Bad Deeds for 10-19-2009

 

Senator Kyl Doubts People Die From Lack of Health Insurance; But Harvard Study Shows They Do – Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) told NBC’s David Gregory that the war in Afghanistan is a “necessity” but health care reform is not as important. [For conservatives without conscience, there is little difference between battling a mortal enemy and not caring for others not like them – both are enabled by an “empathy deficit.”]

“And is it a necessity to tackle the fact that there are more and more Americans who die because they don’t have access to health insurance?” asked Gregory.

Kyl disagreed with the premise of the question. “I’m not sure that it’s a fact that more and more people die because they don’t have health insurance. But because they don’t have health insurance, the care is not delivered in the best and most efficient way,” said Kyl.

A Harvard study released last month said that 45,000 deaths are linked to lack of health insurance coverage each year — and that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher death risk than their privately-insured counterparts.

 

Finance Unleashed: It’s Wonderful Effect on the Financial Sector and Its Terrible Effect on Us – From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.

Because everyone was getting richer, and the health of the national economy depended so heavily on growth in real estate and finance, no one in Washington had any incentive to question what was going on. Instead, Fed Chairman Greenspan and President Bush insisted metronomically that the economy was fundamentally sound and that the tremendous growth in complex securities and credit-default swaps was evidence of a healthy economy where risk was distributed safely.

The response so far is perhaps best described as “policy by deal”: when a major financial institution gets into trouble, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve engineer a bailout over the weekend and announce on Monday that everything is fine.

Some of these deals may have been reasonable responses to the immediate situation. But it was never clear (and still isn’t) what combination of interests was being served, and how. Treasury and the Fed did not act according to any publicly articulated principles, but just worked out a transaction and claimed it was the best that could be done under the circumstances. This was late-night, backroom dealing, pure and simple.

Click on image for details.
johnson-chart

 

Goldman Sachs’ Magic Trick – A huge amount of taxpayer money was given to Goldman Sachs at the apex of the crisis — which they then use to borrow against at $20 or $30 for every $1. Which at 30x equals $2.1 trillion in available capital.

As one of the only banks in the world with money at the time, Goldman Sachs was able to buy billions in distressed assets around the world at record low prices — only to watch $23.7 trillion in US taxpayer money be deployed during the past year to re-inflate the asset’s values that Goldman had purchased with our tax money.

The question is not why did we bail out the banks.

The question is why did we give the banks billions of our money so they could then buy assets by the trillions with our money and they keep the profits?

The answer is Henry Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO who ran the US Treasury, and Tim Geithner, current Treasury Secretary who at the time ran the New York Federal Reserve, willingly delivered Goldman Sachs the $70 Billion — with no strings attached.

So what can we do?

1. We must demand the return of those investment gains made with America’s money – it was stolen from us and we can get it back. Demand Claw Backs – and not from the future but from the past – That is where our money is.

2. We must have an exchange for all credit derivatives — the current version is riddled with loopholes that let banks avoid transparency by mobbing offshore and prohibiting government regulators from being able to force the use of the exchange by the banks.

 

How Moody’s Sold Its Ratings – and Sold Out Investors – As the housing market collapsed in late 2007, Moody’s Investors Service, whose investment ratings were widely trusted, responded by purging analysts and executives who warned of trouble and promoting those who helped Wall Street plunge the country into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

A McClatchy investigation has found that Moody’s punished executives who questioned why the company was risking its reputation by putting its profits ahead of providing trustworthy ratings for investment offerings.

Instead, Moody’s promoted executives who headed its “structured finance” division, which assisted Wall Street in packaging loans into securities for sale to investors. It also stacked its compliance department with the people who awarded the highest ratings to pools of mortgages that soon were downgraded to junk. Such products have another name now: “toxic assets.”

 

Pennsylvania Republican Party Uses Hammer And Sickle Symbols For Obama – Some of 55 years after the vicious, Red-baiting tactics of Joseph McCarthy were repudiated by America’s better angels, the state GOP is picking up the tattered banner of McCarthyism and running with it — literally, in fact, with this banner ad (top) on a popular political Web site. In this case, it’s hard to say what is more appalling — equating the sitting president of the United States with the Soviet dictators who slaughtered their political enemies and sent others to brutal gulags, or the cause this ad is promoting: The election of a judge to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

 

Republicans Just Leaning on Their Mops – Obama’s come up with political gold to counter any attempt to pass a Republican mess off as his own, or criticize him for not cleaning it up fast enough. And we need to repeat it ad infinitum and scream it from rooftops. This needs to become the political catchphrase of the next year.

President Obama speaking in San Francisco Friday said, “I’m busy and Nancy busy with our mop cleaning up somebody else’s mess –- we don’t want somebody sitting back saying, you’re not holding the mop the right way. Why don’t you grab a mop, why don’t you help clean up. You’re not mopping fast enough. That’s a socialist mop. Grab a mop –- let’s get to work.”

It’s an inspired three-word challenge to the GOP. Devastating, actually – because it both reminds people of the damage the GOP did while not seeming to dwell on the past or to score partisan points (while actually doing both).

Now, understand here, I’m not trying to head off legitimate, substantive criticism of the president or his policies, be they from the left or the right. There’s plenty of that and no three-word catch slogan could or should diminish those. But as a counter to the brain-dead, disingenuous, hypocritical, and often baseless criticism from the people whose messes he is cleaning, it doesn’t get any better than this.

 

Republican Party Chairmen Say DeMint is Like A Jew “Watching Our Nation’s Pennies” – Two South Carolina County Republican Party chairmen stepped up to rebut criticism of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in a newspaper editorial Sunday. But their defense of the senator might be overshadowed by their use of an anti-Semitic stereotype to praise him.

After a Democratic state senator wrote in The State that DeMint didn’t bring enough money back home, Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer responded that he was just looking after the nation’s pennies — like a Jew would.

 

Whatever Bad Deed You Need, There’s a Rep for That – “If you want to heckle the president during his address to the nation, there’s a Rep. for that.”

That’s the opening of a new ad created by a blogger attacking House Republicans using the language and style of Apple Computer’s iPhone ads. Detailing outlandish statements made by Republicans in Congress, the announcer — whose tone and intonation closely mirrors that of the iPhone pitchman — substitutes the word “Rep.” (for representative) instead of “app.”

“If you want to suggest that smacking around your wife doesn’t truly count as assault, and neither does killing homosexuals, there’s a Rep. for that,” he remarks.

“Whether you want to refute scientific research by quoting biblical prophecy,” he continues, “declare that wives should be submissive to their husbands or pass laws to establish the bible as the word of God for all Americans, we’ve got the Reps. you need.”

 

Republican Reaction to Barack Obama Winning Nobel Peace Prize 😉 – “It still doesn’t live up to the time George W. Bush caught a seven-and-a-half-pound perch in his own private lake. Seven and a half pounds!”

Regards,

Jim

 

 

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About Jim Vogas

Texas A&M Aggie, Retired aerospace engineer, former union member, Vietnam vet, Demcratic Party organizer, husband and father.

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