What Would Tom Paine Say?

Hat tip: News Dissector

MORE PERSPECTIVES ON THE THE CRISIS
Dylan Ratigan, CNBC star who is leaving, interviewed on the current Wall Street “rally” by Henry Bodget. Is it real or a “Sucker’s rally?”

Ratigan: Suckers’ rally. No question. That’s not an indictment of the judgment of the market. That’s just my perception of the ability of the banks to function in a timely fashion, the ability to create meaningful amounts of jobs in the immediate future, and the as-yet unrecognized meaningful losses to come in commercial real-estate and other asset classes… We’ve gone through a transition where things were getting bad in a freefall, and now they’re just getting slowly worse. So it’s a transition from jumping out a plane without a parachute, and now, after a year of free-fall, we’ve pulled the parachute, which feels a hell of a lot better than the freefall… I think we’re dealing with a problem that has a few years in it, not a few months.’’

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Carolyn Baker (CarolynBaker.net)

Each time the stock market rises a bit or another politician pontificates about glimmers of hope, the masses are falsely buoyed just a bit more, guaranteeing that collapse will be even more excruciating for them when they finally understand that there will be no “return to normal” and that “normal” is itself the culprit. But for those who can discern, Easter/Passover is not one day, but a way of life—a lifestyle of exodus and resurrection in “defiance” of the madness of civilization–a determination to build networks of resilience, cooperation, and sustenance in whatever wilderness we may find ourselves.

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Frank Rich (NYTIMES)

…The bubble decade, making money as an end in itself boomed as a calling among students at elite universities like Harvard, siphoning off gifted undergraduates who might otherwise have been scientists, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, artists or inventors. The Harvard Crimson reported that in the class of 2007, 58 percent of the men and 43 percent of the women entering the work force took jobs in the finance and consulting industries. The figures were similar everywhere, from Duke to the University of Pennsylvania. Dan Rather, on his HDNet television program in December, reported that at Penn this was even true of “over half the students who graduated with engineering degrees — not a field commonly associated with Wall Street.”

Clearly the last person to serve as an inspiring role model for alternative values would have been Summers. But in her first baccalaureate address last June, his successor as Harvard president, Drew Gilpin Faust, stepped into that moral vacuum, zeroing in on the huge number of students heading into finance, consulting and investment banking. “Find work you love,” she implored the class of 2008. The “most remunerative” job choice “may not be the most meaningful and the most satisfying.”

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LETTERS

John Poole, reader who read my call for a national investigation into the causes of the financial crisis on ZNET wrote in to say I am “deluded,” because official investigations are so lame. I responded and so did he.

“Deluded, John. I don’t think so. My book is called PLUNDER, I am writing about this “pilfereing” every day and am not naive about it. But we have to try to inform people and make it a bigger issue. An investigation can help us do that by arming us with more facts and information. Many of us were supercritical of the mainstream media spin and findings on the war and yet we used its reporting to strengthen a case against the war that contributed to an erosion of public support for it. It went from 80% to 20%. That didn’t end the war, of course. Making change is a process and it demands awareness and information. You shouldn’t be so dismissive and arrogant. Just because you know something doesn’t mean others do.

Thanks for writing
DANNY SCHECHTER

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John then fired back:

I retract my ignorant dismissive label. My apology. But, one thing I think that separates me from most progressives is I’ve been with the overruled class most of my life. I’ve met too many who love the idea of being able to scurry under the kevlar skirts of a macho bullying imperial country when need be. I wish it weren’t so but progressives I feel will be absolutely astounded at how venal most of the underclass (our military recruit pool and manual labor class) are at heart. It looks like we’re in for Feudalism V2.0 American style and the vassals won’t mind living impoverished lives as long as they think the drawbridge is still there and that the castle will give them occasional refuge when needed. I also feel Obama is insane. “I believe Jesus died for my sins….” Woo, hold on there buddy! I was one of those “non believers” he barely was able to cover his disdain in stating his willingness to tolerate. I found him very early to be pathologically narcissistic and of course a closet plutocrat. Thanks for your response. Good luck (to us both). John Poole

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Randi M writes:

Hey news dissector… I admired your work, on the credit card crisis. I got one for you to remember.. Do you remember the Eron scandal???

Bush, Rove, Cheney and all of them were also involved in this also..check out the website, bbc.com, and click on enron. guess who’s name popped up? rove was a leading stock holder there also. Speaking of karl rove, check out this story, “Obama’s Counselor Accused of Ethics Breach over role in Brokering Rove’s testimony”

there is so much more on this guy..

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Bruce Sims writes from San Diego to suggest that “teabaggers”—ie right wing activists may have sabotaged local New Way Forward protests. He also writes:

“ … And I’ve receive a ‘postcard’ as part of the massive marketing campaign now being carried out in CA by Chase. It offers me $100 to open a ‘Free Checking’ account. Down at the bottom of the ‘card’ it says “Free Checking will be referred to as WaMU Free Checking’

I’m urging everyone I can to take whatever assets they have with the ‘big banks’(BofA,Citi,Chase,Goldman,Wells Fargo, HSBC,Barclays,etc.) and move those ‘assets’ into a credit union. The debt the FDIC is racking up is scary.

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Deborah Emin writes:

Hello Danny,

As someone who always looks to see if there is a countervailing idea that needs to be looked at, sort of like looking at the possibility that even on a one-way street, someone may be coming at me the wrong way, here is something none, as far as I can see, want to talk about.

We, for the most part, were all very happy when the economy was booming. Not much mention was made of perhaps we are living a bit too high and spending what we did not have. We as a nation did not want to take ourselves to task for much of anything. We delighted in having the opportunities that most others do not and never will have. We wanted in some ways and always to have our cake and eat it too.

We were sold a bill of goods, of course. It was called so many different names it is pointless to recount them but the most obvious was American Exceptionalism. We lived as high and as mighty as anyone could.

Now, when the economy sours, all of a sudden there are so many villians to point a stick at it is not even funny. Bankers, oh my God, and investment companies and mortgage brokers and credit card companies and those damn economists who always want to confuse us and then of course all those people just trying to get over us with the benefits of the drugs that can let us all live to be an infinite age because we all deserve to live longer and better than anyone else in the whole damn world.

Now, it is all over and we see so much of the same it is frightening because the lessons are not learned and will not be learned.

Every single day I find so much finger pointing going on it makes me sick. I mean, come on, how many people would be pointing their finger if their 401(K) had not tanked? How many of them would be concerned about the mortgage business and its very healthy appetite if it had not swallowed them? How many would be concerned that their credit cards are now being charged astronomical rates so the companies can keep up the profits they are accustomed to?

How many of us look at a schmoo like Ezra Merkin and the pompous and arrogant asshole he always was and for a moment stop to remember how many kept him glowing with his own self-reflected image? Or Lord Rudy who admonished us to all go shopping after the World Trade Center Towers fell? He too among the biggest jerks this country has ever produced and he is lionized as if he did something phenomenal. Just what was it?

And yet, we are all still sitting here with an ever dwindling number of options for our own lives let alone the ones around us who may have so much less than us. We point and point because it just feels so good and keeps us from ever taking any responsibility for what has happened and continues to happen.

I just wish some of those who rushed into the housing market not because they really needed a huge house with a seemingly small mortgage would just ask themselves for a moment–a house, a life where I do not have to relate to my neighbors, or ask what the materials were that went into my house or the people who built it, where were they from and how do they live and the fact that I am in the suburbs, means, what? Oh yeah, that all the valuable farmland that was once here is gone and I drive everywhere in a car that sends awful pollutants into the air and I must shop at these massive box stores because I refuse to support the people around me.

I am sick of it all and sick of the blame game.

This is no game. No change will be made until we all change. Who wants to start?

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Paul Glassen writes from Canada on that bear attack described by a reader yesterday:

My heart goes out to Allena Hansen; yes, for what she suffered in the bear attack, but even more for what she continues to suffer from the duplicity of the health insurance industry.

I am an american ex-patriot living in Canada. Our athletic teenage son has given us a few occasions to experience Canadian health care, including emergency surgery (a spleenectomy). As shown in one of the Michael Moore films, the greatest thing here is not having to worry about medical bills while worrying about physical recovery.

Many americans may not know that in a regrettable oversight Canada does not include dental care in its universal medical plan. So who provides our dental insurance? Blue Cross and other american firms, of course. And the contrast with the worry free universal plan is extreme. Virtually every claim to the private insurance companies is met with at least a partial denial of benefits. It is unconscionable.

What Ms. Hansen and millions of americans suffer at the hands of both the medical and medical insurance business industries is one of the United State’s great moral shames.

Thankful for universal health care in Canada.

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BERNIE

The New York Times Obituary page on Sunday carried a listing about an old friend of mine to whom I owe a debt. His name: Bernard Moss or Bernie to me. He lived on the first floor in our Bronx housing development; I was on the llth.

Bernie was a brilliant historian and progressive activist who lived for many years teaching in New Zealand and then London. The obit calls him a “passionate thinker,” and that he was. We reconnected later in his life.

I am not sure if I ever told him that he was instrumental in my turn towards journalism. When I was still in elementary school, he played me a record album on 78s, issued by Columbia (CBS), and produced by Edward R Murrow and Fred Friendly. It was called “I Can Hear It Now.” It was a collection of actualities and commentary from l933 -1945 and brought the depression and war years alive for me through Murrow’s incisive writing and wonderful voice. The sounds seemed more memorable than the images. With help from my mom, we transcribed the text which I then, believe it or not, memorized because it was so enlightening. It was that experience that led me years later into a career in radio and the work I am trying to do today. Thanks Bernie for playing Murrow’s album for me. Onward!

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Tom Paine Lives: Paine would probably be to Obama’s left

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That’s my blog today. Your comments welcome. Write:dissector@mediachannel.org

1 Comment

  1. Fpaulrapser

    April 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    RBC Bank President Gordon Nixon – Salary $11.73 Million

    $100,000 – MISTAKE (FISHERMEN’S LOAN)

    I’m a commercial fisherman fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) over a $100,000 loan mistake. I lost my home, fishing vessel and equipment. Help me fight this corporate bully by closing your RBC Bank account.

    There was no monthly interest payment date or amount of interest payable per month on my loan agreement. Date of first installment payment (Principal + interest) is approximately 1 year from the signing of my contract.
    Demand loan agreements signed by other fishermen around the same time disclosed monthly interest payment dates and interest amounts payable per month.The lending policy for fishermen did change at RBC from one payment (principal + interest) per year for fishing loans to principal paid yearly with interest paid monthly. This lending practice was in place when I approached RBC.
    Only problem is the loans officer was a replacement who wasn’t familiar with these type of loans. She never informed me verbally or in writing about this new criteria.

    Phone or e-mail:
    RBC President, Gordon Nixon, Toronto (416)974-6415
    RBC Vice President, Sales, Anne Lockie, Toronto (416)974-6821
    RBC President, Atlantic Provinces, Greg Grice (902)421-8112 mail to:greg.grice@rbc.com
    RBC Manager, Cape Breton/Eastern Nova Scotia, Jerry Rankin (902)567-8600
    RBC Vice President, Atlantic Provinces, Brian Conway (902)491-4302 mail to:brian.conway@rbc.com
    RBC Vice President, Halifax Region, Tammy Holland (902)421-8112 mail to:tammy.holland@rbc.com
    RBC Senior Manager, Media & Public Relations, Beja Rodeck (416)974-5506 mail to:beja.rodeck@rbc.com
    RBC Ombudsman, Wendy Knight, Toronto, Ontario 1-800-769-2542 mail to:ombudsman@rbc.com
    Ombudsman for Banking Services & Investments, JoAnne Olafson, Toronto, 1-888-451-4519 mail to:ombudsman@obsi.ca

    http://www.pfraser.blogspot.com

    http://www.corporatebully.ca

    http://www.youtube.com/CORPORATEBULLY

    http://www.p2pnet.net/story/17877

    “Fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) one customer at a time”

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