Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as a medical device and drug expert witness and pharmaceutical marketing expert. Judge Sanders: "The court agrees with defendants' view that Dr. Rost is a very adept and seasoned expert witness." He is also the author of Emergency Surgery, The Whistleblower and Killer Drug. You can reach him on rostpeter (insert symbol) hotmail.com. Follow on https://twitter.com/peterrost
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Ever heard about the Anne Kilkenny email about Palin?
And this is the Kilkenny e-mail that went viral.
Palin can't name a single newspaper by name that she has read.
COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read, before you were tapped for this, to stay informed and to understand the world?
PALIN: I've read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press for the media, I mean...
COURIC: Like what ones specifically? I'm curious that you...
PALIN: Um, all of 'em, any of 'em that um have been in front of me over all these years, um...
COURIC: Can you name any of them?
PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news too. Alaska isn't a foreign country where it's kind of suggested it seems like, wow how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, DC may be thinking and doing, when you live up there in Alaska. Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
More from Newsweek editor:
Palin and McCain wiggle like worms on one hook.
Congratulations, Corporate Crime Fighters! Coup Averted for Three Days! ...from Michael Moore
Everyone said the bill would pass. The masters of the universe were already making celebratory dinner reservations at Manhattan's finest restaurants. Personal shoppers in Dallas and Atlanta were dispatched to do the early Christmas gifting. Mad Men of Chicago and Miami were popping corks and toasting each other long before the morning latte run.
But what they didn't know was that hundreds of thousands of Americans woke up yesterday morning and decided it was time for revolt. The politicians never saw it coming. Millions of phone calls and emails hit Congress so hard it was as if Marshall Dillon, Elliot Ness and Dog the Bounty Hunter had descended on D.C. to stop the looting and arrest the thieves.
The Corporate Crime of the Century was halted by a vote of 228 to 205. It was rare and historic; no one could remember a time when a bill supported by the president and the leadership of both parties went down in defeat. That just never happens.
A lot of people are wondering why the right wing of the Republican Party joined with the left wing of the Democratic Party in voting down the thievery. Forty percent of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans voted against the bill.
Here's what happened:
The presidential race may still be close in the polls, but the Congressional races are pointing toward a landslide for the Democrats. Few dispute the prediction that the Republicans are in for a whoopin' on November 4th. Up to 30 Republican House seats could be lost in what would be a stunning repudiation of their agenda.
The Republican reps are so scared of losing their seats, when this "financial crisis" reared its head two weeks ago, they realized they had just been handed their one and only chance to separate themselves from Bush before the election, while doing something that would make them look like they were on the side of "the people."
Watching C-Span yesterday morning was one of the best comedy shows I'd seen in ages. There they were, one Republican after another who had backed the war and sunk the country into record debt, who had voted to kill every regulation that would have kept Wall Street in check -- there they were, now crying foul and standing up for the little guy! One after another, they stood at the microphone on the House floor and threw Bush under the bus, under the train (even though they had voted to kill off our nation's trains, too), heck, they would've thrown him under the rising waters of the Lower Ninth Ward if they could've conjured up another hurricane. You know how your dog acts when sprayed by a skunk? He howls and runs around trying to shake it off, rubbing and rolling himself on every piece of your carpet, trying to get rid of the stench. That's what it looked like on the Republican side of the aisle yesterday, and it was a sight to behold.
The 95 brave Dems who broke with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were the real heroes, just like those few who stood up and voted against the war in October of 2002. Watch the remarks from yesterday of Reps. Marcy Kaptur, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Dennis Kucinich. They spoke the truth.
The Dems who voted for the giveaway did so mostly because they were scared by the threats of Wall Street, that if the rich didn't get their handout, the market would go nuts and then it's bye-bye stock-based pension and retirement funds.
And guess what? That's exactly what Wall Street did! The largest, single-day drop in the Dow in the history of the New York Stock exchange. The news anchors last night screamed it out: Americans just lost 1.2 trillion dollars in the stock market!! It's a financial Pearl Harbor! The sky is falling! Bird flu! Killer Bees!
Of course, sane people know that nobody "lost" anything yesterday, that stocks go up and down and this too shall pass because the rich will now buy low, hold, then sell off, then buy low again.
But for now, Wall Street and its propaganda arm (the networks and media it owns) will continue to try and scare the bejesus out of you. It will be harder to get a loan. Some people will lose their jobs. A weak nation of wimps won't last long under this torture. Or will we? Is this our line in the sand?
Here's my guess: The Democratic leadership in the House secretly hoped all along that this lousy bill would go down. With Bush's proposals shredded, the Dems knew they could then write their own bill that favors the average American, not the upper 10% who were hoping for another kegger of gold.
So the ball is in the Democrats' hands. The gun from Wall Street remains at their head. Before they make their next move, let me tell you what the media kept silent about while this bill was being debated:
1. The bailout bill had NO enforcement provisions for the so-called oversight group that was going to monitor Wall Street's spending of the $700 billion;
2. It had NO penalties, fines or imprisonment for any executive who might steal any of the people's money;
3. It did NOTHING to force banks and lenders to rewrite people's mortgages to avoid foreclosures -- this bill would not have stopped ONE foreclosure!;
4. It had NO teeth anywhere in the entire piece of legislation, using words like "suggested" when referring to the government being paid back for the bailout;
5. Over 200 economists wrote to Congress and said this bill might actually WORSEN the "financial crisis" and cause even MORE of a meltdown.
Put a fork in this slab of pork. It's over. Now it is time for our side to state very clearly the laws WE want passed. I will send you my proposals later today. We've bought ourselves less than 72 hours.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Fed Pumps Further $630 Billion Into Financial System
Apparently, money is not an issue (after all, it is made from nothing) and who cares about $700 billion bailout?
BoA to close credit cards for approximately 60% of customers?
"This is true, but not as bad as he/she says. We are closing accounts, but only ones with credit scores under 750. We will reopen cards within a year as long as crisis lessens." - J.mcmanus / VP Credit Dept BOA
We do not have independent confirmation but if true the event is significant – the number of credit card holders with scores under 750 is 60% percent of the population.
FICO Range (percent of the population)
BAILOUT BILL FAILS IN THE HOUSE. DOW FALLS 700.
The House today rejected a $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill.
The vote was held open long after the allotted time had expired, with a majority already having cast votes against the bill. If those votes hold and the chamber gavels the vote to a close, the bill will die.
At 1:55 p.m., 226 lawmakers had voted against the bill and 207 had voted in favor
Stocks plunged as soon as it became apparent that the bill was unlikely to pass. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 700 points before recouping some of those losses and is now in negative 500 territory.
What this all means is that the stock market may fall into the abyss sooner than it would if the bill had gone through, but just like surgery, it will also help the patient get well earlier . . . at least that is what we can hope for.
The new super drug.
Money for nuthin' . . . this is how it happened.
The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning ...a message from Michael Moore
Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.
No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:
"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.
"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.
"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.
"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."
Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.
The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.
And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.
Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?
It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.
This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!
I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:
1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.
2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).
3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.
When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!
P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.
P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Why should U.S. taxpayers bail out bad loans for all non U.S. banks?
The truth is, because the banks are a global cartel, supported by the U.S. government. We are entering a stage in history when the illusion of the power of individual nation states is starting to disappear, and the real players are exposed.
Palin on SNL. Again!!
And here's the funnies part:
Fey, as Palin, often quotes directly from Palin's original interview -- apparently no parody was required:
1929 vs. 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
95% of money is created out of THIN AIR by private banks. This video explains why we may face financial Armageddon and the panic in the White House.
The financial crisis may be much worse than anyone has told you. It could change how we issue money and this is something the most powerful men in the world will do everything they can to stop. Hence, he government bailout.
Reality is that we may face a bigger crisis than the 1929 depression. This is a more important video than anything I've ever shown on this site.
And do you want to understand the very strange situation this weekend with the Democrats supporting the White House bailout plan, and Republicans resisting?
More to come tomorrow!
Palin's final interview with Couric.
For Alaska, however, this is a disaster.
Alaskans are likely to be the butt of U.S. jokes for years to come.
You Know You're In Alaska When...
. . .you know which leaves make good toilet paper.
. . .the mayor greets you on the street by your first name.
. . .the municipality buys a Zamboni before a bus.
. . .the trunk of your car doubles as a deep freeze.
. . .you can play road hockey on ice skates.
. . .you know the 4 seasons: Winter, Still Winter, Almost Winter, and Construction.
Alaska's More Important Laws:
Moose may not be viewed from an airplane.
While it is legal to shoot bears, waking a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph is prohibited.
It is the state policy that emergencies are held to a minimum and are rarely found to exist.-Sec. 44.62.270. State policy.
It is considered an offense to push a live moose out of a moving airplane.
In Fairbanks it is considered an offense to feed alcoholic beverages to a moose.
More Alaska jokes.
The rescue plan
CNN's Cafferty slams Palin and her weird comments on bailout.
Jack Cafferty: "If Sarah Palin Being One Heartbeat Away "Doesn't Scare The Hell Out Of You, It Should"
Economist: U.S. wealth built on pyramid scheme. The bailouut is a once in a century rip-off by billionaires.
More at http://www.therealnews.com/... Economist Michael Hudson: the bailout is a giveaway that will cause hyperinflation and dollar collapse.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Sarah Palin explains why she never got a passport until 2006. And why seeing Russia from Alaska helps her foreign-policy credentials.
She told Katie Couric that she had to work, sometimes two jobs, and that's why she didn't backpack around Europe like privileged kids do.
"I'm not one of those who maybe come from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduated college and their parents get them a passport and a backpack and say, 'Go off and travel the world.' Noooo. I worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life, until I had kids. ... I was not part of, I guess, that culture."
After seeing Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin, it can be concluded that she must have the same interview coach as Miss Teen USA South Carolina 2007.
Quote of the day
Bush Iraq war speech vs. Bush bailout speech.
A message to Jews with grandparents in Florida.
The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.
The Great Schlep aims to have Jewish grandchildren visit their grandparents in Florida, educate them about Obama, and therefore swing the crucial Florida vote in his favor. Don’t have grandparents in Florida? Not Jewish? No problem! You can still become a schlepper and make change happen in 2008, simply by talking to your relatives about Obama.
The truth hurts.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Palin takes the Russia bait and Couric reels her in.
Palin takes the bait.
Watch and cry. Only a person without a passport most of her adult life can be this naive.
Here's the transcript:
COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?
PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--
PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.
COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.
PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--
COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?
PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.
Anyone surprised Palin is not doing any press conferences?
Colbert is suspending the Colbert report.
100 Economists Against the Wall Street Bailout
As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan:
1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers’ expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses. Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.
2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.
3) Its long-term effects. If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, America's dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity. Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.
For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.
Signed (updated at 9/25/2008 8:30AM CT)
Acemoglu Daron (Massachussets Institute of Technology)
Adler Michael (Columbia University)
Admati Anat R. (Stanford University)
Alexis Marcus (Northwestern University)
Alvarez Fernando (University of Chicago)
Andersen Torben (Northwestern University)
Baliga Sandeep (Northwestern University)
Banerjee Abhijit V. (Massachussets Institute of Technology)
Barankay Iwan (University of Pennsylvania)
Barry Brian (University of Chicago)
Bartkus James R. (Xavier University of Louisiana)
Becker Charles M. (Duke University)
Becker Robert A. (Indiana University)
Beim David (Columbia University)
Berk Jonathan (Stanford University)
Bisin Alberto (New York University)
Bittlingmayer George (University of Kansas)
Boldrin Michele (Washington University)
Brooks Taggert J. (University of Wisconsin)
Brynjolfsson Erik (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Buera Francisco J. (UCLA)
Camp Mary Elizabeth (Indiana University)
Carmel Jonathan (University of Michigan)
Carroll Christopher (Johns Hopkins University)
Cassar Gavin (University of Pennsylvania)
Chaney Thomas (University of Chicago)
Chari Varadarajan V. (University of Minnesota)
Chauvin Keith W. (University of Kansas)
Chintagunta Pradeep K. (University of Chicago)
Christiano Lawrence J. (Northwestern University)
Cochrane John (University of Chicago)
Coleman John (Duke University)
Constantinides George M. (University of Chicago)
Crain Robert (UC Berkeley)
Culp Christopher (University of Chicago)
Da Zhi (University of Notre Dame)
Davis Morris (University of Wisconsin)
De Marzo Peter (Stanford University)
Dubé Jean-Pierre H. (University of Chicago)
Edlin Aaron (UC Berkeley)
Eichenbaum Martin (Northwestern University)
Ely Jeffrey (Northwestern University)
Eraslan Hülya K. K.(Johns Hopkins University)
Faulhaber Gerald (University of Pennsylvania)
Feldmann Sven (University of Melbourne)
Fernandez-Villaverde Jesus (University of Pennsylvania)
Fohlin Caroline (Johns Hopkins University)
Fox Jeremy T. (University of Chicago)
Frank Murray Z.(University of Minnesota)
Frenzen Jonathan (University of Chicago)
Fuchs William (University of Chicago)
Fudenberg Drew (Harvard University)
Gabaix Xavier (New York University)
Gao Paul (Notre Dame University)
Garicano Luis (University of Chicago)
Gerakos Joseph J. (University of Chicago)
Gibbs Michael (University of Chicago)
Glomm Gerhard (Indiana University)
Goettler Ron (University of Chicago)
Goldin Claudia (Harvard University)
Gordon Robert J. (Northwestern University)
Greenstone Michael (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Guadalupe Maria (Columbia University)
Guerrieri Veronica (University of Chicago)
Hagerty Kathleen (Northwestern University)
Hamada Robert S. (University of Chicago)
Hansen Lars (University of Chicago)
Harris Milton (University of Chicago)
Hart Oliver (Harvard University)
Hazlett Thomas W. (George Mason University)
Heaton John (University of Chicago)
Heckman James (University of Chicago - Nobel Laureate)
Henderson David R. (Hoover Institution)
Henisz, Witold (University of Pennsylvania)
Hertzberg Andrew (Columbia University)
Hite Gailen (Columbia University)
Hitsch Günter J. (University of Chicago)
Hodrick Robert J. (Columbia University)
Hopenhayn Hugo (UCLA)
Hurst Erik (University of Chicago)
Imrohoroglu Ayse (University of Southern California)
Isakson Hans (University of Northern Iowa)
Israel Ronen (London Business School)
Jaffee Dwight M. (UC Berkeley)
Jagannathan Ravi (Northwestern University)
Jenter Dirk (Stanford University)
Jones Charles M. (Columbia Business School)
Kaboski Joseph P. (Ohio State University)
Kahn Matthew (UCLA)
Kaplan Ethan (Stockholm University)
Karolyi, Andrew (Ohio State University)
Kashyap Anil (University of Chicago)
Keim Donald B (University of Pennsylvania)
Ketkar Suhas L (Vanderbilt University)
Kiesling Lynne (Northwestern University)
Klenow Pete (Stanford University)
Koch Paul (University of Kansas)
Kocherlakota Narayana (University of Minnesota)
Koijen Ralph S.J. (University of Chicago)
Kondo Jiro (Northwestern University)
Korteweg Arthur (Stanford University)
Kortum Samuel (University of Chicago)
Krueger Dirk (University of Pennsylvania)
Ledesma Patricia (Northwestern University)
Lee Lung-fei (Ohio State University)
Leeper Eric M. (Indiana University)
Leuz Christian (University of Chicago)
Levine David I.(UC Berkeley)
Levine David K.(Washington University)
Levy David M. (George Mason University)
Linnainmaa Juhani (University of Chicago)
Lott John R. Jr. (University of Maryland)
Lucas Robert (University of Chicago - Nobel Laureate)
Luttmer Erzo G.J. (University of Minnesota)
Manski Charles F. (Northwestern University)
Martin Ian (Stanford University)
Mayer Christopher (Columbia University)
Mazzeo Michael (Northwestern University)
McDonald Robert (Northwestern University)
Meadow Scott F. (University of Chicago)
Mehra Rajnish (UC Santa Barbara)
Mian Atif (University of Chicago)
Middlebrook Art (University of Chicago)
Miguel Edward (UC Berkeley)
Miravete Eugenio J. (University of Texas at Austin)
Miron Jeffrey (Harvard University)
Moretti Enrico (UC Berkeley)
Moriguchi Chiaki (Northwestern University)
Moro Andrea (Vanderbilt University)
Morse Adair (University of Chicago)
Mortensen Dale T. (Northwestern University)
Mortimer Julie Holland (Harvard University)
Muralidharan Karthik (UC San Diego)
Nanda Dhananjay (University of Miami)
Nevo Aviv (Northwestern University)
Ohanian Lee (UCLA)
Pagliari Joseph (University of Chicago)
Papanikolaou Dimitris (Northwestern University)
Parker Jonathan (Northwestern University)
Paul Evans (Ohio State University)
Pejovich Svetozar (Steve) (Texas A&M University)
Peltzman Sam (University of Chicago)
Perri Fabrizio (University of Minnesota)
Phelan Christopher (University of Minnesota)
Piazzesi Monika (Stanford University)
Piskorski Tomasz (Columbia University)
Rampini Adriano (Duke University)
Reagan Patricia (Ohio State University)
Reich Michael (UC Berkeley)
Reuben Ernesto (Northwestern University)
Roberts Michael (University of Pennsylvania)
Robinson David (Duke University)
Rogers Michele (Northwestern University)
Rotella Elyce (Indiana University)
Ruud Paul (Vassar College)
Safford Sean (University of Chicago)
Sandbu Martin E. (University of Pennsylvania)
Sapienza Paola (Northwestern University)
Savor Pavel (University of Pennsylvania)
Scharfstein David (Harvard University)
Seim Katja (University of Pennsylvania)
Seru Amit (University of Chicago)
Shang-Jin Wei (Columbia University)
Shimer Robert (University of Chicago)
Shore Stephen H. (Johns Hopkins University)
Siegel Ron (Northwestern University)
Smith David C. (University of Virginia)
Smith Vernon L.(Chapman University- Nobel Laureate)
Sorensen Morten (Columbia University)
Spiegel Matthew (Yale University)
Stevenson Betsey (University of Pennsylvania)
Stokey Nancy (University of Chicago)
Strahan Philip (Boston College)
Strebulaev Ilya (Stanford University)
Sufi Amir (University of Chicago)
Tabarrok Alex (George Mason University)
Taylor Alan M. (UC Davis)
Thompson Tim (Northwestern University)
Tschoegl Adrian E. (University of Pennsylvania)
Uhlig Harald (University of Chicago)
Ulrich, Maxim (Columbia University)
Van Buskirk Andrew (University of Chicago)
Veronesi Pietro (University of Chicago)
Vissing-Jorgensen Annette (Northwestern University)
Wacziarg Romain (UCLA)
Weill Pierre-Olivier (UCLA)
Williamson Samuel H. (Miami University)
Witte Mark (Northwestern University)
Wolfers Justin (University of Pennsylvania)
Woutersen Tiemen (Johns Hopkins University)
Zingales Luigi (University of Chicago)
Zitzewitz Eric (Dartmouth College)
USA vs. USSR
Breaking News: Senator Shelby leaving the White House, saying we have NO bailout agreement.
Senator Shelby just came out from a meeting in the White House with the president, the vice president and Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain. He stated emphatically, we have NO agreement on the bailout of Wall Street.
He also waved five pages to the reporters, and said these were five pages with messages from the countries most respected economists, from Yale, Harvard, etc., who'd told him the bailout was a bad thing. He said he'd "taken the liberty to share this at the White House meeting."
He also said both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain were courteous at the meeting, but made no comment about their positions.
When asked about banking chief Dodd's announcement that there was an agreement, he shook his head and said there was not such thing.
What happened to pharma on the Peter Rost blog?
The Peter Rost blog is no longer featured very frequently on blogs that talk about medical blogs.
Quite frankly, after writing and speaking about pharma for the last four years, I've pretty much had it. It's not like anything is changing.
The crooks are going to go on doing what crooks do.
Anyone want me to say something about that, they can hire me as a pharmaceutical marketing expert witness or pharmaceutical speaker.
On this blog I'm writing about what pleases me to write about.
Like Palin, the election, and witchcraft. Never thought we'd have a vice presidential candidate who'd be on video getting blessed from witchcraft. In a 2008 election outside of Africa.
Seriously, those things make pharma news rather bland.
Apparently a few others agree since the number of visitors interested in watching that kind of stuff are a few more than the ones who want to know how Medtronic took docs to prostitutes.
Although that's a pretty good story too.
U.S. Congress agrees on bailout. Stocks jump for joy. Taxpayers screwed.
The biggest money give-away to the richest people in the world is a done deal. U.S. taxpayers will buy toxic mortgage backed securities none of the "smart money" on Wall Street is willing to buy.
Banking chief Christopher Dodd said there is fundamental agreement on the rescue package for the bloated financial sector.
The Dow Jones Industria Average jumped almost 300 points.
"The House Democrats, and the Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans came to agreement on all but one issue," said Frank, who is chairman of House Financial Services Committee.
The only remaining issue, he said, "was whether the bankrupcty laws should be able to applied to primary residences."
But House Republicans are balking on several issues, Frank said, though he added that he wasn't sure what their objections were.
Video of Sarah Palin being "protected from witchcraft."
Associated Press: ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A grainy YouTube video surfaced Wednesday showing Sarah Palin being blessed in her hometown church three years ago by a Kenyan pastor who prayed for her protection from "witchcraft" as she prepared to seek higher office.
The video shows Palin standing before Bishop Thomas Muthee in the pulpit of the Wasilla Assembly of God church, holding her hands open as he asked Jesus Christ to keep her safe from "every form of witchcraft."
"Come on, talk to God about this woman. We declare, save her from Satan," Muthee said as two attendants placed their hands on Palin's shoulders. "Make her way my God. Bring finances her way even for the campaign in the name of Jesus. ... Use her to turn this nation the other way around."
Palin filed campaign papers a few months later, in October 2005, and was elected governor the next year.
How did Treasury come up with $700 billion number for Wall Street bailout?
Letterman goes crazy when McCain cancels on him to go to Washington . . .
New York Times: "95 percent opposed" to Wall Street bailout
Lawmakers’ Constituents Make Their Bailout Views Loud and Clear
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
New York Times
WASHINGTON — Americans’ anger is in full bloom, jumping off the screen in capital letters and exclamation points, in the e-mail in-boxes of elected representatives in the nation’s capital.
“I am hoping Congress can find the backbone to stand on their feet and not their knees before BIG BUSINESS,” one correspondent wrote to Representative Jim McDermott of Washington.
“I’d rather leave a better world to my children — NOT A BANKRUPT NATION. Whew! Pardon my shouting,” wrote another.
Mr. McDermott is a liberal Democrat, but his e-mail messages look a lot like the ones that Representative Candice S. Miller, a conservative Republican from Michigan, is receiving. “NO BAILOUT, I am a registered republican,” one constituent wrote. “I will vote and campaign hard against you if we have to subsidize the very people that have sold out MY COUNTRY.”
The backlash, in phone calls as well as e-mail messages, is putting lawmakers in a quandary as they weigh what many regard as the most consequential decision of their careers: whether to agree to President Bush’s request to spend an estimated $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue the financial services system.
Around the country, Republican and Democratic voters are rising up in outright opposition to the White House plan or, at the very least, to express concern that it is being pushed through Congress in haste.
Lawmakers, in turn, are agonizing over what to do. Mrs. Miller said she had been “trying to be very deliberative about it,” listening to administration officials like Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., consulting with bankers from her district and independent experts. She sounded torn Wednesday, saying she was looking for guidance from Republican leaders and hoping they would come together with their Democratic counterparts on a bipartisan plan.
“I would say it’s the most concerned I’ve been since I’ve been in Congress,” said the congresswoman, a former Michigan secretary of state who won her House seat in 2002. “I appreciate all of the input that I’m getting from my constituents, but I’m just not reacting to that — I can’t until I understand it better and feel comfortable with my vote. And I’m not sure how I’m going to be voting yet.”
Meanwhile, the complaints keep coming, and several Congressional offices agreed to share them with reporters, though only on condition that the senders’ names not be published, for privacy reasons.
Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, has received nearly 17,000 e-mail messages, nearly all opposed to the bailout, her office said. More than 2,000 constituents called Ms. Boxer’s California office on Tuesday alone; just 40 favored the bailout. Her Washington office received 918 calls. Just one supported the rescue plan.
Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said he had been getting 2,000 e-mail messages and telephone calls a day, roughly 95 percent opposed. When Senator Bernard Sanders, the Vermont independent who votes with Democrats, posted a petition on his Web site asking Mr. Paulson to require that taxpayers receive an equity stake in the bailed-out companies, more than 20,000 people signed.
“We certainly have never brought in 20,000 names in a day and a half,” Mr. Sanders said, sounding astonished. “For us, that’s off the wall.”
It is much the same on the Republican side. Aides to Senator Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican who has called the bailout plan “un-American,” said the senator had received more constituent reaction to the bailout plan than to any issue since the immigration debate.
Representative Ray LaHood, Republican of Illinois, said he had not seen such an outpouring since President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.
Constituent communications, of course, are no shock to lawmakers, especially since the age of e-mail messages and automated “robo-calls” make it possible for voters to vent en masse. But members of Congress say reaction to the bailout does not appear orchestrated or coordinated, but rather individual expressions that come from the grass roots and run across the philosophical spectrum.
War opponents, for instance, are telling lawmakers that they are tired of an administration that, in Mr. McDermott’s words, has “cried wolf” and played “the fear card” too many times by leading the nation into war in Iraq to find nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and curbing civil rights in the name of pursuing terrorists.
“The last time that Congress hurriedly passed legislation that the administration presented as ‘urgent’ we got the Patriot Act, with its mix of necessary reforms and onerous civil rights abuses,” one of Senator Brown’s constituents wrote. “Do not fall into this trap again.”
Others, invoking the Bush administration’s efforts to expand executive authority, are irate over the idea that one person — Mr. Paulson, and then his successor — would control so much taxpayer money. “So many people have said to me, ‘This is a democracy; this isn’t a dictatorship,’ ” Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, said.
Fiscal conservatives, on the other hand, see the White House abandoning core principles, marching down a treacherous road toward government intervention in the markets. “We are turning into a socialist country,” one voter warned an aide to Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico. “Let the markets work.”
But in the end, from the right or the left, lawmakers say the message is the same: Slow down, catch your breath and do not make any rash decisions, no matter what the White House says.
“This is too serious a problem for the administration to expect us to just rubber-stamp a $700 billion proposal and rush to get out of town,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. “That’s something my constituents definitely won’t tolerate.”
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Just in: CNN Viewer Poll - 94% opposed to Wall Street bailout.
This is certainly going to make things interesting. Clearly the American public hates the whole thing.
Makes you wonder . . . how long will it take for Obama to formally oppose the 700 billion bailout?
By the way, I just watched this poll on the news . . . haven't seen it up on the CNN website yet, but if someone finds it, please put in comment section.
John McCain suspends campaign and asks Obama to suspend Friday debate.
ARMY TIMES: "Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army"
The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.
Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.
Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.
But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.
“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”
The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they’ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.
Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.
Don’t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.
The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.
In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.
Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.
“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds.”
The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).
“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home ... and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”
While soldiers’ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don’t apply.
“If we go in, we’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.
Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they’ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That’s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.
Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.
Other branches included
The active Army’s new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.
Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.
A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.
In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.
There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
One of the things Vogler said they’ll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.
“It is a concern, and we’re trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability,” he said.
“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”
This weekend The Peter Rost Blog got 3x as many hits as Wasilla has residents.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Finally: FBI and SEC investigating Fannie, Freddie, AIG, Lehman and their executives!
FBI is also investigating executives of those corporations as part of a probe into the collapse of the subprime-mortgage market, a senior law- enforcement official said tonight.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating the companies for civil violations.
Housing lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, as well as insurer AIG were all taken over by the government earlier this month. Lehman filed for bankruptcy. The crisis has led the Bush administration to ask Congress to approve a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry.
The investigations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were recently opened, said the official. The agency had already been looking into allegations concerning Lehman and AIG.
People familiar with the matter said that other companies under FBI investigation include IndyMac Bancorp Inc. and Countrywide Financial Corp., which has since been bought by Bank of America Corp.
FBI Director Robert Mueller, testifying in Congress last week, pledged to ``pursue these cases as far up the corporate chain as necessary to ensure those responsible receive the justice they deserve.''
Fannie and Freddie, as well as AIG, already restated their books earlier this decade and corrected billions of dollars in accounting errors.
Fannie Mae paid a record $400 million fine to the SEC and its regulator in 2006 to settle charges that executives fraudulently used ``cookie jar'' reserves and other accounting gimmicks to hide $10.3 billion in losses from 2002 through 2004 and maximize bonuses.
Freddie paid $125 million in fines in 2003 and restated earnings from 2000 through 2002 after it replaced long-time auditor Arthur Andersen and discovered errors related to derivatives. Regulators accused the company of manipulating its accounting to push of some $5 billion in earnings to future quarters.
Freddie ousted Chief Executive Leland Brendsel in June 2003 and Fannie's Franklin Raines left in December 2004. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates the government-sponsored mortgage companies, seized control of both companies earlier this month after outside examiners found more accounting problems and said their capital cushion was low.
Do a google news search for latest on this one!
Pfizer CEO: "Do the Wall Street bailout now!" According to FOX News Kindler also said, "I'm taking Viagra!"
Kindler talked extensively about the 2011 patent expiration of their blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor and how he believes Pfizer is ready with a whole host of new drugs in the pipeline, particularly in the cancer realm.
Inside scoop: during one of the lighter moments on stage, he even joked about Pfizer’s super-star drug Viagra, saying, “I’m taking it!”
Source FOX News, so it must be true.
Stopping a Financial Crisis, the Swedish Way
By CARTER DOUGHERTY
New York Times
A banking system in crisis after the collapse of a housing bubble. An economy hemorrhaging jobs. A market-oriented government struggling to stem the panic. Sound familiar?
It does to Sweden. The country was so far in the hole in 1992 — after years of imprudent regulation, short-sighted economic policy and the end of its property boom — that its banking system was, for all practical purposes, insolvent.
But Sweden took a different course than the one now being proposed by the United States Treasury. And Swedish officials say there are lessons from their own nightmare that Washington may be missing.
Sweden did not just bail out its financial institutions by having the government take over the bad debts. It extracted pounds of flesh from bank shareholders before writing checks. Banks had to write down losses and issue warrants to the government.
That strategy held banks responsible and turned the government into an owner. When distressed assets were sold, the profits flowed to taxpayers, and the government was able to recoup more money later by selling its shares in the companies as well.
“If I go into a bank,” said Bo Lundgren, who was Sweden’s finance minister at the time, “I’d rather get equity so that there is some upside for the taxpayer.”
Sweden spent 4 percent of its gross domestic product, or 65 billion kronor, the equivalent of $11.7 billion at the time, or $18.3 billion in today’s dollars, to rescue ailing banks. That is slightly less, proportionate to the national economy, than the $700 billion, or roughly 5 percent of gross domestic product, that the Bush administration estimates its own move will cost in the United States.
But the final cost to Sweden ended up being less than 2 percent of its G.D.P. Some officials say they believe it was closer to zero, depending on how certain rates of return are calculated.
The tumultuous events of the last few weeks have produced a lot of tight-lipped nods in Stockholm. Mr. Lundgren even made the rounds in New York in early September, explaining what the country did in the early 1990s.
A few American commentators have proposed that the United States government extract equity from banks as a price for their rescue. But it does not seem to be under serious consideration yet in the Bush administration or Congress.
The reason is not quite clear. The government has already swapped its sovereign guarantee for equity in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance institutions, and the American International Group, the global insurance giant.
Putting taxpayers on the hook without anything in return could be a mistake, said Urban Backstrom, a senior Swedish finance ministry official at the time. “The public will not support a plan if you leave the former shareholders with anything,” he said.
The Swedish crisis had strikingly similar origins to the American one, and its neighbors, Norway and Finland, were hobbled to the point of needing a government bailout to escape the morass as well.
Financial deregulation in the 1980s fed a frenzy of real estate lending by Sweden’s banks, which did not worry enough about whether the value of their collateral might evaporate in tougher times.
Property prices imploded. The bubble deflated fast in 1991 and 1992. A vain effort to defend Sweden’s currency, the krona, caused overnight interest rates to spike at one point to 500 percent. The Swedish economy contracted for two consecutive years after a long expansion, and unemployment, at 3 percent in 1990, quadrupled in three years.
After a series of bank failures and ad hoc solutions, the moment of truth arrived in September 1992, when the government of Prime Minister Carl Bildt decided it was time to clear the decks.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the opposition center-left, Mr. Bildt’s conservative government announced that the Swedish state would guarantee all bank deposits and creditors of the nation’s 114 banks. Sweden formed a new agency to supervise institutions that needed recapitalization, and another that sold off the assets, mainly real estate, that the banks held as collateral.
Sweden told its banks to write down their losses promptly before coming to the state for recapitalization. Facing its own problem later in the decade, Japan made the mistake of dragging this process out, delaying a solution for years.
Then came the imperative to bleed shareholders first. Mr. Lundgren recalls a conversation with Peter Wallenberg, at the time chairman of SEB, Sweden’s largest bank. Mr. Wallenberg, the scion of the country’s most famous family and steward of large chunks of its economy, heard that there would be no sacred cows.
The Wallenbergs turned around and arranged a recapitalization on their own, obviating the need for a bailout. SEB turned a profit the following year, 1993.
“For every krona we put into the bank, we wanted the same influence,” Mr. Lundgren said. “That ensured that we did not have to go into certain banks at all.”
By the end of the crisis, the Swedish government had seized a vast portion of the banking sector, and the agency had mostly fulfilled its hard-nosed mandate to drain share capital before injecting cash. When markets stabilized, the Swedish state then reaped the benefits by taking the banks public again.
More money may yet come into official coffers. The government still owns 19.9 percent of Nordea, a Stockholm bank that was fully nationalized and is now a highly regarded giant in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea region.
The politics of Sweden’s crisis management were similarly tough-minded, though much quieter.
Soon after the plan was announced, the Swedish government found that international confidence returned more quickly than expected, easing pressure on its currency and bringing money back into the country. The center-left opposition, while wary that the government might yet let the banks off the hook, made its points about penalizing shareholders privately.
“The only thing that held back an avalanche was the hope that the system was holding,” said Leif Pagrotzky, a senior member of the opposition at the time. “In public we stuck together 100 percent, but we fought behind the scenes.”
Time for reflection.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Is Eliot Spitzer's prostitution scandal connected to Wall Street meltdown?
Truthout, February 2008
Title: “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime”
Global Research, March 17, 2008
Title: “Why the Bush Administration ‘Watergated’ Eliot Spitzer”
Author: F. William Engdahl
Student Researchers: Rob Hunter, Elizabeth Rathbun, and Rebecca Newsome
Faculty Evaluator: Mickey S. Huff, MA
The exposure of New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer’s tryst with a luxury call girl had little to do with the Bush administration’s high moral standards for public servants. Author F. William Engdahl advises that, “in evaluating spectacular scandals around prominent public figures, it is important to ask what and who might want to eliminate that person.” Timing suggests that Spitzer was likely a target of a White House and Wall Street operation to silence one of its most dangerous and vocal critics of their handling of the current financial market crisis.
Spitzer had become increasingly public in blaming the Bush administration for the subprime crisis. He testified in mid-February before the US House of Representatives Financial Services subcommittee and later that day, in a national CNBC interview, laid blame squarely on the administration for creating an environment ripe for predatory lenders.
On February 14, the Washington Post published an editorial by Spitzer titled, “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers,” which charged, “Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.”
In this editorial, Spitzer explained:
The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.
In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.
But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.”
The editorial appeared the day after Spitzer’s ill-fated rendezvous with the prostitute at the Mayflower Hotel. With that article, some Washington insiders believe, Spitzer signed his own political death warrant.
On March 4, 2008, Spitzer furthermore proposed legislation that would have imposed penalties for mortgage fraud and predatory lending.1
Curiously, Spitzer, who had been elected governor in 2006, defeating a Republican by winning nearly 70 percent of the vote, has been not charged with any crime. His case went into the hands of Washington and not those of New York State authorities, underscoring the clear political nature of Spitzer’s “offense.” New York Assembly Republicans immediately announced plans to impeach Spitzer or put him on public trial if he were to refuse resignation. Although prostitution is illegal in most US states, clients of prostitutes are almost never charged, nor are their names typically released while a case is in process.
Spitzer’s editorial concluded, “When history tells the story of the sub-prime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners, the Bush administration will not be judged favorably . . . it will be judged as a willing accomplice to the lenders who went to any lengths in their quest for profits. The administration was so willing, in fact, that it used the power of the federal government in an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.”
1. “Governor Spitzer Proposes Legislation to Address Sub-prime Mortgage Crisis,” New York State website, March 4, 2008.
CNN Poll: U.S. Taxpayers DON'T support Wall Street 1 trillion bailout.
And now they're too big to fail?
Let the "financial system" collapse, let the companies these rich guys sucked dry go under.
But don't let the poor taxpayers who can hardly pay their mortgages pay the $1 trillion bill.
Here's what CNN readers think.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
How to scam a Nigerian scammer.
Sarah Palin's pastor hunts witches. REAL witches! This is not a joke.
Or watch Olberman's take on this today:
A toast to Salem, anyone?
"60 Minutes" almost tricks the U.S. into war with Iran (Video)
Journalism Major and Senior at UMass researches . . . The Peter Rost Blog
Here's what she writes under the headline The Web: Fact or Fiction?:
So for an assignment we had to examine one search engine, one website and one blog and write about how we can tell if they are reliable or not.
So I chose to research Dogpile for my search engine. Like Henderson, I researched who coined the phrase “Question Authority” and was bombarded with about sixteen different answers. It could have been started in the 60’s or the 70’s, it could have been coined by Timothy Leary, a writer and psychologist, some even credit a 70’s bumper sticker. The point is that with so many different answers to one question it is hard to distinguish fact from fallacy. It would be very important when using a search engine like Dogpile to check as many sources as possible. I do feel that it may be a bit difficult to find a search engine that has a completely correct database, but I also believe that there shouldn’t be so many answers to one question.
Next I explored a website. The one I chose was Hippyland Glossary. It is a site that explains all of the “hip” terms used in the 60’s and 70’s. I think this site is as reliable as one like this could be. It is user edited, and users can add their own information. The sources are pretty reliable because they are people who were part of this counter culture, and lived the life expressed on this page. There is no conclusive evidence that this website is accurate, but when I checked a few other websites for backup the information seemed correct. With slang and lifestyle words it is hard to find out what is correct, and what is guess work. Henderson says to check the sources and authors of the website, but on this website there are no specific authors or sources.
The last thing I researched was Peter Rost’s Blog. Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as an expert witness, speaker and writer. According to Fortune “Peter Rost has become the drug industry’s most annoying - and effective - online scourge . . . Rost’s blog is one part mocking rant, two parts investigative chronicle . . . Even his critics admit that when Rost is on his game, he is a force to be reckoned with.” Peter Rost is clearly a reliable source. He is a doctor and an expert witness, speaker and writer. Another example of Rost’s affectability is that two days after he reported how Palin’s email was hacked BBC, USA Today and other news sources reported the same information. Rost is like the intelligent and reliable Matt Drudge. Rost links out to other sources, and provides back up information to his arguments. I believe that of all three web sources I researched Rost’s blog was the most accurate and had the most sources to back up the information provided.
So what I can gather from this assignment is that when researching on the web one must check many sources, because sometimes what appears to be accurate may not be.
Online scam pharmacy busted! (PIC)
Here's the pharmacy. They just changed the image!
John McCain in his own words: "How much I love George Bush"
Friday, September 19, 2008
What did Darwin REALLY think about religion? This may surprise you.
2. “It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)
3. “I hardly see how religion & science can be kept as distinct as [Edward Pusey] desires… But I most wholly agree… that there is no reason why the disciples of either school should attack each other with bitterness.” (Letter to J. Brodie Innes, November 27 1878)
4. “In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)
5. “I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)
6. “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God.” (Letter to Frederick McDermott, November 24 1880)
7. [In conversation with the atheist Edward Aveling, 1881] “Why should you be so aggressive? Is anything gained by trying to force these new ideas upon the mass of mankind?” (Edward Aveling, The religious views of Charles Darwin, 1883)
8. “Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” (Letter to Graham William, July 3 1881)
9. "My theology is a simple muddle: I cannot look at the Universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent Design." (Letter to Joseph Hooker, July 12 1870)
10. “I can never make up my mind how far an inward conviction that there must be some Creator or First Cause is really trustworthy evidence.” (Letter to Francis Abbot, September 6 1871
Bill O'Reilly hacked in revenge over his comments on Palin hack!
Wikileaks has been informed the hack was a response to the pundit's scurrilous attacks over the Sarah Palin's email story--includingon Wikileaks and other members of the press, Hacktivists, thumbing their noses at the pundit, took control of O'Reilly's main site, BillOReilly.com.
According to our source, the security protecting O'Reilly's site and subscribers was "non-existent". The following image, submitted to Wikileaks and confirmed by Wikileaksstaff, offers proof of the hack. The image, clearly obtained from Bill Oreilly.com's administrative interface, shows a detailled list-- including passwords -- of Bill Oreilly.com subscribers.
Although Wikileaks has only released one page, it must be assumed that Bill O'Reilly's entire subscriber list is, as of now, in the publicdomain.
Click on image to enlarge:
Mainstream media picks up on how Palin's email was hacked
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
How Palin's email was hacked.
4chan does not log participants. Most people don’t use or have usernames, and post instead as “Anonymous.” And every so often, a number of /b/’s anonymous denizens decide to make somebody’s life hell. Sometimes it’s a random person who offends /b/’s sense of propriety. Sometimes it’s a forum dedicated to a serious topic. Sometimes it’s Scientology. And Tuesday, it was Sarah Palin. Or it would have been.
Sarah Palin’s email account was hacked by one person. Not a group.
This person read her emails, then posted the username and password on /b/. This happened at about 4 in the morning on Tuesday. The idea was that the sea of Anonymous /b/tards would download the emails, upload porn, and cause all manner of mischief. Anonymous is not a group of hackers. Anonymous is more like gremlins. They are hyperactive adolescents in search of amusement and joy, which they often get by upsetting people and making messes. That’s what was happening here. Anonymous did not hack the account. A hacker tried to throw Sarah Palin to Anonymous. Not all of Anonymous was having it. One person threw a crowbar in the works. Other /b/tards were displeased to miss a chance at the lulz. The moderators stepped in. The thread was deleted.
Later, other individuals created threads reposting screencaps of emails and the inbox, and put together a collection of these files. All mentions of these were purged by the moderators. So then some bright /b/tards decided to email what little stuff they had to the media.
That’s pretty much it.
This afternoon, in a thread that was later deleted, an individual claiming to be the original poster gave his account of what happened. I’ve attached screencaps. Here’s the text. The original poster used the name “rubico.” The linked email address for the poster was email@example.com.
This is what rubico said:
rubico 09/17/08(Wed)12:57:22 No.85782652
Hello, /b/ as many of you might already know, last night sarah palin’s yahoo was “hacked” and caps were posted on /b/, i am the lurker who did it, and i would like to tell the story.
In the past couple days news had come to light about palin using a yahoo mail account, it was in news stories and such, a thread was started full of newfags trying to do something that would not get this off the ground, for the next 2 hours the acct was locked from password recovery presumably from all this bullshit spamming.
after the password recovery was reenabled, it took seriously 45 mins on wikipedia and google to find the info, Birthday? 15 seconds on wikipedia, zip code? well she had always been from wasilla, and it only has 2 zip codes (thanks online postal service!)
the second was somewhat harder, the question was “where did you meet your spouse?” did some research, and apparently she had eloped with mister palin after college, if youll look on some of the screenshits that I took and other fellow anon have so graciously put on photobucket you will see the google search for “palin eloped” or some such in one of the tabs.
I found out later though more research that they met at high school, so I did variations of that, high, high school, eventually hit on “Wasilla high” I promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower…
>> rubico 09/17/08(Wed)12:58:04 No.85782727
this is all verifiable if some anal /b/tard wants to think Im a troll, and there isn’t any hard proof to the contrary, but anyone who had followed the thread from the beginning to the 404 will know I probably am not, the picture I posted this topic with is the same one as the original thread.
I read though the emails… ALL OF THEM… before I posted, and what I concluded was anticlimactic, there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail her campaign as I had hoped, all I saw was personal stuff, some clerical stuff from when she was governor…. And pictures of her family
I then started a topic on /b/, peeps asked for pics or gtfo and I obliged, then it started to get big
Earlier it was just some prank to me, I really wanted to get something incriminating which I was sure there would be, just like all of you anon out there that you think there was some missed opportunity of glory, well there WAS NOTHING, I read everything, every little blackberry confirmation… all the pictures, and there was nothing, and it finally set in, THIS internet was serious business, yes I was behind a proxy, only one, if this shit ever got to the FBI I was fucked, I panicked, i still wanted the stuff out there but I didn’t know how to rapidshit all that stuff, so I posted the pass on /b/, and then promptly deleted everything, and unplugged my internet and just sat there in a comatose state
Then the white knight fucker came along, and did it in for everyone, I trusted /b/ with that email password, I had gotten done what I could do well, then passed the torch , all to be let down by the douchebaggery, good job /b/, this is why we cant have nice things
The “white knight fucker” was the /b/tard who thought that going through Sarah Palin’s email wasn’t cool. He logged in, changed the password, and sent an email to a friend of Palin’s warning her and letting her know the new password. Unfortunately, he then posted a screenshot of this email to let the other /b/tards know their fun was over. He failed to blank the password, and they all tried to log in and change the password — which tripped the automated Yahoo! freeze. Since then, the account has been deleted. “Rapidshit” refers to rapidshare.com — i.e., rubico wanted to download the emails, put them into one file, and put that file up on rapidshare for /b/tards and the world at large to download. But he panicked, or didn’t know how to download the emails, and so pawned that task off on Anonymous, which he didn’t realize wasn’t monolithic and in his favor.
As Paul Harvey would say, “And now you know…. the rest of the story.”