Billy Mays comes back just in time for Halloween...
Open thread below...
Billy Mays comes back just in time for Halloween...
Open thread below...
We're going to bring the room down for a little while this evening. Chet Baker's version of Elvis Costello's Almost Blue is sure to bring your pulse down and take you back -- or away to somewhere else. So kick back, grab a cuppa somethin' and relax...
(Dr. Walter Heller - tried to save Reagan from himself - didn't work)
With word about the latest recession being "over", I was reminded about the last time we had a deep recession in the 1980s and how we all became familiar with the phrases "Reaganomics", Supply-Side and Voodoo-Economics.
Back in the 80s there was 10% unemployment (on paper) and it felt like it lasted forever. Former Kennedy and Johnson Economic adviser Dr. Walter Heller had a few observations to make when he was interviewed on Face The Nation in 1982.
Dr. Walter Heller: “Had the Carter program, and unfortunately it was rather forgettable, but had the Carter program been enacted, we would be in much better shape today. People seem to forget that Carter, in October of the last year of his presidency proposed a tax program that made just excellent sense. It was much smaller than the President’s program, and it concentrated more of its tax cuts, and this is what people forget, on the supply side, so to speak, on true stimulus of government investment. Instead of having enormous deficits that scare the public and Wall Street, we would have had much more moderate deficits, we’d be much better off today.”
Perhaps hindsight is 20/20 but it's interesting to speculate what might have happened had the Carter program been enacted.
But no, The Great Communicator had a better idea . . or so he said.
(Gen. Zia - Tea and Kleenex - there's a message here)
When this interview was conducted on May 18, 1980, Afghanistan was under Soviet occupation a little over six months. There was also the matter of fifty American hostages in Tehran and the U.S. elections heating up. Zia headed up a military coup that overthrew the legitimate elected government of Ali Bhutto and after staging a rather dubious trial, executed him, much to the shock and horror of the rest of the world. Zia would later die in a helicopter crash, also of dubious circumstances.
I think it would be fair to say that the instability of the region has a long history and having Atomic weapons capabilities makes the stomach turn just a bit faster as a result.
General Zia managed to conduct a one-on-one with Walter Cronkite and offered a few insights that, in hindsight may seem prophetic.
Gen. Zia: “What I am trying to say is, The United States Of America must see the true priorities in this region. If this region has any strategic significance in the minds of the United States citizens, if this region has any significance to the ultimate interests of the United States of America and the free world, then I am afraid the question of hostages should not be viewed on the emotional plain. I very strongly recommend, Mister Cronkite, that we should view the situation in a much bigger perspective. It is a global problem in my opinion. The lives of fifty American nationals is as dear and as valuable to me as it is to any United States citizen. But I say there are much greater things at stake at the present moment, and we should take out the emotional aspects of an election year or of the human aspects of this, this cannot be ignored, I must agree. But I think there are much greater stakes involved in this issue than only the lives of fifty nationals.”
So in retrospect, listening to this interview now and knowing our current situation with Afghanistan and our relationship with Pakistan, it would seem the current problems with the Taliban in the region have been more or less a work-in-progress the last 25 or so years.
Nothing is ever as it seems and nothing ever happens instantly.
The Democrats are so strangely self-destructive at times, I have to say this: Please tell me they're not only investigating Democrats, but Republicans, too. Because that would just be stupid. I mean, we didn't bother going after Republican war criminals - so why single out Democrats?
House ethics investigators have scrutinized the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.
The report, disclosed on a publicly accessible computer network, was made available to The Washington Post by a source familiar with such networks.
The ethics committee is one of the most secretive panels in Congress, and its members and staff members sign oaths not to disclose any activities related to its past or present investigations. Watchdog groups have accused the committee of not actively pursuing inquiries; the newly disclosed document indicates the panel is conducting far more investigations than it had revealed.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, the committee chairman, Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), interrupted a series of House votes to alert lawmakers about the breach. She cautioned that some of the panel's activities are preliminary and not a conclusive sign of inappropriate behavior.
"No inference should be made as to any member," she said.
Fox News defends itself against an attack by the Obama administration by explaining that most of their shows aren't real news.
From The Thom Hartman Show Oct. 30, 2009. Thom and Matt Taibbi discuss Matt's latest article at Rolling Stone--Wall Street's Naked Swindle
A scheme to flood the market with counterfeit stocks helped kill Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers — and the feds have yet to bust the culprits.
On Tuesday, March 11th, 2008, somebody — nobody knows who — made one of the craziest bets Wall Street has ever seen. The mystery figure spent $1.7 million on a series of options, gambling that shares in the venerable investment bank Bear Stearns would lose more than half their value in nine days or less. It was madness — "like buying 1.7 million lottery tickets," according to one financial analyst.
But what's even crazier is that the bet paid.
At the close of business that afternoon, Bear Stearns was trading at $62.97. At that point, whoever made the gamble owned the right to sell huge bundles of Bear stock, at $30 and $25, on or before March 20th. In order for the bet to pay, Bear would have to fall harder and faster than any Wall Street brokerage in history.
The very next day, March 12th, Bear went into free fall. By the end of the week, the firm had lost virtually all of its cash and was clinging to promises of state aid; by the weekend, it was being knocked to its knees by the Fed and the Treasury, and forced at the barrel of a shotgun to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase (which had been given $29 billion in public money to marry its hunchbacked new bride) at the humiliating price of … $2 a share. Whoever bought those options on March 11th woke up on the morning of March 17th having made 159 times his money, or roughly $270 million. This trader was either the luckiest guy in the world, the smartest son of a bi**h ever or…
Or what? That this was a brazen case of insider manipulation was so obvious that even Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the pillow-soft-touch Senate Banking Committee, couldn't help but remark on it a few weeks later, when questioning Christopher Cox, the then-chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission. "I would hope that you're looking at this," Dodd said. "This kind of spike must have triggered some sort of bells and whistles at the SEC. This goes beyond rumors."
October 28, 2009 C-SPAN
Alan Grayson reads from some of the stories shared at his site Names of the Dead:
Every year, more than 44,000 Americans die simply because they have no health insurance. Add your story and watch Congressman Grayson read your stories on the House floor.
Heather: My fellow video contributor here at Video Cafe, CSPANJunkie has more to share for our visitors over at You Tube and at his corner of those Internets tubes at MoxNews.com. Sadly You Tube shut down a couple of the best political/news channels on You Tube when he finally got the axe as so many of us have as well that are doing similar work. I was truly saddened when his CSPANJunkie.org and VotersThink.org accounts were taken down from You Tube back in August. He's a braver person than I am for going back to them after all the work he did that was lost. I lost one of my accounts with about 600 videos a while back and that was no where near the amount of work lost on those two accounts.
If anyone wants to show him some love for sticking around after losing thousands of videos on You Tube but still keeping up the fight and to show some appreciation for his contributions here, go kick him a few bucks at his new site. I'm sure any contributions or words of encouragement will help lift his spirits after losing all that hard work.
I'm always happy to see the progressives step up and demand what they want - you know, instead of falling into the fetal position. Greg Sargent from The Plumline:
At a private meeting at the White House yesterday, top House liberals urged President Obama to more aggressively throw his weight into a public campaign on behalf of the public option, a leading House progressive said in an interview.
Dem Rep. Raul Grijalva, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, says that this point was made “emphatically” to the president in the meeting yesterday with House liberals, and that his help was urgently needed in bringing centrist Dems on board.
“We need the full engagement of everybody in this discussion — that includes the White House,” Grijalva said in characterizing the message that was delivered to the president. Grijalva described the meeting in an interview with Democracy Now.
Dems have largely refrained from making such a blunt case publicly, not wanting to appear critical of the president. But Grijalva appears to have no qualms about making it.
“We really do feel that engagement from the leader of this nation is vital if we’re going to end up with anything that approaches a robust public option,” Grijalva said.
Strong stuff. I’ve asked Grijalva’s office what the president’s response was, and will update you if I learn more.
October 29, 2009 C-SPAN
We know the rules by now, the strange conventions and stilted Kabuki scripts that govern our cartoon facsimile of a national security debate. The Obama administration makes vague, reassuring noises about constraining executive power and protecting civil liberties, but then merrily adopts whatever appalling policy George W. Bush put in place. Conservatives hit the panic button on the right-wing noise machine anyway, keeping the delicate ecosystem in balance by creating the false impression that something has changed. We've watched the formula play out with Guantánamo Bay, torture prosecutions and the invocation of "state secrets." We appear to be on the verge of doing the same with national security surveillance.