Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Is The Tea Party Movement

This would be funny if it wasn't so frightening. The United States has become the land of uninformed fools. These people are fighting against their own best interests.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Your Tax Dollars At Work

I could never explain the crazy profits by Goldman Sachs. You have to ask how, in an environment where the very survival of the firm was in question, could they turn around and have their second most profitable quarter in their history. The answer is simple. It was public funds being used to generate record profits. Does it seem fair that millions are in foreclosure and these crooks are expecting bonuses that will drive that average salary of a Goldman employee to over $500,000.00. It's time to demand our money back. Not only are these people thieves but they are rubbing it in our faces.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Health Insurers Are Blackmailing America

Someone tell me why racketeering charges are not filed against these pigs?
Insurance companies aren't playing nice any more. Their dire message that health care legislation will drive up premiums for people who already have coverage comes as a warning shot at a crucial point in the debate and threatens President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.

Democrats and their allies scrambled on Monday to knock down a new industry-funded study forecasting that Senate legislation, over time, will add thousands of dollars to the cost of a typical policy. "Distorted and flawed," said White House spokeswoman Linda Douglass. "Fundamentally dishonest," said AARP's senior policy strategist, John Rother. "A hatchet job," said a spokesman for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.

But the health insurance industry's top lobbyist in Washington stood her ground. In a call with reporters, Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, pointedly refused to rule out attack ads on TV featuring the study, though she said she believed the industry's concerns could be amicably addressed.

At the heart of the industry's complaint is a decision by lawmakers to weaken the requirement that millions more Americans get coverage. Since the legislation would ban insurance companies from denying coverage on account of poor health, many people will wait to sign up until they get sick, the industry says. And that will drive up costs for everybody else.
So lets all be clear about what these thieves are saying. Unless health care reform put millions of new customers into their coffers then they will lie, cheat and scare the hell out of Americans.

It is time to use the existing laws to put these worthless pigs out of business. It is time that we demand a robust public option with the goal of single payer not too far behind. They have shown their hand again and its not pretty. They know a robust public option will diminish their profits and cause them to have to actually pay claims made by their paying customers. It is time to call their bluff and put into the bill a trigger of single payer health care if the premiums rise more than a certain percentage. Two can play at this game.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Teabaggers

This was from the Million Moron March in DC this past weekend although with just 60,000 protesters they certainly missed the mark. Its like watching a klan rally without the sheets. When did America become so incredibly stupid and ill informed? I always knew there were a lot of racists but this level of stupidity is scary. Third world status here we come.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Profiting On The Death Of Others

When I first read this I though this can't possibly be true but then I realized the folks on Wall Street will do anything to get your money to fund their lavish lifestyles. What is even more disgusting is that they are not even trying to hide this disgrace. They are showing us exactly how they will create the next bubble with the realization that their campaign contributions will insulate them from any repercussions. Now this is what I call a true death panel.

Investment banks are planning ways to bet on the life and death of individuals with life insurance policies, as described in an article published in the New York Times on Sunday.

"The bankers plan to buy life settlements, life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash - $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person," Times correspondent Jenny Anderson reports. "Then they plan to securitize these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds," to be sold to investors.

Investors will continue to pay out the premiums on the insurance and will collect the payout when the person dies. "The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return." In the example given, if the insurance is for $1 million, it is sold for $400,000, and an investor pays out $100,000 in premiums before the individual dies, the resultant profit will come to half a million dollars.

Of course, the great danger for an investor would be a sharp rise in life expectancy for a particular section of the population. "A bond made up of life settlements would ideally have policies from people with a range of diseases - leukemia, lung cancer, heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's," the Times notes, to safeguard against the danger of a cure for any one of these.

The process of buying and selling the life insurance of other people already exists (BusinessWeek ran a story in 2007 under the headline, "Death Bonds"), but "securitizing" these policies to make investment easy is still in its infancy. Yet the Times reports great interest in the possibility. "Our phones have been ringing off the hook," one rating agent is quoted as saying. "We're hoping to get a herd stampeding after the first offering," said an investment banker. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are among the banks taking an interest in the new venture.

The Times notes that the market could reach $500 billion, which "would help Wall Street offset the loss of revenue from the collapse of the United States residential mortgage securities market..."

There are several reasons to believe that a new life insurance securitization market - one wit dubbed the resulting securities, "collateralized death obligations" - could be very profitable.

First, with the desperate financial situation facing millions of people, there will inevitably be a large pool of poor or elderly workers who find themselves unable to pay their insurance premiums. They may also be in need of immediate cash to fund mortgage payments, medical expenses or other necessities for themselves or their relatives. As the economic crisis deepens, the willingness of individuals to part with their insurance policies at a low price will increase.

Second, investors will be essentially betting that individuals on average will be dying sooner than anticipated by insurance companies who originally devised the policies - that is, they will be betting that the curve of life expectancy in the population will dip.

Life expectancy in the United States has already begun to stagnate in recent years, particularly in rural areas. While life expectancy grew slightly in 2007, the last year for which numbers are available, this was before the onset of the economic crisis.

The most significant impact of the economic crisis will be a massive lowering in the living standards of the American people. Wages and benefits are being permanently lowered. The ability of sections of the working class to maintain a higher standard of living through debt backed by high housing prices has evaporated, and other forms of credit are also drying up. All of this will inevitably lead to workers dying on average earlier.

Am I the only one who could see a partnership between insurance companies and Wall St. that would deny people care in order to extract a larger return on investment? So first they will try and ruin health care reform then profit off the misery they helped create. Sickening absolutely sickening.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hey Senator Coburn You Are A Complete Ass

If you think this can't happen to you then you are foolish. This family has insurance and it will not cover the needed treatments. This is the state of health care in America and according to this fool from Oklahoma its up to the neighbors to help this family. There is a lot of clapping in the audience but how many of them offered to open up their wallets to help this woman? My guess is none.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How To Respond To An Idiot At A Town Hall Meeting

Town Halls should be for debate and there is a lot to debate about the health care system in this country but it serves no purpose for idiots to spout nonsense. Good for Barney Frank. People should educate themselves about what the plan is. Only in America could the desire to extend health care to all be considered a bad thing.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Outsourcing Severance Act of 2009

We keep hearing how the economy is improving but that the unemployment problem is just getting worse. Taking into account that employment is a lagging indicator it still does not explain completely how the economy is improving for business yet not for the average American. I know from my own multi-national bank that the outsourcing of jobs is continuing at an alarming rate.

Some of the professional jobs that are now leaving are graphic artists, accounting clerks, radiologists, back office financial services, phone center workers and even 401(k) record keepers. What these jobs have in common is a solid middle class salary and benefits. How can American workers compete with workers who earn less than $10,000.00 per year? The answer is they can not unless the playing field is leveled. The best way to level the playing is field is to make it prohibitively expensive to move the job in the first place. How exactly can we do this legally? My answer is The Outsourcing Severance Act of 2009. What would this piece of legislation do? It would set standards for severance pay for any job leaving the country and give the terminated employee a safety net while seeking other employment. The details of my plan would be as follows:

The terminated employee would receive 2 weeks severance pay for every year of service as well as 75% of the difference between the compensation of the new vs. old employee. Using the example of a 10 year employee earning $50,000.00 who is losing their position to someone in Mumbai earning $7,000.00, that employee would be entitled to $19,230.00 severance as well as $32,250.00 pay differential. Also the employee would remain part of the payroll until the total severance owed was paid using his last salary as the barometer. In the case just described the employee would remain on the payroll for over a year and be entitled to all the benefits of employment even though he would be free to work elsewhere. In year two the terminated employee would be entitled to the 25% difference not paid in year one. This would mean that the full savings from outsourcing would be delayed until year three.

Why would I make this severance so generous? The answer is twofold. It would give the terminated employee a chance to be retrained or seek other employment without having to immediately worry about how to make ends meet and it would discourage the so called "titans" of industry from outsourcing the jobs in the first place. Executive bonuses are usually directly tied to the company's bottom line so outsourcing jobs leads to higher pay and bonuses for those at the top and misery for those at the bottom.

Why we must do this is simple. The middle class is being killed. As more and more jobs are outsourced and our population grows there will be greater competition for the jobs that are left. This causes wages to actually drop while all normal expenses are rising. This is a disaster in the making. I have personally known five people in the past two years who have lost their jobs to outsourcing. All five were forced to take lower paying jobs in order to make ends meet. This will be the fate of thousands more if we do not demand a level playing field.

I want to expose the companies that are outsourcing our jobs. I am asking everyone to send company names, numbers outsourced and salary differences if known. Just click Contact Us on the top of this page and send me the details. My plan is to add to the site a reference page which will list the companies that are shipping our jobs overseas. I want to know that my hard earned money is not supporting a company who does not support the American worker.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

GOP Sends In The Clowns

Most of the people in the audience are seniors and are screaming about the government take over of health care. Are they being paid to be stupid or does it just come naturally? MEDICARE IS A GOVERNMENT SINGLE PAYER PROGRAM YOU F*CKING IDIOTS. Every senior in that room complaining should opt out of Medicare and get a private policy. When will Americans educate themselves before they make fools of themselves?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sold Out By The Blue Dog Democrats

Every one of these assholes needs a strong primary challenge.
Conservative Blue Dog Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are celebrating their success in delaying a full floor vote on health care legislation past the August recess and in slightly weakening two key provisions during their negotiations with committee Chairman Henry Waxman.

"We have successfully pushed a floor vote to September," Mike Ross (D-Ark.) told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "The American people want us to slow down, and that's what we're doing here."
So now the FOR PROFIT health care industry will have even more time to lie and scare the American people into believing the Devil they know is better than the Devil they don't. The problem is that the premiums will continue to rise as will profits while more and more Americans will find themselves without coverage and bankrupt as a result of an illness.

The Blue Dog Democrats are a worthless bunch of fools who thought it was just fine to vote for tax cuts for the rich but helping you stay alive...not so much.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crazy Birther Woman

This is why America is going down the tubes. It is assholes like this woman who walk around with so much hate inside that they are willing to vote against their own best interests. The President of the United States is Black you dumb bitch. Get over it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Will We Let Them Kill Health Care Reform?

After watching the lies and fear being spread by the Republican's on Capital Hill you really need to ask who exactly do these people represent? Is there anyone that really feels our current system of health care is really the best in the world? According to rankings by the World Health Organization the US ranks 37th in the World for heath systems yet we spend more per capita than any nation on earth.

Now it seems that the noise machine may just derail an overhaul of our system and hurtle us towards an eventual collapse where a majority of Americans can not afford health care at all. Why is it that we are willing to pay for unnecessary wars but not willing to pay a small tax increase that could insure us all? Our priorities sicken me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

May US Foreclosures 3rd Highest Month on Record

How will we ever be able to turn the corner if we can not stop people from losing their homes?
U.S. foreclosure activity for May ebbed from April's record, but mortgages still failed at a staggering pace as President Barack Obama's rescue programs had not had time to fully take root, RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

Foreclosure filings dipped 6 percent in the month but increased 18 percent from May 2008, marking the third highest month on record.

The reasons for this foreclosure crisis are much more than bad loans to people who could not pay. It is systemic greed by big corporations that are shipping our jobs overseas which in turn is forcing more and more people to compete for the few jobs that remain. This is causing wages to drop and the prices of homes are plummeting as a result.

If these corporations really care about America why don't they stop shipping our jobs overseas and help rebuild the middle class? It is time to outlaw corporate money in politics. Until we do that our slide to a country of haves and have nots will continue with most of us ending up in the have not column.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Glimmers Of Hope On the Employment Front

Can you believe a job loss of 345,000 last month is actually good news.
Job losses slowed dramatically in May, according to the latest government reading on the battered labor market, even as the unemployment rate rose to a 26-year high. But some experts cautioned that the job market remains weak.

Employers cut 345,000 jobs from their payrolls in the month, down from the revised decline of 504,000 jobs in April.

This was the fewest jobs lost in a month since last September, when the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers caused a crisis in U.S. financial markets and choked off credit for many businesses. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a loss of 520,000 jobs in May.
The one thing to remember is that we need to create 150,000 new jobs per month to keep up with demand but that hasn't happened in quite a while. Employment will remain a problem as long as it remains cheaper to ship our jobs overseas. Many people have asked how can we stop this run away train of outsourcing. The only way I can see is a return to the tariffs of old. Those tariffs valued American workers and American manufacturing. When those tariffs were lifted, under the guise of free trade, our standard of living was damaged. It is time to demand free trade be replaced by fair trade. It is time to demand that corporations pay their fair share of taxes and use those taxes to return us to fiscal sanity. It is time to stop mortgaging the next generation and its time to understand that we can not pay to defend the world while bankrupting our country. We need to get our priorities straight or all the defense in the world won't matter.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Foreclosure Crisis Deepens

The foreclosure crisis deepens.
More homeowners than ever before are falling behind on their mortgage payments and sliding into foreclosure, according to figures released on Thursday, a sign that the country’s housing crisis is spreading through the ranks of previously stable borrowers.

About 5.4 million of the country’s 45 million home loans were delinquent or in some stage of the foreclosure process in the first three months of the year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. About 12.07 percent of all mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, up from 11.93 percent at the end of 2008.

Temporary halts on foreclosures imposed by lenders and mortgage underwriters have mostly ended, and banks are moving quickly against delinquent homeowners.

Housing specialists said the number of foreclosures would probably keep rising as more people lose their jobs or are forced to trade full-time work for part-time. Nearly six million jobs have been lost since the recession began a year and a half ago, and many economists expect the unemployment rate to rise to 10 percent from its current 8.9 percent.

More defaults by unemployed homeowners could shunt more houses onto an already saturated market, economists said, dragging prices down farther.
This should come as no surprise as the ranks of the unemployed just keep growing. At a time when corporations need to be putting the citizens of this country first they are instead opting for profits over people. I know of many companies that are still outsourcing the jobs they have to India and other far away places. How is our economy ever expected to recover when this trend of outsourcing shows no limits to the number and types of jobs that are being lost?

When will Congress finally side with the American people and demand fair trade policies on not just goods but on services and employment as well. Jobs are a commodity and there should be tariffs on the services provided by workers in other countries. In the end your home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it and in the current economic climate that doesn't appear to be too much.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

TARP Funds and the FDIC

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Writer – Wed May 6, 6:18 am ET

WASHINGTON – Banks that want to pay back their federal bailout funds and free themselves from government restrictions on compensation and dividends will have to sever their ties to another financial assistance program.

Financial firms eager to return infusions from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program will have to demonstrate that they can operate without debt guarantees provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., a senior government official said Tuesday. The FDIC program allows financial institutions to borrow money at lower costs.

The new requirement will make it harder for some institutions to get out from under government rules attached to the bailouts, another shift in a changing landscape for banks. It also illustrates the government's desire not to have banks abandon the bailout program if they are not financially prepared to do so.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the standards have not been made public. The Treasury and the Federal Reserve are expected to issue TARP repayment guidelines on Wednesday, a response to banks that want to get out from under bailout conditions. The change was first reported Tuesday evening by The Wall Street Journal.

By linking the two programs, the government could motivate banks to cut themselves off from the various assistance programs that it put in place to unclog credit and free up lending in the midst of the financial crisis.

The bailout program has been unpopular in Congress and prompted a new round of conditions earlier this year following news reports about lavish spending on perks, retreats and corporate planes.

Initially, the government required banks that wanted to repay early to raise money from the private sector. Then Congress eased that rule but attached greater restrictions on the government funds. Among the rules restricting banks were conditions on employee compensation, bonuses and dividend payouts. Congress also required the Treasury to review previous compensation payments.

The FDIC debt guarantee, meanwhile, has proven to be popular with some banks as a way to increase liquidity and does not impose the same restrictions as TARP. So far, banks have issued more than $330 billion under the program, which the FDIC launched in October to help financial institutions finance themselves and make loans.

"It throws a hurdle as far as the banks repaying TARP," Scott Talbott, a senior lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a bank industry group, said of the new condition.

Banks have become increasingly wary of the bailout funds, chafing at the restrictions and worried that acceptance of the money somehow tagged them as troubled institutions. As a result, a handful of banks have returned a small amount of money and bigger institutions have indicated a desire to repay.

Banking industry consultant Bert Ely said requiring banks to first show an ability to operate without the FDIC guarantees does complicate their payback of TARP money. But he said it also demonstrates a change in the Federal Reserve's and the Treasury's approach to TARP.

"A couple of weeks ago it was, 'Oh, we don't know if want to let you repay,'" he said. "There's been a reversal of position here as far as I'm concerned. It will be interesting to see how fast banks move in that direction."

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury are expected to announce the new payback standards just ahead of Thursday's planned release of the results of "stress tests" on the country's top 19 financial institution.

The tests gauged the ability of the banks to weather an even deeper economic crisis than the country currently faces. Several of the 19 banks will be asked to seek additional capital.

Those banks will have six months to raise money from private investors, sell off assets or tap what remains of the $700 billion TARP.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Joe The Plumber The New Face of The Republican Party

Only would the Republicans keep trotting out this dope. Does he or anyone else really think a majority of the country cares about his views and why is he still being asked about anything?
Joe the Plumber, aka Samuel Wurzelbacher, sat down for an lengthy interview with Christianity Today to discuss his views on the future of the Republican party. Wurzelbacher took the opportunity to speak out against gay marriage, which he says is wrong. The unlikely conservative spokesman went so far as to say he doesn't allow openly gay people "anywhere near" his children.

The word "queer," Wurzelbacher noted, "means strange and unusual."

Christianity Today: In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level?

Wurzelbacher: At a state level, it's up to them. I don't want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it's wrong. People don't understand the dictionary--it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do--what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're people, and they're going to do their thing.

In the vein of George W. Bush and Michael Steele, Joe the Plumber also indicated that he wouldn't run for public office until the Lord had given him a cue. "God hasn't said, 'Joe, I want you to run.' I feel more important to just encourage people to get involved, one way or another. If I can inspire some leaders, that would be great." Joe added: "I don't know if I want to be a leader."
He is waiting for the Lord to give him a cue? I am waiting for the Lord to give him a clue. This is what is left of the Republican Party. Lets hope this fool doesn't breed.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Senate Screws The Middle Class Again.

The Senate on Thursday rejected an effort to stave off home foreclosures by a vote of 51 to 45. It was an overwhelming defeat, with the bill's backers falling 15 votes short -- a quarter of the Democratic caucus -- of the 60 needed to cut off debate and move to a final vote.

The death of the bankruptcy reform measure -- which would have allowed a small number of homeowners who met strict conditions to renegotiate mortgages under bankruptcy protection -- is a major tactical win for the banking industry. But allowing the foreclosure crisis to continue unabated may end up being a failed strategy for the financial sector.

It wasn't easy for Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who led the effort on behalf of homeowners, to wrangle the 45 votes.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who had been on the fence for weeks, gave Durbin his support and nudged him on the way out of the chamber, alerting him of the anti-bank position he'd just taken.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a conservative Democrat, also cast a courageous vote in favor of the measure. He gave Durbin a hard slap on the arm on the way out.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a strong backer of the bill, spent a good deal of time trying to persuade his colleague Jim Webb (D-Va.).

As she got close to convincing him, she called in Durbin. "Hey Durbs," she could be heard saying, "help me with Jim."

Durbin and Webb spoke for several minutes and Webb cast an aye vote.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), meanwhile, spent much of the vote checking the tally. Toward the end of the vote, she cast her lot with homeowners. Sen. Ted Kaufman, a Democrat from Delaware, a state nearly wholly-owned by the financial industry, voted his conscience, opposing the banks. He is not running for reelection. "I'm liberated from fundraising," said Kaufman afterwords.

His Delaware colleague, Democrat Tom Carper, voted with the banks.

The Chamber of Commerce has deemed the vote a crucial one that will be heavily counted in its annual scorecard, and those who voted yes will pay a financial price from the Chamber and the banking industry.

Other Democrats stuck with the banks against the homeowners. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) was wheeled into the chamber and pointed his finger in the air, signaling a yes vote, then dramatically swung it down, as if taunting the backers of the bill.

Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) all voted with the banks, as they told the Huffington Post they would. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) voted no, as did the new Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) voted no as well.

Earlier this week, Durbin concluded that banks that "frankly own the place."

How much did the Senate go for?

The banking and real estate industry has funneled roughly $2,000,000 into Landrieu's campaign coffers over her 12-year career, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The financial sector is Nelson's biggest backer; he's taken $1.4 million from banks and real estate interests and another $1.2 million from insurance firms. Tester has fielded roughly half a million in his two years in office. Lincoln has taken $1.3 million from banking and real estate interests.

Carper has raked in more than $1.5 million. Baucus, chair of the finance committee, has been on the receiving end of $3.5 million over his career. Specter has hauled in more than $4.5 million and Johnson has gotten some $2.5 million.

Across the United States, the measure is estimated to have been able to prevent 1.69 million foreclosures and preserve $300 billion in home equity.

Durbin is deeply unhappy with his Democratic colleagues that sided with the banks. "Frankly, I can't match what the bankers are doing in terms of lobbying," he said. Asked by the Huffington Post how bank influence could ever be reduced, he said, "When the voters speak, some elected officials listen. So I hope that, if we fail on mortgage foreclosure and we fail on credit card reform, I hope that people in this country will stand up and say to Congress, 'You've got the wrong friends.'"

After the vote, Durbin said he was surprised to lose so many Democrats. "I had hoped for a better vote. I mean, really, to lose 11 Democrats was disappointing, but, you know, I guess I've gained some ground since the issue last came up. Maybe if the mortgage foreclosures go up dramatically and I call it again next year I can pass it," Durbin told the Huffington Post. (In April 2008, a similar bill received 36 votes.)

Reminded of his comment earlier in the day that if the bill failed, he hoped the American people would respond, he didn't back down even though so many in his own party strayed. "I hope they get the message," he said of his wayward colleagues. "Maybe they have an answer to this problem, but I have seen it."

Carper, however, the no vote from Delaware, said the issue was finished in the Senate. "My guess is we're not going to see it again," he said.

Earlier this week, Durbin took to the Senate floor to tell his colleagues that the upcoming vote was a test.

"Who's going to win this debate? The mortgage bankers and the American Bankers Association or the consumers across this country?" he asked.

We now have the answer. "We led the way on this and we are clearly responsible for defeating this for the third time in the last year," David Kittle, chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told our friends at the American News Project in this must-watch video:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pakistan Near Collapse?

With suicide bombers killing scores in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan near collapse, the policies of George W. Bush are coming home to roost. Had he not decided to start a war with Iraq long before September 11th and had instead concentrated on getting those who attacked us we would not be looking at the real possibility of those loyal to Osama Bin Laden taking over a nuclear armed Pakistan.

How can anyone still defend the Bush administration. They destroyed our standing in the world and left a world more dangerous than the one they found. Many members of this administration should be trading cigarettes for their lives in a maximum security prison. The mess these criminals left behind will be with us for a generation. We must as Americans demand they be held accountable and must look under every rock for the truth no matter what that truth tells us. Its time for the Obama Administration to make an example of these crooks.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

U.S. existing home sales fell 3.0 pct in March

The pace of sales of existing homes in the United States fell 3.0 percent in March to a much lower-than-expected annual rate of 4.57 million units, the National Association of Realtors said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast home resales to slip to a 4.70 million-unit pace from a revised 4.71 million for February, which was initially reported as 4.72 million.

The inventory of existing homes for sale fell to 3.74 million from the 3.80 million overstock reported for February. The median national home price rose 4.2 percent to $175,200 from February, boosted by seasonal factors. However, prices fell 12.4 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chinese Drywall Making People Sick.

Why do we allow their substandard products in our country.
At the height of the U.S. housing boom, when building materials were in short supply, American construction companies used millions of pounds of Chinese-made drywall because it was abundant and cheap.

Now that decision is haunting hundreds of homeowners and apartment dwellers who are concerned that the wallboard gives off fumes that can corrode copper pipes, blacken jewelry and silverware, and possibly sicken people.

Shipping records reviewed by The Associated Press indicate that imports of potentially tainted Chinese building materials exceeded 500 million pounds during a four-year period of soaring home prices. The drywall may have been used in more than 100,000 homes, according to some estimates, including houses rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina.

"This is a traumatic problem of extraordinary proportions," said U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Florida Democrat who introduced a bill in the House calling for a temporary ban on the Chinese-made imports until more is known about their chemical makeup. Similar legislation has been proposed in the Senate.

The drywall apparently causes a chemical reaction that gives off a rotten-egg stench, which grows worse with heat and humidity.

Researchers do not know yet what causes the reaction, but possible culprits include fumigants sprayed on the drywall and material inside it. The Chinese drywall is also made with a coal byproduct called fly ash that is less refined than the form used by U.S. drywall makers.

Dozens of homeowners in the Southeast have sued builders, suppliers and manufacturers, claiming the very walls around them are emitting smelly sulfur compounds that are poisoning their families and rendering their homes uninhabitable.

"It's like your hopes and dreams are just gone," said Mary Ann Schultheis, who has suffered burning eyes, sinus headaches, and a general heaviness in her chest since moving into her brand-new, 4,000-square foot house in this tidy South Florida suburb a few years ago.

She has few options. Her builder is in bankruptcy, the government is not helping and her lender will not give her a break.

"I'm just going to cry," she said. "We don't know what we're going to do."
How do we tell our largest creditor that they must have standards without them calling in our debt? How many more examples of dangerous products from China do we need before we say enough is enough?

Our dependence on China is destroying us in many ways. When will it end?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wanted by Tent City Homeless: AIG Senior Employees

From the brilliant Thom Hartmann who should have listeners all over this great land:

AIG's taxpayer-bailout was not because of it's insurance division, but its investment division, which came up with the idea of selling credit-default swaps - financial instruments premised on the idea that home values would never decline.

According to Time Magazine coming Monday....

The CDS market exploded over the past decade to more than $45 trillion in mid-2007, according to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association. This is roughly twice the size of the U.S. stock market (which is valued at about $22 trillion and falling) and far exceeds the $7.1 trillion mortgage market and $4.4 trillion U.S. treasuries market, notes Harvey Miller, senior partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. "It could be another - I hate to use the expression - nail in the coffin," said Miller, when referring to how this troubled CDS market could impact the country's credit crisis.

That said, what have we learned from the AIG debacle? AIG's downfall was hastened by its inability to honor $40 billion in credit default swaps (CDS), after taking advantage of a CDS market that went "from zero" in 2005 to a peak of $62 trillion. So maybe the place to begin is by figuring out which regulator should watch CDS.

No less a culprit of the economic crisis than former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox acknowledged as much when testifying before Congress:

The $58 trillion national market in credit default swaps - double the amount outstanding in 2006 - is regulated by no one. Neither the SEC nor any regulator has authority over the CDS market, even to require minimal disclosure to the market ..As the Congress considers fundamental reform of the financial system, I urge you to provide in statute the authority to regulate these products to enhance investor protection and ensure the operation of fair and orderly markets.

Shouldn't the taxpayers of America who are now investors in AIG, be demanding not only that senior AIG employees voluntarily give up their bonuses but also shouldn't also the people who perpetrated this economic nightmare that has caused "main street" America to lose their jobs, their 401Ks to fall, the values of their houses to plummet and the very fabric of this nation to unravel - be hunted down and prosecuted?

As unemployment rises and people lose their homes in a worsening economy - there are reports of tent cities (Bushvilles) popping up across America.

The AIG senior employees should not only give up their bonuses willingly with apologies to the American public - or perhaps they should personally deliver their bonus' to the new Bushvilles of today where in Sacramento alone the official count of homeless people is 1,226 people. The homeless are spilling out to the tent city because the housing shelters are full. One of the shelters is turning away more than 200 women and children a day.

In other news former VP Dick Cheney emerged from his den to give an interview to CNN's John King to slam President Obama and his team.

CHENEY: "I worry a lot that they're using the current set of economic difficulties to try to justify a massive expansion in the government, and much more authority for the government over the private sector, I don't think that's good. I don't think that's going to solve the problem."

And this exchange...

KING: Since taking office, President Obama has done these things to change the policies you helped put in place. He has announced he will close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. He has announced he will close CIA black sites around the world, where they interrogate terror suspects. Says he will make CIA interrogators abide by the Army Field Manual, defined waterboarding as torture and ban it, suspend trials for terrorists by military commission, and now eliminate the label of enemy combatants. I'd like to just simply ask you, yes or no, by taking those steps, do you believe the president of the United States has made Americans less safe?

CHENEY: I do. I think those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11. I think that's a great success story. It was done legally. It was done in accordance with our constitutional practices and principles. President Obama campaigned against it all across the country. And now he is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.

This from the Bush/Cheney administration that….

Blundered into Iraq, a war of choice, in the greatest military disaster ever - 5 Million Iraq War Casualties, 1 Million Killed, 4 Million Refugees plus 5 million orphans.

Presided over raising the national debt by more than $4 trillion - the biggest increase under any president in U.S history. The national debt now stands at more than $9.849 trillion. - a 72 percent increase.

Delivered to us a dangerous recession that threatens to turn into the next Great Republican Depression with over 3.8 million homes in foreclosure (from 2007 - Jan. 2009), and the loss of over 4 million jobs and counting.

Stood by while 47 million individuals lacked health insurance coverage of any kind plus 25 million Americans who can't afford to cover the gap between what their insurance covers and their medical bills demand.

Watched as millions of good factory jobs disappeared, 2.7 million since 2001 alone, largely from corporations moving operations offshore in a race for the cheapest labor costs. This doesn't include the 1.7 million private sector jobs over the past three years and 750,000 high tech jobs in 2002-03. The University of California at Berkeley estimates that 14 million jobs are vulnerable to moving overseas in the next few years.

Perhaps Vice President Dick Cheney should join the senior AIG employees in tent city for a glimpse of post Bush/Cheney world. Conditions are a bit primitive, with no water supply or proper sanitation so they should be careful when they visit. Tammy Day, a homeless woman and resident, who cooks potatoes on an open campfire can help them out with lunch. While they are there they could say hello to former car salesman Corvin and his wife Tena, some the newest residents of the tent city. Could they offer advice to Tena who says "I have a 35-year-old son, and he doesn't know. I call him, about once a month and on holidays, to let him know that I'm well and healthy. He would love me anyway, but I don't want to worry him." Many of those living in the tent city are pinning their hopes on President Obama's new stimulus package which is aimed at rescuing the economy and creating jobs. The one that Cheney just dissed claiming it's an "expansion of Government."

Call your members of Congress today and demand investigations into the Bush/Cheney era tasked with discovering and revealing past wrongdoings. Then there will be hope of resolving the conflict that many American's feel. Only then can we move forward to develop an economy that serves main street America and abolish the Bush/Cheney meme that we were just here to serve the economy. They had it backwards.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Understanding The Financial Crisis

Monday, March 09, 2009

Lower Wages For All

Have you just lost your job? Chances are even if you can find a new position the wages that will be offered to you could be much less than your current salary.
With "no end in sight" for U.S. job losses amid a recession that could stretch into 2010, American workers will soon have to contend with another blow to their confidence: stagnant, or even falling wages.

Job seekers -- already coping with the highest unemployment rate in a quarter century, their savings mugged by a plunging stock market -- can also expect lower pay once they land a new job, labor market experts say, because the current downturn shows no signs of turning around anytime soon.
How much more could wages drop? Adjusted for inflation real wages have been stagnant since the Reagan administration. What could be done on one salary in the 1970's now takes at least two. The redistribution of wealth that started with Reagan has continued unabated with the end result the greatest financial disaster we have experienced since the Depression. Am I the only one that can see the start parallels to that time? It was the robber barons of the 1920's and the excessive greed that pushed us to the brink then and its the modern day robber barons of Wall Street that have pushed us there today. Just like in those times, those that have caused this disaster have walked away millionaires. Am I the only one who wants to see many of these fools marched off to a maximum security prison?

I'm as mad as hell and its time we raise our voices and demand an end to the politics as usual. Its time to rid our political system of the big money donations that have corrupted the system and caused the lawmakers to turn a blind eye to the rampant greed and corruption that plaques the political system.

I think President Obama truly does stand for change but will we stand with him as he is assaulted at every turn by these big money interests. They have no desire to change a system that has provided them with obscene wealth and power and will fight dirty to keep this corrupt system in place. It's time we show them that we will fight back.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

President Ready To Fight For His Budget

It is nice to see some honesty from the White House. Will he be able to deliver on all his promises? That is highly doubtful but he is moving in the right direction. Without real and drastic action, the American Middle Class will no longer exist. President Obama is smart enough to realize that our middle class is the reason for our great success as a nation. As I have said and will continue to say a strong and vibrant middle class is necessary for a strong and vibrant democracy.

Isn't His 15 Minutes of Fame Up Yet?

Joe The Plumber rears his ridiculous head once again at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee). This is all they have. I say Palin and the Plumber in 2012 although it sounds more like a bad sitcom on the CW network.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some Republican Governors May Refuse Stimulus Funds

Once again its politics over the people. I say you don't want the funds then fine. Tell the people in each of your states that their financial future is not important but your political future is.
A handful of Republican governors are considering turning down some money from the federal stimulus package, a move opponents say puts conservative ideology ahead of the needs of constituents struggling with record foreclosures and soaring unemployment.

Though none has outright rejected the money available for education, health care and infrastructure, the governors of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alaska, South Carolina and Idaho have all questioned whether the $787 billion bill signed into law this week will even help the economy.

"My concern is there's going to be commitments attached to it that are a mile long," said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who considered rejecting some of the money but decided Wednesday to accept it. "We need the freedom to pick and choose. And we need the freedom to say 'No thanks.'"

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the No. 3 House Democrat, said the governors — some of whom are said to be eyeing White House bids in 2012 — are putting their own interests first.
Since Haley Barbour is so against these funds I suggest that he return half of all federal dollars he receives since his state gets back two dollars for every dollar paid. Mississippi is the welfare queen of the south and he has the nerve to open his fat mouth?

As for Alaska we all know that Sarah Palin will throw her hat in the ring in 2012 since she thinks there are enough knuckle draggers to overlook the fact that she is truly a mental lightweight. Lets see how she handles the finances for Alaska now that the price of oil has collapsed. I would bet it won't be pretty.

Now lets look at South Carolina where the unemployment rate is over 9%. Governor Sanford doesn't want the funds but he should go to an unemployment office and tell those on the last weeks of their benefits that their survival doesn't measure up to his bid for the Presidency.

These people make me sick and they should sicken every one of you as well.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's Not Just The Blue Collars Jobs Anymore

For a long time college educated people felt that the rush to outsource jobs did not effect them. They felt secure that the accounting and operational jobs simply had to stay within the United States. With the invention of the internet and the ease at which you can communicate worldwide that assumption has been turned on its head.

Middle Class jobs in accounting, operations, graphic design and customer service are leaving this country in alarming numbers. Once again the multi-national corporations (please do not call them American companies) are searching for the lowest labor costs. English speaking, highly educated people can be found in India, the Philippines and other nations. The middle class jobs in manufacturing do not even require the ability to speak English which makes the entire world a possibility for factory relocation. If we can't stop this flood of jobs leaving our shores how can we ever recover our current financial disaster? Our standard of living is falling and there seems to be nothing to stop this slide to the bottom.

Are protectionist policies the answer? In short I would say that some form of protectionism is needed or soon we will see lines around the block for an available opening at McDonald's. We were told that free trade was the answer. What they didn't tell us was that free trade was not necessarily fair trade. How is it that what limited goods we produce here are taxed in the form of tariffs in other countries yet those same countries send goods to the United States without such tariffs? How can we possibly compete with countries that pay their workers dollars a day with no benefits? In short the answer is we can't under the current situation.

These same companies shipping our jobs overseas are also using every available loophole to avoid paying taxes to the United States. Why these companies are even allowed to operate within the United States is beyond me and why Americans continue to patronize them is an even bigger mystery.

The Middle Class is dying and nothing is being done to stop it.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Betting On Failure

If there was ever a more blatant kick to the groin of the American public it would be the obstructionist ways of the Republican Party. Suddenly the Jobs-Stimulus package is too expensive and there is this great concern for the debt being left to the next generation.

Where were these same assholes as the national debt was being doubled under George W. Bush? Where were they when our biggest unnecessary spending program - The Iraq War - started draining our Treasury? Why did they vote for non stimulative tax cuts for the very rich that sent us from a surplus to a deficit? Why are they yet again demanding that tax cuts be a large part of the current stimulus bill when all facts show that they did nothing to avoid our current mess? These people sicken me. They are playing ppolitics with your life. They are betting on failure.

They are betting that the economy will worsen and that the public will blame President Obama setting the stage for their resurgence. Ask yourself if this sounds like we are all in this together. The American middle class is being destroyed before our eyes and they are not only not helping to stop it, they are hoping that it happens.

As their hero Rush Limbaugh stated when talking about President Obama, "I hope he fails". If President Obama fails then we all fail. There policies got us where we are today but they want more of the same. They want even more redistribution of whatever wealth is left to their rich benefactors at the expense of the middle class and poor. They want us all to fail. I heard it with my own ears. It is time for us to band together and take this country back from the special interests that have brought us to our economic knees. Its time to thin the herd of those that would grant themselves million dollar plus bonuses while laying off workers. Its time to vote out lawmakers who are hoping for failure.

These people make me sick and they should sicken you too. Don't sit back and do nothing. You could be the next one on the unemployment line being marched out the door past the man in the corner whose bonus came as a result of your firing.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Republicans May Filibuster the Stimulus Package

First the House of Representatives passed the stimulus package without one Republican vote. Now it seems they may just filibuster the package in the Senate.

When will people realize that they stand for nothing. President Obama in a show of bipartisan cooperation included broad tax cuts in this legislation. The prblem is that for these people the tax cuts are never enough. Ask yourselves how the tax cuts for the rich have worked out for us? Every day thousands are losing their jobs with no end in sight. Our country is headed towards another Great Depression and all they can do is stand in the way. The reasons are simple. They are hoping that the package will fail. This is purely politics and the good of the American people does not play into the equation.

What do you expect from a party that is being led by an impotent fat drug addled gas bag who has said that he hopes Obama fails.

Just remember if President Obama fails, we all fail. Its time to relegate the Republican Party to the dust bin of history.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New home sales fall by 37.8% from 2007 levels to lowest level on record

Sales of new homes fell by 37.8 percent from 2007 sales. Total sales in 2008 were 482,000 compared to 776,000 (the total sold in 2007), according to Mission Residential. The median new home price dropped by 9.3 on a a year-over-year basis.

These numbers may actually be skewed higher because the monthly sales data does not reflect cancellations, which means sales are probably lower and actual inventories higher. Because of these adjustments the actual supply on the market jumped to 12.9 months in December. Don't expect home builder stocks to recover any time soon.

Richard Moody, Chief Economist for Mission Residential says "new home prices will remain under steady downward pressure, and new residential construction may bottom later this year but will remain weak through 2010." Low-priced foreclosures are adding to the market stresses that home builders face. "To the extent that low mortgage rates and sales incentives, such as buyer's tax credits, do facilitate sales, those sales are increasingly titled towards existing homes," Moody added.

There is some good news. Builders do appear to have a handle on building starts. Now that starts of new homes have dropped well below the sales rate, the front end of the pipeline is under control. But, completions of new homes intended for sale are still running well ahead of sales. So the breaks are not fully in place yet. Until builders can turn the tide and shorten inventory supply we won't see a turnaround in the building industry.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You Were Just Terminated - Now What?

Just yesterday lay offs totaling over 70,000 were announced by companies from a broad range of industries. What will happen now to those displaced and what is the short and long term damage to our economy?

In the short term the loss of those jobs means financial hardship for the families that are losing a paycheck. and a double whammy to the local, state and federal governments. Now the government must start paying out unemployment insurance and lose the payroll tax deductions associated with those jobs. You have to wonder how an economy that is shedding so many jobs will ever be able to recover from a hole that seems to just get deeper by the day. The last time jobs were being shed at this rate was in the early 1980's and back then the prospects for future job growth were still intact.

Since that time we have lost our manufacturing base, our Unions have been decimated and our gap between rich and poor has grown exponentially. White collar jobs are now disappearing at an alarming rate, being replaced by cheap but educated labor in countries such as India and the Philippines. Even our service sector jobs when possible are being outsourced to these foreign lands. Are we seeing the final death knell for the American Middle Class? I would say the answer is yes unless we act forcefully and soon. We must reverse this trend to the lowest common denominator and fight to restore our middle class. Without a vibrant middle class we will become just another country where the rich control everything and the poor are jut lucky to get by. The problem is how can we restore this nation to its former glory?

One way is to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. We must give the American worker all tools necessary to fight for a living wage. We must demand that public funds are never given to companies that outsource our jobs. We must encourage small company creation with tax incentives and tax those companies heavily that ship our jobs overseas. We must change the corporate culture that the future stops at the next quarterly earnings report.

How about charging tariffs for labor performed out of the country for customers that live in the country? How about having fair trade and using tariffs to offset the cost of lower labor abroad? There are common sense steps we can take to level the playing field.

Events this week show us that these companies could care less about us but that their executives are still enriching themselves at taxpayer expense. Can someone tell me why the handouts to Merrill Lynch and Citigroup have not been called in?

It is time for drastic action by the American workforce or soon we will all be fighting over those jobs that supposedly Americans will not do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Finally Its Over

Our long national nightmare is finally over. Today we can finally say good riddance to the George W. Bush years and start the process of rebuilding a country that has been shaken to its core by the most corrupt and inept administration in our history.

Bye George.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Foreclosures Up 81% in 2008

Will we ever get any good economic news?
RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties, found that a total of 3.2 million foreclosure filings - default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions - were reported on 2.3 million American properties during the year. Foreclosures actually rose in December despite the much publicized efforts to suspend foreclosures during the holidays.

"State legislation that slowed down the onset of new foreclosure activity clearly had an effect on fourth-quarter numbers over all, but that effect appears to have worn off by December," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in a press release. "The big jump in December foreclosure activity was somewhat surprising given the moratoria enacted by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, along with programs from some of the major lenders and loan servicers aimed at delaying foreclosure actions against distressed homeowners."

The states with the highest foreclosure rates: Nevada, Florida, Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey. More than 7 percent of Nevada housing units received at least one foreclosure notice in 2008.

The cities with the highest foreclosure rates: Stockton, Calif.; Las Vegas/Paradise, Nev.; Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Phoenix/Mesa, Ariz.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Miami, Fla.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Detroit/Livonia/Dearborn, Mich. Nearly 9.5 percent of houses in Stockton received a foreclosure filing last year.
Where is the bottom in this economic nightmare? Tonight George W. Bush will give his last address to the American people and the American people will heave a collective sigh of relief. In five days the Bush years will be over but the mess he left behind will linger for generations.

The Bush Presidency is like a case of crabs. Just when you think they are gone there is another one sucking the blood out of you.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Obama Looking Like Bush On Tax Cuts

Why Tax Cuts Are Not The Answer.

In order to placate the Republicans whose bankrupt economic policies got us to where we are now, the Obama stimulus plan is 40% tax cuts. Sure many families could use the $500.00 or whatever will be given but it does nothing to build our infrastructure and nothing to stimulate job growth.

The legislation Mr. Obama's team is developing with Congressional Democrats will devote about 40 percent of the cost to tax cuts, including his centerpiece campaign promise to provide credits up to $500 for most workers, costing roughly $150 billion. The package will also include more than $100 billion in tax incentives for businesses to create jobs and invest in equipment or factories.

The overall package, of $675 billion to $775 billion, is taking shape as Mr. Obama arrived in Washington and planned to begin trying to build support in Congress and among the broader public for his approach to stimulating the economy.

This idea will have us back in the same spot very shortly. It is an expensive stop gap in what should be a comprehensive plan to fundamentally change the economy. The problem in the United States is that there are not enough skilled high paying jobs. Even white collar jobs such as accounting are being outsourced to places like India. We have destroyed our manufacturing base. Those jobs do not look like they are coming back. America became the consumer society spurred on by high credit lines. That house of cards has tumbled and this rescue plan does NOTHING to rebuild the house. Where are the incentives to bring manufacturing back to this country? Where are the tariffs on imported goods so that we turn free trade into fair trade? Where are the higher tax rates for those making millions? Where is the elimination of corporate tax loopholes which allow most multi national corporations to avoid most taxes? Unfortunately this just seems like more of the same with a more eloquent salesman.

I am very disappointed in what I see so far.