Wall Street Pukes On Our Shoes

At the New Economy Conference, Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers just said that deregulating Wall Street was like leaving a 3 year old in a candy store unsupervised for a day. When you come back the kid is stuffed full of candy, candy falling out of the pockets — but when you are driving home the kid pukes on your shoes. It’s time to stop Wall Street from puking on our shoes.

Building The New Economy

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I am in DC at the Building The New Economy conference. There is a Listen Live button at that site, so you can attend as well. My computer clock says 5:40am as I type this so California readers are discovering this half way through the conference. :-0
Yesterday I attended a blogger roundtable with Rich Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. I’ll write about this later.
Speakers:
Gov. Ed Rendell, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.
Rich Trumka, President, AFL-CIO
Leo Gerard, President, United Steelworkers
Prof. Suzanne Berger, director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives
Jeff Madrick, author, “The Case For Big Government”
Robert Kuttner, author, “The Squandering Of America”
Kate Gordon, Apollo Alliance
Conference agenda (times are EST):
LESSONS OF THE FALL
9:30 a.m. There Is No Way Back: A New Strategy is Essential
BUILDING THE NEW ECONOMY
10:10 a.m. A New Foundation: Strategic Public Investment
11 a.m. Making It In America: Manufacturing in a Global Economy
12:05 p.m. Luncheon Keynote: Towards a New Economic Strategy
1:30 p.m. Global Challenge: A Sustainable Balance for Growth
2:30 p.m. Getting There: The Next Steps

Windows 7 Nightmare

So I updated to win 7 last night. It took almost 5 hours.
Partway through it stops on something like “checking files 21%…” It just stuck there, so I started checking online, and people were saying it does that and to just wait. So I waited and AFTER AN HOUR it started going again.
It “does that,” but Microsoft doesn’t TELL YOU it does that.
Finally installed but everything seems really slow now. Firefox does its “not responding” tihng and goes dim every few minutes. This is a modern computer with a fast processor and plenty of ram.
So after I get it all upgraded it turns out that the anti-virus/backup program I use doesn’t work – AND IT’S FROM MICROSOFT!!! It’s called Windows Live OneCare. Microsoft doesn’t TELL me that this program that I pay a yearly fee for and have a bunch of time left on isn’t going to work with their own new operating system.
Here is the worst part – that program is what I used to make backups, and only OneCare can read the backups it makes, so my only backups depended on it working. I can’t access the backups any other way, and I can’t install the program under Windows 7. I haven’t lost anything, but I had to start making a new backup from scratch today because I am going on a trip tomorrow and do not want to travel without a backup.
So get this — the Windows 7 backup program has been running SINCE 8 AM and it is going on 3 now. And it isn’t even halfway done yet!
It looks as though the Windows 7 upgrade is going to take more than 24 hours. And THEN I’ll know what is working or not.
Microsoft has a complete monopoly granted by the Bush Justice Department AFTER they lost the anti-trust court case. Remember that? They gave a bunch of money to the Republicans and their think tanks etc., and got let off from all consequences AFTER being convicted? And that is why so many people have to use Windows and Office. Bill Gates still the richest person in the world?
Yes, I know about Mac’s I had one of the first Mac software companies. But I have a zillion dollars of software and would have to replace all of it after paying the Apple tax which is about 3x the cost of a comparable PC. But it is looking like I am going to have to switch to Mac.
Update - Total time for updating and several attempts that led to finally getting a good backup made was about 28 hours. I’m on my trip.
So… I said it’s looking like time to get a Mac… Well my wife forgot her MacBook Pro power cord so we had to stop at a Mac store and get a new one. $80!!! The Mac tax.
Should I pay the Mac tax and get a Mac or stick with PC?

Palin vs Krugman On The Dollar — Who Is Right?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
The other day I wrote about how the dollar is falling – but not against the Chinese Yuan. A falling, or “weak” dollar is great for American manufacturers, and therefore American jobs, because it makes American goods cost less everywhere else. This means our exports should rise, reducing our trade deficit and helping us pay off the huge amounts decades of conservative budget policies forced us to borrow from other countries.
Conservatives, though, are trying to use the complexities of the relative value of the dollar in currency markets as an anti-Obama political issue. They must have polling that shows people reacting to way the words “strong” and “weak” are used. This misunderstanding of “strong” and “weak” reminds me of how I used to be confused by “debit” and “credit” when I learned double-entry accounting. (Sorry, I probably shouldn’t mix corporate finance humor with blog posts.)
For example, earlier this month Sarah Palin (or someone) wrote on her Facebook page that a falling dollar makes us “vulnerable.” This is a brilliant play on the “weak” theme, and is used to further scare people. (Republicans like to scare people – remember how Iraq was going to spread smallpox?) She earns her Exxon check, writing that we need to “Drill, baby, drill” for energy independence to solve this. She writes nothing about conservation, alternative energy sources like wind or solar, or about smart grids, or developing a 21st century economy — Exxon wouldn’t like that.
Palin’s ghostwriter confuses several issues at the same time. This is brilliant agitprop but terrible, terrible policy.
Paul Krugman, America’s other master economist, writes in the NY Times today that the problem is China, not Obama. China “pegs” their currency to the dollar so when the dollar drops the Yuan drops along with it. This keeps goods made in China at a nice, low price relative to everyone else, reducing any advantage we might gain from market forces. Krugman writes,

If supply and demand had been allowed to prevail, the value of China’s currency would have risen sharply. But Chinese authorities didn’t let it rise. They kept it down by selling vast quantities of the currency, acquiring in return an enormous hoard of foreign assets, mostly in dollars, currently worth about $2.1 trillion.
Many economists, myself included, believe that China’s asset-buying spree helped inflate the housing bubble, setting the stage for the global financial crisis. But China’s insistence on keeping the yuan/dollar rate fixed, even when the dollar declines, may be doing even more harm now.

Krugman says it is no time to be timid. We have to confront China on this manipulation.

The thing is, right now this caution makes little sense. Suppose the Chinese were to do what Wall Street and Washington seem to fear and start selling some of their dollar hoard. Under current conditions, this would actually help the U.S. economy by making our exports more competitive.

A a Bloomberg today story demonstrates why we need to bring the dollar down relative to the Yuan,

“The stable yuan helped us increase sales by about 20 percent this year,” Cody Hu, a sales manager at the Yongkang- based company, said at the China Sourcing Fair in Hong Kong.
. . . “Competitors in China are doing good,” said Suresh Sranavasan, a distribution manager at the company. “They have pricing advantages from the government’s stable yuan policy.”

I’m with Paul, not Palin. A lower dollar means JOBS.

Take a look at the agenda for the Building the New Economy conference, Thursday, October 29, 2009 — 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C.
This conference sounds the call for the new economy we must build out of the ruins of the old. It focuses on the need for a new agenda to revive manufacturing in America. It’s free. But you have to RSVP.

Creigh Deeds Tells Dems Not To Vote

Creigh Deeds is a Democrat running for Governor in Virginia. In a debate last night he told Democrats not to vote.
Here’s the story: Deeds: ‘I Would Consider Opting Out’ Of A Public Option,

At the final debate of race last night, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds said he “shared the broad goals” of health care reform, but would “certainly consider opting out” of a public option “if that were available to Virginia.”
“I’m not afraid of going against my fellow Democrats when they’re wrong,” Deeds said. “A public option isn’t required in my view.”

Wow, if I was in Virginia I’d be far away from the polls on election day.

The Case For Big Government

The Case For Big Government

When you comb the serious academic evidence about how and why economies grow, you will find that no case can be made that big government or even high taxes impede economic growth over time. History offers no lesson about the values of minimal government. There has never been a laissez-faire modern economy. To the contrary, the evidence shows that government typically contributed vitally to growth. As odd as it is to have to say this, without effective government, America would be poor today.
The lost faith in government has detrimentally affected almost all aspects of life in America in the last generation: health care, education, retirement security, the quality and durability of jobs, family time available to raise children, rising prison populations, and the nation’s wealth itself.

What We’re Up Against

Just look at this, Family Trusts Lobby to Avoid New Rules

Wealthy Americans who operate family investment funds have launched a lobbying campaign to escape new rules being weighed by Congress aimed at more tightly regulating private investment groups.
… World-wide, there are about 1,000 such family accounts with $100 million or more in assets each, according to a recent study by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; about half of those accounts have $1 billion or more in assets each. Families need about $100 million in assets to start such a fund, which costs about $3 million a year to manage, the Wharton study reported.
About 50 family investment funds have formed a coalition and hired lobbyists to make their case with lawmakers that they should be exempt from the new rules. The families say their funds are aimed at maintaining wealth, not investing aggressively like private-equity firms or hedge funds, and therefore pose no systemic risk to the economy.
. . . The main lobbying vehicle for the families is an association called the Private Investor Coalition. Under lobbying rules, it isn’t required to disclose the names of those who are funding the effort, and their identities couldn’t be learned.
… The families hired Thomas Quinn, a top Democratic fund-raiser and friend of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Jake Seher, who spent a decade as a top aide to then-Sen. Joe Biden. The two are paid a total of $60,000 a month, according to disclosure filings.

1000 family accounts, half of which have at least $1 billion in them. They want to be exempt from rules so they hire friends of Sens Biden and Kennedy, who are then paid $60K a month — to do what?
Oh, that $60K per month is just one of many clients. THIS is the Democratic establishment that calls us the “fringe left.”

Fight the Big Boys on Wall Street at www.BanksterUSA.org!

Here is another project I have been involved with lately:

Fight the Big Boys on Wall Street at www.BanksterUSA.org
The Banksters have pulled off the biggest heist of all time. They have crashed the global economy, throwing 7.5 million Americans out of work, emptying retirement and college funds and forcing many into hardship and homelessness. Yet they continue to be rewarded with trillions of taxpayer dollars that underwrite their Bankster bonuses, they prey upon the vulnerable with ballooning bank fees and macabre investment schemes such as “death bonds” and their taxpayer-subsidized lobbyists swarm Capitol Hill to prevent the passage of any meaningful reform of the financial system.

The Smackdown Starts Now

This fall is a critical time. Congress is now taking up a series of bills to restore confidence in the financial sector. If you want to rein in the Banksters and if you think America deserves better than a “boom and bail” economy, you need to muscle up and weigh in. Only you can tell Congress to prioritize the interests of Main Street over the interests of Wall Street.
Bust the Banksters at BanksterUSA

www.BanksterUSA.org is the go-to site for updates on the financial services re-regulation fights in Congress and for progressive netroots campaigning against the big boys on Wall Street.
Our “Action Center” is a hotbed of popular campaigning on the crisis.
We know that it is wrong that a full year since the Wall Street meltdown no employee of any major American bank or blue chip financial institution is behind bars. Compare this to the Savings and Loan crisis 20 years ago. No less than 1,852 S&L officials were prosecuted and 1,072 were jailed.
Our motto? Too big to fail, but not too big for jail! Click here to email the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI and tell them to get cracking!
This week Congress is debating a key Obama administration reform proposal, one that would create a new “top cop” for consumers in the form of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). This new agency will tackle abusive lending practices and protect consumers from the deceptive tricks and traps of the financial services industry. We need to pass a strong bill to empower the agency to do battle with the Banksters, but the Banksters have promised to “kill” it.
Click here to tell Congress to ignore the Banksters and “Put a New Sheriff on the Block” with a Consumer Financial Protection Agency!
Our Action Center highlights the upcoming “Showdown in Chicago” which promises to be the largest grassroots protest against the Banksters of the American Bankers Association. The Action Center will also help us ramp up the campaign against Goldman Sachs’ despicable “death bonds” – an investment scheme you have to see to believe.
Sign up to get the latest news and receive regular email alerts and action items. The Banksters may have the big bucks, but we have the big numbers. The only way to win reform is to make our voices heard!
Don’t Let the Banksters Write the History of These Turbulent Times!
The Banksters may be whitewashing, but we can Wiki! We need your help to build a fully-sourced research companion to BankstersUSA.org on the web. It is a collection of editable Wiki profiles of the financial institutions, CEOs, lobbyists, front groups, issues and legislation related to the crisis and the bailout. It builds on our powerful Sourcewatch Wiki with its proven capacity to raise critical information in the Google-sphere so it can be easily found and used by citizens and journalists. We need citizen journalists to help us build this important resource and document the truth about these turbulent times. This Wiki is not a place for editorializing, but for quality research based on top-notch source material. Please visit the “Help Out” section of our Real Economy Project Wiki portal to learn more. It is easy and fun! Our motto? “Fair, accurate and documented.”

About Us

The www.BanksterUSA.org site and our larger Real Economy Project are part of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). CMD was founded in 1993 as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, public interest group focusing on exposing corporate spin and government propaganda. CMD brought you the book “Weapons for Mass Deception” before the Bush team failed to find weapons in Iraq, and we exposed “Fake News” in the media and the “Pentagon Pundits” on cable news. With this new effort, we will debunk the spinmeisters of the powerful financial services industry and help ordinary Americans take positive action on the financial crisis and the real economy.