Another Anti-Government Propaganda E-Mail

I received one of those anti-government propaganda e-mails today. Look how they do it. It’s a really funny story, until they inject the propaganda point as the last line:

The Firewood Story
It was already late fall & the Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn’t tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold & that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared. But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea.
He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service & asked, ‘Is the coming winter going to be cold?’ ‘It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,’ the meteorologist at the weather service responded. So the chief went back to his people & told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared. A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. ‘Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?’ ‘Yes,’ the man at National Weather Service again replied, ‘it’s going to be a very cold winter.’
The chief again went back to his people & ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find. Two weeks later, the chief called the National Weather Service again. ‘Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold’ ‘Absolutely,’ the man replied. ‘It’s looking more & more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we’ve ever seen.’
‘How can you be so sure?’ the chief asked. The weatherman replied, ‘The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy.’ Always remember this story whenever you get advice from a government official!

As if a corporate weather source would somehow be different. The government is US, and stories like this carry a profoundly anti-democracy message, intended to make people think that somehow privatizing government functions to corporations would be better for us.
But a corporate information source would be about screwing the customers and the employees and the public so the CEO could get a bigger jet. No one except a very few already-wealthy power brokers benefit when we hand over our common interests – even weather reporting – to corporations as they are presently constituted.

Senator Clinton Too Busy Campaigning To Help Save Constitution

Senator Clinton will not come to the Senate to help save the Constitution. At Firedoglake, FISA Debate In Senate, Part VII:

UPDATE: — According to Howard Wolfson of the Clinton Campaign, Hillary Clinton will not be taking the 1 1/2 hour trip from South Carolina to Washington DC to join the Dodd filibuster

Ewards has already said he supports Dodd on keeping telecom immunity out of the FISA bill.
I am not aware of any statement from the Obama campaign. Obama so far is not even voting “present” on this one.

Pushed The Wrong Button?

I’m not endorsing Hillary or Obama or Edwards. My own philosophy leans more toward Edwards but I would be happy with any of these three.
That said, if there is ONE thing I do NOT want a President doing, it is pushing the wrong goddam BUTTON!
Obama said oops on 6 state Senate votes:

according to transcripts of the proceedings in Springfield, he hit the wrong button at least six times.

It only takes hitting the wrong button ONE time in the White House, and the world has a bad day.

nuclear-explosion.jpg

Republicans and Economies

Ladies and gentlemen, there was a REASON that Americans were loath to elect a Republican into the government for an entire generation after the Great Depression: They remembered.
Update – I was waiting for a comment asking me to explain what I mean, because it would make my point.
Previous generations REMEMBERED. There was nothing to add. Over time people have forgotten how Republican economics caused the depression, and how they fought every single program that helped the people at the expense of the wealthiest and the powerful corporations. (And in fact led to the prosperity that the wealthiest and corporations enjoyed since.)
But now people do not remember how concentration of wealth, corporations preying on citizens, anti-union policies, etc. LED TO the economic collapse.
The depression was ended by pro-union policies, redistributive taxes, REGULATIONS on businesses and the fuinancial sector, and an understanding that We, the People run the government, and the reason we have corporations is for OUR benefit, not just the benefit of the few.
Over time, as I said, people forgot. And here we are again.

Distractions

My wife and I just got back from Cloverfield. She got motion sickness from the camera movement.
She’s recovering with a cup of tea and watching Star Trek while I read blogs. McCoy just say “He’s dead, Jim.”
She told me to mention that a show we saw last nigh had the profound insight, “the more you know the less you don’t know.”

Bush Lied

Here is something that blog readers know, but people outside the blogosphere have only had the smallest inkling of. We’ve been over many of the lies told countless times. We take it for granted, but the regular person on the street has not been exposed to this information at all. Has the TV ever once said Bush lied? No wonder there hasn’t been serious support for impeachment – politicians go ask regular people and they don’t know of Bush’s crimes.
Maybe they will now. Read the following, and follow the link to read more.
Study: False statements preceded war,

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The study concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”
The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

How much lying?

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

Today’s Housing Bubble Post – Go Read

Go to The Agonist to read today’s housing bubble post: Most Clueless Banker of the Year Award. It is a comprehensive explanation of that happened, including a timeline.

[. . .]Like the real estate industry in general, banks believe and tell their customers that home values never go down. Their internal models are predicated on this assumption. Everything communicated to the consumer tells them that their home is a piggy bank of ever-increasing value. Withdrawing cash from the piggy bank is made as easy as possible. Consumers are given loans allowing them not to pay any interest at all and build up a balloon balance, which will assuredly be taken care of down the road by market appreciation. These option characteristics allow the banks to charge even higher points up front and stick penalty clauses into mortgages forbidding the homeowner from paying off the loan until the bank receives all fees due them.

Go read.

Not Getting It

I get so tired of press stories about rich people written by well-paid comfortable people. What relevance do these stories have for regular people?
Example: in the story Thinking Twice About That $400 Handbag – New York Times,

“You had a lot of people who graduated to a level of consumption they could not really afford,” said Adrianne Shapira, a retail analyst at Goldman Sachs. “Two-hundred-dollar pairs of denim were plausible when home values soared, but now $100 jeans are looking more reasonable.”

Do you see what is wrong in that paragraph? You can’t afford $200 jeans, so you have to settle for $100 jeans?
That is Just. Not. Getting. It. REGULAR people NEVER DID buy $200 jeans. Regular people go to Costco and pay $15 for jeans. And now the economy is forcing them to cut back on the $15 jeans.
Dear New York Times: I might start paying attention to you again when you’re writing about people who wear $15 Costco jeans.

Women Voters Dominating at the Polls

A guest post by Bettina Duval
First Iowa . . . then New Hampshire . . . and once again in Nevada! Women voters are dominating at the polls!!!
In all three contests the percentage of female to male voters was a consistent 60% to 40%. The reality behind these percentages is even more significant because the number of total voters is also greater than ever before.
Why is this happening? It was former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil who said, “All politics are local.” Local issues are often about education, health care, child care – issues which resonate most strongly with women. Our individual experiences define our needs and our dreams and in turn our needs and dreams mold our opinions. Women are voting in greater numbers in this primary because there is a woman running for president.

Continue reading

Fed Drops Rates 3/4 Percent

Update Market has been open for four minutes, Dow down 439… NASDAQ down 118.
Update 2 Market open 15 minutes, Dow down 369 … NASDAQ down 78.
Update 2 Later, markets recovered for now, DOW down 50 … NASDAQ down 23.
People are nervously waiting for the stock market to open. So the Federal Reserve made and “emergency” 3/4 point drop in interest rates. This is a very big drop.
The backdrop: stocks around the world plunged yesterday while our market were closed for the Martin Luther King holiday.

Stock markets across Asia plunged even farther and faster on Tuesday than they had on Monday, as anxious sellers dumped huge numbers of shares on worries that an economic slowdown in the United States could drag down growth around the world.
. . . The Japanese stock market dropped 5.7 percent, for the worst two-day loss in 17 years, while the Australian stock market tumbled 7.1 percent, its worst single-day loss in nearly two decades. The Shanghai market lost 7.2 percent while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong plummeted 8.7 percent.

Inflation is running at 4.1% and the Fed’s interest rates are now 3%. The Fed will PAY banks 1.1% to borrow.
What this means: bailing out the stock market by dropping the dollar, increasing inflation nd trying to trigger an asset bubble like the bursting housing bubble. Remember, it was ridiculously-low interest rates that caused that bubble.
By the way, I’m not sure if I have mentioned this: Do not leave any money in “money-market funds” right now. Make sure that your money is in FEDERALLY INSURED ACCOUNTS. ‘Federally’ is the key word there. And learn the rules on how much you can have in any accounts and still be insured.