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Republican Quote for the Day – and how does Ryan’s budget plan fare with former Republican heroes?

“Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices. And it couldn’t pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have no plan to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nation’s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity — just empty sermons.”

- Former Reagan budget director David Stockman

This means it may be hard for some front-office Republicans to get behind the Romney-Ryan budget onslaught.

A Fairy Tale from Paul Krugman…

Settle down kiddies and listen to this, before you nod off to passive sleep and let those Republicans walk all over us…

Once upon a time, …America was a land of lazy managers and slacker workers. Productivity languished, and American industry was fading away in the face of foreign competition.

Then square-jawed, tough-minded buyout kings like Mitt Romney and the fictional Gordon Gekko came to the rescue, imposing financial and work discipline. Sure, some people didn’t like it, and, sure, they made a lot of money for themselves along the way. But the result was a great economic revival, whose benefits trickled down to everyone.

You can see why Wall Street likes this story. But none of it — except the bit about the Gekkos and the Romneys making lots of money — is true.

- Paul Krugman, NY Times

So J.P Morgan Chase got screwed on our money and will now look for a new bailout…

…Perhaps we should listen to Robert Reich:

Let’s hope Morgan’s losses don’t turn into another crisis of confidence and they don’t spread to the rest of the financial sector.

But let’s also stop hoping Wall Street will mend itself. What just happened at J.P. Morgan — along with its leader’s cavalier dismissal followed by lame reassurance — reveals how fragile and opaque the banking system continues to be, why Glass-Steagall must be resurrected, and why the Dallas Fed’s recent recommendation that Wall Street’s giant banks be broken up should be heeded.

This is the end of a great column which you can read HERE.

As to resurrecting Glass-Steagall, some don’t think it is possible, but we have to get back to regulations separating investment banks from the banks Americans save their money in. We had it like that for close to eighty years without the economic catastrophes we have now.

Robert Reich Illustrates the 7 Economic Lies…

If it’s not clear to you yet, Reich‘s explanations can be very revealing:

Pass this on to anyone who doesn’t see what conservative Republicans are doing to the economy. If we all stand up against it… especially in the upcoming Congressional Elections… we can bring back a growing and successful America.

Please think before you buy into the Conservative Right’s view on cutting Social Security

This article is from Just The Messenger:

Excerpts:

There Still Is No Social Security Crisis

By Richard (RJ) Eskow, April 23, 2012

“‘Medicare and Social Security’ don’t have a long-term problem: Medicare has a problem. No amount of spin or double-talk can change that. This year’s slight downturn in Medicare and Social Security finances was caused by the financial crisis of 2008, as lost jobs and wages led to lost revenue for the program. And that disaster was caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, which was carried out the same bipartisan crowd that’s now pushing cuts to these programs … Now they want ordinary Americans to take a hit to both their Social Security and Medicare benefits. A Social Security cut would be needless and counterproductive, and the nation would be better served with a benefit increase … What’s more, since Social Security is forbidden by law from contributing to the deficit, it’s absurd to connect its financing to discussions of the Federal debt. Medicare’s another story. Unless we address the runaway cost of providing health care to seniors, our Federal budget and are entire economy are in dire trouble. Notice, however, that we said ‘address the runaway cost’ and not ‘shift the runaway cost,’ as the Republican proposal would do.”

,…, “Social Security is essentially healthy, and its long-term issues can be fixed by lifting the payroll tax cap.  A “Grand Bargain” to cut Social Security and Medicare will only make things worse. What we really need an overhaul of our health system to remove the corrosive effects of the profit motive on our medical economy – but they don’t want to talk about that.”

,…, “The report released today by the Trustees of the Social Security Administration has already occasioned some of the usual nonsense from the wealthy and highly-funded insider group represented by Clinton and his peers in both parties”.

__________

Richard (RJ) Eskow is a well-known blogger and writer, a former Wall Street executive, an experienced consultant, and a former musician. He has experience in health insurance and economics, occupational health, benefits, risk management, finance, and information technology. He has a somewhat unique perspective on the current financial crisis, since he worked for AIG for a number of years (although not in its infamous Financial Products division).
Richard has consulting experience in the US and over 20 countries. Past clients include USAID, the World Bank, the State Department, the Harvard School of International Public Health, the Government of Hungary, as well as corporations and investors. He has experience in financial and data analysis, systems design, operations, and management.

Quote of the Day – Huntsman on Romney

“Anyone who is in the hip pocket of Wall Street because of all the donations they are picking up, like Mr. Romney, is in these days not going to be the change agent who is going to fix the too-big-to-fail banking system.”

- John Huntsman

I don’t understand why Huntsman doesn’t get the support he should have. If there is one Republican candidate who could potentially join both sides together to move the country forward it is Huntsman.

I wish I understood Norquist Conservatives. What planet do they live on?

A quote for the evening…

Bernie Sanders in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN:

“If you look at the ideology of these right wing Republicans, more tax breaks for rich, cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, deregulate Wall Street after Wall Street caused this horrendous recession we’re in, more unfettered free trade so we can lose more jobs to China. Do you know how many people believe in that ideology? Maybe, 15, 20 percent max.

“The real issue is why Democrats aren’t winning by 30 or 40 percent.”

Yep. That’s the real issue. Looks like the media (as represented by Blitzer and buddies) are spending a lot of time pushing the Republican agenda.

Why Occupy Wall Street?

Here is a video by D C Douglas that gives you 4 good reasons:

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Occupation and Economics

Lalo Alcaraz from Universal U-Click:

The 99% get bigger on the Occupy Wall Street march…

- and -

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

Of course, the Right Wing represents the 1%…

- and -

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

We have not stopped the banks from robbing the middle class

 

What if…..?

When I look at the political cesspool we are currently splashing around in… a Republican House that follows a number one rule to let nothing Obama proposes pass… a Senate where the 60 vote rule can hold up absolutely everything, whether there is a simple majority or not… a president who has tried to get along with both faces of the political Janus, ending with nothing… a supreme court that has wed itself to the concept of corporate personhood… when I look at all of this I think “What if the Republicans win in 2012?”

In a sense, the Occupy Wall Street (and other places) demonstrators are asking the same question… with the added codicil “What do we do about it?”

I’m not sure that, beyond joining them in the street, there is anything that can be done that would make an instant change. If the government becomes entirely Republican in 2012, the corporate takeover of all America will be fulfilled. The hopes of democracy will fade away and will have a very hard time reappearing.

 

Quote of the Day – Time for us all to get involved…

“The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are shining a light on one of the most serious problems facing the United States — the greed and power of Wall Street.  Now is the time for the American people to demand that the president and Congress follow that light — and act.  The future of our economy is at stake.”

- Bernie Sanders

Senator Sanders hits it right on the head. For my local fans, Occupy Martinsburg is starting this weekend… let’s get out there and see what Shelley Moore Capito (millionaire, btw) is going to do about it.

 

Economic Quote for the Day

Why do we need banks at all? If it sounds crazy – a world without banks – it is not.

We have become so used to storing money in banks and talking to our banks that we have forgotten what they do. Simply put, banks borrow money from you, and lend it out to borrowers at a higher rate than they pay you in interest. That is it: Banks are lenders. They provide credit. Everything else is window dressing.

***

You think banks provide safety? Wrong. That is the government and FDIC…. So why do you go to a bank? Because your brain has been trained to believe that you can trust them.  Their brand means safety to you. You assume that their risk management is better than yours, and therefore will protect your money and enhance its value.

What if that assumption is wrong?

- Economist Michael Eisenberg quoted in Washington’s Blog

There are so many potential enemies destroying our free society through economic and political means that it it hard to see where to grab on that would be effective. I watch the spread of Occupy Wall Street and I am impressed with the energy, but I don’t see where it will end… positively or negatively.

Meanwhile, we are slowly moving into Depression-level Unemployment and politicians are very busy clawing at each other as a means to attract corporations.

It’s hard to see a way to win given the present Congress and Administration. If we could only Raise FDR from the grave (Yeah, I’m influenced by Greek Tragedy.)

Occupy Wall Street is GROWING!

From Talking Points Memo:

Wednesday could be the biggest day of protesting yet. Some of the nation’s biggest unions plan to join in at 4:30PM in downtown Manhattan, including the United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers, PSC-CUNY United NY, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, the Working Families Party, Vocal-NY, New York Communities for Change, Community Voices Heard and Alliance for Quality. One Facebook pageshows almost 3,000 people who say they’ll attend.

Progressive groups like Moveon.org are also planning to join with the unions on Wednesday, saying in an e-mail blast that “together, we’ll add hundreds of thousands of voices of solidarity from the American Dream Movement for the protests across the country and show just how widespread outrage at the Wall Street banks really is.”

And one union group is showing their support in another way: The Transport Workers Union, Local 100, asked for an injunction on Monday to stop the NYPD from forcing bus drivers to transport protesters arrested during the demonstrations, though a judge denied their request.

So what do the candidates think of all this?

“I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare.”Mitt Romney

“I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! [...] It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed.”   – Herman Cain

So much talk about the Second Amendment in the Republican Primaries…

It made me think about Michael Moore’s banned cartoon about Black America:

And it was banned because…?

Planet Greed is Doomed

A visitor from Planet We Are All One drops in to visit a citizen of Planet Greed. (By  War on Error)

Why I love (and support) Bernie Sanders…

As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington today, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who “acted like schoolyard bullies” when they walked out of budget negotiations. And he urged President Obama not to accommodate them again on the backs of working Americans, the poor and the Elderly. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 18,700 people by the time he completed his speech.

Sign the letter »

2 Quotes for the Morning – both about the Unreality of John Boehner’s economic views.

The Orange Cryer has Flipped!

If you heard the Speaker make hos speech the other day then you know he is insisting on spending cuts before the debt ceiling can be raised. He is also pushing the classic Republican point of view on cutting taxes on the rich because they will invest in American jobs. Of course they haven’t in the last couple of years as their taxes were slashed.

Perhaps Boehner is not aware that the “trickle-down theory” didn’t work for Reagan or either one of the Bushes. Republicans have limited historic vision… primarily because it is the multimillionaires that provide their funds.

As James Rowley and Mike Dorning said on Bloomberg this morning:

“Boehner’s statement in his Wall Street speech that government spending ‘is crowding out private investment and threatening the availability of capital’ runs counter to the behavior of credit markets… Boehner also said the 2009 stimulus program ‘hampered job creation in our country,’ a view at odds with the Congressional Budget Office‘s findings last August. The stimulus package increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million and cut unemployment by between 0.7 percentage point and 1.8 percentage point, according to CBO.”

And Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post said:

“Even more alarming, because it has consequences beyond the debt-ceiling debate, is the incoherent, impervious-to-facts economic philosophy undergirding Boehner’s remarks.”

I suppose this means that, as long as we have Boehner sitting with his historical misinformation, we will have one hell of a time straightening out our economy.

The Congress is going to try and screw us by way of Big Banks… but at least we have Elizabeth Warren.

Jon Stewart did a very nice interview with Elizabeth Warren, the Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Elizabeth Warren

Her concern was that major banks, like Citigroup, and major Wall Street players are trying to “knife” her agency in the back… and that includes support from our Representative here in WV’s District 2, Shelley Moore Capito (R), who is chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee.

Warren is a very smart and intelligent woman with an agency that has very little actual power… therefore, her major strength lies in making people aware of the financial situation which has kept the middle class in financial slavery.

Warren said that the bank lobbyists and their supporters in Congress won’t be able to “knife the agency in the back alley” if they “actually believe people will pay attention, if they believe people care about this.”

To which Jon Stewart replied:

“or if they still have the capacity to feel shame — you begin to wonder at times.”

There is going to be a vote in the House Financial Services Committee next week which will delay the opening of Warren’s Agency, or, at the very least, will weaken its activities. A great many people got into the fight in public last year to set up the agency Warren will head. This year, however, the attacks against this agency are happening in secret.

Warren brought up one of her major interests, the devastating agreements that banks attach to consumer credit cards:

“There was a survey last year. Ninety-six percent of Americans said — I want to get rid of the fine print in credit card agreements and mortgages. I think it is there just to cheat me, to hide things from me. Ninety-one percent felt strongly about it. When that is the case, that’s not Democrats, that’s not Republicans, that’s not Libertarians. This is not partisan. It’s basic and sensible. This game is about trying to push the sensible part right back in the middle and say that’s what we have a responsibility to do.”

“This consumer agency is a tangible, very concrete down payment on the notion that together we can build something that is fairer, and give middle class families a chance to survive, maybe even prosper.”

- Elizabeth Warren   

Even if you saw Warren on the Daily Show Tuesday night, this is one of those interviews where Stewart kept it going past the show’s end. You can see the whole interview at http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/tue-april-26-2011-elizabeth-warren . Thanks to Morgan County USA for the basic information on Capito.

Roger Ebert on “The One Percenters…”

Here are a couple of fragments from a very good article on our current economic state by, of all people, Roger Ebert, film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. I’ve picked a couple of comments, but click on the link below to read the whole thing,
clipped from blogs.suntimes.com
Day after day I read stories that make me angry. Wanton consumption is glorified. Corruption is rewarded. Ordinary people see their real income dropping, their houses sold out from under them, their pensions plundered, their unions legislated against, their health care still under attack. Yes, people in Wisconsin and Ohio have risen up to protest these realities, but why has there not been more outrage?
The most visible centers of these crimes against the population are Wall Street and the financial industry in general. Although there are still many honest bankers, some seem to regard banking and trading as a license to steal. Outrageous acts are committed and go unpunished.
I have the quaint idea that wealth should be obtained by legal and conventional means–by working, in other words–and not through the manipulation of financial scams.
 

What puzzles me is why there isn’t more indignation.

 

blog it

A Quote To End The Day (and it was a Big Day):

From Michael Moore at a WE ARE ONE rally:

Today everywhere is Memphis, and it’s not just sanitation workers being attacked. It’s teachers and firefighters and social workers — yes, all those greedy public workers who caused the Great Recession we are in!

It was the greedy teachers who caused the crash on Wall Street!

It was the greedy firefighters who sent millions of jobs overseas!

It was the greedy social workers who insisted that GE pay no taxes and that CEOs should make 500 times what the average employee makes!

No, my friends, it wasn’t! It was the top 1% of the country who did this. THEY brought on the mortgage crisis. THEY made off with billions of dollars from our economy. THEY have systematically destroyed the middle class. And THEY have bought and sold the very people elected to represent us!

 

…and it looks like Obama is one of them. He can turn himself around, though… and we’d better make sure he knows what we think.

North Dakota solved the Wisconsin problem and made it profitable…

Map of USA with North Dakota highlighted

North Dakota is not that far from Wisconsin

… and it did it by turning pension funds into an Investment Bank. No layoffs, no Union destruction, only a predetermined shift in types of equity.
Here’s the start of an article by Ellen Brown that Truthout reprinted from YES! Magazine. Start here then go to Truthout and read the whole thing. You’ll find the solution gratifying:
clipped from www.truth-out.org

How Wisconsin Could Turn Austerity Into Prosperity: Own a Bank

As states struggle to meet their budgets, public pensions are on the chopping block, but they needn’t be. States can keep their pension funds intact while leveraging them into many times their worth in loans, just as Wall Street banks do. They can do this by forming their own public banks, following the lead of North Dakota—a state that currently has a budget surplus.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, whose recently proposed bill to gut benefits, wages, and bargaining rights for unionized public workers inspired weeks of protests in Madison, has justified the move as necessary for balancing the state’s budget. But is it?

President Obama has charged Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker with attempting to bust the unions. But Walker’s defense is:

“We’re broke. Like nearly every state across the country, we don’t have any more money.”

That’s what he says, but according to Wisconsin’s 2010 CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) the state has $67 billion in pension and other employee benefit trust funds, invested mainly in stocks and debt securities drawing a modest return.
Read the rest of it HERE. blog it

By setting up a State-Controlled Bank with their investment funds, which is what North Dakota did, cutting out the Wall Street investment firms’ profits and making their funds in house (created some new jobs, too.) When you read the whole article you will see why someone should give this idea to Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans.

Quote from Republican History…

A century ago, Teddy Roosevelt summed up changes in the Republican Party:

The Republican Party is now facing a great crisis. It is to decide whether it will be, as in the days of Lincoln, the party of the plain people, the party of progress, the party of social and industrial justice; or whether it will be the party of privilege and of special interests, the heir to those who were Lincoln’s most bitter opponents, the party that represents the great interests within and without Wall Street which desire through their control over the servants of the public to be kept immune from punishment when they do wrong and to be given privileges to which they are not entitled.

One hundred years later we see the Republicans having made the anti-Lincoln decision. If he were alive today, Teddy would most likely be a Democrat.

So much for the relationship with History.

I just joined The Other 98%… you should, too

Here are their stats:

We are…

Hard-working Americans who are tired of seeing CEOs and lobbyists hijack our democracy to serve themselves at the expense of everyone else.

Middle class Americans who for decades have dutifully paid our taxes while watching the biggest corporations and very wealthiest Americans pay a smaller and smaller share (50% less since 1950).

Citizens tired of borrowing trillions from China, mortgaging our children’s futures in order to give handouts to the wealthiest 2%.

Citizens tired of being ignored amidst the media fascination with the antics and misinformation of the Tea Party, a fringe 2% which distracts us from solving the very real problems facing America.

Disenfranchised Tea Partiers outraged about Wall Street bailouts and the unfairness of a system that gives massive tax breaks to global corporations and the very rich while leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab.

We are all of us…

No matter what creed, color, religion or trade, we’re all in this together. Everyone — from the single mom just scraping by to the richest man on the hill — share a common interest in keeping America the best country on Earth.

We are often too busy to be heard, but we are everywhere. And we are hopeful.

Join us.

I found them when I saw this comparison of George Soros with the Koch Brothers at The Political Carnival:

Let’s hear it for Russ Feingold!

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Russ Feingold Launches ‘Progressives United’ To Combat Corporate Influences In Politics

When some senators retire, they decide to take lucrative lobbying jobs. Others go straight to Wall Street. But Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, who lost his re-election bid in November, is continuing on his principled — and often lonely — path by starting an organization to combat corporate influence in politics, an effort he hopes will spark “a new progressive movement” that will truly hold elected officials accountable.
Progressives United is an attempt to to build a grassroots effort aimed at mitigating the effects of, and eventually overturning, the Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United decision that opened the floodgates to corporate spending in the U.S. electoral system.
Feingold said that Progressives United will follow the example of his own campaigns and not take any soft money or unlimited contributions.
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No one deserves “Quote of the Day” recognition more than Bernie Sanders:

I watched a lot of the 8 1/2 hours that Bernie lectured the Senate in his epic “filibuster” on the proposed tax cut extension. Here is a really precise quote:

“But it is not just a disastrous trade policy that has brought us where we are today. The immediate cause of this crisis, and it gets me just sick talking about it … is what the crooks on Wall Street have done to the American people.”

- Senator Bernie Sanders (D – Vermont)

Whether his long speech will make a difference we will have to wait and see on Monday when the proposal comes up in the Senate. I hope people have called and emailed their Senators supporting Bernie’s position.

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