Third Party & Independents Archives

Capitalism or Socialism?

Political agendas are most often complex and difficult to conceptualize or to have a clear perspective of the political scene while staring into the convoluted and murky waters of capitalism-democracy-socialism. The task is made much easier by being armed with some well written articles that provide you with much needed information. Running against Roy Blunt in a bid to represent Missouri’s 7th District, House of Representatives, Kevin Craig wrote a couple, one + one, of good articles.

Here are some gist/excerpts from the articles:
That capitalism means freedom and socialism is government control, that a ‘great American’ is a hard worker and a ‘whiner’ is either a fascist or socialist.

(Kevin) is working to establish pure, lassize-faire capitalism.

Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer under capitalism? Yes. The rich are getting richer, but so are the poor. The poor are only relatively poorer, relative to the rich, who are rich beyond the wildest dreams of anyone living a century ago. The poor are super-rich compared to the poor a century ago.

The wish for socialism is a wish for unparalleled human evil.

I believe “capitalism,” rightly understood, is more compatible with Christianity than socialism in any degree.

Capitalism is a social system based on the rejection of the initiation of force or violence against others.

Libertarian Party pledge - I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force
as a means of achieving political or social goals.

Socialism rationalizes violence. Socialism has meant slavery and death to hundreds of millions of human beings.

Too many on the left who claim to be for peace defend The Welfare State (welfare socialism), which turns out to be window-dressing for The Warfare State.

"If the federal government were to be abolished, would entrepreneurs and businessmen make sure that I had access to the best quality at the lowest price?"
If you answer no -- for example,
"No, businessmen are greedy and immoral and would only manufacture shoes of low quality and sell them at rip-off prices, unless bureaucrats were regulating them,"
and you added,
"And consumers are stupid, and would always buy low quality at a high price and wouldn't care for their family unless federal bureaucrats were making sure families paid attention to the most important things."
-- then you have a religious faith in the State and its regulators, and believe that when greedy businessmen and stupid consumers are elected to government positions by their greedy and stupid peers, these newly-elected human beings suddenly lose their greed and stupidity and become altruistic and intelligent overseers of others. "Statism" is a religious belief in the depravity of human beings and faith in the sanctified State.

If socialism is a violation of basic economic laws, then our concept of "the government" must be repudiated. The key to a well-governed society is "Liberty Under God," not "the government." The key to prosperity is capitalism, not socialism. Every action of "the government" is the imposition of socialism. We must eliminate every trace of socialism from America.

Most businesses today rely on capitalist security agencies, because socialist police forces have given up on preventing crime. They only arrest some of the criminals after the crimes have already been committed and the damage has been done. If the government were taken out of the crime-prevention business, capitalists would scatter to provide high-tech crime prevention services that would dramatically reduce crime.

Only the Libertarian Party is willing to admit that the federal government is probably the most dangerous criminal on the face of the earth. Americans are concerned with theft and murder, yet governments across the globe commit far more theft and murder than all the private criminals combined.

The Founding Fathers recognized that politicians and policemen could not eliminate crime. John Adams warned: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Criminals must be held responsible for their crimes. This does not mean that victims must be held responsible for paying for long prison sentences, with cable TV, weight rooms, and no moral and religious structure. It means restitution. Criminals must work to restore their victims.

In his articles Kevin Craig extols his compassion for capitalism driven by strong religious beliefs, the ten commandments, etc. I see little relationship in his writings to the current state of capitalism-democracy-socialism. Capitalism may be defended as a better economic system but equating pure capitalism with a highly religious and moral citizenry leaves one in a quandary. We are run amok with corrupt institutions, corporations, government and a significant part of the citizenry. We have left the trail our Founder’s blazed for us. We have changed the mix of ingredients for the ‘great experiment’ our Founder’s set in motion. The Republic has been weakened with too much Democracy, and Socialism has further changed the mix by encumbering government with Public Schools - 1790, Public Water Systems - 1808, Public Highways - 1842, Public Parks - 1905, and likely with more Public Health care – 2008. A plethora of government actions has further diluted our Federal Republic. The implementation of the IRS tax policy and the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 gave the government way to much control of the economy. The income tax system is increasingly used to fund social goals in lieu of just raising revenue. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich) has introduced a bill that would allow pet owners to deduct the cost of food, veterinary care, and other pet-related expenses from their income taxes – up to $3500 per year. McCotter says this would strengthen “the human-animal bond.” Leo Grillo, an animal-rights activist, says “if Americans are happy and emotionally stable, they are going to be more productive, and that helps the economy.” A good Socialist idea I suppose. Why not? Heck, I can’t afford to send my kids to college even though I pay taxes to send yours, so I might as well pay for the upkeep of your dogs , even though I have none myself. Also, through the tax code the government has fine grain control of the overall economy and manipulates the code to empower elected leaders through the making of winners and losers in the populace. The Federal Reserve, through monetary policy from the 60’s and 70’s, has been used to control the economy through the interest rate on borrowed money. Ostensibly, by raising interest rates inflation can be controlled. However, government policies are designed to generate inflation as this makes it cheaper to pay down the national debt. Through government policy inflation has eroded 80% of the value of the dollar since the 1960’s.

Throw in the corruption associated with capitalist ventures and one wonders how capitalism has survived to this point. Craig cites Bill Gates as a great capitalist but takes no position on the fact that Gate’s is one of the biggest proponents for temporary work visas and open borders. I wouldn’t recommend designing a software product that would need some level of compatibility with a Microsoft product.

The question becomes, how can you postulate pure capitalism in such a muddled environment? You Can’t. Most would agree that as a social innovator capitalism is favorable to Socialism. It is highly unrealistic to suggest that we should strive for a pure capitalist system. Instead, we should be striving to save what we have left of a Federalist Republic and a capitalist economic system. Capitalism and the citizenry cannot thrive alongside Socialism but, our senses tell us that we are headed for a more Socialist style of government. Currently, we are being asked to accept a healthcare program whereby we will be taxed immediately to support the cost of providing HC for the population but benefits will not accrue to the patient until 2013, a year after the 2012 election.

IMO, if we are to save our capitalist system, our Constitution, our sovereignty and our democratic principles, then serious reform must come to government. We must change the relationship between corporations/institutions and government. Corporations/institutions must learn to compete rather than look to government for protection from competition. Anti-trust law must be dusted off and put on the front burner. Corporate Personhood and Money is Free Speech law must be modified or abolished. Corporate welfare and citizen welfare must be addressed. The federal government must be reined in, downsized, and obsolete or dysfunctional programs abolished.

It is clear this government cannot, will not reform itself. Real reform must come from a political movement, a third party. But not just any third party. It must come from a political party founded in rules that provide for party membership oversight of elected and appointed officials. This party must advocate for a populist agenda targeted solely at reform issues and void of ‘hot button’ social issues. Also, it is clear that reform could be facilitated by other movements such as VOID and TENURE CORRUPTS. Voting out incumbents would serve to weaken the established oligarchy, helping a third party come to power, but in the final analysis a third party with a different political attitude is the only way, IMO, to achieve real reform of government and keep it that way.

Posted by Roy Ellis at December 2, 2009 7:15 PM
Comment #291939

Roy, you might want to fix your links, one points to back to Watchblog instead of Kevin Craig’s site and the other has a
tag at the end.

Regarding, Craig’s writing and your statements:

Again I am reminded why I am not a libertarian. Equating taxation that has been agreed upon by our Constitutionally elected representatives with theft is absolutely ludicrous.

However I am glad that you are honest when you say your complaint is “too much democracy”, it reveals the true nature of those who advocate for these economic policies. According to you and Craig, the power in this country should not reside in the people as was established when our Constitution was adopted 222 years ago, but rather power should reside in the hands of a rich and powerful aristocracy.

Our founders were wise to install neither a capitalist system nor a socialist system; both of these extremes lead to the subjugation of liberty and the domination of the few over the many. Instead, we have had a mixed economy for the past 200+ years and so far it has worked without pretty well. Are there problems? Sure there are, but we are a lot better off than we would have been under any of the other systems that have been tried.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 2, 2009 9:12 PM
Comment #291941


We no longer have either a capitalist socialist system. Not even a ‘mixture of the two.’ We have developed into a corpratist society with the left and right agreeing on keeping it in place for the expansion of their power to direct the behavior and results of the society to their goals.

Any pretense to ‘freedom’ has been destroyed long ago.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 9:42 PM
Comment #291942


BTW, every day reading a conservative or liberal talking about policies to be put into place that limit individual liberty (you remember that word, liberty?) reminds why I am glad I am neither but a libertarian instead.

It really depends upon where your priorities lie. A libertarian’s is with protecting the rights of the individual.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 9:44 PM
Comment #291943

OH, and to answer your question, what do you call taking someone’s money against their will? Last time I checked, it was theft. Constitutional, legal theft in regard to taxation, but theft nonetheless.

Just like putting someone to death is murder. Just because it is constitutional and legal for the government to do so doesn’t make it any less murder.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 9:46 PM
Comment #291944

Roy it is the lunatic fringe that have so warped the minds of so many people that many of us actually believe we have a capitalistic system of government. We don’t and our founding fathers did not institute a capitalistic system of government. We have a representative democracy as our political system.

As for an economic system I would have to agree with Rhinehold when he says it is a corpratist economic system not a capitalist system. I disagree with him when he tries to tell us who in the political spectrum it is causing the ruination of our country especially when I see people like Kevin Craig professing the libertarian party line whilst spouting misguided information about our political system such as you have quoted. Seems the libertarians attract corporate lawyers for a reason.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 2, 2009 10:16 PM
Comment #291947

This is one area I disagree with the Libertarian party on, and am working to change. The party’s desired goal is to repeal anti-trust laws. I think this is a huge mistake, monopolies and, to a lesser degree, corporations prevent a free market from occurring external forces to the market.

However, j2t2 gets it wrong in thinking that ‘corpratism’ is strictly about corporations.

Corporatism is a system of economic, political, and social organization where corporate groups such as business, ethnic, farmer, labour, military, patronage, or religious groups are joined together into a single governing body in which the different groups are mandated to negotiate with each other to establish policies in the interest of the multiple groups within the body. Corporatism views society as being alike to an organic body in which each corporate group is viewed as a necessary organ for society to function properly. Corporatism is based on the sociological concept of functionalism. Countries that have corporatist systems typically utilize strong state intervention to direct corporatist policies and to prevent conflict between the groups.

I don’t think there is a better way to describe the current US society than this… And it is definitely not what the Founders had in mind when fighting for individual rights of self determination, speech and property.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 10:34 PM
Comment #291950

“I believe “capitalism,” rightly understood, is more compatible with Christianity than socialism in any degree.”

So what? Are you implying that our basis for government and economic policy should be Christianity? I would also recommend consulting Leviticus 25.

“Libertarian Party pledge - I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”

So you advocate the abolition of the police and military?

“Too many on the left who claim to be for peace defend The Welfare State (welfare socialism), which turns out to be window-dressing for The Warfare State.”

When was the last time a Scandinavian welfare state invaded another country?

“The Founding Fathers recognized that politicians and policemen could not eliminate crime. John Adams warned: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.’”

I was under the impression libertarianism favored maximum personal freedom, not a requirement that people adhere to a specific moral and religious code.

A minor personal point on National Parks-I live two hours from Grant’s Grove. Those trees, the largest in the world, would have been logged long ago if they hadn’t been protected. They were being logged until they were protected. For 20 bucks me and 5 friends climbed Half Dome in Yosemite. Put the folks who run Six Flags in charge of it and it would be more like 50 per person, another 10 to climb the dome, and they would ban all outside food and drink, then charge God only knows how much for them. Screw that.

By continuing to live in the United States you give implied consent to taxation. Therefore it is not theft. If you don’t want to pay taxes, you can move.

You seem to be quite big on the depravity of government. I’m right there with you. However, I believe that government is depraved as a result of human depravity, which also results in market depravity and capitalist exploitation of workers. I do not doubt that self-interest is the strongest motivating power for human action, but too often self-advancement comes at someone else’s expense.

Posted by: Calvin at December 2, 2009 11:07 PM
Comment #291955

I’ll leave most of the inane ramblings you’ve stated in trying to redefine words like theft and liberty and touch on a point you make…

A minor personal point on National Parks

What is wrong with selling the national parks to the Sierra Club or the Nature Conservatory (who does that sort of thing) and let them maintain it? Why does it have to be the government done with tax dollars? Those groups have access to lots of money from donations and we could put the money from that towards the national debt…

We can agree not to sell it to any other group and that group can’t sell it to anyone other than another group with similar goals…

Then they can charge people coming in OR rely on donations to keep the places up and the government would be protecting those places as private property just as any other place would be…

What is wrong with this idea? This way no one is forced to pay for something they don’t want to pay for, which is novel for a liberal, I know, but think about it and tell me where the flaw lies…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 11:56 PM
Comment #291959

Quote “”To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.” - 1912 Progressive Party Platform, attributed to him[63] and quoted again in his autobiography[64] where he continues “‘This country belongs to the people. Its resources, its business, its laws, its institutions, should be utilized, maintained, or altered in whatever manner will best promote the general interest.’ This assertion is explicit. … Mr. Wilson must know that every monopoly in the United States opposes the Progressive party. … I challenge him … to name the monopoly that did support the Progressive party, whether … the Sugar Trust, the Steel Trust, the Harvester Trust, the Standard Oil Trust, the Tobacco Trust, or any other. … Ours was the only programme to which they objected, and they supported either Mr. Wilson or Mr. Taft… “” Theodore Roosevelt The TRUST BUSTER and “RH” Listen up and The Conservationist..

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 3, 2009 12:55 AM
Comment #291961

Only a clueless ignorant writer would publicly say: “The poor are super-rich compared to the poor a century ago.”, having no idea what poverty really is.

We have homeless, foodless, and health care less Americans dying in America this year and every year, and that is absolutely no different than the poverty experienced by Americans 100 years ago.

Only a middle class or wealthy American would make such an ignorant comment. I have been poor in my life, and at best, it means having few to no options but to ask for help if pride permits, living with high levels of stress and anxiety, and being forced into positions and situations of becoming prey to others who are poor and taking what they need.

Anyone who knows why the Summer of Love turned to the basest forms of depravity and predation in the Haight-Ashbury district, especially on teen age girls without a dime in their pocket, or, anyone who has an awareness of the abject poverty conditions which seniors still live in today in the Mississippi Delta as their shanties fall apart upon their heads while plagued by insects, heat and cold and lack of medical care facilities anywhere in their area, knows the quotation above is patently false.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 3, 2009 1:38 AM
Comment #291962

Roy, you seem to be asking capitalism to change is predatory spots. It is by definition, predatory, without regard for rules, laws, ethics, morality, or any other human attribute beyond the desires for power and greed fulfillment.

Capitalism, absent (enlightened self-interest - Adam Smith), is nothing more than an observance of what was known as the law of the jungle, eat or be eaten. Adam Smith assumed that in America at least, we would insure a proper education to each and every American eventually which instilled the humanity, morality, far-sightedness, and ethics training which form the basis for enlightened self-interest which would never put today’s turn of profit as an objective ahead of fostering sustainable and equitable profitability in perpetuity through self-regulation which insures the viability of one’s nation, one’s community, and welfare of one’s business relationships, upon which future profitability depend.

Socialism, absent free markets and well regulated capitalism required long term sustainability, results in the classic economic failure of attempting to meet infinite demand with finite resources. Pure socialism is doomed to undermining its economic foundation for survival and sustainability when politicians operate on the basis that meeting infinite demand is the key to retaining power.

In America, we have always had, and continue to have, a Mixed Economy. Getting the right mix of social policy and well regulated capitalism is very difficult, and keeping the right mix constant is an impossibility, since, stuff happens and things change. And there is the sophisticated, educated, and intellectual nub of the matter. A mixed economy is the best economic basis for long term sustainability of a society or nation, but, optimizing that mix over time and change, is always going to be challenging and best left to those who understand this, and the science of economics absent the ideological bullcrap.

When doctors and Congress persons like Ron Paul leave their area of expertise to ignorantly and uneducatedly call for the elimination of the Federal Reserve and/or subject the Fed Reserve to the political machinations of Congress, a failed economy is not far off should their ignorant ideological views prevail.

The Fed. Reserve was complicit in fostering this recession we just got out of, because its board and Chief were following an ideological policy making path, namely that you can’t have too much homeownership which makes people more invested and responsible for their financial lives. When Greenspan bought into this Bush ideology, he left his economics education behind for politics. And the Fed blinded itself to the realities of the failing housing and credit markets which were there in the data as early as 2006. But, ideology prevented the Fed from acting appropriately.

Responsibility is having and exercising the ability to respond, appropriately. Putting ideologues in charge of anything, is Nuts, in the Einstein definition of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

The SEC was also complicit in failing to secure Congressional authorization to oversee and regulate the new and different hedge fund and credit default swap markets which sprung up like weeds in the wake of the tech bubble prior to the turn of the decade.

And of course, the ideologues in the White House and Congress refused to listen to the warnings of many voices calling for increased oversight and regulation of the Housing and Credit markets, not to mention the real deficit spending and skyrocketing debt from 2000 through to the present.

The political irony is, the worst thing that could happen to our economy is for this economic recovery to occur fast and relatively painlessly. Because that would mean the political will to make substantial changes in oversight and regulation and to insure non-ideologues are put in charge of economic management, would disappear before any of those changes would be made.

Of course, the fundamental answer to how to prevent such boom bust cycles is over two centuries old and to be found in Adam Smith’s work, Theory of Moral Sentiments, where capitalists are either required to demonstrate enlightened self-interest or submit to government oversight and regulation by those charged with insuring our nation follow a path of enlightened self-interest.

Regretfully, almost no one getting a degree in business administration has ever read Adam Smith’s work, though they will pay lip service to being aware of his other work, The Wealth of Nations, which they bought the Cliff Notes for.

In large part, we don’t need new answers. We just need to insure that each generation is aware and respectful of the old tried and true ones. Data changes. Wisdom does not.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 3, 2009 2:17 AM
Comment #291981

The above links point to Kevin Craig’s articles.

David, I’m not expecting capitalism, either as an economic or social strategy, to morph into a breed of ‘pure’ capitalism as Craig advocates. The answer lies in the ‘mix’ of capitalism and democracy. In a nutshell, ir you take a rose and shove it into a pile of dog doo you can still call it a rose, but … That’s the capitalism we have today. In today’s world so much has been corrupted that hardly anything works in the intended manner.
Capitalism, when properly regulated by government can be the gleaming engine of economic prosperity and social progress. But, our capitalism has been shoved into a corporatist government and it just don’t smell as it should.
The FED has this same bad odor. The FED has caused, or facilitated every recession we have had since the 60’s. Instead of allowing failed institutions to fail the FED props them up with tax dollars, jiggles the interest rate and drags out any recovery for a decade or more. Instead of eliminating debt the FED buys the debt, behind closed and locked doors no less. Jefferson shut down the central bank as did Jackson. Beginning in the 70’s when the last vestiges of a gold monetary system was nixed the boom and bust cycle has accelerated, now on about a ten year cycle it seems. You can’t mouse with a gold standard like you can with a fiat paper money system.
I agree with Doctor Paul, nix the FED and restore the gold standard and that will solve a ton of problems and give capitalism at least a sponge bath.
If it looks like Paul might win, should he run, in 2012 I would vote for him. Otherwise, I’ll stick with Nader or some 3rd party act.
Yes, Craig’s statement on the poor is near astonishing. Seems every person of any port is for free trade and to a person they espouse that for the US to compete we must educate ourselves. To me, such a stance is far more ridiculous and disingenuous than Craig’s statement on the poor. Today, on scpan, an custom airplane mfctr was touting how well his biz was working in the global economy. Said 45% of his biz was export and that his parts were all US. Later, we find out that the engine comes from Canada but is said to be US made because it is assembled here. The engine must be about half the cost of the plane. He too, spouts this education thing. What the fool doesn’t seem to realize is that in ten years some Asian outfit will be mfctring his plane, with a CH/IN motor, and selling it for about half the price he can build one for. A fool and his money is soon parted, etc. Maybe then he can go back to school and git sum more edukation.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 3, 2009 10:58 AM
Comment #291985

On 25th Aug 2009, President Obama announced that he would nominate Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. In a short statement in Martha’s Vineyard, with Bernanke standing at his side, Obama said Bernanke’s background, temperament, courage and creativity helped to prevent another Great Depression in 2008. “Ben approached a financial system on the verge of collapse with calm and wisdom, with bold action and out-of-the-box thinking that has helped put the brakes on our economic free fall” ,. IMHO I think president Obama used good sound Judgement announcing back then that he approved and nominated Bernanke to a second term , I see that the Senator from Vermont the lone Independent member in the Senate is trying to block his nomination his statement was to the effect that Ben did not lower credit card interest rates , I also recall just a short while ago congress passed sweeping new credit card legislation that could have addressed this issue i don’t know how he voted but they had their chance to provide relief and did very little to, I’d like to know his thoughts about that too..

Posted by: Rodnay Brown at December 3, 2009 11:31 AM
Comment #291992

And who created this last bubble that has now burst? Did Greenspan not push for housing for the immigrants? Did the Fed not go along with cheap home loans? Are they not independent enough to make such decisions? Where was Bernake during this time? Seems he, Summars and Geither were major players during that period.
IMO, had we let the risky players go down by now we would have numerous competitors taking their place amd this decade long recovery we are about to experience would have been over in a couple of years.
No, the FED is not independent. They are part of the Corpocracy, just as Rhinehold defined.
The Republic Sentry Party calls for the FED to be placed under the Dept of the Treas and headed by civil service staffers. At this point I’d like to see the FED abolished and restore the gold system.
What about the value of the dollar? Today’s dollar is worth about 11 cents re a 1950’s dollar. And, pay close attention as to how the FED works to pay down the national debt. They will work to make the dollar more worseless (sic) than it is now by far. China will be paid with a bunch of paper money that could buy a few big macs at best. Few in this country will be able to afford one big mac, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 3, 2009 12:44 PM
Comment #291996 Senate Vote On Passage: H.R. 627: Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act…

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 3, 2009 1:56 PM
Comment #291997

Excuse me their are Two Independent Senators I forgot about Joe, Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I-CT]

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 3, 2009 2:01 PM
Comment #292004

The new CC laws go into effect in July 2010. Companies have been raising rates toward 30% in preparation for the new laws. The word ‘usury’ was not heard during the debate on CC law. Why not set a 10% usury on credit cards? If a co. can’t make a profit on 10% they don’t need to be in biz.
Media excerpt : “The law limits when credit card interest rates can be increased on existing balances and allows consumers whose interest rates have been increased to reduce their annual percentage rates (APRs) to previous levels if they’ve been good and paid their bills on time for six months. Read the act.
The new law does not cap how high interest rates can go. Nor does it limit when APRs can be hiked on future purchases. People with business or corporate credit cards will not have the same protections as people with personal credit cards because the new law and the federal rules apply only to consumer credit cards.
• Fines of up to $5,000 for card issuers that violate the act.
• Banning universal default and double-cycle billing.
• Prohibiting over-limit fees unless consumers agree to allow transactions that exceed their credit limits to go through rather than be denied.
• Fees for late payments, over-limit charges or other penalty fees must be reasonable and related to the violation.
• Extending the life of gift cards and gift certificates so that they cannot expire within five years of activation. Banning dormancy or inactivity fees on gift cards unless there has been no activity in a 12-month period.
• Banning credit cards for people under the age of 21 unless they have adult co-signers or show proof that they have the means to repay the debts. College students must get permission from parents or guardians to increase credit limits on joint accounts they hold with those adults. The new law will ban those free pizza and T-shirt giveaways — popular on many college campuses — if students sign up for credit cards. Colleges, universities and alumni associations would have to disclose the nature of contracts they sign with credit card marketers allowing access to student and alumni contact information.
• Requiring that card issuers disclose how long it would take to pay off credit card balances if cardholders make only minimum payments each month and how much users would have to pay each month if they want to pay off their balances in 36 months.”

Wash Times 22 Oct -“Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned Congress this week about efforts to move up the effective date of tough new rules for credit card companies, saying such action could hurt consumers as much or more than help them.”
Some speculation about a NOW financial system following the last G20 meeting such as this excerpt from Investment Watch. ““It’s a strategy that can ease the burden of ALL debts — by
simultaneously devaluing ALL currencies … and re-inflating ALL
asset prices.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke … Treasury Secretary Geithner …
President Obama … former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson …
former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker … Warren Buffett … George
Soros and central bankers and politicians all over the world are
well aware of it, and in my opinion, are already working on it.”
If anyone doubts this theory, here is something to think about. The ECB could possilbly have printed billions this week (see link below), at the same time that the Fed printed (I mean auctioned off - not!) over $100 billion.
ECB Lends Record $622 Billion in Bid to Ease Crisis
FRANKFURT — The European Central Bank pumped a record €442 billion ($622 billion) into euro-zone money markets Wednesday in its first-ever offer of one-year funds as it battles the Continent’s recession.
Euro-zone banks borrowed the one-year funds, the largest amount the central bank has ever dispersed in a single shot, at the ECB’s current key rate of 1%. Much of the total likely substituted for amounts banks had been borrowing from the ECB for shorter periods, so the net stimulus to the economy is less than it appears at first sight.
The novelty lies more in the length of time ……
I use to think that long-term treasury rates would skyrocket, but now I’m not so sure if it will definitely play out that way if the Fed pursues this “secret approach”.
If all the other major countries mimic the Fed’s actions, they could potentially print their way out (or try to anyway), buying their own treasuries that they issue, and making it look like there are real buyers buying the treasuries. Under this scenario, they could potentially keep interest rates low, without destroying the value of the dollar against other currencies, then coming up with a new currency.”

The debt cannot be paid down by hard work and sweat. There is going to be some big time smoke and mirrors going on at some point.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 3, 2009 3:49 PM
Comment #292011

There are going to be rich, and there are going to be powerful, and even in a Soviet Communistic country there are going to be some animals that are more equal than others.

The good governments allow the average person, one way or another, a check on those more individually powerful than they are.

When we had such a system up and working fine, people earned more, and we had an economy less based on wishful thinking and universal indebtedness. Capital was flowing into, not out of the country.

We need better leadership than that. We don’t need to be listening to people who tell us they’ll get government off our backs, because that government is ours, and it’s supposed to be on everybody’s back, because that’s what the rule of law means.

The deal is, we are supposed to shape that government so that the freedom we want balances with the legal restrictions we need to keep our exchanges, transactions, and interactions meaningful, and on the whole positive.

We created a system, over the course of my lifetime, that depended more and more on people spending beyond their means, more and more on the richest top few percent being able to gamble recklessly and build up bubbles of false wealth with themselves as the main beneficiaries.

We created a system where the average person was asked to sacrifice and put at risk more and more, and get less and less in return.

Such a system is deadly to individual rights, individual prosperity.

**** what you call it. Call it Socialism. Does it work? Call it Capitalism. Does it work? Call it Frisbeetarianism. Does it work?

Policies must be judged by results, not by what ideology they suit themselves to. People can be wrong, and a bunch of people together can keep the wrong idea going for a long way.

Our thinking can’t get stuck on the roof, tossed there by conventional wisdom. The old saying holds true: When everybody’s thinking the same thing, nobody’s thinking.

Screw capitalism. Screw socialism. How can we organize an economy to where investing is not like walking out onto a roadway without looking each way? How can we organize an economy to where people can earn enough to keep a stable standard of living, to where people think they’re earning at least a decent chunk of what they’ve worked for?

We cannot create for ourselves an economy based on serving the interests of the top few percent and expect to create a sustainable consumer economy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 3, 2009 6:10 PM
Comment #292013

“Capitalism is a social system based on the rejection of the initiation of force or violence against others”

No, it isn’t a social system at all. It’s an economic system based on the accumulation of capital for further investment. We started getting in trouble with this system when amalgamation started to occur, and corporations became wealthy enough to control governments. Then we became reliant on gambling exchanges controlled by those same people, for a majority of the economic activity of the country.

Our social and political system is a different matter. The port of Baltimore is an example of what we have today. No one accepts that change occurs for a reason. Every state and every district has to get a piece of everything. It’s a very expensive system. People in Maryland don’t accept that what once happened there, now occurs in Virginia, so we build things that are useless and unnecessary for political reasons. The “left” and the “right” of the duopoly both want the same thing.

Posted by: ohrealy at December 3, 2009 6:39 PM
Comment #292014

Good post Stephen. I don’t think ‘we’ had so much to do with it. ‘We’ were passive and failed to follow farmer Jefferson’s advice. ‘We’ left corpocracy, as Rhinehold describes it, to decide how ‘we’ will be governed and how the wealth will be split.

How can we put the train back on the track? Heed the Founders advice and warnings. Government will not, can not reform itself. ‘We’ must decide that enough is enough.

The only way ‘we’ can achieve reform is through a 3rd political party. But, it must be done right or ‘we’ will get a mirrow image of what we currently have for a government within a few short years of reform. The party must be founded in rules or by-laws that are near impossible to change. These rules will ensure that no entity can co-opt the party from its reform mission. These rules will put accountability for elected and appointed politicians into the political equation. Having established a platform for reform ‘we’ would proceed to carry it out.

Let’s broach the first five reforms in order of priority.

Campaign Finance:
Abolish/modify Corporate Personhood and Money is free speech law. Donations go directly to the IRS. IRS accounts/bundles and ships to the FEC (audit trail is lost). FEC plans/disperses to parties or candidates based on some rational critereia.

Monetary System:
Abolish FEC and restore gold as monetary system. Between 1776 and 1913 the dollar lost 13% in value. Between 1913 and present the dollar has lost 92% of its value.

Invoke anti-trust law in any case where a business entity reaches $50B in capital assets. Prevents monopolies, creates (forces) competition, and creates jobs.

Revenue (domestic):
Implement a flat tax, 17% of gross earned income, no tax below poverty line and no deductions.

Implement a Value Added Tax policy for trade. This would immediately bring balance to our trade accounting and maintain that balance year over year. To invoke VAT requires only the President’s signature.

I am hopeful ‘we’ are now ready for reform.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 3, 2009 7:01 PM
Comment #292016

ohrealy, I would suggest that the reason for the Baltimore port build up is to circumvent union workers in Virginia. For sure the reason behind the Lazaro Cardenas port build-up is to bypass union workers in Calif. Just further breaking down the middle class worker in getting us ready for the NWO, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 3, 2009 7:11 PM
Comment #292019

This email floating around Virgia makes a good political point.

We should give this pastor a standing ovation. How much clearer does
it need to be?

I would love to give the Pastor of this predominantly black church in
Virginia a hand shake. This guy is obviously a leader and not one of
the sheep. Perhaps we should each decide who our real leader is. It is
amazing to see that very little has changed in 4,000 years.

Read the Bible passages cited…Gen 47:13-27

If you haven’t read it lately, find it, dust off the covers and get
back acquainted with it!


Good morning, brothers and sisters; it’s always a delight to see the
pews crowded on Sunday morning, and so eager to get into God’s Word.
Turn with me in your Bibles, if you will to the 47th chapter of
Genesis, we’ll begin our reading at verse 13, and go through verse 27.

Brother Ray, would you stand and read that great passage for us?

. …(reading)…

Thank you for that fine reading, Brother Ray….. So we see that
economic hard times fell upon Egypt , and the people turned to the
government of Pharaoh to deal with this for them. And Pharaoh
nationalized the grain harvest, and placed the grain in great
storehouses that he had built. So the people brought their money to
Pharaoh, like a great tax increase, and gave it all to him willingly in
return for grain. And this went on until their money ran out, and
they were hungry again.

So when they went to Pharaoh after that, they brought their livestock
-their cattle, their horses, their sheep, and their donkey - to barter
for grain, and verse 17 says that only took them through the end of
that year..

But the famine wasn’t over, was it?

So the next year, the people came before Pharaoh and admitted they had
nothing left, except their land and their own lives. “There is nothing
left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. Why should
we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for
food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh.” So they
surrendered their homes, their land, and their real estate to Pharaoh’s
government, and then sold themselves into slavery to him, in return for
grain. What can we learn from this, brothers and sisters

That turning to the government instead of to God to be our provider in
hard times only leads to slavery? Yes. That the only reason government
wants to be our provider is to also become our master? Yes…

But look how that passage ends, brothers and sisters! Thus Israel
settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen . And they gained
possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly.” God
provided for His people, just as He always has! They didn’t end up
giving all their possessions to government, no, it says they gained

But I also tell you a great truth today, and an ominous one. We see
the same thing happening today the government today wants to “share the
wealth” once again, to take it from us and redistribute it back to us.
It wants to take control of healthcare, just as it has taken control of
education, and ration it back to us, and when government rations it,
then government decides who gets it, and how much, and what kind. And
if we go along with it, and do it willingly, then we will wind up no
differently than the people of Egypt did four thousand years ago - as
slaves to the government, and as slaves to our leaders.

What Mr. Obama’s government is doing now is no different from what
Pharaoh’s government did then, and it will end the same. And a lot of
people like to call Mr. Obama a “Messiah,” don’t they? Is he a Messiah?
A savior? Didn’t the Egyptians say, after Pharaoh made them his
slaves, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be
servants to Pharaoh”?

Well, I tell you this - I know the Messiah; the Messiah is a friend of
mine; and Mr. Obama is no Messiah! No, brothers and sisters, if Mr.
Obama is a character from the Bible, then he is Pharaoh.

Bow with me in prayer, if you will.

Lord, You alone are worthy to be served, and we rely on You, and You
alone. We confess that the government is not our deliverer, and never
rightly will be. We read in the eighth chapter of 1 Samuel, when
Samuel warned the people of what a ruler would do, where it says “And
in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen
for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” And
Lord, we acknowledge that day has come. We cry out to you because of
the ruler that we have chosen for ourselves as a nation.. Lord, we
pray for this nation. We pray for revival, and we pray for deliverance
from those who would be our masters. Give us hearts to seek You and
hands to serve You, and protect Your people from the atrocities of
Pharaoh’s government.

In God We Trust….

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 3, 2009 9:10 PM
Comment #292030

Roy Ellis-
I don’t believe anybody has the only way to confront corruption. There’s any way we care to try. That’s my point.

There’s too much narrow-mindedness out there, reinforcing the mess. There’s too much emphasis on words like socialism and capitalism, not enough on just looking at things first hand, and seeing what works.

I mean, it says something about the healthcare debate for example, that some poor guy on the right said, if Stephen Hawkings were british, he’d have died long ago, only to find out, as many knew, that he was British, and quite happy with the healthcare system he had.

I’m not advocating the british system, but I think we ought to be less concerned about whether something violates some precious political dogma, and more concerned about where a policy leaves us in real life.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 4, 2009 8:27 AM
Comment #292032

Roy said: “IMO, had we let the risky players go down by now we would have numerous competitors taking their place amd this decade long recovery we are about to experience would have been over in a couple of years.”

I hear this argument a lot. But, it is an erroneous conception. If the players had gone down, the world’s banking systems would also have gone down, credit and capital would have dried up for years and years, coming back only from the bottom up with largely local small lending institutions leading the way. Which in turn means all the corporations and small businesses now functioning and dependent upon credit to keep their doors open, would also have shut down, and unemployment would have doubled at least what it is now, doubling the depth and length of the recession, making it a depression, but, world wide, except perhaps for China and possibly India. Federal revenues would have been far more severely cut than they are now, and that would have increased our deficit and debt at least equal to the net amount spent and outstanding on bailing out of the banking and auto sectors.

Roy said: “No, the FED is not independent. They are part of the Corpocracy, just as Rhinehold defined.”

This is partially true, and false. The Fed is not necessarily independent of political influence, as Greenspan/Bush’s “ownership society” campaign demonstrated. Nor is it independent of the constraints placed on its jurisdiction and reach established by laws of Congress. (e.g. Congress restricted its supervisory capacity to holding banks, back in the 1980’s, preventing the FED from supervising the insurance companies (AIG), investment banks (Lehman Bros. and Goldman Sachs, which by the way, put the responsibility for oversight and regulation of these squarely back on the Congress and SEC).

But, the Fed’s board of governor’s is independent to respond to the data regarding interest rates and monetary policy as it affects jobs. One must keep in mind however, that the FED has no power to influence fiscal policy as it affects jobs, as we can readily see today.

There is no longer any rational debate about whether Bernanke and the Fed made mistakes in the run up to this recession. Bernanke admitted this yesterday in his confirmation hearing. He and the Board did not anticipate the Housing sector having such a deep impact on the credit sector, nor did they anticipate the gigantic amount of securitized assets that were funneled through the credit default swap derivatives market, becoming leveraged beyond belief, effectively wiping out the word securitized, for all intents and purposes.

But, one has to consider Bernanke’s argument. If the military fails its mission given it by the Congress and President, as in Viet Nam, does that necessitate getting rid of the military? Or, does it mean learning from the experience and revising military operations of a similar nature going forward?

Getting rid of the Fed is akin to getting rid of the military because they lost one war. It is tantamount to economic suicide to get rid of the Fed, as it would be tantamount to conceding to all enemies to get rid of the military.

There is an incredible need for the Fed or some group like it with the expertise, education, and experience to manage monetary policy, as independently from political ideology as possible. If we got rid of the Fed, we would have to reinstate another one with a new name, with exactly the same charge, mission, and authority the current Fed has, since the absence of a monetary policy would dramatically increase boom/bust cycles and grotesquely deepen some of those recessions into protracted depressions, as was seen in the 1930’s.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 9:49 AM
Comment #292033

Roy said: “David, I’m not expecting capitalism, either as an economic or social strategy, to morph into a breed of ‘pure’ capitalism as Craig advocates. The answer lies in the ‘mix’ of capitalism and democracy.”

Roy, consider that democracy will always result in a majority of the people demanding specific social policy in return for their taxes. With every democracy on the face of the planet, comes socialized policies to provide a safety net against suffering caused by forces beyond the individual citizen’s control like recessions, unemployment, and lack of access to health care for financial reasons temporary or permanent.

With democracy comes some amount of socialized policy and protections. There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE extant in the world to contradict this self-evident fact. As I continue to reiterate to folks, it is never a question of capitalism or socialism, in a democratic society, it is always a question of how much of each.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 9:54 AM
Comment #292039

Roy oh BTW good seeing you abroad, Could you go into more detail about going back on the gold standard didn’t Great Britain essentially use up all their gold financing their war efforts during WW1 and WW2?. quote “It has been estimated that all the gold mined up to 2006 totaled 158,000 tonnes.[3] At a price of US$1000/oz., exceeded in 2008 and 2009, one tonne of gold has a value of approx. US$32.15 million. The total value of all gold ever mined would exceed US$5 trillion at that valuation”.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 4, 2009 11:21 AM
Comment #292042
But, one has to consider Bernanke’s argument. If the military fails its mission given it by the Congress and President, as in Viet Nam, does that necessitate getting rid of the military? Or, does it mean learning from the experience and revising military operations of a similar nature going forward?

Perhaps, but would we leave that same general or defense secretary in charge? Would we not want to keep a closer eye on what they do?

Bernanke should in no way be put back in charge and a full audit of the Fed should be performed immediately. Anything else is simply unacceptable, and the fact that Obama has offered Bernanke up for another term is to say the least disappointing.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 12:02 PM
Comment #292043

Rhinehold said: “Perhaps, but would we leave that same general or defense secretary in charge?”

Depends. We left Bush in charge after the invasion of Iraq, which was by every objective, a false and failed effort. So, whether the chief in charge is retained or not, depends on the information base of those making that decision, the content of that information, and not least, whether replacing them will likely produce better or worse results going forward.

Patton was put back in charge during WWII after being relieved of command responsibility. Reason, punishing the man for his past mistakes was outweighed by his ability to produce results going forward. Many such instances exist. In the case of Bernanke, he is far better than the ideological Greenspan, in that Bernanke is not pursuing an ideological objective independent of what the data is telling him.

And Bernanke is aware of his mistakes, has learned from them, and is therefore, the most qualified individual available for the job, according to many on the Senate confirmation panel. And it is they who will decide, not you, or I.

As for the audit of the Fed, this Fed is the most transparent and data rich Reserve operation in the history of the Fed. Those foolish Republicans on the Committee calling for complete transparency and auditing results available to the public, are pursuing a political agenda which entirely ignores the devastating consequences to our capital and lending markets and consequential negative economic effects that would result from such complete and open disclosure.

Would you want the Fed to publish YOUR ENTIRE financial condition including account numbers and creditors and payment history, and debt obligations and spending history on the internet for the public to peruse for whatever purposes they choose? Of course, you wouldn’t. But, that is precisely what those foolish Republicans are asking to take place through the Fed. Which would hurt our economy’s recovery when the American people are waiting anxiously for the recovery to be felt by them. Republicans always seem to fall on the wrong side of the average American people when it comes government and money, despite their hollow rhetoric to put a pleasant mask on their efforts.

The simple fact is, Republicans were the banking sector’s champions and Wall Streets most productive ally until their excesses ruined American’s savings, retirements and jobs, and the American voters booted them out of the majority in government.

But, don’t be fooled by this wink and nod between Wall St. and the GOP. Wall St. knows what the GOP is saying, and that as a minority it is meaningless. They also know, that if the GOP returns to the majority, their cozy, mutually supportive laissez faire relationship can resume again, in which wealthy Republican investors and Wall St. executives can milk the nation for ever greater share of the American pie.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 12:39 PM
Comment #292044

I didn’t care when Bob Corker was basically calling Ben a shill for the Obama administration that was a cheap shot and the undertones were you’re not one of us anymore , Well he never was one of them or for that matter the other side, I liked his response to Corker explaining how the FED was setup in 1913 and what it’s original primary roles were, Ben is a straight shooter.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 4, 2009 12:59 PM
Comment #292045
this Fed is the most transparent and data rich Reserve operation in the history of the Fed.

Nearly blew my coffee out of my nose reading this line… Have to remember to stop drinking while I read here.

Would you want the Fed to publish YOUR ENTIRE financial condition including account numbers and creditors and payment history, and debt obligations and spending history on the internet for the public to peruse for whatever purposes they choose?

If I were an appointed official of the United States Government and my financial condition were directing the economic policy for the entire country…. Yes, I think that would be most appropriate.

As for Bernanke’s assertion that being transparent would harm short term policies, that is a laugh and a half, David. Let me quote Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University:

I had to down an extra mug of coffee this morning to be certain that I read your op-ed in today’s Washington Post correctly. Sure enough, you claim to be worried about a recent House-committee vote to, as you say, “repeal a 1978 provision that was intended to protect monetary policy from short-term political influence.”

Ummm…. What guided Fed “policy” over the past couple of years if not short-term political influence?

Working hand-in-glove with the political branches, you now have the Fed performing activities – such as direct lending to what, in an April 2009 speech, you called “ultimate borrowers and major investors” – that are utterly outside of the Fed’s traditional role.

As my colleague and celebrated monetary historian Larry White wrote earlier this year, “The Fed’s new activities deserve to be called a bailout program because they seek to channel credit selectively at below-market interest rates, or purchase assets at above-market prices, in hopes of rescuing, or enhancing profits for, favored sets of financial institutions. The Fed’s new lending facilities are not parts of a central bank’s traditional ‘lender of last resort’ role.”

Sorry, Mr. Bernanke, any independence that the Fed might have once had from “short-term political influence” has already been trampled to death – chiefly by you.

Bernanke has failed so spectacularly that the notion that anyone should put him in charge of anything related to money is unconscionable. His policies have put us where we are today, not because he didn’t ‘see it coming’ but his actions led directly to the problem to begin with.

Are you SURE we couldn’t find ANYONE out there better equipped to run the FED? Isn’t your argument the same as saying that Donald Rumsfeld should have remained the secretary of Defense and Brownie in charge of FEMA, think of how good they would have been having failed as spectacularly as Bernanke has…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 1:10 PM
Comment #292046

BTW, David tells us that most people who understand finance could see what was coming in 2006. And he is mostly right. Except for Bernanke, the person who should have been the first. Example by some of his quotes:

March 28, 2007: “The impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime markets seems likely to be contained.”

May 17, 2007: “We do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.”

Feb. 28, 2008, on the potential for bank failures: “Among the largest banks, the capital ratios remain good and I don’t expect any serious problems of that sort among the large, internationally active banks that make up a very substantial part of our banking system.”

June 9, 2008: “The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so.”

July 16, 2008: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are “adequately capitalized” and “in no danger of failing.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 1:20 PM
Comment #292048

At least Jim Bunning gets it:

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 2:15 PM
Comment #292049

Rhinehold said regarding FED full disclosure: “If I were an appointed official of the United States Government and my financial condition were directing the economic policy for the entire country…. Yes, I think that would be most appropriate.”

Then you do NOT understand competitive business or enterprise. If each corporation gave all this information to the public, they would become takeover targets where they otherwise would not be, or worse, have their notes called in early to facilitate a hostile takeover with kickbacks to the note holders.

Your comment demonstrates a lack of education in business accounting and mergers and acquisitions and the requirements for business privacy. Capitalism requires a fair degree of privacy - it is in all the business 101 and 102 text books.

The SEC is privy to some of this confidential information but, has learned the hard way, how and why they must keep it confidential. Yet, you want the FED to make it all public. You are no friend of capitalism and free enterprise, Rhinehold.

You are asking the GOVERNMENT to expose sensitive private corporate information to the world. Might want to check with your Libertarian leaders to see if they agree with you on this one. I thought the Libertarian Party embraced capitalism and free enterprise. My mistake, apparently.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 2:48 PM
Comment #292050

Rhinehold, thank you for making my point. Bernanke has publicly admitted his mistakes. But, you have to also remember he was new to the job in 2006 and was inundated with catching up on the data Greenspan left and Greenspan’s interpretations of that data. Bernanke was nonetheless responsible for those miscalls and misstatements, as he admits.

But, that is precisely why he is the right person going forward, he has no intention of making those mistakes again. And he is now versed in the present reality and historical data with a correct understanding of what that data portended.

Also, please recognize that the FED was not charged with the oversight and supervision of the Housing markets or the Credit Default Swap markets. That flaw is the responsibility of the Bush administration and Congress’ dating back to the signing of the Gramm Leach Bliley Act.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 2:53 PM
Comment #292051

Rhinehold, Jim Bunning is a political hack looking to score points with his ignorant Kentucky conservative constituents. Jim Bunning’s previous career before becoming a politician was a baseball player. His depth of understanding of economic issues would barely overflow a thimble.

He read every word of his diatribe from prepared notes by his conservative ideologue staff members. The man can’t even think and talk economic issues contemporaneously. He can read. And that is what he did. He read a list, largely accurate, of the failings of the Fed Reserve under both Greenspan and Bernanke, and they went on to read totally illogical conclusions to be drawn from that history.

Don’t tell me about Jim Bunning getting it right. He got all his conclusions about the data and Bernanke and the Fed exposing private corporate data and information, all wrong! He is the problem with Congress, not the solution. Let’s keep baseball players in the stadiums, and out of Congress. We will all be better off without trying to run government by baseball metaphor.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 2:59 PM
Comment #292052

He was a good pitcher once and he’s pitching again using a Spitball IMHO.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 4, 2009 3:12 PM
Comment #292053
Might want to check with your Libertarian leaders to see if they agree with you on this one.

As for your assertion that Bernanke has admitted his mistakes, the link to the video I presented clearly shows he does not. He still, to this day, says that his policy of keeping interest rates to near 0 for years had NOTHING to do with building the housing bubble. I can’t think of many people, especially any economists, that don’t point to his actions doing just that.

Since he rejects that his actions, or those of his predecessor, have been the cause of our financial issues, your suggestion that he is qualified in ANY WAY to keep his job is without merit.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 3:17 PM
Comment #292054
Rhinehold, Jim Bunning is a political hack looking to score points with his ignorant Kentucky conservative constituents. Jim Bunning’s previous career before becoming a politician was a baseball player. His depth of understanding of economic issues would barely overflow a thimble.

LOL, and if tell you that the only CAP ever elected to congress (Jospeh DioGuardi) is also calling for the FED to be audited, you’ll tell me that he is, what, TOO qualified? WHICH conclusions are wrong, David? You already state that much of what he said in his closing statements were correct, so where is the flaws exactly, other than they don’t match yours?

Bernanke rejects that he was the main cause for the housing bubble. Because of that, he has not ‘repented’ or learned a thing. And he should have been fired the minute that Obama took office if Obama really wanted to change anything.

Still, the funny thing is that we can have senators and congressmen review Top Secret military information without concern about the potential damage that review could do, but we can’t let senators and congressmen see who has been borrowing from the FED because that will destroy our economy?

It’s as if all reason and sanity has been taken away from people in defense of Obama’s decisions for fear of their previous exaltations of him being exposed as flawed…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 3:30 PM
Comment #292055

‘CAP’ should read ‘CPA’…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 3:31 PM
Comment #292056

Rhinehold, your comment’s ignorance on this topic would fill the Grand Canyon.

First, Bernanke was not even appointed until Feb. 2006, well after Greenspan’s years of low interest rates and the ownership society had created the bubble that was to begin the domino effect in 2007.

Second, as Chairman from 2007 forward, he was not, and could not, be a unilateral decider. The board of governors makes the decisions, not the Chairperson alone. And that Board had been conditioned to the Greenspan/Bush policies in the year’s previous. Monetary policy is not a knee jerk overnight process, except in very rare cases as in 2008 when Bernanke took unprecedented action to save the U.S. and world’s banking systems from collapse, along with Hank Paulson and the Board of Governors.

Screw your link. I watched Bernanke admit the mistakes the Fed made under his watch on C-Span. I trust my own eyes and ears and C-Span to anything you might produce which may be absent that C-Span content, conveniently for your argument’s sake.

Thank you though, for the Libertarian source links which confirm that the Libertarian Party is no friend of capitalism and free enterprise. No wonder your party has so much trouble getting corporate and business support. Ron Paul is having the same problem in the Republican Party, calling for annihilation of American business with his absolutely IDIOTIC prescription for returning to the Gold Standard, which bring down the world’s economy in a month or less, causing a billion people and more extreme hardship, suffering and for many of those, death which would otherwise not occur.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 3:39 PM
Comment #292057

Rhinehold, there are millions of CPA’s in the world. Finding a nutcase among them is neither hard, nor, logically and rationally sound as representative of the CPA consensus.

Nice try, though.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 3:41 PM
Comment #292058


It wasn’t ‘any old CPA’, it was the only one that has ever been elected to congress and therefore has knowledge of what the Fed does and how it is organized AND accounting principles, what they mean and how finance is handled in both private and public situations.

Thank YOU for showing that there is nothing that anyone can say to change your mind, the decision must be great because Obama made the decision to renominated him and he is so intelligent that we are all just insects under his, and your, immense intellect.

UNTHINKABLE that auditing the Fed is less ‘dangerous’ than reviewing our top intelligence information by congress, not sure WHAT I was thinking there. Billions of dollars of taxpayer money going to fund FOREIGN banks, no worries there.

I guess transparency and change were just words to get an election to turn out the way that someone wanted, not really pertaining to anything real.

I mean, the FED is just a private organization, right? What right do taxpayer have in our congressmen knowing the accounting books of a private organization? Even their own documentation points to this fact when it states “It is not ‘owned’ by anyone and is ‘not a private, profit-making institution’. Instead, it is an independent entity within the government, having both public purposes and private aspects.” Ooo, wait a second, ‘an independent entity WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT. That *must* be a typo, since us Libertarians are against capitalism and all that…

Nevermind the bill in the house has 300 cosponsors, hardly a ‘republican’ attempt to destroy our way of life.

“Support for the bill has also come from those on the left outside of congress. In a letter to Chairman Barney Frank of the House Financial Services Committee, Ranking Member Spencer Bachus and its members, several progressives such as bloggers Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism, “Tyler Durden” of Zero Hedge, author Naomi Klein, labor leaders President Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, the SEIU’s President Andy Stern, the United Steelworkers’s President Leo Gerard, economists Dean Baker, James K. Galbraith, Rob Johnson, and professors William K. Black, Thomas Ferguson, and L. Randall Wray, pushed for passage of the bill and against the adoption of the amendment proposed by Rep. Watt.”

In fact, this has the highest support that I’ve seen anything in this congress, including healthcare *AND* the original TARP bailouts themselves.

But no, YOU’RE right, everyone else is wrong, I don’t know what I was thinking…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 4:09 PM
Comment #292061

Rhinehold, so are you saying he was so bad or unsuccessful as a CPA that his only career choice was to become a politician :-) ?

Like I said, it is easy to find a few extremists or dimwits in any profession.

CPA’s have specialties, Rhinehold, like Doctors. What is your man’s specialty? Private sector not profit accounting? That would explain a lot, and his apparent ignorance of the economic and corporate damage such revelations made to the public would produce. Was he a C student graduate? Sounds like it.

These are questions you should ask of your sources before quoting their minority , and, or, extremist or ignorant views.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 5:00 PM
Comment #292066

Gee David, what authority would you agree with on this issue? What would it take to get you to agree that Obama was wrong…

I would be curious to know what kind of person that could be.

No, don’t bother actually explaining the flaws in wanting an agency who has the power to spend taxpayer money to actually show an accounting of the spending of those funds to the congress who has oversight over how taxpayer money is spent, as you point out we are all just too stupid to get it anyway…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 5:38 PM
Comment #292069

Rodney Brown, some url’s re the gold standard. Yes, no return to 100% gold standard but the articles suggest ways of using gold to restore some financial sanity to the system. Could it be worse than what we have had with the FED. Compared to a 1913 dollar, today’s dollar is worth 4 cents. FOUR CENTS Rodney. Makes one feel like a gerble (?) on a treadmill.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 4, 2009 5:58 PM
Comment #292070

Rhinehold asked: “Gee David, what authority would you agree with on this issue? What would it take to get you to agree that Obama was wrong…”

Do you mean what I think he was wrong about, or what he in objective, empirical reality has been wrong about?

I personally think he has been wrong on his timetable for withdrawing from Iraq. Also, wrong about his Afghan policy announced this week. But, these are just my opinions, and he has not yet been proven wrong in these efforts by history or consensus based on evidence and fact.

I think it is generally accepted that Obama was wrong in not insisting that Congress and his administration impose conditions on continuing TARP allocations. Major screw up.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 6:05 PM
Comment #292071

Rhinehold speciously said: “Compared to a 1913 dollar, today’s dollar is worth 4 cents. FOUR CENTS Rodney.”

Yeah, but, the Middle Class and its standard of living has increased many, many fold since 1913, Rhinehold. In 1913, there were no safety nets for millions who lived in abject poverty come the 1930’s. Inflation over decades, even at a modest rate as ours has been, is a terrible thing for workers of modest means, but, as long as living standards are rising during those same decades and the poorest are better protected from inhuman conditions and treatment, long term, low rate inflation is justified as the benefit gained.

But, one would have to understand economics to grasp these macro concepts, and to avoid falling prey to a one liner like, a dollar today is only worth 4 cents in 1913 dollars. More than 1/5 of the population in the U.S. never saw a 10 dollar bill from one year to the next, let alone own a home, have air conditioning, a car of their own, radio, TV, an interstate highway system or the advances in federal dollar knowledge spawned by NASA and space exploration, not to mention the many technologies spun off from those tax dollars.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 4, 2009 6:14 PM
Comment #292073

David, I’m assuming that your last comment was meant for Roy Ellis?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 6:39 PM
Comment #292079

David, at what point do YOU throw in the towel? Today’s dollar is worth 4 cents vs a 1913 dollar. What part of FAILURE do you not comprehend? Will you decide to change boats when the value becomes 2 cents? 1 cent? Are you ready to dust off yore 401k and get it ready to ride the next bubble?
David, if a U-boat skipper scrapes the hull he will be downgraded to auxiliary repair ships. If a pilot or two overflies Milwaukee they are likely to lose their flight license. Bernake saying he couldn’t foresee the effect of cheap money on housing, that’s right up there with well, we just overflew by a few miles.
I wrote, “The answer lies in the ‘mix’ of capitalism and democracy.”
David wrote: “As I continue to reiterate to folks, it is never a question of capitalism or socialism, in a democratic society, it is always a question of how much of each.”
David wrote: “IDIOTIC prescription for returning to the Gold Standard, which bring down the world’s economy in a month or less, causing a billion people and more extreme hardship, suffering and for many of those, death which would otherwise not occur.”
That is a paragraph right out of the stimulus/recovery debate; we have to have this money tonight or we will all be dead before morning! Meanwhile, about $400B still sitting in a SLUSH fund, looking around for some ‘shovel readies’ I guess. And, wouldn’t you know, 80% of the funds that have been dispensed in Mich have gone to Dem districts.
I agree with Ron Paul, Rhinehold, others wanting a full audit of the FED. Where does all this secrecy come from? Could an audit make the Corpocracy unhappy? Could the FED be another NAU operation? Could there be some foreign monies involved? Are we afraid of some global warming emails?
Give FOX news another six months and I believe they will bring the Corpocracy to its knees.

All this bloggin is makin me tard, yawn - stretch, oh my, I just created another job there, I do believe.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 4, 2009 7:48 PM
Comment #292080

I’m not sure how or why FOX news will be bringing the Corpocracy to its knees as it is a part of it, that would be self-defeatist…

Someone will, but I doubt it will be Fox News… Most likely free thinking bloggers/journalists who are going to keep pounding away until they find the nuggets of truth from the tons of crap coming from between Virginia and Maryland…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2009 8:00 PM
Comment #292083

RH & Roy, For reference and i was just talking about this a few days ago, The workers at Ford motor company were making $2.25 a day in 1913, That was considered good wages as evident by the droves of people coming from the south and other rural areas flooding into Detroit to work in the auto industry, For most in the south and other rural areas working 14 hours a day of backbreaking farm and manual labor they might have earned up to a $1.00 a day at the very most,Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5.00 per day wage, which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers. (Using the Consumer Price Index, this was equivalent to $111.10 per day in 2008 dollars.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 4, 2009 10:44 PM
Comment #292084

Dobbs was on O’riley this evening. Expect we will see more of him on FOX in the coming months. FOX would have us believe they are the only outlet for the global warming emails. I don’t watch the broadcast channels anymore as they are, well, you know, kinda Corporatists. O’riley seems to be a straight arrow and has a large following. Beck backs a lot of his stuff up with video and audio. Trying to figure out who to believe is at least a part time job anymore. If you have these so-called respectable scientist fudging numbers it becomes difficult to believe in global warming. Now, I will have to see skinny polar bears dropping dead on my TV as I stand in knee deep water in my living room before I can believe in global warming. Its like everybody is a car salesman. People would rather lie to you than tell you the truth. People used to feel a religious guilt about fibbing but its become and art form or near science.
You watch people like Cantor and Webb, while the bottom is falling out, get before cspan cameras and debate as to the name of a Post office or Court House.
I take my que from the numbers generated over the last 30 years. IMO, those numbers draw a pretty clear picture of failure. IMO, the in-charge people have been allowed to become complacent, career oriented, Corporatist.
David, are you sure we are better off? I don’t understand the ‘macro concepts’ but my numbers point to a pretty dismal scene. Upwards of 40M unemployed and without insurance, 1 in 4 with upside down mortgages, home equity shot, each persons share of the debt approx $200k, Middle class jobs that don’t pay the bills, retirement accounts waning or useless. We are being told straight up, jobs aren’t coming back, if you want a job get more education and take a job paying less, or join the global economy, in Asia. Do the illegals know they need an education as well? Millions living on the edge, a pay check or two away from being on the street. We had better get over this recession quick as by my numbers we are due for the next bubble burst in about ten years.
Yearning for a revolution at the end of this wire pair.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 4, 2009 10:45 PM
Comment #292104

Perhaps your problem is looking for real facts on TV. Even PBS doesn’t spend much time on any single issue.

Nova may delve into fact from time to time, but I suggest reading to figure it out.

Posted by: gergle at December 5, 2009 8:37 AM
Comment #292108

“Give FOX news another six months and I believe they will bring the Corpocracy to its knees.”

Roy are you serious? Fox is part of the corpocracy. Murdoch and Ailes are a main reason the media is so screwed up. Because they takes these issues you and the Paul followers seem to believe in and make them sound relevant doesn’t mean they are part of the solution. Don’t be duped by these guys.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 5, 2009 9:11 AM
Comment #292112

Yeah, reading is a good source and a plethora of books are currently available on politics/economy. I use local papers, Wash Post, cspan, FOX, the Kramer channel, Tea Parties, and such in trying to stay informed. Knowing where the truth lies is the problem. I believe Dobbs and O’riley tell it like it is. But, primarily one only needs to look at history over the last 30 years and connect a few dots. Like, both parties are for globalization, both pushed for the NAU, both want open borders and more immigration even in the middle of the a recession, both have worked feverently to break the back of the middle class worker, both have participated fully in managing the greatest xfer of wealth in the history of mankind. The fact that a 1913 dollar is worth 4 cents today. The fact that the US could balance their trade position immediately by invoking a VAT for trade like 143 other countries around the world have done. One could go on ad infinitum but it becomes tautology after a few hundred lines.
Therefore, I give the Corpocracy an “F-” and I want reform. I don’t want to wait and see where globalization takes us and Beck ain’t whistlin Dixie when he demonstrates there are socialist/communist, weather underground types and just radicalized radicals running the Obama admin. And, I ain’t looking to McCain/Romeny/Palin/Paul to come save our ass either.
But, while I want reform, I don’t want a TEA party type reform or a one shot revolution where we vote a bunch of people out forcing some modicum of reform. Helpful, but not enough. No, I want the whole enchilada. I want reform through a 3rd political party with rules/laws in place whereby the new political order can’t ever be hijacked by the money influence and where reform will be long lasting. Otherwise, reform will be a whole lot of effort for nothing, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 5, 2009 10:25 AM
Comment #292113

We shud be highly pissed that our grand kids get to pay off this debt, which I believe is impossible to pay off without some kind of financial shenanigans. Ought to be pissed that 50M can’t afford healthcare. Education is the supposedly answer to the job market but how does one who is unemployed, no healthcare attend a four year college that cost north of $100k? This picture won’t be getting better but it will be getting a lot darker.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 5, 2009 10:30 AM
Comment #292117

Roy said “”Education is the supposedly answer to the job market but how does one who is unemployed, no health care attend a four year college that cost north of $100k? This picture won’t be getting better but it will be getting a lot darker.”” Going to College was out of the question for most in this country even in the 1930s and 1940s the GI bill put millions in college and their was apprenticeship and trade labor programs that put millions more to work in the late 1940s that lasted for 40 plus years and hundreds and hundreds of Community colleges were being built and expanded in the 1950s many folks worked during the day in high paying jobs and went to school at night and earned a degree and used that for a springboard for even higher paying jobs you know the rule “It don’t come easy ” But it did come for most in that time period .

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 5, 2009 11:24 AM
Comment #292125


I agree with you 100%:

“We no longer have either a capitalist socialist system. Not even a ‘mixture of the two.’ We have developed into a corpratist society with the left and right agreeing on keeping it in place for the expansion of their power to direct the behavior and results of the society to their goals.”

You define our system exactly: it is corporatist, where corporations, with their campaign “contributions” and their armies of lobbyists, order politicians to do what these big corporations want.

But the reason this dire situation has come to pass is that for too long we have let the capitalists loose to do as they please - laissez faire. The obvious solution is to control business so that it does not ruin the economy and the lives of ordinary Americans.

Capitalism is dangerous without proper regulation.


You are too hung up on words. Never mind what you call it. Let’s build a system that works, not only for the rich, but for every American.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 5, 2009 4:11 PM
Comment #292129

I can very easily unhang myself so long as what ‘we’ do is based on what our Founder’s put in place in 1776 - AND - that what ‘we’ do is founded in some laws/regulations that make it impossible to co-opt whatever it is ‘we’ do into something other than what ‘we’ intended. So as not to be too wordy I suggest two words to describe what ‘we’ should do - Populist Reform. I could get along with just one word - Reform - but, IMO both words together form a sharper arrow. Put in some way of holding elected/appointed politicians accountable and ‘we’ve got it - build a system that works, not only for the rich, but for every American.

Yore place or mine? (540-222-9658)

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 5, 2009 7:50 PM
Comment #292132


Unfortunately, if you look at American History a little further back than 30 years, we had populist reform in Andrew Jackson’s administration.

It was a disaster.

Posted by: gergle at December 5, 2009 8:46 PM
Comment #292134

Historical political parties
The following parties are no longer functioning. Some of them had considerable influence. Listed in order of founding.
• Federalist Party (c.1789–c.1820)
• Democratic-Republican Party (1792–c.1824)
• Toleration Party (1816-c.1827)
• Anti-Masonic Party (1826–1838)
• National Republican Party (1829–1833)
• Nullifier Party (1830–1839)
• Whig Party (1833–1856)
• Liberty Party (1840–1848)
• Law and Order Party of Rhode Island (1840s)
• Free Soil Party (1848–1855)
• Anti-Nebraska Party (1854)
• American Republican Party (1843-1854)
• American Party (“Know-Nothings”) (c.1854–1858)
• Opposition Party (1854–1858)
• Constitutional Union Party (1860)
• National Union Party, (1864–1868)
• Readjuster Party (1870-1885)
• Liberal Republican Party (1872)
• Greenback Party (1874–1884)
• Anti-Monopoly Party (1884)
• Populist Party (1892–1908)
• Silver Party (1892-1902)
• National Democratic Party/Gold Democrats (1896–1900)
• Silver Republican Party (1896-1900)
• Social Democratic Party (1898–1901)
• Home Rule Party of Hawaii (created to serve the native Hawaiian agenda in the state legislature and U.S. Congress) (1900–1912)
• Socialist Party of America (1901–1973)
• Independence Party (or “Independence League”) (1906-1914)
• Progressive Party 1912 (“Bull Moose Party”) (1912–1914)
• National Woman’s Party (1913-1930)
• Non-Partisan League (Not a party in the technical sense) (1915–1956)
• Farmer-Labor Party (1918–1944)
• Progressive Party 1924 (1924)
• Communist League of America (1928–1934)
• American Workers Party (1933–1934)
• Workers Party of the United States (1934–1938)
• Union Party (1936)
• American Labor Party (1936–1956)
• America First Party (1944) (1944–1996)
• States’ Rights Democratic Party (“Dixiecrats”) (1948)
• Progressive Party 1948 (1948–1955)
• Vegetarian Party (1948–1964)
• Constitution Party (United States 50s) (1952–1968?)
• American Nazi Party (1959-1967)
• Puerto Rican Socialist Party (1959–1993)
• Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (1964)
• Black Panther Party (1966-1970s)
• Youth International Party (1967) - Commonly known as the Yippies
• Communist Workers Party (1969–1985)
• People’s Party (1971–1976)
• U.S. Labor Party (1975–1979)
• Concerned Citizens Party (1975-1992) Become the Connecticut affiliate of the Constitution Party (then known as U.S. Taxpayers Party) with party founding
• Citizens Party (1979–1984)
• New Alliance Party (1979–1992)
• Populist Party of 1980s-1990s (1984–1994)
• Looking Back Party (1984–1996)
• Grassroots Party (1986–2004)
• Independent Party of Utah (1988–1996)
• Greens/Green Party USA (1991–2005)
• New Party (1992 – 1998)
• Natural Law Party (1992–2004)
• Veterans Party (2003-2008)
• Christian Freedom Party (2004)

gergle, Jackson failed to get it right, resulting in most of the failed/dysfunctional parties above. Because he failed we have endured Corporate Personhood, Money is Free Speech, IRS, etc. His effort was to narrow, should have painted with a broader brush. So, we now have a chance at populist reform again. Let’s get it right by putting putting a government in place that respects our sovereignty, constitution and democratic principles. Let’s do it with a 3rd party with a different political attitude, founded in laws whereby the party can’t be co-opted by the money influence, puts accountability into the political equation, can achieve broad reform and keep it that way year over year.

REA started in 1935 by FDR. 1942 NRECA forms a nation co-op program. 1962 NRECA joins USAID to electrify developing nations. 2009 NRECA/USAID connect 100M people in 42 countries. 2040 NRECA/USAID merges with spatial asset program to provide power for moon/Mars projects should there be needy customers not yet identified.

Commissions are for perpetuity

NRECA’s International Rural Electrification Programs
“Issue. In 1962, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) overseas involvement began as a partnership with the newly-established U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a means of exporting America’s model of cooperative rural electrification.
Since then, NRECA has been active in rural electrification programs in foreign countries, and has sent more than 400 rural electrification advisors to assignments in over 50 countries. Today, more than 75 million people around the world have lights in their homes and access to electric power as a direct result of electric cooperative efforts.
Yet, more remains to be done, because as many as two billion people in the world are living without the benefits of electric power.”

The US is dying from a billion, make that a trillion tiny cuts.

“It looks like some members of the Republican establishment are starting to fear primary challenges by the Tea Party folks.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Colorado Republicans have adopted a “Platform for Prosperity,” intended to placate populist outrage, and are strongly encouraging all candidates for state office in 2010 to get on board.

The platform stresses limited government, fiscal restraint, opposition to further stimulus spending and a determination, it says, to push back against “a federal government that is too big, too intrusive and all-too-eager to seize power from the states.”

I wonder if they actually mean it this time.

There’s nothing quite so aggravating as politicians who preach limited government and state sovereignty when the other party is running Washington, then proceed to blow holes in the budget and trample the 10th Amendment with legislation like No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D.

But then again:

“At the end of the day, the tea partiers don’t have anywhere else to go,” said Eric Sondermann, an independent political consultant in Denver. “If they show up at the polls next year, it won’t be to pull the Democratic lever.”

Really? I’d say thinking like that is what got us here.

Just ask Virginians in the 5th District.

Voters should forget party labels and back candidates whose understanding of the Constitution mirrors their own. Only then will the people, not the federal government and its courts, rule again.”

IMO, little to be gained from voting out a bunch of folks you don’t like. How long does it take the Corpocracy to put a little neosporin on that scratch. It will take a 3rd party with a different political attitude to do it the right way, achieve reform and keep it that way.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 5, 2009 10:05 PM
Comment #292135

Make that spatial spacial and add a little tongue in cheek.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 5, 2009 10:12 PM
Comment #292171

No much in the Wash. Post to comment on. Sen. Baucaus put his girlfriend into a cushy government job and had to reneg when the media caught wind of it.
The Post relates information about an SEC employee who assisted a ponzi perpetrator who bilked 65 investors. The employee was not prosecuted and walked away with a healthy retirement package. Financial regulators such as the SEC and Commodoties Futures Trading Commission can’t bring charges, can only refer to the Justice Dept. Justice decided not to prosecute. Hundreds of people get away without jail time. Nearly two-thirds of all CFTC cases referred are rejected by Justice. Reason proffered is that Justice is ‘overworked’, ‘lack training’ to prosecute ‘complicated’ financial cases.
Justice recently threw out the ACORN investigation requested by some Congressionals. Too complicated I guess.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 6, 2009 1:01 PM
Comment #292175

gergle, one attempt at populist reform and failure is like learning to shoot a bow and arrow. Guaranteed to miss the first few times. Which is why Roy, is precisely right, we need another shot at it, with a keener eye to structure and process than to name recognition and leadership.

A base up approach, not leader down approach, and designed as Roy says, to offer solutions which are assured of compliance with the Constitution, democratic principles, and the long term sustainable viability of the American nation and people, without devastating harm to either in the present or short term. These are, after all, conditions MOST Americans would agree with wholeheartedly. Time we tried again at democracy with its required appeal to the better nature of our citizens.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 6, 2009 2:00 PM
Comment #292188

So well said Daivd. My fear is that some fair haired him/her will come along and run on a celebrity reformist ticket and cost us another ten-twelve years that we don’t have. This is the 21st century. we should understand by now that people in general and politicians specifically do not deserve our fatal trust. When you draw up a deed you don’t depend on the word of your lawyer. Anything important to you, you want in writing, signed and notorized on the dotted line. We should want the same for our political system. A 3rd party founded in laws/rules that prevent hostile takeover attempts. A Party wherein elected and appointed politicians can be ejected from the party if they fail to support the party agenda. This ain’t yore grandpa’s politics anymore. We can no longer afford personal cognizance, way to dangerous as we are now witnessing the result of such blind trust.

More on Commissions in perputuity:
RESERVE, N.M. (AP) — A federal program that began as a safety net for Pacific Northwest logging communities hard-hit by battles over the spotted owl in the 1990s has morphed into a sprawling entitlement — one that ships vast amounts of money to states with little or no historic connection to timber, an analysis by The Associated Press shows.
Nicknamed “county payments,” the timber program was supposed to assist counties shortchanged when national forests limited logging to protect the northern spotted owl and other endangered species.
Since becoming law in 2000, the program has distributed more than $3 billion to 700 counties in 41 states with national forests and helped fund everything from schools to libraries to jails.
The federal largesse initially focused on a handful of Western states, with Oregon alone receiving nearly $2 billion.
Spending of that magnitude, though, sparked a new timber war — this one among politicians eager to get their hands on some of the logging money.
A four-year renewal of the law, passed last year, authorizes an additional $1.6 billion for the program through 2011 and shifts substantial sums to states where the spotted owl never flew. While money initially was based on historic logging levels, now any state with federal forests — even those with no history of logging — is eligible for millions in Forest Service dollars.
Doling out all that taxpayer money is based less on logging losses than on the powerful reality of political clout. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is among the program’s strongest backers.
The biggest winner under the renewal is, in fact, Nevada, where payments jumped by 1,132 percent. Reid called the timber program a personal priority that supports “the lifeblood of communities all across America, and particularly in the West.”
Critics of the program do not see it through that patriotic lens. Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, called it “the ultimate political log roll,” an irrational subsidy program that serves up cash bonuses for states with forest land.
“When you are staring down the barrel of a $1.4 trillion budget deficit, it’s deals like this that got us into that mess,” Ellis said.

Full Article:

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 6, 2009 4:10 PM
Comment #292189

I can never finish a sentence, or thought. Continuing with the above article, a 3rd party with a different political attitude could deal with the owl program. Currently, if you don’t like something a representative is doing in another state you have no recourse. A 3rd party with a different political attitude will allow the national party membership to vote any representative, elected or appointed, up or down. If 60% of the vote of the voting membership is down then the rep. is rejected from the party, assuming that rep. is a member of your party of course. Would you not like your Party to have such oversight for elected/appointed officials? Think about the consequence of that. Do you think that would make your Party appealing and competitive?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 6, 2009 4:22 PM
Comment #292190

“a keener eye to structure and process than to name recognition and leadership.”

Name recognition helps a lot. Stevenson put his name into the commercials for one of the gubernatorial candidates here, and I became interested in that candidate, since somebody that good was speaking on his behalf. Then I read further and found that he was also spouting the same partisan nonsense about BHO, and lost interest.

Posted by: ohrealy at December 6, 2009 4:55 PM
Comment #292194

Right ohrealy. With a name of Kennedy, Ventura or Hulk Hogan you can go a long way in politics. Well, if you take the time to build a platform for politicians to include membership oversight for elected and appointed officials the Party would automatically handle any grievous situation arising from a bum incumbent. A nefarious incumbent would be limited to one term in office and suffer the political stigma of being rejected by his/her Party. This might cause a Senator Baucaus to think twice or thrice before putting his girlfriend on the federal payroll.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 6, 2009 6:05 PM
Comment #292200

Sacramento is looking to build a 50M gallon/day desalinization plant. Some environmentalists are trying to kill the effort as the process may kill 2-4lbs of plankton/fish type things daily. Big study under way. A Virginia neighbor has been pumping to keep his ponds up. I recall wells in my area used to be on the order of 70-100’. Now its not unusual to hear of depths of 300’. Desalinization could take the pressure off for many in the coastal areas.
I have some concern about building up population beyond what the natural environent will support. If the facilitating mechanism is taken away at some point it could result in a catastrophe of some port.
You can bet that with the completion of the Kansas City-Canada leg of the NAFTA highway the FED will demand the right to push water from the Great Lakes into the NAFTA highway pipelines. I doubt if states rights can stand up to the pressure and moving water may already be a done deal.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 6, 2009 7:52 PM
Comment #292201


I was watching Joy Hakim on Cspan today, she made a comment about direct democracy via the internet, and noted that our founder’s were fearful of direct democracy because of their experiences with the articles of confederation.

Hoping that people will make responsible, selfless decisions in the just isn’t in the cards. The reason for a republic is to counter the tendency for people to seek narrow self interest. Roy alluded to this in his original post.

The problem with Jackson was he appealed to popular ideas without reasoned consideration of the consequences. One can see the same kind of campaigns occurring in current election cycles.

Ron Paul’s campaign was tilted towards these ideals. Eliminate the evil Fed. It’s the source of all economic evil. It’s a convenient moneyed target, but Jackson discovered economics isn’t a contest of popularity.

We do need to educate much of the public on economic issues. I don’t recommend a depression for a classroom, but sadly, as Greenspan noted, it may be that humans are unable to learn this lesson without such pain. It was often said that when the generation of the depression dies out, history will be repeated.

Reform in the sense of restraints make sense, and are well advised to follow Volker’s advice on this.

Posted by: gergle at December 6, 2009 8:03 PM
Comment #292207

“Senator Baucaus to think twice or thrice before putting his girlfriend on the federal payroll. “

I’m willing to give Baucus the benefit of the doubt on that, since the woman may have been qualified, and this is the type of person with whom he consorts, inside the beltway, so to speak.

Desalination should be a high priority. Someone will respond, “but it’s too hard and complicated.” I respond, “So What. We’ll need the water.”

On the Canada NAFTA highway, the Canadians have railroads, even owning some routes within our country. They don’t need that highway. They’re not dumb like us.

Posted by: ohrealy at December 6, 2009 8:54 PM
Comment #292210

The last para in David Cay Johnston’s ‘Free Lunch’; In the end, we must be the ones who make our government work, fulfilling the promise of the preamble to the Constitution. No one else is going to do it for us. Reform begins with you.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 6, 2009 9:59 PM
Comment #292223

gergle, I agree. I assumed folks would read my comment referring to adherence to the Constitution as preserving the republic, which is the source of our republic, and my reference to democracy as reinstating one person, one vote on election days absent the voices and intimidation and bribery and confusion issuing forth from non-human entities like corporations or the very wealthy speaking in as many tongues as they have dollars.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2009 10:40 AM
Comment #292229

Some info on Direct Democracy.

In general, the term “direct democracy” usually refers to citizens making policy and law decisions in person, without going through representatives and legislatures. The classic example of this is the New England Town Meeting where anyone from the town who wants to show up to debate and vote on town policy can do so. Until recently, this worked for scores of communities, but low attendance at many modern town meetings has raised questions about whether they are truly democratic.
More recent direct democracy proposals tend to focus on voting schemes (usually high tech) that would allow widespread, virtually continual voting by millions of citizens on whatever proposals surfaced. While useful in building up a buffet of voting methodologies for possible use in other contexts, the lack of organized public deliberation about the issues in question makes such proposals look more like opinion polls than exercises of citizenship. Wise solutions to public problems won’t likely come off the top of a hundred million heads.
A third approach to direct democracy — the “initiative process” adapted by a number of states — allows anyone to propose a law which, if they can get enough of their fellow citizens to co-sponsor it (usually by signing petitions), can be voted on by the entire electorate in the next election. While apparently empowering the grassroots, this process has in many instances been co-opted by special interest groups, especially monied interests who put initiatives on the ballot to increase their wealth and power in the guise of public benefit — or to confuse voters about competing initiatives that actually come from the grassroots. Since the monied interests have more resources to hire petition-signature-gatherers and to run powerful advertising campaigns based on extensive marketing surveys and expert PR advice (sometimes very devious, last minute blitzes that can’t be answered before the election), there’s a real question about how democratic existing initiative processes are. Furthermore, such processes offer no more deliberation than the unproductive media debates that characterize most political campaigns.
So each of these approaches to direct democracy raises questions about how wise or democratic they actually are, in practice. Democracy requires participation by the broad citizenry or at least those affected by the decision. Wisdom requires thoughtful, informed consideration of the issues and consequences involved with various options.

So where do we get wisdom? One of the most important — and probably indispensible — sources of collective wisdom in a democracy is informed deliberation among people whose diversity approximates the diversity of their community or country. (Such a group can be large or small, as long as it meets that criteria. See the deliberation page on this site for democratic innovations that embody this understanding). Such deliberation produces public judgment, a far higher form of collective intelligence than mere public opinion. (See A Call to Move Beyond Public Opinion to Public Judgment..)
Broadly recognized citizen deliberation and public judgment bring public wisdom to the public power that is bestowed by direct democracy. Such a combination of power and wisdom begins to approach an ideal democratic form. An example of an effort to actually practice this level of advanced democracy is British Columbia’s experiment with a Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, in which 160 randomly selected citizens explored different approaches to electoral reform and the outcome of their deliberations was submitted to British Columbia’s electorate for a direct vote.
Citizen deliberative councils, of wihich the above Citizens Assembly is one example, are a particularly potent source of deliberative wisdom.

Useful definition note: “It would be helpful for us to use “initiatives” for proposals by citizens, and “referenda” to mean proposals “referred” for a citizen vote by legislators, instead of using referendum generically to mean either.” — Evan Ravitz,

For an intelligent proposal for a national initiative process, see National Initiative for Democracy.
For an international academic site focused on direct democracy see C2D - Research and Documentation Centre on Direct Democracy
For a critique that supports having citizens engage in major public deliberations to advise legislatures — but not to pass their own legislation — see Referenda. (End article)

Following url and article relates to a worldwide effort to improve government.

Everywhere, the people of planet Earth are angry, frustrated, and disappointed with their political systems, for dictators are still tyrants, and so-called democracies are undeniably and clearly undemocratic. Politics still favors the powerful, and political parties are not only filled with incompetent opportunists, but in this highly technological world they are obsolete.
Earth, people are weary of forked-tongued politicians, greedy, uncaring businessmen, and the continuous wars they initiate. Everywhere, people seek new ways to govern their societies; ways that would be more honest and just, promising a better and safer future for themselves and their children. They seek — and they are finding — new ways that do promise a better and safer future. Among these pioneers, the overwhelming consensus is that, of all these new ways, “Participatory” Democracy, also known as “Direct” Democracy, is the most promising path to that better future.
As described in detail in the WDDM Mission Statement, all WDDM members are dedicated to promoting an understanding of Direct Democracy’s benefits and spreading its influence on planet Earth. The mission of this website is to become a central gathering place for international DD news, discussions, and assistance. If you have never visited us before, come on in, look around, and if you agree with our philosophies, please join us. You can also join or form local groups where you live and link to us. Our main goal is to develop a multilingual global network of websites and offline efforts committed to encouraging more direct democratic processes for public policy decision making. (end article)

A 3rd party with a different political attitude provides for some direct democracy through the body of a political party in conjunction with the state and federal legislative process. Proposals would bubble up through party members and those adopted would be included in the party agenda. Then, elected/appointed government officials, from that party, would be expected to advocate for the party agenda. Of course, those representatives could generate initiatives on their own but would want the full party membership to understand their motives in so doing, before proceeding.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at December 7, 2009 12:13 PM
Post a comment