This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 14, 2008 10:25 PM. The previous post in this blog was Oopsie. The next post in this blog is How not to solve Tri-Met's problems. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday will never be the same

As predicted here, there were lots of signs of the implosion of the U.S. financial markets today: Lehman Brothers in bankruptcy. Merrill Lynch taken over in a government-brokered deal. And this:

The American International Group is seeking a $40 billion bridge loan from the Federal Reserve, as it faces a potential downgrade from credit ratings agencies that could spell its doom, a person briefed on the matter said Sunday night.
Heck of a job, Bushie. More deregulation! More tax cuts during wartime! Four more years!

UPDATE, 11:03 p.m.: Asian markets are closed tomorrow -- it's a holiday. We will see whether something hits the fan in Europe, however.

Comments (58)

BofA to buy Lehman for $40-50B. The DJIA was set to open today 340 down. I think I need a bigger mattress to store my money.

By the close, 340 might not look so bad.

340 might not look so bad.

I'll believe it when I see it. The markets, to this point, have had their heads in the sand about what's going on out there. And watching the bobbleheads on CNBC doesn't give me much more confidence. That said, firms are bringing their traders in early tomorrow in anticipation of a busy day, so who knows.

Do you think Merrill Lynch's clients will be in a buying mood?


I think you meant to say that BofA is to buy Merrill Lynch.

Yes, Lehman now belongs to these guys.

Relax, everybody. President Bush is all over this. In fact, before he rode his bicycle today, he put on his thinking cap.
Everybody's chipping in with ideas to save the economy: Sarah Palin suggested trading some caribou skins.

The Palin family are all clearly experts on stimulus packages.

With all this negative activity affecting 2 percent of U.S. bank customers, I just don't know what we're going to do. What we probably need are more Congressional mandates that force firms to make home loans to people who can't afford to repay them.

Yawn -- they just rearranged some deck chairs. Things will get more interesting when wm croaks.

Meanwhile, what've we been hearing from the Democratic congress? Crickets....

Every party shares responsibility in this mess. Bush, congress, banks, people who took out the loans, etc.

What sort of regulation would you guys propose?

I am investing in coffee can futures.
Oh no! they don't make coffee cans any more. Glass jars? Plastic bottles? zip lock bags?

I know that 'its all Bush's fault' is the default theme here, but how exactly is Bush at fault for this? Seriously, maybe he is, but I don't know how. Did he unwind some Clinton era regulation I don't know about?

Actually Butch, it's partly your fault. For supporting republican pick-pockets over the years. Look over there, burning flags, gay marriage, prayer in schools, my guns, illegals. Meanwhile Butch and Brads wallets get ever so thin. http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/18/opinion/edsamuelson.php

Ahh, Butch. Such a gentle tone today. No defiant proclamations about how great Republicans are at the economy. No automatic blame for Clinton. It seems the Bush administration has you doubting yourself.

One place you could start is by examining the confidence level Bush has inspired in the world markets. Start with the oil speculators. It's almost as if the world sees us an unstable killing machine that could attack anyone at anytime. Of course Sarah Palin doesn't see it that way, but maybe God will give her the task of removing her head from her ass at some point.

Butch, don't worry about a thing. Look at it this way: We should thank Jesus that the Republicans are so terrific at foreign policy and money issues. Imagine how screwed up things would be if they were really, really lousy at this stuff.

Time to bail on Washington Mutual too. Todays Bloomeberg.com Site reports that WaMu's ARM Loans are dragging the company's marginal earnings down even lower than anticipated.
Sure most people's money is FDIC insured, but do you really want to wait days or even weeks to see your money?

Bill, it was a serious question. Was there regulation(s) repealed by the Bush Admin that allegedly lead to this 'crisis'? Is there a theory espoused by an economist that is not a known lefty as cited above?

Nice try, Butch. Paul Samuelson is only a "leftist" if you think think Arthur Laffer espouses mainstream economic thinking.

Hey Butch, "Paul A. Samuelson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1970 for his fundamental contributions to nearly all branches of economic theory." Not because he was a "known lefty." Where were you home schooled Butch?

Butch, I'm no expert, but I think the failure here is that the financial system has evolved beyond the traditional banking and investment banking that were subject to regulation and are still subject to (seriously diminished) regulation. For example, no more separation of banking and brokerage. So we have evolved (if that's not a socially provocative word for you) a system in which borrowers and lenders are intermediated by very complex arrangements involving securitization, swaps and other derivatives. These cloak the risks in complexity involving multiple layers of contract-defined relationships. It may not be oversimplifying too much to say that the degree of leverage risk was not understood, and the potential impact of lower collateral values on the balance sheets of banks and investment banks was not widely appreciated. No doubt there is more to it than that -- for example, do you now understand that negative amortization inflates the earnings of the holder of a mortgage loan? In other words, that the holder's earnings are increased by the amount of interest it does not receive, an amount which also raises the loan-to-value ratio of the collateral and makes it less secure? All this is beyond the scope of traditional regulation, and a political philosophy of allowing the market to take care of these things has led us to this point. An alternative might have been to impose some sensible accounting rules and capital requirements on the institutions involved.

Butch is busy preparing a spirited defense of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (which DID occur under the Clinton presidency). This finished off the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, in part leading to the financial mess of today.


Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Prize as well. Paul Krugman is considered to be an 'eonomist'.

Allan, thanks for the thoughtful response. Bill and Brad, you should try that sometime.....

What $100,000 limit?

Watch this video from Promontory Interfinancial Network - home of CDARS.

Does anyone know how I can find and access the "2003 legal opinion" that made this innovation possible? (It is just the same old "brokered-deposit" pass-through insurance game as the old one from the RayGun era. The insurance caused bank failure, or at least the injection of brokered deposits was/is the single most correlated event to bank failure.)

The best regulatory change would be to limit FDIC insurance -- of deposits and NOT BANKERS -- to a per person (per SSN) absolute cap of some arbitrary amount between 100k and 350K regardless of where those deposits are located. Someone tried but failed to enact legislation of this nature in the early 1990's but failed to get enough support in Congress.

Thanks guys for correcting my first post. I broke my rule of blogging after 11pm. Everything gets a little fuzzy

Things will get more interesting when wm croaks.

I don't know. WM has been on a "death watch" since this mortgage fiasco started. I don't think it has ever been a question of if, but of when.

Don't give me the thoughtful response routine. Not after what your team has done to this country.

Okay, in the spirit of blog civility I will answer this:

Rent a Ronald Reagan movie - maybe Bedtime for Bonzo. Next read about his position on deregulation. Then look at the Savings and Loan crisis that followed where over a trillion dollars was transferred to a small group of people including John McCain's friend Keating.

Now admit to yourself that although Ronald Reagan was a terrific B-movie actor, his policy of deregulation has led us to the brink.

Oh wait. Uncle Ronnie was a God to you people. Sorry. Then maybe you don't really want an answer to this question in which case you're as genuine as your fake blogging name Butch.

You know things are bad when Butch plays the thoughtful card.

Hey Butch, Fill this report out in triplicate. http://www.eatliver.com/i.php?n=2026

Do you think Merrill Lynch's clients will be in a buying mood?

There seem to be enough buyers out there today. A 250-point drop isn't anything. The Dow and S&P are both only off about 5% since March. Meanwhile the banks continue to implode. This seems a bit more serious than a 5% correction... Like I said, I don't get it.

Bill, that reply didn't help much. I'd like to hear some specifics, in ones own words.


How about if I play this one?:


Of course, you won't like it very much because it doesn't lay the blame solely on dubya. Unless you are going to try to argue that he was the President in 1999....

LEH is at $0.19 per share.......any takers?

If you really want to know what happened, go back to the founding of the Federal Reserve. There's been a slow death grip on us ever since.
As far as the 1999 thing, thank God the Republicans saw the problem, corrected it and made us safe. They were looking out for our national security, right? What did they do in the intervening years to make sure the train stayed on the rails?

I'll have one, thanks.

I'll have one, thanks. (A Lehman share, that is.)

Of course Obama and the dems will try to pin the Fannie/Freddie/Lehman debacle on McCain and the Republicans.

Credit where it is due?


"... how exactly is ... fault for this?"

Once in a rare while comes the tentative question and wee opening where, taken seriously, an answer might enter consciousness. The teachable moment.

In the Big Economic Picture it's all about oil. Since 1900. And about those whose position and riches is oil-dependent, who go on maneuvering to maintain their status especially by disguising to disregard the depletion and inevitable exhaustion of oil's finite supply.

Petroleum eventually runs out as it is used up. That truism is unarguable and undeniable. But oil 'supply' being finite is a secondary matter of concerned discussion, in the main. What matters most is: Knowing when oil runs out.

Of those whose status in the Big Picture Global Economy of Oil is inherent in the machinations of oil and oil 'supply,' the highest priority is (for them) to go to the ends of the Earth precluding anyone else from knowing the facts and information of oil geology and extent.

So the 'game' is a variation on Watergate interrogator 'whatshisname' Baker's question: What did 'we' know and when did 'we' know it?

In our real politick situation, there is no question in the first part -- we all know What is known: oil runs out. The entire question is in the second part -- When do we know (that what is known is oil runs out)?

Those who never know When oil runs out are those who keep on living a lifestyle dependent on oil, and dependent on believing oil 'supply' goes on without end, and who are those who blindly miss seeing the brickwall STOPPER straight ahead, and so hit the wall at full velocity and die.

Those 'insiders' who foresee the 'When' end of oil coming, endeavor to keep as many people blind to the knowledge as late as it's possible to keep them in the dark, promoting the deluded suckers to full speed into the wall and their demise, and, so then, those who have their private proceeds from a century of selling the public's oil to the public, are intending to take the money and run. The less public that survives alive in the aftermath, the fewer there are to chase down the profiteers and bring them back to face World Justice.

The Big Picture of oil-powered global 'hegemony' contains manifold small pieces and vignettes. Mostly arranged in the time interval 1953 (the death of Ibn Saud, founder and King of Saudi Arabia), to 2001 (and as it was the 'Why?' motive for the Bushmen who staged the Nine-Eleven tragedy, a 'final Pearl Harbor event' to provoke Americans' blind cathartic 'power-grab' for the last remnants of oil on the planet). The main actor in the 1953-2001 feature-length Big Picture has been the Herbert character.

Here's he is in his beginnings: The first asset of Zapata Offshore was the SCORPION, a $ 3.5 million deep-sea drilling rig ... the first three-legged self-elevating mobile drilling barge ..., where it is known (see: Thomas Devine) Herbert was fronting the CIA's slushfund of taxpayer money and steering the point of that Agency's actions and operations.

No citation is necessary for everyone's knowledge that Herbert's son was clandestinely and unlawfully installed in The Fright House, in advance, to stonewall investigation into Nine-Eleven while directing 'vengence' catharsis into the pre-planned Middle East incursion.

And here is an array of the facets which have come to light, at one point or another, of the oil-powered 'hegemony' of our planet: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=theme&themeId=2

Economic collapse now, is the 'fault' to blame on 60 years of a taxpaying public who trusted but failed to verify that 'TV-image celebrities' in national office were not drunk crazed and demented mind-mad morons indulging in powerlust.

Next time, the public should pay closer attention. Which requires schools educating the children of successive generations to attend to and participate in that, and such vigilance of 'leaders.'

"Which requires schools educating the children of successive generations"

Amen - Heck, I'd be happy if they educated kids on how to balance a checkbook and use credit wisely (I work with a local HS and personal finance is not considered a basic skill). That might solve a lot more problems instead of more regulations.

Clinton and Rubin ended Glass-Steagell. Clinton also supported Alan Greenspan at the FDIC. Obama is cut from the same corporatist mold, IMO.

I don't know. WM has been on a "death watch" since this mortgage fiasco started. I don't think it has ever been a question of if, but of when.

Bank runs are the thing that the FED fears the most.

Arggh: FDIC=FED in previous post.

Butch, You really outdid yourself today.
Not just you but your GOP brethren.

I love hearing the national security/family values set deny any of this is their fault. It's terrific theater. They piously bragged that they - and only they - could keep us safe because they understood national security. Well, what's more central to national security than our economic well-being? The Soviet Union didn't end because of terrorism - it imploded economically.
Yet after 8 years of shenanigans, including a President who ignored HUNDREDS of laws with signing statements, Butch drags out his explanation for why the stewardship of our nation was not the problem. There was this law in 1999 we had to follow!!!!! Oh, the drama.
Could it be that Republicans embraced the adjustable mortgage rate crisis because it allowed them to do what they do best: Get rich while things go to hell?

Butch, you better get back to the script: Forget the economy. Concentrate on how terrific it is that Sarah Palin shot a moose.

Is someone here really denying any of this is the GOP's fault? Is anyone denying that any of this is the fault of the Democrats? How about the fault of the banks? The homeowners? I'm curious to know where everyone would place the blame and why.

DJIA down 504.48...OUCH OUCH OUCH. Who's to blame for this........everyone who allows greed to override common sense.

I love the notion that this is one mysterious glitch in an otherwise steller record turned in by Republican leadership.
Do the Dems bear responsibility? Damn right for not putting this group in prison where they belong. The Dems cynical decision to let these people go for another 2 years in the hopes it would pay off in Election 2008, was always a sickening display of politics. Nancy Pelosi is an accomplice in all this.

But this is no aberration. Everything Bush and Cheney have touched has turned to crap. Everything. The economy was their old reliable comeback. Oh, they were screwing that up too but it wasn't obvious yet. It's obvious now.

But why am I wasting my time, especially trying to convince someone like Butch? He's not just drinking the Kool-Aid. He's actually sitting in a vat of it.

It's time to move onto the next GOP talking point. You can almost hear the words. Ready? Here we go:

Look, people are hurting. This is not a time to play the blame game.

Sound familiar?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: And Sarah Palin can field dress a moose!!!!!!!!!!

Is there someway the GOP can make this the result of 9/11?

Ohhhhhh, no, this is Barack's fault. The market is just reacting to the possibility of a socialist loving money from the rich stealing possible Muslim terrorist being elected president.

Shoot, I could work for Faux News with stuff that good.

Y'know, just saying, everyone in position, or who has been during 1946-2008 somewhere in position, at the 'top' of the nationalism heap either elected or appointed, aims at you and me and everyone we care and share life among, with the full intent against us of destroying us ... 'destroying' as in putting us at room temperature while 'they' stay in shangri'la wherever they find it.

And you and me sit here arguing which 'side' is aiming against us and which 'side' is doing the most harm to literally bury us. Your 'side' or my 'side'?

We argue because you and me have never practiced counting what we have in common, and how we are alike -- We, the People -- we never practiced counting the complete long list of 'general welfares' and 'common wealths' before we start itemizing our differences.

We do it this way Why? (I think we do it) because we were taught, (read: programmed, 'brainwashed'), that accounting our differences is 'capitalism' and accounting our things in common (life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, for examples) is 'socialism' and discussing socialism is criminal and discussing capitalism is dictated forcibly.

So, hey, right away, the obvious and 'natural' first reflex is to tell me the what-all and how-all ways anyone else sees life differently from what I just said.

What I just said, "just saying," IS: you and me are both interested in and improved by life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Go ahead, anyone jump in to tell me how that's wrong and it can be, and should be, seen differently from my description of the scene. Meanwhile, privileged powercrazies at the top of the heap are still aiming at us and intent on stopping our breath here with each other.


I've sat on the sidelines of this one for most of the day because A) I'm not an economist; B) I've had a ton of work to do; and C) The comedy you have provided pretending to know anything about this topic is far better than any joke you've ever written for late night TV (well, most of them anyway).

"Do the Dems bear responsibility? Damn right for not putting this group in prison where they belong."

That one was rich. You 100% exonerate them for ANYTHING - even though it was a Democrat President that signed the Deregulation legislation into law, it was a Democrat Fed Chair that oversaw the markets for almost the entire period, it was the ex-Clintonite controlled Fannie and Freddie that were instrumental in causing this crisis, and it is a Democrat controlled House and Senate that is sitting on their hands during the collapse.

And the only other thing you have to comment on is a quip about Palin and Moose-dressing. I have to start rooting for Obama, Bill. I consider you one of my 'internet friends' and I fear what you might do to yourself if he loses.....

Would either Obama or McCain find the following company's business model fundamentally flawed, and do something about it?

Wintrust Financial Corporation Offers Customers 15 Times Typical FDIC Insurance Coverage. Wintrust Unveils MaxSafe Product and Spreads Deposits and FDIC Insurance Across Its 15 Subsidiary Banks.

Last update: 1:04 p.m. EDT Sept. 15, 2008

PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Wintrust Financial Corporation (WTFC) today announced the creation of its MaxSafe Money Market Account that, along with its MaxSafe Certificates of Deposit, can provide customers with 15 times the typical amount of FDIC insurance coverage.

The customer only needs to visit one Wintrust bank to open the account. Wintrust then spreads the account across its 15 well-capitalized Chicago and Milwaukee area subsidiary banks, resulting in the increase in FDIC coverage. The customer receives a single statement and a single 1099 for the entire balance.

By utilizing MaxSafe, a joint account can be insured for up to $3 million, while a qualified retirement account can be insured for up to $3.75 million. By using all of the available FDIC ownership categories of single, joint, revocable trust, and retirement accounts, a married couple can achieve up to $16.5 million in FDIC insurance coverage using MaxSafe.

Why have a $100,000 cap at all? (Is it only for those folks that are not sophisticated enough to just spread out their deposits? Assuming that they have more than $100,000.)

The depositors are freed from any individual duty to ask any question of their bank about the soundness of their lending practices. The banker would simply rebut: don't worry, your accounts are FDIC insured.

I remain as aghast now as during the S&L bailout about the collection of federal income taxes (quite apart from FDIC insurance premiums from depositors) to cover any person's investment/savings loss above the first $100,000 guaranteed deposit from people who have less than $100,000 in savings and wages that are too low to even dream of amassing savings of $100,000.

The feds focus on the costs associated with bailing out FDIC-covered institutions even when they contemplate action pertaining the Lehman Brothers. They look at the FDIC-related impact of helping or not helping Lehman Brothers. The coverage of individual savings in excess of $100,000 is directly related to the likelihood that the feds can say that it is "cheaper" to intervene.

If _____ is perceived as evil and arbitrary, then by all means cut off one of their means of rewarding their political supports, and cap the federal taxpayer obligation to cover savings losses at $100,000 per natural person.

I fully expect to be as disappointed with an Obama administration as I was with the Clinton administration.


Do you favor smaller government? If so, what would you say about my diagnosis and proposed remedy above?

I am really getting tired of the big gov't/small gov't debate. How about we work to make gov't efficient for once in its pathetic life and then worry about what size it should be.

Unlike some here I am no apologist for Clinton's disastrous corporatist economic legacy. Clinton killed the social safety net and ended critical checks and balances on the financial system.
When it comes to economics and finance there is little difference between the two parties. Maybe Nader was right.

Anyone sleeping any better tonight????

I am picturing Chevy Chase doing his SNL news skit bit: The Federal Reserve announced today that it has lent itself 85 billion dollars.

Many, many folks understand the situation. Here's a tenured professor, very informed, who is saying the same things many, many others seem to be saying.

The U.S. Financial System in Serious Trouble, by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay, Global Research, September 16, 2008.

Today I say that this major crisis has to be placed at the very feet of the Washington establishment. This is a politico-financial establishment that has pushed to the limits its ideology of deregulation of financial markets and stretched the working of unregulated corporate market capitalism to the breaking point. Now, the system is imploding under our very eyes and financial institutions are falling like dominos. As I wrote last August, and repeated in April of this year, the U.S. financial problem is ....

His survey of the dollar destruction presents some descriptive details, and then he gets around to the exact crux of the whole enchilada:

But the Bush-Cheney administration, while providing public money to keep the two lenders in operation, stopped short of nationalizing them.

We must stop stopping ourselves short, stop stopping our power of The People from seizing public utilities, resources and assets.

Some things belong to all of us. We must go ahead and 'nationalize' them. NOT be 'backed off' by the greedhead rich who scare us away to 'own' Big Things themselves ... and then 'sell' the public's 'Things' to the public.

Socialism is a good thing, appropriate and full Justice in some certain things. For example, the Post Office -- mail delivery, so everyone has a mailbox, and an address; public schools -- so everyone has an education, and can read and write and figure. Socialism is a good thing.

The main problem with socialism is that it requires time and effort of everyone, self-managing, to be aware, to be literate, to stay informed in current affairs and participate in oversights of public operations, keeping an eye on the bookkeeping and disclosing shysters.

For example, all the work Jack does on this blog, keeping oversight of public Bonding operations. We ALL must do some of that. ... oh, sorry if requisite community participation cuts into your couch-potato 'conservatism' ....

"Socialism is a good thing"

When it comes to socializing the profits and privatising the profits the current crop of "democrats" are *worse* than republicans. Case in point: Schumer and Frank have never met a bailout for the ultra-rich investment class they did not like. Its also interesting that investment banks have donated far more to Obama than McCain. I will vote for Obama but he is as much a tool of the elite who run our banana republic as any republican.

Agreed: Republicans perhaps win the race to the bottom, but second place Democrats are close to the same. So to vote without voting against our (country's) self-interest, in the 1st or 2nd place, and to vote for actual change in a paragon of democracy, vote for Nader. Rightists and leftists both countenance Nader's political position, and we could elect him in a near-unanimous landslide, except that we carry on the 'political' baggage, and labels, invested to us by our parents' exhortations at Parties.

Yet, seeing the stock ticker is flatline, we know those bygone investments are bankrupt.

Cutting our losses means all of us together abandoning, as one, R's and D's alike. I will if you will. Or, rather, I won't if you won't vote R NOR D.

And let's spell out our agreement between ourselves, by cutting out the middleman massmedia. Massmedia: The arbitrator with an axe to grind.

In terms of, and the condition on, 'keeping (us) informed,' obtains in socializing the massmedia properties. 'Nationalize broadcasting,' if you prefer to read it that way.

Broadcasting of radiowaves (TV is radiowaves, too) through the atmosphere IS a utility, a public resource, and must be 'owned' and overseen by public interest, i.e., socialism. Which is the situation in which radio began, 1923-33, in social ownership, before and until 'capitalists' preyed to 'privatize' broadcasting (with 'sponsoring' capital). 'Media property' prey, or anything as 'prey,' can be easily and straightforwardly determined by bribing legislators to enact 'legal' language defining and declaring what 'prey' is. For example, alcoholic beverage commerce was 'legal,' before it was 'illegal,' before it was 'legal' again -- but alcohol never changed in its essence by any term or word being enacted for it ... 'words and talk is cheap,' as cheap as the price of buying a legislator.

In our situation today, frail of enforcing democracy, we must NOT stop short of socializing massmedia. Acquiring massmedia properties is not violent and not unfair -- simply appropriate public money and 'buy them out.' Call it a 'national' bail out funding of, by, and for us people, the public, the stake-holding taxpayers, (instead of bailing out select rich persons, such as 'invested' bankers).

Socialized massmedia might look like this: Free cable TV. Free internet. And for each such free-and-right 'privilege' there is some 'responsibility', which, in the matter of media, means that every taxpayer is a 'sponsor' and has 'access' to broadcast facilities to air individual productions; free massmedia puts each of us under an onus of civic duty, a responsibility to participate, to speak forth one's creativity in the matter. Every channel a 'public access' channel. Every program one person's 'issue', opinion, production. Kind of like blogs. For every 3 hours of LIARS Larson, another 3 hours of anti-LIARS Parson, and the truth is somewhere in the balance between them -- truth arrived at by weighing both, for their integrity, gravitas, coherence, veracity, common convention, and in a word, sensibility. Just like debate, and argument; reason and rationality. It's the communication medium, stupid.

'News' could be trafficked in commerce for the same price as a copy of Willamette Week, the free newspaper. That example is not applicable to my point here -- we can socialize broadcasting -- but I cite a newspaper to sort of startle awareness to realize (of 'massmedia') we already have and are familiar with 'semi-socialistic' concepts in practice, beyond which 'free cable TV' and 'free internet' is not a far stretch.

A group (out there somewhere) has been arguing that political campaigns should be 'legally' given free broadcast time to air their positions and issues and reasonings. Well, that argument basically says 'socialize a portion of broadcasting' -- the political campaigning portion.

But information -- news weather and sports -- is too vital in life, to be ceded to political postures, partisans, and capitalists. Information is social goods, and should traffick in commerce and social intercourse free of tariffs, fees, and trade restrictions.

We get the weather satellite information (photos) for free, almost taken for granted since we paid for that satellite. (Saying it that way sort of gives fresh sensibility to Reagan's infamous impiety, "I paid for this microphone.") Yet we also paid for the other satellites, and the information (photos) those provide can and should also be free, circulating as currency. In that way we could have known by seeing that there were no WMDs in Iraq. Satellite image resolution can 'read' an automobile license plate; call it a '1-inch-square resolution' to give yourself an idea of it -- and there is no way in hell any 'country' can amass WMDs out of sight of public observation with 1-inch-sq resolution. (This was the sole fact upon which I spoke in-person contradiction face-to-face against Senators Smith and Wyden, Feb.25, 2003, when they stated "we know Saddam has nerve gas stockpiles," and I said, "there are NO WMDs in Iraq." Broadcasters' TV cameras taped this; I spoke the truth, the Senators lied, to the people. I used to, once upon a time did, program the computers which digitize satellite imagery. That's how I knew the known facts.)

Satellite information could show us the last car (vehicle) in the proximity where any forest fire starts. Could show us the car traffic ahead of us on the road to work, either before we leave home or while we're in transit. Could show us where 'the spousal unit' is parked while 'working late at the office.' And ... we paid for those satellites.

Socialize massmedia.

If we HAD NOT stopped ourselves short of it, and so if we HAD socialized massmedia earlier, the banking system and 'financial sector' and 'global economy' would NOT be collapsing today, recession would NOT be happening. It takes a bit of explanation to make aware understanding of the connection (between 'the massmedia' and 'the economy'), yet the connection is as direct as cause-and-effect ... but that explanation is postponed from here. Except two citations: 1- Information is money -- somebody must have said that, somewhere. And longtime noteworthy Washington, DC, lawyer/lobbyist Clark Clifford said, (unless it was Chuck Colson), 2- There are no secrets in this town, the most you can hope for is a two-hour head start. (Colson got a two-year head start, but when he was inevitably caught up with, he got twenty years.)

BTW, today's issue of Willamette Week publishes in print, on-the-record, eye-witness statements saying that Sen.Smith's peapacking 'business' employs (present tense) undocumented workers; said in direct rebuttal of Smith's false broadcast through LIARS (last week) branding the accusations as 'baseless,' 'slurs,' 'innuendo' ... by the way in speaking of economic failure shortcomings of capitalists, uh, politicians.

Charlie Rose interviews Hank Greenberg. (Video)

Note this major shareholder's reference to fed motivation to serve foreign interests.

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