Merrill Lynch Exec Uses TARP Funds To Buy $37 Million Apartment

Your tax dollars at work: Former Merrill Lynch executive pays 37 million for NYC apartment (with taxpayer money).
He worked there 3 months, received $25 million bonus from TARP funds, quit, bought apartment. Go read.

It looks like Franken has beaten Coleman

Cue the Republican core constituency:

Stolen election! Stolen election! Stuart Smalley, ha ha ha! Franken wasn’t funny on SNL! Franken asked for the recount because he was a sore loser! Ballots found in the trunk of a car! Somalis!!!!!!!! People voting twice with “duplicate ballots”! ACORN!!!!!! Franken wants to count invalid absentee ballots! Minnesota sucks! Worse than Chicago! Communists!

Republican losers have all the class of tweaking Wichita Falls Cowboys fans after another blown game.

Comment Spam

Seeing the Forest is getting a flood of comment spam all of a sudden, so I am turning on the requirement that you be authenticated before a comment is automatically published. If you are, your comment will immediately appear. If not I have to approve it. Sorry.


Tom Friedman wants to know why America has fallen so far behind the rest of the world in keeping up our infrastructure.

Landing at Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong was, as I’ve argued before, like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones.
. . . The next day I went to Penn Station, where the escalators down to the tracks are so narrow that they seem to have been designed before suitcases were invented. The disgusting track-side platforms apparently have not been cleaned since World War II. I took the Acela, America’s sorry excuse for a bullet train, from New York to Washington. Along the way, I tried to use my cellphone to conduct an interview and my conversation was interrupted by three dropped calls within one 15-minute span.

In 1981 we stopped asking the richest to pay taxes. To pay for that the country started borrowing, deferring maintenance and cutting what the citizens get from the government.
So yes, we stopped fixing things, and now everything is breaking. You didn’t notice this before now?
There was another effect of this huge tax cut for the rich. By changing tax policies to let people keep fortunes made in a single year everyone started trying to make a fortune in a single year. Business became entirely about making as much as you can as fast as you can instead of building up solidly over time. Theft at the top became rampant. Everything became schemes. Manufacturing went away because it was easier to make a quick buck from schemes…
Friedman’s solution? Use the Obama stimulus,

It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and engineers, paying for research and building the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white elephants. Generally, I’d like to see fewer government dollars shoveled out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to catalyze new industries and new markets.

In other words, back to where things were before Reagan.

Why California Can’t Pass A Budget

Dave Johnson, Speak Out California
Sunday’s CBS show 60 Minutes featured our own Governor Schwarzenegger! One of the things said on the show was the following,

“The governor proposed to close that budget deficit half with tax increases and half with budget cuts. Republicans and Democrats opposed him.”

This is why California does not have a budget.
I don’t mean that we do not have a budget because “Republicans and Democrats” oppose the Governor, won’t compromise, won’t “meet half way,” etc. or that “Democrats won’t agree to cut spending” as most of the public is told. I mean that we do not have a budget because the public is told that this is the reason. If the public understood the real reasons that we do not have a budget, representative government would work and the citizens would apply the necessary pressure to bring about the passage of a budget.
It is simply a fact that the reason we do not have a budget is that a small number of extremists are blocking the passage of a budget and are doing so because they can. They have voted against every budget compromise offered. They have been able to get away with this because the public believes that both sides are refusing to compromise. The Democrats have agreed to cuts and have moved more than half way. The Republicans refuse to move at all.
Our news outlets are not meeting their responsibility to keep the public informed. This failure is contributing to our state’s inability to govern itself.
And by the way, we at Speak Out California wish you a Happy Holiday Season!
Click through to Speak Out California

Deep Thought On Rule Of law

Ford pardoned Nixon, which led to the crimes/bribery/theft/fraud/lies/wars of the Reagan/Bush I administration. It also led to a common understanding that in America the big fish operate under different rules and are held to a different standard.
Reagan was let off the hook for Iran/Contra and Bush I pardoned everyone who otherwise might have testified against him. Then under Clinton they let bygones be bygones, bribery remain unpunished and stolen money stay stolen which led to the crimes of Bush II. (It also paved the way for Clinton’s impeachment because they knew the Dems would let them get away with anything and the public was ready for a story about people at the top not being let off the hook.)
If you don’t prosecute lawbreaking and hold accountable the lawbreakers, it will just happen over and over, worse each time. Throughout the Bush II administration the Dems refused to hold anyone accountable and look what’s happening today.

After The Bailouts — A New Economic Paradigm

Think past today and picture the economic world after this crisis is over. Our economic paradigm will necessarily be different.
There is no longer the mask of calling something a “private” company. We have finally acknowledged the interlinked and interdependent nature of our economy in which many kinds of large companies play crucial roles. These components of our economy are resources that affect us to such a degree that they are public resources. They just are. When they affect all of us to the degree they do, so that when the crisis arrives we step in and exert the necessary control and provide the necessary backing, it demonstrates that they are in fact too important to us to allow them to fail. By the fact of these massive bailouts the mask has been removed.
Until now calling large companies “private” entities created an illusion that has worked to the benefit of a very few. By pretending they were “private” a select few received the bulk of the benefits they generated. But now the question is, since these companies are public resources whose importance requires our public intervention and infusion of massive public resources when needed, then why does this flow only go one way? Why is it public resources in, private benefits out? Why do We, the People pump our public resources into these entities, without sharing in the benefits created by these entities?
A select few end up with private jets, multiple mansions, huge yachts, and incomes in the hundreds of millions. WE don’t even get health care, many of us don’t even get sick or overtime pay.
The mask has fallen off. When a company grows up, it is a public resource. “Too big to fail” means public resource by definition. Whatever you want to call it, it affects us to the point where we have to prop them up.
So when do we start getting the benefits back? Who is our economy for, anyway?