be, depending on how one prioritizes the nation’s challenges, and resolve and overcome a number of those challenges completely in some cases and partially in others.

    I frankly don’t see any other options for the American people than these three herein outlined. Do you?

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2008 01:38 PM
    Comment #271996

    d.a.n, I have not ignored the other aspects. That is plain for any to read here. The GLB Act caused the tax payers to be on the hook for trillions. There is no getting around that fact. The GLB Act allowed financial corporations to merge lines of business and grow to control such vast amounts of the economy’s transactions as to threaten the entire economy should one of these institutions fail.

    Without the GLB Act, financial institutions would have failed, but, the majority that didn’t, would have taken up the slack. You do realize that the smaller financial institutions, banks, and credit unions and lenders are NOT the one’s in trouble generally, and those which are, only due to financial intanglements with the behemoth institutions which have failed. These smaller financial institutions constituted no threat to the American economy. The GLB Act created the financial institutions that now threaten our economy.

    You are correct to point out the obvious which no one has asserted, that the GLB Act did not create the leveraging crisis, nor the hedge fund bubble, nor the real estate valuation bubble. But, then, no one is asserting that it did. What the GLB Act did though, is precisely what you complain the loudest about, create financial institutions who HAD to be bailed out by tax payers thus increasing the national debt by a couple trillion. Yes, the GLB Act did that!

    The facts are unarguable on this point as evidenced by the fact that the smaller financial institutions and those with dedicated singular lines of business today, constitute no threat to the American economy and require no tax payer bailouts. That would have been the case for nearly ALL financial institutions had the GLB Act not passed, or, had the Congress followed through on the subsequent proposals to tighten up the oversight and regulation holes left in place by the GLB Act.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2008 01:49 PM
    Comment #271997

    jlw,

    Dear Gawd, I’m no cheerleader, for one thing I weigh 240 lbs, am only 5’8”, and am damn near seventy years old, wouldn’t I look silly out there with my pom poms?

    Kennedy had a message that many bought into, and many more called them pink cheeked fools for falling for the sales pitch. Aren’t we glad they fell for it though?

    Obama has a message that resonates well with me. I prefer for him to succeed…that does not mean I don’t see the potential failures ahead, it means that I think we can circumvent some of those failures, and stomp over some others. I truly believe that if we get behind this man, and help push things along, we can survive. If we continue to back-bite and work more as obstructionists, we are bound to fail.

    If Obama fails, what options do we still have open?

    Posted by: Marysdude at December 14, 2008 01:53 PM
    Comment #272005

    Just don’t wear pink, dude !

    Posted by: janedoe at December 14, 2008 02:52 PM
    Comment #272018

    Just don’t wear pink, dude !
    Posted by: janedoe at December 14, 2008 02:52 PM

    janedoe,

    Pink what? ;)

    Posted by: Marysdude at December 14, 2008 04:36 PM
    Comment #272028
    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, I have not ignored the other aspects. That is plain for any to read here.
    No, it’s not that plain.

    Your analysis is flawed.
    You appear to be accepting the opinions of several overly partisan op-ed pieces.

    First of all, many comments appear to be ignoring and rationalizing the bipartisan nature of our economic mess today:

    • David R. Remer wrote: This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

    • David R. Remer wrote: Republicans still support Phil Gramm as McCain’s economic advisor, the same Gramm who proposed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

    • David R. Remer wrote: Yes, Clinton and Democrats helped pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but, it was Democrats who afterward proposed additional legislative measures to compensate for the voids in oversight and regulation left by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Republicans who killed all such compensatory efforts.
        Not true. G.W. Bush (43) started his “ownership society” crusade in 2000, but in year 2003, when the real-estate bubble and climbing foreclosures was becoming so accute, the Bush administration asked Congress to reign in Fannie and Freddie with regulation. There are numerous videos on YouTube, records, and Congressional transcriptss that corroborate these facts … .
        • House Financial Services Committee hearing (Sept. 10, 2003), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said: I worry, frankly, that there’s a tension here. The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see.

        • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said: Secretary Martinez, if it ain’t broke, why do you want to fix it? Have the GSEs [government-sponsored enterprises] ever missed their housing goals?

        • In the House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 25, 2003: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): I do think I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness that we have in OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] and OTS [Office of Thrift Supervision]. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing… .

        • Therefore, the majority of Democrats in BOTH the House and Senate (and a few Republicans) blocked the effort! Another bipartisan result.

        • Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) said: I, just briefly will say, Mr. [Greenspan] Chairman, obviously, like most of us here, this is one of the great success stories of all time. And we don’t want to lose sight of that and [what] has been pointed out by all of our witnesses here, obviously, the 70% of Americans who own their own homes today, in no small measure, due because of the work that’s been done here. And that shouldn’t be lost in this debate and discussion… .

        • Senate Banking Committee, Feb. 24-25, 2004: Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) said: What is the wrong that we’re trying to right here? What is the potential harm that we’re trying to avert?

        • Senate Banking Committee, June 15, 2006: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY): I think a lot of people are being opportunistic, … throwing out the baby with the bathwater, saying, “Let’s dramatically restructure Fannie and Freddie,” when that is not what’s called for as a result of what’s happened here… .

        • House Financial Services Committee hearing, Sept. 25, 2003: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Let me ask [George] Gould and [Franklin] Raines on behalf of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, do you feel that over the past years you have been substantially under-regulated?
          Rep. Barney Frank asks: Mr. Raines?
          Mr. Raines said: No, sir.
          Rep. Barney Frank asks: Mr. Gould?
          Mr. Gould said: No, sir… .
          Rep. Barney Frank said: OK. Then I am not entirely sure why we are here… .
          Rep. Barney Frank: I believe there has been more alarm raised about potential unsafety and unsoundness than, in fact, exists.

        • … more … :
    • David R. Remer wrote: Democrats can be blamed for a lot, but, not this economic meltdown.

    • David R. Remer wrote: The facts and history just don’t support blaming Democrats being at fault,…

    • David R. Remer wrote: Craig, I can’t help you with your reading comprehension problem. I explained quite clearly that the GLB Act opened the possibility door for finanicial institutions to grow too large to fail.

    • David R. Remer wrote: It took 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement to turn possibility into reality.
    There were many factors and years of abuse that created this huge economic mess and a huge debt problem.

    Your comments appear to be attributing that major cause (or enabler) of the economic mess to the GLB [Gramm-Leach-Bliley] Act.
    While it was a factor, there were many other factors , Acts , and legislation that created this economic mess:

    • (1) DEREGULATION: Bill Clinton’s also deregulated the banking business futher, by also signing the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000, which paved the way for the rampant CDS (Credit Default Swap) and derivatives markets: www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/17/business/17swap.php
      The banking deregulation, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act were only part of the nation’s massive fiscal problems.
      A major cause of the huge asset bubble (real-estate) was
      • (1.a) George Bush’s “ownership society” in year 2000,

      • (1.b) and the majority of Democrats in Congress (with some Republican support), who fell totally in love with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and (Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)) resisted any investigations into the rampant appetite for mortgage paper with lower credit requirements. Thus, the subprime mortgage lending business was born.
    • (2) MASSIVE DEBT: Nation-wide debt grew from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP in 2008 (for 52+ consecutive years).

    • (3) LEVERAGING OF DEBT to CREATE NEW MONEY: 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt (due to a highly leveraged creation of new money via loans with a 9-to-1 debt-to-reserves ratio frational banking system), which begs the question: Where will the money come from to merely pay the Interest, much less stop the Principal debt from growing ever larger, when that money does not yet exist?

    • (4) INCESSANT INFLATION: Incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years is economically destabilizing, and fuels bust-to-boom bubble-after-bubble, as everyone runs about looking for someplace to protect their money from the non-stop erosion of exponential CPI (inflation): One-Simple-Idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm#Erosion

    • (5) WARS: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

    • (6) THE DISPARITY TREND: the middle class is shrinking; the wealth disparity gap is growing; median incomes are falling; unemployment is rising; there are 10,000 foreclosures per day; inflation is rising;

    • (7) BAD MONETARY POLICY: The monetary system is also another contributing factor for boom-to-bust bubble-after-bubble.
      Also, thanks to Greenspan and the Federal Reserve, they made it too easy to get credit.
      Of course, the Federal Reserve has an obvious conflict of interest.
      It makes money by creating money out of thin air (at a 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves), and receiving interest on the total loan (to member banks).
      Excessive money supply creates incessant inflation, which creates economic instability, which creates nervous and risky investors who are all running around like a chicken with their head cut-off, looking for someplace to put their money so that it is not eroded by the incessant inflation. As a result of this Ponzi scheme (i.e. the Federal Reserve’s 9-to-1 debt-to-reserve fractional banking), we now have a huge debt-pyramid, in which 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt, and nation-wide debt has grown from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP in year 2008. People call it a credit crisis, but it is a debt crisis. Who told us deficits don’t matter? And pumping money into the banks doesn’t do much good for a 70% consumer-driven economy when most Americans are already so deep in debt ($54-to-$67 Ttrillion of nation-wide debt), they can’t borrow any more.

    • (8) SLUMBERING ELECTORATE: Voters aren’t paying close enough attention. Also, repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians with 85%-to-95% re-election rates does not make much sense when most voters polled give Congress dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings.
    • (9) OTHER ABUSES: contributing to economic instability …
    So the fact is, most incumbent politicians in BOTH the Democrat and Republcian party and the electorate can thank themselves for this entire subprime mortgage melt-down.

    David R. Remer wrote: The GLB [Gramm-Leach-Bliley] Act caused the tax payers to be on the hook for trillions. There is no getting around that fact. The GLB Act allowed financial corporations to merge lines of business and grow to control such vast amounts of the economy’s transactions as to threaten the entire economy should one of these institutions fail.
    It was a contributing factor, but not the only deregulatioin legislation that paved the way for so many abuses.

    It was also not all caused by Republicans

  • David R. Remer wrote: This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which was introduced by Phil Gramm, but passed by huge support in:
    • (a) BOTH the Senate (90=90%=Yay, 8=Nay, 1=NoVote) and House (362=83%=Yay, 57=Nay, 15=NoVote),

    • (b) which is a huge majority of BOTH Democrats and Republicans (i.e. bipartisan),

    • (c) and this veto-proof and bipartisan GLB Act was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999.

    David R. Remer wrote: Without the GLB Act, financial institutions would have failed, but, the majority that didn’t, would have taken up the slack. You do realize that the smaller financial institutions, banks, and credit unions and lenders are NOT the one’s in trouble generally, and those which are, only due to financial intanglements with the behemoth institutions which have failed. These smaller financial institutions constituted no threat to the American economy. The GLB Act created the financial institutions that now threaten our economy.

    No. Not the GLB Act alone. As said above, the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000, signed by Bill Clinton was as bad, or worse.

    And again, it was all done bipartisanly.
    The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which was introduced by Phil Gramm, but passed by huge support in:

    • (a) BOTH the Senate (90=Yay, 8=Nay, 1=NoVote) and House (362=Yay, 57=Nay, 15=NoVote),

    • (b) which is a huge majority of BOTH Democrats and Republicans (i.e. bipartisan),

    • (c) and this veto-proof and bipartisan GLB Act was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999.

    David R. Remer wrote: You are correct to point out the obvious which no one has asserted, that the GLB Act did not create the leveraging crisis, nor the hedge fund bubble, nor the real estate valuation bubble. But, then, no one is asserting that it did. What the GLB Act did though, is precisely what you complain the loudest about, create financial institutions who HAD to be bailed out by tax payers thus increasing the national debt by a couple trillion. Yes, the GLB Act did that!

    I disagree. The impact of GLB is being greatly exaggerated. The GLB Act repealed part of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, opening up competition among banks, securities companies and insurance companies. The Glass-Steagall Act prohibited a bank from offering investment, commercial banking, and insurance services. The GLB Act allowed commercial and investment banks to consolidate. For example, Citibank merged with Travelers Group, an insurance company, and in 1998 formed the conglomerate Citigroup, a corporation combining banking and insurance underwriting services under brands including Smith-Barney, Shearson, Primerica and Travelers Insurance Corporation. The law was passed to legalize these mergers on a permanent basis. Historically, the combined industry has been known as the financial services industry.

    The basis for rejecting GLB as a HUGE factor as is being asserted is because there are STILL tens of thousands of banks, insurance companies, and securities companies nation-wide.
    While some mergers created some larger banks, there is no credible proof that the total losses and failures would have been much different.
    That is, If Citebank had not merged with Travelers Group, and both STILL failed, the losses are STILL the same, and STILL just as huge as if they were combined.
    Therefore, the “too huge to fail” theory doesn’t fly.
    Had the GLB Act not been passed, I supposed we would instead be saying today “too many to fail”?
    Losses are losses, regardless of whether they are for 1 large corporation, or 2 half-the-size corporations.
    Just because losses are spread across one corporation, instead of several smaller corporations, the sum losses STILL exist and are STILL roughly equal.

    David R. Remer wrote: The facts are unarguable on this point as evidenced by the fact that the smaller financial institutions and those with dedicated singular lines of business today, constitute no threat to the American economy and require no tax payer bailouts.
    No, it isn’t inarguable.

    It has not been sufficiently proven by a long shot that mergers and combined industries is the root cause of the problem, nor the cause of overall increased losses and failures.
    If X + X = Y and Y fails, it’s the same as X + X failing, and the losses are still the same.
    I have no respect for Phil Gramm (especially after his “whining” and “mental recession” comments), but the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000, signed by Bill Clinton, was worse than the GLB Act, because it paved the way for a myriad of fancy and (by design) complex derivatives (e.g CDSs, SIVs, ABSs, CDOs, subprime CDOs, squared CDOs, CPDOs, SPVs, VIEs, etc.), and other exotic investment vehicles that reduced transparency and left hurricane victims without the ability to even identify who they are actually insured by.

    Those complex derivatives allowed the banks , investment corporations , insurance companies , and Wall Street to re-package toxic debt and market it to the world.

    David R. Remer wrote: That would have been the case for nearly ALL financial institutions had the GLB Act not passed, or, had the Congress followed through on the subsequent proposals to tighten up the oversight and regulation holes left in place by the GLB Act.
    Yes, oversight was what was needed. But the GLB Act was not the root cause, nor the worst legislation at the root of the problem. The Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000 was worse.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 14, 2008 06:40 PM
    Comment #272060


    A freed up free market and massive fiscal irresponsibility both in government and the business community. It is hard to conceive a better formula for disaster.

    Posted by: jlw at December 15, 2008 10:44 AM
    Comment #272070

    d.a.n, said: “First of all, many comments appear to be ignoring and rationalizing the bipartisan nature of our economic mess today:”

    Taken out of context of all that I write, some comments may appear that way. But, to set the record straight, if we had not ENTERED 2001 with a 5.65 Trillion national debt, our economy and all this borrowing would not be nearly so expensive to our future. That however, should be a given. And the fact that the 5.65 Trillion we started with in 2001 was created by both parties SHOULD also be a given. I take it as such.

    d.a.n, Fannie and Freddie were only a VERY SMALL part of what has happened. They were regulated and did not make the no interest, no down payment, no documentation loans to home buyers. Their contribution was in buying such loans as colateralized debt. I don’t think your understanding is very clear on this. F&F Should have been overseen for what they were contributing to, and their leveraging was outrageously irresponsible. But, they did not create the inexcusable initial loans without verified collateral or ability to pay standards that caused so much of the initial foreclosures.

    They ended up being the repository for the resale of such bundled loans.

    And you DO NOT address my statement that it was Democrats who sought to plug the holes left by the passage of the GLB Act. Fannie and Freddie have nothing to do with that, yet you present F&F as a reply. non-sequitur.

    You seem to take any statement of fact which might happen to serve as a positive comment about Democrats as the speakers universal praise of all things Democrats have done and been responsible for. Don’t you think that is a stretch in logic? I do.

    Yet the fact remains, Democrats proposed bills and amendments to plug the holes left by the GLB Act. That is not a universal defense for all Democratic actions. It is what it is. An historical fact. Why attempt to revise factual history in order to condemn the Democrats. The Democrats record of serving themselves and power is ample enough to condemn Democrat governance on. Not to mention their generous contributions to the national debt and deficits over the decades.

    d.a.n, you cite “many” contributions to this economic calamity. But, you do not enumerate them. I know why. You can’t. Because there are NO DIRECT links between acts prior to the GLB Act and this current economic calamity. All causes of the current economic mess are post GLB Act, beginning with the GLB Act. Refute that fact if you can. But, you won’t with historical data, because it doesn’t exist.

    Your arguments that read like “If the United States had never been formed, this economic calamity would not exist, and therefore the founding of this nation is the cause of the current economic mess” is just flawed logic, d.a.n.

    To establish causation, you must evidence direct connections. Generalizations such as previous national debt prior to Republicans taking control in 2001 are contributory cause of the doubling of the national debt since then, and therefore Democrats are equally responsible for the doubling of the national debt in the last 8 years, is just faulty logic and reasoning, d.a.n.

    Some Democrats are responsible for the passage of the GLB Act. But, some Democrats attempted to plug the holes in that act afterward, as well. Not so with Republicans who were on a deregulation and cutting back government oversight of the private sector, bent.

    So, I will concede your point that some Democrats are contributory to the current economic crises. Can’t leave out those DixieCrats who voted with Republicans these last 8 years on some of these measures to abdicate oversight and abandon regulation. Generally however, it was the Republican Party controlling the economic oversight and regulation agenda since 2001. And therefore, the Republican Party’s governance responsibility since 2001.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2008 01:46 PM
    Comment #272073

    I’m with Stephen Dougherty on this one…no philosopher would suggest society run with free rein, because anarchy would soon prevail. Why then would economists suggest it is plausible for an economy to run free rein? Do not the same principles apply? An economy run amok will not self regulate, or self adjust. It will just grow ever larger until it is too big to failll…oh…

    Posted by: Marysdude at December 15, 2008 02:09 PM
    Comment #272074

    Excuse me…Stephen Daugherty, not Stephen Dougherty. Sorry, Mr. Daugherty, I’ll try to do better.

    Posted by: Marysdude at December 15, 2008 02:11 PM
    Comment #272078

    jlw and marysdude, quite right. And that is why Republicans own this economic crisis to the extent that lack of oversight and regulation these last 8 years contributed to it. The lion’s share, IMO.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2008 02:59 PM
    Comment #272086
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n, said: “First of all, many comments appear to be ignoring and rationalizing the bipartisan nature of our economic mess today:”
    Taken out of context of all that I write, some comments may appear that way.
    AHHhhhhhhh … the ole’ “taken out of context” argument, eh?

    Such as these statements, which have no trouble standing alone (i.e. out of context; see above for full context)?

    • [01] David R. Remer wrote: This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

    • [02] David R. Remer wrote: Yes, Clinton and Democrats helped pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but, it was Democrats who afterward proposed additional legislative measures to compensate for the voids in oversight and regulation left by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Republicans who killed all such compensatory efforts.

    • [03] David R. Remer wrote: Democrats can be blamed for a lot, but, not this economic meltdown.

    • [04] David R. Remer wrote: The facts and history just don’t support blaming Democrats being at fault,…

    • [05] David R. Remer wrote: Craig, I can’t help you with your reading comprehension problem. I explained quite clearly that the GLB Act opened the possibility door for finanicial institutions to grow too large to fail.

    • [06] David R. Remer wrote: It took 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement to turn possibility into reality.

    David R. Remer wrote: But, to set the record straight, if we had not ENTERED 2001 with a 5.65 Trillion national debt, our economy and all this borrowing would not be nearly so expensive to our future. That however, should be a given. And the fact that the 5.65 Trillion we started with in 2001 was created by both parties SHOULD also be a given. I take it as such.
    The problem started a long, long time ago, and there is ample evidence to show fiscal irresponsibility by BOTH parties and the Federal Reserve for many decades.

    The blame game above, such as pinning most (if not all) blame on Republicans (e.g. as in [01] above: “This recession caused by Republicans”), and saying Democrats can not be blamed (as in [04] above: “Democrats can be blamed for a lot, but, not this economic meltdown”), is not convincing, and appears to be biased, because:

    • The Republicans were the IN-PARTY with a very small majority in Congress for 6 years (between 2000 and 2006) in Congress (not 8 years).

    • Democrats in Congress have had the majority for the last 2 years, for 42 of the last 52 years, all but 14 of the last 78 years (1931-to-2009).

    • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act had huge bipartisan support, and Bill Clinton signed it.

    • The more damaging Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000) was also signed by Bill Clinton.

    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, Fannie and Freddie were only a VERY SMALL part of what has happened.

    Not true.

    Is the $350 Billion (see below) a “VERY SMALL” part of what happened.
    Corruption at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Bear Sterns, many banks, insurance companies, financial corporations, and Wall Street are not a “VERY SMALL” part of what happened, as indicated below …

      Financial Crisis Balance Sheet (as of 13-NOV-2008):
        Government Entity ———————————————— Sum of Money Spent
        Federal Reserve:
        • (TAF) Term Auction Facility ————————— $900 Billion

          • Discount Window Lending:
          • Commercial Banks ————————————————- $99.2 Billion

          • Investment Banks ————————————————- $56.7 Billion

          • Loans to buy ABCP ———————————————— $76.5 Billion

          • AIG ——————————————————————— $112.5 Billion

          • Bear Stearns ——————————————————- $29.5 Billion

          • (TSLF) Term Securities Lending Facility —————— $225 Billion

          • Swap Lines ———————————————————- $613 Billion

          • (MMIFF) Money Market Investor Funding Facility —- $540 Billion

          • Commercial Paper Funding Facility ———————— $257 Billion

        • (TARP) Treasury Asset Relief Program ————- $700 Billion

        • Automakers ————————————————— $25 Billion

        • (FHA) Federal Housing Administration ————- $300 Billion

        • Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac —————————— $350 Billion

      • Total: $4.2845 Trillion

    David R. Remer wrote: They [Fannie and Freddie] were regulated
    Obviously, they were not sufficiently regulated (i.e. see list of fraud by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac below).
    David R. Remer wrote: They [Fannie and Freddie] were regulated and did not make the no interest, no down payment, no documentation loans to home buyers. Their contribution was in buying such loans as colateralized debt.
    They should know what they’re buying. Besides, see fraud by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac below.
    David R. Remer wrote: I don’t think your understanding is very clear on this.
    Not true.

    FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC:

    • In a New York Investing Meeting (an organization of 1800 independent traders and investors) on 13-Aug-2008, a speaker (Daryl Montgomery) spoke about “Exposing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - Part 2: Corruption”.

    • In a previous meeting in DEC-2007, they called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were one of the dirtiest dozen of financial corporations, and correctly predicted it was only a matter of time before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed.

    • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both had major accounting scandals in year 2000. They were force to write down losses, and pay hefty fines.

    • Fannie Mae had to pay $1 Billion dollars merely for the subsequent audits as a result of the scandals.

    • Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac purposely falsified earnings.

    • Fannie Mae overstated assets, understated losses, falsified signatures on accounting records, misclassified securities, etc.

    • Fannie Mae senior management falsified accounting to reap maximum bonuses for executive management.

    • No one in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executive management was ever prosecuted.

    • Fannie Mae was fined $400 Million for accounting violations.

    • Fannie Mae had to restate 2000 -to- 2004 earnings.

    • Fannie Mae took until year 2007 to produce the restatement of earnings, in which $6.3 Billion in profits disappeared.

    • Fannie Mae, from 1998 to 2008, spent $200 Million for lobbying and campaign contributions.

    • Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac both sponsor local homeowner pressure groups.

    • Top Washington Power brokers from BOTH Democrat and Republican parties are on Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac payrolls.

    • A securities-fraud case against Freddie Mac was settled in April 2006 for $410 million. At the time, the settlement was the 8th largest in a securities-fraud case in U.S. history.

    • Head of OFAOE Regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that warned of potential financial problems and excessive leveraging; he was fired by Bush Administration

    • More:
      • www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QBRIsCkGQ0&NR=1

      • www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxMInSfanqg&feature=related

      • www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs&feature=related

      • www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkwtYhiJ930

    David R. Remer wrote: F&F Should have been overseen for what they were contributing to, and their leveraging was outrageously irresponsible.
    True. Of course Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should have know!
    David R. Remer wrote: But, they did not create the inexcusable initial loans without verified collateral or ability to pay standards that caused so much of the initial foreclosures.
    No, but they looked the other way, and/or were extremely negligent for not knowing what they were buying.
    David R. Remer wrote: And you DO NOT address my statement that it was Democrats who sought to plug the holes left by the passage of the GLB Act.
    How? Perhaps Democrats should not have voted for the GLB to begin with? Besides, the impact of GLB is exaggerated, and the GLB Act received huge bipartisan support, and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000, signed by Bill Clinton, was worse.
    David R. Remer wrote: Fannie and Freddie have nothing to do with that [i.e. plugging holes left by passage of GLB], yet you present F&F as a reply. non-sequitur.
    I did not recall any huge battle where Democrats tried to plug holes in the GLB Act? Besides, the impact of GLB is exaggerated, and the GLB Act received huge bipartisan support, and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000, signed by Bill Clinton, was worse.

    Any way, even if Democrats tried to undo the GLB Act, it does not exonerate them for passing it to begin with.

    David R. Remer wrote: You seem to take any statement of fact which might happen to serve as a positive comment about Democrats as the speakers universal praise of all things Democrats have done and been responsible for. Don’t you think that is a stretch in logic? I do.
    Not true.

    I am more consistent than most at identifying and commenting on partisan bias from either side (Democrat and Republican), as evidenced by my web-page in honor of their similarities, where there is no favoritism.
    I actually don’t care about either party at all.

    Craig Holmes and I were merely addressing this sort of blame game and wallowing in the partisan warfare …

    • [01] David R. Remer wrote: This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

    • [02] David R. Remer wrote: Yes, Clinton and Democrats helped pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but, it was Democrats who afterward proposed additional legislative measures to compensate for the voids in oversight and regulation left by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Republicans who killed all such compensatory efforts.

    • [03] David R. Remer wrote: Democrats can be blamed for a lot, but, not this economic meltdown.

    • [04] David R. Remer wrote: The facts and history just don’t support blaming Democrats being at fault,…

    • [05] David R. Remer wrote: Craig, I can’t help you with your reading comprehension problem. I explained quite clearly that the GLB Act opened the possibility door for finanicial institutions to grow too large to fail.

    • [06] David R. Remer wrote: It took 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement to turn possibility into reality.

    This economic mess was (no doubt) made worse by the 6 years of Republicans being the IN-PARTY, but this mess is equally the fault of Democrat politicians, who have had a majority in Congress all but 14 of the last 78 years. BOTH created this mess, and the majority of voters helped.

    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, you cite “many” contributions to this economic calamity. But, you do not enumerate them. I know why. You can’t. Because there are NO DIRECT links between acts prior to the GLB Act and this current economic calamity.
    Not true.

    First of all, the definition of enumerate is:

  • To count off or name one by one; list: A spokesperson enumerated the strikers’ demands.

  • To determine the number of; count.

  • See my numbered list above. I did enumerate them (above), and will do so again here for convenience

    There were many other factors and legislation that created this economic mess:

    • (1) DEREGULATION: Bill Clinton’s also deregulated the banking business futher, by also signing the (www.stroock.com/SiteFiles/Pub134.pdf) Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000, which paved the way for the rampant CDS (Credit Default Swap) and derivatives markets: www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/17/business/17swap.php
      The banking deregulation, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act were only part of the nation’s massive fiscal problems.
      A major cause of the huge asset bubble (real-estate) was
      • (1.a) George Bush’s “ownership society” in year 2000,

      • (1.b) and the majority of Democrats in Congress (with some Republican support), who fell totally in love with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and (Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)) resisted any investigations into the rampant appetite for mortgage paper with lower credit requirements. Thus, the subprime mortgage lending business was born.
    • (2) MASSIVE DEBT: Nation-wide debt grew from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP in 2008 (for 52+ consecutive years).

    • (3) LEVERAGING OF DEBT to CREATE NEW MONEY: 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt (due to a highly leveraged creation of new money via loans with a 9-to-1 debt-to-reserves ratio frational banking system), which begs the question: Where will the money come from to merely pay the Interest, much less stop the Principal debt from growing ever larger, when that money does not yet exist?

    • (4) INCESSANT INFLATION: Incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years is economically destabilizing, and fuels bust-to-boom bubble-after-bubble, as everyone runs about looking for someplace to protect their money from the non-stop erosion of exponential CPI (inflation): One-Simple-Idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm#Erosion

    • (5) WARS: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

    • (6) THE DISPARITY TREND: the middle class is shrinking; the wealth disparity gap is growing; median incomes are falling; unemployment is rising; there are 10,000 foreclosures per day; inflation is rising;

    • (7) BAD MONETARY POLICY: The monetary system is also another contributing factor for boom-to-bust bubble-after-bubble.
      Also, thanks to Greenspan and the Federal Reserve, they made it too easy to get credit.
      Of course, the Federal Reserve has an obvious conflict of interest.
      It makes money by creating money out of thin air (at a 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves), and receiving interest on the total loan (to member banks).
      Excessive money supply creates incessant inflation, which creates economic instability, which creates nervous and risky investors who are all running around like a chicken with their head cut-off, looking for someplace to put their money so that it is not eroded by the incessant inflation. As a result of this Ponzi scheme (i.e. the Federal Reserve’s 9-to-1 debt-to-reserve fractional banking), we now have a huge debt-pyramid, in which 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt, and nation-wide debt has grown from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP in year 2008. People call it a credit crisis, but it is a debt crisis. Who told us deficits don’t matter? And pumping money into the banks doesn’t do much good for a 70% consumer-driven economy when most Americans are already so deep in debt ($54-to-$67 Ttrillion of nation-wide debt), they can’t borrow any more.

    • (8) SLUMBERING ELECTORATE: Voters aren’t paying close enough attention. Also, repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians with 85%-to-95% re-election rates does not make much sense when most voters polled give Congress dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings.
    • (9) OTHER abuses contributing to economic instability
    So the fact is, most incumbent politicians in BOTH the Democrat and Republcian party and the electorate can thank themselves for this entire subprime mortgage melt-down.

    David R. Remer wrote: All causes of the current economic mess are post GLB Act, beginning with the GLB Act.
    Not true.

    A massive debt problem and all the things that caused it already existed in year 2000.
    Also, the total federal debt is actually more than the typically reported National Debt (e.g. $10.7 Trilion today), because there was also about $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay as you go, with a 77 Million baby boomer bubble approaching.

    David R. Remer wrote: Refute that fact if you can.
    I can (and have). So did Craig Holmes. Look above.
    David R. Remer wrote: But, you won’t with historical data, because it doesn’t exist.
    It does exist, as shown above.

    The reasons listed above are all very credible and plausible arguments, supported by historical evidence.

    David R. Remer wrote: Your arguments that read like “If the United States had never been formed, this economic calamity would not exist, and therefore the founding of this nation is the cause of the current economic mess” is just flawed logic, d.a.n.
    No, those (9) reasons enumerated above are not flawed.

    What is flawed logic is blaming most (or everything) on one political party, and ignoring the corruption in each IN-PARTY, which always leads to their becoming the OUT-PARTY.
    The two simply take turns.
    This economic mess and massive debt problem was a very long time coming, and there were numerous causes, and BOTH Republican politicians , Democrat politicians , and voters caused it. Also, the GLB Act was also not not the straw that broke the camel’s back. The cycle of the massive debt pyramid was shortened by all (9) of those factors above. Slowly, but surely, they finally created a debt problem that is now untenable.

    But, if you want to blame it on one thing, it would be: “selfishness and greed”

    David R. Remer wrote: To establish causation, you must evidence direct connections.
    I did establish causes and connections.

    See (1) through (9) above.
    It takes a lot of abuse to make an economy as large as ours falter.
    The GLB Act, and many things that have happened since year 2000 certainly helped create this massive debt problem and economic mess, but there was much more and many decades of abuses that brought us to where we are today.

    Our crisis today is a massive debt problem, and all of those things above were major contributing factors.

    David R. Remer wrote: Generalizations such as previous national debt …
    That was a serious major factor, since our crisis today is a massive debt problem.
    David R. Remer wrote: Generalizations such as previous national debt prior to Republicans taking control in 2001 are contributory cause of the doubling of the national debt since then, and therefore Democrats are equally responsible for the doubling of the national debt in the last 8 years, is just faulty logic and reasoning, d.a.n.
    BOTH Republicans and Democrats are responsible for all of it.

    Of course, the IN-PARTY is always a little more corrupt, which is why they always become the OUT-PARTY.
    Still, BOTH have contributed about equally over the last 50 years to bring us to where we are today.
    The fact that debt doubled in the last 8 years is about equally the fault of BOTH Democrats and Republicans.
    Remember, the majority (or near majority) in both parties voted for most of it.

    I’m not even slightly convinced that only one party is to blame for this massive debt crisis.
    I don’t have any sympathy for most Republican or Democrat politicians.
    I’m not a Republican or Democrat.
    In the last two elections, I voted mostly for Democrats, Independents, Greens, and Libertarians, and only one or two non-incumbent Republicans.
    BOTH parties have done a terrible job, and BOTH have contributed almost equally to this massive debt problem.
    It took many decades to create such a huge debt problem.
    And the Federal Reserve (i.e. Ponzi scheme) helped.

    David R. Remer wrote: Some Democrats are responsible for the passage of the GLB Act. But, some Democrats attempted to plug the holes in that act afterward, as well. Not so with Republicans who were on a deregulation and cutting back government oversight of the private sector, bent.
    Perhaps they did try to plug it, but the Democrats also resisted regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (see list and links above).

    And as said before, the impact of the GLB Act is exaggerated, and probably due to partisan motivations.
    Especially when Phil Gramm is so disliked (including me, and also including many Republicans).
    There are two sides to the GLB Act, and the mergers and “too big to fail” theory has a few holes in it.
    The Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000, signed by Bill Clinton, was worse, since it paved the way for a $55+ Trillion of Credit Default Swap nightmare and other layers of exotic investment vehicles (e.g CDSs, SIVs, ABSs, CDOs, subprime CDOs, squared CDOs, CPDOs, SPVs, VIEs, etc.).

    Thus, I disagree with the following (and [02] through [06] above)

    [01] David R. Remer wrote: This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

    Also, this is most likely not a mere recession.
    This nation is swimming in debt, and so far, creating trillions of new money out of thin air has not rescued it (nor will it).
    It’s much more serious than that.
    95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt, and nation-wide debt has quintupled as a percentage of GDP since year 1956.
    The federal government and Federal Reserve had better find a way to peacefully manage a big chunk of $67 Trillion of nation-wide debt, or foreclosures and bankruptcies will exceed current record highs.
    Otherwise, it may very likely turn into another depression.
    Especially if the federal government and the Federal Reserve let the another economic terror get out of control:

    • hyperinflation

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 15, 2008 05:02 PM
    Comment #272096

    Cute, d.a.n, how you still take these statements out of the context of many other essays and articles I wrote blaming Democrats and labeling them big spenders and deficit producers, unable to prioritize the nation’s needs. Taking comments out of context of my writings is clearly what you are doing, to cherry pick information to make your argument against someone who has agreed with you for years that the Democratic Party and Republican Party are responsible for the majority of the long term and growing ills our nation faces.

    If you are looking for agreement, you got it already. If you are to continue to pine for disagreement, you have that also. But, your penchant to blame Democrats equally for everything when there are clear philosophical differences between the two parties guiding their actions, just isn’t logical nor demonstrable on issues like regulation and oversight, which are at the heart of this economic calamity we are now experiencing.

    Republicans gained majority control in part by campaigning against the over regulation and too much oversight creating too big a government. With these kind of differences, it is illogical to try to argue they are both equally to blame. Especially when the policy control of the last 8 years has been in Republican hands, including the last 2 with the Republicans having filibuster control in the Senate blocking Democrat’s initiatives, not that all of them were worth passing.

    But, you have your view, and I have mine. Intelligent persons disagree throughout our society. And expressing agreement and disagreement with civility is what WatchBlog is all about.

    And if Democrats and Republicans are responsible for all of it, d.a.n, then the entire United States Constitution and history is responsible for the Republican and Democratic Parties, so, why don’t we just write off the United States democratic republic, and get the highest bid for it from China? That is the backbone of the logic your argument employs.

    And that is the hopelessness and cynicism implied by your remarks, because like it or not, the Democratic and Republican Parties are the parties at the helm of our government and future. To take the position that neither is capable ever of any good whatsoever, is a neat way of saying, there, now no one can ask anything of me, because I am irrelevant.

    On the other hand, if one takes the view that democracy is a good thing, then one must accept also that individual people and groups of people can have an impact and shape the future actions of either and both the Democratic and Republican parties in a positive way for better governance, with good and best intentions.

    If you want to blame Democrats for this economic malady, that’s fine. Not realistic, but, fine. But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected. Because you and I both know, politicians of any stripe will govern in the direction of what they think will get them reelected.

    Writing politicians off as imperfect human beings contributes NOTHING to better government going forward. What politician is going to listen to that and act upon it? Appealing to politicians better nature’s to act responsibly on our behalf, at least has a chance of improvement.

    Decreasing the incumbency election rate will have an even greater effect. Combine the two, and chances of better government may improve dramatically.

    So, what do you recommend going forward to Democrats to solve the economic mess we are in. They are going to be in control of the agenda for the most part. What do you recommend to Republicans as the party which will still control the filibuster in the Senate, in terms of the economic mess we are in?

    These are far more important questions than who was to blame for how we got here. Because the answer to that question is, “we all are”. We are a democratic republic.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2008 06:31 PM
    Comment #272125
    David R. Remer wrote: Cute, d.a.n, how you still take these statements out of the context of many other essays and articles I wrote blaming Democrats and labeling them big spenders and deficit producers, unable to prioritize the nation’s needs. Taking comments out of context of my writings is clearly what you are doing, to cherry pick information to make your argument against someone who has agreed with you for years that the Democratic Party and Republican Party are responsible for the majority of the long term and growing ills our nation faces.
    Cute?

    Where was any quote (of the [6] quotes all from this thread above), that was supposedly taken out of context, misrepresentative of the meaning?

    Yes, we have agreed for many years that BOTH parties are responsible for most long-term ills.

    However, you are now attempting to blame this current economic mess mostly on Republicans, and I disagree, and I also believe that logic fuels the distracting, divisive, circular partisan warfare, and is rooted in partisan bias (a bias as evidenced below: See NOTE #1 below).

    As for these comments (below), each is in full context above in the following comment # numbers , and the point of those comments is merely to corroborate your belief (which is your opinion, which you are completely entitled to) …

    • from Comment #271833 above: [01] David R. Remer wrote: This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

    • from Comment #271872 above: [02] David R. Remer wrote: Yes, Clinton and Democrats helped pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but, it was Democrats who afterward proposed additional legislative measures to compensate for the voids in oversight and regulation left by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Republicans who killed all such compensatory efforts.

    • from Comment #271872 above: [03] David R. Remer wrote: Democrats can be blamed for a lot, but, not this economic meltdown.

    • from Comment #271872 above: [04] David R. Remer wrote: The facts and history just don’t support blaming Democrats being at fault,…

    • from Comment #271888 above: [05] David R. Remer wrote: Craig, I can’t help you with your reading comprehension problem. I explained quite clearly that the GLB Act opened the possibility door for finanicial institutions to grow too large to fail.

    • from Comment #271881 above: [06] David R. Remer wrote: It took 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement to turn possibility into reality.

    In context, or not, all six comments are within this thread above, and still indicate that your opinion is that: “This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans”.

    I’m simply disagreeing, and offerring reasons why I believe this current economic melt-down is a result of several things, but mostly a massive debt problem.

    David R. Remer wrote: If you are looking for agreement, you got it already. If you are to continue to pine for disagreement, you have that also.
    “Pine for disagreement?” No, that’s not the point. I’m simply doing as you, and trying to support my position too. It’s only a debate on a few issues where we disagree.
    David R. Remer wrote: But, your penchant to blame Democrats equally for everything when there are clear philosophical differences between the two parties guiding their actions, just isn’t logical nor demonstrable on issues like regulation and oversight, which are at the heart of this economic calamity we are now experiencing.
    Yes, equally.

    BOTH (in my opinion) are about equally to blame for this long term problem, which is consistent with your comment that

    David R. Remer wrote: … the Democratic Party and Republican Party are responsible for the majority of the long term and growing ills our nation faces.

    There are countless examples (some of which were listed above, with references, videos, and sources) of resistance to regulation and oversight by politicians in BOTH parties, for many years.
    One piece of legislation, such as the GLB Act, is not as significant as being stated, and the the Commodities Futures Modernization (CFM) Act of year 2000 (www.stroock.com/SiteFiles/Pub134.pdf) was worse by setting the stage for the rampant CDS (Credit Default Swap) market (www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/17/business/17swap.php). I have no respect for Phil Gramm (especially after his “whining” and “mental recession” comments), but the CFM Act of year 2000, also signed by Bill Clinton, was worse because of the myriad of fancy and (by design) complex derivatives (e.g CDSs, SIVs, ABSs, CDOs, subprime CDOs, squared CDOs, CPDOs, SPVs, VIEs, etc.), and other exotic investment vehicles that reduced Transparency and left hurricane victims and other insurance claimants without the ability to even identify who they are actually insured by, or who actually owned their mortgages. Those complex derivatives allowed the banks , investment corporations , insurance companies , and Wall Street to re-package toxic debt and peddle it to the world.

    This economic mess is mostly caused by massive debt, and that took a very long time to create, and many different actions, and much longer than the 6 years the Republicans had a majority from 2000 to 2006. By the way, the Democrats have had the majority in Congress for the last 2 years, and I don’t recall any huge battle over the GLB Act.

    David R. Remer wrote: Republicans gained majority control in part by campaigning against the over regulation and too much oversight creating too big a government. With these kind of differences, it is illogical to try to argue they are both equally to blame.
    They are both equally to blame. Also, deregulation is a factor, but it does not exonerate Democrats.

    Congress can’t find the right level of regulation, because BOTH parties are pushing their own extremes.
    One extreme regulates too much, stiffling business, and creating government bloat (another form of corruption).
    The other extreme regulates too little, reducing transparency which breeds corruption.
    Both, unable to find the best balance, end up being oppressive.

    Deregulation was a factor, but it is getting far too much blame for the current economic mess, and I believe it is partisan motivated.
    Deregulation is more of a sypmtom of a deeper problem:

      selfishness and greed

    And most (if not all) politicians in BOTH parties are the cause of it, and most voters are the cause of it too for rewarding most of them with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.
    Blaming all of it on one party doesn’t fly, since:
    • (1) The Democrats have had the majority in Congress since the election of 7-NOV-2006.

    • (2) In the last 2 years, I have not noticed any big battles over the GLB Act.

    • (3) The GLB Act was very bipartisan (Senate:(90=90%=Yay, 8=Nay, 1=NoVote); House:(362=83%=Yay, 57=Nay, 15=NoVote)).

    • (4) The Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000 was worse, and as also signed by Bill Clinton.

    • (5) The Democrats resisted oversight and regulation too (for example, see Comment # 272086 above, regarding corruption by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Democrats resisting investigation into growing problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Seem more about it here …
      • www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QBRIsCkGQ0&NR=1

      • www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxMInSfanqg&feature=related

      • www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs&feature=related

      • www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkwtYhiJ930

    David R. Remer wrote: … it is illogical to try to argue they are both equally to blame.

    It is quote logical, since this economic mess is mostly a massive, long-term, debt problem, and based on your own statement
    David R. Remer wrote: … the Democratic Party and Republican Party are responsible for the majority of the longterm and growing ills our nation faces.

    therefore, BOTH parties are to blame.

    Sure, the Republicans were the IN-PARTY from 2000 to 2006, but the IN-PARTY is always more corrupt, which is why the IN-PARTY always eventually becomes the OUT-PARTY.
    But this long-term debt problem is result of BOTH parties.

    • Which party had the majority during the Vietnam War (1961-1975)?

    • Which party had the majority during the Korean War (1950-to-1953)?

    • Which party had the majority during the majority of the Great Depression (1931-to-1941)?

    • Which party had the majority during the double-digit inflation of the late 1970s and early 1980s?

    • Which party had a HUGE majority from 1955 to 1995 (40 years)?

    • Which party has had the majority in Congress all but 14 of the last 78 years (1931-to-2009)?
      70% of Congress (43% of Democrats) voted YES for authorization to invade Iraq.

    • Which party resisted oversight and regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

    • Who signed the CFM Act (which was more devastating than the GLB Act)?
    • Which party allowed the Community Reinvestment Act to increase mortgage loans which created Fannie Mae and Freddiee Mac on steroids, and created a lack of oversight by Congress for thousands of banks because of the $200+ Million doled out to Congress members and their favorite special interests (i.e. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac)?

    • Some of this occurred under G.W. Bush’s watch too, and should rightly be blamed for some of it too, but according to Dean Baker (co-director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research): “the SEC showed little interest in regulating derivatives under Clinton or Bush.” (Source: Sean Higgins writing in the Investor’s Business Daily). In year 2004, the SEC reduced the leverage constraints of the largest investment banks. Therefore, Bear Stearns or other Wall Street firms only needed $1 in assets for every $30 in liabilities (i.e. very risky leveraging). Previously the limit was $1 to $15. When Bear Stearns folded this year their ratio was at 1-to-33!

    • Which party spends the most on pork-barrel?

    • Which party is most responsible for these 10 abuses (One-Simple-Idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm) and these 17+ deteriorating economic conditions (One-Simple-Idea.com/NeverWorse.htm) which have hammered Americans for many decades?

    The Republicans IN-PARTY status from 2000 to 2006, all of those things above, and the Federal Reserve (a problem started in 1913) contributed to the massive debt problem today.
    And the problem today is more serious than a mere recession, which is why it is a more long-term problem than a mere recession.

    David R. Remer wrote: Especially when the policy control of the last 8 years has been in Republican hands, including the last 2 with the Republicans having filibuster control in the Senate blocking Democrat’s initiatives, not that all of them were worth passing.
    How many filibusters were there in the last 2 years (through 2007, and 2008)?

    Where was the big battle to undo the GLB Act, which received huge bipartisan support?
    Where was the battle to undo the CFM Act, which Bill Clinton also signed?
    Where was legistlation in the last 2 years to acquire more oversight and regulation?
    In current practice, Senate Rule 22 permits filibusters in which actual continuous floor speeches are not required, although the Senate Majority Leader may require an actual traditional filibuster if he or she so chooses. So, why not require and actual traditional filibuster to highlight any such obstructionism?

    David R. Remer wrote: But, you have your view, and I have mine. Intelligent persons disagree throughout our society. And expressing agreement and disagreement with civility is what WatchBlog is all about.
    Agreed.
    David R. Remer wrote: And if Democrats and Republicans are responsible for all of it, d.a.n, then the entire United States Constitution and history is responsible for the Republican and Democratic Parties, so, why don’t we just write off the United States democratic republic, and get the highest bid for it from China? That is the backbone of the logic your argument employs.
    Highest bid … from China?

    Democrats and Republicans are people, voters, and politicians, and we are all responsible to varying degrees, and I don’t know what that has to do with China.
    The purpose of this debate was identifying the biggest contributing factors for our massive debt problem today.
    It turns out that this discussion has now led to an important revelation (See Note #1 below).

    Anyway, the massive debt problem today is a result of many decades of fiscal and moral decay, which politicians in BOTH parties about equally contributed to bring about the problem.
    To be more precise, things started to go very wrong about year 1976: One-Simple-Idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm#NationWideDebt
    The disparity gap started growing larger in year 1976.
    The National Debt, as a percentage of GDP, started growing larger.
    The Nation-wide debt started growing much larger.
    There was double-digit inflation in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
    Many economic statistics started to get steadily worse at that time.
    Inflation is most likely worse today than what is being reported, due to changes in the calculation methods in 1983 and 1998.
    In that time, we’ve had the painful consequences of both extremes of excessive regulation and insufficient regulation.
    However, there was one huge contributing factor that goes back much farther to year 1913, which was the high-leverage factional banking system (a Ponzi-scheme), which contributed to the 1st Great Depression (something Bernanke admits), and is still contributing to the current massive debt bubble.

    David R. Remer wrote: And that is the hopelessness and cynicism implied by your remarks, because like it or not, …
    Not true.

    There are solutions.
    It’s not all about whining.
    A mere disagreement on one or two of the major contributing factors of the economic mess does not equate to cynicism.
    Trying to label others as cynical is almost always motivated by a defense of a partisan position, or a person (or persons).
    It isn’t cynicism if it is factual.
    Where are the facts wrong?
    And would a cynical person believe solutions are possible?

    David R. Remer wrote: … because like it or not, the Democratic and Republican Parties are the parties at the helm of our government and future. To take the position that neither is capable ever of any good whatsoever, is a neat way of saying, there, now no one can ask anything of me, because I am irrelevant.
    Not true.

    I never said neither party could govern.
    I’ve simply said that for many years, there are too many in Congress that are too irresponsible and unaccountable, and voters would be wise to stop rewarding them with re-election.
    You obviously feel the same way, as the President of VOID.

    That does not equate to neither party ever being capable.
    Such extreme extrapolations are not helping make your arguemnt more credible.

    David R. Remer wrote: On the other hand, if one takes the view that democracy is a good thing, then one must accept also that individual people and groups of people can have an impact and shape the future actions of either and both the Democratic and Republican parties in a positive way for better governance, with good and best intentions.
    I believe that too.

    If not, why would I waste time trying to explore root causes and solutions?

    David R. Remer wrote: If you want to blame Democrats for this economic malady, that’s fine. Not realistic, but, fine.
    I blame most politicians in BOTH parties.

    BOTH parties are about equally to blame for the massive debt problem this nation is struggling with, which took many decades to create.
    That is very realisitic.
    I don’t have any bias to either party, and therefore have no desire to wallow in the partisan warfare and circular blame game.

    David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected. Because you and I both know, politicians of any stripe will govern in the direction of what they think will get them re-elected.
    Why should I want either party to govern better than the other, when we should want BOTH to govern better?

    I want BOTH parties to govern better.
    Why should I have to make a partisan choice for one or the other?
    I want BOTH parties to govern better, and that ain’t likely to happen by repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians in either party with perpetual re-election.

    David R. Remer wrote:you must first accept the possibility that they can, …
    Where did I ever say they can’t. I’ve only asserted (as you have too) that repeatedly rewarding bad politicians with perpetual re-election won’t increase that possibility.
    David R. Remer wrote: … and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces …
    I do. More than most people.
    David R. Remer wrote: … and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get re-elected.
    I do offer solutions. More than most people. Solutions and analysis of root causes (One-Simple-Idea.com/Solutions1.htm , One-Simple-Idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm ).

    NOTE #1:

    David R. Remer wrote: … and help Democrats get reelected.

    HHHHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm … That’s VERY intersting?

    You wrote: “help Democrats get reelected” in paragraph #8 of Comment #272096 above.
    You did not merely write elect, but RE-elect , eh?

    Well, I have suspected as much for some time.
    Now it appears all too clear.
    It’s one thing to have a partisan bias, but entirely another thing to say we should “RE-elect Democrats”.

    So, according to your statement, we aren’t only supposed to elect Democrats, but we are supposed to “RE-elect Democrats”? ! ?

    Please don’t say that is taken out of context too. Here’s the complete sentence (again):

    David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.

    That is what that statement recommended.
    It’s interesting how these tell-tale signs and the truth sometimes slips out.

    No thanks. I am an indepedent, and do not see any point to showing favoritism for either party, and I believe that such loyalty is often abused, and such partiasn bias is one of the root causes of government dysfunction and helps to perpetuate high re-election rates for incumbent politicians.

    David R. Remer wrote: Because you and I both know, politicians of any stripe will govern in the direction of what they think will get them re-elected.
    That’s not always true. Especially if politicians can do almost anything they want, and still enjoy 85%-to-90% re-election rates … at least until that becomes too painful.
    David R. Remer wrote: Writing politicians off as imperfect human beings contributes NOTHING to better government going forward.
    If only such mere imperfections were so mild and benign.

    I don’t adhere to writing off any politicians, except for the incumbent politicians that are FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, and corrupt.
    What’s wrong with that?
    That does not equate to …

    David R. Remer wrote: Writing politicians off as imperfect human beings contributes NOTHING to better government going forward.

    David R. Remer wrote: Writing politicians off as imperfect human beings contributes NOTHING to better government going forward.
    Writing letters, FAXes, and E-Mails to Congress persons (which I do often), is not writing them off, is it?

    Right. So, we should all do the following …

    David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get re-elected.

    David R. Remer wrote: What politician is going to listen to that and act upon it? Appealing to politicians better nature’s to act responsibly on our behalf, at least has a chance of improvement.
    Sure. But when they don’t act responsibly, and many don’t, rewarding them with re-election is not helping.

    So, I do not subscribe to your recommendation to …

    David R. Remer wrote: … and help Democrats get reelected.

    David R. Remer wrote: Decreasing the incumbency election rate will have an even greater effect. Combine the two, and chances of better government may improve dramatically.
    And how is that going to happen when you also recommended …
    David R. Remer wrote: … and help Democrats get reelected.

    HHHHHHHHMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm … Those two statements are inconsistent.
    So which is it?

    OOHHHhhhhhhhhhhhh … do you mean vote out ONLY Republicans “and help Democrates get re-elected?
    So is that what you mean by “decreasing the incumbency election rate”?

    David R. Remer wrote: So, what do you recommend going forward to Democrats to solve the economic mess we are in.
    I’ve listed potential solutions before (many times). Here they are again
    • The root of this problem is a mathematically flawed debt-pyramid that creates highly leveraged debt-to-reserves at a ratio of 9-to-1 (i.e. only 10% reserves are required). As a result, the nation-wide debt has increased from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP today. The nation has a massive debt problem that must be resolved orderly and peacefully, or it will solve itself in massive nation-wide foreclosures and bankruptcies. The best analogy of the Federal Reserve and banking system is playing the game of Monopoly , in which one player (i.e. the banks) can create all the money it wants out of thin air. Before long, the banks own everything, and everyone else is broke and/or deep in debt, jobless, homeless, and hungry. The federal government and the Federal Resreve has failed miserably. This must end now. The Federal Reserve needs major reforms, or the U.S. government needs to create its own non-profit Central Bank to replace or compete with the current dishonest, usurious, predatory, inflationary banking system, and set federal laws to manage it correctly:
      • with the least inflation possible,
      • which is not another dishonest Ponzi-scheme,
      • which does not create another untenable debt-bubble (debt-pyramid) that grows ever larger for many decades, toward the eventual, inevitable, and painful collapse.
      • which does not prey on debtors (such as 35% interest rates),
      • which does not contain massive layers of complexity and exotic investment vehicles to reduce Transparency,
      • which does not use incessant inflation to extract wealth from the majority of Americans (evidenced by the growing wealth disparity gag).
      The current debt-pyramid which will collapse in a disorderly and painful fashion, unless government and/or the Federal Reserve don’t admit to the severity of the situation, the existence of a massive and untenable debt-bubble, and try to find a way to renegotiate and prevent 3.0+ Million foreclosures per year, and millions more bankruptcies per year, and stop the incessant inflation that fuels economic instability and a growing wealth disparity. The monetary system is a Ponzi-scheme and badly-needed reforms (as soon as possible) are critical to avoiding another depression. The status quo won’t work. The reluctance to change something like the Federal Reserve is understandable, but it is necessary since it is a Ponzi-scheme that isn’t gettting better, and only exceeds at one thing:
      • growing the nation-wide debt-pyramid ever larger.
    • Therefore, create a new banking system such that:
      • The federal government controls the monetary system; creates the money it needs (interest free and debt free), and controls the money-supply.
      • The federal government shall prohibit usury (interest) by government and member banks (under-cutting anyone else who lends money with interest). If a lot of interest is bad (i.e. usury is immoral), how can a little interest be good? If inflation is bad, how is a little inflation good?
      • This creates a stable money supply with the flexibility for small fluctuations. If inflation is too high, some money in circulation can be removed. If there is deflation, or the population increases, the government can create and spend some money. If they do a bad job of it, the voters know exactly who to hold accountable. Currently, the Federal Reserve is a quasi-government controlled / privately owned bank, and the voters have little (if any) control over it. Why would people borrow from a bank (with interest) when they can borrow from the government, interest free? Thus, there would be little (if any) usury. Usury, predatory lending, and other manifestations of unchecked greed and the other numerous negative side effects would be greatly reduced. If properly managed, without profit and usury as a motive, the U.S. currency would become superior to any other world currency.
      • Theoretically, if managed responsibly, with the central bank in control of the monetary policy (instead of a quasi-government controlled/privately owned bank system), there may be no need for any tax system. That is, inflation and deflation would affect everyone’s money an equal percentage. Of course, such a vast change in the monetary and tax systems would require new ways of thinking about money, interest, borrowing, taxation, and monetary policy, and there are many (e.g. politicians and bankers; a.k.a. puppets and puppeteers) that will resist such changes. Since this way of funding the federal government is unlikely any time soon, the least we can do now is to greatly simplify the current, ridiculously complex and regressive tax system (e.g. make it a more fair, flat 17% income tax on all types of income above the poverty level). That may sound crazy to some people, but if we don’t do it, there will be a reset anyway (the hard way, with massive nation-wide foreclosures and defaults). Why should the Federal Reserve continue to get to create money out of thin air, at a 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves, and then receive interest on that debt (from tax payers)?
      • Allow people to re-negotiate ZERO interest mortgages in order to stop the millions of foreclosures (10,000 per day as of AUG-2008; 3 million for year 2008). This reduces for-profit lending. If inflation is kept low, losses will be minimized. This may sound drastic, and it is. But if we don’t get a handle on it, the problem will resolve itself the hard way via nation-wide foreclosures and bankruptcies (which are still underway now at record numbers).
    • Stop these 10 abuses, that have been hammering most Americans for many decades.
    • More solutions …
    David R. Remer wrote: They are going to be in control of the agenda for the most part. What do you recommend to Republicans as the party which will still control the filibuster in the Senate, in terms of the economic mess we are in?
    I recommend BOTH pull their head out of their bu++s , or they may put themselves all out of a job , or worse.

    Eventually, if the pain and misery gets bad enough, voters will probably repeat what unhappy voters did in year 1927-to-1933 (voting out incumbent politicians by the hundreds):

    • Start __ End __ Congress _ Re-Election ___ Party Seat-Retention

    • Year ___ Year ___ # _____ Rate ________ Rate

    • 1927 ___ 1929 ___ 070st ___ 68.9% ________ 96.4% (165 incumbents ousted)

    • 1929 ___ 1931 ___ 071st ___ 79.7% ________ 92.5% (108 incumbents ousted)

    • 1931 ___ 1933 ___ 072nd ___ 76.8% ________ 88.5% (123 incumbents ousted)

    • 1933 ___ 1935 ___ 073rd ___ 61.2% ________ 78.7% (206 of 531 incumbents ousted; 59 Dems, 147 Repubs)

    • … … … … … … … …

    • 1989 ___ 1991 ___ 101st ___ 90.1% ________ 99.6%

    • 1991 ___ 1993 ___ 102nd ___ 87.7% ________ 98.3%

    • 1993 ___ 1995 ___ 103rd ___ 73.5% ________ 98.1% (142 of 535 incumbents ousted)

    • … … … … … … … …

    • 1999 ___ 2001 ___ 106th ___ 89.2% ________ 99.3%

    • 2001 ___ 2003 ___ 107th ___ 89.2% ________ 98.7%

    • 2003 ___ 2005 ___ 108th ___ 87.9% ________ 98.1% (65 of 535 incumbents ousted)

    • 2005 ___ 2007 ___ 109th ___ 88.6% ________ 98.7% (61 of 535 incumbents ousted)

    • 2007 ___ 2009 ___ 110th ___ 84.9% ________ 93.1% (81 of 535 incumbents ousted)

    • 2009 ___ 2011 ___ 111th ___ 86.7% ________ 93.3% about (464 of 535 incumbents re-elected; 71 not re-elected)

    David R. Remer wrote: These are far more important questions than who was to blame for how we got here. Because the answer to that question is, “we all are”. We are a democratic republic.
    That’s what I’ve been saying all along.

    And it has always been my belief that we can do better, and have strived to find things to do to help do better. That’s not cynical.

    It was not me that was trying to lay blame on one party, nor trying to exclude voters either, nor recommending that voters “RE-Elect Democrats”.
    If your advice (above; see NOTE #1) to “help get Democrats reelected” statement was somehow a mistake, a retraction may be wise.
    If not, then such a comment naturally raises some serious questions (again).

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 16, 2008 10:08 AM
    Comment #272132

    Suffice it to say, as you did, we disagree.

    One of my statistics instructors, I recall, said raw data is useless information. It takes creative thought, imagination, and testing of the mind’s handling of raw data, to make such information useful at all.

    You argue with volumes of raw data. I argue with the simple fact, that it was Republicans who had 8 years of opportunity and power to fend off and and prevent this economic calamity and didn’t. Democrats were not in power to do so. Short, sweet, and extremely logical deduction that gets to the heart of the support of my position on this.

    We can agree to disagree.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2008 11:13 AM
    Comment #272139
    David R. Remer wrote: Suffice it to say, as you did, we disagree.
    David R. Remer wrote: We can agree to disagree.
    True.

    We do, and I don’t care too terribly if you disagree about the major causes of this economic mess, or which political party is more responsible for it.
    But how do you explain the following statement?

    David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.

    “must”?“help Democrats get reelected” ?

    David R. Remer wrote: One of my statistics instructors, I recall, said raw data is useless information… . You argue with volumes of raw data.
    The only raw data above in my last comment was the table of Congressional Re-election rates, so the “statistics” excuse is yet another obfuscation, because all other paragraphs are comments on your individual comments. As of the other comments, there was no challenge to the accuracy of the data; only a challenge to the conclusion of which party is most responsible for the current economic mess.
    David R. Remer wrote: I argue with the simple fact, that it was Republicans who had 8 years of opportunity and power to fend off and and prevent this economic calamity and didn’t.
    And that somehow exonerates Democrats?

    Anyway, your opinion is tainted by a partisan bias, which is evidenced by your comment above stating

    David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.

    … which recommends that people “help Democrats get reelected”. No?

    Or, is that a mere “statistics” aberration?

    David R. Remer wrote: Democrats were not in power to do so. Short, sweet, and extremely logical deduction that gets to the heart of the support of my position on this.
    Not true.

    The Democrats had the Majority in Congress for 2 years throughout 2007 and 2008, and how many filibusters were about undoing the GLB Act, CFM Act, SEC deregulation, or opposing more oversignt and deregulation?
    When and where was the battle over undoing the bipartisan GLB Act , the more damaging CFM Act (also signed by Bill Clinton), and the SEC deregulation?
    When were these so-called filibusters (even threats of filibusters) to prevent undoing the bipartisan GLB Act, CFM Act, and SEC deregulation?
    That’s truly a very weak argument, when considering the resistance to oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by prominent Democrats (Barney Frank, Chris Dood, Maxine Waters, transcripts … )?

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 16, 2008 12:44 PM
    Comment #272141

    George Washington is the only president who didn’t blame the previous administration for his troubles.
    The two parties are equally corrupt and dysfunctional. Reform is long overdue. In Greece today people are in the streets protesting corruption in government. Why not here? While there is great consternation in the public there is no outcry or display of anger. Even when people are being killed, raped, and kidnapped on the Southern border. Gangs virtually in control of the night in many major cities. Shouldn’t we be throwing shoes at politicians? Why do we tolerate such corruption and abuse of our Constitution, our sovereignty and democratic principles? It is way easier and more sensible to reform government than to continue pissing up a rainspout and expecting a different result. Mystifying, I find no explanation for it.

    Otherwise, we have the NAU we deserve.

    Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 16, 2008 01:07 PM
    Comment #272145

    Roy, Yes, it is mystifying.

    Unfortunately, too often, reduced corruption comes about only after it has become too painful.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 16, 2008 01:40 PM
    Comment #272149

    d.a.n, quite right, Must. Because if the Democrats enact policies that make sense to the majority THEY WILL GET REELECTED, ipso facto! Just a logical outcome.

    Now, if that logical outcome of Democrats being reelected BECAUSE they are successful in governing our way out of the challenges that face us, is abhorrent to you, which it appears it is, then the only logical course for you to take is to obstruct and reject any positive governance by Democrats while they are in the majority.

    The logic of it is inescapable, d.a.n. I see the same attempts by liberals toward Republicans and conservatives toward Democrats. They are predisposed to insure the failure of the nation in their own minds when the opposition party has control of government. Our nation is facing such peril, that Americans would be wise indeed to hope and support Democrats success in effectively dealing with our challenges.

    Because like it or not, they are the only people with the power to remedy these crises after Jan. 20, 2009, and they are less likely to be successful, if they find opposition at every turn to their efforts to rescue the nation from its current crises.

    If you work to help the nation improve under Democratic majority rule, you will be helping to reelect them. The only other logical action is to insure the nation fails, so Democrats will be less likely to be reelected.

    It is a logic conundrum, reelecting Democrats MUST follow their success in governance. That is demonstrable by our history of elections. When the nation is on the upturn or coasting along with most Americans doing well or even better, the incumbents are reelected.

    You seem determined to insure they aren’t reelected, therefore, logically, you must work to insure the nation fails under their governance.

    On your other topic of defense of your raw data. I will give you some raw data. Traveling across my town by foot I counted 15 rats. Does my town have a rat problem or not?

    That is impossible to know based on that raw data. It must be given context, and meaning derived from circumstance and links from data in the past, to data in the present, to logical and empirical projections into the future, before one can say my town has a rat problem.

    My town is 15 households large. My town has a rat problem.

    My town has 500,000 households. My town does not have a rat problem.

    My town has 500,000 households and everyone of the rats I saw is carrying Bubonic Plague. My town has a rat problem.

    Your data on bank failures, and incumbency rates are raw data lacking the logic, context, and creative thinking needed to make the data meaningful to this discussion and point of contention over my statement that Republicans are responsible for this current economic crisis. (More on that in a moment).

    You then play illogical tricks changing the point of discussion by bringing forth debt figures that precede Republicans last 8 years of rule. No one contests that Democrats and Republicans are responsible for the 5.65 trillion national debt reached on Jan. 2001, when Republicans took over. That is not relevant to our discussion and point of contention.

    That 5.65 Trillion national debt contributed very little (opportunity cost of interest on that debt, only) to the current economic crisis which is one of liquidity in the markets, credit flows, deleveraging of mortgage backed assets on balance sheets, unwarranted escalation of real estate pricing, and rising unemployment due to foreclosures and businesses cutting operating expenses as part of the deleveraging process, leading to decreased consumerism leading to more layoffs.

    May I remind you that just 18 months ago, the GDP growth rate was over 5%. Since Bush took office we have gone into recession, come out of recession, and now gone into a financial balance sheet, credit, mortgage and property value crisis, ALL brought on by practices implemented during the Bush administration and under Republican control of the agendas, save the passage of the GLB Act.

    All that history preceding 2001 is irrelevant to the crisis at hand, save for the GLB Act. The rules regarding sound mortgage lending became unraveled primarily since 2002. The bulk of the incredulous real estate speculation overpricing accrued since the end of the dot.com crisis around 2001 and the subsequent recession around 2002. The leveraging of balance sheets using Credit Default Swaps and the incredible rise of faulty rating of mortgage backed bundled assets arose in direct correlation with the rapid escalation of real estate values, again, the bulk of which occurred since 2001, and greatly enhanced by the protracted low interest rates of the Greenspan/Bush Ownership Society push.

    The abrogation of the oversight and regulation of these events during the last 8 years by Republicans was also contributory, and does not predate the Bush administration. In fact, the country was ready for less regulation by the election of 2000, which is one of the reasons Bush won instead of Gore. Bush ran on smaller government and less government intrusion into the private sector. The people got what they voted for.

    You can disagree, but, these facts nonetheless, string together in a verifiable fashion as all having taken place primarily during Republican rule since 2001, leaving no room in my view for me to conclude that these current economic crises are the responsibility of anyone other than the Republicans in control of oversight and regulation since 2001.

    The 5.65 Trillion national debt Bush and the Republican controlled houses of Congress inherited were bipartisanly created. But, that is an irrelevant bit of data, since that debt had little to no contributory role in the current economic crises or their causes.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2008 02:40 PM
    Comment #272151

    d.a.n, P.S. and to bring this discussion back to the article, Republicans are STILL looking for ways to insure the demise of the current economy as demonstrated by Sen. Shelby’s leadership in killing the congressional bridge loans to the auto industry which, if allowed to stand, will put 3 million MORE American workers out of jobs within 12 months.

    This economy cannot rebound UNTIL consumers do. Legislation that seeks to put 3 million consumers out of work, is not the way to rescue this economy’s recession. Until demand for American products and services increases, business and economic activity will continue to contract. Sen. Shelby knows this. Republicans know this. What have they got in common interest? The absolute vested interest in insuring Democrats do NOT succeed in rescuing the economy by Nov. 2010. Hence the rationale for their desire to see 3 million more Americans out of work and many of them homeless for lack of being able to meet their mortgage payments.

    Republicans like Sen. Shelby, IMO, are not only primarily responsible for the current economic crises, but they are also seeking ways to exacerbate it between now and the next election. Their pea brains can’t see beyond the next election and their myopia won’t permit them to acknowledge that killing the nation’s future is not in their party’s long term interests.

    There will be a split between Republicans in Congress next year, those lining up behind Shelby on purely political and election 2010 causes of destroying Democrat’s efforts, and those with more intelligence and a broader view like Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and perhaps Bob Corker, who will work with Democrats to insure successful policy enactment toward the dual ends reversing this recession ASAP and insuring that expenditures toward such efforts also act to invest in the economic viability of the longer term economic future.

    The big question is whether Democrats themselves in the Congress will be able to get on board with Obama’s agenda when it comes to targeting federal dollars to essential dual purpose objectives, or whether they will insist on their Pork Barrel projects and federal dollars regardless of what harm they may cause to the current or future economy. That is the 64 trillion dollar question, and Obama’s main opposition may not come from Senate Republicans, but from House and Senate Democrats.

    We will see. I can only hope that Democrats recent emergence from minority party status will guide them wisely to follow Obama’s dual objective budgeting that attends current crisis needs while investing in both increased future revenues and lowering overall long term government spending needs.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2008 03:00 PM
    Comment #272166
    David R. Remer wrote: You seem determined to insure they aren’t reelected, therefore, logically, you must work to insure the nation fails under their governance.
    Not true.

    I voted for several Democrats in the last election.
    I don’t have any favorites (Republican, Democrat, or Independent).
    I am also not working to insure the nation fails.
    Those are extreme extrapolations to an illogical conclusion.
    And only because I don’t agree with you on (a) the most significant causes of this economic mess, or (b) which party is mostly to blame, does not equate to …

    David R. Remer wrote: You seem determined to insure they aren’t reelected, therefore, logically, you must work to insure the nation fails under their governance.

    Your analogy of rats makes no sense either, because Congressional re-election rates, such as 329 re-elected to (206 ousted from) Congress in year 1933 versus 465 re-elected to (70 ousted from) Congress in 2008 is relevant, based on your own comment here.
    Besides, if that specific statisticss of election rates were irrelavant, why thank people for irrelevant statistics …

    David R. Remer wrote: Thanks for the update on the stats by the way. I appreciate those being made available.
    So, that claim isn’t credible.

    As for the bank list, it showed failed banks of all sizes (large and small), and was not submitted to prove any sort of time-line or connection to either political party.
    The “too big to fail” theory behind the bipartisan GLB Act is weak, has a few holes in it, and is exaggerated for partisan motives, but it may have contributed some to the economic mess.
    That is, the “too big to fail” could have very well been replaced by “too many to fail”, had mergers and combining of industries never been allowed by the GLB Act.
    Also, many acknowledge that it is not the cause of the irresponsible lending, and is not the cause of the economic mess today.
    However, the SEC’s deregulation that allowed doubling the reserves-to-debt leveraging limits (from 1-to-15 to 1-to-30), and the Commodities Futures Modernization (CFM) Act of year 2000 (also signed by Bill Clinton: www.stroock.com/SiteFiles/Pub134.pdf) was far worse (www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/17/business/17swap.php) because of the myriad of fancy and (by design) complex derivatives (e.g CDSs, SIVs, ABSs, CDOs, subprime CDOs, squared CDOs, CPDOs, SPVs, VIEs, etc.), and other exotic investment vehicles that reduced Transparency and left hurricane victims and other insurance claimants without the ability to even identify who they are actually insured by, or who actually owned their mortgages. Those complex derivatives allowed the banks , investment corporations , insurance companies , and Wall Street to re-package toxic debt and peddle it to the world.
    So, that claim isn’t credible either.

    David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.

    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, quite right, Must. Because if the Democrats enact policies that make sense to the majority THEY WILL GET REELECTED, ipso facto! Just a logical outcome.

  • Why re-elect incumbent Democrats?

  • Does that include any incumbent Democrat, or incumbent politicians that are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, and/or corrupt?

  • Is it OK to vote for a non-incumbent Republican, Green, or independent?

  • What makes you so confident that Democrats are better, and/or will be more successful?

  • What if that incumbent Democrat voted for the GLB Act? The GLB Act was very bipartisan (Senate:(90=90%=Yay, 8=Nay, 1=NoVote); House:(362=83%=Yay, 57=Nay, 15=NoVote)).

  • What if that incumbent Democrat voted for the CFM Act, which was worse than the GLB Act?

  • What if that incumbent Democrat voted for pork-barrel?

  • What if that incumbent Democrat resisted oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

  • Can you name 20, 30, 40, 50, 100, 150, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, or corrupt?

  • Can you name 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, or even 157 (half of 313) Democrats in Congress that are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, or corrupt?

  • Do you think it seems a bit odd to tell people one thing, such as this …
    David R. Remer wrote: But, the voters still haven’t a clue how to uphold their civic duty in this regard, do they? They have not yet taken up the Vote Out My Own Incumbents mantra when federal government fails to meet their expectations.

    … and then tell voters this …
    David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.

  • HHHMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm … seems inconsistent to say the least.

    That is, unless one believes ONLY Democrats deserve to be re-elected.
    So, is it your belief that only Democrats deserve re-election?
    Do you beleive there are any Republicans that deserve re-election?
    Or, is it primarily a partisan thing?

    It certainly appears that may be true based on the following …

    • from Comment #271833 above: [01] David R. Remer wrote: This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.

    • from Comment #271872 above: [02] David R. Remer wrote: Yes, Clinton and Democrats helped pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but, it was Democrats who afterward proposed additional legislative measures to compensate for the voids in oversight and regulation left by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Republicans who killed all such compensatory efforts.

    • from Comment #271872 above: [03] David R. Remer wrote: Democrats can be blamed for a lot, but, not this economic meltdown.

    • from Comment #271872 above: [04] David R. Remer wrote: The facts and history just don’t support blaming Democrats being at fault,…

    • from Comment #271888 above: [05] David R. Remer wrote: Craig, I can’t help you with your reading comprehension problem. I explained quite clearly that the GLB Act opened the possibility door for finanicial institutions to grow too large to fail.

    • from Comment #271881 above: [06] David R. Remer wrote: It took 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement to turn possibility into reality.

    After all, you did not write …
    David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats Republicans govern better than the Republicans Democratshave, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats Republicans solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats Republicans get reelected.

    HHHHHMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm … is that consistent?

    Yes, I suppose so, for someone who has written off Republicans.
    Gee, that seems awfully cynical, no?
    After all, Republicans aren’t expected to be perfect, are they?
    That seems strange, when …

    David R. Remer wrote: Writing politicians off as imperfect human beings contributes NOTHING to better government going forward.

    Really?

    OOHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh … that’s right. Only if they are Demcorats, eh?

    I do think the Republicans in the Senate are making a mistake by rejecting a loan for the Big 3 Auto-makers, unless they are most likely doomed to fail anyway due to mismanagement (which is probably an unknown at this point).
    Especially after doling out $3.2-to-$8.5 Trillion to banks, financial corporations, insurance companies, and Wall Street with barely any (or no) strings attached.
    However,it should be a loan, it should come in increments, there should be some accounting of the use of the funds, there should be quarterly progress reports, and some down-sizing may still be necessary.
    That sort of oversight should have applied to all of the bail-outs.

    David R. Remer wrote: The 5.65 Trillion national debt Bush and the Republican controlled houses of Congress inherited were bipartisanly created. But, that is an irrelevant bit of data, since that debt had little to no contributory role in the current economic crises or their causes.
    The debt problem is the most serious problem. However, that doubling of the debt doesn’t account for inflation. Look at the percentage of debt-to-GDP
    • __________ Debt-to-GDP __________
    • 78% |———————————————
    • 75% |——————————————-o
    • 72% |——————————————o-
    • 69% |—————————————-o—
    • 66% |———————o-oo————-o—
    • 63% |——————-o——-o——-o——
    • 60% |——————o————o-o———
    • 57% |—————-o:————:————
    • 54% |—————o-:————:————
    • 51% |————-o—:————:————
    • 48% |————o—-:————:————
    • 45% |———-o——:————:————
    • 42% |———o——-:————:————
    • 39% |——o———-:————:————
    • 36% |—o-:———-:————:————
    • 33% |o—-:———-:————:————
    • 30% +——:———-:————:—————YEAR
    • ____1_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_2_2_2_2_2
    • ____9_9_9_9_9_9_9_9_9_9_0_0_0_0_0
    • ____8_8_8_8_8_9_9_9_9_9_0_0_0_0_0
    • ____0_2_4_6_8_0_2_4_6_8_0_2_4_6_8

    The Democrat party had a HUGE majority in Congress between 1956-to-1994, in which debt-to-GDP grew the most.
    The Democrat party had a majority in Congress for the last 2 years.
    There was a larger increase in the Debt-to-GDP percentage between 1984-to-1992 than from 2000-to-2008.

    And looking at National Debt in 1950 Dollars …

    • _____ National Debt in 1950 Dollars _____

    • $1.2T |———————————————

    • $1.1T |——————————————-o

    • $1.0T |—————————————-o—

    • $0.9T |————————————o——-

    • $0.8T |———————-oo-o-o:o———-

    • $0.7T |——————:o———-:————

    • $0.6T |—————o-:————:————

    • $0.5T |————o—-:————:————

    • $0.4T |——:o———:————:————

    • $0.3T |o—-:———-:————:————-

    • $0.2T |——:———-:————:————

    • $0.1T |——:———-:————:————

    • $0.0T +——:———-:————:—————YEAR

    • _____1_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_1_2_2_2_2_2

    • _____9_9_9_9_9_9_9_9_9_9_0_0_0_0_0

    • _____8_8_8_8_8_9_9_9_9_9_0_0_0_0_0

    • _____0_2_4_6_8_0_2_4_6_8_0_2_4_6_8

    In 1950 Dollars, adjusted for inflation, the National Debt grew about as much between 1984-to-1992 as it did between 2000-to-2008.
    That doesn’t show the $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security, but BOTH parties joined in spending Social Security surpluses for many decades.
    The federal government has been deficit spending for every year for the past 52 consecutive years (since year 1957).
    We have had positive inflatioin for 52 consecutive years.

    David R. Remer wrote: The abrogation of the oversight and regulation of these events during the last 8 years by Republicans was also contributory, and does not predate the Bush administration. In fact, the country was ready for less regulation by the election of 2000, which is one of the reasons Bush won instead of Gore. Bush ran on smaller government and less government intrusion into the private sector. The people got what they voted for.
    Not true. The corruption, cookin’ the books, and other manifestations of unchecked greed started before year 2000, and leading up to the dot.com bubble bursting.

    Just ask these crooked CEOs, CFO, Presidents, VPs, etc.:

    • Ken Lay (ENRON)

    • Bernard Ebbers (WorldCOM)

    • David Myers (WorldCOM)

    • Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco)

    • Mark H. Swartz (Tyco)

    • John Rigas (Aldelphia)

    • Timothy Rigas (Aldelphia)

    • Scott Sullivan (WorldCOM)

    • Burford Yates (WolrdCOM)

    • Jeff Skilling (ENRON)

    • Andrew Fastow (ENRON)

    • Lea Fastow (ENRON)

    • Samuel D. Waksal (ImClone Systems)

    • David Duncan (Arthur Andersen)

    • E. Kirk Shelton (Cendant)

    • Ben Glisan Jr. (ENRON)

    • Dan Boyle (ENRON)

    • Weston Smith (HealthSouth)

    • Aaron Beam (HealthSouth)

    So, the argument that Democrat politicians were not equally culpable for today’s economic mess is not credible.
    Not because I give a damn about Republican politicians (I’m not a Republican).
    Because the reasons (below) for today’s economic mess are much more than what transpired the last 8 years, all of which Democrats and Republicans have contributed to for many decades:

    • (1) MASSIVE DEBT: Fiscal irresponsibility; $10.7 Trillion National Debt; $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security, nation-wide debt of $54-to-$67 Trillion quintupled from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP in 2008;

    • (2) LEVERAGING OF DEBT-to-RESERVES and CREATING NEW MONEY: 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt (due to a highly leveraged creation of new money via loans with a 9-to-1 debt-to-reserves ratio frational banking system);

    • (3) INCESSANT INFLATION: Incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years is economically destabilizing, and fuels bust-to-boom bubble-after-bubble, as everyone runs about looking for someplace to protect their money from the non-stop erosion of exponential CPI (inflation: One-Simple-Idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm#Erosion);

    • (4) WARS: Wars (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc.; some probably unnecessary);

    • (5) DEREGULATION:
      • Commodities Futures Modernization Act of year 2000

      • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999

      • In year 2004, the SEC increased reserve leverage limits constraints (from 15-to-1 to 30-to-1);

      • A lot of looking the other way; diminished Transparency; a lot of cookin’ the books (e.g. Fannie Mae fined record $400 Million for accounting violations); fraud, and many other manifestations of unchecked greed;
    • (6) BAD MONETARY POLICY: The monetary system is a Ponzi-scheme and also another contributing factor for boom-to-bust bubble-after-bubble.
      It makes money by creating money out of thin air (at a high 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves), and receives interest on the total loan (to member banks).
      Excessive money supply creates incessant inflation, which creates economic instability, which creates nervous and risky investors who are all running around like a chicken with their head cut-off, looking for someplace to put their money so that it is not eroded by the incessant inflation. As a result of this Ponzi-scheme, we now have a huge debt-bubble, in which 95% of all U.S. money in existence is Principal debt, and nation-wide debt has grown from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP in year 2008.

    • (7) CORRUPTION, the DISPARITY TREND, and other abuses : (One-Simple-Idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm) the middle class is being squeezed; the wealth disparity gap is growing; median incomes are falling; savings are disappearing; unemployment is rising; there are 10,000 foreclosures per day (AUG-2008); inflation is too high (and rising year-to-year) and too persistent (positive for 52 consecutive years); lawlessness; illegal immigrationl; regressive taxation; Power corrupts, and the IN-PARTY is always more corrupt, which is why the IN-PARTY always becomes the OUT-PARTY;

    • (8) SLUMBERING ELECTORATE: Voters aren’t paying close enough attention. Also, repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians with 85%-to-95% re-election rates does not make much sense when most voters polled give Congress dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 16, 2008 06:28 PM
    Comment #272204

    d.a.n asked: “
    # Why re-elect incumbent Democrats?”

    If they are successful in making significant headway on resolving the challenges our nation faces short and long term, WHY NOT RE-ELECT THEM?

    The fact is, if that is the case, they will be re-elected. Hence, the motivation for Democrat haters to work to insure their, and the nation’s failure, going forward, like Sen. Shelby. That was the point. If you can’t see any scenario in which you would support Democrat reelections, then your position is one poised to wish for and work for failure of the nation going forward under Democrat governance.

    No mystery to the logic here, d.a.n. The fact that you are open to voting for Democrats who may do a better job than others running for that particular office, would indicate you are not one of those who would seek the nations failure. But, this article is not about you, it is about the politicians in office who WILL work to insure the nation’s failure over the next 2 and 4 years for purely political reasons.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 17, 2008 12:49 PM
    Comment #272236
    • David R. Remer wrote: If they [Democrats] are successful in making significant headway on resolving the challenges our nation faces short and long term, WHY NOT RE-ELECT THEM?
    • David R. Remer wrote in paragraph 8 of Comment 272096: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.
    • David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, quite right, Must. Because if the Democrats enact policies that make sense to the majority THEY WILL GET REELECTED, ipso facto! Just a logical outcome.
    • David R. Remer wrote: But, the voters still haven’t a clue how to uphold their civic duty in this regard, do they? They have not yet taken up the Vote Out My Own Incumbents mantra when federal government fails to meet their expectations.
    • David R. Remer wrote: This recession caused by Republicans is already harming millions of Americans.
    • David R. Remer wrote: It took 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement to turn possibility into reality.
    HHHHMMMMMM … that’s a lot of “If”s, and it was not abundantly clear that “re”-election of Democrats was based on their performance of the last 8 years, but appeared to be encouraging voters to “reelect” Democrats when they have not yet proven they can govern better. And winning the majority in the last election is certainly not proof of better governance, is it?
    David R. Remer wrote: No mystery to the logic here, d.a.n.
    Well, no, it is a bit mysterious, based on the reasons in my previous sentence above, because it appears there may be some contradictions and inconsistences, because I have not seen better governance by Democrats of any significance either, and because numerous comments by you often appear favorable to [re-]electing Democrats, but denigrate Republicans, which naturally rasies the question of a possible bias to re-elect ONLY Democrats?

    That is, unless Democrats have already governed better (not merely “if” they do), why not recommend the following instead ?

  • David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats [Republicans] govern better than the Republicans [Democrats] have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats [Republicans] solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats [Republicans] get reelected.
  • Or why not recommend the following instead ?

  • David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats [politicians] govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats [politicians] solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats [politicians] get reelected.
  • Therefore, I was very surprised to see comments (above) recommending the re-election of Democrats, despite the ambiguous “If” that does not entirely explain away the bias, since BOTH parties in Congress for the last 8 years seem to be about equally FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, and/or corrupt. That is, without a better current track-record for Democrats or Republicans, there should be a general support for the re-election for responsible politicians, regardless of party affilation. Not only Democrats.

    So I want to be careful to be sure I understand your true position (this time).

    Surely, you can understand and you would not want anyone to draw the wrong conclusion, and I would not want to draw the wrong conclusion?

    Therefore, and I hate to belabor this, but the devil is often in the details, so perhaps you could clarify a things, which should make this all crystal clear to me and others?

  • [QUESTION #01]: Is the following also true?: David R. Remer wrote: “If they [ Democrats Republicans] are successful in making significant headway on resolving the challenges our nation faces short and long term, WHY NOT RE-ELECT THEM?”

  • [QUESTION #02]: Can you name 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100, 150, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, or corrupt, or deserve re-election? Do you believe at least 268 Congress persons that deserve to be re-elected?

  • [QUESTION #03]: Can you name 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, or even 157 (half of 313) Democrats in Congress that are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, or corrupt, or deserve re-election?
    Do you believe at least 157 Democrats exist in Congress that deserve to be re-elected?

  • [QUESTION #04]: Does re-electing incumbent Democrats include re-electing any incumbent Democrat, or only incumbent politicians that are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, and/or corrupt? If so, who are they?
    If so, are there any, and about how many?
  • [QUESTION #05]: Is it OK to vote for a non-incumbent or incumbent Republican, Green, or Independent if they are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, and/or corrupt?
    If so, who are they?? Or is voting for Republicans, Greens, or Independents out of the question?
    Or is winning seats for the party the primary objective?

  • [QUESTION #06]: You clearly believe Republicans are responsible for this recession (although, it is most likely actually much deeper and serious than a recession due to many serious long-term problems), but are Democrat politicians in Congress significantly, or even sufficiently better than Republicans?
  • [QUESTION #07]: 86.9% of Congress was re-elected, so why will the 111th Congress be better, or more successful than the 110th Congress?

  • [QUESTION #08]: Is it OK to vote for an incumbent politician who voted for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act, which was very bipartisan (Senate:(90=90%=Yay, 8=Nay, 1=NoVote); House:(362=83%=Yay, 57=Nay, 15=NoVote))? If not, that would exclude 90% of the Senate and 83% of the House of Representatives.

  • [QUESTION #09]: Is it OK to vote for an incumbent politician voted for the Commodities Futures Modernization (CFM) Act, which was worse than the GLB Act (which Bill Clinton also signed)?

  • [QUESTION #10]: Is it OK to vote for an incumbent politician who voted for pork-barrel?
    If not, that might eliminate 100% of Congress.

  • [QUESTION #11]: Is it OK to vote for an incumbent politician who resisted oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

  • [QUESTION #12]: If Republicans are really mostly to blame for this recession, how did the Democrats let that happen, when Republicans only had a small majority (only leading by 9-to-39 seats) in Congress for 6 years between years 2000 and 2006 ?
    • SENATE ____________________________________HOUSE_____________________________________________________

    • Congress_Years_Total_DEM._REP._Other_Vacant_| Total_DEM._REP._Other_Vacant_Re-Election _and_Party-Seat-Retention Rates

    • 102nd 1991–1993 100 _ 56 _ 44 __ 0 ___ 0 _____| 435 _267 _167 __ 1 ___ 0 _____ 87.7% _______ 98.3%

    • 103rd 1993–1995 100 _ 57 _ 43 __ 0 ___ 0 _____| 435 _258 _176 __ 1 ___ 0 _____ 73.6% _______ 98.1%

    • 104th 1995–1997 100 _ 48 _ 52 __ 0 ___ 0 _____| 435 _204 _230 __ 1 ___ 0 _____ 79.8% _______ 88.2%

    • 105th 1997–1999 100 _ 45 _ 55 __ 0 ___ 0 _____| 435 _207 _226 __ 2 ___ 0 _____ 77.4% _______ 98.7%

    • 106th 1999–2001 100 _ 45 _ 55 __ 0 ___ 0 _____| 435 _211 _223 __ 1 ___ 0 _____ 89.9% _______ 99.3%

    • 107th 2001–2003 100 _ 50 _ 50 __ 0 ___ 0 _____| 435 _212 _221 __ 2 ___ 0 _____ 88.2% _______ 98.7%

    • 108th 2003–2005 100 _ 48 _ 51 __ 1 ___ 0 _____| 435 _205 _229 __ 1 ___ 0 _____ 87.9% _______ 98.1%

    • 109th 2005-2007 100 _ 44 _ 55 __ 1 ___ 0 _____| 435 _202 _231 __ 1 ___ 1 _____ 88.6% _______ 98.7%

    • 110th 2007-2009 100 _ 49 _ 49 __ 2 ___ 0 _____| 435 _233 _202 __ 0 ___ 0 _____ 84.9% _______ 93.1%

    • 111th 2009-2011 100 _ 56 _ 42 __ 1 ___ 0 _____| 435 _257 _177 __ 2 ___ 0 _____ 86.9% _______ 94.0%
  • [QUESTION #13]: Much is made of the filibuster. Republicans have not had a filibuster-proof Senate since 1923. So If Republicans are really mostly to blame for this recession and passing bad legislation, how did the Democrats let that happen when they could also filibuster?

  • [QUESTION #14]: The point is, was it not fairly well established, especially based on dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress and the direction of the nation, that the majority in BOTH parties in Congress are too FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, wasteful, and/or corrupt to deserve re-election? Do you believe that is true, or significantly the fault of only one party?
    Also, remember, the IN-PARTY is always more corrupt, which is partyly why the IN-PARTY always becomes the OUT-PARTY.

  • [QUESTION #15]: Have the majority of Democrats in Congress (for the last 8 years) governed so significantly better than Republicans (also keeping in mind that the IN-PARTY is always more corrupt) to deserve re-election?
  • David R. Remer wrote: The fact is, if that is the case, they will be re-elected. Hence, the motivation for Democrat haters to work to insure their, and the nation’s failure, going forward, like Sen. Shelby. That was the point. If you can’t see any scenario in which you would support Democrat reelections, then your position is one poised to wish for and work for failure of the nation going forward under Democrat governance.
    I’ve looked at Sen. Shelby’s voting record and he would not get my vote, and he’s most likely wrong on the loan to GM, Chrysler, and Ford. Senator Shelby:
    • Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (Mar 2005)
    • Voted NO on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education. (Mar 2005)
    • Voted NO on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction. (Apr 2001)
    • Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (Jun 2008)
    • Voted YES on terminating CAFE standards within 15 months. (Mar 2002)
    • Voted YES on defunding renewable and solar energy. (Jun 1999)
    • Voted NO on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations. (Sep 2005)
    • Voted YES on promoting free trade with Peru. (Dec 2007)
    • Voted YES on free trade agreement with Oman. (Jun 2006)
    • Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress. (Mar 2006)
    • Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity. (Mar 2006)
    • Voted NO on banning “soft money” contributions and restricting issue ads. (Mar 2002)
    • Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations. (Apr 2001)
    • Voted NO on banning more types of Congressional gifts. (Jul 1995)
    • Voted NO on background checks at gun shows. (May 1999)
    • Voted YES on loosening license & background checks at gun shows. (May 1999)
    • Voted YES on $40 billion per year for limited Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Jun 2003)
    • Voted NO on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages. (Jun 2001)
    • Voted YES on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Apr 2001)
    • Voted NO on requiring FISA court warrant to monitor US-to-foreign calls. (Feb 2008)
    • Voted YES on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad. (Aug 2007)
    • Voted NO on limiting soldiers’ deployment to 12 months. (Jul 2007)
    • Voted NO on implementing the 9/11 Commission report. (Mar 2007)
    • Voted NO on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees. (Sep 2006)
    • Voted NO on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods. (Sep 2006)
    • Voted NO on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism. (Jul 2005)
    • Voted NO on banning chemical weapons. (Apr 1997)
    • Voted YES on allowing more foreign workers into the US for farm work. (Jul 1998)
    • Voted YES on visas for skilled workers. (May 1998)
    • Voted YES on overriding presidential veto of Farm Bill. (Jun 2008)
    • Voted NO on limiting farm subsidies to people earning under $750,000. S. Amendment 3810 (Dec 2007)
    • Voted NO on limiting farm subsidies S. Amendment 3695
    • Voted NO on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Jun 2007)
    • Voted NO on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than $6.25. (Mar 2005)
    • Voted YES on killing an increase in the minimum wage. (Nov 1999)
    • Voted NO on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million. (Mar 2008)
    • Voted YES on raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M. (Feb 2008)
    • Voted YES on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million. (Mar 2007)
    • Voted YES on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts. (Aug 2006)
    • Voted YES on permanently repealing the `death tax`. (Jun 2006)
    • Voted NO on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut. (Feb 2006)
    • Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Feb 2006)
    • Voted NO on reducing marriage penalty instead of cutting top tax rates. (May 2001)
    • Voted NO on increasing tax deductions for college tuition. (May 2001)
    • Voted YES on eliminating the ‘marriage penalty’. (Jul 2000)
    • In 2004, a federal investigation concluded that Shelby revealed classified information to the media when he was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Specifically, Shelby revealed classified information on June 19, 2002 to Carl Cameron, the chief political correspondent on Fox News. This information had been given to Shelby only minutes before at a closed intelligence committee meeting. This information consisted of two messages intercepted by the National Security Agency on September 10, 2001, but translated only after the attacks the next day — “the match is about to begin” and “tomorrow is zero hour.” Both the U.S. attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case, and a grand jury empaneled. In July 2004, the Department of Justice declined to file criminal charges against Shelby and transferred the case to the Senate Ethics Committee. On August 11, 2004, media sources confirmed that Shelby had hired Washington-based attorney Gregory Craig, to represent him in investigations by the Ethics Committee. In November 2005, the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed its probe into the alleged leak of classified information regarding National Security Agency intercepts the day before the attacks, administering no punishment to Shelby.
    • Shelby, in his role as chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs, opposed proposed bills that would have helped reform the title insurance industry and help reduce the costs homeowners pay, particularly when they refinance their mortgage. Shelby earns between $100,000 and $1,000,000 per year from Tuscaloosa Title Co. Inc., a title insurer he founded in 1974. His staff stated that his opposition to the bills is unrelated to his relationship with Tuscaloosa Title
    • Voted NO to pass a BILL HR1424 that allows the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions, with a total outstanding balance of up to $700 billion, and also provides tax incentives for alternative energies and contains income tax and alternative minimum tax provisions. BILL passed anyway in Senate: 74 - 25
    • In late 2008 he opposed a Federal government bridge loan for US-owned auto companies, saying: “We don’t need government - governmental subsidies for manufacturing in this country. It’s the French model, it’s the wrong road. We will pay for it. The average American taxpayer is going to pay dearly for this, if I’m not wrong.” However, foreign-owned auto manufacturers Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai received approximately $788 million in government subsidies in the cities of Vance, Lincoln, Huntsville, and Montgomery in Shelby’s home state of Alabama, according to analysis by Good Jobs First. Good Jobs First executive Director Greg LeRoy pointed out that “while proposed federal aid to the Big 3 would take the form of a loan, the vast majority of subsidies to foreign auto plants were taxpayer gifts such as property and sales tax exemptions, income tax credits, infrastructure aid, land discounts, and training grants.”
    I’ve looked over several hundreds of voting records at VoteSmart.org, OnTheIssues.org, and other votes-databases (many more than once), and have yet to find any that I agree with even a mere 55% of the issues.

    So I have no party favorites, and I voted for some Democrats in the last election (and some other politicians in other parties too).

    I do not wish for failure for the nation.
    Voting, or not voting for Democrats or Republicans does not equate to “wish for and work for failure of the nation”.

    Viewing Democrats as being no better or worse (to any significant degree) than Republicans, and view BOTH as equally culpable for the economic mess, and still being skeptical based on voting records, statements, some appointments, and known policies does not equate to being “Democrat haters” or wanting the “nation’s failure”

    David R. Remer wrote: Hence, the motivation for Democrat haters to work to insure their, and the nation’s failure, going forward, like Sen. Shelby. That was the point.

    David R. Remer wrote: If you can’t see any scenario in which you would support Democrat reelections, then your position is one poised to wish for and work for failure of the nation going forward under Democrat governance.
    Again, I voted for some Democrats in the last two elections (and some Libertarians, and a few Republicans), based on voting records; not their party affiliation.

    I’d like to see more responsible politicians in Congress, regardless of party affiliation.

    Not voting for Democrats does not equate to “wish for and work for failure of the nation”.

    What may guarantee failure is the powerfully addictive, circurlar, partisan-warfare that continusly distracts from more important issues, and focuses only on winning seats for THE PARTY.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 17, 2008 05:21 PM
    Comment #272239


    And then there was the pork that the Republicans use to grease the wheels of Democratic support for the Republican policies.

    I am a Democrat that has no furture use for my party that apparently has decided to please the Republicans by showing them how to make Republican/Democratic policy work.

    Apparently the majority are the ones that are saying, no matter what the cost, we must keep the wealthy and their corporations happy or they will be mean to us and our favorite incumbent.

    Posted by: jlw at December 17, 2008 05:50 PM
    Comment #272255
    Apparently the majority are the ones that are saying, no matter what the cost, we must keep the wealthy and their corporations happy or they will be mean to us and our favorite incumbent.
    True. Where were these huge battles over policy?

    We have wolves and sheep in Congress.

    Which is worse?

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 17, 2008 08:51 PM
    Comment #272290

    d.a.n, Bush and the filibustering Republican Senate these last 2 years have CONTINUED to control the legislative agenda.

    Democrats have NOT been in control these last 2 years. Duh! With the Bush’s veto threat, and the Senate Republicans filibuster threat, Democrats have not been in control of the agenda. Now, after Jan. 20, 2009, that changes.

    Your argument is bogus that the past 2 years don’t support the possibility of Democrats doing well after Obama and the new Congress takes their seats. Though the Senate Republicans will still have a filibuster potential by the numbers, in reality, Republicans are going to find it very tough to launch a filibuster on most issues due to their losses in the Senate in Nov’s races and the fact that several moderate Republicans like Snowe and Collins will be siding with pragmatism instead of ideological partisan filibustering, giving Democrats the majority on most issues.

    Entirely different scenario after Jan. 20, than the past 2 years. Democrats attempted many solutions to many problems in the House these last 2 years, which died on threat of a Bush veto or filibuster in the Senate. Democrats have not been in control of the solution process these last 2 years, like they will be next year.

    So, your argument that you haven’t seen much from Democrats these last 2 years (true), and that speaks to what we won’t see next year, is not logically deduced.

    d.a.n said: “that’s a lot of “If”s,”

    Absolutely right. I don’t have a crystal ball on the future. (And neither do you). I only have logic and a limited set of current and historical data to work with, which require projections into the future be prefaced with, “IF this or that is the case” Only a fool or uneducated person would make declarative statements about the future without an implied or explicit “If”, prefacing their prediction. Logic 101.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 08:48 AM
    Comment #272291

    jlw, what you are critiquing is the democratic process of consensus which can only be achieved through trade-offs, bartering, and compromise, between differing factions.

    I take it from your comment that you would prefer a monolithic authoritarian regime like that of Saddam Hussein in which dissent and compromise are not required or tolerated between differing parties, views, and factions?

    You may want to revisit you last comment and contemplate its roots for a moment or two. Bashing the compromise give and take between the parties in Congress in order to achieve consensus is at the core and heart of our Constitutional democratic republic. Object to it, and one cannot avoid by default supporting its opposite, authoritarian rule.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 08:53 AM
    Comment #272294

    d.a.n, I think you are interpreting my sentence differently than than the way I intended it to read.

    When I say: “and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.”

    I am saying, IF one does one’s part to understand the challenges and offers Democrats, who will be in control of governance next year, solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans, and if Democrats implement solutions that make sense to most Americans with the promise of success, then one will invariably help the Democratic Party get reelected. Though I wrote a more shorthand version, that is what was intended by my words. The point being, that if one wishes to see our nation succeed in solving its challenges over he next couple years, ONE MUST hope and work for Democrats to succeed with efforts toward that end; and if they do, one will have supported their reelection whether one wanted to or not. If Democrats succeed in solving our putting us on track to solving our challenges, they will be reelected as a party over the GOP or third parties.

    If one is, as Sen. Shelby appears to be, adamantly opposed to Democrats holding power, then they must work to insure our nation fails its challenges while Democrats are in power. That sort of partisan position is about as unAmerican and unloyal to this nation as one can possibly get short of overt acts of treason.

    This statement of mine however, in no way negates, or contradicts, voting out incumbents as a rational and legitimate pursuit for better government. One can preserve the party in power while electing challenger Democrats to replace incumbent Democrats, which I insist is the ONLY way the voters will ever regain control of their elected government officials, holding them accountable for their actions in the long run.

    In time, and as you often say, with enough pain and ruination, most Americans will come to recognize the wisdom of voting out incumbents who are ineffective, corrupt, or incompetent in providing transparent, responsible, accountable stable government which insures optimal levels of liberty, prosperity, and security for the greatest number in our society.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 09:33 AM
    Comment #272316

    Thank you for that clarification.

    Lots of people have a partisan bias.
    You too perhaps?
    Perhaps most (if not all) of us, to varying degrees.

    However, for you and I, I believe it is important that any promotion of re-election if based on voting records, and actions truly deserving re-election, instead of party affiliation, because partisan bias fuels the partisan-warfare, and defeats the goal of better government.

    In my opinion, based years of studies of numerous voting records by hundreds of incumbent politicians, I believe very few (if any) deserve re-election, are too FOR-SALE, too corrupt, too look-the-other-way, and/or too incompetent, and BOTH parties have done a terrible job for decades, and the fact that the IN-PARTY is always a bit more corrupt is too often forgotten until the IN-PARTY always becomes the OUT-PARTY (again and again).

    Also, it is also too often forgotten that the OUT-PARTY is often working hard to make the IN-PARTY fail, and often giving it all the rope it needs to hang itself with, despite the harm to the nation.

    Both parties do it, and the proof of it today is that the nation’s most pressing problems have continued to grow in number and severity for many decades.

    The last 30+ years, under BOTH parties reign as the IN-PARTY/OUT-PARTY, the corruption in government, corporations, and banks has grown worse.
    The many manifestations of unchecke greed have peaked in the late 1980s (Savings & Loans and 1987 crash), late 1990s (dot.com bust, fraud, and lots of cookin’ the books), and again in the late 2000s (fraud, cookin’ the books, speculation, rampant fiscal irresponsibity and greed, etc.).

    The only difference between the 1980s, 1990s, and today in the 2000s is that we reached the final straw, due to nation-wide debt that has been growing out-of-control for over 50 years (from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP in 2008; and total federal debt has actually never been worse, when including the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching). That is, we have a near-simultaneous culmination of numerous serious long-term problems, which have existed for many decades, but have steadily grown worse for many decades, and many are now all becoming so acute, that numerous economic conditions have never been worse than today, and/or since the Great Depression.

    Therefore, I can see that the IN-PARTY is always a bit more corrupt, but BOTH parties are so excessive corrupt and irresponsible, that any real differences are of no real consequence, and trying to prove it only fuels the circular, divisive, distracting partisan warfare more, which is hurts the nation. This is not a ploy to defend Republicans (I’m not a Republican). It is a desire to see less partisan warfare, because it makes BOTH parties more corrupt, more focused only on the partisan-warfare, while distracting from the nation’s pressing problems growing in number and severity.

    Such bias is obvious when corruption is rampant, but each side rails only against the corruption of the OTHER party, but is mostly (if not completely) silent about the corruption of THEIR own party.
    The corruption is out of control.
    That is why, despite some often having wildly enthusiastic support of THEIR own party, no one can name 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100, 150, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are not FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, or corrupt, or deserve re-election. Many of these people really don’t know much about THEIR politicians and party, but are stubbornly determined that their loyalties are not possibly misplaced, and therefore, not really objective.

    That is why the following statement appeared a bit ambiguous and possibly promoting the re-election of ONLY Democrats …

  • David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.
  • … and could probably have been better stated as ?

  • David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats [politicians] govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats [politicians] solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats [deserving politicians] get reelected.
  • At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 18, 2008 01:15 PM
    Comment #272318

    CORRECTION (5th sentence):
    However, for you and I, I believe it is important that any promotion of re-election if [is] based on voting records, and actions truly deserving re-election, instead of party affiliation, because partisan bias fuels the partisan-warfare, and defeats the goal of better government.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 18, 2008 01:18 PM
    Comment #272345

    d.a.n said: “However, for you and I, I believe it is important that any promotion of re-election if [is] based on voting records, and actions truly deserving re-election, instead of party affiliation, because partisan bias fuels the partisan-warfare, and defeats the goal of better government.”

    Couldn’t agree more, d.a.n.

    Changing the word Democrat to politicians doesn’t change the reality that Democrats will be in control of the nation’s recovery for the next 4 years at least. And it won’t change the perception by the general public that if government fails, the public will blame Democrats, and if they succeed, the public will hail the Democrats including the majority of independent registered voters.

    I agree with you entirely, that the long term hope for responsible governance hinges on whether or not the general public holds THEIR OWN representatives responsible for good or bad governance, regardless of party. But, I see very scant evidence that the American people are anywhere close to that view at this time.

    Such a view would have to be part and parcel of K-12 education in America, and you and I both know that the Democrats nor Republicans will sanction that kind of education in our schools. Though, there are hints from Obama’s words and actions that regardless of how the parties feel about it, that is where he intends to go with leadership, nonetheless. His choice for the inaugural religious invocation is a VERY clear symbolic gesture to his Democratic Party that he will not be bowing to special interests, including the Democratic Party, if doing so will result in his failing to take the country in the appropriate direction.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2008 04:06 PM
    Comment #272393
    David R. Remer wrote: Changing the word Democrat to politicians doesn’t change the reality that Democrats will be in control of the nation’s recovery for the next 4 years at least.
    True, yet despite that fact, there is still one caveat worth mentioning (and I’ll then cease and decist) about the problem (an ambiguity at the least) with the specific wording with the use of “Democrats” only, instead of “politicians” or “Republicans” …
    • VERSION # 1: David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats get reelected.
    • VERSION # 2: David R. Remer wrote: But, if you want to see Democrats [politicians] govern better than the Republicans have, you must first accept the possibility that they can, and then do your part to learn about the challenges our government faces and offer Democrats [politicians] solutions that will make sense to a majority of Americans and help Democrats [deserving politicians] get reelected.

    While you are certainly free to choose to be partisan, and I am not telling you what to do, and you may have never intended VERISON #1 above to sound biased, I am expressing an opinion that statements grouped with biased statements for one party and against another party, and also drawing debatable conclusions, are actually making things worse, by helping BOTH parties fail, by focusing on fueling the partisan-warfare, instead of focusing on solutions. That actually plays into the hands of the politicians that love to fuel the partisan-warfare because it actually serves to fuel the obstructionism and sabotage which all OUT-PARTY’s utilize, and ensures increased incumbency rates in BOTH parties due to the clever “No-Same-Party-Challengers” mechanism.

    You know the wise saying about being “color blind” with regard to race?
    Voters would be wise to be more “partisan blind” with regard to politicians, because the partisan-warfare increases re-election rates of BOTH parties, primarily due to the clever “No-Same-Party-Challengers” mechanism.

    Any way, the issue with the specific wording with the use of “Democrats” only, instead of “politicians” or “Republicans” is that:

    • (1) It seems more like other politicians of other parties (e.g. Republicans and Independents) who will be part of the 111th Congress (re-elected or new) have already been written-off, and that fuels the partisan warfare that makes each want to sabotage the other. This conclusion is not difficult to draw, when statements are accompanied by other statements blaming one party for this economic mess, despite volumes of proof that make placing any significant majority of blame on either party is probably futile, and ignores the fact that the IN-PARTY is always a bit more corrupt, which is why the IN-PARTY always becomes the OUT-PARTY.

    • (2) Despite the use of “IF”, the use of “Democrats” instead of “politicians” seems more like a conclusion that only (or mostly) “Democrats” can govern better, and will deserve re-election.

    • (3) Despite the use of “IF”, the use of “Democrats” instead of “politicians” seems more like the goal is to re-elect only (or mostly) “Democrats”, instead of all responsible and deserving politicians from all parties. Such a bias is questionable with dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress and 86.9% of Congress was re-elected, and it has not yet been proven that any specific party will govern better (or worse) that the other. Especially when no one (for years) cares to try argue that even 268 (half of 535) in Congress are not too irresponsible, incompetent, FOR-SALE, and/or corrupt to deserve re-election.

    • (4) Biases (whether justified or not) actually serve to shoot one’s self in the foot, by fueling the circular, divisive, distracting partisan-warfare that motivates each party to try to sabotage the other. That is, BOTH parties would be wise to stop using their new IN-PARTY status and power to punish the OUT-PARTY, because such bias simply leads to the IN-PARTY becoming the OUT-PARTY (again and again), and the focus on partisan-warfare takes precedence over solving the nation’s pressing problems now growing dangerously in number and severity.

    That is, we may all harbor a partisan bias, but surrendering to them to the degree that it fuels more partisan warfare is actually shooting one’s self in the foot.
    I’m certainly not defending Senator Shelby’s position or any politicians’ position on the loans to the BIG-3 Auto-makers, any your article has some merit.
    The $34 Billion for the BIG-3 is only 1% of the $3.2 Trillion already spent-or-lent from the $8.5 Trillion already allocated for the bail-outs.
    That is, Congress’ scrutiny on the BIG-3 is odd considering the speed of which the $700 Billion Bail-out BILL HR1424 passed in the Senate by 74=YES and 25=No votes.
    But it is possible that the $34 Billion still may not save the BIG-3.
    As listed above with many of Shelby’s other votes, Shelby also didn’t vote for the $700 Billion Bail-out BILL either.
    If Shelby was a genuinely for conservative-spending and real fiscal responsibility, his position may be defensible.
    However, Shelby is not against certain types of massive spending, and most (if not all) in Congress have voted for some sort of pork-barrel.
    Only a very few in Congress have demonstrated a fairly consistent record of voting against most types of federal spending.
    Shelby voted NO on limiting farm subsidies to people earning under $750,000 per year.
    Shelby voted NO on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education.
    Shelby Voted NO on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies.
    Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress.
    There’s little doubt that Shelby has some nefarious reasons (e.g. foreign auto-makers in Alabama, such as Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, & Toyota) for rejecting bail-outs for GM, Ford, and Chrysler.
    So, I find Shelby’s voting record disgusting.
    However, if you look at any Congress persons’ voting records, you will find that Shelby is far from alone.
    That is, most (if not all) politicians do this sort of crap.
    And the people of Alabama may still re-elect Shelby if they think he’s saving Alabama jobs by not saving the competition.
    I worry about losing such a large manufacturing base and the National Security implications.
    However, these facts are often ignored and eclipsed by the circular, distracting partisan warfare.

    If the 111th Congress and the next administration fail, regardless of whose mostly to blame, the unhappy voters won’t necessarily know which party is most culpable, and they will most likely do what voters did in 1927 to 1933, and vote-out many dozens to hundreds in BOTH parties, because most voters really won’t know the real score:

    • Start __ End __ Congress _ Re-Election ___ Party Seat-Retention

    • Year ___ Year ___ # _____ Rate ________ Rate

    • 1927 ___ 1929 ___ 070st ___ 68.9% ________ 96.4% (087 incumbents ousted: 22(D), 64(R), 1(FL) )

    • 1929 ___ 1931 ___ 071st ___ 79.7% ________ 92.5% (108 incumbents ousted: 51(D), 44(R), 2(FL), 1(S) )

    • 1931 ___ 1933 ___ 072nd ___ 76.8% ________ 88.5% (123 incumbents ousted: 36(D), 87(R) )

    • 1933 ___ 1935 ___ 073rd ___ 61.2% ________ 78.7% (206 of 531 incumbents ousted: 59(D), 147(R) )

    Especially with such dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 19, 2008 11:40 AM
    Comment #272436

    Yep, Version 2 I agree with, because it says essentially the same as version 1 for all time, instead of the just the next 4 years. Your version is as good or better depending on whether one is addressing general electorate responsibility always or just over the next 4 years. It remains however, that if Democrats succeed with a popular approval rating, they, as a party, will get reelected as a majority.

    Which is not a contradiction to the Vote Out Incumbents philosophy which advocates voting out incumbents during times when government fails the people’s expectations, or, when individual politicians are ineffective, corrupt, or responsible for bad governance.

    I am not choosing to be partisan. The facts are the facts. This is a Democratic Party controlled government coming, and there are no other players to hold to account for what happens over the next 2 and 4 years. Addressing factual reality is not partisan. Though you may continue to choose to see it that way if you wish. I am being specific. Nothing more.

    You are being general. That too is not partisan.

    My hoping for my government to succeed is NOT partisan. My hoping that my nation will overcome its challenges for my daughter’s future sake, IS NOT PARTISAN. The fact that it is the Democratic Party in control for the next 2 to 4 years, is a fact of reality beyond my control. I hope, NOT for Partisan reasons, that the Democrats successfully manage our nation over its challenges. That is not partisan. That is American and patriotic, the way I see it.

    I hoped for the same when Republicans were in power. But they disappointed me and the nation endlessly. I remained an independent during Republicans rule, still hoping they would govern well, and I remain an independent during the coming Democrats rule, still hoping they govern well.

    I gave Republican representatives the benefit of my thoughts and hopes, and I will give the same to the Democrats. That is not a partisan activity. That is an American civic duty as I see it. Regardless of whether you deem it partisan or not. The reality remains, a political party is going to be in control. We, as Americans, should wish and support whatever Party is in power doing well and right by us and our nation. Nothing partisan about that.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2008 04:39 PM
    Comment #272495
    David R. Remer wrote: Yep, Version 2 I agree with, because it says essentially the same as version 1 for all time, instead of the just the next 4 years.
    No, the two versions above are not the same for the next 4 years, or forever.

    (1) VERSION # 1 wants politicians in IN-PARTY to do better than politicians in the OUT-PARTY, and to help re-elect politicians in the IN-PARTY.
    (2) VERSION # 2 wants ALL politicians in government to do better, and to help re-elect politicians deserving of re-election, regardless of party affiliation.

    (1) VERSION # 1 is partisan.
    (2) VERSION # 2 is not partisan.

    Many politicians in BOTH parties do not always vote with THEIR party.

    David R. Remer wrote: I hope, NOT for Partisan reasons, that the Democrats successfully manage our nation over its challenges. That is not partisan. That is American and patriotic, the way I see it.
    Why not hope all politicians, regardless of party, do better? Especially since they ALL share control, and neither has a filibuster-proof Senate.

    Why only Democrats? Hoping only one party does better, instead of all parties, seems very much like the other party has already been written-off, and

    David R. Remer wrote: Writing politicians off as imperfect human beings contributes NOTHING to better government going forward.

    David R. Remer wrote: I am not choosing to be partisan. The facts are the facts. This is a Democratic Party controlled government coming,
    Not completely.

    Control is shared by other parties and independents too, and the best thing would be to hope ALL politicians do better, regardless of party. Especially since neither party has a filibuster-proof senate.

    David R. Remer wrote: I hoped for the same when Republicans were in power. But they disappointed me and the nation endlessly.
    Why not hope for all politicians in all parties? Republicans had a tiny majority, and they also did not have a filibuster-proof Senate?

    Realistically, most (if not all) politicians in ALL parties have been disappointing for several decades, and they have the voting records to prove it, which is why no one will dare try to name 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that aren’t FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, wasteful, corrupt, and don’t vote on pork-barrel (while they’re giving themselves a raise 9 times between 1997 and 2007, while U.S. troops go without armor, adequate medical care, promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, 4 or more tours in Iraq and Afghanistan). The fact is, the difference between them is minor, as evidenced by the nation’s problems being allowed for many decades to grow in number and severity.

    David R. Remer wrote: I gave Republican representatives the benefit of my thoughts and hopes, and I will give the same to the Democrats. That is not a partisan activity.
    It is partisan if all politicians in the OUT-PARTY have already been written-off, which is what it sounds like.

    Without a filibuster-proof Senate, we’d better hope all politicians are more responsible. After all, there are many politicians that dont’ vote strickly along party lines, which shows the obvious flaw with such strict partisan viewpoints.
    43% of Congress voted to use force against Iraq.
    90% of Congress voted for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
    The majority of Congress also passed the more damaging Commodities Futures Modernization Act.
    Neither party went to great lengths to undo the deregulation, BOTH parties are on record blocking more regulation and oversight, and the deregulation started in the 1980s.

    David R. Remer wrote: You are being general. That too is not partisan.
    It is not general. It is realistic. While the IN-PARTY is always a bit more corrupt, that is always conveniently forgotten, and BOTH parties have been doing a terrible job for many decades (e.g. 30+ years), many politicians in BOTH parties are FOR-SALE, irresponsible, incompetent, and/or corrupt. BOTH parties have their extremes, and they each abuse their power, which is why the IN-PARTY always becomes the OUT-PARTY.
    David R. Remer wrote: My hoping for my government to succeed is NOT partisan.
    Of course not, if it includes the whole government, and hasn’t written off other parties, and doesn’t fuel partisan-warfare.
    David R. Remer wrote: We, as Americans, should wish and support whatever Party is in power doing well and right by us and our nation. Nothing partisan about that.
    It is partisan.

    We should wish support for whatever Party is in power politicians doing well and right by us and our nation. That is truly non-partisan.

    Posted by: d.a.n at December 20, 2008 05:09 PM
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